For children

Guarding the castle gate

In the Middle Ages many people lived in castles, which were built to keep enemies out. Castles had deep foundations and huge thick walls. Often a large body of water, called a moat, went all around the outside. Usually there was a drawbridge that could be raised and lowered for getting across the moat and into the castle.

At the end of the drawbridge was a gate. The guard at the gate had the most important job of any of the soldiers—to distinguish between a friend and an enemy. The safety of the whole castle could depend on him, for if even one enemy could get within the castle walls, he might be able to let in an army.

Sometimes an enemy would come disguised as a friend. He might lie to the guard. He might even produce false messages to confuse him. It sometimes took a very alert guard to know the good people from the bad.

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