Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 Chapter I: Stranded
 Chapter II: "Freely ye have received...
 Chapter III: "Under the greenwood...
 Chapter IV: The surprise
 Chapter V: St. Wilfrid
 Chapter VI: Extremes meet
 Chapter VII: "Ho! Watchman; what...
 Chapter VIII: Nothing venture,...
 Chapter IX: "I can call spirits...
 Chapter X: "For my sake, be...
 Chapter XI: "Memories of long...
 Chapter XII: "The king shall have...
 Chapter XIII: "Which is the better...
 Chapter XIV: "Twixt cup and lip,...
 Chapter XV: "The cruel crawling...
 Chapter XVI: "Blessed are...
 Chapter XVII: "In the lost battle,...
 Chapter XVIII: "Let's whip the...
 Chapter XIX: "Be ready, Claudio,...
 Chapter XX: "'Tis true we are in...
 Chapter XXI: "Let us die in honour;...
 Chapter XXII: "Now, by my faith,...
 Chapter XXIII: "The conclusion...
 Back Cover

Group Title: Cµdwalla, or, The Saxons in the Isle of Wight : a tale
Title: Cædwalla, or, The Saxons in the Isle of Wight
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00056243/00001
 Material Information
Title: Cædwalla, or, The Saxons in the Isle of Wight a tale
Alternate Title: Saxons in the Isle of Wight
Physical Description: vii, 3, 370, 1 p., 12 leaves of plates : col. ill. ; 20 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Cowper, Frank
Cowper, Frank ( Illustrator )
Seeley and Co ( Publisher )
William Rider and Son ( Printer )
Publisher: Seeley & Co.
Place of Publication: London
Manufacturer: William Rider and Son
Publication Date: 1888
Edition: 2nd ed.
Subject: Honor -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Adventure and adventurers -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Voyages and travels -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Saxons -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Kings and rulers -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conversion -- Christianity -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Juvenile fiction -- Isle of Wight (England)   ( lcsh )
Prize books (Provenance) -- 1888   ( rbprov )
Bldn -- 1888
Genre: Prize books (Provenance)   ( rbprov )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
Statement of Responsibility: by Frank Cowper ; with illustrations by the author.
General Note: Illustraions printed in red and sepia.
Funding: Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00056243
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002224829
notis - ALG5097
oclc - 70294473

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Cover 1
        Cover 2
        Page i
    Title Page
        Page ii
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
    Table of Contents
        Page viii
        Page ix
    List of Illustrations
        Page x
    Chapter I: Stranded
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
    Chapter II: "Freely ye have received - freely give"
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
    Chapter III: "Under the greenwood tree"
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
    Chapter IV: The surprise
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
    Chapter V: St. Wilfrid
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
    Chapter VI: Extremes meet
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
    Chapter VII: "Ho! Watchman; what of the night!"
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
    Chapter VIII: Nothing venture, nothing have
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
    Chapter IX: "I can call spirits from the vasty deep"
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
    Chapter X: "For my sake, be comfortable"
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
    Chapter XI: "Memories of long ago"
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
    Chapter XII: "The king shall have his own again"
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
    Chapter XIII: "Which is the better life?"
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
        Page 204
    Chapter XIV: "Twixt cup and lip, there's many a slip"
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
        Page 209
        Page 210
        Page 211
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
        Page 218
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
    Chapter XV: "The cruel crawling foam, the cruel hungry foam"
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
        Page 231
        Page 232
        Page 233
        Page 234
        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
    Chapter XVI: "Blessed are the peacemakers"
        Page 238
        Page 239
        Page 240
        Page 241
        Page 242
        Page 243
        Page 244
        Page 245
        Page 246
        Page 247
        Page 248
        Page 249
        Page 250
        Page 251
        Page 252
        Page 253
        Page 254
    Chapter XVII: "In the lost battle, borne down by the flying"
        Page 255
        Page 256
        Page 257
        Page 258
        Page 259
        Page 260
        Page 261
        Page 262
        Page 263
        Page 264
        Page 265
        Page 266
        Page 267
        Page 268
        Page 269
        Page 270
        Page 271
    Chapter XVIII: "Let's whip the stragglers o'er the seas again"
        Page 272
        Page 273
        Page 274
        Page 275
        Page 276
        Page 277
        Page 278
        Page 279
        Page 280
        Page 281
        Page 282
        Page 283
        Page 284
        Page 285
        Page 286
        Page 287
        Page 288
    Chapter XIX: "Be ready, Claudio, for your death, to-morrow"
        Page 289
        Page 290
        Page 291
        Page 292
        Page 293
        Page 294
        Page 295
        Page 296
        Page 297
        Page 298
        Page 299
        Page 300
        Page 301
        Page 302
        Page 303
        Page 304
    Chapter XX: "'Tis true we are in great danger; the greater should our courage be"
        Page 305
        Page 306
        Page 307
        Page 308
        Page 309
        Page 310
        Page 311
        Page 312
        Page 313
        Page 314
        Page 315
        Page 316
        Page 317
        Page 318
        Page 319
        Page 320
    Chapter XXI: "Let us die in honour; once more back again"
        Page 321
        Page 322
        Page 323
        Page 324
        Page 325
        Page 326
        Page 327
        Page 328
        Page 329
        Page 330
        Page 331
        Page 332
        Page 333
        Page 334
        Page 335
        Page 336
        Page 337
        Page 338
    Chapter XXII: "Now, by my faith, Lords, 'twas a glorious day"
        Page 339
        Page 340
        Page 341
        Page 342
        Page 343
        Page 344
        Page 345
        Page 346
        Page 347
        Page 348
        Page 349
        Page 350
        Page 351
        Page 352
        Page 353
        Page 354
        Page 355
    Chapter XXIII: "The conclusion of the whole matter"
        Page 356
        Page 357
        Page 358
        Page 359
        Page 360
        Page 361
        Page 362
        Page 363
        Page 364
        Page 365
        Page 366
        Page 367
        Page 368
        Page 369
        Page 370
        Page 371
    Back Cover
        Cover 1
        Cover 2
Full Text


------- ------^'



S. I

&,,I',,4 O.4lIoSchool,

S. ,, .. ... ........

ckCerof the Board.
Head Teacher.

The Baldwin Libray
B -rt^1"
Rmn @ ^

ham \
"^/^ ^ ^/^--^,

Ct in alla





Wilt Illustrations by the Author


All RiThui Reserved.



Hon. Colonel 5th (Isle of Wight "Princess Beatrice's ")

Volunteer Battalion. The Hants Regiment.








IN writing a story of the Isle of Wight in the seventh
century, which shall at the same time be suitable
for young people as well as historically truthful, there
are many difficulties. The authorities for this period
are Bede and the Saxon Chronicle. The former
obtained his information of the South Saxons and
the Wihtwaras from Daniel, Bishop of Winchester,
who was evidently well-informed of the state of the
southern people during the later half of the seventh
century. Eddius, Asser, Ethelweard, Florence of
Worcester, and Henry of Huntingdon all supply in-
formation, more or less accurate, as they are nearer to
or more remote from the time of which they treat;
and the valuable remarks of the modern specialists
Dr. Guest, Kemble, and Lappenberg, are useful in
leading the student to a right judgment of the
facts. The historians, Dr. Milman, Dr. Lingard, and
Mr. Freeman are also important helps, especially
the first-named writer. Neander's "Memorials of
Christian Life" and Montalembert's Monks of
the West," have been consulted, with a view to
becoming acquainted with the theology and religious
fervour of the times; and Mallet's Northern Anti-
quities has been largely laid under contribution
for a clue to the mythology of the period, although
properly belonging to a later time, and to the
Scandinavian form of Teutonic religion. The author
has also had the learned assistance of the Rev. J.


Boucher James, M.A., Vicar of Carisbrooke, arid late
Fellow and Tutor of Queen's College, Oxford, whose
antiquarian knowledge of the Isle of Wight is
accurate and profound.
The scenes are all well known to the writer, who
has many times threaded the channels at the entrance
to Chichester Harbour, and climbed the steep slopes
of Bembridge and Brading Downs.
As the story has been written for young people,
sentiment has been entirely omitted, the ideas of the
author differing from those of other writers who make
their youthful heroes and heroines suffer the senti-
mental pangs of a Juliet and a Romeo.
The mode of spelling the Saxon names has been
carefully thought over, and the most commonly
received method has been generally adopted.
The name of the outlaw, West Saxon King, and
enthusiastic convert to Christianity, Caedwalla, him-
self, has offered considerable difficulties, since there
are many ways of writing his name, and probably
not a few of pronouncing it. Caeadwalla, Ceadwalla,
Cadwalla, are the most common forms; while
perhaps the most correct pronunciation would be
represented by Kadwalla.*
His brother, Mollo, Wulf, or Mul, as he is in-
differently called, is also a very ambiguous personage
as regards nomenclature, and it has even been sug-

The name of Caedwalla bears a singular resemblance to that of
Cadwalla, the British prince who made war upon -Edwin, king of
Northumbria. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, Cadwalla was
succeeded by Cadwallader, who died at Rome A D. 689, the very
place and date of Ctedwalla's death, according to Bede. Could
Coedwalla have really been of British descent ?


gested that his name was Mauler," as though he
were an awkward man to deal with in a personal
A few simple foot-notes have been appended; not
that they were necessary to students of history, into
whose hands the author hardly ventures to hope the
little book will fall, but because it seemed some ex-
planation was required for younger readers.
That the state of the south of England during the
latter half of the seventh century was a very dismal
one, is sufficiently clear from all contemporary
evidence, and the author has not attempted to give
a more couleur de rose view of it than his materials
It is, however, quite evident from Bede and other
authorities that the English or Saxons had already
developed great intellectual powers, and where law
and order were more firmly established than in the
south of England, general culture and the arts of
peace were making steady progress.
Such learning as that of Bede, such architecture as
that introduced by St. Wilfrid at Ripon and Hexham,
such artistic work as that of the Royal MS. preserved
in the British Museum, which may have been the very
one presented by Wilfrid to his church of York, show
that the Saxons, who are so often described as mere
jovial, hard fighting, hard drinking, blusteringdullards,
had in many instances reached a comparatively high
standard of civilization.

Lisle Court, Wootton, I.W,
July, 1887.






v. ST. WILFRID .65























DAY" .339
















" OW much longer, thinkest thou, must we be
H here, Biggun ? "
To this question no answer was returned, and
after a moment the same voice spoke again rather
more feebly.
"Biggun, why answerest thou not ? What ails
thee? Oh, how she does bump! And the child's
voice became tremulous with pain.
"It won't be a long time now, TEdric, before she
floats, I'm thinking; the tide is making up fast-
only if she don't go to pieces first I'm a weala," 1
added the speaker, under his breath.
"Art thou much in pain, Eddie?" said another
younger and brighter voice.
1 The general name for foreigners, but applied especially to
the conquered, and therefore despised, British. The words
Wales and Welsh are the modern equivalents.


"Oh Wulf, it does hurt here so much. It wouldn't
hurt like this, I think, if the weary old boat wouldn't
bump so dreadfully-oh !-" exclaimed the boy, as a
rolling wave came in and raised up the large,
awkwardly-built boat; and then, as the white crest of
the wave passed on to break in a long frothy cataract
over the shallow sand-bank beyond, the boat fell back
with a bump that made every timber in her strain and
creak and work as though she would go to pieces.
The old man addressed as Biggun," whose real
name was Ceolwulf, but who was always called Big-
gun by reason of his height and breadth of chest, had
gone to the bows of the boat as he saw the wave
coming, and, calling to the boy who was addressed as
Wulf to take his pole and push hard, had leant with
all his might on his own long pole; and, as the wave
lifted the awkward craft, their united efforts made
her give a little.
"There she goes, there she goes; her head is com-
ing round. Ah, now she's aground again! Well,
never mind, the next roller is coming, and she'll come
off then. There, have a care not to overstrain thy-
self, Wulfstan," said the old man cheerily. Wait
for the next swell; we want all our strength, and it is
not much either that we've got."
The position of the boat was not a very safe one,
considering the condition she was in. She was lying
aground on a sand-bank at the entrance of a harbour
which was then, as it is now, very difficult for a
stranger to find his way into.
The boat had got aground fortunately at the time
when the tide was just beginning to rise, and there


was, therefore, every hope that she would float off
again as the tide rose; but there was also the great
danger of her breaking up first, considering how old
she was and how badly built, and the difficulty of
getting her off was considerably increased by the
long rollers that came in, with their green and glassy
swirl, and lifted her farther and farther on. Had
there been more strength in the crew it would have
been an easy matter to get her off, or had the boat
drawn less water; but she was such a heavy, clumsy,
thing, drawing quite four feet of water, that it would
have done no good to get overboard and push, for
her weight would have only been imperceptibly
lightened, while the depth of the water would have
prevented any great strength being applied by pushing
her. There was nothing to be done, therefore, but
stand in the bows and push with all their might against
the sand with two long poles they had with them.
It was early in the morning of an October day,
and owing to the dim light of the hour before sun-
rise they had got aground; for although Ceolwulf,
or Biggun, had never been in here before, yet he was
accustomed to find his way into creeks and out-of-
the-way harbours, and would have avoided this bank
could he have seen the long rollers breaking ahead ;
but in the white mist of the early morning he could
not make them out. It was true that their dull sound
in the still morning air should have told him there
were dangers near; yet the waves were breaking all
around on many similar sand-banks, and it was diffi-
cult to tell how near they were. As the glow of the
coming sun spread over the sky they could make out


their position better. About two hundred yards on
their right was a high bank of shingle, with nothing
whatever to be seen above it; this bank stretched
away to the west until it was lost in the mist, but
immediately ahead of the boat it ended in a point of
shingle, steeply sloping down to the sea; beyond this
point nothing could yet be seen but the oily sea blend-
ing with the grey mist; directly under the bows of
the boat the sea was breaking in long glassy rollers,
while beyond them a low and shingly beach stretched
away into the mist again ; overhead the grey fog was
rolling off in ever-changing wreaths, and towards the
east a warm rosy light told of the rising sun; behind
them the impalpable mist and sea faded into one, only
now and then a dark ridge would rise up and come
majestically rolling onwards, the boat would give a
gentle heave, then come down with a heavy bump, and
the wave would pass on to curl over in a sounding
deluge of foam, and spread out in white froth over the
bank to join the eddying current on the other side.
The occupants of the boat were two boys, about
ten and twelve years of age, and the old man. The
eldest boy, who was addressed as Eddie, and whose
name was AEdric, was lying down in the most com-
fortable position he could obtain in the bottom of the
boat. He was covered up with a few skins, and
from time to time moved in a feverish, restless way.
His head was all that could be seen, and showed a
pale, handsome countenance, with blue eyes and
yellow hair; but the evident expression of pain made
the face look older than it was. The unkempt hair
lay in curling masses on a pillow of rough cow-hide,


