The King's Sons | George Manville Fenn

The story concentrates on the youngest of the sons, Alfred, who became known as Alfred the Great during his reign. The four boys have a tutor, Father Swythe, but only Alfred is interested in what the monk has to teach. At this point we get a very interesting lesson on how the great illustrated manuscripts were made, how the ink and the colours were made, and how the pens and brushes were made.

Father Swythe later became Bishop of Winchester, and was known as Swithun. He was canonised, and somehow there has grown a legend that if it rains on Saint Swithun's day it will rain for forty days after that. He is portrayed as rather a portly monk in this story, but his effigy in Winchester Cathedral shows him as a very slight man.