MY FAVOURITE STORY

My favourite story is the story of King James II and Harry Moon. There wasn't space to tell it properly in The Story of Britain, so here it is now.

James II was King but no one trusted him. James wanted to rule by himself, without listening to Parliament. And he wanted everyone to join his faith (James was a Catholic, while most people were Protestants). At last things got so bad that William of Orange, James's nephew, came to England to take control, and James ran away.

He disguised himself in a black wig and crossed the River Thames by rowing boat. With two friends he rode to Kent, where a boat was waiting to take them to France. But the tide was low and the boat got stuck on the mud. Before the water could rise enough to float them, some fishermen arrived. Harry Moon was one of the fishermen.

When Harry Moon jumped down into the boat's cabin, he didn't recognise the King. He arrested the three men and made them take off their trousers so he could search their pockets. All night he guarded them, and the next day took them to a pub in Faversham. James was terrified of being captured so he put on an awful cockney accent. But someone saw through his disguise and shouted, 'It's the King!'

Unfortunately James didn't behave much like a King. First he begged to be set free, then threatened the fishermen, then offered them money. And that was when Harry Moon realised there was nothing special about Kings. They could be just as foolish as other people and just as scared. And he knew the days when people would obey Kings without question were over.