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The Sword in the Stone

Here begins the tale of the Drawing the Sword from the Stone. It is an ancient tale, and I pray my telling of it be pleasing to all.

Long ago, the Island of Britain was left without a ruler by the death of Uther Pendragon. His son Arthur, who was a squire of about sixteen years, was unaware that Uther was his father. He had been fostered by Sir Ector of the Forest Savauge, who trained him as a warrior alongside his own son, Kay.

Soon after the death of Uther Pendragon, a wondrous sight appeared in a London market circle. A massive stone appeared in the center of the circle, with a sword thrust into it. Words appeared on the stone in golden script, declaring, "Whoso shall pull this sword from out this stone is rightwise born King of all Britain." As one might imagine, this caused no little marvel in the town, and word spread throughout the land. Soon, knights and petty kings came from all over the Island, hoping to try pulling the sword from the stone. But none, not the lowliest knight nor the highest-born king, could do so.

The elders of the city decided to hold a tournament, with the prize being the chance to draw the sword. Warriors and nobles came from all over the Island, as well as the Mainland, and London was soon crowded with people. Sir Ector took his son, who was to be knighted, as well as Kay's squire, Arthur.

On the morning of Candlemass, after the local priests and priestesses had conducted a massive service in honor of the strengthening Sun, the tournament began. As the newly-knighted Sir Kay prepared to enter the lists, he discovered his sword was missing. "Arthur!" he called to his squire. "I have forgotten my sword. Go back to the house and retrieve it for me."

Arthur dutifully ran back to the house where Ector and his sons were staying, but the doors were locked and no one answered his knock. "What shall I do now?" he wondered.

On his way back to the tournament yard, Arthur passed the market circle. There he spotted the sword in the stone. Knowing that Kay would be angry with him for not bringing his sword, Arthur decided to try his luck with the one in the stone. Grasping the hilt firmly in both hands, he gave a mighty yank, and lo! the sword slid free.

In the meantime, Kay had gone off to find Arthur, who had been missing for some time. He found the squire in the empty market, holding the miraculous sword in his hands. "Give that to me!" said Kay, taking the sword and rushing back to his father's side. "Look, father! The sword from the stone!"

"Did you draw this, Kay?" asked Sir Ector.

"Yes," said Kay, but then he saw the look in his foster-brother's eyes. "No, Father, I did not. Arthur drew it."

"Show me," said Ector, and the three returned to the market. Now others heard this conversation, and word spread throughout the tournament. Many followed Ector and his sons to the market, where the sword was returned to the stone. Arthur then drew it out again.

"He is a mere boy!" said Duke Uriens, one of the more powerful nobles of Britain. "Let me try." So the sword was returned to the stone, but Uriens could not draw it forth. Duke Lot of Lothian and Orkney also tried, as did all the dukes and petty kings, but no one could pull out the sword.

"Let the boy try!" cried the crowd of citizens.

"Yes," said Duke Leodegrance of Camellaird. "Let the boy try."

Arthur again pulled the sword from the stone, as if drawing it from a scabbard. "He is our King!" cried the people, and many dropped to their knees. The only peers who kneeled were Ector, Kay, and Leodegrance.

"How can I be King?" asked Arthur. "Ector, are you not my father?"

"I am not," said Ector. "You were sent to me from Avalon, but you are not my son."

"Then who is my father?" asked Arthur.

"You are the son of the Pendragon, Uther," said a voice from the crowd, and the Merlin of the Isles made his way to the stone and Arthur's side.

"What trickery is this?" asked Uriens. "Are you trying to foist a fatherless boy on us as King, Merlin?"

"The boy drew the sword," said Leodegrance. "If the gods man for a boy to be King, then he shall be."

"I do not acknowledge that right!" said Uriens.

"Nor do I," said Duke Lot. "We will oppose you."

Several of the other nobles sided with Uriens and Lot, including Duke Mark of Cornwall. But many nobles also sided with Arthur and Leodegrance, including Duke Pellinore of the Western Isles.

"Then it is war!" shouted Leodegrance, and all the nobles rode off to prepare for war.

"What shall we do?" asked Arthur.

"You're the King," said Merlin. "Tell us what we shall do."

"First of all," Arthur said, "I will not be King until all the Great Barons acknowledge me as such."

"Then we must force them to acknowledge you," said Ector. "We must join Dukes Leodegrance and Pellinore, then wage war upon the rebellious kings."

"So be it," said Arthur.

Here ends the tale of the Drawing of the Sword from the Stone. May the Blessed Spirit of Arthur be pleased with my telling of the tale, and may my ancestors smile upon me, now and ever.

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