Gateway to the Classics: The Golden Ladder Book by E. Hershey Sneath
The Golden Ladder Book by  E. Hershey Sneath

Prince Hal Goes to Prison

In the Year 1415

Prince Hal was the nickname given to the eldest son of King Henry the Fourth. When his father died and he came to the throne, he was called Henry the Fifth.

Now I must tell you that this young prince was sometimes wild. His love of fun often carried him too far; and he became a source of great grief to his father.

Henry the Fourth had robbed his cousin Richard the Second of his throne,—some said of his life, too,—and plots were often formed against Henry by his enemies.

One day one of Prince Hal's idle companions was brought before the chief justice of England for the crime of robbery, was condemned, and sent to prison.

When the Prince was told of this, he hurried to the court where the judge was still sitting, and rudely demanded that his friend should be set free at once. The judge spoke very quietly and told the prince to remember that no man, not even the king himself, was free to break the laws of the land.

At this the Prince, more angry than before, cried out, "if you will not hear my words, you shall feel my blow's!" and, drawing his sword, was about to rush at the chief justice. The judge was not in the least afraid, but said firmly, "Withdraw, sir, from this court!" This only made the prince more furious than ever; and he rushed forward and struck the chief justice as he sat upon the bench.

The prince was at once seized. The judge still kept his temper, and said in a firm, clear voice: "Prince, I sit here in the place of our sovereign lord, your king and father. As his son and subject, you are doubly bound to obey him; and in his name I order you to be taken to prison, there to remain until the king's will be known!"


The prince, with a brave man's respect for courage in others, at once changed his mood, gave up his sword, bowed low to the judge, and went off to prison without speaking one word.

When the king was told of what had occurred, he exclaimed: "God, I thank thee for giving me a judge who has the courage to put the laws in force, and a son who knows how to obey them!"

When the prince afterwards became king, instead of showing anger against this good and brave judge, as a mean man would have done, he treated him with the greatest respect.

Albert F. Blaisdell

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