King Alfred And The Cakes
: True Stories Of Wonderful Deeds
Once, when good King Alfred of England was forced to flee from his
strong foes the Danes, he hid himself in a wood. In this wood, there was
a small cottage, and Alfred asked the woman who lived there if he might
go in and rest.
Now the woman did not know the king, but she saw that he was an English
soldier, and that he was very tired, so she let him come in and sit in
Upon the hearth before the fire, some cakes were baking, and the woman
told the stranger that if he watched them, and took care that they did
not burn, she would give him some supper. Then she went away to do her
At first, King Alfred watched the cakes carefully; when they were well
cooked on one side he turned the other to the fire. But, after a time,
he began to think of his country, and of his poor people, and then he
forgot his task.
When the woman came back, the cakes were black and burnt. "You are an
idle fellow," cried she angrily. "You would be quite ready to eat the
cakes, but you will not take the trouble to watch them."
While she was loudly scolding, her husband came home. He knew King
Alfred. "Hush, wife!" cried he. "It is our noble lord the king!"
When the woman heard this, she was much afraid, and she begged Alfred to
The king smiled, and said: "I will gladly forgive you for your scolding,
good wife, if you will forgive me for spoiling your supper."