Historic Boys - E. S. Brooks

Baldwin of Jerusalem: the Boy Crusader

(Known as Baldwin III., the Fifth of the Latin Kings of Jerusalem.)
[A.D. 1147.]

Through a flood of sunlight, cooled by mountain breezes, breaks a straggling mass of hill and plain and deep ravine crowded with gray-walled buildings, crumbling ruins, dismantled towers, glittering minarets and crosses, stout walls and rounded domes. A palace here, a broken arch or cross-crowned chapel there; narrow and untidy streets thronged with a curious crowd drawn from every land and race—Syrian and Saxon, Nor-man and Nubian, knight and squire, monk and minstrel, —such was Jerusalem, "city of ruins," when, seven hundred years ago, the Red-Cross banner floated from its towered walls and the Holy City stood as the capital of the short-lived and unfortunate realm of the Crusaders—the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem.

I take it for granted that most of my young readers know something of the history of the Crusades—those wonderful religious wars, when Europe overflowed into Asia and under the banner of the Cross sought by blood and blows and daring deeds to gain possession from the Saracen conquerors—or, as they were called, the "Infidel,"—of the tomb of Him whose mission was "Peace on Earth; Good-Will to Men." But how many of them know any thing of that eventful and romantic chapter in the history of Palestine, when, for eighty-eight years, from the days of Duke Godfrey, greatest of the Crusaders, to the time of Saladin, greatest of the Sultans, the Holy City was governed by Christian nobles and guarded by Christian knights, drawn from the shores of Italy, the downs of Normandy, and the forests of Anjou? It is a chapter full of interest and yet but little known, and it is at about the middle of this historic period, in the fall of the year 1147, that our sketch opens.

In the palace of the Latin kings, on the slopes of Mount Moriah, a boy of fifteen and a girl of ten were leaning against an open casement and looking out through the clear September air toward the valley of the Jordan and the purple hills of Moab.

"Give me thy gittern, Isa," said the boy, a ruddy-faced youth, with gray eyes and auburn hair; "let me play the air that Rene, the troubadour, taught me yesterday. I'll warrant thee 'twill set thy feet a-flying, if I can but master the strain," and he hummed over the gay Provencal measure:

"O Magali! thy witcheries

In vain shall try me!

When thou art fish, I'll fisher be

And fish for thee!"

But, bewitching little maiden though she was, the fair young Isabelle had no thought of becoming a fish. She had now found something more absorbing than the song of the troubadour.

"Nay, my lord, rather let me try the gittern," she said. "See, now will I charm this snaily from its cell with the air that Rene taught me," and together the two heads bent over one of the vicious little "desert snails of Egypt," which young Isabelle of Tyre had found crawling along the casement of the palace.

"Snaily, snaily, little nun,

Come out of thy cell, come into the sun;

Show me thy horns without delay,

Or I'll tear thy convent-walls away,"

sang the girl merrily, as she touched the strings of her gittern. But his snailship continued close and mute, and the boy laughed loudly as he picked up the snail and laid it on his open palm.

"'T is in vain, Isa," he said; "this surly snail is no troubadour to come out at his lady's summons. Old Hassan says the sluggards can sleep for full four years, but trust me to waken this one. So, holo! See, Isa, there be his horns—ah! oh! the Forty Martyrs grind thy Pagan shell!" he cried, with sudden vehemence, dancing around the room in pain, "the beast hath bitten me! Out, Ishmaelite!" and he flung the snail from him in a rage, while Isabelle clung to the casement laughing heartily at her cousin's mishap.

But the snail flew across the room at an unfortunate moment, for the arras parted suddenly and a tall and stalwart man, clothed in the coarse woolen gown of a palmer, or pilgrim to Jerusalem, entered the apartment just in time to receive the snail full against his respected and venerated nose.

"The saints protect us!" exclaimed the palmer, drawing back in surprise and clapping a hand to his face. "Doth the king of Jerusalem keep a catapult in this his palace with which to greet his visitors?" Then, spying the two young people, who stood in some dismay by the open casement, the stranger strode across the room and laid a heavy hand upon the boy's shoulder, while little Isa's smothered laugh changed to an alarmed and tremulous "Oh!"

"Thou unmannerly boy," said the palmer, "how dar'st thou thus assault a pilgrim to the holy shrines?"

