Hero-Myths and Legends of the British Race
Page: 161The Royal Family of Suddene
Soon after the king’s death the Saracens had captured Childe Horn and his twelve comrades, and the boys were brought before the pagan emir. They would all have been slain at once or flayed alive, but for the beauty of Childe Horn, for whose sake their lives were spared. The old emir looked keenly at the lads, and said: “Horn, thou art a bold and valiant youth, of great stature for thine age, and of full strength, yet I know thou hast not yet reached thy full growth. If we release thee with thy companions, in years to come we shall dearly rue it, for ye will become great champions of the Christian law and will slay many of us. Therefore ye must die. But we will not slay you with our own hands, for ye are noble lads, and shall have one feeble chance for your lives. Ye shall be placed in a boat and driven out to sea, and if ye all are drowned we shall not grieve overmuch. Either ye must die or we, for I know we shall dearly abide your king’s death if ye youths survive.” Thereupon the lads were all taken to the shore, and, weeping and lamenting, were [Pg 289] thrust into a rudderless boat, which was towed out to sea and left helpless.