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Queen Margaret and the Robbers.
There were once two kings of England at the same time. One was Henry VI. He was the rightful king, but a very weak and feeble man, and quite unfit to rule his kingdom.

The other was young Edward, Duke of York, called Edward IV. He was made king by some of the nobles, who grew weary of Henry and his foolish deeds.

A number of the English people were faithful to King Henry, but many others went over to King Edward's side, and there were quarrels between the two parties, which ended in a war. This war was called the War of the Roses, because the followers of Henry wore a red rose as their badge, and Edward's friends wore a white one.

In one battle, fought at Hexham, the White Roses beat the Red ones, and King Henry was taken prisoner and sent to the Tower of London. His wife, Queen Margaret, with her little son, Prince Edward, escaped after the battle, and hid themselves in a wild forest. As they wandered among the trees, seeking some place where they might be safe from their enemies, they met a band of robbers. These rough men took away the queen's money and her jewels, tearing her necklace from her neck, and her rings from her fingers. Then they began to dispute as to who should have most of the stolen goods. And while they quarrelled, Queen Margaret took her little boy by the hand and ran away to a thick part of the wood. There they stayed until the angry voices of the robbers could no longer be heard, and then, in the growing darkness, they came stealthily from their hiding-place. They wandered on, knowing not where to go, hoping much to meet some of their friends, and fearing still more to be found by their enemies, the soldiers of the White Rose. But, alas! they saw no kind face, and night came on. Then, as they crept fearfully from tree to tree, they met another robber.

The poor queen was much afraid that this robber, who looked very fierce, would kill her and the prince, because she had no riches left to give him. In despair she threw herself upon her knees before him, and said: "My friend, this is the son of your king. I give him into your care."

The robber was much surprised to see the queen and the prince alone, with their clothes torn and stained, and their faces white from hunger and fatigue. But he was a kindhearted man, although his looks were rough, and before he became a robber he had been a follower of King Henry, so he was quite willing to do his best for the little prince. He took the boy in his arms, and led the way to a cave in the forest, where he lived with his wife. And in this poor shelter, the queen and her son stayed for two days, listening to every sound, and fearing that their enemies would find them. On the third day, however, the friendly robber met some of the lords of the Red Rose in the forest, and led them to the cave. The queen and prince were overjoyed to see their friends, and soon they escaped with them to a place of safety.

Their hiding-place has been called "Queen Margaret's Cave" ever since that time. If you go to Hexham Forest, you will be able to see it.


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