All Roads Lead to Britain: Chapter IV (Part III)


An old wives’ tale...? Or a flesh and blood king?

         Although some Ambrosius Aurelianus led the struggle of the British against the Germanic invaders in the 5th century and achieved a couple of significant victories, it was not until the 6th century that an outstanding figure emerged from the crowd in the field of resistance. The Britons, cornered in Cornwall and Wales, intended to initiate the reconquest of the stolen lands and expel the invaders (while there’s life, there’s hope), and the man who supossedly ran the show was an unparalleled hero and one of the most enigmatic figures in worldwide history: King Arthur.
         The problem with including this personage in history books is that maybe, by doing so, we may be putting our foot in it since it is not certain that he was a real person and possibly all we know about him is a tall story. However, it is known that someone led the Britons in their fights against the Anglo-Saxons..., a man who is first mentioned under the Latin name Artorius in the Historia Britonum published by Nennius in the 9th century..., a man who is described as the victorious hero at the battle of Mount Badon and who meets death at the battle of Camlan..., a man who appears, impregnated with legend, in other literary works of later centuries such as Historia Regum Britanniae by Geoffrey of Monmouth (1136), Wace’s Roman de Brut (1155) or Le Morte D’Arthur, written by Thomas Malory around the last quarter of the 15th century.
         This confusion between reality and fiction is one of the greatest mysteries in British History and at the same time one of the most beautiful stories of these ancient ages. Certainly, in order to believe what we have always heard of King Arthur it is necessary to make use of our imagination and fantasy, for... isn’t it true that anyone would consider you to have bats in the belfry if you said you believe in ladies who live in lakes, in magical swords only apt to be brandished by chosen and selected hands, in knights who desperately seek for the chalice Christ drank from at the Last Supper (and spend years doing so), in sorcerers and sorceresses able to perform magic by using the power of spirits, or in holy islands reserved exclusively for the eternal rest of well-thought-of and proven heroes?
         The story of King Arthur is undoubtedly a puzzling one; maybe for some people everything fits into place, but for others this tale of magic and fantasy prompts nothing but a smile of sheer incredulity played on their lips. Let’s strike a happy medium. Of course we can pick holes in Arthur’s story, there are many implausible facts in it indeed, but... what does it matter? What’s the problem with considering King Arthur as a half-real, half-legendary hero? Isn’t it part of the charm?

A blue story  (For adults only)

         Warning: If you, dear reader, are not over eighteen years old, it is the publisher’s duty to inform you that you should give up reading Arthur’s story and move on to the next chapter, since the following pages are filled with “that little thing” they call “sex”. If you do what you are being advised, you must know that anyway no proportional part of the price paid for this book will be refunded to you... On second thoughts, if you, dear reader, have not come of age yet and know that we are going to talk about sex, it is absurd to try to convince you to give up reading. So here we go:

