Short Stories

King Uther's sword

A long, long time ago, in a country of clouds and legends, lived a king named Uther.

When the throne of this country was emptied, the kingdom was left without king or castling, because princes and counts all wanted to try King Uther’s crown to see if it would fit them …

But although no one knew, King Uther had left a son, named Arthur, to whom, by right, the royal crown should belong. Wise Merlin, fearing that any harm might come to the little prince, had taken him from the court to deliver him to the care of Sir Hector, a good and loyal knight. In this nobleman’s castle, he had grown up. He had always been so lovingly treated that he thought he was the son of Sir Heitor and the brother of Kay, a young man of his age, the knight’s only child.

Since, in the absence of a king, no one understood, the archbishop, charged with watching over the kingdom, decided to summon all suitors. As the many counts and princes came to the forest clearing, where the meeting was scheduled, a great white stone broke from the ground, as if pushed from below by any strange force. Disturbed, the knights watched it grow until one of them exclaimed:

– Look, a sword is buried in the heart of the stone …

The stone stopped. In the middle, a beautiful gold-fisted sword gleamed in the rock.

“This sword belonged to the generous and beloved King Uther, who always raised it in defense of the weak and the good,” proclaimed the archbishop. “Glory be taken from the stone, for this will be the king.”

The suitors for the sword precipitated. Princes and counts tried their luck. In vain. The sword would not be moved.

“We see that none of us are the elect,” concluded the archbishop.

He ordered a permanent guard to keep watch on Uther’s sword and marked a day of the year when all knights in the country could again experience their powers by defying the sword. However, grand tournaments were organized to distract and exercise the noble suitors.

Sir Heitor was invited. Kay and Arthur accompanied him. The two boys, when they arrived at the field of the lyre and saw the beautiful horses, the feathers of the helmets, the ribbons of the spears, the flags and the scripts fluttering in the wind, were enthusiastic and also wanted to participate in the games.

Unfortunately, young Kay had forgotten the sword in the inn where they had spent the night.

“I’ll get you,” Arthur offered, riding his horse.

But by the time she reached the inn, the doors were closed and the inn was empty. The owners and the servants had gone to see the tournaments.

Heartbroken, Arthur returned to Sir Hector’s camp. But he remembered that he had seen, in a clearing where he had passed, a huge white stone topped with a sword. He searched the place and found it. Also the guards had exchanged the sentry mission for the tournament …

In the middle of the forest, buried in stone, a sword awaited the young knight. The boy Arthur deserved it.

In one thrust, he yanked her out of the magic sheath and brought her to Kay.

He recognized the sword and went to show it to his father:

– Sir, this is Uther’s sword. I will be the king.

Sir Hector charged his face and rebuked him:

“When I knighted you, you vowed to always defend the truth, my son.” Who gave you this sword?

Lowering his head, Kay confessed:

“It was my brother Arthur who gave it to me.”

“I lost a son, but the kingdom gained a king,” said Sir Hector, kneeling before Arthur, who had approached them.

Arthur, with astonished eyes, did not understand what was going on. Sir Hector had to tell him his whole story since, in the arms of the wise Merlin, he had left the royal palace.

“But I don’t want to be king,” Arthur wailed. “You are my beloved father and Kay my dear brother.”

Sir Hector assured him that his friends would always remain. With this promise Arthur agreed to be brought to the archbishop’s presence.

In front of all the people, Arthur buried the sword in the stone and pulled it out, as if the stone were soft earth. The counts and princes did not want to believe what they saw and demanded further demonstration. Arthur acceded.

Despite all the evidence, the suitors began to murmur against the young stranger and refused to acclaim him king. Were it not for the people to rebel against the despised nobles, and perhaps history and legend would never tell us of a kind and loyal king named Arthur … António Torrado

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