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MATTHEW OF WESTMINSTER
The flowers of history, especially such as relate to the affairs of Britain. Vol. II. A.D. 1066 to A.D. I307.

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MATTHEW OF WESTMINSTER
The flowers of history, especially such as relate to the affairs of Britain. Vol. II. A.D. 1066 to A.D. I307.
page 570



A.D. 1303. CASTLE OP STIRLING BESIEGED. 563 drawal of the king of England from the kingdom of Scotland, and after much slaughter and conflagration, at last the Scots, with a hostile army, laid siege to a castle belonging to the king of England, called Stirling. To defend which, sixty archers only were sent by the king of England, having but a scanty allowance of provisions for half a month. Therefore, the nobles of Scotland marched with a numerous body to besiege that castle vigorously. And, on the other hand, the besieged defended it manfully. And as, on account of the solidity and height of the castle, the besiegers could not by any art or contrivance, or engine, or any means whatever, do it any injury, they determined at last to reduce the garrison by wearing them out by famine and scarcity. But when the besieged found that this was their object, they used their store more sparingly. And the siege of the castle lasted so long, that, at last, their food being all consumed, and necessity compelling them, they slew even their dogs and horses, and ate their flesh with the blood in it. And, what is still more miserable to mention, they devoured even the hides of the animals. Nay, what is more horrible still to hear of, they ate the mice and cats which they caught in traps. At last, when everything was consumed which could be eaten, the besieged said to one another, " Behold our enemies are labouring to subdue us by hunger, and we have only very little corn left, and two quarters of one ox. Let us throw the fourth part of a bushel of corn, and one quarter of beef, into the ranks of the enemy, and let us eat the rest to-morrow and the day after, and then die ; but if they suppose that we have plenty of corn and meat, perhaps they will abandon the siege." Oh ! the praiseworthy energy of the men, even though it was only what had been originally devised by Josephus, formerly a most illustrious warrior of the Jews. So that when they had done this, the besiegers, being deceived, said, " Let us depart, for we are doing no good. Lo ! those whom we hoped were perishing with hunger, we now, by their throwing away their provisions, find to be in a contrary condition." So when the Scots had departed, the besieged presently sent one of their number to the king of England for supplies and relief as soon as possible, saying, that otherwise they could not possibly hold out the castle any longer. But the messenger going of his own accord by a bye way, and deviating from the path of honesty, went to the army of the Scots, telling them


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