BeeOasis Step 3
It was a cloudy and rainy day. Men sat high up on horses, riding through the stone streets around the king’s castle. The metal sound of the horseshoes bounced off the walls of old buildings.
At the end of the street, a metal worker was putting shoes on a horse. He was the blacksmith.
Behind the blacksmith, a man was standing. He was the man who took care of the horses. He was called the groom. And he had brought a horse to the blacksmith. “Put the shoes on him quickly, for the king wishes to ride him to battle,” said the groom.
“Do you think there will be a battle?” asked the blacksmith.
“Most certainly, and very soon, too,” answered the man. “The king’s enemies are even now advancing, and all are ready for the fight. Today will decide whether Richard or Henry shall be king of England.”
The blacksmith went on with his work. From a bar of iron, he made four horseshoes. These he hammered and shaped and fitted to the horse’s feet. Then he began to nail them on. But after he had nailed on two shoes, he found a problem. He did not have enough nails for the other shoes.
“I have only six nails,” he said, “and it will take a little time to make ten more.”
“Oh, well,” said the groom, “won’t six nails be enough? Put three nails in each shoe. I hear the trumpets. King Richard will want his horse now.”
“Three nails in each shoe will hold them on,” said the blacksmith. “Yes, I think we may risk it.”
So he quickly finished putting the shoes on the horse, and the groom hurried to lead the horse to the king.
The battle had been going for some time. King Richard rode back and forth, cheering his men and fighting his foes. His enemy, Henry, who wished to be king, was pressing him hard. Far away, at the other side of the field, King Richard saw his men falling back. Without his help they would soon be beaten. So he kicked his horse and rode to help them.
He was hardly halfway across the stony field when one of the horse’s shoes flew off. The horse was hurt on a rock. Then another shoe came off. The horse fell, and his rider was thrown heavily to the ground.
Before the king could rise, his horse ran away, hurt and very frightened. The king looked, and he saw that his soldiers were beaten. Everywhere the battle was going against him.
He waved his sword in the air. He shouted, “A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse.” But there was no horse for him. His soldiers only wanted to save themselves. They could not give him any help.
The battle was lost. King Richard was lost. And Henry became king of England.
This story is associated with a famous saying called, “For Want of a Nail.” Here “want” means to not have something or to need something. The point is that one small thing that is missing can cause great trouble.
For the want of a nail, the shoe was lost;
For the want of a shoe, the horse was lost;
For the want of a horse, the battle was lost;
For the failure of battle, the kingdom was lost;
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.