April 01, 2022

#08-199: The Sword in the Stone

How Arthur drew forth the sword (Howard Pyle)

Note: This story from the tales of King Arthur was retold as the first section of T.H. White's book, The Once and Future King. It was later made into a popular Disney animated film.

Get Ready: Do you think some people are "destined for greatness," or is it just because of luck and/or hard work that someone succeeds?

To be honest, King Uther was not a very good king--or a very good person. So his advisor, the wizard Merlin, took away his new-born son Arthur to be raised by another family.

Soon after, Uther was killed, and England was without a king for many years. Many strong men fought to see who would be king, but no one prevailed. Meanwhile, the land fell into darkness: evil men did as they pleased, breaking into houses and robbing people on the highway.

But Arthur was raised in safety at the peaceful castle where Sir Ector lived with his son Kay. When Arthur was ten years old, the stranger who had brought him to Ector came back and became the boys' tutor (although Kay didn't pay much attention to his lessons). But Arthur learned everything he could. The stranger, of course, was Merlin.

By the time Arthur was 16, Kay had become a knight: Sir Kay. Arthur served as his squire, taking care of Kay's weapons and armor. About this time, Merlin left, telling Arthur he was going off to "give the people hope."

The next day, people in London saw a strange new thing in the marketplace: a huge stone, with a sword sticking out of it. On it was a sign:

"Whoever pulls this sword from this stone is the true king of England!"

Of course, many men tried, but the sword held fast. The Duke of Cornwall decided to have a tournament to attract the strongest knights to the city. Perhaps one of them could pull the sword from the stone.

Like many others, Sir Kay came to the tournament. When he and his family arrived, they set up a tent. As they rode toward the tournament, Kay asked Arthur for his sword.

His sword! Oh, no! Arthur had left it back at their tent! On his way to get it, he passed the sword in the stone, and thought, "It will be faster if I just bring Kay this sword!" He stepped up--and pulled it out easily!

When he gave the special sword to Kay, the young knight showed it to their father, Ector, hoping to make him believe that Kay himself had drawn it. At last, though, he admitted that Arthur had done it. Arthur confessed--and offered to put it back!

When the sword was back in place, Kay tried to pull it, and couldn't. Arthur drew it again. A crowd gathered. Other men tried, and couldn't. Arthur drew it again. Someone suggested Arthur must be the true king. An argument broke out, but Merlin appeared and said, "This boy has a pure heart. What's more, he is the son of Uther, our late king." The people began to cheer and call out, "We have a king! Hail, King Arthur!"


Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sword_in_the_Stone_(novel)

Practice: Match the term to its definition below:

  1. armor
  2. cheer
  3. confessed
  4. hail
  5. infant
  6. knights
  7. marketplace
  8. squire
  9. tournament
  10. wizard

  1. praise; honor
  2. a series of fights between knights
  3. admitted; told the truth
  4. armored men who fight on horseback
  5. heavy metal protective gear
  6. just born
  7. an assistant to a knight
  8. a magician
  9. call out "hooray!" etc.
  10. a central shopping area in a town

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for April 1, 2022

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. e; 2. i; 3. c; 4. a; 5. f; 6. d; 7. j; 8. g; 9. b; 10. h