| 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 |
HOW ARTHUR FOUGHT WITH A GIANT
NCE upon a time King Arthur and some of his knights
were sailing in a ship. The king, being tired, went to
sleep in his cabin, and began to dream. It seemed to
him that he was sailing with his people when a great
dragon flew out of the west. This dragon had a blue
head and a gold back. Underneath he shone like a
rainbow. Flames of fire rushed out of his mouth and
covered land and sea.
As he flew, there came out of the east a great bear,
very rough, and as black as coal, and with wings that
flapped like windmills. The bear and the dragon roared
loudly, and they began to fight and struggle till the
sea was all read with blood. At last the dragon
When the king awoke from this dream
 he sent for Merlin and told him of it, and asked for an
"My lord," Merlin replied, "the dragon betokens
yourself; the colors on its body are signs of your
glory. The bear betokens some tyrant who torments the
people and whom you will slay."
Soon after this, the ship in which the company was,
came in sight of land. When they had anchored, the
knights noticed on the beach a crowd of people who were
weeping. Descending from the ship, Arthur asked on of
the men what troubled them, and what was the name of
"Good sir," returned the man, "this is the country of
Brittany, and we weep because our country is desolated
by a giant. He makes us bring him food. First, he ate
up all the oxen we had, and then our horses. Next he
demanded our children, and now there are no little ones
in the land. To-day he took our good duchess of
Brittany, and carried her off to his mountain."
"Alas!" said the king. "It grieves me to hear this, not
only because a cruel deed has been done, but because
the duchess of
 Brittany is my cousin's wife. I must save this lady. I
will fight with the giant."
"Good sir," cried the people in amazement, "it is not
possible! A whole company of us dare not attack him,
and yet we account ourselves brave men."
"That may well be," replied Arthur, "and yet with my
good sword and scabbard I have no fear."
Then the men said:
"If you will go, my lord, yonder is the great mountain
where the giant lives. At the top, two huge fires burn
continually in front of a cave, and in that cave are
greater treasures than you can dream of. They are all
yours if you will but slay this monster."
Arthur replied nothing to them, but called Sir Kay and
Sir Bedivere, and rode with them to the foot of the
mountain. From that point he ascended alone. When he
was nearly to the top he came upon a woman, clad all in
black, who sat weeping by the side of a newly-made
"Good woman, why do you weep?" asked Arthur.
 "Hush, hush!" she cried, "or the giant will hear you
and come and kill you. He can hear me, but the sound of
weeping delights him, and therefore I need not restrain
"Why do you grieve?" the king asked.
"Alas! Because my good mistress the duchess of
Brittany, is dead. The giant has killed her."
At that Arthur gripped tightly the handle of his sword
"I will kill the wretch before I am an hour older."
"Ah, my lord," said the woman, "the greatest kings in
the country are afraid of him. He has a coat
embroidered with the beards of fifteen of them. He
demanded these beards as a sign that they acknowledged
him as lord."
"There is at least one king who does not acknowledge
him as lord," shouted Arthur, as he strode hastily
When he reached the top he saw the giant asleep in
front of the two great fires before the cave. He was
taller that the tallest pine that ever grew. His arms
were as big as the trunk of an oak tree.
 His mouth was as large as a cave, and from it and his
nostrils came forth fire and flame like that from the
mountain of Vesuvius. Although his huge eyes were
closed, flashes of lightning seemed to shoot form
beneath the lids. At his side was an iron club as large
as a steeple. About him stood trembling old women
fanning him as he slept.
King Arthur approached the monster, and said to him:
"Wretch, awake and fight, for your hour has come."
The giant, starting up, looked down scornfully upon the
king and, laughing, threw his great club at Arthur. But
the king leapt aside and the club fell harmlessly on
the ground, making a hollow where it struck.
Then Arthur rushed toward the giant, waving his good
sword Excalibur. The giant caught him in his arms, in
order to squeeze him to death. The king's armor pressed
closer and closer about him, and he began to lose his
strength. But he kept his hand upon his scabbard, and
so did not die.
 In a few minutes the monster, making sure that Arthur
was dead, dropped him to the ground. After the king had
recovered himself, he sprang to his feet, and taking
his sword, threw it at the giant. The good steel
pierced his neck, and he sank to the ground, shouting
so loudly that Sir Kay and Sir Bedivere at the foot of
the mountain heard, and trembled for their master's
Then the giant again seized Arthur in his arms, and the
two began to roll down the mountain side. Whenever
Arthur was able to, he struck at the giant with his
dagger, wounding him sorely. At last, still struggling
and rolling, they came to the spot where Sir Kay and
Sir Bedivere were. These two loosed the giant's arms
from the king, who then gave one last blow to the
monster, killing him. Then he sent Sir Kay and Sir
Bedivere for his sword Excalibur.
When the people on the seashore heard what Arthur had
done, they fell on their knees and thanked him,
offering him all the giant's treasure. He said,
however, that he would leave it with them to divide
 among the poor people of the country. For himself, all
he wanted was the giant's iron club.
The people sent fifty men to the top of the mountain to
get it for him. As they had no horses, it was a long
time before they could drag the club to the seashore.
There they put it on a barge. It was so heavy that it
pressed the barge down till the water came almost to
the edge of the vessel. Then King Arthur bade the
people good-by, and took ship with his knights. The
grateful men of Brittany stood on the shore, and
shouted and waved until the ship could no longer be
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