Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/114

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[1296 A.D.-
Robert the Bruce.

Warden of Galloway and Ayr, a protection for her son, and he was sent to Sir Walter Wallace of Richardstoun. One day William had caught a lot of fish in the Irvine, which were taken from him by a party of five soldiers riding past with the Warden. Wallace struck one of them with his fishing-rod, and made him drop his sword, which the lad seized and killed the soldier withal. The others closed round him, but Wallace wounded one in the head, cut off the sword hand of another, and the remaining pair galloped after de Percy, crying to him "to abide and revenge his men, who were being cruelly martyred here in this false region." Percy asked how many had attacked them, and, on hearing there was but one, he laughed and vowed that "by him this day he should not be sought."

Now all this is clearly of the nature of fable, and it is only quoted here as an instance of the sort of stuff to be found in Blind Harry. He credits his hero with a number of murders, killing Englishmen wherever he came across them.

There is much confusion among the different accounts of the rising against the English which took place in the spring of 1297. According to the Chronicle of Lanercost, usually a trustworthy authority, it was begun by Bishop Wishart of Glasgow and James the Steward. Hailes, following the popular legend, attributes it to Wallace and Sir William de Douglas. Wallace would not be influential enough to cause the rising, but undoubtedly he took an active part in it. Prominent among the insurgents were young Andrew de Moray, afterwards