|Directions: Your teacher may ask
you to write your own version of this story, in class, in as much detail
as you can, without looking at the text. You should therefore read the
story more than once. You can make a list of the names of people and places.
You can use that list when you write your version of the story.
When King James came to the throne of Scotland, the whole country was in
a state of rebellion.
The King tried to restore order,
but the wicked nobles hated him, and plotted together to take his life.
It was Christmas, and King James,
with his Queen Joan and a party of faithful friends, was celebrating the
season at an old monastery in Perth. The day had passed merrily, and the
royal couple prepared to retire.
Suddenly the clang of arms was
heard. The ladies rushed to secure the door of the room, but alas! the
bolts and bars had gone, and only the empty staples remained. Meanwhile
King James seized the tongs, and tearing up a board in the floor, let himself
down into a vault below. But before there was time to replace the board,
the murderers came rushing along. Then Catherine Douglas, one of the Queen’s
ladies, flew to the door and thrust her arm through the empty staples,
thus gaining time to allow her sovereign to escape. The brave arm was but
a frail bar, and was soon broken, and the traitors burst into the room,
to find no sign of King James.
Unfortunately the King was unable
to get out of the vault. The ladies then made ropes of the sheets, and
tried to pull him up, but the noise was heard by the ruffians. They again
rushed into the room and the unfortunate monarch was most cruelly murdered.
Although Catherine’s brave deed
was not rewarded by the salvation of her King’s life, yet it was an act
of self-sacrifice which places her among the ranks of true heroines.