Bruce, Robert

Robert Bruce, also known as Robert the Bruce, was king of Scotland from 1306 to 1329. A heroic leader, Bruce led the Scots in their fight against English rule. He suffered two major defeats and at one point was forced to flee to the remote island of Rathlin, off the Irish coast. Later he gathered his supporters once again. In 1314 he led them in the decisive battle of Bannockburn. Though outnumbered by the English, the Scots achieved a decisive victory, thanks to Bruce's courage, determination, and leadership. The victory gained independence for Scotland.

Numerous Scottish legends pay tribute to Robert Bruce. One of the most often told tales involves a spider. According to the story, when Bruce fled to the island of Rathlin, he lay in hiding in a cottage. His spirits were low, and he was tempted to give up the battle for independence. Lying there he watched a spider hard at work. The spider tried again and again to attach its web to a beam in the ceiling. At last the spider succeeded. The spider's determination inspired Bruce to return to Scotland. There he led the Scots to victory and drove the English out of Scotland.

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