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II


At this time the Romans had a great army in Gaul . It was encamped near the city of Soissons (swah-son') and was commanded by Syagrius. Clovis resolved to attack it and led his army at once to Soissons . When he came near the city he summoned Syagrius to surrender. Syagrius refused and asked for an interview with the commander of the Franks. Clovis consented to meet him, and an arrangement was made that the meeting should take place in the open space between the two armies. When Clovis stepped out in front of his own army, accompanied by some of his savage warriors, Syagrius also came forward. But the moment he saw the king of the Franks he laughed loudly and exclaimed:


"A boy! A boy has come to fight me! The Franks with a boy to lead them have come to fight the Romans."


Clovis was very angry at this insulting language and shouted back:


"Ay, but this boy will conquer you."


Then both sides prepared for battle. The Romans thought that they would win the victory easily, but they were mistaken. Every time that they made a charge upon the Franks they were beaten back by the warriors of Clovis . The young king himself fought bravely at the head of his men and with his own sword struck down a number of the Romans. He tried to find Syagrius and fight with him; but the Roman commander was nowhere to be found. Early in the battle he had fled from the field, leaving his men to defend themselves as best they could.


The Franks gained a great victory. With their gallant boy king leading them on they drove the Roman's before them, and when the battle was over they took possession of the city of Soissons . Clovis afterwards conquered all the other Frankish chiefs and made himself king of all the Franks.



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