¨     To start with, Arthur was born on the wrong side of the blanket. His mother was Igraine, married to Gorlois, duke of Cornwall, and his father was Uther Pendragon, who was at war with the duke and fell in love with the beautiful duchess. ‘Well, it was not exactly love’, Uther himself might have said, ‘I mean, I didn’t intend to form a family or anything of the kind...; it was just that thing people call It. So I asked Merlin, my good friend Merlin, for a favour and he conceded it to me. I asked him to grant me the resemblance of Igraine’s husband so that I could enter her castle and her room while her husband was out...And I got it! It was a fantastic night!!!’. So, once Uther, by Merlin’s sorcery, was given the physical appearance of Gorlois, he approached the castle and, sailing under false colours, entered the duchess’ room, like a wolf in sheep’s clothing and..., to put it mildly, the fruit of their passion was a lovely boy Igraine called Arthur. We cannot certainly blame Igraine for this “mistake” since, as everyone knows, all cats are grey in the dark. This is not going to be the only example of adultery in this story, but it is certainly the only case of rape (or rather, “camouflaged” rape).
(Warning no. two: It is not too late for you to give up reading. Up to now, we have only had the starters; next we are going to deal with the main course... Don’t forget..., you have been warned again!)
¨     The newly-born infant was taken away from his mother by Merlin, who gave it to Sir Ector, in whose house he grew up and learnt the skills of chivalry. The baby became a boy, then a teenager and then a young man; he was brought up by his new father and his new brother, Kay, without the attentive care of a mother; he grew up in a world of men, so you may be wondering how he was explained the birds and the bees without having fifty per cent of the essential elements within sight. Perhaps he was a self-taught person and became an excellent teacher of himself, judging by the facts that he later married charming Guinevere and, by means of sorcery, had sexual relations (once more, a passionate night; that seemed to run in the blood) with Morgan le Fay, Igraine’s elder daughter. This means that Arthur had an incestuous relationship with his own sister..., the fruit of which was Mordred, who would later revolt against the king and betray him by trying to seduce Queen Guinevere. So Morgan was Arthur’s sister but also his lover (for one night, or one morning, we don’t know exactly); Igraine was Arthur’s mother but also his “mother-in-law”; Mordred was Arthur’s son but also his nephew and the one who tried to seduce his father-and-uncle’s wife; Igraine had one grandson from two of her children; and Mordred was the cousin of himself... A nice bunch of people, indeed! Anyone belonging to an anti-vice brigade would blow their top and would be hopping mad exclaiming things like: ‘All this has got out of hand!’, or ‘All this depravation is crying out to heaven!’, or something like ‘Down with the corrupted and the impure!’, or perhaps something a bit more categorical like ‘Off with their heads!’.
¨     If you still have not had enough, there is more immorality to come next. Merlin, sorcerer and the king’s counsellor, was the son of a damsel who had been seduced by one of her friends. Merlin himself had one mistress, Vivien, also known as the Lady of the Lake because she lived in the depths of one of them. Whether she was half-fish and half-human or the inventor of the diving helmet, it is still unknown. Although, as far as we know, he was always faithful to her, she used one of the spells learnt from her master and lover to entangle him in a thornbush, where, as it is said, he still remains and will remain until the Lady’s heart softens... That’s the way a true love is rewarded!
¨     And last but not least, we can’t forget about sir Lancelot and his love affairs with Guinevere, a pure love but a destructive and adulterous one. Arthur thus became one of the first “historical” figures to wear the horns. ‘How could I expect this? My friend, my dear friend..., how could he do this to me? My right-hand man. We were as thick as thieves... I offered him everything, and that’s how he repays me for what I’ve done for him!...I offered him everything, yes,... but not my wife!!!. A horse, a wife and a sword may be shown but not lent!, everyone knows that..., everyone except Lancelot... And she...!!! Oh, she...! Guinevere!!! She, who has made a fool of me! She, who promised me eternal fidelity. When I asked her if she would love me for ever and if she would be faithful to me, she answered “cross my heart and hope to die. Ha!!! Yes, you crossed your heart and broke mine! Oh, when I lay my hands on you..., oh when I do..., you’re going to get what’s coming to you...!!!’. But... restrain your rage, Arthur, restrain your rage... and calm down. We all understand you, but before saying anything about your horns..., sorry, about your misfortune and broken heart, we must mention other important things; for example, how you became a king and what kind of kingdom yours was.

The sword in the stone  (Monkey business)

         When Uther Pendragon died, there was no legitimate heir to the throne of Britain (well, rather, to the throne of Wales and Cornwall). The Britons were disorganized and were fighting among themselves, while the Anglo-Saxons were extending their domains all over the island. The Britons needed a king urgently to take the lead... and to lead their way out of chaos. Only Merlin knew the true story of Arthur; the young man had the right to succeed as king but he was an illegitimate child and would not be accepted as a sovereign.
         Then the sorcerer took action in the situation and made use of his powers thus preventing more conflicts from happening. As a sort of conjuring trick, one day a wonderful sword appeared fixed in a stone. Well, it did not appear there exactly as if by magic; it was Merlin himself who had put it there. The sword had been given to him by the “amphibious” Lady of the Lake and he then made up the convincing story that whoever drew it out would be king. That was really foul play since Merlin knew that only Arthur would be able to pull it out of the stone. The sword soon became the main tourist attraction of the time; jousts and tournaments were organized and the winners had the right to try to pull the sword out of the stone. Merlin surely laughed up his sleeve when seeing first of all these knights breaking their backs trying to avoid the adversaries’ blows to win the contest and then the expressions on their faces trying to achieve their aim in vain: to draw that “stubborn” sword out of that big stone. ‘It is well worth my while to try’, the knights all might have thought. ‘You gullible fool! Don’t build your hopes up too much! There is no point in trying!’, Merlin might have sniggered. And he was right, as all the odds were in favour of Arthur, and even the strongest knights failed at their attempt.
         Legend relates that one day Sir Ector and Sir Kay went to one of these typical jousts along with young Arthur, their squire. When it was Kay’s turn to fight in fierce combat, Arthur could not find his brother’s sword; he desperately ran to find any and came across the magical sword, Excalibur. He took it in his hand and managed to draw it out without effort (and where was the merit?...The game was rigged!). When everyone noticed that that weapon which was in Arthur’s hands was Excalibur, the sword in the stone, they became dumbfounded. One second after, this aroused a great controversy: some of the knights accepted him as the new king, but others couldn’t, since young Arthur was not one of them (You can’t please everybody...; such a long time looking for somebody to draw the sword out of the stone, and now that they’ve got someone, they don’t want him). All this resulted in a rebellion which Arthur and his supporters put down. The problem was definitely over when Arthur was dubbed knight by one his defeated enemies. This ceremony is one of the most typical images of medieval life and is quite simple and quick: the “applicant” must kneel and look down humbly; then a knight stands opposite him with a sword in his hands and he must touch the kneeling man’s shoulders with it, energetically but very carefully, and of course not with the blade (God only knows how many “newly-dubbed knights” have started their career as defenders of justice and peace by saying ‘Ouch!’ or ‘Ow!’ and moving their hand towards their blood-stained shoulders).
          That is how Arthur the squire became Arthur the king. And he did it without having to follow the procedure of being Prince of Wales first.

