Scotland's History, Legends, Wildlife and Hunting Practices...because the past lives in us and guides our footsteps.



In the days of Alexander III. there lived a lady called
Marjorie, Countess of Carrick. This lady was very young
and very beautiful. Both her father and her mother were
dead. Her mother had been King Alexander’s cousin ;
her father, a brave soldier who had died in a far-off land
fighting the battles of the Cross. So this beautiful lady
became the King‘s ward. That is, he looked upon her
as his daughter, and took care of her as a father would
have done.

One day the Lady Marjorie was hunting in the woods
near her castle. She was splendidly dressed, and rode
upon a beautiful horse. With her were other lovely ladies
and fine gentlemen, all grandly dressed. As they rode
through the woods, laughing and talking, they met a
knight who was riding alone.

The knight was clad in shining armour, and he was
tall, and strong, and handsome. When Lady Marjorie saw
him her heart gave a leap and a bound. Of all the knights
and nobles she had ever seen, this was the grandest and
the best.

As the knight rode past, Lady Marjorie looked after
him. Then she called one of her gentlemen to her.
‘ Ride quickly to yonder knight,’ she said, ‘ tell him




that the Countess of Carrick begs him to join the chase,
and to dine with her in the castle, which is hard by.’

The gentleman put spurs to his horse and rode quickly
after the knight ‘ Sir Knight,’ he cried, ‘ my Lady of
Carrick greets you, and begs the honour of your

The knight, who was called Robert de Bruce, stood
still, and as he listened to Lady Marjorie’s message, he
looked back at the gay company of lords and ladies, who
waited for him at a little distance. Robert de Bruce had
seen the Lady Marjorie’s face as he rode past. To him
she had seemed more lovely than any lady in all the
world. But now he stood silent and thoughtful. He
longed to go back, yet he dared not.

The Countess of Carrick was a very great lady. She
was the King‘s ward and cousin. Robert de Bruce knew
by that one look at her beautiful face that he loved her,
but he feared that the King would not think him great
enough, nor rich enough, to marry his ward. So he
resolved never to see her any more. ‘ I thank the lady
humbly,’ he said to the gentleman who stood waiting
for his answer, ‘ but I may not stay. Pray the lady to
pardon my rudeness, for I must hasten on. By nightfall
I must be far from here.’ Then bowing low he rode

The gentleman went back to the Countess and told
her what Robert de Bruce had said. As Lady Marjorie
listened, the tears sprang to her eyes, her lips trembled,
and she looked as if she were going to cry.

Then drawing herself up she said, ‘ Who is this who
dares disobey the Countess of Carrick ? I say he shall
come. Ride forward, gentlemen, and surround him. If
he will not come in peace, then it shall be in war.’

The gentlemen scattered through the wood in all



directions, and a few minutes later, as Robert de Bruce
rode slowly forward, he found himself surrounded on all
sides, by a troop of gaily-clad knights with drawn swords.

Seeing himself thus surrounded, Robert de Bruce
drew his sword too, ready to defend himself to the last.
Then Lady Marjorie rode through the ring of knights
and laid her hand upon the bridle of his horse. ‘ Put
up your sword,’ she cried smiling, ‘ a true knight may not
fight against a lady. You are my prisoner.’

Robert de Bruce sheathed his sword, and taking off
his helmet, bowed low before the beautiful lady. ‘ Lady,
I yield myself your prisoner,’ he said.

Then laughing and merry, Lady Marjorie, holding the
bridle rein of her prisoner‘s horse, led the way to the

There Robert de Bruce remained for a fortnight as
Lady Marjorie’s prisoner. But he was such a willing
prisoner that he never tried to run away. Indeed, as the
days went on, the thought that some time he would be
obliged to go away and leave her made him very unhappy.
So in spite of his fear of the King’s anger, he asked Lady
Marjorie to marry him, that they might never be parted
any more.

This was just what Lady Marjorie wanted him to do,
and as they were afraid that the King would say ‘no,’
they got married first, and told him about it afterwards.

When the King heard about it he was quite as angry
as they had expected him to be. He was so angry that
to punish Lady Marjorie he took all her lands and money
from her. But she came to him and begged to be forgiven ;
all her friends begged for her too, and at last Alexander
forgave her. And when he saw what a splendid, strong
man Robert de Bruce was, he forgave him also, and
became his friend.



Robert and Marjorie lived very happily together.
They had a little son, whom they called Robert, after his
father. This üttle baby grew up to be a very wise man,
and became King of Scotland. You will hear a great
deal about him soon.


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