But the lad stood his ground stoutly. "Lay off thine hand, sir palmer," he said. "Who art thou, forsooth, that doth press thy way into the private chambers of the king?"

"Nay, that is not for thee to know," replied the palmer. "Good faith, I have a mind to shake thee well, sir page, for this thy great impertinence."

But here little Isa, having recovered her voice, exclaimed hurriedly: "O no,—not page, good palmer. He is no page; he is—"

"Peace, Isa," the lad broke in with that peculiar wink of the left eyelid well known to every boy who deals in mischief and mystery. "Let the gray palmer tell us who lie may be, or, by my plume, he goeth no farther in the palace here."

The burly pilgrim looked down upon the lad, who, with arms akimbo and defiant face, barred his progress. He laughed a grim and dangerous laugh. "Thou rare young malapert!" he said. "Hath, then, the state of great King Godfrey fallen so low that chattering children keep the royal doors?" Then, seizing the boy by the ear, he whirled him aside and said: "Out of my path, sir page. Let me have instant speech with the king, thy master, ere I seek him out myself and bid him punish roundly such a saucy young jackdaw as thou."

"By what token askest thou to see the king?" the boy demanded, nursing his wounded ear.

"By this same token of the royal seal," replied the palmer, and he held out to the lad a golden signet-ring, "the which I was to show to whomsoever barred my path and crave due entrance to the king for the gray palmer, Conradin."

"So, 'tis the queen-mother's signet," said the boy. "There is then no gainsaying thee. Well, good palmer Conradin, thou need'st go no farther. I am the King of Jerusalem."

The palmer started in surprise. "Give me no more tricks, boy," he said, sternly.

"Nay, 'tis no trick, good palmer," said little Isabelle, in solemn assurance. "This is the king."

The palmer saw that the little maid spoke truly, but he seemed still full of wonder, and, grasping the young king's shoulder, he held him off at arm's length and looked him over from head to foot.

"Thou the king!" he exclaimed. "Thou that Baldwin of Jerusalem whom men do call the hero of the Jordan, the paladin of the Sepulchre, the young conqueror of Bostra? Thou—a boy!"

"It ill beseemeth me to lay claim to hero and paladin," said young King Baldwin, modestly. "But know, sir pilgrim, that I am as surely King Baldwin of Jerusalem as thou art the palmer Conradin. What warrant, then, hast thou, gray palmer though thou be, to lay such heavy hands upon the king?" And he strove to free himself from the stranger's grasp.

But the palmer caught him round the neck with a strong embrace. "What warrant, lad?" he exclaimed heartily. "Why, the warrant of a brother, good my lord. Thousands of leagues have I travelled to seek and succor thee. Little brother of Jerusalem, here am I known only as a gray palmer at the holy shrines, but from the Rhine to Ratisbon and Rome am I hailed as Conrad, King of Germany and Holy Roman Emperor!"

It was now the boy's turn to start in much surprise.

"Thou the great emperor—and in palmer's garb?" he said. "Where, then, are thy followers, valiant Conrad?"

Baldwin III of Jerusalem


"Six thousand worn and weary knights camp under the shadow of Acre's walls," replied the emperor, sadly, "the sole remains of that gallant train of close on ninety thousand knights who followed the banner of the Cross from distant Ratisbon. Greek traitors and Arab spears have slain the rest, and I am come, a simple pilgrim, to do deep penance at the holy shrines, and thereafter to help thee, noble boy, in thy struggles 'gainst the Saracen."

"And the King of France?" asked Baldwin.

"King Louis is even now at Antioch, with barely seven thousand of his seventy thousand Frankish knights," the emperor replied. "The rest fell, even as did mine, by Greek craft, by shipwreck, and by Infidel device."

It is a sad story—the record of the Second Crusade. From first to last it tells but of disaster and distress amidst which only one figure stands out bright and brave and valorous—the figure of the youthful king, the boy Crusader, Baldwin, of Jerusalem. It was a critical time in the Crusader's kingdom. The old enthusiasm that had burned in Duke Godfrey's followers had been dulled by forty years of Syrian listlessness. Fierce foes without and treacherous feuds within harassed and weakened the Christian kingdom. Edessa, its strongest outpost, fell before the Saracens. Jerusalem was threatened. The Holy Sepulchre was in danger; and though King Baldwin was a valiant lad the old Bible saying was fast being proved: "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation." France and Germany, roused at last to action by the glowing eloquence of St. Bernard, poured their thousands eastward, and Europe felt again the tramp of armies marching under the Red-Cross banner on a new Crusade. But from Hungary to Syria disaster followed disaster, and of the thousands of knights and spearmen who entered the Crusade only a miserable remnant reached Palestine, led on by Conrad, Emperor of Germany, and Louis, King of France. The land they came to succor was full of jealousy and feud, and the brave boy king alone gave them joyful welcome. But young Baldwin had pluck and vigor enough to counterbalance a host of laggards.

