Aethelsige's Vision

 The cure of Harold. St. Edward heals him.                                             St. Edward appears to Aethelsige.

The king chose his plan, and the plan that he chose he carried out with all the mighty energy of his character. He gave orders for an immediate march to the North. According to a legend which probably contains some groundwork of truth, the King was at this moment suffering from severe bodily sickness. But his strong heart rose above the weaknesses of the flesh, and he hid his sufferings from all men. By day he in no way slackened in the labours imposed by the duty of gathering together and marshalling his army. The sleepless night was spent in prayers and sighs, as Harold implored the help of the relic whose sworn votary he was, the Holy Rood of his own Waltham.

His endurance in the cause of his country was rewarded, so the story runs, by super natural help and comfort. The deceased King, the holy Eadward, did not, in his now happier state, forget the kingdom which had been his in his mortal days, nor yet the King to whom he had made fast his Kingdom. In the visions of the night he appeared to the Abbot Aethelsige, and bade him bear his message to King Harold. Let Harold, he said, be strong and of a good courage, and go forth to battle with the enemies of England. He himself by his prayers would lead and defend his people, and would guide their righteous warfare to certain victory. If the King should doubt of his mission, let him know that he, Eadward, knew well by how great an effort he had that day gathered up his strength for the duties of his calling. The holy man delayed not to discharge the errand of his departed master. He sought the King; he told him the message of his predecessor; and Harold, recovered from his sickness, and made more hopeful by the cheering words of Eadward, betook himself with redoubled energy to the work that was before him.