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



Those were sad days for Scotland. The people seemed
crushed and almost in despair, but they were still uncon-
quered. They had no King, no leader. But in this dark
hour a man arose who became their leader, and although
he never wore the crown, he was the King of every true
Scotsman’s heart This man was Sir William Wallace.

Wallace was not one of the great nobles. He was only
the younger son of a country gentleman. But he loved
Scotland with all his heart and soul, and he hated the
English who had brought so much sorrow and trouble
on his dear land.

At the time when John Baliol was driven from the
throne, Wallace was very young. He was indeed little
more than a boy, but he was far taller than most men,
and was very strong and handsome. He had a great
deal of brown, wavy hair, and his eyes were bright and
clear. Far and wide he was known as a gallant fighter,
and there were few who could stand against the blows of
his sword. Yet although he was so big, and strong, and
fierce in battle, he was very kind and generous. He gave
nearly all his money to poor people, and those who were
in need never came to him in vain.

When every one else was in despair, when every one

else had yielded to Edward, Wallace alone would not

yield, and would not quite despair. But his heart was


full of hot anger against the English, and he longed to
free his country from them.

Wallace had hated the English all his life, and he had
his first fight with them when he was quite a boy. One
day he had been out fishing and had caught a good many
fish. On his way home he met some Englishmen.

What have you in that basket ? ‘ asked one of them.

Fish,’ replied Wallace.

 Fish ? Where did you get them ?

 I caught them.’

‘Give them to me,’ said one of the Englishmen.
‘ What need have beggarly Scotsmen of fish ?

‘ No,’ said Wallace, ‘ I will give you some if you ask
nicely, but I won‘t give them all to you.’

‘ What insolence,’ cried the Englishman, drawing his
sword. ‘ Give them to me at once !’

Wallace had only his fishing rod with which to defend
himself, but he was very strong, and with it he gave the
Englishman such a blow on the head that he fell dead.
Wallace then seized the dead man’s sword, and he used it
so well that the others soon ran away. Then Wallace
went home quietly with his fish.

The English Governor was very angry when he heard
of what Wallace had done. He sent soldiers to take him
prisoner. But kind friends warned Wallace, and he
escaped into the mountains. There he lived until the
matter was forgotten, and it was safe to return home

Wallace had many adventures with the English, and as
he always got the best of the fighting, they soon began to
fear him. But he did not spend all his time in fighting.

One Sunday, as he was going to church, he met a
beautiful lady. She too was going to church, and was
dressed in her best clothes. She looked so lovely that

112                    SCOTLAND’S STORY

Wallace could not help looking at her, and when he could
no longer see her he kept thinking about her. He soon
found out that she was the daughter of a gentleman
called Hugh Braidfute, and not long afterwards they
were married.

William Wallace and his beautiful young wife were
very happy together. They were so happy that perhaps
he began to think a little less about Scotland and the sad
state of the country. But one bright spring day Wallace
and his friends were walking through the town. It was
the Scottish custom to dress in bright green in spring
time. Wallace and his friends were all finely dressed in
green, and he wore a jewelled dagger at his belt. As
they walked some Englishmen began to jeer and laugh at

‘ What business have Scotsmen with such fine clothes?’
they said.

‘ You are so grand we thought you must be from the
court of France.’

‘ What right have you to wear such a fine dagger ?

So they went on, jeering and tormenting until a
quarrel broke out Swords were drawn, and blows fell
thick and fast. In the fight Wallace killed a man, and
when at last the Englishmen had been driven back, he and
his friends fled to his house.

Wallace knocked at the door, which was quickly
opened by his wife. As fast as possible he told her all
that had happened. Then Wallace, knowing that it
would not be safe long to stay there, for the Governor
would certainly send to look for him, said a sad farewell.
He and his friends stole out by a back way, and fled
to the woods beyond, while Lady Wallace barred the
doors and the windows, and made ready to fight the
Governor, should he come.


She had not long to wait. Soon a body of horsemen
came clattering down the street, led by the Governor, who
was called Hazelrigg. They battered and banged at the
door, and at last broke it open. Then they poured into the
house. But Wallace was not there. High and low they
hunted. He was nowhere to be found.

Then Lady Wallace was dragged before the Governor.

‘ Where is your traitor husband ? ‘ he asked.

But brave and beautiful Lady Wallace stood silent.
She would not tell.

Mad with anger, Hazelrigg drew his sword and pierced
her to the heart. She fell to the ground dead. Never
again would Wallace see her lovely, merry face. Then
Hazelrigg killed all the servants and friends of Wallace
he could find, and set fire to his house. He proclaimed
him a traitor and an outlaw. An outlaw means a man
whom the laws no longer protect. Any one might kill
him without fear of being punished. The Governor,
indeed, promised a large sum of money to any one who
would bring Wallace to him, alive or dead.

In the darkness of the night a brave woman, who had
loved Wallace and his beautiful wife, crept out from the
silent and deserted ruins of their house. Down the still
streets and lanes she crept till she reached the wood.
Through the woodland paths she hurried until she came
to the secret cave, where she knew that Wallace and his
friends would be hiding. There she threw herself on her
knees before him, sobbing out the dreadful story.

As he listened, Wallace, who feared no danger, covered
his face with his hands and wept. His great friend, Sir
John the Graham, was with him, and seeing his master in
such sorrow, both he and his men wept too.

But Wallace soon rose. Dashing the tears from his
eyes, ‘ Let us be men,’ he cried. ‘ Tears are but useless


114                    SCOTLAND’S STORY

pain. They cannot bring her back who was so blyth and
bonny. But hear me, Graham,’ he added fiercely, draw­
ing his sword, ‘this blade I will never sheathe until 1
have avenged her death. For her dear sake ten thousand
shall die.’

Back to the town marched Wallace and his men.
Straight to the Governor’s house they went Fierce
wrath gave Wallace double strength, and setting his
shoulder to the door he burst it open. Up the stairs he
sprang and entered the Governor’s bedroom. There he
lay, quietly sleeping, having finished his cruel day’s work.
As Wallace rushed in he started up, ‘ Who makes so
much noise there ? ‘ he cried.

’Tis I, Wallace, the man whom you have sought for
all day,’ and as he spoke Wallace clove the Governor‘s
head, cutting through flesh and bone to the shoulder.

Very soon the whole town was in a stir. The news of
the Governor’s death spread fast. The English fought
fiercely to avenge their master, but the people of the town
rose to a man to help Wallace. When morning dawned
hundreds of Englishmen lay dead in the streets, and
Wallace was master of the town.

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