and it would have been difficult to tell if the figure
were that of a boy or girl.
Beside him lay a bow and some arrows, a couple
of spears, and a formidable-looking axe. There
were no other articles in the boat, and the only
means of propelling her were three long and very
rude oars, a mast, and one old and patched sail bent
to a yard, and hoisted like a lug-sail, only quite
incapable of being set properly, both by reason
of its shape and the weakness of its material. The
halyards which hauled the sail up were old and worn,
and they would have given way at the least strain
put upon them.
There had been a light draught of air from the south
during the night, but it had blown rather heavily from
the south-west for two or three days previously.
The old man called Biggun was a hard, weather-
beaten, grim-looking fellow, his reddish-grey beard
and stubbly moustache surrounded a sunburnt face
seamed with wrinkles, and two sharp grey eyes looked
out from under heavy, bushy eyebrows. He wore no
covering on his head, and his dress chiefly consisted
of a leather coat or jacket, covering a rough woollen
kind of jersey, which formed a kilt below his waist.
On his legs he wore pieces of leather with the hair
on, strapped round with thongs of hide, and rough
leather sandals protected his feet. He was armed
with a sharp knife at his waist-belt.
The other boy was a bright-looking little fellow, of
about ten years of age, fine and well-made; his hair,
like that of his brother, hung in thick masses round
his neck, and would have been all the better for a


little brushing and combing. He was fair, like his
brother, and gave promise of developing great strength
in later life. He was dressed in a tight-fitting tunic
of coarse woollen stuff, and wore short drawers of the
same material, and bare legs. He also carried a
small dagger suspended from a leather belt, and
leather sandals, strapped on to his feet and round his
ankles, completed his equipment.
"Now, Wulf, hold on to thy pole," called out
Biggun, as a dark ridge rose up silently astern and
came rolling on. The stern of the boat lifted, and as
the wave passed under her, the old man and the boy
leant with all their might on their poles, and ,Edric
called out : That's it, I feel her moving-there she
goes; that's right, keep her going. Ah now we are
off," as Biggun and Wulfstan kept pushing with their
poles as the boat moved astern.
"Well, Wulfstan, thou didst that well, I will say;
and thou wilt grow up yet to pay off the debts of
last night upon that nothing Arwald. Ah, the
robber! I wish I had got my axe into him, that
I do. That's right, keep her head round; the tide
will swing us in now, and we can see all the banks."
The boat was now fairly afloat, and was, as
Biggun said, being rapidly carried into the narrow
channel of deep water that led between the steep
shingle point and the outlying spit of sand on
which they had bumped.
The sun had risen over the mist, and the grey
bank ahead gradually resolved itself into a low
island, covered with bushes and a few wind-blown
trees, which all looked as if a violent gale was


then blowing, although everything was perfectly
still. Their branches stretched away to the north-
east, and all the side towards the south-west was
bare and branchless. On each side of the island
the sea flowed up in winding channels, with wide
reaching mudbanks between the water and the
shore; beyond the lowland and water, rose thickly-
wooded hills, standing back some distance from
the immediate foreground.
Slowly the boat passed the shingle point, and
was paddled with difficulty towards the channel
on the right. They had now got into perfectly
still water, and Wulfstan was amused to see how
curious the waves looked as they stood up astern
like a low dark wall, and then suddenly broke up
into foam, followed by a dull, heavy sound like
distant thunder.
"Thou art in less pain now, Eddie?" said Wulfstan.
"Yes, Wulf; but the leg hurts a good deal-it
aches so. I wonder what became of father? Think
of our home all burnt down! and father killed.
Dost thou think he was killed, Biggun ?"
"I am greatly afraid of it. He wasn't the man
to let his goods go without a fight, and we know
how the fight went."
It was an age when men did not sorrow long;
they were so accustomed to slaughter, and robbery,
and misery, that the loss even of the nearest and
dearest relations stirred more the feelings of
revenge than the softer emotions.
The South of England in the latter part of
the 7th century was not a place where senti-


ment could flourish; men had no time then for
the luxury of sorrow. Hard knocks and little pity
was the order of the day. Ninety, or rather
eighty-four years ago, Augustine the Monk had set
foot in the Island. But that part of it where
the events just related were taking place had
not yet heard the Gospel tidings, or, if a faint
rumour had reached the leading Eorldomen, the
common people knew little of it. Quite recently,
a few strange men, speaking an unknown tongue,
had come to the inlet, the entrance of which has
just been described; they had come by land, and
had forced their way through the vast impenetrable
forest that separated the South Seaxa, or Sussex,
from the rest of England. There were but four of
these men, and their habits were very simple and
harmless, and the rude men of the country saw
nothing to gain by doing them harm. They let
them live therefore ; and they had settled at a
convenient spot at the head of a creek that had
its outlet to the sea, upon the sandy bar of which
the boat had struck. This place was called Boseam,
or Boseham, and is known to-day by the very little
altered name of Bosham.
There had also lately arrived a wonderful man, a
Skald or Priest, as Biggun had heard, who had all
sorts of charms and spells, and who had come from
foreign parts. He, like the strange men of Bosheam,
never fought; he wore splendid clothes, and talked
in a wonderful way. Edilwalch, the king of the
South Saxons, stood greatly in awe of him, and so
did all the country round.


"But what tongue does he talk?" said -Edric,
who was greatly interested in what Biggun was
telling them about this wonderful man.
He talks English, only in a different way to
what we do; rather more like those men who were
wrecked on our coast last year."
What, those men who came from Bernicia, as they
called it, and wanted to go across the sea? But,
Biggun, what's that thing standing up in the water
there ? added the boy with eagerness.
Biggun looked, and saw a thing that seemed like
a man's head and shoulders standing out above the
water. But the face was very flat and badly formed,
with large bristles over the mouth, and bright eyes
the skin nearly black and covered with long hair.
For the first moment or so he was puzzled, not being
a man of quick apprehension, but directly afterwards
he called out: "Why, it's a seal! You have seen
many of them off our point at the Foreland, Wulf."
The creature did not seem at all afraid of them, but
was presently joined by another, who rose awkwardly
up on the shallow sandbank and flapped its fins at them.
They were approaching the Isle of Seals, or Sealsea.
Wulfstan picked up the.bow from beside his brother,
and was going to let an arrow fly at the creatures,
when Biggun stopped him, saying: "We may want
all our arrows, and we can't pick up the beast if thou
dost hit it. Hark there's somebody hallooing," and
Biggun rested on his oar to listen.
A loud voice from the shingly promontory they
were passing hailed them. Old Biggun looked
leisurely round, and saw a tall, well-made young man.


He was armed with a long bow, and a quiver, full of
arrows, hung over his shoulder by a broad leather
strap, and carried a stout boar spear in his hand,
while a bright two-edged battle-axe hung in another
belt, and balanced a long, straight sword that hung at
his left hip. He wore a loose tunic of leather, covered
with little steel rings, sewn one over the other in a
careful manner, and in such a way that the upper ring
lapped over the one below at the spot where it was
attached to the leather tunic; he wore a close-fitting
cap on his head, protected by steel plates and orna-
mented with a heron's crest; his legs were encased
in tight leather leggings and stout leather boots.
Altogether he looked a thoroughly well armed and
gallant young fellow-one who would help a friend,
and be likely to make himself respected by a foe.
His fair, curling hair and laughing blue eyes added to
his free and handsome appearance.
Wulfstan, boy-like, was instantly taken with him,
and admired him immensely. He thought he must be
Balder the Beautiful, or perhaps Thor himself-at least,
they could not be finer looking; and he insensiblylet his
oar dip into the water, which, as he was rowing on the
port or left side of the boat, had the effect of holding
the water and turning the boat towards the shore.
"What art thou doing that for, Wulf?" growled
old Ceolwulf, or Biggun. "We don't want to take
that stripling on board, and we don't want to get too
near him neither, until we know who he is and what
he wants."
Ho, there! put me across, will you? shouted the


"Aye, aye; but we must know thy business first,"
bawled Ceolwulf in return, resting on his oar.
"I want to go to Cymenesora. Thy crew seems
weak. I might lend thee a hand at an oar if thou art
bound for the same place."
"Maybe we are, and maybe we aren't said the
cautious Ceolwulf; but I don't see how we're going
to get thee in. See how the tide is setting us up? "
Yes ; but, Biggun, if I back water and thou pullest
we shall swing round, and not many strokes will bring
us ashore, thou knowest well," said Wulfstan.
That's all very fine, Wulf; but how am I to know
if it's safe to take him on board ? We're strangers in
a strange land, seest thou, and it's better to keep to
ourselves until we know who's who. That young man
there is too fine a bird not to be somebody, and he
may not be friends with them who have the rule in
these parts, dost understand? or he might take a
fancy to our boat perhaps. There's no knowing."
Now, old man, art going to put me across or
not ? "
"Do, Biggun, row ashore. If he is somebody
important, we shall be all the better for having done
him a good turn; and, besides, he can get us to
Boseham, or wherever we are going, all the quicker,
and then poor Eddie can be attended to. And I am
dying of hunger, too."
Well, I don't much like it, but I don't see that we
can come to much harm anyway. Let me paddle a
bit, Wulf; she will come round into the slack water
under that point. There--that's it."
The tide had already carried them close to the point,


and a few strokes brought the bow of the boat grating
against the steep shingle, but not sufficiently near for
the stranger to get in without wetting his feet. How-
ever, taking a run, and using his spear as a leaping
pole, he sprang lightly on board without touching the
water at all.
Well, old man, I don't see what thou would'st
have gained by going off without me, and thou mayest
get some good by taking me with thee. Hollo, my
fine boy! what's thy name? and what's the matter
with thee ?" he added, seeing JEdric in the bottom of
the boat.
_Edric now for the first time saw the well-armed
handsome stranger, and, like Wulfstan, he thought
him the most splendid man he had ever seen, and,
boylike, never connecting any thoughts of suspicion
with so frank and prepossessing an outside, did not
hesitate a moment to answer him.
My name is Edric, and I broke my leg last night
when our house was burnt down."
"And how was that ?"
Ah! that's a long tale," said Ceolwulf, who did
not at all like this way of telling all about themselves
while he knew nothing of the new comer. "We can
be telling all we know when we are a little nearer the
place we want to go to. Come, lend us a hand, and
let's get off this point."
Why, we are off already," cried Wulfstan. How
the tide is rising "
Here, my boy, let me have thy oar, and go thou
and sit down by that poor fellow there. Thou art a
brave lad, I can see, but thou must not overdo thy-


self," said the stranger, with a smile. "Where dost
want to go, old man ?" he added, turning to
"Well, to tell the truth, I don't much care as long
as I can find some shelter and food for those boys.
They want it. They've had none since last evening,
and one has had a deal of pain, poor weakling," said
Ceolwulf, grimly and sadly.
"If that's all thy want, there's naught better to do
than go to Boseham, and it will do as well for me as
Cymenesora; or, better still," he added, thou canst
put me out just opposite, it's all in the way to
The old boat went along much faster now, pro-
pelled by the vigorous arm of the young man, and
the entrance to the creek was entirely shut out, the
two banks of shingle appearing to join; but before
this happened Wulfstan had turned his head and
called out, "There it is. There's the island ; good-
bye, dear home," and then he burst into tears.
Don't cry, Wulfy, perhaps father wasn't killed;
we don't know, and we can always go back and see,"
said Eddie, manfully. But the tears were welling
up in his eyes too.
Poor little fellows," said the stranger, looking at
them with pity. If thou wert to tell me all about
them, I might be able to help them one of these
days; what sayest thou, old man ?"
"Well, I don't rightly know ; thou seemest a good
sort of young fellow, and I don't see it can do much
harm. Well, thou must know that these boys'
father is, or was-for I fear he was knocked on the


head last night-JElfhere the Eorldoman, who owns
all the land at the east end of Wihtea,' where the
Wihtwaras dwell, has had a quarrel with Arwald
who held the land round Wihtgarsbyryg,2 and who
has been wanting for some time to get the upper
hand among us Wihtwaras. Last night, when all
were sleeping, we were roused by smoke, and rushing
out, we found Arwald and his men ready to receive
us. My lord AElfhere, seeing that matters were likely
to go hard with us, bid me take his two sons here
and place them in a boat, and get what help I could
to bring them over to his wife's sister's people, who
dwell about Portaceaster.3 But all the men were
eager for the fight, and I could only manage this boat,
and the drift of the tide carried us during the night
to this harbour, and now thou knowest our story."
But how came the boy to break his leg ? "
In running for the boat in the dark, and as he
was turning to look at the blazing house, he was
struck by a spear, and, falling, broke his leg. I
picked him up as tenderly as I could, but he has
suffered a great deal, poor little one."
The best thing thou canst do is to take him to
the good monks at Boseham; they will take care of
him, and cure him too. They are wonderful men at
healing, but they are no good at fighting. So these
are the sons of _Elfhere the Eorldoman, are they?
They come of good stock; I know their mother's
family too. Their blood is the same as mine, for
their grandfather was Cynegils, and I a am great
grandson of Ceawlin."
1 Now Isle of Wight. 2 Now Carisbrooke. I Porchester.


"What, the great Bretwalda of the house of
Cerdic ? said Ceolwulf, with awe.
Even so; and since thou hast been so open to me
I will return thy faith. I am Cedwalla; and now if
thou wilt rest on thy oar, I will just push the boat to
the shore, for I must get out here."
In a few minutes more the boat neared the beach,
and, using his spear as a leaping pole again, Cedwalla
sprang to the land, and, waving his hand, disappeared
among the scrub on the top of the shingle bank.