An Englishman’s home is his castle (or a Briton’s home, if you prefer)

         Arthur’s reign was glorious and magnificent. Either a legendary king, or a real one, or a combination of kings of that century kept the Anglo-Saxons at bay and led the Britons against the invaders in twelve battles (at the river Tribuit, at the river Bassus, at the river Glein, at the river Douglas...; they seemed to enjoy water indeed, even though naval battles were not very well-known in Britain yet) culminating in the great victory of Mount Badon, which certainly happened, but historians don't know exactly when (probably between 493 and 516) or where (this site has never been identified on the map).
         The code of chivalry, one of the main pillars of early medieval life, reached its greatest splendour with King Arthur. A perfect knight had to serve his king to the death; being a knight was above all, even above being a man; a knight promised obedience and loyalty to the sovereign and swore to defend the kingdom against all sort of evils; a knight had to be brave and strong, but also generous, corteous, noble-hearted and true.
         Arthur gathered the best knights in the kingdom and sat them at the celebrated Round Table, which was given to him by Leodegraunce, Guinevere’s father, as a dowry when the king married her. The shape of this table solved the problem of who should sit at the preferential seat, or to say it in other words, it was as if everyone on a plane should travel in business-class and should be served the best food by the kindest air-hostesses. All being identical in rights and privileges, nobody could claim to be better than anyone else, Arthur merely being first among equals. It was not a bad idea to have a round table designed for the leaders of the country to sit at; perhaps one of the problems of today’s world is that there are too many rectangular tables. The idea was in fact so acceptable that many years later, in 1350, Edward III ordered to have a round table constructed at Windsor Castle: Arthur’s idea had established a precedent.
         The Round Table was located in a great room; that great room was located in a great castle; and that castle was located in a town which nobody knows for sure where it was located. Camelot was its name and three places in Britain claim to be the legendary place where Arthur decided to build his castle: Caerleon in Gwent (South Wales), Queen Camel in Somerset and Camelford in Cornwall. Fans of King Arthur from each of these three British areas would be able to give us irrefutable evidence that it was in their county that Camelot was sited. But historians, who generally speaking are a bit less passionate and enthusiastic than fans, are not so sure; in fact, there are certain foundations to believe that all of these places could have been the site of the legendary castle:
¨     Caerleon had been a very important Roman military base, so it was a traditional place to build a castle... and traditions carry a lot of weight in British life. Besides, if Arthur had decided to build his fortress there, part of the walls could have been of use and it would have meant a considerable saving in time, effort and money.
¨     Camelford is only a few miles from Tintagel, whose castle has been traditionally associated with  King Arthur’s birthplace. So if Arthur loved his home county and wanted to pay regular visits to his mother (as every good son should always do) this little town in Cornwall could have been the place chosen for Camelot.
¨     And finally, Queen Camel could have been chosen as well but not for traditional or familiar reasons as in the previous cases, but for political ones. Being in present-day Somerset, it would be one of the easternmost points in the British dominions, at the Saxon border. Therefore it would not be a foolish thing to consider that Camelot could serve as a strategical fortress to defend the British possessions against the Germanic invaders who had already occupied most of the country.
Be that as it may, Arthur held his court at a place called Camelot and it was there that the cream of all knighthood (Sir Gawain, Sir Lancelot, Sir Bediwere, Sir Percival, Sir Galahad and many others) met to discuss political matters or to take decisions, such as one which would cost an enormous sacrifice: the search for the Holy Grail.

