| King Arthur and His Knights|
|by Maude Radford Warren|
|Twenty-one stories from the Arthurian legends specially selected and adapted for children and told in simple well-written prose. The stirring tales of these chivalrous knights awaken the readerís admiration for courage and gentleness and high sense of honor essential in all ages. Ages 9-12 |
ARTHUR AND SIR ACCALON
HERE was a woman in Arthur's Court named Morgan le
Fay, who had learned a great deal about magic. She was
a wicked woman, and hated the king because he was more
powerful than she, and because he was so good.
However, she pretended to be a true friend to him, and
the king believed in her. One day when they were
talking together, she asked him if he would not let her
take charge of wonderful sword Excalibur, and its
scabbard. She said that she would guard them so
carefully that they would never be stolen. As she was
very eager, Arthur granted her request.
One day in time of peace, King Arthur went out hunting
with a certain knight
 named Sir Accalon, who was the lover of Morgan le Fay.
They rode for a long time, and when they were tired,
stopped to rest beside a great lake. As they looked
over its shining waters, they saw a beautiful little
ship, which sailed straight towards them, and ran up to
the sands at their feet. It was all covered with golden
silks, which waved in the gentle wind. King Arthur and
Sir Accalon climbed into it and examined it thoroughly,
but they found no one on board.
They rested on two couches which were on the deck,
until it grew dark. Then they were about to return
home, when all at once, a hundred torches set on the
sides of the ship were lighted, and suddenly there
appeared twelve beautiful damsels who told the two that
they were welcome, and that they should be served with
Presently the maidens led the king and the knight into
a room which had a table covered with a white cloth
embroidered in purple. It bore many golden dishes, and
each dish had a beautiful design carved upon it. Some
 vine-leaves, others ivy-leaves; some had angels with
long robes sweeping back in graceful lines; and all
these dishes held choice food. The king and Sir Accalon
ate to their hearts' content.
Then the damsels led them into two separate chambers.
King Arthur was tired and so sleepy that he gave but
one glance at his bedroom. He saw that it was hung in
red silk embroidered with gold dragons and griffins.
Then he threw himself on his bed and slept very
When he awoke, he found himself not in the pretty
bed-chamber, but in a dark place. He could see nothing,
but all about him he heard the sound of complaining and
weeping. He was much bewildered, but in a moment he
"What is this? Where am I?"
Then a voice answered:
"You are in a prison, as we are."
"Who are you?" asked Arthur.
The voice replied:
"We are twenty knights, prisoners, and some of us have
been here as long as seven years. We are in the
dungeons of a wicked lord named Sir Damas. He has
 a younger brother, and the two brothers are enemies,
quarreling about their inheritance. Now the younger
brother, Sir Ontzlake, is very strong, but Sir Damas is
not strong, and moreover, he is a coward. So he tries
to find a knight who will fight for him against Sir
"But Sir Damas is so much hated that no one will fight
for him. So he goes about the county with a body of
rough men, and whenever he sees a knight, he captures
him. Then he asks him to fight with Sir Ontzlake. So
far, all the knights have refused, and have been thrown
into prison. We do not have food enough, but we would
rather die here than fight for Sir Camas, who is so
At that moment a damsel entered the prison with a
torch, which faintly lighted the dismal place, and
advanced to the king.
"Sir," she said, "will you fight for my lord, Sir
Damas? If you will, you shall be taken from this
prison. If you will not, you shall die here."
Arthur considered for some time, and then said:
"I would rather fight than die in prison.
 If I fight, will you deliver also all these prisoners?"
The damsel promised, and Arthur consented to fight.
While she went to tell Sir Damas, Arthur said to the
My friends, I do not know Sir Damas, and I do not know
Sir Ontzlake. I do not know whether they are bad or
good. But I will fight, and then, when I have
conquered, I shall judge between them, and do justice
"That is a good plan," said the knights, "but why are
you so sure that you will conquer?"
"I am Arthur, the King," he replied.
At that the knights set up a great cry of joy, and the
"I shall send for my good sword Excalibur and the
scabbard, and with these I shall surely win."
So when Arthur and the knights were led out of prison,
the king sent the damsel who had visited them to Morgan
le Fay for his sword and scabbard.
Meantime, the knight who had accompanied Arthur on the
little ship, Sir Accalon, also awoke. He found himself
 the palace of Morgan le Fay, and he wondered very much
where Arthur was. He went to the lady, who said to him:
"My dear lord, the day has come when you can have great
power if you want it. Should you like to be king of
this land instead of Arthur?"