"SO that's Cadwalla, is it! I have heard tell of
Shim many a time And if, poor youth, he had
his due, he'd be King of Wessex and Bretwalda1 to
boot. And who is -king now? Centwine is it, or
AEscuin ? Well, that I don't rightly know. Gytha,
the old nurse who came from Readbryg,2 now she
told me that one of them had been killed at a
fight with the king of Mercia. Anyhow, Cedwalla
is the rightful heir, that I do know; but what's he
doing here ? Well, he can't do any harm to me and
my boys, that's certain; and if he get's his own he
may help us to pay out that Arwald over there.
Well, well, we shall see. Here, Wulf, come and see
what thou canst do with that oar again ; we can't be
far from Boseham now. It's a very good thing the
tide hasn't covered the mud, or we should never see
all these lakes 3 hereabouts. Let me see, that's the
1 The title conferred on, or assumed by, the most powerful
among the various Saxon kings, from JElla of Sussex to Egbert
of Wessex. The word occurs first in the "Chronicles" under
the year 827, and probably meant Wielder, of Britain." See
Freeman's "Norman Conquest," note B in the Appendix, vol. i.
2 Now Redbridge, at the head of Southampton Water.
3 A lake is the local word for a creek running in among the
mud banks.


way to Boseham, down there. Why, there's a man
fishing! he'll tell us the way. But he's a mighty
odd-looking man. What's the matter with his head ?
Look, Wulf, he's got his hair cut off like a half moon
on the top of his head."
As the boat passed slowly through the water, it
took them some minutes before they came up to the
fisherman, who was seated on three or four logs rudely
nailed together with two cross planks, and moored by
a rope to a stick stuck in the mud. The man had long
hair, cut or shaved in a peculiar half moon on the top of
his head, and wore a long loose robe made of coarse
frieze and fastened round his waist by a cord. His
feet were bare, and he was sitting on his raft placidly,
feeling his line*from time to time, and muttering to
himself a low, monotonous chant.
"What's he saying, Biggun ?"
That's more than I kndw. It isn't English; it's
a saga of some kind. Listen !"
"Verbum caro, panem verum verbo carnem efficit ;
Fitque sanguis Christi merum, et si sensus deficit,
Ad firmandum cor sincerum sola fides sufficit."
These words the man on the raft sang in a low,
deep, melodious voice, and Eddie longed to know what
they meant.
Ho! there; are we in the right track for Bose-
ham ?" called Biggun.
The man paused in his chant and looked up, showing
a wistful, anxious countenance, that made Biggun form
a poor opinion of him; but Wulfstan took directly to
him, because of his honest, fearless, trustful eyes.
"Thou art in the right way. There it is, round


that point on thy left, among those trees," he
answered, with a peculiar accent and foreign way of
expressing himself.
Ask him if he knows where those men live whom
that man told us about. He called them some name
I never heard before," said Wulfstan.
Canst tell me where some men live who know
how to cure wounds ? "
Meanest thou the monks of Boseham, or, as some
call us, the Irish ?"
Those are the men. I met a youth who said they
could cure a poor lad I have here who is wounded."
Row alongside of me and let me look at him. I
am one of the monks myself."
Praise be to Thor," said old Biggun, but the gods
seem determined to make up for their treatment of
us last night. Easy, Wulf, and let the old boat come
Gently they glided up to the rude raft, and the
monk, who had cast off his moorings, made his rope
fast to their boat, and got over the side into it. They
now observed that he had a few fish lying on his raft,
and Wulfstan was much delighted at the sight.
"My son," said the monk, stooping over /Edric,
"where is the hurt ? "
Here, in this leg," said ./Edric, uncovering the
skins with difficulty.
Let me do it, my child," said the monk, gently
rolling them back and exposing a large and deep
wound in the fleshy part of the calf, which had now
become very stiff from cold and loss of blood.
"Ah we will soon put that right," he said, cheer-


fully, if there are no bones broken. It is only about
a mile to our huts, and Brother Dicoll knows what
herbs soothe wounds of body, as well as of mind."
Shall we find food there ? We are all hungry,
and I could eat a bit of wolf and say thank-you if
you would give it me."
"There is not much, but such as we have is freely
thine, for what saith holy Peter : Hospitales invicem
sine murmuratione.'"
What curious words he does use, Eddie, doesn't
he? said Wulf, in an undertone, to his brother.
Yes ; but I like him. He's quite as tender as
Nurse Gytha, and does not make so much fuss; and
I am sure he can tell us lots of sagas and stories."
And he can show me how to fish and make lines,"
said Wulfstan.
They were now nearing the little settlement on the
banks of the creek or inlet that has existed from these
early days-the year 68o-down to our own, and
without much change; in fact, since Harold, about
320 years afterwards, started from Boseham on his
luckless expedition to Normandy, the addition to the
number of houses has probably been very small,
although all have, of course, been frequently rebuilt.
But the church is, in all likelihood, the one in which
Harold worshipped, and, if tradition is correct, the
great king Knut, or Canute, himself.1 The piece of
x According to a well sustained theory the church of Bosham
is built on the site, and its walls partly consist of those, of a
Roman basilica erected by Vespasian. The tower of the church,
tradition says, was founded by St. Wilfrid. Thus this obscure
Sussex village has been trodden by Vespasian, Titus, Wilfrid,
Canute, Harold.


sharp practice by which Earl Godwine obtained it
from the Archbishop of Canterbury is hardly worthy
of credence or mention.1 A few roofs scattered here
and there could be seen nestling among thick woods
which came down from the great Andredesweald, or
Forest, which then spread from where Lewes now is
to the borders of Dorset. This vast wilderness of
trees and bush and scrub was then a great and im-
penetrable barrier, which shut off the little kingdom
of the South Saxons, founded by the first Bretwalda
JElla, from the rest of their kin.
The abode of the wild boar, the wolf, and all other
game that then roamed free in England, it was also
the legendary home of the pixies, the gnomes, the
wehr-wolves, and the witches, in all ,of whom the
Saxons firmly believed. It also afforded a secure
shelter for all outlaws and robbers, and had protected
Camdwalla from the jealousy of his kinsman, Centwine.
There are our poor huts, and there is our Dominus,
or Abbas," said the monk, pointing to a small cottage
built of wooden logs, before which stood a tall and
gaunt man, with hollow eyes and sunken cheeks, but
with the same patient, wistful look that the other monk
had. He was dressed in exactly the same way, and
had his head shaven also.
There were one or two children playing about, and

1 Walter Mapes (quoted by Camden in his" Britannia," trans-
lated by Philemon Holland, edit. 1637) says :-" This Boseam,
underneath Chichester, Goodwin saw, and had a minde to it.
Being accompanied therefore with a great traine of gentlemen,
he comes smiling unto the Archbishop of Canterburie, whose
towne then it was. 'My lord,' sayth he, 'give you me Boseam.'


a few men were helping to push down an unmanage-
able boat, not unlike the one now arriving. These
all stopped to gaze at the new comers, and before
they got much nearer one of the men called out to
know who they were and how many they had on
board. The monk replied, and the answer appearing
satisfactory, no further notice was taken of their
arrival, except that the children crowded down to
the landing-place, and stood open-mouthed with
curiosity to see the strangers get out.
There was a rude kind of quay, made of rough
logs laid one on the top of the other, and kept in
their places by piles driven into the mud. The tide
had now risen sufficiently to allow the boat to come
alongside this, and as she glided up the tall monk
came down to meet them. He spoke a few words
in a language Biggun could not understand to the
monk who had been fishing; and he then said to
one of the children:
Call brother Corman, and bid him bring down a
bench, or settle."
Meanwhile Ceolwulf had got on shore, and made
the boat fast, and then slung the axe over his shoulder
by a thong, and told Wulfstan to take one of the
spears. But the monk advised him to put them down

The Archbishop, marvailing what he demanded by that ques-
tion, answered, 'I give you Boseam.' Then he, with his
company of knights and soldiers, fell down, and, kissing his feet
with many thanks, went back to Boseam and kept it." The point
appears to be in the play upon the word Boseam and Basium,
kiss or buss which was used in performing homage-so says


again, as no one was disposed to hurt them, and any
signs of suspicion or defiance might arouse angry
"What is thy name, my boy?" said the superior
monk to Eddie, whom he was now examining with
the other monk, whom they had first met.
AEdric told his name, and the rank of his father,
and what had happened. Such events in that lawless
time were far too frequent to cause much surprise;
but the monk seemed distressed nevertheless, more
apparently at this fresh instance of the treachery,
rapacity, and cruelty of man, than by reason of the
actual circumstances related to him; for he sighed
and murmured:" 0 generation incredula et ferversa
quousque ero vobiscum "
By this time another monk had joined the party,
and now, under the directions of the abbot or
superior, they carefully lifted AEdric out of the
boat and up to the hut, before which the monk
had been standing. They took him inside, and laid
him down on a rough couch, in one corner, and
then they gave him some bread and a little water.
We will get better food presently," said the
superior; but there is great difficulty in getting
food here at all now, and the people suffer much."
"Ah! thou mayst well say that," said the first monk,
whom the superior addressed by the name of Malachi.
"Ever since that fearsome summer, when everything
died for want of water, after the sun was darkened,
the dearth has been dreadful; and after the dearth
and drought came the plague. Verily God hath visited
us! but what we have ye are welcome to; for did not


our blessed Master say : 'Beati misericordes quoniam
ipsi misericordiam consequentur."
In attending to AEdric, the good monks had not
forgotten Ceolwulf and Wulfstan, but had given them
some of the same coarse fare they had set before Eddie.
It strikes me," said Ceolwulf, "that these woods
ought to produce something better than this; and,
after we've had enough to satisfy our hunger, we will
go out and see if we can't kill something."
Oh, do let us, Biggun; they will think much more
of us if we can bring them something we have killed."
The abbot of the little community, whose name
was Dicoll, having finished his attention to A/dric's
leg for the present, came and stood by Wulfstan,
and, stroking him kindly on the head, said that now
he knew who he was, and what accident had driven
them on their shore, he should like to ask him what
he was going to do. "Did they know that Edilwalch,
the king, had an alliance with Arwald, and had re-
ceived Wihtea as a grant from King Wulfhere,l of
Mercia, as a reward for his having been christened ? "
This was news to Biggun, and he did not under-
stand how Wulfhere could give away what he had
not got. However, it was quite clear if Edilwalch
was a friend of Arwald, he could not well be any-
thing else but an enemy to Elfhere, who had always
supported the West Saxon domination, and had
fought at Pontisbyryg, by the side of Coinwalch, the
last powerful West Saxon king, when Wulfhere, of
Mercia, defeated him. Biggun began to think they
had only got from the frying-pan into the fire.
I Isle of Wight.


"As soon as possible it will be well to go to Wilfrid
the Bishop, who has lately come to Sealchea,
and has received eighty-seven hides of land, and a
great number of slaves, all of whom, I hear, he has
set at liberty. Truly, although he does observe Easter
at a different time to us, and also shaves his head in
a way that would have vexed the soul of the blessed
Columba, yet he hath wrought a good work among
these rude and pagan South Saxons, and may the
Lord pardon him for his other irregularities."
"But how can we take the boy there? he has
already had enough journeying."
"Leave him with us. Edilwalch is now engaged
on an expedition against the men of Kent; at least, I
know that two of his chief Thanes, Bercthune and
Andhune, have set out, and I understood he was to
follow; so that, busied as he is, he will not have occa-
sion to inquire about the sons of AElfhere, even if he
should hear that they have come. It is not, my
sons, that I wish to be inhospitable, but we are poor
people, and cannot treat our guests as we should like,
nor could we protect the boys if Edilwalch were to
demand them."
Well, I think that will be the best thing to do,
and may Woden and Thor shield thee for thy kindness.
If ever .Edric there gets his own again, he will give
thee land over at Wihtea, where thou canst worship
Thor in thine own way, and eat plenty and drink
Heathen, may the Holy One grant thee His bless-
ing, and bring thee out of the darkness of iniquity
1 Selsea.


wherein thou dwellest, and guide thee to a knowledge
of His most blessed faith. And in that I doubt if
thou ever hardest the name of our blessed Lord,
there is much hope that thou mayest yet be saved.
The Bishop Wilfrid will do much to lead thee to the
right way ; but be not led astray as to the time thou
shouldest keep the holy feast of Easter. And, above
all, reverence not the way in which that proud and
erring man would have the servants of God to shave
the crowns of their heads. I much mourn that I may
not teach thee myself, for I perceive there are many
errors thou mayest fall into ; but the course I have
prescribed I believe to be the best one for the safety
of all. Wilfrid is a holy man in most respects, but I
have cautioned thee beforehand of his errors."
"Well, Wulf, we will go and get these good people
something to eat. There's no danger of meeting
any who will do us harm, is there, Father? said
Biggun, yawning.
Not if thou goest into the forest behind us, and I
have heard there are plenty of four-footed beasts
there; but beware of wolves and boars, for men say
they have increased much of late, since all the land
has been withered and wasted under the heavy hand
of the Almighty, who has visited these poor people
for their heathenish ways, I doubt not. We will care
for _Edric here till thy return, and then brother
Malachi shall show thee the road to Wilfrid to-
morrow morning, after thou hast had a good night's
"Oh, Biggun I am so tired of all this talk, let's
go to the forest. Good-bye, Eddie; we won't be gone


long, and we shall be sure to bring back something
better than they have got here."
I wish I could go too," said JAdric, wistfully; it
seems such a long time since I walked, and, really, it
is only yesterday that I was all right. Oh, what
things have happened since yesterday !"
He watched the two figures out of the door, and
the- tears would well up in his eyes in spite of him-
Brother Corman, who was just like the other two
monks, except that he was not quite so sad-looking,
came and sat down by him, while Malachi proceeded
to prepare the fish he had caught, singing to himself
the while, and occasionally exchanging a gentle re-
mark with the children that came to look on as he
scraped and cleaned the fish.
The tide had now risen to its full, and the scene
was pretty. The still grey tones of the autumn
day, the silent water, and the falling leaves, were all
in harmony with the monkish chaunt, and the listless
forms of the half-starved children. For, as Malachi
had well said, the times were dreadful. Such a sore
disease had followed the terrible famine, that men in
these South Saxon marshes had begun to despair of
life altogether, and many times he had seen as many
as forty or fifty men, women, and children, drowning
themselves for very weariness. They had no strength
to till the land, and the land would not produce if
they did till it. Their condition had become very
desperate and pitiful. They did not seem to know
how to fish, and, until Wilfrid had come, they had
never attempted to get any food out of the sea. They


were able to catch eels, but had become so utterly
weary of life that they had rather perish than take
any trouble to support themselves.
The worthy monks, who, as some men said, came
from Scotland, and others from Ireland, had been
doing a noble work. In the true spirit of missionaries,
taking their life in their hands, they had left their
lonely, but to them dearly loved, island home of Hii,
or lona, hallowed to them by the life and teaching of
Columba, and had gone penniless and with nothing
but the clothes they wore to teach the Gospel of
Christ. Freely ye have received, freely give," was
their motto. Humility and the fear of the Lord "
were their weapons, and they did not seek the bless-
ings attached to these, viz., "riches, and honour, and
strength," except as they would redound to the glory
of Him whom they served. Simple men they were
as regards worldly affairs, naturally clinging to that
wherein they were instructed ; they put implicit faith
in the precepts of their predecessors, who had pro-
fessed and taught Christianity long before Augustine
the Monk had set foot in England. They felt and
believed that their Spiritual Father had been a
Martyr for the Faith centuries before the hated
Saxon, or Jute, or Angle, had left his swampy shore;
and that they had received the faith from St. John, from
Anatolius, and from Columba. While all Europe was
overrun with the waves of barbarism, they had kept
the pure light of the Gospel shining in the Western
Islands, and it was gall and bitterness that now they
were to change their customs and their fashions at
the bidding of the emissary of the Bishop of Rome.


