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

Richard's Adventures

The year before Henry died, all Europe was saddened by the news that Jerusalem, which had been in Christian hands for eighty-eight years, had again fallen into the hands of the Saracens. Another crusade was now preached, and the King of France, the Emperor of Germany, and a host of their best warriors joined it.

Henry's sons were anxious to take the cross, too, especially Richard Coeur de Lion, or the Lion-hearted, who had won this surname by his remarkable courage. As their father refused to let them all go, they rebelled against him; and in the course of the war one of them, Geoffrey, fell very ill. Feeling that he was about to die, he regretted his unfilial conduct, and sent a pitiful message to Henry, begging him to come and forgive him.

The courtiers tried to persuade Henry that this was only a trick on Geoffrey's part. But although Henry did not go to his son, he sent him a ring in token of complete forgiveness. Geoffrey died lying on a bed of ashes to show his repentance, kissing the ring, and recommending his little son Arthur to his father's care.

When Henry died, Richard succeeded him on the throne, and, now that it was too late, he bitterly regretted having ever borne arms against his father. The remembrance of this sin made him all the more eager to keep his promise and go to Palestine; for people then supposed that one could be forgiven for any sin by visiting the grave of Christ at Jerusalem.

Before he could set out, however, Richard had to take possession of his new kingdom and arrange how it should be governed during his absence. He therefore crossed from Normandy to England, and went to London, where he was crowned with great rejoicings. All the people were invited to see the festivity except the Jews. In those days the Christians were always very cruel to the Jews, and besides forcing them to live apart, made them wear garments and hats of a dirty yellow colour, so as to recognize them from afar.

Hoping to make the new king kinder to them, some Jews came to offer him rich presents; but the people, seeing them, fell upon them, and after beating them began to kill them. This outrage became the signal for a series of massacres all through the kingdom. We are told that the York Jews, after holding out for a long time in a tower where they had intrenched themselves, killed their wives and children and set fire to the place, so as to die in the flames, rather than fall into the hands of the cruel Christians. Richard did not try very hard to stop this awful massacre, and no one was punished, except a few men who, in pursuing the unhappy Jews, injured some of their fellow-Christians.

Richard first released his mother Eleanor from prison. Then, to raise money for the crusade, he sold many offices to the highest bidders. For a certain sum of money he released the King of Scotland from his vassalage; he sold his castles and estates, compelled his subjects to lend him money, and declared that he would sell London itself, if he could only find a purchaser rich enough to buy it.

Then, having secured all the money he needed, Richard left the kingdom in the hands of two bishops, and set out for Palestine, where he was to play a brilliant part in the third crusade. He stopped twice before he got there, once at Messina, to await a favourable breeze, and once at the island of Cyprus.

Here the king of the island was very rude to Richard's betrothed, the fair Berengaria, and unkind to ship-wrecked sailors. This made Richard so angry that he took possession of all Cyprus and made the king a captive. We are told, however, that he was very polite to his royal prisoner, and that, when the latter objected to wearing iron chains like a common criminal, he had him bound with fetters of silver, a favour which was greatly appreciated by the fallen king.