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II


About seventy years later the Austrians made another attempt to conquer the patriots. They collected a splendid army and marched into the mountains. The Swiss at once armed themselves and met the Austrians at a place called Sempach. In those times powder had not been invented, and men fought with spears, swords, and battle-axes. The Austrian soldiers stood shoulder to shoulder, each grasping a long spear whose point projected far in front of him. The Swiss were armed with short swords and spears and it was impossible for them to get to the Austrians. For a while their cause looked hopeless, but among the ranks of the Swiss was a brave man from one of the Forest Cantons. His name was Arnold von Winkelried (Win'-kel-ried). As he looked upon the bristling points of the Austrian spears, he saw that his comrades had no chance to win unless an opening could be made in that line. He determined to make such an opening even at the cost of his life. Extending his arms as far as he could, he rushed toward the Austrian line and gathered within his arms as many spears as he could grasp.


"Make way for liberty!" he cried — Then ran, with arms extended wide, As if his dearest friend to clasp; Ten spears he swept within his grasp. "Make way for liberty!" he cried — Their keen points met from side to side. He bowed among them like a tree, And thus made way for liberty.


Pierced through and through Winkelried fell dead, but he had made a gap in the Austrian line, and into this gap rushed the Swiss patriots. Victory was theirs and the Cantons were free.


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