Key words£ºKing Arthur, Mordred, Launcelot, Camelot, Guinevere  
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Genre£ºlegend Topic£ºKing Arthur Words:1000
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ESL,  English,  Story,  Tale,  Legend, Folktale, Myth, Fable, Learning, Teaching

When I was old enough to understand,
she told what Arthur, my own father, had done to me.

I am Mordred the traitor
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Author£ºElana Source£ºwww.fairview.k12.il.us  
Nation£ºEngland Date£º2008-9-3


(Sir Mordred)
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I am Mordred, son of King Arthur. My past is a dark and troubled one. Perhaps that is why I am the way I am. My father, King Arthur, had three half sisters: Morgawse, Elaine, and Morgan le Fay, who are the daughters of Arthur¡¯s mother Igrayne¡¯s first husband, Gorloise. Arthur¡¯s father, King Uther Pendragon, fell in love with Igrayne even though she was the wife of Gorloise. He battled Gorloise until he fell dead, and then married the widow Igrayne. Together, they had Arthur. Now, over the years, Arthur and his sister Morgawse lost touch, and when she came to visit him many years later, he did not recognize her. That night, they stayed together, and the next morning Morgawse left without telling Arthur that she was pregnant. Funny, isn¡¯t it? Arthur sinned against God. 

One day, all of his sisters came to his kingdom and in Morgawse¡¯ hands was a little baby boy. That little boy was me. Horrified, when she told him who she was, and that the little boy was their son, Arthur took me, and all other children born on May 1st, put them in a leaky barge, and sent us down a river, hoping that we would all drown. However, although most of them did indeed die, I survived, but just barely. At that time I was too young to realize that a great wrong had been done to me. But Arthur¡¯s sister Morgana found me and succored me, teaching me dark magic. When I was old enough to understand, she told what Arthur, my own father, had done to me. From that moment, deep inside, I developed a searing hatred for Arthur, and I decided that Arthur did not deserve to rule and I would take the realm of Logres from him. I reproached him in my every thought.

After many years had passed, I grew tired of waiting and letting my anger and hatred seethe in secrecy. So, I traveled to Camelot, and found a place for me at the round table. That is where I took the name of Mordred. I revealed to none my real identity, especially not Arthur. Over time I gained the trust of those around me, and none suspected my intentions were not pure in nature. With the help of my cousin, Sir Agravain, I began to exact my revenge, although, he didn¡¯t exactly know what he was helping me do.

I discovered that the great and holy Sir Launcelot was not as great and holy as we all thought. He and the lovely Queen Guinevere were having an illicit affair behind King Arthur¡¯s back. So I told Arthur, pretending to be a concerned follower, when I was really overjoyed at this opportunity. Sir Launcelot was the greatest knight in King Arthur¡¯s court, and it would be impossible for my plot to go through with him in the way. Arthur didn¡¯t really believe me, but he was forced to allow me to take some men and go to Guinevere¡¯s chambers. I knew that Launcelot would be there, for I had heard Guinevere tell him to come to her that night. There we found them, but Launcelot escaped, killing Sir Agravain, Sir Gawain¡¯s brother. Arthur was of course sad, but I reminded him that this sin was punishable by execution. And so, Guinevere was almost burned to death, like the traitor that she is, but that foolish man Launcelot came back and rescued her, in the process, killing Sir Gawain¡¯s brothers Gareth and Gaheris, who stood by her, mourning.

So, this plot was not completely successful, but it did turn Arthur against Launcelot and got him outside of the kingdom, and out of my way. Later, Arthur went away on his Roman campaign, leaving Camelot vulnerable. Then, I knew it was my time of glory. I took over the throne, telling everyone that Arthur had died while he was away, and saying that he only brought war and wasn¡¯t helping drive out the Saxons, I would bring peace. It was so easy to convince those stupid courtiers to help me. The entire realm of Logres simply went along with whoever was the most powerful, so it was easy to make them join me. The fools never knew what hit them. Now, I knew that Queen Guinevere was the loveliest woman you could ever see, so I chased after her and tried to make her mine. But, that idiotic wench took safety in her tower, and I could not get her out. So, I left her there.

Eventually Arthur heard of my plot, and how I had turned Camelot against him. He came riding back with all his forces. That naïve man must not have understood that taking control of Camelot gave me all of Camelot¡¯s military might. He probably thought he¡¯s so powerful because he had Excalibur, but the only good part was the scabbard, which protected the wearer. So, when he returned with his full force, he had to face all of my mighty army.

Both of our armies faced off in the mighty Battle of Camlann, as it is now called. All our men were slaughtered, except for me, Arthur, and one Sir Bedivere from Arthur¡¯s side. I stood among the dead bodies of my men, paying homage to their brave efforts. Far across the field of battle, I saw Arthur, barely able to stand, and leaning on Sir Bedivere for support. At that time, I saw him not as an enemy, but as another human being, tired and ravaged by war. I quickly forgot these thoughts as he fixed his eyes on me, and charged. The only thoughts in my head were those of survival so I lifted my sword, my fingers slipping on the hilt. The battle lasted barely a minute. Arthur took his lance and ducked, charging. His lance pierced my stomach, delivering the deathblow. But I would not let him win completely. With my last breath, I smote him in the helmet, slicing through the metal. So, I died, and left this world to pay penance for my sins in life. But I died knowing that my last blow would kill him in the end, if not right away.

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*Mordred (or Modred) is a character in the Arthurian legend, known as a notorious traitor who fought King Arthur at the Battle of Camlann, where he was killed and Arthur fatally wounded. He is best known today as Arthur's illegitimate son by his half-sister Morgause.


Discussion£º

1. What is the relationship between Mordred and Arthur? 

2. What did King Arthur's had done to Mordred when he was very young?

3. What happened between Sir Launcelot and Queen Guinevere?

4. How did Mordred seize power from King Arthur? 

5. How did Mordred die?

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