Key words£ºKing Arthur, Merlin, Excalibur,  Lady of the Lake  
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Genre£ºlegend Topic£ºExcalibur Words:800
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ESL,  English,  Story,  Tale,  Legend, Folktale, Myth, Fable, Learning, Teaching

Arthur walked towards the sword
and out of the lake came a beautiful woman.

King Arthur's Excalibur

-Told by Sir Roland
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Author£ºShaun Flewellen Source£ºstudents.ou.edu  
Nation£ºEngland Date£º2008-9-7


(The Lady of the Lake offering Arthur the sword Excalibur)
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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 sealed.

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 Roland."

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 home.

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 woman.

"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.

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(How Sir Bedivere Cast the Sword Excalibur into the Water.
Illustration by Aubrey Beardsley, 1894)

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*Excalibur: 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 be defeated.


Discussion£º

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?

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