How did a spider save Scotland?

May 15, 2017 | Author: | Posted in History

In 1306 Robert Bruce, or Robert the Bruce, was crowned King of Scotland. Soon afterward his forces were routed by the English and he fled from the country, taking refuge on Rathlin Island off Antrim in Ireland. He was concealed for a long time in what is now known as Bruce’s Castle on this island between Ireland and Scotland. One day, as the discouraged Scottish King lay on his pallet, he observed a spider persistently trying to fix its web to a beam on the ceiling. The spider failed six times in succession. “Now shall this spider,” said Bruce, “teach me what I am to do, for I also have failed six times.” In the seventh attempt the spider succeeded in fixing its web to the beam, whereupon Bruce emerged from his hiding place, gathered a handful of followers, returned to Scotland and after a series of successful campaigns won the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, after which England acknowledged the complete independence of Scotland. Because of this story, which many Scottish historians treat as fact rather than legend, in Scotland it is regarded almost as a crime for a person named Bruce to kill a spider.

 

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