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22 May 1859, Edinburgh M.D., Kt, D.L., LL.D., Sportsman, Writer, Poet, Politician, Justicer, Spiritualist Crowborough, 7 July 1930

A Forgotten Tale

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A Forgotten Tale is a poem written by Arthur Conan Doyle first published in the Scribner's Magazine in january 1895.

In the Scribner's Magazine, a little note says: There still remains in one of the valleys of the Cantabrian mountains in northern Spain a small hill called "Colla de los Inglesos." It marks the spot.where three hundred bowmen of the Ulack Prince's - army were surrounded hy several thousand Spanish cavalry, and after a long and gallant resistance, were entirely destroyed.

In 1922 John Murray's edition, this note is: The scene of this ancient fight, recorded by Froissart, is still called "Altura de los Inglesos." Five hundred years later Wellington's soldiers were fighting on teh same ground.



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A Forgotten Tale

Illustration by Howard Pyle in Scribner's Magazine

[The scene of this ancient fight, recorded by Froissart, is still called 'Altura de los Inglesos.' Five hundred years later Wellington's soldiers were fighting on the same ground.]


Say, what saw you on the hill,
Garcia, the herdsman?
"I saw my brindled heifer there,
A trail of bowmen, spent and bare
A little man on a roan mare
And a tattered flag before them."

Say, what saw you in the vale,
Garcia, the herdsman ?
"There I saw my lambing ewe,
And an army riding through,
Thick and brave the pennons flew
From the lance-heads o'er them."

Say, what saw you on the hill,
Garcia, the herdsman?
"I saw beside the milking byre,
White with want and black with mire,
A little man with face afire
Marshalling his bowmen."

Say, what saw you in the vale,
Garcia, the herdsman?
"There I saw my bullocks twain
And the hardy men of Spain
With bloody heel and slackened rein,
Closing on their foemen."

Nay, but there is more to tell,
Garcia, the herdsman.
"More I might not bide to view,
I had other things to do,
Tending on the lambing ewe,
Down among the clover."

Prithee tell me what you heard,
Garcia, the herdsman?
"Shouting from the mountain side,
Shouting until eventide,
But it dwindled and it died
Ere milking time was over."

Ah, but saw you nothing more,
Garcia, the herdsman?
"Yes, I saw them lying there,
The little man and roan mare,
And in their ranks the bowmen bare
With their staves before them."

And the hardy men of Spain,
Garcia, the herdsman?
"Hush, but we are Spanish too,
More I may not say to you,
May God's benison, like dew,
Gently settle o'er them."




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