Were these matters trifles? they urged. Be it so,
then; and why make all this disturbance about
them ? Trifles, alas in the poor mind of humanity,
are very frequently more fought over than essentials.
And to both Augustine and Wilfrid after him, zealous
for the visible unity of the Church, it seemed a ridi-
culous thing, as well as pernicious, that these lowly
monks, whom they affected to despise, should obsti-
nately cling to their obsolete and unorthodox fashion.
Alas that the charity which suffereth long and is
kind was so early forgotten. The poor Irish or
Scotch missionaries were worsted in the contro-
versy, because the power of the See of Rome was
in the ascendant; but the purity and simplicity
of their lives, their utter self-denial, and the piety of
their teaching, made the way easier for the more
famous men who followed after them, and who com-
bined the fervour of a missionary with the grand
ideal of Christian unity.
Corman, who was sitting by AEdric's side, talked to
him from time to time if he appeared restless, but
tried chiefly to get him to go to sleep. The boy,
however, was too much excited by the rapidity of the
past events, and the fever caused by his wound, to be
able to sleep, and an occasional restless sigh showed
that he was thinking of his father and his home.
"When I grow up," he burst out impatiently, I
will wreak full vengeance on that nothing Arwald,
for all that he has done to my house and father. I
swear by Wod--"
Hush! Edric, hush!" broke in Corman, inter-
rupting him, and putting his cool hand upon the boy's


fevered brow. "Swear not, my son, by anything;
least of all by the false gods of the heathen. And
when thou hast lived longer with us, thou wilt not, I
hope, wish to avenge thyself on any being, whatever
may be the wrongs he has done thee."
JEdric stared at him in open-mouthed astonishment.
"What, not make those suffer who have made me
suffer? Why, I have always heard it is the first duty
of a hero to deal starkly with his foe!" exclaimed the
boy, indignantly. What would my father say when I
meet him in Valhalla if I have not cleft the head of
Arwald or died in the attempt ? "
My son, I trust thou wilt meet him in a better
Valhalla; but thou must not talk too much now.
Thou wilt make thy leg worse. Drink this cooling
drink, and I will tell thee tales which may, perchance,
lull thee to sleep."
Then Corman began to tell in soft, melodious words,
a wondrous tale, the like of which AEdric had never
heard before, but which is now so well known that its
very familiarity tends to weaken its beauty. He told
how all things were lovely, how all things pleased the
Creator, how sin entered in, and then came death, and
how death ended in victory. But he told it all so
simply, and made it so like a saga, that LEdric
thought he was listening to one of old Deva's tales,
and gradually sleep stole over him, and he sank into
profound slumber.
Corman sat silently by his side, fearing to move,
lest he should disturb him.
Presently Dicoll and Malachi came in, and they
began the morning service, but in low tones; while


outside the door of the hut a few women and children
stood round to listen.
The inherent reverence of the Teutonic nature
showed itself strongly in these rude, suffering, un-
taught South Saxons, and the monks already saw
promise of future good.
By the welcome aid of healing arts they had
gradually obtained a hold on the little settlement;
and as their practical sympathy with physical
suffering found ready scope in their power to deal
with it, so the purity of their worship attracted the
gentler natures of the more reflecting among the
The religion of the South Saxons, like that of all
the Teutonic tribes, was calculated to promote
reverence, and was yet so vague in its teaching
as to oppose but slight obstacles to the approaches of
Christianity. Their deities were the elements, and,
like the Greeks, they worshipped a divinity in every
object of nature. Rude temples they seem to have
had, which, as in the story of Coifi, appear to have
had but little hold on the people ; and as there were
no material advantages at stake, so the opposition
offered to the Christian missionary was much less
envenomed than is usually the case where vested
interests are at hazard.
Indeed, the Christian missionaries found, in one
very important particular, a decided gain in dealing
with the Teutonic peoples as compared with the
Christian but Romance nations. The sanctity of
domestic life contrasted strongly with the habits and
customs of the laxer peoples of the South, habituated


to vice in all its forms, and among whom the pursuit
of pleasure had become almost a science as well as a
The spirit of scoffing, of ridicule, was absent. Such
a spirit seems inconsistent with the gloom of the vast
primeval forest, of the solitudes of the hunter, and
the earnestness produced by the stern fight for exis-
tence. Luxury, laziness, the energy of the body
directed to the amusement of a debased intellect, and
an intellect pandering to the unwholesome passions
of the body, all these were absent, and the Christian
missionaries found themselves confronted with an
almost primitive state of life.

CEOLWULF and Wulfstan, after leaving the hut
of the kind monks, went first to look to the
boat, and moored her securely. Then they walked
into the thick wood, which was immediately behind
the little settlement, and which stretched without
intermission right up to the great Andredesweald.
There were occasional clearings here and there, espe-
cially to the east of Boseham towards Cissanceaster,
but owing to the dreadful drought and consequent
famine, and demoralisation of the inhabitants result-
ing from it, most of these clearings had relapsed
into a wilderness again.
They had not gone far when Biggun remarked that
they had better take a look at the sun, and see how
they were to find their way back again ; and while he
was taking a careful look round Wulfstan noticed a
rustling noise amongst the dry leaves on his right,
and directly afterwards an old pig and several little
ones came grunting through the wood followed by
a miserable, unhealthy-looking boy, who instantly
stopped on seeing the two strangers, and stared at
them with suspicion.
"Whose pigs are those?" said Biggun.


The young swineherd only stared at him the
more, and especially eyed Wulfstan with curiosity, as
though such a healthy-looking boy were quite sur-
prising. At last, on the question being repeated two
or three times, he shook his head to intimate that he
did not understand.
Come along, Wulf, we've no time to lose; let us
go down this glade and keep thy spear ready. That
boy is a Weala."
They now reached a long and natural glade in the
forest, and as they got farther away from the sea the
trees grew larger and straighter, and the view under
the branches was more extended, being only inter-
rupted by clumps of brushwood here and there.
There was no sign of any road or track whatever,
only the vast forest stretched in endless solitude
to right and left, and as far ahead as the eye
could see.
Wulfstan was delighted with the size of the forest,
and eagerly looked on each side for the chance of
some game appearing. They had now walked about
four miles from Boseham, and were going in a north-
westerly direction, when a gleam through the trees
ahead told them they were approaching some water,
and in a few minutes more they had reached a long
winding pool, or lake, from which a large heron rose
slowly as they came out of the forest.
"Biggun, look! Take a shot at that heron I
can swim for him if he does drop in the water."
"He's too far off, Wulf; we must not waste our
arrows. Wait till we get a sure mark; we shan't
have to wait long. If this is salt water, animals won t


come to drink, but I doubt not we shall find a fresh
brook running into it farther on ; and if we find the
marks where the beasts come down to water, we can
hide in the bushes, as we used to do at home, and
then we shan't miss."
They had hardly gone three steps more when a
large hare darted out of a thicket by the side of the
water and ran into the wood; but Biggun was too
quick for him, carefully watching as he passed behind
a tree, the instant he appeared on the other side of
it, an arrow whizzed from his bow and rolled the hare
over on the ground.
By Woden, Biggun, that was a good shot; thou
timedst it well," cried Wulf admiringly, as he ran up
to the hare and pulled the arrow out, carefully wiping
the shaft and point, and smoothing the feathers;
then taking the animal up by his hind legs he hit it
behind the neck to kill it, for it was not quite dead,
then he ran back to Biggun and gave him his arrow
"Be still, my son, and hurry not, if thou wouldst hit
anything," said Biggun complacently, as he put the
arrow back in the quiver. They then went on again,
Wulf carrying the hare and looking with sharp glances
all round him. Presently they came to a very marshy
place and had to leave the side of the water and enter
the forest again. Skirting the marsh they came to a
kind of track that led them to a deep pool which was
trodden all round and was evidently a place where
animals came down to water.
"We ought to come here to-night, Wulf, but we
ought to come in a large gang, for here be marks we


don't see in our island," said Biggun, stooping down
and examining the "spoor" of the animals that fre-
quented this place to quench their thirst.
"Hark, Biggun, there is something coming!"
whispered Wulfstan, as a crackling of twigs was
heard a little way off.
Quick, Wulf, climb up that tree there; up with
thee!" cried Biggun, as he hurried the boy hastily
to a wide-spreading oak, whose large and low
branching limbs stretched over the pool. In an
instant Wulfstan was ensconced among the branches,
and Biggun had handed him up his spear, and was
just pulling himself up after him, when, with a
crash and a squeal, a huge wild boar rushed through
the brushwood, and charged at poor Biggun, who,
old and stiff, was with difficulty getting up into
the first low fork of the old tree.
"Oh, Biggun, get thy legs out of the way!"
shrieked Wulfstan in terror, and without pausing a
moment he hurled the boar spear he held right at
the advancing beast. He threw it with such good
aim that it struck the animal in the shoulder, and
although it did not stop his charge, by reason of
the wound it caused, it yet pulled the beast up by
catching in one of the overhanging boughs, and the
shaft being made of stout ash did not break, but
widened the wound in the shoulder, and caused the
poor animal to squeal aloud with pain. Biggun had
now got his legs over the first branch, and, taking
steady aim, he shot an arrow into the animal's eye.
Such was the vitality and courage of the brute
that, although it had the spear still sticking in its


shoulder, and was pierced in one eye with an arrow,
it yet charged home to the trunk of the tree, and
buried its tusks in the bark. Then it stood looking
round for its enemy, and grunting and squealing
fiercely. Biggun drew another arrow up to its
head, and the shaft went home to the boar's heart,
and he fell over dead.
"Well, I think we have got enough game now,
Wulf, for the monks and ourselves, and we had
better make the best of our way home, and carry
as much as we can of this beast with us," said
Biggun, scrambling out of the tree again, followed
by Wulfstan, who was very delighted at the death of
the big animal, and greatly admired his formidable
tusks and the thick crest of bristles which grew
down his strong neck and shoulders.
Ceolwulf proceeded to cut up the body with his long
hunting knife, and slinging the two hind quarters
over his shoulders, and replacing the arrows in
the quiver, they hung the rest of the quartered boar
on the lowest bough of the oak that had saved
their lives, and started to make their way home again.
Suddenly Ceolwulf pulled his young companion
behind a tree, and then, before Wulf could ask
him the reason, he had whispered to him to be
perfectly still, as he saw some men a little way
ahead of them. Very cautiously Biggun and Wulf
crouched down, and crawled to the cover of some
bushes that were near, and from this shelter they
saw several men coming in their direction. They
were all armed, and looked a strong and formidable
.body of men. There were about thirty or forty in


all, and most wore iron helmets, and two or three
had hawberks, or jackets of mail, like that which
the young man wore whom they had met in the
morning. Some carried stout spears, and others
large clubs, with a heavy ball of metal attached
by a short piece of chain to the head of the club,
and studded with spikes. Most had shields of a
round shape, and nearly all carried, in addition to
the arms already mentioned, long swords and battle
axes. The men who had not got jackets of mail
wore leather tunics, which appeared to be of
double thickness over the chest and shoulders,
and which were no doubt sufficiently tough to
ward off a sword cut or spear thrust. Many of
the men appeared to be quite young: none of them
seemed over forty, and the youngest might have
been between eighteen and twenty. They were a
handsome and picturesque-looking set of men, with
their bushy hair flowing out from under their
helmets, their bronzed faces and martial appearance.
Some wore close-cut beards, and some were shaved,
with the exception of the knightly fringe that
clothed the upper lip," and Ceolwulf knew that
they must be the body-guard of some powerful
Thane or Eorldoman, and he crouched all the
closer, for the times were very perilous. They did
not seem to be in any hurry, for they sauntered
along, talking among themselves, and appearing to
be under no leadership. Suddenly one of them
uttered a cry, and walked hastily to the tree where
the remains of the wild boar were hanging, fresh
and bleeding from the knife of Ceolwulf.


Ah, they will track us by the drops of blood from
the joints I have over my shoulders!" said Biggun.
" Well, I must even drop them here, and perchance
they won't find them," he added, with a sigh, as he
unstrung the quarters, and hung them on a bough
above him. He then took Wulfstan by the hand,
and pulled him into the thickest of the bushes, and
crouched down again. They could hear the men
talking about the boar, and laughing at the
unexpected piece of good luck they had fallen
in with.
"This will just do," said one. "I was getting
very hungry, and here we are where he told us to
wait for him. Let us make a fire and roast some of
these joints."
"That we will," cried another. Here's water to
drink and flesh to eat. What more do we want?
Why the heroes in Valhalla can't have much more !
This boar, I warrant, is every bit as good as
Soehrimnir1 the everlasting, and we can do for once
without mead."
Aye, and we can cut our enemies to pieces after
our dinner just as well as before; so waste no more
time, but get some sticks and make a fire," rejoined
a third.
Well, thou canst begin making a fire," said the
man who had first seen the pieces of boar's flesh.
"I shall follow this trail of blood, and see where
1 The author has put into the mouths of the Saxons the
mythological allusions of the Scandinavian sagas, thinking
that probably the same tales were common to the Scandinavian
and Jutland peninsula, as well as to the Saxons and Frisians.


they are who have killed the boar. They can't be
far off, or the track wouldn't be so fresh, and they
can't be many, or they wouldn't let us take their
game so easily. But, after all, there's no knowing ;
these South Saxons, since the plague, have lost all
Hearing these words, several others began to
follow on the trail, and it was not long before they
came to the bushes, where Ceolwulf and Wulfstan
lay hid. A loud shout soon told that they had found
the rest of the animal, and then they were apparently
baffled. But not for long, for a keen-eyed man saw
where a twig had recently been broken off, and then
another where dead leaves had been trodden on and
the damp side turned up, and in another moment
Biggun and Wulfstan rose to their feet, face to face
with a bronzed and powerful man peering through
the bushes at them.
"Hark, here! So so my masters. Here's the
game come to bay!" he cried merrily, and all the
others broke through the bushes to get a view.
Ceolwulf saw instantly it was no use showing fight,
and he and Wulfstan came out and gave themselves up.
They were led to where the others were making a
fire, and all crowded round to look at the captives.
"Well, and who are ye ?" said the oldest-looking
Biggun had no idea who these men were, and after
what he had heard from Father Dicoll about
Edilwalch and his friendship for Arwald, he thought
it better to conceal as long as possible who he was
and where he came from.


