ROBERT THE BRUCE—HOW THE KING WAS CROWNED
The murder of Red Comyn was wrong and cruel, and
Robert the Bruce suffered for his passionate deed. It
made his struggle for the freedom of Scotland more diffi
cult, for now, besides fighting King Edward, he had to
fight the friends of Red Comyn too, who were many.
But the deed was done. There was now no turning back.
So Robert the Bruce gathered his few friends and followers
around him, and boldly marched to Scone to be crowned.
The precious Stone of Destiny, upon which the Kings
of Scotland were used to sit, was no longer there. There
were no royal robes, no crown, no sceptre. But an old
bishop, who in his heart had ever been true to Scotland,
although he had seemed to yield to Edward, brought out
the ancient royal standard, which for ten years he had
carefully kept hidden He gave his bishop‘s throne to be
used instead of the Stone of Destiny, and his beautiful
bishop‘s dress for a coronation robe. A plain gold band
was quickly made to take the place of the crown, glitter
ing with gems. All was ready ; but the man who should
have placed the crown upon the head of the King was
Long ago, you remember, Malcolm Canmore had
given to the Thane of Fife, and his sons and heirs after
him, the right of placing the crown upon the head of the
King. There was now indeed an Earl of Fife, but he was
HOW THE KING WAS CROWNED 187
in the power of the King of England. This was a very
real misfortune, for the people would not think that their
King was truly their King, if he were not crowned with all
the ancient rites and ceremonies.
The Earl of Fife, however, had a sister called the
Countess of Buchan. Her husband, the Earl of Buchan,
was a follower of King Edward ; he was also the near
relative of the Red Comyn. But in spite of all that, the
Countess loved her country, and when she heard of the
difficulty in which Bruce and his friends were, she made
up her mind to take her brother‘s place, and to set the
crown upon the King’s head.
Calling her knights and gentlemen around her, she
mounted upon her horse, and rode southward as quickly
as she could. And one day in March, the people of Scone
heard the thunder of horses’ hoofs, and the clatter and
jangle of swords and armour, as the Countess rode up to
the Abbey door.
So the King was crowned, and as he knelt at the altar
under the ancient royal banner, it was no gallant knight
in shining armour who placed the crown upon his head,
and led him to the throne ; it was a brave and beautiful
lady, whose bright eyes shone with love for her country.
But not yet could Robert the Bruce be truly called
King of Scots. ‘ Alas! ’ said his wife sadly, ‘ we are but
Queen and King of May, such as boys and girls crown
with flowers in their summer games.’ It was true, for the
King‘s friends and followers were but a very small band.
He had to win Scotland to himself, before he could win it
from the English.
‘ To maintain what he had begun
He wist, ere all the land was won,
He should find full hard bargaining
With him that was of England King.’
138 SCOTLAND’S STORY
But Bruce was wise as well as brave, and he used every
means in his power to force and persuade the people to
join him, and his little band soon grew.
Meanwhile, King Edward, who was now an old man,
was filled with furious wrath against Bruce. He gathered
an army, made many new knights, and at a great feast he
swore, that living or dead, he would go to Scotland, there
to avenge himself upon Bruce and his friends. He also
swore, that when they were conquered, he would never
again draw sword to fight Christian men, but would make
a journey to the Holy Land, and there die fighting for
Then the Prince of Wales, who was also called
Edward, set out for Scotland, the King himself following
Through the land the English marched, fighting, burn
ing, and destroying. They had reached the town of Perth,
and were safely within the walls, when King Robert
marched upon them with his army.
The King rode to the walls. ‘ Come out and fight,’
he called to the English leader, ‘ come out and fight like
men, and do not hide behind stone walls.’
‘ The day is too far spent,’ replied he. ‘ Abide till
tomorrow. Then will we fight’
To this King Robert agreed He believed that the
English leader meant what he said, and that he would not
fight until the next day. So he marched his men a little
way off to the shelter of a wood. There they laid down
their weapons, took off their armour, and began to cook
their supper, and to rest, so that next day they might be
strong to fight, for they had walked far that day.
But suddenly there was a loud cry. The English had
stolen out of the town and were upon the weary soldiers.
Snatching up their arms and buckling on their armour as
HOW THE KING WAS CROWNED 139
quickly as might be, the Scots prepared to defend them
The fight was fierce, and never did king fight as Robert
the Bruce fought Three times his horse was killed under
him. Once he was taken prisoner. ‘ I have taken the
King of Scots,’ cried an English knight. But hardly had
he uttered the words than a Scottish knight struck him to
the ground, and Bruce was once more free. Again he
was taken. But this time it was by a Scottish knight,
who, although he was fighting for Edward, set his prisoner
free as soon as he saw that he was the King.
But no bravery could save the day. Slowly the Scots
were beaten back, fighting to the last with their faces to
the foe. This was called the Battle of Methven. In it
many of King Robert’s best friends were taken prisoner,
and afterwards cruelly put to death by the English. And
the King, so lately crowned, became a hunted man, obliged
to hide and to wander among the hills and valleys of his
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