Front Matter Albion and Brutus The Coming of the Romans The Romans Come Again Caligula Conquers Britain The Story of Boadicea The Last of the Romans The Story of St. Alban Vortigern and King Constans Hengist and Horsa Hengist's Treachery The Giant's Dance The Coming of Arthur Founding of the Round Table Gregory and the Children King Alfred Learns to Read Alfred and the Cowherd More About Alfred the Great Ethelred the Unready Edmund Ironside Canute and the Waves Edward the Confessor Harold Godwin The Battle of Stamford Bridge The Battle of Hastings Hereward the Wake Death of the King The Story of William the Red The Story of the "White Ship" The Story of King Stephen Henry II—Gilbert and Rohesia Thomas a Becket The Conquest of Ireland Richard Coeur de Lion How Blondel Found the King The Story of Prince Arthur The Great Charter Henry III and Hubert de Burgh Simon de Montfort The Poisoned Dagger The War of Chalons The Lawgiver The Hammer of the Scots King Robert the Bruce The Battle of Bannockburn The Battle of Sluys The Battle of Crecy The Siege of Calais The Battle of Poitiers Wat Tyler's Rebellion How Richard Lost His Throne The Battle of Shrewsbury Prince Hal Sent to Prison The Battle of Agincourt The Maid of Orleans Red Rose and White Margaret and the Robbers The Story of the Kingmaker A King Who Wasn't Crowned Two Princes in the Tower The Make-Believe Prince Another Make-Believe Prince The Field of the Cloth of Gold Defender of the Faith The Six Wives of Henry VIII The Story of a Boy King The Story of Lady Jane Grey Elizabeth a Prisoner A Candle Lit in England Elizabeth Becomes Queen A Most Unhappy Queen Saved from the Spaniards Sir Walter Raleigh The Queen's Favourite The Story of Guy Fawkes The Story of the Mayflower A Blow for Freedom King and Parliament Quarrel The King Brought to Death The Adventures of a Prince The Lord Protector How Death Plagued London How London was Burned The Fiery Cross The Story of King Monmouth The Story of the Seven Bishops William the Deliverer William III and Mary II A Sad Day in a Highland Glen How the Union Jack was Made Earl of Mar's Hunting Party Bonnie Prince Charlie Flora MacDonald The Black Hole of Calcutta How Canada Was Won How America Was Lost A Story of a Spinning Wheel Every Man Will Do His Duty The Battle of Waterloo The First Gentleman in Europe Two Peaceful Victories The Girl Queen When Bread was Dear Victorian Age: Peace Victorian Age: War The Land of Snow The Siege of Delhi The Pipes at Lucknow Under the Southern Cross From Cannibal to Christian Boer and Briton List of Kings

Our Island Story - H. E. Marshall

John Lackland—The Story of Prince Arthur

When Richard Cœur de Lion died, his brother John, who had plotted and rebelled against him when he was alive, became King. He was called by the French John Sans Terre, which means 'without land,' and John Lackland by the English. He was so called because, when his father, Henry II., died, John had no kingdom left to him as his brothers had.

John was the youngest and the worst of all Henry's sons, and he was not the heir to the throne of England.

The real heir was Prince Arthur of Brittany, the son of John's elder brother Geoffrey. And now the French king, Philip, who had fought against Richard and helped John, suddenly turned round and began to fight against John because he would not let Arthur be king.

John was wicked and wily, and he easily got Arthur into his power and shut him up in prison. But John was not content with that. He greatly feared that the English people might want to have Arthur as their King, and he resolved to make that impossible.

Prince Arthur was placed in the charge of a man called Hubert, and wicked King John ordered this man to put out Arthur's eyes.

Hubert actually said he would do this cruel deed. One morning he brought two men into Arthur's room, ready to put out his pretty blue eyes with their dreadful hot irons.

Arthur was a gentle, loving boy, and he was fond of his stern gaoler, and Hubert in his own rough way was fond of the little prince. Now he felt sad and sick at heart at the thought of what he had to do.

'Are you ill?' said Arthur. 'You look so pale. I wish you were a little ill so that I could nurse you and show you how much I love you,' he added.

When Arthur spoke to him so kindly the tears came into Hubert's eyes. But he brushed them away and determined to do what the King had commanded.

'I am not ill, but your uncle has commanded me to put out your eyes,' he said roughly.

'To put out my eyes! Oh, you will not do it, Hubert?'

'I must.'

'Oh, Hubert! Hubert! how can you?' said Arthur, putting his arms round Hubert's neck. 'When your head ached only a little I sat up all night with you. Now you want to put out my eyes. These eyes that never did, nor never shall, so much as frown upon you.'

'I have sworn to do it,' said Hubert sadly.

'Oh, but you will not do it! You will not! You will not, Hubert?' and so Arthur begged and prayed till Hubert could resist no longer, and he sent the wicked men with their dreadful red-hot irons away.

But Hubert was afraid that King John would be angry because his orders had not been obeyed, so he told him the cruel deed had been done, and that Prince Arthur had died of grief and pain.

Then wicked King John was glad. But the people both in France and England were very sad when they heard this news. Every one mourned for the young prince. All through the land bells were tolled as if for a funeral.

There was so much anger against John, and so much sorrow for the prince, that at last Hubert told the people that what he had said was not true, and that Arthur was still alive. Then every one was glad. Even King John was glad at first because many of his nobles had told him plainly that he would find no knight to follow him to battle, nor to guard his castles at home, if he had really killed his little nephew.

But King John's heart was black and wicked, and he could not rest while he knew that Prince Arthur lived. So one dark night he came to the castle in which his nephew was kept prisoner.

After that night no one ever saw Prince Arthur again. Next morning when the sun shone in at the narrow window where he used to sit it shone into an empty room. For Arthur's poor little body was lying at the bottom of the Seine, with a great wound in his heart made by his wicked uncle's cruel, sharp knife.