THE REIGNS OF DONALD BANE, DUNCAN II. AND EDGAR
Malcolm died in 1093 a.d. His son Edgar was still
very young, so Donald Bane, who had fled to Ireland
from Macbeth, now returned and claimed the throne.
Some of the Scottish nobles had been angry with
Queen Margaret, because of her splendid court, and with
King Malcolm, because he allowed so many Englishmen,
whom they looked upon as weak and idle, to live and
possess lands in Scotland. These nobles now gladly
welcomed Donald Bane. They placed him upon the
throne, and drove the English out of Scotland. All
Malcolm’s children also fled, and took refuge in England.
Donald Bane had scarcely reigned six months, how
ever, when another prince called Duncan claimed the
throne. Duncan defeated Donald Bane, and made him
self King. But a year and six months later he was killed
in battle, and Donald Bane again became King.
This time he reigned for three years, during which
there was constant war and trouble. There was war
between Scotsmen and Scotsmen, for many hated Donald
Bane, and would not be ruled by him ; there was war with
England ; there was war with the wild Northmen or Danes.
At last, tired of the unrest and trouble, some of the
Scottish nobles sent messengers to Edgar, begging him to
come to rule over them.
Then Edgar, who had no wish to fight, sent messengers
to Donald Bane, asking him to give up the crown. ‘ It is
not yours, but mine by right,’ he said. ‘ If you wül yield
the crown to me, I will gladly give you great lands and
possessions, over which you shall be lord.’
But Donald Bane, having once been King, had no
mind to become merely a lord under his own nephew.
So, instead of answering, he put Prince Edgar’s messen
gers in prison, and then cut off their heads.
On hearing of this cruel and insolent treatment of his
messengers, Edgar made up his mind to fight. Helped
by his uncle Edgar, and by the King of England, he
gathered an army and set out for Scotland.
One night as he marched northward, he rested at
Durham, where his father, Malcolm, had built a great
church. There he had a dream. It seemed to him that
St. Cuthbert appeared and spoke to him in the night
‘ Fear not, my son,’ said the saint, ‘ for God has been
pleased to give you the kingdom. Take my standard
from the church and carry it before your army, in face of
your enemies. Then I will up and fight for you. Then
your foes shall be scattered, and those who hate you shall
flee before you.’
When Edgar awoke he immediately told the dream
to his friends, and they, taking the standard of St. Cuth-
bert from the church, carried it before the army.
The sight of the holy banner put such courage into
the hearts of his soldiers, that they fought and conquered
Donald Bane‘s great army. Donald Bane himself fled
away, but he was pursued and brought back. Edgar, I
am sorry to say, put out his eyes and cast him into prison,
where he died.
Edgar was crowned at Scone with great rejoicing, and
for nine years he reigned quietly and peacefully. Like
his mother, Queen Margaret, he was very religious, and
he built and restored several churches and monasteries.
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