"My name is Ceolwulf."
Where dost come from ? "
From Boseham."
Why, we know every one who lives in Boseham,
and we never saw thee before, so that won't pass."
Nevertheless I come from Boseham."
"Look here, old man, thou hadst better tell us at
once all about thyself and the boy there, both for
thy sake and his. We are not used to be trifled
with, and thou art old enough to know what being
made a spread eagle means."
Ceolwulf scratched his head and looked at Wulf-
stan, who, boy-like, could not see what there was to
hide, for if they knew every one in Boseham they must
know the kind monks who had so befriended them.
Now, old man, be quick," said his questioner.
"Well, we come from Wihtea, over there, and
have been in a good deal of trouble," said Ceolwulf,
hoping to mollify his interrogator ; "and when we
got to Boseham we found some queer sort of men,
who gave us some bread, and we thought we would
go out and get something better to eat, for there
seems no heart left in those South Saxons to help
Thou art in the right there, my man. Since the
yellow plague all spirit has gone out of them, and
they care to do nothing now but die-which, after all,
isn't so bad, if thou diest with thine axe in the skull
of thine enemy, but any other way is disgraceful,"
from which remark it was clear that this man was a
philosopher in his way, although somewhat crude in
his ideas.


"And whose boy is this ? He isn't thy son, I'll be
bound. An old wooden head like thee couldn't have
a son like that," said another man.
Let me stand out there with my axe, and I'll
soon show thee whether my head is any more
wooden than thine, thou young Weala! "
He has called me a Weala," cried the young
man to the others. He belongs to me to punish;
let me have him out here, that I may split his old
timber skull."
No, no," said the older man. "We have got to
have our dinner first, and, I think, as he has provided
it, he ought to be asked to share it."
"But thou hast not told us who the boy is, old
"He is the son of a noble eorldoman in
"What, Arwald's son?" cried the man with
Now I wish I knew whether he wanted him to
be his son or not," thought Ceolwulf. Then he
added, Dost thou know Arwald, then ? "
"It is not thy business to ask me questions, but
to answer mine, and take care thou doest it," said
the man, sternly.
No, he's not Arwald's son."
All the better for him, then," muttered his
But at this moment a most delicious smell of
fragrant roast pork floated past their nostrils, and
neither Biggun nor the man could avoid sniffing it


Well, we can ask thee these questions presently
quite as well as now, and if we are not quick the
others will have all the best bits. Now promise me
thou wilt not attempt to escape, and I will let thee
sit down and eat with us."
Biggun was very hungry, and so was Wulfstan,
and they both promised at once, and then they all
sat down, while three of the youngest were told to
divide the.joints and distribute them to the others.
It was a picturesque scene: the blue smoke from
the fire curled up among the fast falling leaves of
the great forest trees; beyond, fading into grey
dimness, was the forest, while the sinking sun cast
its warm rays aslant the stems of the trees, and
turned the red bracken to golden sprays; the men
lay about in careless attitudes, their flashing weapons
gleaming in the setting sun, and above all were the
ruddy leaves and great limbs of the wide-spreading
Merrily the talk went on, and coarse jest and
practical joke made the echoes of the forest ring,
until the noise reminded the man who had questioned
Ceolwulf of the errand they were upon, and which
apparently demanded some measure of secrecy, for he
told four of the young men who had eaten enough to
go some distance off and act as scouts, and he also
tried to get the others to be a little less boisterous.
Wulfstah enjoyed the whole feast immensely, and
had won universal applause when old Ceolwulf told
how he had speared the boar, and they all vowed he
should be one of them, and should live to be a hero
and do great deeds, to all which Wulfstan listened


complacently ; but at times he thought of /Edric, and
longed to take him the hare, and he would have liked
the good monks to have had some of that delicious
boar, for he thought he never had tasted anything so
good, as he held the end of a chop in his fingers and
munched the juicy flesh. This was the fourth he had
eaten, and he felt that the world was much more
pleasant than it had been lately.
The others were now nearly satisfied, and little of
the boar remained, which, fortunately for the happiness
of the party, was a full grown animal, and in very
good condition. As the men leant back with dreamy
faces, and meditatively gave themselves up to the
joys of tranquil digestion, there came a desire for
amusement, and it occurred to the younger and more
mischievous among them to think of the reproach
cast by Biggun on the young man he had called a
"Weala," which was regarded as an insult by the
conquering Saxons.
I say, Beornwulf, I wouldn't be called a Weala
by that old red beard," said one, throwing a bone at
the young man he addressed, which alighted on his
hand just as he was putting a choice morsel into his
mouth, and knocked the piece of flesh out of his hand
on to the ground.
A loud and general burst of laughter greeted this
practical joke, which did not add to the young man's
good humour, and he, being, of a fiery disposition, and
so the very fittest subject for a practical joker, rose up
in a rage and hurled the bone back at his aggressor,
who, being prepared for it, ducked his head, and it
passed harmlessly over him.


There, Beorney, don't get angry. If thou wantest
to fight, fight the old man there, and then, after he
has thrashed thee, thou canst come and fight us. We
shan't be afraid of thee then, but thou'rt too strong a
man now, and aimest too straight."
What is all this about, boys?" said the older
man, who had been comfortably stretched on his back
with Ceolwulf and Wulfstan on each side of him,
placidly enjoying the pleasant reminiscences of that
estimable boar. "What's all this about? Whycan't
ye enjoy the blessings the gods give ye without
wanting to make a disturbance?"
"Beornwulf here wants to fight that old red beard
we caught in the bushes, who called him a Weala."
"Well, and Beornwulf called him a wooden head
first, so I think they are quits."
Let them fight, Athelhune. We've nothing to
amuse us, and they might just as well have a
"Why, what's the good, boys ? We want all our
strength for to-night's work, and he might be here
any moment. Ye see the sun is sinking fast."
".Then they can leave off when he comes."
Athelhune, who really did not much care one way or
the other, made no answer, and this being taken as a
consent, the young men, now that they had roused
Beornwulf, set to work to get old Ceolwulf excited,
who had gone tranquilly off to sleep.
They proceeded therefore to pitch a chop bone
neatly on to his nose, and when he started up full of
bewilderment at the unexpected shock, another bone,
adroitly thrown, though not very hard, struck him


on the mouth. Boiling with rage, old Biggun got
up and glared round for his assailant.
Here he is, old man; here's the Weala that did
it! cried several voices, pushing Beornwulf forward.
Thou didst, thou nothing thou? I'll teach thee
to insult a free born Wihtwara cried old Ceolwulf,
whose blood was now thoroughly up.
"There, Beornwulf, he has called thee a nothing.
Nothing but blood can wipe out that," called out the
others, delighted at the success of their stratagem.
Ceolwulf was going at once to strike the young-man
with his boar-spear, but two or three young men
knocked up the point, and told him he must wait until
they had made a ring, and he must have the same
arms as his antagonist.
They proceeded, therefore, to cut wands of hazel
and fix them round in a circle, leaving ample room
in the middle for the two combatants, and then they
explained to Ceolwulf that whosoever drew first blood
or drove his opponent out of the ring was to be con-
sidered conqueror. They then gave Ceolwulf the
choice of several battle-axes, and allowed him to have
a helmet like Beornwulf and a shield, and then they
led the two combatants into the ring.
All had now risen from their recumbent position,
and were showing much interest in the approaching
fray. Opinion was divided as to which of the two
was likely to win. Most inclined to Beornwulf, who
was younger far and likely to be much more active.
*The older men, however, augured well from Ccolwulf's
size and experience that victory might declare for


Wearing their shields on their left arms, and
holding their battle-axes in their right, the two men
eyed each other steadily, and in order to rouse them
to greater animosity, several young men called out:
" Remember, Beorney, he called thee a Weala." "And
worse than that, he called thee a nothing," added
While to provoke Ceolwulf they called out: He
called thee a wooden head, and threw bones in thy
Poor little Wulfstan looked on with anxious eyes.
He did not much fear for Ceolwulf, in whom he had
always had unbounded confidence, but the thought
would occur to him that were anything to happen to
their old servant what would become of himself and
/Edric ? He was their only friend left in the whole
world now. So he thought, and looked on, angry-
eyed and wistful.
And now the fight began. Beornwulf stepped up
close to Ceolwulf and made a feint at his right arm,
which Ceolwulf parried with his axe, and caught the
next blow, aimed with all the young man's might at
his head, with his round shield. The force of the blow
split the shield and exposed the arm, so that all
thought the old man was wounded, but Ceolwulf at
the moment that the blow descended, struck slanting
at the exposed right side of his opponent, and cut
through his leather jerkin, causing a crimson stream
to flow down his armour.
A hit! a hit 1" they all cried, and then, forgetting
their own rules in their excitement, they called out
to Beornwulf to revenge himself. But Ceolwulf par-


ried every blow, and called out that the victory was
his. He was very anxious the combat should have
a speedy termination, for he did not wish to kill his
opponent, foreseeing that if he did his position and
that of Wulfstan would be rendered much more un-
pleasant, and he naturally had no wish to be killed
himself. While all were excited at the contest a
voice suddenly called out, Why, men, what is all
this to do? Haven't ye work enough in hand to-night
that ye must needs be splitting each other's heads
now ?"
All turned round astonished, and a universal cry
of Cedwalla!" told Wulfstan that his handsome
friend of the morning was among them.

r' HE arrival of Caedwalla put an end to the com-
J bat, to the great joy of Wulfstan, who ran up
to Ceolwulf with eager congratulations.
"I knew that fellow couldn't do thee any harm,
Biggun; he didn't know thee as well as I do,:or he
wouldn't have dared to stand up to thee; but I am
glad thou gavest it him as thou didst."
"Aye, Wulf, they will respect us all the more after
this. I thought I should give him a good trouncing,"
said Ceolwulf complacently.
Why, whom have we here? cried Caedwalla,
now for the first time seeing Ceolwulf and Wulfstan.
" Why, it's the old greybeard I met this morning, and
the stout little son of Elfhere! And what art thou
doing here?"
The whole of the circumstances were quickly nar-
rated to him, and, patting Wulfstan on the head, he
told him he should make him one of his Huscarles, or
body-guard, which delighted the boy much. He re-
proved Beornwulf for being so quarrelsome, and
advised old Ceolwulf not to call people nithings "
again, or worse would come of it. As it had turned
out he had drawn Beornwulf's blood first, and there-


fore, according to the laws of the Holmgang, or duel,
Beornwulf ought to pay the fine of the conquered;
but, considering how great a provocation Ceolwulf had
given, he should decide that the two were now quits,
and there the matter had better end. "And now,
my men, we must be up and doing. I have learnt
that the greater part of Edilwalch's men have gone
with the two eorldomen to Kent, and the king is
spending the night at Cissanceaster; we are now
about six miles off, and it will take us till near mid-
night to get there and arrange our plans. Beorn-
wulf, as thou art wounded, thou hadst best take this
boy back to his brother at Boseham, and take care
of him until I come. Bid the monks treat him well,
or, by Freja, I will skin the shavelings ; but they are
good men," he added, "and will do that without my
bidding. And as to thee, old man, thou hadst best
take Beornwulf's place, and make good the damage
thou hast done. And now, men, fall in. Athelhune,
you will take command of the rear, I will lead the
advance, and do thou, old man, take Beornwulf's
arms and give him thine to take back to Boseham;
after to-night I trust thou wilt have some of thine
own, or else that there will be no want of any. Re-
member all of ye that in worsting Edilwalch we are
winning a victory for Wessex, and each victory for
Wessex is a step towards my rightful crown. Ye have
feasted on the flesh of the wild boar which Woden has
put before ye as an omen of victory; remember the
sagas, and how he who dies in battle will feast for
ever on Saehrimnir the Eternal, and quaff mead from
the never-dying Heidrun, and shall for ever and for


ever hack his enemies in pieces. Who would not
rather go there than live here? But to obtain
honour there we must kill our enemies here, and the
more we kill, the greater our joy hereafter. Up, men,
and earn an undying name "
Excited by this speech, and eager for the fray, each
warrior clashed his axe against his shield, and the
wild din caused the birds, that were going to roost, to
fly screaming out of the branches, and scared the
beasts of the forest in their distant lair.
See, the wild ravens there,
Woden's wild birds of air,
Call us to Nastrond's fare,
Call us to battle !"
shouted a warrior, whose eyes glowed with the joy of
approaching fight.
"Hark to the wolves' wild cry,
Baying towards the sky,
Knowing the prey is nigh,
Hearing death's rattle "

cried another answering, tossing his battle-axe high
in the air, and catching it again; for every warrior
who wished to be distinguished affected a talent
for verse, and all leaders who desired fame sur-
rounded themselves with "Skalds," or gleemen, as
they were called, who should proclaim their doughty
Wulfstan longed to go with the expedition, but
Csedwalla would not hear of it, and he was sent off
with Beornwulf, both sulky at their dismissal, but
Beornwulf especially enraged, and vowing vengeance
on Ceolhulf when he got the chance.


Never mind, Beorney, thou canst practice fighting
with the monks, they won't hurt thee," shouted some
of the young men.
"And thou canst throw stones at the seals, they
won't run away," called another, as they went off
laughing; while Beornwulf, grinding his teeth with
rage, and having no retort ready, disappeared with
Wulfstan in the direction of Boseham.
The others directed their march through the forest
towards Cissanceaster, proceeding at a rapid pace;
all noise had now ceased, and each man settled down
to his step with the air of men accustomed to
long expeditions, and who all knew their business
thoroughly. Ceolwulf wished much his master
JElfhere had had a few dozen men like these the
night before, and he hoped if he could only induce
Caedwalla to take up the cause of his young lords,
that they might recover their lands and revenge
themselves on Arwald; he had seen therefore Wulf-
stan go off with Beornwulf less reluctantly than he
otherwise would have done.
The sun had set, and the mists of the forest
rendered it a difficult matter to see their way, but
Cadwalla led them on without pausing or appearing
to be once in doubt as to which way to go. After
they had gone on in almost absolute silence for
about a couple of miles they came to a circular
clearing in the forest; in the centre of this clearing was
a large stone, and Czedwalla went up to it, and, raising
his battle-axe aloft, chanted the following verses:-
"To Woden, great god, I vow
Victims to slay enow


If he to us allow
Victory to-night.
Here in the forest glade,
Under the oaks' dark shade,
On my keen axe's blade,
Oaths do I plight.
By the last earthly pang
Men felt as high priests sang
When the wild death-cry rang
Speeding souls' flight.
Grant us to win the fight!
Grant us death's fires to light !
Favour the cause of right!
Woden, all bright!"

