By Bill Olson,2014-05-17 10:01
18 views 0



    [00:03.06]Lesson 9

    [00:05.30] Royal espionage

    [00:13.57]What important thing did King Alfred learn when he penetrated the Danish camp of Guthrum

[00:22.74]Alfred the Great acted as his own spy,

[00:25.99]visiting Danish camps disguised as a minstrel.

    [00:30.46]In those days wandering minstrels were welcome everywhere.

    [00:34.61]They were not fighting men,and their harp was their passport.

    [00:39.56]Alfred had learned many of their ballads in his youth

    [00:42.60]and could vary his programme with acrobatic tricks and simple conjuring.

    [00:48.97]While Alfred's little army slowly began to gather at Athelney,

    [00:53.90]the king himself set out to penetrate the camp of Guthrum,

[00:58.62]the commander of the Danish invaders.

    [01:01.71]These had settled down for the winter at Chippenham:thither Alfred went.

[01:07.61]He noticed at once that discipline was slack:

[01:11.31]the Danes had the selfconfidence of conquerors,

[01:14.18]and their security precautions were casual.

    [01:17.91]They lived well,on the proceeds of raids on neighbouring regions.

    [01:22.15]There they collected women as well as food and drink,

[01:25.70]and a life of ease had made them soft.

    [01:29.96]Alfred stayed in the camp a week before he returned to Athelney.

    [01:34.80]The force there assembled was trivial compared with the Danish horde.

    [01:39.45]But Alfred had deduced that the Danes were no longer fit for prolonged battle:

[01:45.03]and that their commissariat had no organization,

[01:48.44]but depended on irregular raids.

[01:51.90]So,faced with the Danish advance,

[01:54.82]Alfred did not risk open battle but harried the enemy.

    [01:59.33]He was constantly on the move,drawing the Danes after him.

    [02:03.72]His patrols halted the raiding parties:hunger assailed the Danish army.

[02:09.39]Now Alfred began a long series of skirmishes--

[02:13.64]and within a month the Danes had surrendered.

    [02:17.24]The episode could reasonably serve as a unique epic of royal espionage!

Report this document

For any questions or suggestions please email