Arthur sends someone to get him another horse, and lies down and tries to process the whole bizarre experience, and along comes Merlin.

Merlin, for funsies, is disguised as a fourteen-year-old gossipy junior-high girl.

“Helloooo Arthur,” says Disguised Merlin.

“Uh huh,” says Arthur. “Hello, little girl.”

“Hellooo? Arthur?” says Disguised Merlin.

Arthur grunts.

“What’s up?” asks D. Merlin.

Arthur waves at the air. “I just saw… there was this thing that wasn’t a deer and sounded like thirty dogs… guy stole my horse…”

“Yeah, I know, I know,” says D. Merlin. “Don’t waste time thinking about it.”

“What do you know, anyway, you’re a schoolgirl,” says Arthur.

“I know you’re the king of England, and your father was Uther Pendragon, and your mother Igraine, and there’s a hilarious story about your conception,” says D. Merlin. “Knew your father, I did!”

“No, no, no,” says Arthur. “The thing before was weird and confusing, this is just dumb. You’re way too young to have known my dad. Get lost!”

“Whatevs,” says D. Merlin, and steps behind a tree and when he steps back he’s disguised as an eighty-year-old man.

“That’s better,” says Arthur. “Now you look elderly and wise.”

“What’s wrong?” asks Merlin.

“So first there was this beast that wasn’t thirty dogs, and then there was this guy, and he stole my horse, and finally a certain schoolgirl came up and was all I know a hilarious story about your conception which was just disturbing.”

“Mmm-hmm,” says Merlin. “That sounds like one cunning and awesome schoolgirl you should have been nicer to. I’m sure she would have told you that God is angry with you.”

“With me personally, or with all mankind?”

“Both,” says Merlin. “But specifically you slept with Margawse your half-sister and she had your incestuous offspring Mordred, who will eventually ruin everything for everyone.”

What is it with this fountain? You are the third person to come up and say bizarre nonsense at me since I got here!” says Arthur.

“I’m only the second,” says Merlin, “because I’m Merlin! And I was the schoolgirl! It was me, all along!”

Arthur sighs. “So you can see the future and it all ends with Mordred killing me, huh?”

“Best not to think about that right now,” says Merlin, “because anyway when you die you get a great funeral and when I die they just toss me in a ditch.”

At this point someone comes back with another horse for Arthur, and Merlin procures a horse somehow, and they ride back to Caerlaeon, which is where Ector and Ulfius are, possibly because Malory has forgotten that he established Arthur’s court as being in London rather than at Caerlaeon. Probably other people are there, too, but Ector and Ulfius are the ones Arthur’s looking for.

“Just the knights I wanted. Guys, do you know who my parents are?” he asks them.

Ector and Ulfius are nonplussed. “Your biological father was King Uther,” says Ector.

“And your mother was Queen Igraine,” says Ulfius. “There’s actually a hilarious story about your conception…”

“Not now!” snaps Arthur. “Queen Margawse is Igraine’s daughter, right?”

“Right,” says Ector.

“I’m Igraine’s son, you say, right?” Arthur asks.

“Right,” says Ulfius.

So when Margawse and I slept together, you didn’t think it might be a good idea to say something?!” Arthur asks.

“Well, we thought you knew, and were just, you know, being weird,” says Ector.

“Your dad –” starts Ulfius.

“– His biological dad –” breaks in Ector.

“Yeah,” says Ulfius. “Uther, well, Uther did some crazy stuff like that. A lot. One time he got Merlin to magically disguise us…”

“Okay, great,” says Arthur. “That’s great. That’s just fine and dandy. This kind of thing just makes a guy want to stab his own eyes out. Is Queen Igraine still around? Can I speak with her?”

“I imagine,” says Ector. “You are the king, after all.”

“Yeah, okay, so, get Igraine here, because I want to meet her.”

Malory doesn’t say where Queen Igraine spent the twenty years or so since we last saw her (prior to Uther’s death) but she shows up pretty quickly and she brings along her second-youngest daughter, Morgan le Fay, the one who got such good grades in necromancy school.


Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book I Chapter XX continued — 2 Comments

    • I agree — pretty sweet!

      I’m starting to feel sorry for Arthur … but on the other hand, I have this sneaking suspicion that if Merlin told him to stomp on a puppy while punching a nun in the stomach, he’d be all “well, if you say so, you’re the guy with the long beard!”.

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