Again the dull clang of the axes striking against
the shields gave token of the warriors' assent, and,
once more putting himself at the head of his men,
Cadwalla pursued his march in silence. That grim
stone in the solemn forest ring had seen many a
horrid sacrifice, and had been stained with the blood
of many victims long before the Saxons or the
Romans came into the Island; and if any places
could be haunted that surely ought to have been,
considering the horrors that had taken place there,
the cruel and detestable custom of offering human
sacrifices being common to Teuton and Celt alike.
And now it was clear, from the extreme care the
advance guard took not to make any noise, that they
were approaching the object of their expedition.
After a few minutes more the column halted, and
Caedwalla directed the band to divide into four equal
companies. He then ordered three of them to march


round the dim cluster of houses, or cottages rather,
which were scarcely distinguishable in a clearing of
the forest, which had been getting less dense for the
last mile or two. Caedwalla ordered Athelhune to
take command of the company that had farthest to
go, and bid them raise the battle-cry, and clash their
axes and shields together as soon as they were ready
for the attack. At this signal all were to fall on and
slay whom they met. Caedwalla reserved for himself
the right of attacking Edilwalch, and directed that such
prisoners as should be taken should be brought to the
altar of sacrifice, and there be offered up to Woden
and the shades of their ancestors.
Silently in the darkness of the night the men dis-
appeared, and Cedwalla led his party cautiously
and in single file closer to the village. As they got
nearer Ceolwulf could make out that the work before
them was rather more formidable than a mere night
surprise on a cluster of undefended houses. Before
him was a wall about twelve feet high and a ditch
outside the wall. Supposing none were on the wall
to oppose them it would not be a serious obstacle to
active and resolute men ; but should there be a deter-
mined foe behind it, the assault would be a serious
affair. Cadwalla ordered a young man to creep as
close up to the wall as he could, and then, if all were
favourable, to climb up it and reconnoitre the place.
Ceolwulf could see that there was a gate a little
further to the right of where they were, but he con-
cluded that this would probably be guarded, and that
was why Cadwalla had not selected it for attack.
Stealthily the figure descended the bank of the


ditch; they could just hear the sloshing sound made
by his feet as he got into the mud, then a slight
splashing, sounding to those listening very loud, then
silence, which was suddenly broken by a wild, un-
earthly cry, causing them all to start, and they could
hear the young man slip down, and then the splashing
sounds were repeated, and soon after he appeared.
Well, what was it?" impatiently asked Caedwalla.
A witch !" said the young man, shuddering. I
saw her eyes of fire glaring at me, and I heard her
spit-listen "
Again the strange cry rang out, ending in a kind
of sputtering snarl.
"Why, man, it's only a cat! Art afraid of a cat ?
Here, Eadwin, I can trust to thee; go thou and see if
any one is on the other side."
But these young men, all as brave as lions in fight,
firmly believed in supernatural powers, and nothing
terrified them more than the idea of witches and
demons; and when they heard that their comrade
had seen a great witch, all covered with fur and a
long streaming broomstick wrapped round with
bristles flourishing above her head, and glaring, fiery
eyes staring right at him and uttering fearful cries,
*which they had all heard, not one was daring enough
to go.
Out upon ye, men, for a pack of spiritless hinds "
cried Cedwalla, disdainfully. I shall have to go
myself; but, mind, as soon as ye hear me call, or the
signal from Athelhune is given, up with ye, witches
or no witches, or ye will go to Nifleheim quicker than
ye like."


He was just starting to go on the perilous work
when he felt his arm held, and the voice of Ceolwulf
arrested him.
Atheling, I will go, I have no fear of witches;
I have a wolf's snout hung round my neck, and
no witch can hurt me, be her charms never so
Well, old man, thou teaches these boys a
lesson; a stranger and an old man, thou darest
what my carles, young and bound to me by every
tie, dare not. When I am king of Wessex, as
I shall be, I will not forget thee. Here's my hand
on it."
Cautiously old Ceolwulf went down into the ditch,
and again the sounds of his progress seemed danger-
ously loud, then silence, broken by the wild din of
shouting and the clash of arms which suddenly
There it is," cried Caedwalla, rushing forward,
followed by the men behind him. Strike for the
golden dragon I Strike for the house of Cerdic The
Valkyrior claim their own Tyr scents the battle."
Shouting wildly such war cries, the band plunged
into the ditch, splashed through it, and dashed at the
wall. Old Ceolwulf had by this time got to the top,
and, kneeling down, he helped Caedwalla up. The
two sprang boldly down into the open space inside
scattering a party of cats that rushed screaming,

1 These domestic cats were most probably the descendants
of some which had accompanied the Roman colonists. The
native wild cat is untamable.


with their tails in the air, towards the nearest
houses. Caedwalla instantly seized the omen, and
shouted :
"See how the witches fly,
Scared by our battle-cry,
Follow to do or die,
Follow Cadwalla !"
And now an answering cry arose within the town.
Lights flashed here and there, and all seemed con-
fusion. Shouts of defiance could be heard on all
sides, showing that the attack was completely
successful as far as simultaneousness of action went.
The difficulty was to avoid attacking each other.
Caedwalla made for the nearest house, and, smashing
in the door with his axe, cut down the first man that
came to meet him. The terrified women and children
rushed out by a back door, and Cedwalla instantly
called for some straw to be brought him, and, lighting
it from the fire that was burning on the hearth, soon
set the cottage in a blaze. The flames spread from
one building to another, and the affrighted inhabitants
rushed out into the street screaming in terror. The
followers of Caedwalla cut down all the men that
offered any resistance, but pursued their way to the
palace of the king. Edilwalch was now aware of
what was happening, and having hastily armed him-
self, accompanied by a few devoted adherents, rushed
out to meet his assailants.
The other bands had not yet made their appear-
ance, and the position of Caedwalla was rather critical.
His little party only numbered fourteen in all, and
although the flames of the burning houses, which were


all made of wood and thatched, allowed him to see
where to direct his attack, yet they at the same time
served to expose the fewness of his numbers.
Edilwalch was no coward. He was fully alive to the
importance of crushing this handful of men before the
others, whose battle-cries could be heard drawing
nearer and nearer, could join their companions ; and,
leaving a few men to guard the palace-which was no
more than a rather larger house than the other
cottages, and thatched like them-he shouted his
battle-cry, and attacked Caedwalla's party. Nominally
Edilwalch was a Christian, having been christened
at the request of Wulfhere of Mercia, and had
received the Isle of Wight as a reward for his
conversion. His battle-cry, therefore, should have
been different to that of Caedwalla, but in his ex-
citement he forgot his new faith, and invoked the
Teutonic deities to his aid.
The first to encounter Edilwalch was Eadwine,
who was anxious to show his leader that if he was
afraid of witches he was not afraid of men. But the
voice of Cadwalla shouted to him to remember his
orders, and Eadwine turned aside to attack a stout
eorldoman who fought by the side of Edilwalch.
Down came his axe at the headpiece of his foe, who
parried it with his shield, and struck furiously back
at Eadwine. The blow was given with such good
will that it shore away his shield above the elbow,
and broke the arm which held it. Plying his axe
vigorously with his right arm, Eadwine gave the
eorldoman a cut across the cheek, but directly
afterwards was knocked down by a terrific blow on


his helmet. Striding across his fallen antagonist, the
eorldoman cut at Cadwalla, who was engaged in
vigorous fight with Edilwalch, already wounded and
giving ground; but Ceolwulf caught the blow with his
axe, shivering the handle and sending the splinters
flying, one of which pierced the eorldoman in the
eye, and caused him to stagger back with the pain.
But he was not destined to feel pain long, for another
crashing blow of Ceolwulf's axe avenged the fall of
Eadwine, and tumbled the South Saxon to the
ground. The fighting had now become general, and
the din of weapon striking weapon, the crash of falling
buildings, the crackling of the flames as they leaped
high in air, the fierce shouts of the combatants or the
deep groans of the dying, made a wild and fearful
uproar that produced a mad intoxication in the
fighting mass. High above all rang the stentorian
voice of Cadwalla as he plied his blows, now right,
now left, at the devoted body-guard of Edilwalch,
who was badly wounded, and was being led off to his
palace. The small party who fought round Cadwalla,
inspirited by his wild chant and furious blows, pressed
on after the retreating king, and each of their axes
seemed endowed with ceaseless life. Several had
fallen on both sides, and fearful were the wounds
made by these two-edged axes; but now the affrighted
townspeople-if the inhabitants of Cissanceaster
deserved the name at that time-seeing the small
numbers of their assailants, came to the assistance of
their king, whom they did not much love, but in whose
success they saw at least safety for themselves and
their families. Caedwalla-who, in the midst of all this


wild turmoil and in spite of his personal part in the
fight, never lost the presence of mind essential to a
leader-saw that unless he slew Edilwalch before the
people rallied, he would lose the whole object of
the expedition, pressed harder and harder upon
those who opposed him, till at last, with a spring, he
dashed upon the group who were leading the king
away. With hair streaming behind him, his helmet
battered, but the heron's plume still erect, his eyes
gleaming with wild excitement, his armour stained
with blood, and his shield in pieces, Caedwalla rushed
upon the king. One flash, one groan, and his com-
petitor was no more. Right through the axe of the
faithful guard who tried to parry the blow the
triumphant weapon of Cadwalla sank into the brain
of Edilwalch, and the king of the South Saxons was
numbered with Ella, Cissa and his ancestors.
But not unavenged shall he die, for wildly the
henchmen turn upon the slayer, and three axes gleam
in the air together. Ill would it have fared with the
son of Ceavlin had not watchful eyes and stout
hands been by: axe meets axe, and blow answers
blow, and the death of all the immediate supporters
of Edilwalch assures Cadwalla the victory.
But where are the other bands? Where is Athel-
hune? Where are the house-caries ? Where is
Casdwalla's brother Wulf?
"Quick, Caedwalla, retreat while yet there is time,"
shouted Ceolwulf, who saw the ominously increasing
crowds of hostile faces pressing up behind them.
Their own numbers were very few. Three were
lying on the ground either dead or dying; two more


were so desperately wounded that they could hardly
offer any resistance, and reeled as they stood round
Cadwalla, and only two or three had escaped without
a wound.
But the chieftain's eye instantly took in the
situation, and without a moment's hesitation he
ordered all to advance on the palace. He could
hear the cry of Athelhune, and at last saw by a
movement among the crowd that the other bands
were coming up.
With a rush, therefore, they sprang towards the
palace gate. The defenders were few, for in the
excitement of the fight round their king the men
had disregarded Edilwalch's orders, and had come
out to join the fray.
Daunted by the fierce onslaught, they fled into
the interior, and Camdwalla's men rushed in, closely
followed by a yelling mass of infuriated townspeople.
But two of Coedwalla's men kept these at bay until
the doors were shut.
The position now was somewhat curious. Edil-
walch was killed, and Caedwalla occupied his palace-
at least some part of it-and was himself besieged
in his enemy's stronghold; but in the rear of his
assailants he could hear his own men pressing up,
and he had little doubt of the victory in the end.
But now Caedwalla was to feel the effects of that
element he had invoked to his own aid. A stifling
smoke rolling through the rooms where he and his
party had taken refuge told them that the house was
on fire, and the shrieks of terrified women behind
them showed how far it had spread, and how useless


it was to seek for shelter by going further into the
There is no help for it, my men-our safety lies in
our own hands. With them let us hew us out a
path; we cannot fight with fire. I hear the shout of
Wulf, my brother, and Athelhune is pressing on.
Let us all make ready; the moment I give the word
and the door is opened, rush out upon the yelling
curs. Are ye all ready? ,Throw open the gate.
Follow me!" and with a fierce shout of fury the
eight desperate men sprang upon the mob.
Then once more began the wild cut and thrust.
Scarcely one of Cwedwalla's men had any of his
shield left. Regardless of their own safety, they
now only thought of selling their lives as dearly
as possible, and each man hewed and stabbed, and
struggled, and pushed in the seething, furious crowd.
Woe to him who fell there was no hope of his ever
rising again.
All the while the shout of Athelhune's men grew
nearer, and the flames of the burning palace waxed
hotter and hotter, and the whole place and scene
resembled Pandemonium let loose. Shrieking women,
with dishevelled hair, stood on the outskirts of the
mass, and as they saw their friends fall, seized them
by their limbs, and tried to pull them out of the
fray. But nearer and nearer came Cedwalla's bands,
until, with a wild rush and shout of triumph, they
burst through the men who were opposing them, and,
cutting through the crowd that thronged about their
chieftain, rescued him from his perilous position.
They had not come a moment too soon. Caed-


walla's axe was broken ; he had received a cut across
his arm; not a bit of his shield was left but a small
piece to which the thong was attached that served
to strap it on; his heron crest was shorn off; and
his right arm was stiff and weary with the fight.
Ceolwulf was wounded, and not a man but had some
hurt, and the heat from the burning palace behind
was growing unendurable. At Caedwalla's feet lay
the dead body of Edilwalch, and around lay heaped
up the bodies of the slain. Truly, the feast for the
Valkyrior maidens was enough.
When the men of Cissanceaster saw the companies
of Caedwalla now all united, they drew off, and
stood sullenly looking at the carnage they had made,
or else went off to put out the fires which were
blazing around them, or to see that no more houses
took fire.
Then Caedwalla, seeing that none had any longer
a mind for the fight, stepped forward, and, addressing
the inhabitants, said :
"Men of Cissanceaster, and all good South Saxon
folk, I came not to war with ye. Ye are all my
kith and kin, and I would rule ye as well as my
ancestors did ; but Edilwalch, who lies here dead,
revolted, as ye all know, from the kindly sway of my
kinsmen, and joined the enemies of my race and
yours, the tyrannous Mercians. Would ye prefer
Mercia to Wessex? the wicked Penda1 and his son,,
with their many deeds of bloodshed, to the wise
Ceawlin and his noble descendants? If ye prefer
1 Penda died in the flight from Winwidfield A.D. 655, but theq
memory of his power and ruthlessness remained long after him.,

'{t^\/^,,, ^J^ ^



war, here am I, and my faithful followers; our arms
are not yet weary, nor is our soul yet low; let us
decide the issue now. If any claim the crown for
Edilwalch or his descendants, either I will fight any
man single-handed, or we will choose man for man
and fight it out, and Woden shall choose the victor.
Shall we be friends or foes ?"
A low murmur of applause greeted this speech,
and Cedwalla went on:
If, my friends, ye prefer peace, and think enough
hail has fallen to Woden, and the Valkyrior should
rest appeased, let us then ratify our friendship and our
rule by feasting. Bring us here such food as ye
have, and we will sup together, and drink to the
brave slain who are now entering Valhalla."
The leading men who were left of the followers
of Edilwalch talked apart, and the rest of the people
went off to look after their property. Cadwalla
seeing no one inclined to answer him, again spoke.
Come, my men, let us be friends, and bring us
what we want, that all may end in peace and
pleasure. We care not to await much longer."
One of the oldest of the South Saxons stepped
forward, and said that if Caedwalla would give
Edilwalch a funeral becoming his rank, and would
treat all men as well as Edilwalch had done, they
would accept him for their king.
Caedwalla having accepted these conditions all
hostilities were laid aside, the new king's followers
helped to put the fires out, and, the bodies being
carried away and torches brought, preparations were
made for feasting the conquerors. The carcasses of


some oxen were found ready roasted in the burnt
stalls, and beer and milk were brought out from
the stores belonging to Edilwalch, and which now
belonged to his conqueror; all sat down on rough
benches quickly improvised from the ruins of some
of the cottages, and tables were made in the same
rough-and-ready way.
Soon all was laughter and merriment: gaily the
jugs of ale went round, and the half-roasted flesh
was devoured with avidity. Coarse jest and practical
joke accompanied the feast, and when all were satis-
fied the warriors slept round the remains of the
repast. Only CaEdwalla and his two lieutenants, Wulf
and Athelhune, retired to a room in the half-burnt
palace; a few of the more responsible of their
soldiers were left to guard the door in turns, with
orders to rouse every one if any cause for alarm
should arise.


