JAMES III.—THE STORY OF THE BOYDS
The lords and barons were full of grief at the death of
their King. The soldiers lost heart, and they would have
given up the siege. But the Queen, hearing of this, left
off her weeping and her sorrow. Drying her eyes, she
took her little son James by the hand, and with him went
to the lords, as they sat in council.
Sad, pale, and beautiful, she stood before them, with
the little Prince beside her. ‘ You must not give up the
siege,’ she said, ‘ for very shame you must not. Let not
the death of one man take away all your courage from
you. Forward, therefore, my lords. Shed the blood of
your enemies for your King, rather than your own tears.
Let it not be said that you needed to be encouraged by
a woman, and that a widowed one. Rather, my lords,
should you comfort her.’
Cheered by these brave words, the nobles resolved to
go on with the siege, and so fiercely did they assault the
castle that the English, seeing no hope of help, yielded
it Then the Scots destroyed the castle, so that it should
not again be a stronghold for the enemy.
The new King, who was called James iii., was only
eight years old, so the kingdom was ruled by Bishop
Kennedy. In England, great churchmen were often also
great statesmen, but in Scotland Bishop Kennedy was the
first great churchman to be a statesman. He ruled well
252 SCOTLAND’S STORY
and wisely, but after six years he died. He was greatly
mourned, for, as an old history writer says, ‘ He knew the
nature of the Scottish men so that he was the most able
of any lord in Scotland to give any wise counsel, or an
answer when the time occurred.’ Another says that his
death was lamented by all men, as if in him they had lost
a public father.
After the good bishop died, the great nobles, greedy
of power, began each to flatter James and to try to get
possession of him. Two of the boldest, Lord Boyd and
his brother Alexander, succeeded in carrying him off from
those who had charge of him.
One day, as the young King, who was now fourteen,
sat in his court at Linlithgow, Lord Boyd and his friends
rushed in. They seized the King, placed him upon a
horse, and set out for Edinburgh. Gilbert Kennedy, the
brother of the good Bishop, tried to stop them. He took
the King‘s horse by the bridle and turned it again towards
Linlithgow. But Alexander Boyd struck the old man
with his hunting staff so that he dropped the bridle.
Then the King and his captors rode on to Edinburgh, and
Kennedy turned sadly back to Linlithgow.
Lord Boyd had succeeded in gaining possession of the
King, but he was afraid that he might be punished for it.
So when Parliament was sitting in Edinburgh he suddenly
entered. Throwing himself at the King‘s feet he clasped
his knees. ‘ I pray you, my lord King,’ he cried, ‘ declare
before the lords and commons here assembled that you
are not angry with me for having of late removed your
Majesty from Linlithgow to Edinburgh. Declare to
them that I have used no force nor in any way hurt your
James, having been told before what to say, replied,
‘ My lords, far from being carried forth from Linlithgow
THE STORY OF THE BOYDS 258
by force, I do assure you that I accompanied my Lord
Boyd and his knights of mine own free will and pleasure.’
Whereupon Parliament agreed that Lord Boyd had
done right, and that in future he should take care of the
After this the Boyds grew quickly greater and greater.
Land, money, and power were given to them, till soon they
were the most important people in the whole country.
But just as quickly as the Boyds had risen into power
they fell again. It was proposed that James should marry
Margaret, the daughter of the King of Denmark, and one
of Lord Boyd‘s sons went to that country to arrange
about the marriage. While he was away the nobles
talked to James. They told him many evil stories of
the Boyds, and showed him that he was being treated
more as a prisoner than as a King. They succeeded in
making him very angry with the Boyds, and he turned
entirely from his old friends, and gave orders that they
should be seized and put in prison. Lord Boyd and his
sons, however, were warned in time, and they fled away,
and died in a foreign land. But Alexander was taken
prisoner, and his head was cut off.
After this the King himself ruled. He married the
Princess Margaret of Denmark, and as her wedding pre
sent her father gave the islands of Orkney and Shetland
to the King of Scotland. These islands had been in the
possession of the Norse King ever since the days when the
fierce Vikings used to come to fight and plunder along
the shores of Scotland. Now they were returned to
the Scottish King, and ever since they have belonged to
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