CHAPTER XIV How Queen Morgan le Fay made great sorrow for the death of Accolon, and how she stole away the scabbard from Arthur.
Reading time: 4 minutes. Word count: 700 words.
THEN came tidings unto Morgan le Fay that Accolon was dead, and his body brought unto the church, and how King Arthur had his sword again. But when Queen Morgan wist that Accolon was dead, she was so sorrowful that near her heart to-brast. But because she would not it were known, outward she kept her countenance, and made no semblant of sorrow. But well she wist an she abode till her brother Arthur came thither, there should no gold go for her life.
Then she went unto Queen Guenever, and asked her leave to ride into the country.
Ye may abide, said Queen Guenever, till your brother the king come home.
I may not, said Morgan le Fay, for I have such hasty tidings, that I may not tarry.
Well, said Guenever, ye may depart when ye will.
So early on the morn, or it was day, she took her horse and rode all that day and most part of the night, and on the morn by noon she came to the same abbey of nuns whereas lay King Arthur; and she knowing he was there, she asked where he was. And they answered how he had laid him in his bed to sleep, for he had had but little rest these three nights.
Well, said she, I charge you that none of you awake him till I do, and then she alighted off her horse, and thought for to steal away Excalibur his sword, and so she went straight unto his chamber, and no man durst disobey her commandment, and there she found Arthur asleep in his bed, and Excalibur in his right hand naked.
When she saw that she was passing heavy that she might not come by the sword without she had awaked him, and then she wist well she had been dead. Then she took the scabbard and went her way on horseback.
When the king awoke and missed his scabbard, he was wroth, and he asked who had been there, and they said his sister, Queen Morgan had been there, and had put the scabbard under her mantle and was gone.
Alas, said Arthur, falsely ye have watched me.
Sir, said they all, we durst not disobey your sister's commandment.
Ah, said the king, let fetch the best horse may be found, and bid Sir Ontzlake arm him in all haste, and take another good horse and ride with me.
So anon the king and Ontzlake were well armed, and rode after this lady, and so they came by a cross and found a cowherd, and they asked the poor man if there came any lady riding that way. Sir, said this poor man, right late came a lady riding with a forty horses, and to yonder forest she rode.
Then they spurred their horses, and followed fast, and within a while Arthur had a sight of Morgan le Fay; then he chased as fast as he might.
When she espied him following her, she rode a greater pace through the forest till she came to a plain, and when she saw she might not escape, she rode unto a lake thereby, and said, Whatsoever come of me, my brother shall not have this scabbard. And then she let throw the scabbard in the deepest of the water so it sank, for it was heavy of gold and precious stones.
Then she rode into a valley where many great stones were, and when she saw she must be overtaken, she shaped herself, horse and man, by enchantment unto a great marble stone.
Anon withal came Sir Arthur and Sir Ontzlake whereas the king might know his sister and her men, and one knight from another. Ah, said the king, here may ye see the vengeance of God, and now am I sorry that this misadventure is befallen.
And then he looked for the scabbard, but it would not be found, so he returned to the abbey where he came from.
So when Arthur was gone she turned all into the likeliness as she and they were before, and said, Sirs, now may we go where we will.
Questions. Make sure you can answer these questions about what you just read:
Languages / Anthropology 3043: Folklore & Mythology.
Laura Gibbs, Ph.D.
This work is licensed under a Creative
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.