A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring. — Alexander Pope

Our Empire Story - H. E. Marshall




Alexander the Great Invades India

Unlike the other countries of Greater Britain, India is no new-discovered land. At a time when our little island was still unknown, still lost in the cold grey mists of the ocean, ships sailed from India's sunny shores, and caravans wound through the sandy deserts laden with silks and muslins, with gold and jewels and spices.

For through long ages India has been a place of trade. The splendours of King Solomon came from out the East. He must have traded with India when he built great ships and sent "his shipmen that had knowledge of the sea" to sail to the far land of Ophir, which perhaps may have been in Africa or equally perhaps the island of Ceylon. From there these ship-men fetched such "great plenty" of gold and precious stones, that "silver was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon."

The court, too, of many an ancient heathen king and queen was made rich and beautiful by the treasures of the East. Yet little was known of the land of gold and spice, of gems and peacocks. For beside the merchants, who grew rich with their traffickings, few journeyed to India.

But at length, in 327 B.C., the great Greek conqueror Alexander found his way there. Having subdued Syria, Egypt, and Persia, he next marched to invade the unknown land of gold.

The part of India which Alexander invaded is called the Punjab, or land of the five rivers. At that time it was ruled by a king called Porus. He was overlord of the Punjab, and under him were many other princes. Some of these princes were ready to rebel against Porus, and they welcomed Alexander gladly. But Porus gathered a great army and came marching against the Greek invader.

On one side of a wide river lay the Greeks, on the other side lay the Indians. It seemed impossible for either to cross. But in the darkness of a stormy night Alexander and his men passed over, wading part of the way breast high.

A great battle was fought. For the first time the Greeks met elephants in war. The huge beasts were very terrible to look upon. Their awful trumpetings made the Greek horses shiver and tremble. But Alexander's soldiers were far better drilled and far stronger than the Indians. His horsemen charged the elephants in flank, and they, stung to madness by the Greek darts, turned to flee, trampling many of the soldiers of Porus to death in their fright. The Indian war-chariots stuck fast in the mud. Porus himself was wounded. At length he yielded to the conqueror.

But now that Porus was defeated Alexander was gracious to him, and treated him as one great king and warrior should treat another. Henceforth they became friends.

As Alexander marched through India he fought battles, built altars, and founded cities. One city he called Boukephala in honour of his favourite horse Bucephalus, which died and was buried there. Other cities he called Alexandreia in honour of his own name.

As they journeyed, Alexander and his soldiers saw many new and strange sights. They passed through boundless forests of mighty trees beneath whose branches roosted flocks of wild peacocks. They saw serpents, glittering with golden scales, glide swiftly through the underwood. They stared in wonder at fearful combats of beasts, and told strange stories when they returned home, of dogs that were not afraid to fight with lions, and of ants that dug for gold.

At length Alexander reached the city of Lahore and marched on to the banks of the river Sutlej beyond. He was eager to reach the holy river Ganges and conquer the people there. But his men had grown weary of the hardships of the way, weary of fighting under the burning suns or torrent rains of India, and they begged him to go no further. So, greatly against his will, Alexander turned back.

The Greeks did not return as they had come. They sailed down the rivers Jhelum and Indus. And so little was known of India in those days, that they believed at first that they were upon the Nile and that they would return home by way of Egypt. But they soon discovered their mistake, and after long journeyings reached Macedonia again.

It was only the north of India through which Alex- ander had marched. He had not really conquered the people, although he left Greek garrisons and Greek rulers behind him, and when he died the people quickly revolted against the rule of Macedonia. So all trace of Alexander and his conquests soon disappeared from India. His altars have vanished and the names of the cities which he founded have been changed. But for long ages the deeds of the great "Secunder," as they called him, lived in the memory of the Indians.

And it is since the time of Alexander that the people of the West have known something of the wonderful land in the East with which they had traded through many centuries.



Contents

Front Matter

Part I—Canada
Lief the Son of Eric
Westward! Westward! Westward!
A Breton Sailor in Canada
The Story of Henry Hudson
The Father of New France
The Founding of Quebec
A Bold Answer Saves Quebec
Union Jack upon the Fort
Feast of Eat-Everything
A Knight of New France
The Hudson Bay Company
Adventures of La Salle
La Salle (cont)
Count Frontenac
Madeleine de Vercheres
War of the Boundary Line
The Pathy of Glory
For the Empire
The Story of Laura Secord
Red River Settlement
Louis Riel
Part II—Australia
Nothing New under the Sun
The Founding of Sydney
Bass and Flinders
A Little Revolution
First Traveller in Queensland
Through the Great Unknown
Tracts of Thirst and Furnace
The Finding of Gold
The Bushrangers
Part III—New Zealand
A Great White Bird
The Apostle of New Zealand
Hongi the Warrior
The Maoris
The Wild Cabbage Leaf
The Flagstaff War
The Warpath
Storming of the Bat's Nest
Taming of Wild Cabbage Leaf
King of the Maoris
Sound of the War-Song
The Hau Haus and Te Kooti
Part IV—South Africa
Early Days
The Coming of the Dutch
The Coming of the French
The Coming of the British
Rebellion of Slachter's Nek
The Great Witch Doctor
About the Black Napoleon
The Great Trek
Dingaan's Treachery
The War of the Axe
The Wreck of the Birkenhead
Founding of Two Republics
Story of a False Prophet
A Story about a Pretty Stone
Facing Fearful Odds
Upon Majuba's Height
The Gold City
War and Peace
Part V—India
Alexander Invades India
How Brave Men Went Sailing
Success at Last
Dutch and English
Ambassador Goes to Court
The Hatred of the Dutch
The French in India
The Siege of Arcot
The Black Hole
The Battle of Plassey
Times of Misrule
Warren Hastings—Governor
Warren Hastings—War
Tippoo Sultan
Warrior Chieftains
The Mutiny of Vellore
The Ghurkas
Pindaris and the Maratha War
The First Burmese War
The Siege of Bhurtpore
Sati and Thags
The First Afghan War
The Sikhs
The Mutiny—Delhi
The Mutiny—Cawnpore
The Mutiny—Lucknow
The Empress of India