Category Archives: King Arthur

KING ARTHUR

I did this when I first began teaching high school English. That makes it about 40 years old.

KING ARTHUR

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Way back, long before our time, Uther Pendragon was king of all England. Well, a large part of it anyway. He wasn’t all that bad as kings go, but giants, dragons, and evil knights were allowed to be part of everyday life. King Uther had a son, but he hadn’t gone about it in a proper way, so he had to hide him. He gave his son to Sir Hector, a kindly but minor land owner, who raised him as his own.No one knew who the boy was, so he was made a squire to Hector’s son, Kay, when he got to the proper age to become one.

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There was a magician at Hector’s house named Merlin. Arthur, as Uther’s son was called, found him in the forest one day. A wise man, Merlin taught Arthur lots of things so that if he became king, he would be a good one. But Arthur didn’t know he was in line to be king because he always thought he was Hector’s son.

When Uther died, England needed a new king, and because no one knew he actually had a son, an heir, as things usually seemed to happen just before the Middle Ages, who the new king was would be decided by magic.

A sword stuck in an anvil sitting on a rock appeared in London one day, and according to some words written on the rock, whoever could remove the sword would be the king of all England.
It sat there for a very long time.

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One year Sir Kay was at a tournament in London and realized he had forgotten his sword in his tent, so he sent his squire, Arthur, back to get it because that is what a squire did.

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As he ran to the tent which was some distance away from the tournament site, Arthur saw the sword in the anvil, figured he could save time, and pulled it out and brought to Sir Kay.
Arthur couldn’t read, so he had no idea that according to the words written on the rock, he was now king.
When Arthur told Sir kay where he had gotten the sword, Sir Kay told everyone that h had pulled the sword from the anvil and was king, but when he was made to put the sword back and pull it out again, he couldn’t do it.
Arthur figured Sir Kay must have put it back crooked so it got jammed, walked over to see if he could jiggle it a bit so Kay could pull it out, and pulled it out himself.
Suddenly, he found he was king.

Arthur established the Knights of the Roundtable to destroy the giants, dragons, and evil knights.
All the good knights of the world joined up, and went all over Europe (America wasn’t known about back then), and made sure that justice, right, and peace were promoted.
It wasn’t always easy, and some evil knights thought there was something wrong with Arthur’s brain.

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One of the Knights of the Round Table was actually a king, King Pellinore, but he had a very small kingdom. Pellinore spent most of his time chasing down Glatisant, the questing beast.
He wasn’t going to kill it, however. His family had been cursed and was bound to follow it. When h was young, Pellinore had actually found Glatisant, but they found they liked each other, and so he let it go and the two spent the rest of Pellinore’s life playing Hide and Go Seek.

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Not long after becoming king, Arthur married Guenivere, just as Merlin said he would. Merlin also told Arthur the marriage would not be an easy one since Guenivere was very young and beautiful. Anyone who saw her saw she was beautiful, ad may men had a hard time remembering she was already married.
One knight, Sir Lancelot, not only fell in love with her, but they both carried on behind Arthur’s back.
But Lancelot wasn’t really that bad a guy. Guenivere was beautiful, and Lancelot was handsome and young.
Lancelot spent a lot of time trying to become the best knight he could, and like all the knights of the Round Table he went on a lot of quests, a series of adventures.
He fought a lot of bad knights and won.

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Another knight was Sir Gawaine.
He was sitting at the Round Table during a general meeting one night when a knight in green armor entered the room and challenged anyone to strike him with his own sword to injure him. Of course, he did point out that he would have the opportunity to strike back.
Gawaine accepted the challenge since knights were not supposed to turn challenges down, swung the Green Knights sword and cut his head off. That would seem to have eliminated the Green knight from having a turn. But the Green Knight picked his head up and, after saying he would come back on the same day the following year, walked out of the castle.
On the same day a year later, when all the knights were sitting at the Round Table, the Green knight returned with is had back on. Sir Gawaine stood up to let the Green Knight have his turn at hitting him, but because he had had a whole year to run away and hide, but didn’t, the Green knight was not only impressed with his courage, but admitted he was Gawaine’s father.
During this time in history people seemed to have had odd ways of finding out who their fathers were.

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When all the giants, dragons, and evil knights were dealt with, the Knights of the Round Table had very little to do. Knights being idle could have been a bad thing.
So Arthur, looking for something for them to do, sent them all out to find the Holy Grail, a sacred cup. Even though around two-hundred knights went looking for it, only Sirs Gallahad, Bohort, and Percivale actually found it.
You would think if it was all that important a thing they would have taken good care of it, but soon after it was found, the Holy Grail was lost again, and it hasn’t been seen since.

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It happened along the way when Arthur was first king, and you have to remember that he went directly from squire to king with no training in between, a witch queen, and Arthur’s half sister, Queen Morgause, cast a spell on him, and just as magic had been used to get Arthur’s father, Uther, together with her mother when Arthur was conceived, she used the same magic so she conceived Arthur’s son.
Morguase’s son was named Mordred, and he grew up to be evil and jealous of Arthur.
He also knew he would be the one to destroy Arthur.
When Arthur was out of the country doing something noble, I would imagine, Mordred attempted to become king by first saying that Arthur had died when he was away, and then by starting a civil war.
Mordred had convinced some knights that he would give them all kinds of good things that Arthur hadn’t if they fought for him, and, well, there are always greedy people who can be bought.

Arthur’s time was up. He had done all that one man could be expected to do.
In the final battle of the civil war, Mordred and Arthur killed each other in hand to hand combat.
Being old at the time, Arthur accepted his death as part of his story, and, besides, Merlin had once told him that he would return when England really need him.
When Arthur died Sir Bedivere took his body to a boat that brought it to the Isle of Avalon.

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The body was accompanied in the boat by three rather odd looking women, and along the way to the Isle, one of them took Arthur’s sword, called Ex Calibur” since it was the one that he had taken from the anvil that sat on the rock, and gave it to a hand that rose out of the lake.
Waving the sword, the hand went back under the water, and the sword has never been seen again, and the people of England are waiting for the day that Arthur would return when they would really need him.