THE people likewise doubting for want of a gouernor to be the sooner ouercome by their
enimies, did lead the said Ethus to Scone, where they crowned him king, in the yéere after
the birth of our Sauiour 874, and the 13 after Constantine began to rule the estate of the
Fishes like vnto men in skape.
realme. The same yéere were manie woonders and vnketh sights séene within the Scotish dominions. In the mouth of the Forth otherwise called the Scotish sea, there appeared fishes in
great numbers, like vnto men in shape, swimming vp and downe in the streame with halfe
their bodies aboue the water, and hauing a blacke skin, which couered their heads and necks,
from their shoulders vpwards like an hood. These are called Bassinates, and vse to go in
great companies togither, as though they were skulles of herrings, signifieng (when they are
seene) some great misfortune vnto the countrie, as the common people haue long had an
opinion. Also the loches, riuers, and all maner of other waters were frozen from the beginning of Nouember, till the latter end of Aprill; and when the frost brake, and the snowe
A long winter.
melted, there was such a floud flowing ouer all the plaines euen to the roots of the mounteins, as
the like had not bene séeme. Furthermore, when the same shrunke and went away, in the
mud and slime there was such a sort of frogs left, that when they were dead, and began to
Frogs in the mud & slime.
putrifie, the aire was so infected, that manie deadlie diseases insued, whereof great numbers of
the inhabitants did perish. Moreouer, there was a mightie starre or comet séene with firie
raies issuing foorth of the same, which both night and day followed the moone during the
moneth of Aprill, to the great horror of all that beheld it.
But to procéed. The Danes (as is said) hauing vanquished the Scots, and wasted the
The Danes went into Louthian.
countrie of Fife, passed ouer into Louthian, where robbing and spoiling all before them, they pursued the inhabitants into Northumberland, whither they fled for refuge. There the Danes
being aided with certeine Englishmen in fauour of Bruerne, slue in battell both Osbert and
King Osbert & Ella slaine.
Ella, kings of that countrie. The cruelde of the Danes was such after they had atchiued the
victorie, that few escaped with life, but such as saued themselues by flight. But chieflie
their rage appeared most against priests, and such as professed themselues men of religion.
For the Danes being Ethniks, persecuted most egerlie those that in anie wise professed Christ.
The like outragious murthering of the christians was practised throughout the countrie, and
This crueltie inuaded Norfolke also.
at length came vnto that blessed king saint Edmund, reigning as then ouer the people of the
Eastangles, as in the English historie more plainlie male appéere. Howbeit other of the
English kings mainteined the warres with these Danes certeine yéeres after this, with variable
fortune; the most part of those people which inhabited on that coast toward the Germane
seas, either being slaine or brought into miserable bondage and thraldome. But Alured,
King Alured redressed those harmes.
Hector Boetius mistaketh diuers matters touching the report of our histories.
Ethus surnamed Lightfoot.
which succéeded his brother king Edelfred, not in the kingdome of Northfolke and Suffolke
(as Hector Boetius affirmeth) but in the kingdome of the Westsaxons, redressed a great part
of this miserie, into the which the countrie was thus brought by the Danes, by subduing them
in sundrie conflicts, and sleaing their two capteins the foresaid Hungar and Hubba, as in the
same English historie is further expressed.
But now to returne vnto Ethus, I find that he was of such swiftnesse of foot, that he would
match and make waie in running with harts and hounds, and therevpon was surnamed Lightfoot: but of what nimble lightnesse of bodie soeuer he was, truth it is that he was of disposition in mind vnfit to haue the order of anie publike regiment. For whereas he might haue
Ethus neglected the opportunitie.
recouered Fife and Louthian with other regions, whilest the Englishmen and Danes were togither by the eares, he passed ouer that occasion, delighting more in following the pleasures
of the bodie & sensuall lusts, than to bestow his time in feates of chiualrie and other warlike
exercises. The nobles of the realme perceiuing him thus to abuse the woorthie gifts of his
A conspiracie made against king Ethus.
person, mistrusting least his insolent dooings should indamage the publike state of the common-wealth, they teoke counsell togither how they might apprehend him, and to send him
some whither out of the waie where to be safelie kept, and then to place some other in the
gouernement of the realme, that might rule the same with more discretion & better aduise.
And least their resolution should be disclosed before it tooke effect, they slacked no time, but
went spéedilie about their businesse. And comming to the king, whome they found a hunting in Calidon wood, they suddenlie arested him, and therwith committed him to safe
King Ethus is arestec, with his fauourers.
kéeping: & those whome they knew to be fauourers of this euill rule and misgouernance, they
put them also fast in irons, till they had answered vnto such articles as should be laid to
their charge. This doone, they procéeded to the election of a new king; and in the end
by the persusasion of one Dongall gouernor or thane of Argile, they chese Gregorie the sonne
Gregorie is chosen king.
of that Dongall, which reigned before Alpine, who was not past two moneths old when his