Prince William, ship
Story, Tale, Legend, Folktale, Myth,
Fable, Learning, Teaching
"Row back!" cried the prince.
"It is my little sister. She must be saved!"
Prince William and the
listening to the sad story)
King Henry, the Handsome Scholar, had one son named William,
whom he dearly loved. The young man was noble and brave, and
everybody hoped that he would some day be the King of England.
One summer Prince William went with his father across the sea to
look after their lands in France. They were welcomed with joy by
all their people there, and the young prince was so gallant and
kind, that he won the love of all who saw him.
But at last the time came for them to go back to England. The
king, with his wise men and brave knights, set sail early in the
day; but Prince William with his younger friends waited a little
while. They had had so joyous a time in France that they were in
no great haste to tear themselves away.
Then they went on board of the ship which was waiting to carry
them home. It was a beautiful ship with white sails and white
masts, and it had been fitted up on purpose for this voyage.
The sea was smooth, the winds were fair and no one thought of
danger. On the ship, everything had been arranged to make the
trip a pleasant one. There was music and dancing, and everybody
was merry and glad.
The sun had gone down before the white-winged vessel was fairly
out of the bay. But what of that? The moon was at its full, and
it would give light enough; and before the dawn of the morrow,
the narrow sea would be crossed. And so the prince, and the
young people who were with him, gave themselves up to merriment
and feasting and joy.
The earlier hours of the night passed by; and then there was a
cry of alarm on deck. A moment afterward there was a great
crash. The ship had struck upon a rock. The water rushed in. She
was sinking. Ah, where now were those who had lately been so
heart-free and glad?
Every heart was full of fear. No one knew what to do. A small
boat was quickly launched, and the prince with a few of his
bravest friends leaped into it. They pushed off just as the ship
was beginning to settle beneath the waves. Would they be saved?
They had rowed hardly ten yards from the ship, when there was a
cry from among those that were left behind.
"Row back!" cried the prince. "It is my little sister. She must
The men did not dare to disobey. The boat was again brought
alongside of the sinking vessel. The prince stood up, and held
out his arms for his sister. The boat was the only hope of
survival for those in the water, and as more and more of them
tried to get into it, their weight pulled it below the surface
and everyone drowned.
Ship and boat, prince and princess, and all the gay company that
had set sail from France, went down to the bottom together. One
man clung to a floating plank, and was saved the next day. He
was the only person left alive to tell the sad story.
When King Henry heard of the death of his son, his grief was
more than he could bear. His heart was broken. He had no more
joy in life; and men say that no one ever saw him smile again.
1. Why didn't Prince
William go back with his father?
2. What happened to the
ship at night?
3. Why did Prince
William order his men to row back?
ESL, English, Story,
Tale, Legend, Folktale, Myth, Fable, Learning, Teaching