"Knights and barons of Jerusalem," he said, as he and the pilgrim emperor entered the audience-hall, "'t is for us to act. Lay we aside all paltry jealousy and bickering. Our brothers from the West are here to aid us. 'Tis for us to wield the sword of Godfrey and raise the banner of the Cross, and marching in the van deal death to the pagan Saracen. Up, guardians of the Holy Sepulchre, strike for the Kingdom and the Cross!"

The Syrian climate breeds laziness, but it also calls out quick passion and the fire of excitement. Catching the inspiration of the boy's earnest spirit, the whole assemblage of knights and barons, prelates and people, shouted their approval, and the audience-chamber rang again and again with the war-cry of the Crusaders, "Dieu li volt! Dieu li volt!"

Erelong, within the walls of Acre, the three crusading kings, the monarchs of Germany, of France, and of Jerusalem, resolved to strike a sudden and terrible blow at Saracen supremacy, and to win glory by an entirely new conquest, full of danger and honor—the storming of the city of Damascus. Oldest and fairest of Syrian cities, Damascus, called by the old Roman emperors the "eye of all the East," rises from the midst of orchards and gardens, flowering vines, green meadows, and waving palms; the mountains of Lebanon look down upon it from the west, and far to the east stretches the dry and sandy plain of the great Syrian desert. Full of wealth and plenty, deemed a paradise by Saracens and Christians alike, the beautiful city offered to the eager crusading host a rich and wonderful booty.

With banners streaming and trumpets playing their loudest, with armor and lance-tips gleaming in the sun, the army of the Crusaders, a hundred thousand strong, wound down the slopes and passes of the Lebanon hills and pitched their camp around the town of Dareya, in the green plain of Damascus, scarce four miles distant from the city gates. Then the princes and leaders assembled for counsel as to the plan and manner of assault upon the triple walls.

The camp of King Baldwin and the soldiers of Jerusalem lay in advance of the allies of France and Germany, and nearer the beleaguered city, as the place of honor for the brave young leader who led the van of battle. From the looped-up entrance to a showy pavilion in the centre of King Baldwin's camp, the fair young maiden, Isabelle of Tyre, who, as was the custom of the day, had come with other high-born ladies to the place of siege, looked out upon the verdant and attractive gardens that stretched before her close up to the walls of Damascus. A lovelier scene could scarcely be imagined, and to the Crusaders, wearied with their march, under a burning July sun, across the rugged and tedious steeps of Lebanon, the rich landscape, bright with golden apricots, brilliant pomegranate blossoms, full-leaved foliage and flowering vines, all springing from a carpet of living green, was wonderfully attractive. To the little Lady Isabelle the temptation was too strong to be resisted, and she readily yielded to a suggestion from young Renaud de Chatillon, a heedless and headstrong Frankish page, who "double-dared "her, even as boys and girls do nowadays, to go flower-picking in the enemy's gardens. Together they left the pavilion, and, passing the tired outposts unperceived, strolled idly down to the green banks of the little river that flowed through the gardens and washed the walls of Damascus. The verdant river-bank was strewn thick with flowers and the fallen scarlet blossoms of the pomegranate, while luscious apricots hung within easy reach, and the deep shade of the walnut trees gave cool and delightful shelter. What wonder that the heedless young people lost all thought of danger in the beauty around them, and, wandering on a little and still a little farther from the protection of their own camp, were soon deep in the mazes of the dangerous gardens.

