563.

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1) In the year 1017 a Danish Prince became King of England. His name was Canute. His father had led a series of Danish invasions of England, and when his father died he himself, after a final and successful expedition, was made King of England.

2) Canute had a cruel and terrible temper, and fought very hard. But, as king, he seems to have been much respected. He was a wise and just ruler, or so historians say.

3) He was also King of Denmark and Norway as well as King of England, a very powerful man. His reign gave England eighteen years of Peace, a time of law and order, which the nation badly needed after the fighting and troubles of earlier reigns.

4) King Canute’s nobles used to flatter him a lot, or so the story goes, They thought they would please him by telling him how great he was, what a wonderful king he was and so on.

5) One day Canute was walking along the seashore and they started on their usual flattery. They went on and on, getting wilder and wilder in their praises trying to please him.

6) Finally one of the nobles said the king was so powerful that even the waves of the sea would obey him.

7) Now that Canute was a wise man and was extremely tired of this kind of talk he decided to teach them a lesson. He knew the tide was coming in and he ordered his servant to bring him a chair, and he sat down on the shore facing the sea.

8 ) Then he spoke to the sea waves. He told them to go back. He said he was the lord of the sea, and very powerful, and he commanded that the waves should not wet his feet.

9) Well, of course, the tide went on coming in, the waves came closer and closer, until they lapped around the king’s feet.

10) Then the king turned to his nobles and told them to stop their flattering talk, and that’s how English people remember that warrior king: a man who cured his followers of flattery by getting his feet wet.

#1. (…) Was Canute’s character mild and peaceful?

#2. (…) What do English people keep in their memory concerning this king and his reign?

#3. (…) Why did the nobles know no bounds in their praises?

#4. (…) How did he address the powerful sea waves ?

#5. (…) The tidal waves never reached King Canute’s feet, did they?

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