The Age of Fable eBook

Thomas Bulfinch
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,207 pages of information about The Age of Fable.

“The three golden-tongued knights of the court of Arthur:—­
  Gawain, son of Gwyar,
  Drydvas, son of Tryphin,
  And Ehwlod, son of Madag, ap Uther.”

“The three honorable feasts of the island of Britain:—­
The feast of Caswallaun, after repelling Julius Caesar from this
The feast of Aurelius Ambrosius, after he had conquered the
And the feast of King Arthur, at Carleon upon Usk.”

    “Guenever, the daughter of Laodegan the giant,
     Bad when little, worse when great.”

Next follow some moral triads: 

    “Hast thou heard what Dremhidydd sung,
     An ancient watchman on the castle walls? 
     A refusal is better than a promise unperformed.”

    “Hast thou heard what Llenleawg sung,
     The noble chief wearing the golden torques? 
     The grave is better than a life of want.”

    “Hast thou heard what Garselit sung,
     The Irishman whom it is safe to follow? 
     Sin is bad, if long pursued.”

    “Hast thou heard what Avaon sung,
     The son of Taliesin, of the recording verse? 
     The cheek will not conceal the anguish of the heart.”

    “Didst thou hear what Llywarch sung,
     The intrepid and brave old man? 
     Greet kindly, though there be no acquaintance.”




King Arthur was at Caerleon upon Usk; and one day he sat in his chamber, and with him were Owain, the son of Urien, and Kynon, the son of Clydno, and Kay, the son of Kyner, and Guenever and her handmaidens at needlework by the window.  In the centre of the chamher King Arthur sat, upon a seat of green rushes, [Footnote:  The use of green rushes in apartments was by no means peculiar to the court of Carleon upon Usk.  Our ancestors had a great predilection for them, and they seem to have constituted an essential article, not only of comfort, but of luxury.  The custom of strewing the floor with rushes is well known to have existed in England during the Middle Ages, and also in France.] over which was spread a covering of flame-covered satin, and a cushion of red satin was under his elbow.

Then Arthur spoke.  “If I thought you would not disparage me,” said he, “I would sleep while I wait for my repast; and you can entertain one another with relating tales, and can obtain a flagon of mead and some meat from Kay.”  And the king went to sleep.  And Kynon the son of Clydno asked Kay for that which Arthur had promised them.  “I too will have the good tale which he promised me,” said Kay.  “Nay,” answered Kynon; “fairer will it be for thee to fulfil Arthur’s behest in the first place, and then we will tell thee the best tale that we know.”  So Kay went to the kitchen and to the mead-cellar, and returned, bearing a flagon of mead, and a golden goblet, and a handful of skewers, upon which were broiled collops of meat.  Then they ate the collops, and began to drink the mead.  “Now,” said Kay, “it is time for you to give me my story.”  “Kynon,” said Owain, “do thou pay to Kay the tale that is his due.”  “I will do so,” answered Kynon.

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The Age of Fable from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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