"Sire, they are a danger to your kingdom, your crown, and your life!" So thundered a member of King Aethelred's Witan, his group of counselors, in the fall of 1002.
"Surely... surely not," the king replied. "They are my subjects."
"The are Danes," the counselor replied. "The same Danes that have been sowing death and destruction in England for a decade! They rule the northeast all but in name. Do you not think they hunger for more?"
"I..." The king frowned. "My subjects join in the pillage with the raiders?"
"It is said, sire, that one of your very ealdormen heads a conspiracy against you."
"What?" The king startled upright upon his throne. "Do you speak of Pallig?"
"Aye, sire, Pallig Tokesen, the Dane you rewarded with the keeping of Devonshire. Do you see how your generosity is perverted?"
"Treachery!" Aethelred's complexion reddened. "After I raised him with mine own hand!" He stood, paced the room. "Something must be done. Certainly."
The members of the Witan looked 'round at each other, and it was young Eadric son of Aethelric who slowly lifted a sheet of parchment. "The great men of England thought perhaps... but no, no one would dare..."
"Dare? I am the king," Aethelred snarled, snatching the parchment away. "What is this?"
"The draft of a letter, sire," Eadric said, meek as a mouse. "Which could be copied and sent throughout England... if your Majesty wills it."
Aethelred - Aethelred called Unraed, 'ill advised' - read the letter, growing very still. He face changed from red, to white, and the Witan shifted nervously on their benches. But then the king began to tremble, to flush, and he raised the letter on high before slamming it back onto the table. "Send it! Send it, for I say it is no crime to strike at those who would rise up against their rightful king."
And so the letters were sent, to the west and the south and to Kent, but perhaps not to the lands hard by York called the Danelaw.
And on the morning of the thirteenth of November, 1002 - the feast day of St. Brice - the English took by surprise the Danes who lived among them, and killed them, to make England safe from their plots.
Ealdorman Pallig was killed, aye, and his wife Gunhilde, and many Danish mercenaries, and many more Danes of all ages and both sexes besides.
Gunhilde, the sister of Sweyn Forkbeard, the king of the Danes.
Sweyn Forkbeard, who came in the spring of 1003 with ships to raid. And again, and again, death and destruction each year until 1014, when he forced King Aethelred, Aethelred the Ill-Advised, to flee to Normandy and took the English throne for himself.
So was England made safe from the Danes.