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At first the townsfolk thought the King was at the head of a large troop, and they drew away from the wall; but when they saw only three behind, they rushed upon him, and others at a distance pelted him with stones. His own men, still outside the town, saw his danger, and in their hurry to go to his help, all scrambled up the two ladders at once. As you might expect, the ladders broke under such a weight. Meanwhile Alexander, with the reckless spirit which we know of old in him, jumped down from the top of the wall inside the town. There indeed he had a terrible fight, with his back to the wall, against numbers of the enemy.
His men outside grew wilder and wilder as they guessed the danger threatening their King. Still there were no more ladders to be had. At last they made a human ladder, scrambling up on each other’s shoulders, and reached their King’s side only just in time. A stone that had fallen heavily on his helmet had nearly stunned him; then an arrow pierced right through his armor into his lung; and he fainted and fell. The veteran had been killed already, and the two other followers were able to protect the King’s body till their comrades came over the wall to their help.
About the author:
Ethelwyn Lemon (1887-1943), a graduate of Edinburgh University, was for more than 40 years a successful classical coach in Edinburgh. For 20 years she was an Assistant in History at the University, and acted as an Inspector for the Scottish Education Department.
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