T HE next morning found Cadwalla and his
followers all astir at an early hour. The
scenes the sun rose was a busy one. The inhabi-
tants were clearing away the rubbish of their burnt
dwellings, an occupation that did not make them
look with very favourable eyes on the authors of
the destruction; while the armed men of CaQd-
walla's party were carrying in the dead body of
Edilwalch, whose arms and shield were already
stripped off him, to become the spoils of his slayer,
and were picking up the weapons and arms of the
rest of the body-guard and of their own comrades.
Some of the leading inhabitants, anxious to be on
good terms with their future king-for most men who
could forecast the future augured from his success
in the past night, and from the courage and ability
he had shown, that it would not be long before he
recovered the throne of Wessex, now occupied by his
distant relative Centwine-were sending food for the
young prince and his followers.
Caedwalla himself, as he came from the palace, was
thanking these men, and inviting them to stop and
share their own hospitality. The wound he had received
was slight, and the arm was bound round with a
bandage. His helmet was no longer the small steel


cap he wore yesterday, but was one of Edilwalch's
that had been discovered in the palace; it was en-
circled by a small wreath of oak leaves, which one
of his followers had made for him in token of his
victory. The shirt of mail that he had worn the night
before was changed for another and more gorgeous
one, the rings of which were gilt. A new battle-axe
hung in a gold chain across his left shoulder, and his
sword was suspended in a broad leather belt that
crossed his right; his muscular arms were bare from
the elbows, and two gold bangles adorned each wrist,
inscribed with Runic characters. A young and
handsome henchman carried a new shield, Wulf
and Athelhune were on each side, and Ceolwulf came
close behind him.
The moment of his appearance was the signal for
all his followers to raise a shout of triumph, clashing
their weapons together. Two of the men, who laid
claim to being skalds, or poets, and whose business it
was to celebrate every great occasion by extempore
verse, and who had therefore been racking their brains
all the night before to think of what they should say
on the spur of the moment, now came forward, and
the eldest of the two began in a loud voice to shout
the following verses :-
See as the sun doth rise,
Comes he to glad our eyes,
Winner of battles' prize !
Victor Cedwalla 1
Who in the shock of shields,
Keen axe or broad sword wields,
Fights till his foeman yields
More than Cadwalla?


Surely the Nornst have said,
Through hail of Woden red,
Crowns shall adorn his head,
Crowned be Cadwalla !
Then, 0 my comrades, raise,
To the All-Father praise,
Pray for him length of days,
Long live Cadwalla !"
At the end of each verse the assembled warriors
shouted the refrain with wild excitement, and clashed
their arms with frantic glee; and at the last line the
frenzy became so great that the other skald had no
chance of being heard; for they made a rush for
Cazdwalla, and, raising him on the shield which they
took from his esquire or henchman, they raised him
on their shoulders and bore him through the principal
street of the town, shouting the last verses over and
over again, and every time they reached the line
" Long live Cwedwalla," their enthusiasm knew no
bounds; the population of Cissanceaster were quite
carried away with the excitement, which is always
infectious, and joined in the chorus. At last they
came back to the space in front of the palace, and,
order being somewhat restored, they sat down to
their breakfast. The other skald was determined
not to be deprived of his turn, and had only joined
in the excitement of the others with a well-bred and
nonchalant air, as much as to say," It's not bad; but
if this can evoke your enthusiasm, wait till you hear
my verses, and then see if you can keep the hair on
your heads."
I The Norns were the Scandinavian equivalent of the Latin
Parcae, or Fates, who wove the destinies of men.


But he was not destined to have his innings yet,
for, directly after breakfast was finished, Caedwalla
rose, and gracefully thanked all for their brave deeds,
especially mentioning Ceo lwulf, and said that the
property of those killed should be shared among the
victors, and that he would relinquish to them, in
addition, the spoils of the palace, only reserving a
fit proportion for the service of the gods. He then
added that all the people of Cissanceaster and the
neighbourhood might go about their daily avocations
as usual ; and that they would always find in him a
jealous protector of their interests and defender of
their honour. He also added that any young men
who were desirous of adventure and wished to mend
their fortunes might join his Huscarles, or body-
guard, after being duly inspected by his brother
Wulf and Athelhune; and he would promise that it
should not be long before they enjoyed the bath of
blood that Woden so well loved.
Loud shouts greeted this speech, and the skald
now rose to electrify the assembly, when he was
destined to a fresh interruption.
A movement among the bystanders who were look-
ing on at the banquet and listening to the speeches
showed that some one of importance was approach-
ing, and as the crowd gave way a tall and remarkable-
looking man, accompanied by two other men, who
also differed very considerably from the warriors and
country people who crowded the open space in front
of the palace, advanced quietly towards the end of
the table where Caedwalla sat.
The face of the man who now interrupted the


skald in so provoking a manner would have been
remarkable at all times, both from its peculiar power
as well as a certain self-asserting kind of sweetness,
if we may use the expression, which pervaded the
whole countenance. His face was long and thin, and
seamed with many furrows ; his eyes were deep-set,
and were very dark and piercing; a clear-cut and
slightly aquiline nose; a thin, firm, and, at the same
time, beautifully-formed mouth, sharply defined at
each corner by deep lines; a narrow chin, but broad,
wrinkled forehead, above which rose a loose and
peculiarly-shaped dome-like cap, embroidered in front
wi:h a Latin cross, worked elaborately with gold
thread. Such was the head of this celebrated man.
His dress was rich for those times, and Ceolwulf
certainly had never seen anything like it before. A
large, loose, and comfortable hood surmounted a long
and handsomely adorned cloak, which was fastened
below his neck and across his chest by a large,
jewelled buckle, or clasp. This ample cloak reached
down almost to his feet, and concealed a white linen
robe which he wore beneath, and which was fastened
round his waist by a silken cord. His shoes were of
scarlet leather, and marked with a black and pecu-
liarly shaped cross. The cloak was made of a
gorgeously-coloured purple cloth, and bordered with
gold thread. On his hand he wore a large and valu-
able ring, and some beads, with a cross, hung down
from his girdle. A few grey hairs peeped out from
under his mitre, made of the same coloured cloth as
his cloak.
Such was the celebrated St. Wilfrid, Bishop of


York, and now an exile from his see owing to the
animosity of the King and Queen of Northumbria.
Such a man in such a community was sure either
to command great respect or provoke great animosity.
Driven from one kingdom to another, he at last
found refuge in the only part of England that was
not yet Christian, impelled, perhaps, by a desire to do
good to his enemies ; for he had been shipwrecked on
the coast of Sussex many years before, and had
nearly lost his life through the barbarity of the savage
inhabitants, whom he now came to win to the fold of
the Church ; but also, perhaps, because there was
really no other safe place for him in England, seeing
that the Queen of Mercia was sister to the King of
Northumbria, and the Queen of Wessex sister to the
Queen of Northumbria, while, for some reason, Theo-
dorus, the Archbishop of Canterbury and Metro-
politan, was opposed to him, and had already helped
to depose him from the See of York. To a man of
Wilfrid's disposition it was better to be loved by
Pagans than treated as an equal by Christians. His
great fault seems to have been his dislike to all
authority, except the authority of the Bishop of
Rome. Whenever he found a difficulty at home he
appealed to Rome, and this may explain the opposi-
tion which he met with from Theodorus, Archbishop
of Canterbury.
The early Church in England was very nearly in
the position of a missionary establishment in a newly
opened up country in our own day. As clergymen
sent out from England naturally look to the parent
church as their authority for all they do, so the


missionaries sent by Gregory the Great looked to
Rome for guidance in all points of doubt; and this
natural habit the astute churchmen at Rome soon
saw how to turn to their own profit, and canons were
framed which made it indispensable that every higher
functionary in the church should proceed to Rome
for the symbol of his authority. When once the
simple barbarian, accustomed to the squalor and rude
manners of his own country, saw the magnificence of
the buildings, the refinement of life, and the order of
the Roman ritual existing in the everlasting city, he
was soon won to its grandeur, and henceforth believed
that whatever was done at Rome ought to be done
elsewhere. This force of early habit was not
easily lost; indeed, it was only when the corruptions,
the pretentions, and the extortions of the Roman
curia became unbearable, that men began to consider
whether they were not paying too high a price for an
antiquated idea, and too great a respect to the doubt-
ful authority of the self-styled successors of St. Peter.
It was this very claim-early recognized even by
legal authority, as expressed in Imperial edicts-to be
the successors of St. Peter, that gave them so much
power ; for if it was to St. Peter that our Lord gave
the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and if He had
delegated this power to his successors, it was difficult
for the superstitious and simple mind of a barbarian
to refuse him obedience when once he'had accepted
this fact.1
1 For the effect of this argument, as brought forward by St.
Wilfrid in his discussion with Colman, before King Oswy, at
Streaneshalch (now Witby), A.D. 664, see Bede, book iii., c. 25.


At this period the arrogance of the Roman Ponti-
ficate had assumed scarcely any of its objectionable
features, and the tone of equality with which St.
Columban1 addressed Boniface IV. upon the subjects
in dispute, reminding him of the peaceful intercourse
of Anicetus and Polycarp, although they could not
agree upon the disputed points, shows that men were
not yet crushed into the lifeless mass of religious
formality which they subsequently became, until
roused by the trumpet call of indignation, sounded
by Wickliffe, by Huss, by Savonarola, and by Luther.
Wilfrid had been early captivated by the glamour of
the Roman name. With an intense love of art, religion,
and discipline, he had been flattered and caressed at
the fountain-head of all. Returning to his native land,
he had received the admiration due to his character for
holiness; and a churchman who had been held in such
favour by the foreign bishops seemed to all the most
suitable to fill an English see. Accordingly he was
elected Bishop of York; but, convinced as he was that
the Irish or Scottish missionaries who had converted
Northumbria were stubborn sectaries, he refused to be
ordained by them, and, crossing to France, received a
perfect ovation from the bishops there, who saw in him
a determined asserter of the rights of Rome. Return-
ing, he was shipwrecked on the Sussex shore, and
at length reaching his own land, he found his see
occupied by one of the Scottish missionaries, the
holy Ceadda; and he retired to a monastery until
SSt. Columban, founder of the Monastery of Bobbio, in the
Apennines, who lived from 543 to 615, must not be confounded
with St. Columba, founder of Icolmkill, who was born 521 and
died 597.


called from it by Theodore, who annulled the appoint-
ment of Ceadda, and invested Wilfrid with the see of
York, while Ceadda was consoled by the see of Lich-
field. The grandeur of Wilfrid's ideas is shown in
his magnificent buildings and the pomp of his cere-
monial. It is true, it is an enemy that accuses him
of the splendour of his dress and the number of his
attendants, adorned as they were with royal robes
and weapons"; but the accusation seems accepted
by the men of his own time, and certainly Arch-
bishop Theodore is found subsequently among his
opponents. Once more he went to Rome, and
returning with a Papal decree confirming his election
to York, he was thrown into prison, and only escaped
through the superstition of his persecutress, Queen
Ercemburga, of Northumbria. And now he had
taken refuge in heathen Sussex, where all his virtues
were displayed and little of his faults. His personal
life appears to have been blameless, and his labours
for the conversion and material well-being of the
heathen most unremitting. To find this great Church
dignitary, the forerunner of Dunstan. of Becket, and of
Wolsey, teaching the miserable natives to fish, him-
self going out with them and letting down the nets
with his own hands, contrasts refreshingly with his
polemical disputes with Colman and the Scottish
monks, or his later apology before the Synod of
AEastanfeld, from whose decisions he once more
appealed to Rome. As a missionary bishop-freeing
his slaves, cultivating and improving the land, teach-
ing useful arts, and social order, and all the time
winning souls to God-he stands as an admirable
type, and as such the thinking laymen of his own


times admired and loved him. No man received
such prodigal grants of land. Edilwalch gave him
all the Isle of Selsea, and Caedwalla would have given
him all the Isle of Wight, had he not refused to
accept more than the fourth part of it; truly, he
might be called the Bishop of the Isles!
As Wilfrid approached Caedwalla, the latter rose
to receive him ; for although Cadwalla was a heathen,
yet he was far too politic not to recognize the great
importance of securing the support of such a man as
Wilfrid. Not only was there the moral support of
his great reputation for sanctity which would react
upon Ceddwalla, but there was the direct assistance
to be got from Wilfrid as a landowner, and the
wielder of supernatural powers, which had already
proved superior to the magic of the local priests or
sorcerers-a fact known to all in those parts at the
time of his shipwreck; for while a sorcerer was sing-
ing incantations for the success of the attack of the
wreckers, and Wilfrid was praying for deliverance from
them, a stone had killed the sorcerer, but Wilfrid's
ship had floated off, and he had sailed away in safety.
"Welcome, noble Wilfrid, welcome to our feast-
make room there for the Holy Bishop and his wise
men," cried Ca dwalla, and places were instantly
vacated, not without a sort of superstitious dread of
contact with such distinguished and powerful beings.
My son, the Lord has been merciful to thee, and
I pray that thou mayest be guided aright; it is a
great duty thou hast taken upon thee, and thou wilt
need much wisdom, but mayest thou be led to the
Wisdom from on high without which earthly wisdom
is but dross."


