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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
The Finding of the Sword Excalibur
By Sir Thomas Malory (d. c. 1470)
 
From ‘Morte d’Arthur’

AND so Merlin and he departed, and as they rode King Arthur said, “I have no sword.” “No matter,” said Merlin; “here by is a sword that shall be yours and I may.” So they rode till they came to a lake, which was a fair water and a broad; and in the midst of the lake King Arthur was aware of an arm clothed in white samite, that held a fair sword in the hand. “Lo,” said Merlin unto the King, “yonder is the sword that I spake of.”  1
  With that they saw a damsel going upon the lake. “What damsel is that?” said the King. “That is the Lady of the Lake,” said Merlin; “and within that lake is a reach, and therein is as fair a place as any is on earth, and richly beseen; and this damsel will come to you anon, and then speak fair to her that she will give you that sword.” Therewith came the damsel to King Arthur and saluted him, and he her again. “Damsel,” said the King, “what sword is that which the arm holdeth yonder above the water? I would it were mine, for I have no sword.” “Sir King,” said the damsel of the lake, “that sword is mine, and if ye will give me a gift when I ask it you, ye shall have it.” “By my faith,” said King Arthur, “I will give you any gift that you will ask or desire.” “Well,” said the damsel, “go ye into yonder barge, and row yourself unto the sword, and take it and the scabbard with you; and I will ask my gift when I see my time.”  2
  So King Arthur and Merlin alighted, tied their horses to two trees, and so they went into the barge. And when they came to the sword that the hand held, King Arthur took it up by the handles, and took it with him; and the arm and the hand went under the water, and so came to the land and rode forth.  3
  Then King Arthur saw a rich pavilion. “What signifieth yonder pavilion?” “That is the knight’s pavilion that ye fought with last—Sir Pellinore; but he is out; for he is not there: he hath had to do with a knight of yours, that hight Eglame, and they have foughten together a great while, but at the last Eglame fled, and else he had been dead; and Sir Pellinore hath chased him to Carlion, and we shall anon meet with him in the highway.” “It is well said,” quoth King Arthur; “now have I a sword, and now will I wage battle with him and be avenged on him.” “Sir, ye shall not do so,” said Merlin: “for the knight is weary of fighting and chasing; so that ye shall have no worship to have a do with him. Also he will not lightly be matched of one knight living: and therefore my counsel is, that ye let him pass; for he shall do you good service in short time, and his sons after his days. Also ye shall see that day in short space, that ye shall be right glad to give him your sister to wife.” “When I see him,” said King Arthur, “I will do as ye advise me.”  4
  Then King Arthur looked upon the sword and liked it passing well. “Whether liketh you better,” said Merlin, “the sword or the scabbard?” “Me liketh better the sword,” said King Arthur. “Ye are more unwise,” said Merlin; “for the scabbard is worth ten of the sword: for while ye have the scabbard upon you, ye shall lose no blood, be ye never so sore wounded,—therefore keep well the scabbard alway with you.” So they rode on to Carlion.  5
 
 
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