Now Sir Accalon was a traitor at heart. He wanted very
much to be king, even if the good Arthur was to be
killed; so he said:
Then she said:
"You shall be king, and I shall be your queen. All you
need to do is to fight a great battle, which you shall
win. I have been using my magic. It was I who sent
the ship of silk to you and Arthur. I had him put into
prison, and I had you brought here."
Sir Accalon wondered very much. Then she told him of
the fight King Arthur was to make against Sir Ontzlake.
"But I have caused Sir Ontzlake to fall sick," she
said, ""and he cannot fight. I shall go with you to his
castle and you can offer to fight for him.
 "I to fight with the king!" cried Sir Accalon. "He
would surely overthrow me."
"He cannot," said Morgan le Fay, "because you are to
fight with his sword. A little while ago he sent to me
for Excalibur and the scabbard, but I returned him a
false sword which looks like Excalibur, and a false
scabbard. You shall take the true ones, and then you
will surely overcome him and rule this land."
Then Sir Accalon was glad, and he hastened with the
lady to the castle of Sir Ontzlake. They found him
groaning because he was ill and because Sir Damas had
sent him a challenge to fight with a knight, and he
could not accept it. He was much relieved when Morgan
le Fay told him that Sir Accalon would fight in his
Early in the afternoon, King Arthur and Sir Accalon
rode into the field where the combat was to be held.
Arthur did not know who Sir Accalon was, nor did any
one else, except Morgan le Fay. Two sides of the field
were full of people who came to watch, half of whom
 of Sir Damas, and the other half were friends of Sir
Arthur and Sir Accalon rode at each other so furiously
that at the shock of the meeting both fell off their
horses. Then they began to fight fiercely with their
swords. The king could make no headway with his false
steel, but whenever Sir Accalon struck at Arthur he
The king was much amazed. He grew weaker and weaker,
but still he kept on his feet. Those who watched him
were sorry for him; they thought they had never seen a
man fight so bravely. At last Arthur's sword broke, and
fell in two pieces on the ground. When Sir Accalon saw
this, he cried:
"Now, yield to me."
"I will never yield," said the king, "and if you do not
get me another sword, you will be shamed before all
men, for it is an unknightly thing to fight with a
"I do not care," said Sir Accalon. "If you will not
yield, defend yourself with your shield as best you
He rushed at the king. Arthur was so
 weak that he could hardly stand, but he guarded himself
as well as he could with his shield. Soon he could do
no more, and fell to the ground.
At this moment the Lady of the Lake, who had given
Arthur his sword, came upon the field. She was
invisible, but anyone who had listened intently could
have heard a sound like the ripple of water as she
walked. She caused Excalibur to fall out of the hand of
Sir Accalon and drop near Arthur.
When it fell, Arthur saw that it was his own Excalibur.
He grasped its handle and some of his strength came
back. He struggled to his feet, and rushing up to Sir
Accalon, seized the scabbard of Excalibur and threw it
far over the field.
"Now," he said, "send for a second sword and fight with
Then Sir Accalon was afraid. Yet he thought that
Arthur was so weak that he could still be overcome. So
he sent for a second sword, and they began to fight
again. Arthur's strength, however, had largely
returned, and in a short time he gave Sir Accalon a
 Sir Accalon fell to the ground, and the king, leaning
over him, cried:
"Tell me who you are."
Then Sir Accalon was filled with remorse, and he said:
"Oh, my King, I have been a traitor to you, but now am
dying, and I am sorry for what I have done. I deserve
He told the king his name, and all about his treachery,
and that of Morgan le Fay.
King Arthur was sad.
"It is very hard to be deceived in a friend," he said,
"but I forgive you freely. I will try to cure your
wound, and sometime I shall trust you again."
"You cannot cure me," said Sir Accalon. "I am dying.
Let them carry me off the field."
So he was taken to a neighboring abbey, while the
people crowded about the king to congratulate him, but
"I am sad at heart. My victory is no comfort to me, for
to-day I have lost a friend whom I believed true."
 Then he called the two brothers, Sir Damas and Sir
Ontzlake, and judged their cause. He decided that
their property must be divided equally between them,
and that they must be friends. They promised never to
quarrel again. Arthur told them that they must be kind
to other knights and to all people. He said that if he
heard that they were not, he would come and punish
After this, Sir Damas gave back to the twenty knights
all their money, and they went on their way rejoicing.
King Arthur mounted his horse and rode over to the
abbey, where he sat by the bed of Sir Accalon till the
poor knight died. Then the king went back alone to his
Court and Camelot.
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