Bruce and the Spider
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By James Baldwin
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A long time ago, there was a King in Scotland. His name was Robert Bruce. He needed to be brave and wise, for the times in which he lived were wild and rude. The King of England was at war with Scotland, and he led an army into Scotland to drive Robert Bruce out of the land.
With his men, Bruce fought battle after battle. Six times Bruce led his brave army against his enemies. And six times, Bruce and his men were beaten. At last, his army was scattered, and Bruce and his men ran to the mountains. And there they hid themselves — deep in the forest.
On one rainy day, Bruce lay on the ground under the roof of an old house. He listened to the sound of rain hitting the roof. Bruce was tired and sick at heart, and ready to give up hope. He thought to himself, “It is no use. There is nothing I can do.”
As he thought, he saw a spider over his head. The spider was making a web. He watched the spider working slowly and with great care. Six times she tried to connect her line from one side of the roof to the other, and six times she failed.
“Poor thing!” said Bruce: “You also know failure.”
But the spider did not lose hope, even after failing six times. With still more care, she tried for the seventh time. Bruce almost forgot his troubles as he watched her work. She swung out on the thin line. Would she fail again? No! The spider carried her line across the roof and connected it to the other side.
After seeing this, Bruce cried out. “I will also try a seventh time!”
He got up and called his men together. He told them of his plans, and he sent them out with messages to cheer his people. Soon many brave men of Scotland came to Robert Bruce. They fought another battle. And this time, the King of England was glad to go back into his own country.
Now some people say this. No one with the name of Bruce will ever hurt a spider. The little creature taught the King of Scotland a lesson. And it will never be forgotten.