Bruce And The Spi­der

The Scots Magazine - - Focus On… Aberdeenshire -

LEG­END says that an on-the-run Robert the Bruce was in­spired to “try, try and try again” by see­ing a spi­der strug­gling and ul­ti­mately suc­ceed­ing in mak­ing a web. It’s a myth, of course; some tellings put Bruce and the de­ter­mined arach­nid in a cave, oth­ers in a hut. None ever men­tion a date so many peo­ple as­sume it “hap­pened” in 1306, af­ter tri­umphant English forces cap­tured his sis­ter and ex­e­cuted three of his four broth­ers. Oth­ers opt for 1313, a year be­fore Bruce’s de­ci­sive vic­tory at Ban­nock­burn.

Nor is it clear where it hap­pened. To­day, nu­mer­ous places in Scot­land claim the ac­co­lade, al­though the Bruce fam­ily’s pref­er­ence is for a cave on Rath­lin Is­land, North­ern Ire­land – at the time owned by Bruce’s mother.

An im­por­tant ques­tion, though, re­mains unan­swered… did Bruce ab­sent-mind­edly brush aside that spi­der’s web when he left to re­join the fight?

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