But suddenly they heard a great stir in the grove beyond them; they started in terror as a clash of barbaric music, of cymbals and of atabals, sounded on their ears, and, in an instant, they found themselves surrounded by a swarm of swarthy Saracens. The Lady Isabelle was soon a struggling prisoner, but nimble young Renaud, swifter-footed and more wary than his companion, escaped from the grasp of his white-robed captor, tripped up the heels of a fierce-eyed Saracen with a sudden twist learned in the tilt-yard, and sped like the wind toward King Baldwin's camp, shouting as he ran: "Rescue, rescue from the Infidels!" Out of the Crusader's camp poured swift and speedy succor: a flight of spears and arrows came from either band, but the dividing distance was too great, and with a yell of triumph the Saracens and their fair young captive were lost in the thick shadows. Straight into King Baldwin's camp sped Renaud, still shouting: "Rescue, rescue! the Lady Isabelle is prisoner!" Straight through the aroused and swarming camp to where, within the walls of Dareya, the crusading chiefs still sat in council. Down at King Baldwin's feet he dropped, and cried breathlessly: "My lord King, the Lady Isabelle is prisoner to the Saracens!"

"Isa a prisoner!" exclaimed the young king, springing to his feet. "Rescue, rescue, my lords, for the sweet little lady of Tyre! Let who will, follow me straight to the camp of the Unbelievers!"

There was a hasty mounting of steeds among the Crusader's tents; a hasty bracing-up of armor and settling of casques; shields were lifted high and spears were laid in rest, and, followed by a hundred knights, the boy Crusader dashed impetuously from his camp and charged into the thick gardens that held his captive cousin. His action was quicker than Isabelle's captors had anticipated; for, halting ere they rode within the city, the Saracens had placed her within one of the little palisaded towers scattered through the gardens for the purpose of defence. Quick-witted and ready-eared, the little lady ceased her sobs as she heard through the trees the well-known "Beausant!" the war-cry of the Knights of the Temple, and the ringing shout of "A Baldwin to the rescue!" Leaning far out of the little tower, she shook her crimson scarf, and cried shrilly: "Rescue, rescue for a Christian maiden!" King Baldwin saw the waving scarf and heard his cousin's cry. Straight through the hedgeway he charged, a dozen knights at his heels; a storm of Saracen arrows rattled against shield and hauberk, but the palisades were soon forced, the swarthy captors fell before the leveled lances of the rescuers, the lady Isabelle sprang from the grasp of a Saracen rider to the arms of the king, and then, wheeling around, the gallant band sped back toward the camp ere the bewildered Saracens could recover from their surprise. But the reaction comes full soon, and now from every quarter flutter the white bournous, the striped aba, the red and yellow kefiab  of the Saracen horsemen. They swarm from garden, and tower, and roadway, and through the opened city gates fresh troops of horsemen dash down the wide causeway that crosses the narrow river. With equal speed the camp of the Crusaders, fully roused, is pouring forth its thousands, and King Baldwin sees, with the joy of a practised warrior, that the foolish freak of a thoughtless little maiden has brought about a great and glorious battle. The rescued Isabelle is quickly given in charge of a trusty squire, who bears her back to camp, and then, at the head of the forward battle, the boy Crusader bears down upon the Saracen host, shouting: "Ho, knights and barons, gallant brothers of the Cross, follow me, and death to the Infidel."

The battle is fairly joined. The great Red-Cross banner flames out upon the breeze; behind it stream the black war-flag of the Temple and the eight-pointed Cross of the Hospital; right and left press the Oriflamme of France and the Imperial Eagle of Germany, while above the tossing mass of spears and pennons and mail-clad knights rise the mingling war-cries of "Beausant!"  "St. Denys!" and "St. George!" and the deeper and more universal shout of the Crusaders' battle-cries: "Christ us vincit!"  and "Dieu li volt!"

Rank on rank, with spears in rest and visors closed, the crusading knights charge to the assault. Fast behind the knights press the footmen —De Mowbray's English archers, King Louis' cross-bowmen, Conrad's spearmen, and the javelin-men of Jerusalem. Before the fury of the onset the mass of muffled Arabs and armored Saracens break and yield, but from hedge and tower and loop. holed wall fresh flights of arrows and of javelins rain down upon the Christian host, and the green gardens of Damascus are torn and trampled with the fury of the battle. Above King Baldwin's head still streams the sacred banner; his cross-handled sword is dyed with Saracen blood, and his clear young voice rings loud above the din: "Christian warriors; generous defenders of the Cross; fight—fight on as fought our fathers!"