Looking for a needle in a haystack   (Rainbow chasers)

         If Christ had known that the chalice He used at the Last Supper would be so sought-after and would keep so many people busy searching for it instead of fighting others, he would have indisputably had a three-course meal, would have used a most complete cutlery and crockery, and would have drunk not only wine but also water, champagne and possibly a glass of vintage port in order to aid digestion.
         According to legends, Joseph of Arimathea, a rich Jew who was present at the moment of the Saviour’s death, brought the chalice to Britain and founded the abbey of Glastonbury, Somerset, where the conversion of the country to Christianity got off the ground. According to visionaries, the chalice was brought from heaven to earth by an assemblage of angels, who granted it to a corps of knights who had (and perhaps still have) the privilege of guarding it. You are free to believe whichever story you prefer.
         The chalice, or grail, has been the subject of many legends, not only of medieval ages but also of modern times. There is something magical about this little cup. In fact it was said to have miraculous properties such as giving food to those who were free from sin or to make the wrongdoer approaching the chalice dumb (such an artefact would be quite useful nowadays, or wouldn’t you like to silence more than one idiot for ever?). Only those who were pure at heart could catch sight of it.
         No matter how the chalice arrived in Britain (or no matter even if the chalice ever really arrived), King Arthur found it indispensable in his glass-cabinet. Arthur and his knights of the Round Table embarked upon a dangerous and never-ending adventure: the search for that magical goblet which would give the world back the purity it had lost. King Arthur, as a good chief always does, stayed at his castle sitting comfortably while his brave and courageous knights went to great lengths to achieve their purpose. They reached the edge of the world, they left no stone unturned, they rode hither and thither looking for that miraculous chalice and possibly asking everyone they happened to meet stupid questions like ‘Excuse me, have you seen a chalice near here?’ or ‘I wonder if you could tell me the way to the nearest chalice, please?’. You may think that Sir Galahad or Sir Percival or any of these inimitable knights would have thought things like ‘This crazy king and his wonderful ideas! Here I am. The whim has taken him to have that chalice and we have to do it. Mission: Impossible’ or How the devil am I going to find such a little thing in such a big world’ or ‘This is like squaring the circle. Arthur! Dear Arthur! Didn’t you have enough with building a castle in Camelot? No! Now you want to build castles in the air too!...but you don’t help us to lay any bricks at all!’ or maybe ‘"Seek and ye shall find" he told us. "Ha! Easier said than done", we reply’. But however close to despair they might have felt, they did not give up hope; in spite of being out of breath, in spite of spending years searching for the grail, in spite of not having a good bath in all that time, they would get a second wind and resume the search. Then they would despair again and again, and when they thought they were at the end of their tether, when they were absolutely exhausted, they would rise from the ashes and keep on their quest. When one has a bee in his bonnet, especially if that bee is in a king’s bonnet, even the impossible seems possible.
         According to Malory in Morte d’Arthur, Sir Percival and Sir Lancelot won a sight of the Holy Grail, and Arthur gave them a pat on the back (‘Good work, guys!’). But...was the effort worthwhile? Many people would consider that making such a great sacrifice was but a waste of time and that so much energy should have been spent doing other things, but there is something unquestionably true: the legend of the Holy Grail, whether it must be regarded as a wild-goose chase or not, has a touch of mystery, imagination and fascination that makes it absolutely unique. And as for the Holy Grail itself, the place where it may be still is and always will be an enigma. So let’s let it be wherever it is..., provided that it is actually somewhere.

