Le Morte D'Arthur (Book IV)

Week 9: Medieval Heroes - Assignments - Reading - Resources - Images


CHAPTER XIII How Morgan would have slain Sir Uriens her husband, and how Sir Uwaine her son saved him.

Reading time: 2 minutes. Word count: 400 words.

While Morgan thinks that Accolon is carrying out his part of the plot (killing King Arthur), she sets out to accomplish her part: killing her husband, King Uriens.

THE meanwhile Morgan le Fay had weened King Arthur had been dead. So on a day she espied King Uriens lay in his bed sleeping. Then she called unto her a maiden of her counsel, and said, Go fetch me my lord's sword, for I saw never better time to slay him than now.

O madam, said the damosel, an ye slay my lord ye can never escape.

Care not you, said Morgan le Fay, for now I see my time in the which it is best to do it, and therefore hie thee fast and fetch me the sword.

Then the damosel departed, and found Sir Uwaine sleeping upon a bed in another chamber, so she went unto Sir Uwaine, and awaked him, and bade him, Arise, and wait on my lady your mother, for she will slay the king your father sleeping in his bed, for I go to fetch his sword.

Well, said Sir Uwaine, go on your way, and let me deal.

Anon the damosel brought Morgan the sword with quaking hands, and she lightly took the sword, and pulled it out, and went boldly unto the bed's side, and awaited how and where she might slay him best.

And as she lifted up the sword to smite, Sir Uwaine leapt unto his mother, and caught her by the hand, and said, Ah, fiend, what wilt thou do? An thou wert not my mother, with this sword I should smite off thy head. Ah, said Sir Uwaine, men saith that Merlin was begotten of a devil, but I may say an earthly devil bare me.

O fair son, Uwaine, have mercy upon me, I was tempted with a devil, wherefore I cry thee mercy; I will never more do so; and save my worship and discover me not.

On this covenant, said Sir Uwaine, I will forgive it you, so ye will never be about to do such deeds.

Nay, son, said she, and that I make you assurance.


Questions. Make sure you can answer these questions about what you just read:

  • what was Morgan le Fay going to do to her husband Uriens?
  • what did the damsel do when Morgan le Fay ordered her to go get a sword?
  • how did Morgan le Fay react when her son Uwaine intervened?

Source: Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, published by William Caxton (1485), with spelling modernized. Weblink. The original Caxton text is also available online: weblink.


Modern Languages / Anthropology 3043: Folklore & Mythology. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. You must give the original author credit. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one.
Page last updated: October 9, 2004 12:52 PM