THE SEAL'S ISLAND 229
by Hayley. Readers should not forget Kipling's story, " The Conversion of St. Wilfrid," in which the author humorously describes how Puck wickedly persuaded Wilfrid to narrate the story of his fight with the Saxons on the Sussex coast— a story which the man of peace had endeavoured to put behind him. But when the fire of his youth revived for a few moments a sudden thick burr came into the old man's voice : "I was bringing over a few things for my old church at York, and some of the natives laid hands on them, and— and I'm afraid I lost my temper . . . Eh, but I must ha' been a silly lad." In such human touches these stories abound, and they make no little of Kipling's charm.
" The Conversion of St. Wilfrid " is a sketch of a well-known phase in the life of the Archbishop Wilfrid. In the seventh century the kingdom of the South Saxons was to a great extent cut off from neighbouring English kingdoms by the tract of marshy land to the east and west, and even to the north, by the forest of the Weald. The sloping beaches of the coast also attracted sea adventurers, who harassed and plundered their people, so it was natural that Paganism should have been retained longer in Sussex than in other kingdoms. These people, in whose veins flowed the restless