Forbidden fruit is sweetest  (Two’s company, three’s a crowd)

         Remember that we had left Arthur in a state of anger and wrath because of the love affair between his wife, Guinevere, and his friend and best knight, Sir Lancelot. On previous pages we have only sketched out the situation briefly. Now we will deal with the morbid details.
         We have already mentioned that it is a bit dangerous to include King Arthur in a history book due to the fact that he may be as real as a pink unicorn with green spots. What you have read about him up to now may have possibly confirmed that assumption. The figure of this heroic king owes much to literature, especially to the one produced in France, whence all the myths and legends of the Arthurian saga passed to Britain and were amplified and remodelled. It was Chrestien de Troyes who introduced the love story between Guinevere and Lancelot, and Thomas Malory who developed it in Morte d’Arthur; therefore this story of adultery may be historically false from start to finish, but from the literary point of view it is emotive and interesting.
         No one would like to be called a cuckold; Arthur wouldn’t either, but he was. Lancelot apparently became enamoured of Guinevere from the very beginning; he met her eyes and she met his, that was enough. According to Malory, it was love at first sight, but the brave knight had to conceal his desire and be loyal to his master and king. Still Lancelot couldn’t take his eyes off the beautiful queen. He only had eyes for her. Wherever he went, he could see just the image of his beloved lady; if he rode alone in pursuit of an extraordinary adventure, he just could see her face in the white clouds or hear her sweet voice in the morning breeze; if he sat at the Round Table, he imagined that she was beside him hand in hand; if a banquet was arranged at Camelot, he couldn’t help staring at her rather than at the pork chops. Guinevere had become the only thing on his mind. And as regards the queen, she reciprocated.
         The same old story, then. One woman and two men: the eternal triangle. I love you but you don’t now love me because you love someone else, who also loves you and whom I hate. In his masterpiece, Malory writes: ‘For love that time was not as love is nowadays’. Malory’s nowadays was the 15th century and perhaps that’s why he wrote that both loves were different, but in today’s nowadays not much has changed. Perhaps in Malory’s times it was not so frequent to make horns at anybody but what about now? Isn’t it the order of the day?
Arthur was too busy at his wars and did not notice anything (we all know that in a case of adultery the husband is always the last to know). The two secret lovers seized the chance the careless and absent-minded king was offering to them. Decorum forces us to avoid going into details about this matter, but anyone can imagine what happened.
         Did Arthur ever know that he was being deceived?... We can say that he had his suspicions...; all cuckolds sooner or later have them. When the news became the talk of the town, he started to get hot under the collar. The green-eyed monster had awoken. Lancelot, who until that moment had been his best friend and companion of adventures, became his worst enemy. He had to make a beeline for Brittany, France. The king went after him..., angry and furious. ‘Lancelot! You traitor! I’ll find you wherever you hide. Even though I have to move heaven and earth to find you, I’ll crush all your bones, I swear! You vile traitor! Oh, the unkindest cut of all! The first opportunity you got, you stabbed me in the back! You vile ghastly traitor! I’ll get to the bottom of this! At first I couldn’t believe my ears, but now that you’ve fled, you have proved that everything was certain. You vile ghastly mean traitor!’.
         That was the way Arthur felt. His heart sank into his boots; he felt disconsolate, disheartened, discouraged, dispirited... and blood-thirsty. But while he was in search of his newly-made enemy, something was cooking in Camelot. Someone else, now a member of the royal family, was plotting against the king... When people say that it never rains but it pours, they are not far wrong indeed!

The black sheep of the family

         While Arthur was in Brittany pursuing Lancelot (also known as ‘the vile ghastly mean traitor’, remember), Mordred, the king’s nephew/son, was also betraying him..., or what else could a wicked, evil, perverse, cruel, ambitious person do but betray a hero...? ‘And...what if I am wicked? What if I am the villain of the piece? Not everybody can be the hero. What would become of a story if all the people were the goodies? It would be a boring story. The heroes are nothing without us, the baddies. They wouldn’t reach fame and glory if it weren’t for us... And what’s our reward...? We sink into oblivion. If somebody ever writes the story of my times, pages and more pages will be reserved to sing the praises of this king I have revolted against. He will surely be put on a pedestal, but what about me? They will say: "Mordred? Oh, yes, the villain. Well, it is enough if we just mention him at the end; just a few lines will do". But as for Arthur, they will tell his deeds to a hair. That’s not fair! I demand my rights at this very moment, and I do it for all the past and future generations of villains!’.
         On Arthur being away, Mordred had been left in charge of the kingdom. He was now the substitute for the monarch, and Guinevere was once more a grass widow. The villain started to circulate the rumour that the king had died in France. The news spread like wildfire: ‘The king is dead’; ‘He has died in fierce combat..., bravely and proudly’; ‘He has met his death while searching for revenge’; ‘A sword went through his body but he kept on fighting yet’; ‘He was bewitched by some mysterious evil forces which weakened his strengths’; ‘A seven-headed dragon swallowed him up and it spat only Excalibur out’..., you know, the normal way rumours work.
         Mordred not only contented himself with putting the cat among the pigeons; he also wanted one more thing: Guinevere. If he was to become a king, he needed a queen, that’s natural; what is not so natural is the fact of having your stepmother/aunt as your lover. Mordred tried to seduce her, he used all his sex appeal, but it was in vain, though. She refused to give her favours to him.
         All these pieces of news became international and reached Arthur. He rushed to Britain to crush the traitor (one more traitor in his life) and the rebellion he had raised. ‘Who said I was dead? Oh, Mordred...! You haven’t heard the last of me! I have an account to settle with you! Be prepared! I’ll give you a good hiding!’. And so it happened, but Arthur’s desire to avenge Mordred’s treachery would cost him too dearly.

