Alfred the Great saves and adopts an abandoned, newborn babe

December 19, 2013

King Alfred the Great, painting by Samuel Woodforde.

King Alfred the Great, painting by Samuel Woodforde.

Alfred the Great was one day hunting along with a large company of his nobles. Suddenly there fell upon their ears a sound like the crying of a little child, which seemed to come from the top of a high rock not far distant.

The King ordered one of his attendants to go and see what was the cause of so strange a noise.

On mounting to the top of the rock he found an eagle’s nest, and lying in the nest a little child, which seemed to be only a few days old. To all appearance it had been left there by its cruel parents that the eagle might destroy it.

Southern Bald Eagles in their nests

Southern Bald Eagles in their nests

Alfred wept when he saw the sad condition of the poor child, and ordered it to be put at once under the care of a nurse.

“Since its own parents have forsaken it and left it to die,” he said, “I will adopt it, and love it as if it were my own child, and I will bring it up in my own palace.”

The courtiers applauded this kind act of the King; it added one more to those many deeds of generosity which had already made him an object of love to his people.

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Rev. D. Chisholm, The Catechism in Examples (London: R & T Washbourne, Ltd., 1919), 127-8.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 344

 

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