Front Matter Early Times The Druids The Britons Caesar in Britain Queen Boadicea The Great Walls The Great Irish Saint The Anglo-Saxons Brave King Arthur The Laws of the Saxons The Story of St Augustine Three Great Men The Danish Pirates King Alfred and the Cakes Alfred conquers the Danes A King's Narrow Escape The King and the Outlaw The Monasteries An Unlucky Couple St Dunstan King Canute and the Waves A Saxon Nobleman Lady Godiva's Ride The Battle of Hastings The Conquest Lords and Vassals Death of William The Brothers' Quarrels Arms and Armour The "White Ship" Matilda's Narrow Escapes Story of Fair Rosamond Thomas a Becket Murder of Thomas a Becket Richard's Adventures Richard and the Saracens The Faithful Minstrel Death of Richard The Murder of Arthur The Great Charter The Rule of Henry III A Race Persecution of the Jews The Conquest of Wales A Quarrel with France The Coronation Stone The Insolent Favourite Bruce and the Spider Death of Edward II The Murderers punished The Battle of Crecy The Siege of Calais The Age of Chivalry The Battle of Poitiers The Peasants' Revolt Richard's Presence of Mind A Tiny Queen Henry's Troubles Madcap Harry A Glorious Reign The Maid of Orleans The War of the Roses The Queen and the Brigand The Triumph of the Yorks The Princes in the Tower Richard's Punishment Two Pretenders A Grasping King Field of the Cloth of Gold The New Opinions Death of Wolsey Henry's Wives The King and the Painter A Boy King Lady Jane Grey The Death of Cranmer A Clever Queen Elizabeth's Lovers Mary, Queen of Scots Captivity of Mary Stuart Wreck of the Spanish Armada The Elizabethan Age Death of Elizabeth A Scotch King The Gunpowder Plot Sir Walter Raleigh King and Parliament Cavaliers and Roundheads "Remember" The Royal Oak The Commonwealth The Restoration Plague and Fire The Merry Monarch James driven out of England A Terrible Massacre William's Wars The Duke of Marlborough The Taking of Gibraltar The South Sea Bubble Bonny Prince Charlie Black Hole of Calcutta Loss of the Colonies The Battle of the Nile Nelson's Last Signal The Battle of Waterloo First Gentleman of Europe Childhood of Queen Victoria The Queen's Marriage Wars in Victoria's Reign The Jubilee

Story of the English - Helene Guerber

Brave King Arthur

The Angles, in the course of time, formed three kingdoms in Britain, which bore the names of Anglia, Mercia, and Northumbria. But, in speaking of the territory they occupied, they so often said that it was the Angles' land, that little by little the name was contracted into "England," and after the tenth century the whole country was known by this name.

The Saxons also formed three kingdoms, called Essex, Wessex, and Sussex, or the lands of the East, West, and South Saxons; and the Jutes took possession of that part of England which goes by the name of Kent. You see, the Britons had very little space left, and for some time they could not resist their powerful foes. But not very long after Vortigern's death, they were ruled by Arthur, a British chief whose name has become very famous, because many poets have written about him and about his great deeds.

It is so long since Arthur lived that we really know little about him; but we are told that he fought against the Saxons and defeated them in twelve great battles. Brave as Arthur was in war, he was no less gentle and courteous in peace, and the Britons were so proud of him that they were never tired of singing his praises.

After a time they began to fancy that he was more than a man; and when he finally fell in battle, and was buried in Glastonbury, they would not believe that he was dead. They said that Arthur could not die, and that when he fell, sorely wounded, the fairies carried him away to their island home at Avalon, to make him well.

They had such faith in Arthur that they thought he would come back, some day, to reign over all Britain and make his people happy. The bards, who loved to sing about Arthur, fostered this belief; and we are told that some of the descendants of the old Britons, the Welsh, as they are now called, still believe that Arthur will come back to his loving people.

After Arthur's death, the Britons were driven still farther away from their former homes, and some of them, crossing the sea, went to settle in France, in a province called Brittany. Here, and in Wales, the old Briton language is still spoken by many of the common people, and wonderful stories about King Arthur are still told by the fireside.

Many years later, when a new race had settled in England, stories of Arthur were told in every castle. As the warriors then wore armour, held tournaments, and went about to deliver the oppressed, they imagined that Arthur and his followers used to do the same. So they made up long tales about the adventures of Arthur's principal companions, who, they said, assembled in his palace at Caerleon, and held feasts there, sitting at a round table. Because they did this, they were called the Knights of the Round Table, and poets have long loved to write about them. One of the last great poets who has retold their story is Tennyson, whose "Idylls of the King "you will read with great delight.