"Beausant!"  rings the cry of the Templars; "A Baldwin—a Baldwin for Jerusalem!" shout the boy king's knights. The "Allah it Allah!"  and the wild war-shouts of the Saracens grow less and less defiant; the entrenchments are stormed, the palisades and towers are forced, the enemy turn and flee, and by the "never-failing valiancy "of the boy Crusader and his followers the gardens of Damascus are in the hands of the Christian knights.

But now fresh aid pours through the city gates. New bodies of Saracens press to the attack, and, led in person by Anar, Prince of Damascus, the defeated host rallies for a final stand upon the verdant river-banks of the clear-flowing Barada.

Again the battle rages furiously. Still Baldwin leads the van, and around his swaying standard rally the knights of Jerusalem and the soldier-monks of the Temple and the Hospital. Twice are they driven backward by the fury of the Saracen resistance, and young Renaud de Chatillon, battling bravely to retrieve his thoughtless action, which brought on the battle, is forced to yield to another lad of eleven, a brown-faced Kurdish boy, who in after years is to be hailed as the conqueror of the Crusaders—Saladin, the greatest of the Sultans. The battle wavers. The French knights can only hold their ground in stub-born conflict; the heathen mass grows denser round the Red-Cross banner, the soldiers of Jerusalem are thrown into disorder, and the boy-leader's horse, pierced by a spear-thrust, falls with his rider on a losing field. "Allah it Allah!"  rings the shrill war-cry of the Turkish host, and the Crescent presses down the Cross. But hark! a new cry swells upon the air. "A Conrad! Ho, a Conrad! Rescue for the Cross!" and through the tangled and disordered mass of the cavalry of France and Palestine bursts the stalwart German emperor and a thousand dismounted knights. The Saracen lines fall back before the charge, while in bold defiance the sword of the emperor gleams above his crest. As if in acceptance of his unproclaimed challenge, a gigantic Saracen emir, sheathed in complete armor, strides out before the pagan host, and the fiercely raging battle stops on the instant, while the two great combatants face each other alone. Their great swords gleam in the air. With feint and thrust, and stroke and skilful parry the champions wage the duel of the giants, till suddenly, in one of those feats of strength and skill that stand out as a marvelous battle-act, the sword of the emperor with a single mighty stroke cleaves through the Saracen's armor-covered body, and the gigantic emir, cut completely in twain, falls bleeding at his conqueror's feet. The Turks break in dismay as their champion falls. Young Baldwin rallies his disordered forces, the war-cries mingle with the trumpet-peal, and, on foot, at the head of their knights, the two kings lead one last charge against the enemy and drive the fleeing host within the city walls. With shouts of victory, the Christian army encamp upon the field their valor has conquered, and Damascus is almost won.

Within the city, now filled with fears of plunder and of death, preparations for flight were made, and in the great mosque women and children invoked the aid of Mahomet to shield them from an enemy more relentless than Arab or Saracen—a host whose banner-cry was dark and terrible: "Cursed be he who does not stain his sword with blood." The city seemed doomed to capture. But—"there is many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip." In the camp of the Crusaders the exultant leaders were already quarrelling over whose domain the conquered city should be when once its gates were opened to Christian victors. The Syrian princes, the great lords of the West, the monkish Knights of the Temple and of the Hospital, alike claimed the prize, and the old fable of the hunters who fought for the possession of the lion's skin even before the lion was captured was once more illustrated. For, meantime, in the palace at Damascus, the captive page Renaud stood before the Saracen Prince Anar, and the Prince asked the boy: "As between thine honor and thy head, young Christian, which wouldst thou desire to keep?

"So please your Highness," replied the wise and politic young page, "my honor, if it may be kept with my head; but if not—why then, what were mine honor worth to me without my head?"

"Thou art a shrewd young Frank," said the Prince Anar. "But thou mayst keep thy head and, perchance, thine honor too, if that thou canst hold thy ready tongue in check. Bear thou this scroll in secret to the Nazarene whom men do call Bernard, Grand Master of those dogs of Eblis, the Knights of the Temple, and, hark ye, see that no word of this scroll cometh to the young King Baldwin, else shall the bow-strings of my slaves o'ertake thee. Go; thou art free!"

"My life upon the safe delivery of thy scroll, great Prince," said young Renaud, overjoyed to be freed so easily, and, soon in the Crusaders' camp, he sought the Grand Master and handed him the scroll in secret. The face of the Templar was dark with envy and anger, for his counsels and the claims of the Syrian lords had been set aside, and the princedom of Damascus which he had coveted had been promised to a Western baron.

