Merlin, Excalibur, Lady of the Lake
Story, Tale, Legend, Folktale, Myth,
Fable, Learning, Teaching
Arthur walked towards the sword
and out of the lake came a beautiful woman.
(The Lady of the Lake
offering Arthur the sword Excalibur)
It had now been fifteen years since I (Sir
Roland) had become Arthur's squire. My parents had both
died when I was only six. I was nineteen at this time, so I
spent most of my life being next to Arthur's side. I was not a
Knight, but I had made quite a name for myself with a bow, and I
was fairly decent with a sword.
Arthur, Sir Kay and I became an inseparable trio of friends. We
went everywhere together and spent nearly no time apart. Arthur,
who was now twenty-two, was just beginning his duties as a
full-fledged king. However, he did not wish to have this
responsibility. He wanted to have fun and enjoy his youth.
Merlin, who had been Arthur's tutor for these fifteen years,
encouraged him to enjoy himself, as long as he promised to keep
business in his mind and not wander too far from home. Merlin
was afraid that there would men who would wish to harm Arthur or
even kill him, simply because of what he would mean to our
country. We, of course, never listened and we found ourselves in
trouble on many occasions.
One night, while disobeying Merlin; Arthur, Sir Kay and I found
ourselves in a deadly situation. The three of us where
surrounded by at least a dozen armed knights. The leader was the
tallest and darkest knight that any of us had ever seen. We
fought them bravely. I had killed two of them myself. They were
too much for us though. Arthur tried to attack the leader, but
he simply threw him to the ground. As Arthur tried to lift his
sword off the ground, the leader smashed it with his foot,
shattering it into twenty pieces.
The three of us lay there, beaten and bloody and ready for the
death we knew was about to come. The leader and his six
remaining comrades lifted their swords and were about to murder
us when they began to shake and become frightened. All of them
started covering their eyes and grabbing their heads as they ran
away from an unseen terror.
We tried to lift ourselves and see what it was that had scared
them away. Kay and I had some cuts and bruises, but Arthur had
taken a sword to the stomach and it seemed that his fate was
I cried out, "Take me instead, and spare my king." And then we
heard a voice yell to me, "You may still have that chance
Kay and I turned to see that Merlin had scared away the Knights
and had come to our rescue. Merlin rushed to Arthur's side and
looked at Kay and me and told us that he could be healed.
Merlin led us to a hermit's home. This hermit was a healer and a
knower of all medicines. We spent only three days with the
hermit before Arthur was healed enough to walk and make our way
On the way home Merlin gave us a stern lecture for disobeying
his rules. He told us that we surely would have died, if he had
not come looking for us.
Arthur was very upset for disappointing his tutor. The three of
us begged for Merlin's forgiveness. Merlin, eventually accepted
our apologies. He said he only hoped we had learned a great
lesson from our trouble. He said he hoped we understood how
dangerous the world could be. "I do understand Merlin," said
Arthur. "And I have learned a lesson. My foolishness has cost me
my sword. What shall I do with no sword?"
"Do not worry," Merlin responded. "I think that another sword
may be closer than you think".
Merlin then commanded us to all stop near a dark and foggy lake.
"Look out there," Merlin said to Arthur. We looked and through
the fog we could see a hand holding a sword.
"There, you see. There lies your new sword," Merlin said. Arthur
walked towards the sword and out of the lake came a beautiful
"Who are you, maiden?" Arthur asked her. "I am the Lady of the
Lake and this is my sword Excalibur," responded the Lady. "It is
a fine sword, and I will let you have it, Arthur. No King should
be without a sword." said the Lady.
"What may I offer you for this sword, lady?" Arthur asked.
"I shall ask you for a gift, in my own time. For now you may
have this sword and keep it close, for it is special. As long as
this sword stays on your side you shall never see defeat,"
responded the Lady.
She then handed Arthur the sword and drifted back into the lake.
Kay and I could not believe what we had seen, but it did happen.
And that is how Arthur was given the sword Excalibur.
(How Sir Bedivere Cast the
Sword Excalibur into the Water.
Illustration by Aubrey Beardsley, 1894)
King Arthur's magical sword, given
him by the Lady of the Lake, to whom he returned it at the end
of his life. As long as Arthur carried Excalibur, he could not
1. Who was Merlin?
2. Who came to save
Arthur, Roland and Kay from the armed knights?
3. How did King Arthur get
the sword Excalibur?
ESL, English, Story,
Tale, Legend, Folktale, Myth, Fable, Learning, Teaching