Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas. — Joseph Stalin

Story of the English - Helene Guerber

Richard's Adventures

The year before Henry died, all Europe was saddened by the news that Jerusalem, which had been in Christian hands for eighty-eight years, had again fallen into the hands of the Saracens. Another crusade was now preached, and the King of France, the Emperor of Germany, and a host of their best warriors joined it.

Henry's sons were anxious to take the cross, too, especially Richard Coeur de Lion, or the Lion-hearted, who had won this surname by his remarkable courage. As their father refused to let them all go, they rebelled against him; and in the course of the war one of them, Geoffrey, fell very ill. Feeling that he was about to die, he regretted his unfilial conduct, and sent a pitiful message to Henry, begging him to come and forgive him.

The courtiers tried to persuade Henry that this was only a trick on Geoffrey's part. But although Henry did not go to his son, he sent him a ring in token of complete forgiveness. Geoffrey died lying on a bed of ashes to show his repentance, kissing the ring, and recommending his little son Arthur to his father's care.

When Henry died, Richard succeeded him on the throne, and, now that it was too late, he bitterly regretted having ever borne arms against his father. The remembrance of this sin made him all the more eager to keep his promise and go to Palestine; for people then supposed that one could be forgiven for any sin by visiting the grave of Christ at Jerusalem.

Before he could set out, however, Richard had to take possession of his new kingdom and arrange how it should be governed during his absence. He therefore crossed from Normandy to England, and went to London, where he was crowned with great rejoicings. All the people were invited to see the festivity except the Jews. In those days the Christians were always very cruel to the Jews, and besides forcing them to live apart, made them wear garments and hats of a dirty yellow colour, so as to recognize them from afar.

Hoping to make the new king kinder to them, some Jews came to offer him rich presents; but the people, seeing them, fell upon them, and after beating them began to kill them. This outrage became the signal for a series of massacres all through the kingdom. We are told that the York Jews, after holding out for a long time in a tower where they had intrenched themselves, killed their wives and children and set fire to the place, so as to die in the flames, rather than fall into the hands of the cruel Christians. Richard did not try very hard to stop this awful massacre, and no one was punished, except a few men who, in pursuing the unhappy Jews, injured some of their fellow-Christians.

Richard first released his mother Eleanor from prison. Then, to raise money for the crusade, he sold many offices to the highest bidders. For a certain sum of money he released the King of Scotland from his vassalage; he sold his castles and estates, compelled his subjects to lend him money, and declared that he would sell London itself, if he could only find a purchaser rich enough to buy it.

Then, having secured all the money he needed, Richard left the kingdom in the hands of two bishops, and set out for Palestine, where he was to play a brilliant part in the third crusade. He stopped twice before he got there, once at Messina, to await a favourable breeze, and once at the island of Cyprus.

Here the king of the island was very rude to Richard's betrothed, the fair Berengaria, and unkind to ship-wrecked sailors. This made Richard so angry that he took possession of all Cyprus and made the king a captive. We are told, however, that he was very polite to his royal prisoner, and that, when the latter objected to wearing iron chains like a common criminal, he had him bound with fetters of silver, a favour which was greatly appreciated by the fallen king.


Front Matter

Early Times
The Druids
The Britons
Caesar in Britain
Queen Boadicea
The Great Walls
The Great Irish Saint
The Anglo-Saxons
Brave King Arthur
The Laws of the Saxons
The Story of St Augustine
Three Great Men
The Danish Pirates
King Alfred and the Cakes
Alfred conquers the Danes
A King's Narrow Escape
The King and the Outlaw
The Monasteries
An Unlucky Couple
St Dunstan
King Canute and the Waves
A Saxon Nobleman
Lady Godiva's Ride
The Battle of Hastings
The Conquest
Lords and Vassals
Death of William
The Brothers' Quarrels
Arms and Armour
The "White Ship"
Matilda's Narrow Escapes
Story of Fair Rosamond
Thomas a Becket
Murder of Thomas a Becket
Richard's Adventures
Richard and the Saracens
The Faithful Minstrel
Death of Richard
The Murder of Arthur
The Great Charter
The Rule of Henry III
A Race
Persecution of the Jews
The Conquest of Wales
A Quarrel with France
The Coronation Stone
The Insolent Favourite
Bruce and the Spider
Death of Edward II
The Murderers punished
The Battle of Crecy
The Siege of Calais
The Age of Chivalry
The Battle of Poitiers
The Peasants' Revolt
Richard's Presence of Mind
A Tiny Queen
Henry's Troubles
Madcap Harry
A Glorious Reign
The Maid of Orleans
The War of the Roses
The Queen and the Brigand
The Triumph of the Yorks
The Princes in the Tower
Richard's Punishment
Two Pretenders
A Grasping King
Field of the Cloth of Gold
The New Opinions
Death of Wolsey
Henry's Wives
The King and the Painter
A Boy King
Lady Jane Grey
The Death of Cranmer
A Clever Queen
Elizabeth's Lovers
Mary, Queen of Scots
Captivity of Mary Stuart
Wreck of the Spanish Armada
The Elizabethan Age
Death of Elizabeth
A Scotch King
The Gunpowder Plot
Sir Walter Raleigh
King and Parliament
Cavaliers and Roundheads
The Royal Oak
The Commonwealth
The Restoration
Plague and Fire
The Merry Monarch
James driven out of England
A Terrible Massacre
William's Wars
The Duke of Marlborough
The Taking of Gibraltar
The South Sea Bubble
Bonny Prince Charlie
Black Hole of Calcutta
Loss of the Colonies
The Battle of the Nile
Nelson's Last Signal
The Battle of Waterloo
First Gentleman of Europe
Childhood of Queen Victoria
The Queen's Marriage
Wars in Victoria's Reign
The Jubilee