Have any of you seen the movie
It's the story of William Wallace who fought for Scotland's freedom from
England during the last part of the 13th century. This story takes
up the tale of the Scottish fight for independence after Wallace's death.
Robert the Bruce is crowned King of Scotland and the English are determined
to stop the rebellion and squash the Scottish independence movement.
King Bruce's only child, Marjorie, is captured by the English and kept
in a cage in full sight of the whole town. Taunted by the townsfolk
and King Edward himself, young Marjorie strives to stay strong for Scotland.
Throughout her ordeal, we learn about her past through flashbacks.
As determined as she is to stay strong, just how much can an eleven-year-old
This delightful tale enhances
Middle Ages studies by adding the Scottish perspective of life in medieval
England. When Robert the Bruce becomes King of Scotland, his daughter
Marjorie delights in her role as a princess. She revels in her daily
amusements: reading, horseback riding, hawking, dancing, and playing
in the gardens at Lochmaben. By virtue of her father's title, Marjorie
and the entire royal household become a target of ruthless Edward Longshanks,
King of England. The men, led by King Bruce, depart to defend Scottish-held
lands deep in the English countryside, and subsequently, Marjorie is captured
by English soldiers. Stuck in the back of a filthy wagon, it floor
strewn with dirty straw, jolted about for a bone-jarring three-day journey,
Marjorie arrives at Lanercost exhausted, filthy, and covered with insect
bites. Eyeing the massive stone walls, the carvings about the arches,
Marjorie lifts her filthy skirts, holds her head high, and begins walking
toward the priory. The English captain dragged her instead toward
the road that divided the priory from the village. A small platform
was raised about four feet high and a cage of latticed timber and iron
squatted on top of it. It looked like a cage for a bear that performs
at fairs. Another soldier opened the cage and the captain pushed
Marjorie inside. Then, the heavy iron door clanged shut as the soldiers
disappeared around a wall. Marjorie looks around her prison.
A bare floor, cold metal bars, nothing to keep out wind or weather.
It was worse than the wagon, which at least had had straw. Villagers
gathered, laughing and pointing. They yelled insults, even words
which Marjorie had never heard before, and threw rotten turnips at her.
How could this happen to a king's daughter? Marjorie stepped forward.
"Fetch a judge. Get someone to release me. I am the princess
of Scotland." (Julia S. Fanning, Juliajsfnnng@aol.com,
Busbee Middle School)
Marjorie is a Princess, the
daughter of the new King of Scotland, Robert the Bruce. A princess is supposed
to live in castle, not a cage with a dirt floor. But in a cage is precisely
where Marjorie finds herself, as a prisoner of her father's archenemy,
King Edward I of England, the tall and cruel king known as “Longshanks”.
Young Marjorie has to find ways to outsmart him to survive, to remain true
to herself, just to stay sane. Come join the Scottish patriots in 1306,
a year after William “Braveheart” Wallace was executed, during the struggles
for Scottish freedom. Could YOU survive in an open air cage, with little
food or protection from the weather, and almost no privacy? (Jean
B. Bellavance for Pennsylvania
Young Reader's Choice Awards, 2004-2005)