I thank thee, father, for all thy kind wishes, and
doubtless since I can have more open intercourse
with thee now, I shall learn many things I know
not; but to what am I to attribute the honour of
a visit so soon ? for I can hardly venture to think
that it was to grace my first banquet as successor to
Edilwalch that the all-learned Wilfrid has come."
Thou art right, my son, I came not to rejoice
that Edilwalch is dead. He has gone to God, and
must give an account of his works; whether they be
good or whether they be evil, peace be with him.
I come not to condemn or to approve; he did me
good, and received the cross of Christ; how far the
faith entered into his heart I know not-if his faith
was to be shown by his works, I fear not far; but in
that he is dead, I trust he is dead in the Lord. I
came to ask for his body, that I may bear it off for
Christian burial."
My father, happy am I that I can so readily and
happily grant thy first request to me as prince of
this land. May it be a fair omen of our future relations.
I will see that it is duly performed, and the body
carried whithersoever thou mayest appoint."
I thank thee, my son. I felt sure I should find in
thee a generous foe and a noble heart ; such soil
ought to be watered by the fount of the spirit of the
Almighty. But my presence longer now would only
hinder the merriment of these young men, and thou
must have need of much rest, after thy fatigues of
the past night."
Not so, my father; many cares I have, it is true,
but I shall feel them much lightened if I might have


thy powerful and wise advice. If, therefore, thou
couldest spare the time, I would fain talk with thee in
private. And the young men can in the meanwhile
amuse themselves."
Such aid as I can give, which I feel thou priest
more than at its just worth, is freely thine, my son.
What is done cannot be undone, and if thy right to the
crown was better than that of Edilwalch-about which
I am not capable of forming an opinion, seeing I am
only a stranger and a sojourner in the land-the God
of battles will uphold thy right; but if I can in any
way help to make this land happy, such services as I
can offer are thine. And I would, my son, that thou
wouldest give heed to my words, and learn of Him
who was meek and lowly in heart, that thou mightest
find rest for thy soul."
"At present, my father, I have not leisure to go
into such deep questions, but when all is at peace
here, then I trust I may be favoured with thy instruc-
tion. Shall we go into the palace ? "
The bishop assenting, he and Cedwalla, accom-
panied by the other two churchmen, retired from the
banquet, and their departure was the signal for the
free flow of merriment. The skald eyed the depart-
ing Wilfrid with a fiery eye, but satisfaction got the
better of his revengeful feelings ; for now the long-
wished-for time had come, and he knew he should
win endless praise. Rising therefore to his feet, he
rapped loudly on the boards that formed the tem-
porary table, and having procured silence, he began,
in an affected, sing-song voice, to chant the following
verses :-


"What said the God of war
He who lost arm in maw,
Wolf's maw that bit him sore,
Tyr the stouted-hearted?
What thought the mighty Thor
When he from Asgard saw
How we did yell and roar,
When we-----"
but he was not destined to meet with the success he
deserved, for the last word was lost in a most un-
melodious braying set up by a donkey near. Whether
it were that he was attracted by the similarity of
the tones and words of the skald to his own dis-
cordant language, or whether he simply wished to
express his approval, history knoweth not ; the fact
remains, however, that the donkey continued to bray
"He-haw, He-haw," in a most pertinacious and
obstinate way, and the skald, at last losing all
patience, hurled his axe, with a wild malediction on
the whole race of donkeys, at the misguided brute's
head ; but the axe unfortunately missed the donkey,
and buried itself in a muddy ditch, near which the
donkey was standing. This abortive attempt at
revenge was greeted by loud laughter, and one of
the young men, jumping up, said he didn't see why
he shouldn't try his hand at verses, since the donkey
and the skald had been having their innings.
"Once I knew a fine skald
And he sang a lay,
But a donkey near stalled,
Beat him with his bray.
Now which is greater poet-
The skald or donkey, tell ?
When the first began the song
The latter sang as well.


Loud applause followed this doggerel outburst,
which had, at least, the merit of being impromptu,
which is more than could be said for the skald's
untimely production. The skald, however, was very
angry, and shouted to the young man to sit down,
for he had not finished; but the latter was now also
fired with poetical ardour; he had no idea of his
latent talent until he found how well his doggerel
was received, and attributing this to the success of
his wit, and not to the amusement caused by the
discomfiture of his rival, he felt he had as much
right to be heard as the skald, and having once
got on his feet he felt all the delight of a young
orator who has made a successful ddbut, and,
unfortunately for himself, does not know when to
sit down. He refused, therefore, to give way, and
proceeded to string some epithets together more
forcible than elegant, the poetry of which chiefly
consisted in vigorous metaphor, but whose charms
were completely lost on the skald, who thundered
back rhymes of a more classical kind, but breathing
none the less bitter scorn for this miserable upstart
who dared to pollute the pure regions of poesy, and
contaminate the rich drink of Woden with his ditch-
water doggerel. The wordy war waxed fast and
furious, and the other competitor for poetical
honours, the donkey, added to it from time to time
by giving vent to a self-asserting bray, which for
the moment silenced the other two completely.
"Look here," shouted Athelhune, "I am getting
tired of this ; if ye can't settle it to your satisfaction
this way I'll show ye another and a better method;


ye have bothered us long enough. It is only fair ye
should afford us some fun now; catch that donkey
one of ye, he's the author of all this. Now drive a
stake into the centre of that clear place there, and
do ye, old skald and young skald, come out here."
All were now eager to know what Athelhune was
going to do, and the two men were inclined to
refuse to come out; but the jeers of the others, who
accused them of cowardice, at last overcame their
disinclinations, and they both came up to Athel-
"Give me a couple of bandages," he cried; and
when these were soon brought from a neighboring
cottage, he proceeded to tie the bandages tightly
round their eyes, thus blindfolding them; he was
not able to do this, however, without assuring them
that no harm would happen to them. When they
were completely blindfolded they were led up to
the stake, and each was fastened to it by one
ankle with a strong cord about ten yards long.
The donkey was also made fast in the same way,
and its two hind legs were hobbled. When all these
arrangements were completed, two stout sticks were
given to the rival poets, and they were told to punish
the donkey for its utterly uncalled for interruption.
The one who kept on beating longest was to have
the right of finishing his improvisation.1

1 This blindfolded encounter was suggested by the account
of a contest that took place in Paris, in 1425, between four
blindfolded men. Indeed, all through the middle ages such
contests were very frequent, horse-play being greatly admired
at all times.


A large crowd had by this time assembled, and
Ca~dwalla's followers had all risen from their feast
and stood round, and with the sporting instincts of
their race were backing the three competitors: for
the donkey was to have his share in the contest,
and he had been muzzled to prevent his taking an
unfair advantage of his vocal powers.
Is all ready ?" called Athelhune. "Then in the
name of Woden begin." At this order the two
poets cautiously approached the spot where they
supposed the donkey was.
The younger man, whose name was Oswald, was
not so anxious to hit the donkey as to get a blow
at the skald, for this he knew would amuse the
bystanders; so after he had gone a few paces he
stopped and listened, in order to judge where the
others were. The skald, who was a prudent fellow,
fearing he might come upon the donkey, and so
fall over it, or get tripped over its rope, put his stick
in the manner of a feeler in front of him, and came
gently groping his way towards the animal. This
latter, after a series of violent plunges and kicks,
when he found himself first made fast, had since
stood perfectly still, gazing upon the crowd in a
stupid way, and was suddenly roused from his
reverie by feeling the skald's stick poke him in the
ribs. Giving a squeal of surprise he jumped to one
side, and in so doing came violently against Oswald,
who, not expecting this, was instantly thrown down.
The skald, thinking the donkey was where he had
poked it, rained a storm of blows upon the empty
air, and as there was no object for his blows to fall

--.4 w --- _
,'..' A4o efi""k

--l -. e -
I'N &



upon, he overbalanced himself, and fell forward on
his face.
Loud shouts of The donkey for ever; give it him,
Ikey!" rose from the crowd, who were convulsed with
laughter at the ludicrous scene. Oswald had now
picked himself up, and hearing a scuffling near him,
supposed it was the donkey, and belaboured the spot
where the noise came from with hearty good will.
A roar of rage greeted this manceuvre, for Oswald's
stick fell on the miserable skald, who, burning
with mortified pride and desire for revenge, rolled
over out of reach of the stick, which Oswald con-
tinued to ply, unconscious that his victim had
gone, until he was suddenly propelled violently
forward by the donkey's heels, which caught him
Vowing revenge upon the author of their mis-
fortunes and smarting with pain, the two luckless
poets rose to their feet and groped about for the
donkey, which was lazily rubbing its head against
the post. Oswald was the first to find out where it
was, and raising his stick in the air, brought it down
with tremendous force on the poor animal. Squealing
at the blow, the donkey gave a violent plunge for-
ward and pulled the stick out of the ground, and
instantly upset both the competitors; for their legs
were made fast to it, and the sudden and unexpected
jerk threw both to the ground. Such was the terror
of the animal that it dragged the poor skalds among
the crowd, overturning many of the bystanders, and
throwing the whole place into a perfect uproar. The
.captured skalds, dragged in the train of their victor,


clutched at the legs of the nearest bystanders, and
thus brought them down too, who, in their turn, caught
at whatever was nearest to them, until at last the
excessive strain upon the rope fortunately caused it
to break, and the don-key went off with the honours
of war.
The uproar and confusion caused by this event
brought Caedwalla hastily from the palace, fearing
that some cause of difference had arisen between his
men and the town'speople. It was, therefore, with
relief he saw the real state of the case ; but, in order
to prevent merriment from degenerating into strife,
he directed Wulf and Athelhune to call the men to-
gether for the purpose of distributing the spoils they
had won. At Wilfrid's suggestion also, he set the
idle hands among the townspeople to clear away the
wreck of the palace and to commence rebuilding it,
promising all who would take part in this work
remuneration in proportion to their services; for
Wilfrid, foreseeing the advantage it would be to the
cause of Christianity to gain over this young and
noble nature, for whom there was every prospect
of a bright future, had told him that if he were in
want of ready means to fit him for his position, he
would advance him the necessary funds, thus pre-
venting the extortion which would otherwise follow
if Caedwalla had to take it by violence, and the un-
popularity which would consequently ensue. He
well knew that the warmhearted youth would never
forget this assistance.
When order had been once more restored, Cad-
walla gave directions to have the funeral of Edilwalch


conducted with suitable splendour, and a procession
set out in the afternoon to carry the body to the stone
church that was now rising in Selsea under the direc-
tion and from the plans of Wilfrid, whose taste for
building had already been exhibited in the churches
of Hexham and Ripon.


A FEW days after the events narrated in the last
chapter, Ceolwulf, or, as /Edric and Wulfstan
loved to call him, Biggun, having obtained leave
from Cadwalla, with whom he had become a great
favourite, to return to look after his young eorls,"
was engaged in overhauling the boat that had brought
them to Boseham, and which had been the means of
introducing them to such stirring events.
With the inhabitants of the little settlement, Ceol-
wulf had become an important personage. Cedwalla
had for some time rendered his name respected; for
being at the head of a formidable band of outlaws,
all intrepid and well-disciplined men, accustomed to
act together, and sure to revenge an injury suffered
by any one of their number, the population on each
side of the Andredesweald were very careful not to
give any cause for offence to so troublesome an
enemy. Cadwalla, with the true policy of all out-
lawed aspirants to regal dignity in semi-organised
societies, had carefully directed his followers to molest
only the immediate adherents of Edilwalch or Cent-
wine, and as far as possible to treat the other inhabi-
tants bordering on the forest with courtesy. Any man,


therefore, who was in favour with Coedwalla was
sure of a certain amount of respect from the people
in the immediate vicinity of the Andredesweald.
The reputation which Ceclwulf had won on the
night of the surprise of Cissanceaster had already
spread round the district, and the poor thralls of
Boseham, as well as the few ceorls or yeomen of the
neighbourhood, were eager to stand well with one who
was likely to be influential when Caedwalla established
his power more firmly.
Beornwulf's wound was nearly healed, but he was
still somewhat sullen with Ceolwulf, and had not
entirely given up the idea of taking revenge on him
when he was quite strong again. The conversation
of the worthy monks was not at all interesting to
him, and, except when they went out fishing, or told
him stories from the Old Testament of the fights of
the Israelites and the Canaanites, life was very dull;
and he was all the more disgusted with Ceolwulf be-
cause it was owing to him that he had been deprived
of his share in the booty and the glory of the night
attack upon Cissanceaster, and he was now for the
twentieth time grumbling over this grievance. How-
ever, there was a novelty about a boat that caused him
to forget his wrongs for a short time. Born in the
neighbourhood of Deorham1, he had never seen the
sea, excepting a distant glimpse of the Bristol Chan-
nel, until, joining the band of discontented and landless
men under Caedwalla, he had made occasional visits
SNow Derham, in Gloucestershire, where Ceawlin, the west
Saxon king, slew three British princes, Commeail, Condidan
and Fariemeiol."


to the seashore near Selsea, or to the land of the
Meanwaras. Curiously enough, the art of boat or
shipbuilding appears to have fallen into disusevery
soon after the arrival of the first Angle and Saxon
invaders, arising, no doubt, from the fact that, as they
had plenty to do in conquering the Britons, the sons
of the first conquerors never learnt how to build boats,
and very rapidly changed from a seafaring to a partly
agricultural, partly warlike people. One great merit
of the early monks was that they did all they could
to improve the condition of the people. They taught
them gardening, building, fishing, and agriculture, as
well as imbuingthem with the softening and intellectual
light of the Gospel,and by their gentle ways and purity
of life they shed a halo of refinement round them, whose
brightness, from the contrast it afforded with that dark
and gross age, can scarcely be too highly estimated.
Biggun, why dost thou put so many places for
oars ?" asked Wulfstan.
"Because she's a heavy boat to row."
Art thou going out in her then ? And if thou
art, who are going with thee? "
"Maybe I am and maybe I am not, Wulf."
"Thou never wilt go without my going too, Biggun ?"
That is as may be," cautiously replied old Ceolwulf.
"Why, Biggun, what's the matter with thee this
morning? Thou'rt as difficult to make out as old
Mother Deva was on a washing morning. Ah! I
should like to see old Deva again. What thinkest
thou has become of her? "
"That I cannot say; but I don't suppose that
Arwald would do her any harm -leastways if she

University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs