The Bruce and the Spider

One of the tales my Scottish Grandmother told me when I was a very little boy, was of King Robert the Bruce..."King Robert was defeated in battle after battle as he fought for the freedom of Scotland from English rule, and had to flee for his life to a cave high in the mountains. He was terribly discouraged and was thinking of giving up the fight forever. As he lay on his cloak by a flickering fire he noticed a spider making her way slowly up the wall of the cave. She paused, and then made a great leap carrying a strand of her web, and failing to bridge the gap, fell back almost smashing herself against the stones of the cave wall. Seven times she strove to carry her strand across the impossible gap, with the great warrior king watching in fascination below, and on the Seventh attempt she swung in a great arc and landed the point of her web, and proceeded to weave her new home. King Robert Bruce ( and Bruce means Brave Warrior in Gaelic , and that is why you are named Bruce) took up his helmet and buckled on his armor, saying "If this wee creature can endure and do so much to triumph in the end, can I do less?", and he led his horsemen and his Highlanders with their bows and great Claymores down from the hills, to a place called Bannockburn, where they did indeed, win the day....but that is another story....and you now know why the number seven is lucky for Scots, and why Scots know to perservere, even when the walls of the cave are hard, and not to give up easily."

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Cuir a mach an sasunnach 's thoir a stigh an cu. -Gaelic Proverb

(This is not a personal story, but one I found somewhere.)