The Story Of Merlin
It all began with dragons. Long ago in Britain there lived a king
named Vortigern. He was not a good man and no one realty liked him.
In fact, they said that he had stolen the crown and that the real king
was named Ambrosius the Golden. But no one knew where he was until
one day a huge army showed up off the shores of Britain, and its leader,
who said that he was Ambrosius, told everyone that he had come to claim
back the kingdom.
he heard this, Vortigern grew fearful. He summoned his wizards and
asked them what he should do. "There is only one way to escape Ambrosius,"
said the chief wizard. "You must build a new castle and stay in it
until he goes away.
shall I build this castle?" asked Vortigern.
chief wizard thought for a moment. Then he pointed to a tall hill on the
horizon. "There," he said.
sent for his builders and told them to make him a strong castle on top
of the hill. To begin with evergthing was fine. The builders
dug huge foundations and dragged massive blocks of stone up the hillside.
The walls began to grow upwards until they were nearly as high as a tall
man. And then, during the night, they fell down. In the morning
the builders came to admire their work, but the great stone blocks were
rolled about all over the hillside like giant square marbles. "Earthquake,"
said the head builder. \"That's what it was. You'll see." So
they set about building the walls again and by nightfall they were back
in place. Then the builders went off to bed, satisfied they had done
a good job.
the next morning the stones were scattered all over the hillside again.
And this time the earth was all dug up around them as though someone with
very large feet had walked about, kicking the stones. Now the builders
were really worried, so they sent a message to King Vortigern. When he
heard what had happened, he sent for his wizards.
said the chief wizard, stroking his long white beard and looking
wise. It's obvious that some evil spirit is at work here. It must
be knocking down the walls every night."
shall I do?" said Vortigern.
answered the chief wizard. "You must find a boy who has no father.
And when you find him you must kill him and sprinkle his blood on the stones.
That will do it."
Vortigern sent for the captain of his soldiers and told him to go and look
for a boy without a father at once because Ambrosius and his army
were getting closer, and Vortigern needed to have his new castle finished
as soon as possible.
captain gathered his best men and told them to ride north, south,
east and west and everij direction in between, until they found a boy
without a father.
end, it was the captain himself who found the boy.
riding through a little town not far from the hill where Vortigern
was trying to build his castle, when he saw some boys fighting. One of
the boys broke away from the rest and ran off. As he did so, the
others shouted after him, "Emrys has no father! Emrys has no father!"
the captain rode after the boy. When he caught up with him he called
out, "Boy! Wait! Is it true? Do you really have no father?"
The boy stopped and looked up at the captain on his tall horse. He
had one blue eye and one green. He nodded.
gou must come with me," said the captain.
said the boy, and climbed up in front of the captain. He said
nothing at all on the way to the hill. When they arrived they found that
Vortigern himself, and his wizards, were already there.
this the boy?" demanded the king.
is," said the captain, saluting. Vortigern looked at the boy.
is your name?" he asked.
"Emrys," said the boy.
Vortigern looked at his wizards, who nodded. "Proceed," said the
"I know you want to kill me," said the boy called Emrys, "but I know the
real reason why your castle will not stand."
"What's that?" said Vortigern.
"There is a lake of water under the hill," said the boy. "Under the
water there is a stone chest with a lid." He looked at Vortigern's
wizards. "Do you know what is inside the chest?" he asked.
The wizards scratched their heads and tugged at their beards and shifted
from one foot to the other. But not one of them said angthing. "Well?"
"Inside the chest are two dragons," said the boy. "Everg night they
come out and fight in the lake. Their fighting shakes the earth and
makes the walls of your castle fall down. If you don't believe me
tell your builders to dig down into the hill."
Vortigern gave the order and the builders began to dig. The hole
got deeper and deeper until they revealed a lake of still, dark water.
Then they brought pumps and engines and began to drain the lake.
Soon the water was almost gone and everyone could see the top of a huge
Vortigern's builders brought a crane and some ropes and very slowly they
lifted off the lid. Inside, curled up, sleeping, were two dragons.
One was red and the other white. They woke up. They crawled
out of the stone chest and stretched their wings.
Vortigern, his wizards and all the builders and soldiers drew back in fear.
The boy did not move.
the two dragons flew up into the air and began to fight with each
other. The noise was like thunder and lightning and wind all at once.
At lost, the white dragon began to grow tired. The red dragon bit
it on the neck and then it breathed out some fire. The white dragon
fell to the ground and you could hear the crash a hundred miles away.
The red dragon flew away.
Everyone was silent on the hillside. King Vortigern looked at the
boy. "How did you know about the dragons?"' he asked.
"I know many things," answered the boy. "I know that King Ambrosius
the Golden is coming with a great armg, and that he will soon be here.
And I know that you are going be killed, just like the white dragon."
With that, the boy vanished, leaving the king and his wizards and all his
men very much afraid. And everything the boy had said would happen
did happen. King Ambrosius came with his army and Vortigern was killed
in the battle that followed. His castle never did get finished.
In fact, you can still see the ruins today, if you can find the hill.
As for the boy named Emrys, he grew up to become the greatest wizard that
ever lived. But he was not called Emrys any longer. Everyone
called him Merlin, and he was King Arthur's magician. And everyone
said he was the wisest man who ever lived.