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Edward The Black Prince, The Boy Who Won A Battle
by [?]

The sun rose brightly over the little village of Crecy on the morning of Saturday, August 26, 1346. The golden corn was standing in the fields, the cattle were quietly grazing in the meadows, the birds were twittering in the woods, and in the still morning air rose the gentle murmur of a joyous stream. Everything spoke of peace that bright summer morning; little could one have dreamed that before that sun should have set in the west the din and thunder of battle would wake the echoes of those quiet woods, or that those sunny fields would be torn and desolated by the angry tread of thousands of feet, or strewn with heaps of dead or dying! Yet so it was to be. A large army was even then halting in the cover of the forest over against the village, and far, far away, if any one had listened, might have been heard, mingling with the voices of the morning, the sound of a great host of horsemen and soldiers advancing in hot pursuit, with now and then a trumpet blast which echoed faintly among the hills.

The English soldiers, as they rose from their beds of turf and grass, heard those far-off sounds, and knew–who better?–they must fight like men to-day or perish.

So they sprang to their feet and seized their arms and armour, ready at any instant to obey the summons to action.

Suddenly along the ranks came the cry, “The king and the prince!” and directly afterwards appeared the great King Edward the Third of England riding slowly down the line of his army, and at his side a stately boy of sixteen years, dressed in black armour and mounted on a black horse. Never was king more honoured or king’s son more loved than were these two as they passed with cheery word and dauntless bearing among their loyal and devoted soldiers.

The king stopped when he had reached a spot from which a good portion of his host could hear him, and raised his hand.

Every man stood silent as he spoke.

“My loyal subjects, we must meet to-day a host greater than we in number, but not greater in valour. Fight, I charge you, for the honour of your country. My son here leads the first division of my army. This is his first battle, and sure I am he will quit himself like a man. Do you the same, and God will give us the victory.”

With such encouraging and confident words the king addressed his men, who cheered him and the brave prince long and loud.

Then every man took his helmet and his bow, and waited for the enemy.

The morning passed, but still no foe appeared. But the distant murmur was now grown to a loud and ever-increasing din; and as they sat the English could hear shouts and the neighing of horses and the tumult of many voices, which betokened the near approach of the host of King Philip of France.

It was not till about three in the afternoon that the French army came in sight of Crecy. They had had a rapid and fatiguing march since daybreak, and were now in no condition, even with their vastly superior numbers, to grapple with the refreshed and inspirited Englishmen. So thought and said many of Philip’s officers, and did their best to persuade him to put off the encounter till next day.

But however much Philip might have been inclined to adopt this good advice, his army was in such a state of confusion and disorder, owing to their rapid march, that they were quite unmanageable. When the officers bade those in front to halt, those behind, shouting and impatient, still pressed on, so much so that the king and all his nobles were carried along with them into the very face of the English, who stood awaiting the attack.