The Legend of the Thistle

hi I'm Marilyn McPhee and I have a story

for you it's a legend from Scotland

you know England has its roses and

Holland has tulips France has the

fleur-de-lis and you can't see a

shamrock without thinking about Ireland

Scotland has the thistle but why how did

this humble little plant become the

symbol of Scotland well as you might

guess there's a story about that the

Fissel has been on the scottish money

scottish coins since the 1400s and since

the 1500s there's been an honour the

order of the thistle but in order to get

to the story you have to go back to the

1200s and King Alexander the third of

Scotland and a Norwegian King Hawk on

the 4th now at that time as Scotland was

owned by Norway and the Norwegian King

didn't really think too much about it it

was just a sleepy little outpost didn't

figure much in any of his plans and it

was because of that perhaps that

Alexander the third thought you know

maybe we could just make an arrangement

to get back our land and and we'd be an

independent country the Scots have

always wished to be an independent

country haven't they and so he sent

messengers to Norway to make some kind

of a deal well that was like waking a

sleeping dog hot on the fourth thought

Scotland I haven't thought about

Scotland but if they're offering to make

a deal well then they must have money

and probably other treasures too and so

the Norwegian King decided to conquer

Scotland again it was already his but he

figured he'd recall Kirit and strip it

of its valuables and so he recruited a

fleet Norse long ships and sent them to

Scotland it was an ill-fated adventure -

from the very start

there were gale force winds and enormous

waves and several of the long ships sank

but finally some of them did arrive on

the Scottish coast

near Ayrshire and the norwegian

commander figured well that was as good

a place as any to mount an attack he

knew that there were Scottish forces

nearby but they weren't expecting the

Norwegians and so there would be an

element of surprise he figured that if

they if they advanced at night under

cover of darkness very stealthily very

quietly before the Scots even realized

they were being attacked the battle

would be over and the Norwegians would

have won and so the plan was put in

place it was a dark moonless night and

the Norwegian forces were creeping up on

the skies now the norwegian commander

decided to make it extra quiet he had

all of the men take off their shoes so

they could creep barefoot through the

underbrush and that's what they were

doing so quiet so quiet so quiet and to

one of the Norwegian men stepped on a

thistle and the sharp Barb's of that

humble plant dug into his feet and he

let out a Yelp that was so loud and it

woke all of the sleeping Scots they

grabbed their swords and mounted an

attack and well before you know it the

no Regents had been defeated and sent

back home and from that day to this

they've always said that the Thistle

should be honored for its part it's

important part in that battle and that's

how the Thistle became the symbol of

Scotland or at any rate that's the