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Young Arthur Pendragon
and the Sword in the Stone


 
 

So soon as he came on earth,
elves took him, they enchanted
the child with magic most strong, they
gave him might to be the best of all
knights; they gave him another thing,
that he should be a rich king; they gave
him the third, that he should live long;
they gave to him the prince virtues most
good, so that he was most generous
of all men alive.       Brut, Laymon, c.1190
 

   

When Merlin arranged for the deception of Uther to be with Ygerna, he also made Uther promise to deliver the first born child to him, of course, this being Arthur, future King of Britain.  Merlin took Arthur soon after he was born, with Ygerna pleading and crying for him to not take her child and Uther telling him to go quickly before he changed his mind.  During all of this, Arthur's half sister, Morgan le Fay and took him to a friend's house a few miles outside of town.  Sir Ector and his wife doted on Arthur and Merlin  told Ector and his wife that the young baby was an orphan.  Ector and his wife agreed to take Arthur and raise him as their own, along with their own son, Kay who was five years old.  Two years after Arthur was taken by Merlin, Uther died suddenly of unknown causes, although some believed he had been poisoned.

During his days with Sir Ector, Arthur was trained to be a knight along with Kay, whom Arthur thought to be his brother.  Merlin visited him every week.  He was a happy, healthy child.  The monks taught Arthur his formal education, but Merlin taught Arthur about his family.  Merlin told him of his grandfather, Vortigern, the dragons, Aurelius, Uther and Ygerna.

With King Uther dead, Ygerna ruled Britain as the Queen and troubled times loomed.  Powerful lords disputed Uther's crown and bloodshed and famine threatened the country once again.

Arthur was growing and looking more and more like Uther.  He was strong and daring.  By the age of fifteen, he could outrun, out throw and out jump everyone in town.  Although he could win, he was careful not to beat his brother Kay, a proud young squire five years older than Arthur.  Kay was waiting for the next great tournament to be knighted and prove his worth.  Not only was Arthur a good scholar and athlete, he was also a great diplomat.

When sixteen, Merlin decided Arthur was ready to fulfill his rightful duties as King.  A decree was sent out that all great knights and lords were to gather in London on Christmas day to choose a new King.  Everyone had to attend and those that chose to stay away would be denounced as traitors.

Mysteriously, a massive stone appeared in the middle of the churchyard.  A steel anvil holding a beautiful sword was set into the block. In bold, gold letters on each side of the block an inscription had been carved into the stone:  WHOEVER CAN DRAW THIS SWORD IS THE RIGHTFUL KING OF ALL BRITAIN.

One after the other tried to remove the sword from the stone, with none succeeding.  Feeling they had been cheated, Merlin told them to be patient, the time had not yet come.  They were told to wait until after the tournament and then they could try the sword again.

As newly knighted Sir Kay was getting ready for tournament, he discovered he did not have his sword.  He told his squire Arthur to go back and retrieve his sword.  Arthur rushed back to the lodging, but the house was locked and barred.  Arthur was upset because without a sword, Sir Kay could not enter the lists and prove himself worthy in the tournament.  Just as Arthur was about return, he remembered the sword in the stone.  He decided he would borrow the sword, and let Kay use it.  Since everyone was at the tournament, no one would miss the sword until he could put in back in the evening.

The inscription on the sword had disappeared.  Effortlessly Arthur pulled the sword out of the stone and rushed back to the fields to give the sword to Kay.  Kay took the sword and realized it was not his sword, but it did look familiar.  Finally he realized  it was the sword from  the stone and he began to tremble.

"Father, Father," he cried.  "Look, this is the sword that was in the stone.  I must be King. I must be King."

Sir Ector asked, "Where did you get that sword?"

"From Arthur," said Kay.

The three of them raced back to the stone.  Arthur thrust the sword into the stone.  Ector and Kay both tried to remove the sword, but the sword would not move at all.  Each and every time, Arthur was able to remove the sword using no effort.  At this, Ector knew that Arthur was the rightful King and kneeled at Arthur's feet.  The lord's were furious and wondered who this young stranger was everyone called the new King.  They tried again and again to remove the sword to no avail.  Merlin finally told the crowd to look at the young man closely and see the features of Aurelius and Uther Pendragon, the late Kings.  He told them that his name was Arthur Pendragon, son of Uther and Ygerna, the rightful King of Britain.

With the announcement, the crowd roared, "Arthur, long live King Arthur. Long live the King!"

 

 


 

Lady of the Lake     Guinevere     Knights of the Round Table
 

Morgan le Fay     Lady of Shalott     Camelot     Avalon