Hereward The Wake





When William of Normandy came over the sea, and took the crown of

England, many English people would not call him king. The young lord

Hereward was one of these. He and his men made for themselves a "Camp of

Refuge" among the reeds and rushes on the marshes. All day they lay

there, hidden from view by the mists which rose from the watery ground,

and at night they came out, and attacked the Normans in their tents, and

burned their towns.



Hereward was called "the Wake" because he was so watchful and wide-awake

that the Normans could not catch him. They were always trying to find

him, but they did not know the safe paths over the marshes which he and

his men used, and when they tried to cross, they sank with their horses

in the soft muddy ground, and had to turn back.



But at last a false friend of the English showed them the way to the

"Camp of Refuge", and then Hereward had to flee to save his life. He

went with a few friends to the sea-shore, and there he found some

fishermen who were going to sell fish to the Norman guards in an English

town.



The fishermen took Hereward and his men into their boats, and covered

them with straw; then they set sail. The Norman guards bought the fish

as usual, and had it served for dinner. While they were eating it, the

English soldiers came quietly from the boats, and killed most of them

before they could get their swords to defend themselves. When the

English people in the place saw this, they gladly joined Hereward and

made him master of their town.





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