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King Alfred the Great (871-899)
Alfred Learns To Read : Even as a child, King Alfred couldn’t resist a challenge.
Alfred Learns To Read

Slightly abridged from ‘A Child’s History of England’ by Charles Dickens.

Alfred the Great was King of Wessex in southern England, from 871 to 899. By reclaiming the Midlands and East Anglia from pagan Danish invaders, he took a giant step towards the formation of a Kingdom of England, and ensured it would be a civilised, enlightened, Christian land.

AT twelve years old, Alfred had not been taught to read; although, of the sons of King Ethelwulf, he, the youngest, was the favourite.

But he had — as most men who grow up to be great and good are generally found to have had — an excellent mother.

One day, this lady, whose name was Osburga, happened, as she was sitting among her sons, to read a book of Saxon poetry.

The art of printing was not known until long and long after that period, and the book, which was written, was what is called ‘illuminated,’ with beautiful bright letters, richly painted.

The brothers admiring it very much, their mother said, ‘I will give it to that one of you four princes who first learns to read.’

Alfred sought out a tutor that very day, applied himself to learn with great diligence, and soon won the book. He was proud of it, all his life.

Slightly abridged from ‘A Child’s History of England’ by Charles Dickens.

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