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The White Ship
The night was dark, and a stormy wind was blowing, when the White Ship set sail from the shore of France. Prince William of England and his sister and their young friends were going back to their own land, after a visit to the French king.

The English king, Henry I, with his courtiers, had sailed earlier, and had now almost reached home. But the prince would not go with them, he wished to make merry before starting.

There had been eating, and drinking, and dancing, and singing on board the White Ship, and everyone was merry.

But the sailors had drunk so much wine that they could not see to steer aright. Soon there was a crash, and the ship trembled. It had struck a rock, and was sinking.

Then the sounds of merriment were changed to cries of fear. "Save us!" shrieked the terrified people. "Save the prince," cried the captain, "the rest of us must die!" There was only one small boat on the ship, and Prince William was put into this, and rowed away. But he had not gone far, when he heard his sister crying to him to save her.

"Go back!" shouted he. The boat was rowed back, but when it came near the ship, so many people jumped into it, that it was overturned and all in it were drowned.

Soon the White Ship sank also, and of all the gay company upon it only one man was saved.

When King Henry heard that his only son was dead, he was very sorrowful, and it is said that no man ever again saw a smile upon his face.


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