THE MAID OF NORWAY
When Alexander died, his little grand-daughter Margaret,
who was called the Maid of Norway, was only four years
old. She was hving in Norway with her father, but she
was proclaimed Queen of Scotland, and six nobles were
appointed to rule the land until she grew up.
Now began a very unhappy time for Scotland, a stormy
time, as Thomas the Rhymer had foretold. The six
nobles, and many others besides, quarrelled among them
selves. Instead of trying to keep Scotland peaceful, they
tried to make themselves great. This went on for about
four years. Then Edward, King of England, who was still
eager to make Scotland and England into one country,
proposed that the little Queen, who was now eight years
old, should marry his son Edward, Prince of Wales.
The Scottish people agreed to this, but knowing what
was in Edward’s mind, they made it plain to him that
Scotland should remain a free country even though the
Queen married the English Prince. The rights and
customs of Scotland were to remain unchanged, and
Scotland was never to be made a part of England. To
this Edward had to appear to agree, for he saw that on
no other conditions could he have his wish. But secretly
he said to one of his chief advisers, ‘ Now the time when
Scotland and its petty kings shall be under my rule has
at last arrived.’
102 SCOTLAND'S STORY
The little Queen set sail from Norway in a beautiful
ship filled with splendid jewels, and clothes, and other
rich presents from her father. But she never reached her
kingdom. On the voyage she became very ill and died
in Orkney. How she died, or where she was buried, we
do not know. In those days news travelled very slowly.
There were no trains, or posts, or telegrams, and it was
not for some time after her death that the people, who
were waiting anxiously for their Queen, learned that she
would never come to them at all.
The death of the little Queen was a great sorrow to
the people of Scotland, and it also put them into a great
difficulty. The Maid of Norway had been the only direct
heir to the throne, for King Alexander’s children had all
died before he did, and he had no other near relatives.
But he had a great many cousins and distant relatives,
and now no fewer than twelve men claimed the throne.
The chief of the twelve were John Baliol and Robert de
Bruce, the father of that Robert who married the pretty
Lady Marjorie. Each of the twelve thought that he had
the best right to the throne. None would give way, so
the quarrelling became very fierce.
As the twelve could not agree among themselves as
to who should be King, they at last resolved to ask some
one else to decide for them. So Edward, King of England,
was asked to come to settle the question.
This seemed to many of the nobles the best and wisest
thing to do. King Edward was king of a neighbouring
country ; he was King Alexander‘s brother-in-law, and
great-uncle of the Maid of Norway, and he was known
to be a wise and just man. But King Edward pretended
that he was asked for none of these reasons, but because
he was overlord of Scotland.
Edward chose John Baliol as King. Both John Baliol
THE MAID OF NORWAY 103
and Robert Bruce were descended from David of Hunt
ingdon, who was William the Lion‘s brother, but John
Baliol was the grandson of his eldest daughter, Robert
Bruce was the son of his second daughter. So Edward
decided that the grandson of William the Lion‘s eldest,
had a better right to the throne than the son of his second,
daughter. We must own that King Edward’s choice
seems the just and right one.
Unfortunately, John Baliol was a weak man and no
fit King for Scotland at this time. Before Edward chose
him as King he made him swear to own the King of
England as overlord. To this John Baliol consented, for
Edward was so strong and he so weak that he did not
dare to resist. It is said that Edward had sent for Robert
de Bruce and offered him the crown on the same terms,
but that Bruce had indignantly refused, and so John
Baliol was chosen instead.
Kneeling before King Edward, John Baliol placed his
hands between his lord’s and swore to be his man. The
great seal of Scotland was broken in four and given to
the King of England as a sign that Scotland was his.
Then he went home, believing that at last he had made
himself master of Scotland.
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