"So," said the Grand Master, as he read the scroll, "the Count of Flanders may yet be balked. What says the emir? Three casks of bezants and the city of Caesarea for the Templars if this siege be raised. 'Tis a princely offer and more than can be gained from these Flemish boors."

"Gallant lords and mighty princes," he said, with well assumed candor, returning to the council. "'T is useless for us to hope to force the gates through this mass of gardens, where men do but fight in the dark. Rather let us depart to the desert side of the city, spies, where, so say my spies, the walls are weaker and less stoutly protected. These may soon be carried. Then may we gain the city for the noble Count of Flanders, ere that the Emir Noureddin, who, I learn, is coming with a mighty force of Infidels, shall succor the city and keep it from the soldiers of the Cross."

This craftily given advice seemed wise, and the crusading camp was quickly withdrawn from the beautiful and well watered gardens to the dry and arid desert before the easterly walls of the city. Fatal mistake! the walls proved stout and unassailable, the desert could not support the life of so large an army, whose supplies were speedily wasted, and through the gardens the Christians had deserted fresh hosts of Arabs poured into the city. Victory gave place to defeat and rejoicing to despair. Days of fruitless assault were followed by nights of dissension, and finally the crusading host, worn by want and divided in counsel, abruptly ended a siege they could no longer maintain. But in the final council young Baldwin pleaded for renewed endeavor.

"And is it thus, my lords," he said, "that ye do give up the fairest prize in Syria, and stand recreant to your vows as valiant soldiers of the Cross?"

"King Baldwin," said Conrad, "thou art a brave and gallant youth, and were all like thee, our swords had not been drawn in vain. But youth and valor may not hope to cope with greed. We are deceived. We have suffered from treason where it should have least been feared, and more deadly than Saracen arrows are the secret stabs of thy barons of Syria."

Frederick II of Germany


"Now, by the Forty Martyrs," cried the young king hotly, "what thou dost claim I may not disprove by words; for here have been strange and secret doings. But for the honor of my country and my crown I may not idly listen to thy condemning speech. I dare thee to the battle-test, emperor and champion though thou be. Conrad of Germany, there lies my gage!

"Brave youth," said Conrad, picking up the boy's mailed glove, so impetuously flung before him, and handing it to Baldwin with gentle courtesy, "this may not be. For even did not our vows under the 'Truce of God' forbid all personal quarrels, it is not for such a noble-hearted lad as thou to longer stand the champion for traitors."

So the victory, almost assured by the intrepidity of the boy Crusader, was lost through the treachery of his followers; but it is at least some satisfaction to know that the betrayers were themselves betrayed, and that the three casks of golden bezants proved to be when opened but worthless brass.

King Louis and Conrad the Emperor returned to their European dominions in anger and disgust.

The Second Crusade, which had cost so terribly in life and treasure, was a miserable failure, with only a boy's bravery to light up its dreary history. Sadly disappointed at the result of his efforts, young Baldwin still held his energy and valor unsubdued. For years he maintained his kingdom intact in the midst of intrigue and corruption, and, victorious over the Saracens at the battle of the Mount of Olives and at the Siege of Ascalon, he proved his right to be entitled a successful leader and "the model knight."

Free-handed, chivalrous, handsome, brave, and generous, he is a pleasant picture to contemplate amidst the darkness, distrust, and greed of those old crusading days. Beloved by all alike—Saracen as well as Christian—his name has come down to us as that of "the most high-minded of the Latin kings of Jerusalem."

Poisoned by his Arab physician, who loved the young king while hating so stout a foe to the cause of Mahomet, he died at thirty-three, mourned by all Jerusalem; even his generous foe, the Saracen Noureddin, refusing to take advantage of his rival's death. "Allah forbid," said this chivalrous Oriental, "that I should disturb the proper grief of a people who are weeping for the loss of so good a king, or fix upon such an opportunity to attack a kingdom which I have now no reason to fear."

The history of the Crusades is the story of two hundred years of strife and battle, relieved only by some bright spots when the flash of a heroic life lights up the blackness of superstition and of cruelty. And among its valiant knights, equal in honor and courage and courtesy with Godfrey and Tancred and Richard of England and Saladin and St. Louis, will ever stand the name and fame of this gallant young ruler of the short-lived Latin kingdom of Jerusalem—Baldwin, the Boy Crusader.