THE BOOK OF ROMANCE - online children's book

King Arthur, His Court and Knights in the Age of Chivalry, by Andrew Lang

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Many hundreds of years ago, when the Plantagenets were kings, England was so covered with woods that a squirrel was said to be able to hop from tree to tree from the Severn to the Humber. It must have been very different to look at from the country we travel through now; but still there were roads that ran from north to south and from east to west, for the use of those that wished to leave their homes, and at certain times of the year these roads were thronged with people. Pilgrims going to some holy shrine passed along, merchants taking their wares to Court, fat Abbots and Bishops ambling by on palfreys nearly as fat as themselves, to bear their part in the King's Council, and, more frequently still, a solitary Knight, seeking adventures.
Besides the broad roads there were small tracks and little green paths, and these led to clumps of low huts, where dwelt the peasants, charcoal-burners, and plough­men, and here and there some larger clearing than usual told that the house of a yeoman was near. Now and then as you passed through the forest you might ride by a splendid abbey, and catch a glimpse of monks in long black or white gowns, fishing in the streams and rivers that abound in this part of England, or casting nets in the fish ponds which were in the midst of the abbey gardens. Or you might chance to see a castle with round turrets and high battlements, circled by strong walls, and protected by a moat full of water.
This was the sort of England into which the famous
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