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But the Scotch had learned what they could do and they still went on fighting for freedom, under two leaders named Robert Bruce and John Comyn. Edward marched against them with another large army. He won a great victory, and the nobles once more swore to obey him.

But in spite of this oath, Bruce meant to free Scotland if he could, and win the crown. He was privately crowned king of Scotland in the Abbey of Scone in 1306.

He said to his wife, "Henceforth you are the queen and I am the king of our country."

"I fear, " said his wife, "that we are only playing at being king and queen, like children in their games."

"Nay, I shall be king in earnest, " said Bruce.

The news that Bruce had been crowned roused all Scotland and the people took up arms to fight under him against the English. But again King Edward defeated the Scotch and Bruce himself fled to the Grampian Hills.

For two months he was closely pursued by the English who used bloodhounds to track him. He and his followers had many narrow escapes. Once he had to scramble barefoot up some steep rocks, and another time all the party would have been captured had not Bruce awakened just in time to hear the approach of the enemy. He and his men lived by hunting and fishing.

However, many brave patriots joined them, until after a while Bruce had a small army. Five times he attacked the English, and five times he was beaten. After his last defeat he fled from Scotland and took refuge in a wretched hut on an island off the north coast of Ireland . Here he stayed all alone during one winter.

Robert Bruce King from 1306-1329 | Famous Men of The Middle Ages | cледующая глава