The Defence Of Lathom House





Lathom House is an old English castle. When the war broke out between

King Charles I and his people, the Earl of Derby, who was the master of

this castle, went away to fight for the king. He left the Countess at

home with her children, with a small band of armed men to guard her and

the castle. One day an army of the people's soldiers came to the castle,

and the leader of the army sent word to the Countess that she must give

up the castle at once.



But the Countess was a brave woman. She replied that she would rather

set fire to the castle, and die with her children in the flames, than

give it up to the king's enemies.



Then began a fight which lasted many weeks. The large army outside the

walls did their best to break a way in, but the small company inside

defended the castle bravely. At last the leader of the besiegers brought

a strong new gun, and it was soon seen that this would break down the

walls. Then one night the Countess sent out a party of brave men, who

seized the new gun and brought it into the castle, and so the worst

danger was over. Soon afterwards Prince Rupert, one of the king's

generals, came with an army to help the Countess, and Lathom House was

saved.



The prince drove away the soldiers of the people, and took from them

twenty-two banners, which he sent as a present to the Countess, to show

how much he admired her bravery.












THE OUTLAWED ARCHERS.





Many years ago there dwelt in the forest of Inglewood, in the North

country, three yeomen, who had been outlawed for killing the king's

deer. They were all famous archers, and defying every attempt to arrest

them, they lived a free life in the green wood. But finally growing

tired of this dangerous life, they went to the king to sue for pardon.

It happened that the king's archers were exhibiting their skill by

shooting at marks, which none of them missed. But one of the outlawed

archers, named Cloudesly, made light of their skill, and told the king

that he could do better than any of his archers had done. "To prove the

truth of my claim," he said, "I will take my son, who is only seven

years old and is dear to me, and I will tie him to a stake, and lay an

apple on his head, and go six score paces from him, and with a broad

arrow I will cleave the apple in two."



"Now listen," said the king, "and do as you say; but if you touch his

head, or his dress, you shall be hanged all three."



"I will not go back on my word," said Cloudesly; and driving a stake

into the ground, he bound thereto his little son, and placed an apple on

his head. All being ready he bent his bow, the arrow flew from the

string, the apple was cleft in twain, and the child was unhurt. The king

thereupon pardoned the three outlaws and received them into his

service.





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