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Hereward the Wake
When William of Normandy came over the sea, and took the crown of England, many English people would not call him king. The young lord Hereward was one of these. He and his men made for themselves a "Camp of Refuge" among the reeds and rushes on the marshes. All day they lay there, hidden from view by the mists which rose from the watery ground, and at night they came out, and attacked the Normans in their tents, and burned their towns.

Hereward was called "the Wake" because he was so watchful and wide-awake that the Normans could not catch him. They were always trying to find him, but they did not know the safe paths over the marshes which he and his men used, and when they tried to cross, they sank with their horses in the soft muddy ground, and had to turn back.

But at last a false friend of the English showed them the way to the "Camp of Refuge", and then Hereward had to flee to save his life. He went with a few friends to the sea-shore, and there he found some fishermen who were going to sell fish to the Norman guards in an English town.

The fishermen took Hereward and his men into their boats, and covered them with straw; then they set sail. The Norman guards bought the fish as usual, and had it served for dinner. While they were eating it, the English soldiers came quietly from the boats, and killed most of them before they could get their swords to defend themselves. When the English people in the place saw this, they gladly joined Hereward and made him master of their town.


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