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Hero-Myths and Legends of the British Race

Page: 163

Ailmar’s Decision

King Ailmar was touched as greatly by the simple boldness of the spokesman as by the hapless plight of the little troop, and he answered, smiling: “Thou shalt have nought but help and comfort, fair youth. But, I pray thee, tell me thy name.” Horn answered readily: “King, may all good betide thee! I am named Horn, and I have come journeying in a boat on the sea—now I am here in thy land.” King Ailmar replied: “Horn! That is a good name: mayst thou well enjoy it. Loud may this Horn sound over hill and dale till the blast of so mighty a Horn shall be heard in many lands from king to king, and its beauty and strength be known in many countries. Horn, come thou with me and be mine, for I love thee and will not forsake thee.”

Childe Horn at Court

The king rode home, and all the band of stranger youths followed him on foot, but for Horn he ordered a horse to be procured, so that the lad rode by his side; and thus they came back to the court. When they entered the hall he summoned his steward, a noble old knight named Athelbrus, and gave the lads in charge to him, saying, “Steward, take these foundlings of mine, and train them well in the duties of pages, and later of squires. Take especial care with the training of Childe Horn, their chief; let him learn all thy knowledge of woodcraft and fishing, of hunting and hawking, of harping and singing; teach him how to carve before me, and to serve the cup solemnly at banquets; make him thy favourite pupil and train him to be a knight as good [Pg 292] as thyself. His companions thou mayst put into other service, but Horn shall be my own page, and afterwards my squire.”


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