Saturday, June 11, 2011

Bruce and the Spider

This is probably one of the most well-known stories about the great Hero King Robert the Bruce but yet, it probably never really happened. But as I said before, history is made up of things that mostly didn't happen. But these are the stories that we remember and I for one have nothing against them.

So this is how the story goes:

It was during Bruce's war with the English and his army had been having the worst of luck. They had been driven back six times on the field of war and Robert was beginning to loose hope of ever seeing his country free. He himself had to go into hiding or risk being taken by his enemies and meet the same fate as his proceeder, William Wallace.

Bruce wandered hopelessly with his small group of men and one night they came on a deserted old barn. Dead weary, they decided to stay there for the night as it was raining and they were already soaked to the bone. Bruce lay down in some straw and tried to rest, but rest would not come to him. His heart was sore for the want to free his people and the seeming fact that it would never be.

But as he lay there, he happened to look up and see a spider on the ceiling. He found that he pitied her as he watched her try to swing to the next rafter to weave her web. It was six times that he watched her, seeing then that it had been six times he had fought the English and had been driven back. He watched her stop and thought she had given up. Bruce's heart was even heavier now.

"It seems we have both failed," he said softly with a deep sigh.

But the spider had not given up. She tried again working carefully this time and as Bruce watched, she swung over to the next rafter. Elated at the sight, Bruce leapt up and, full of hope once more, he smiled up at the spider.

"You have given me hope, wee spider," he told her happily. "I too, shall try again!"

And so he gathered his men and sent word for any loyal Scot to join him and eventually they met the English on the fields of Bannockburn and won their freedom.

And so that was my wee version of Bruce and the Spider. If you have any particular Bruce story you would like me to write about this month, please ket me know. I am going to try to write them all in story form, so you can pretend I'm playing story-teller this month :) Don't be shy to let me know what you want to hear about. Drop me a comment or email me at

I'll be back again soon with more Bruce stories!

Slainte, Hazel

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  1. Local legend places the Robert the Bruce-Spider legend on Rathlin Island off the Irish coast. Bruce was given shelter there by the Bisset/Bizzet family when he was in hiding.
    I have been to Rathlin three times.
    Best wishes.

  2. I had never heard that actually. Thanks for the info! I love hearing the local legends, even if they are not always accurate, they add more character to the history.