The long last sleep

         Arthur’s army met Mordred’s supporters at Camlann. As a result of the battle, Mordred was slain by Arthur, who, in turn, received a mortal wound from the hand of the traitor himself (if there is nothing for it but to be killed, who could slay you better than a relative of yours?). Mordred may protest against the lack of esteem felt for him but not against the way he died; dying like that is part and parcel of being the villain; and as regards the king, kicking the bucket after a long and glorious battle is one of the best rewards for a hero. However, there is a great difference between the death of a villain and that of a hero. When the former is killed, he dies instantly or at the most he still has a few seconds to look fixedly at the eyes of the hero who has just pierced his stomach with a sword. But when a hero dies..., when a hero dies, everything is different. It does not matter if a spear fourteen metres long has gone through his heart or if a missile has exploded right on his head, he will always have time to speak to his dearest friend, who will happen to be beside him at that hard moment (a friend in need is a friend indeed, as everybody knows); he won’t speak a few words, he will have time to make a long calm speech even though he is lying in the battlefield surrounded by thousands of people engaged in killing thousands of people. When a hero is at death’s door in his friend’s arms, it seems as if a protective invisible wall had been built around them so that no soldier, no arrow, no gun can prevent him from saying his last and emotive words. Arthur could not be an exception. When he was mortally wounded, with one foot in the grave, he had Sir Bediwere beside him. The knight took the king to the back of beyond, where no one could disturb them. Arthur felt that the hour for the upturning of his glass was at hand but he still had one final thing to do, or more exactly, he asked Bediwere to do him a final favour: he begged him to throw Excalibur into the lake from which it had once come out. The good knight could not leave the dying king alone, but Arthur insisted. ‘Bediwere, I’ve been called to my last account, but my hour is not yet come. I cannot die until you do me this favour. Throw Excalibur into the lake and come back here to tell me that you’ve done it’. So he set off. He got to the lake in question but he was not able to do it. How could one get rid of such a wonderful sword? Then he returned to the place where Arthur was.
         ‘You haven’t done it, have you?’
         ‘Sorry, Arthur. I wasn’t able’
         ‘Then, go there again’
Once more, Bediwere tried to throw Excalibur into the deep waters of the lake, but once more he was not able to do it and returned.
         ‘You haven’t done it, have you?’
         ‘Sorry, Arthur. I wasn’t able. How do you know?’
         ‘A little bird told me so
         ‘Oh, I see’
         ‘Then, go there again and do as I tell you’
Bediwere found himself again by the lake, with the sword in his hand and his eyes fixed on the water. Again, he hesitated to do the job he had been entrusted with, but finally (third time lucky!) he raised his hand and threw Excalibur into the lake. Before the sword reached the water, one hand (the Lady’s hand) came out of it and took the sword by its hilt; and then both of them, hand and sword, in absolutely perfect vertical position, submerged. Bediwere became thunderstruck. Never in his life had he seen such perfect synchronization. Then he closed his mouth and returned to Arthur.
         ‘Have you done it already?’
         ‘Yes, I finally was able.’
         ‘And about time too!... Then, now I can die. Farewell, my dear friend’. And he breathed his last.
         Once dead, a barge took the corpse to the mythic island of Avalon, the place for the eternal rest of Celtic heroes. Some legends relate that he did not actually die, but he was taken to that island to be healed of his wound and will return to Britain whenever the country needs him. If you have lately seen somebody in the street with the appearance of a hero, that could be the one and only King Arthur, alive and kicking!

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