Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Once and Future King (1).

T.H. White. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons. 1939.

Why read it? The education of King Arthur for leadership by Merlyn. Part of his training was in learning to live with the animals and gain their perspective. Finally, he founded the Round Table. Merlyn is a most amazing character. A delightful and imaginative tale of what was to become known as Camelot. And a great deal of wisdom.


“The Wart was called the Wart because it more or less rhymed with Art, which was short for his real name.” p. 3.

“In the afternoon the program was: Mondays and Fridays, tilting and horsemanship; Tuesdays, hawking; Wednesdays, fencing; Thursdays, archery; Saturdays, the theory of chivalry…terminology of the chase and hunting etiquette.” p. 4.

“The Wart found that, although he was frightened of the danger of the forest before it happened, once he was in it he was not frightened any more.” p. 14.

“…another arrow came whirr and frump….” p. 14.

“…knights were bound by their vows to help people in distress.” p. 15.

On armor: “First you have to stop to unwind the brachet [hound that hunts by scent], then your visor falls down, then you can’t see through your spectacles; nowhere to sleep, never know where you are; rheumatism in the winter, sunstroke in the summer…this horrid armor takes hours to put on…either frying or freezing, and it gets rusty…have to sit up all night polishing the stuff.” p. 18.

“…fell off his horse with a tremendous clang…hopping round the white horse with one foot in the stirrup.” p. 19.

Of Merlyn’s room: “…was the most marvelous room that he had ever been in…. Thousands of brown books in leather bindings…a gun case with all sorts of weapons which would not be invented for half a thousand years….” p. 24.

“At this the bird [Archimedes, the owl] became so nervous that it made a mess on Merlyn’s head.” p. 25.

“He [Merlyn] talked to them [animals], not in baby-talk like a maiden lady, but correctly in their own growls and barks.” p. 37.

To be continued.

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