Day 87

King John and Prince Arthur…

And then he told the prince how he should arm his men and lead them out to fight against the soldiers of King John.

“When the country people see that you are in earnest they will all hasten to help you,” said he. “Soon you will have a large army, and all your uncle’s castles in France will fall before you. In the meanwhile I will cross the English Channel with my French army, and will attack King John in his own country. He cannot withstand both of us. He will give up everything that he has taken from you. And then you shall be king of England.”

Prince Arthur was delighted with the plan, and he promised Philip that he would do what he could. But it is doubtful if he would have done anything had it not been for wicked men who wished to use him for their own selfish purposes.

It was a proud day for Arthur when he rode out at the head of his little army and marched away to fight for the crown of which he had been so wrongfully deprived. It was a foolish undertaking, and hopeless from the start; and the men who were with the little prince ought to have told him so. But, no doubt, they had their own selfish ends to gain, and were willing that he should be deceived.

He had never been happier than when he rode through the meadows that morning, the sunlight flashing from his bright armor, the tall grass rustling in the breeze, the birds singing by the roadside. Alas, he was never to be so happy again.

The people did not join him on the road as he expected, and King Philip seemed to be in no hurry to send him help. But the little prince was brave and hopeful, and he led his army straight across the country to a small town where King John’s mother was staying.

“If you can capture the king’s mother,” said some of his advisers, “the king will give up everything for her sake.” But he ought to have known that John had no such love as that for anybody.

The town was easily captured by the prince’s followers; but all the great people shut themselves up in the castle that stood close by, and dared their enemies to come near them.