The Death of King Arthur

King Arthur had been a great and mighty king for many years, and many glorious things had happened in his reign. He had married Lady Guinevere, the most beautiful lady in the land, and had been given the magical sword of the water, Excalibur. However Arthur’s reign was nearing its end.

     Arthur had been battling against the Anglo-Saxons for many years, so he asked his nephew, Sir Mordred, to move to Camelot to help him in his fight. Sir Mordred was a quiet boy who was always prepared to fight. Little did Arthur know, however, that Sir Mordred loathed Arthur from the tip of his crown to the toe of his shiny black boots. While Arthur was fighting against his foes, Sir Mordred gathered a fine army to make a treacherous rebellion against his king!

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     In the battle that followed, Sir Mordred was slaughtered by King Arthur, but Arthur himself was mortally wounded and lay dying. Sir Bedivere, a knight of the round table and a good friend of Arthur’s, stayed with the king as he was dying. Arthur asked Bedivere for one last favour. He wanted him to throw Arthur’s sword, Excalibur, into the lake from which it had come. Bedivere agreed and went to the river, but when he went to throw it in he just couldn’t. He thought about how the sword had served the mighty King of Britain, so he his it under a bush, marked it and then went back to the king.

     When Bedivere returned to the king, Arthur asked him what he had seen and Bedivere answered, “I saw the lakes’s ripples peacefully washing the shore and the sun slowly setting.”

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     “No!” shouted Arthur. “You have not done what I asked. Go back at once to the river!” So off went Bedivere to the lake again to fulfil his task. This time he did throw the sword in and just as it was about to hit the water a hand rose and caught it. Then the hand and the sword disappeared beneath the water.

     When Bedivere returned to Arthur he said, “Your Majesty, it is done.”

     “What did you see?” asked Arthur.

     “I saw the sun disappear, the birds fell silent and then, just as your sword was about to hit the water, a hand rose and caught it and then it disappeared back under the water.”

     “Good,” said Arthur as he closed his eyes and went into an eternal sleep.

Beth Hughes