The Book of Merlyn: The Unpublished Conclusion to The Once and Future King
T. H. White
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This magical account of King Arthur's last night on earth spent weeks on the New York Times best-seller list following its publication in 1977.
Even in addressing the profound issues of war and peace, The Book of Merlyn retains the life and sparkle for which White is known. The tale brings Arthur full circle, an ending, White wrote, that "will turn my completed epic into a perfect fruit, 'rounded off and bright and done.'"
This is the conclusion of The Once And Future King.
want you to meet them tonight. Of course it will be only one kind of ant, out of many hundreds, but it is a kind which we want you to see.” “Very well,” said the king. “I am ready and willing.” “Have you the Sanguinea-spell at hand, my badger?” The wretched animal immediately began to rummage in its chair, searching inside the seams, lifting the corner of the carpet, and turning up slips of paper covered with Merlyn’s handwriting in all directions. The first slip was headed More Hubris Under
and complaining of their husbands. “Move over a bit, auntie,” they said, or “Shove along, grandma”; “There’s that Flossie gone and sat on the shrimps”; “Put the toffee in your pocket, dearie, and blow yer nose”; “Lawks, if it isn’t Uncle Albert with the beer”; “Any room for a little ‘un?”; “There goes Aunt Emma, fallen off the ledge”; “Is me hat on straight?”; “Crikey, if this isn’t arf a do!” They kept more or less to their own kind, but they were not mean about it. Here and there, in Guillemot
elongated himself, closed his eyes, and looked the other way. “God ter Son.” To the imploring badger. “And God ter Holy Post.” 18 THERE IS NOTHING SO wonderful as to be out on a spring night in the country; but really in the latest part of night, and, best of all, if you can be alone. Then, when you can hear the wild world scamper, and the cows chewing just before you tumble over them, and the leaves living secretly, and the nibblings and grass pluckings and the blood’s tide in your own
an unselfish member of the proletariat. He must have a self and all that goes with a self so highly developed—including selfishness and property. Pray forgive my simile, if I have seemed to use it unfairly.” “Has the goose a neopallium?” Merlyn stood up again. “Yes, a fairly good one for a bird. The ants have a different form of nervous system, on the lines of the corpora striata.” “The second question deals with War. It has been suggested that we ought to abolish it, in one way or another,
or at midnight when the moon is full and shiny, they often see an array of huntsmen who, in answer to enquirers, say they are of the household and fellowship of Arthur.” These, however, were probably real bands of Saxon poachers, like the followers of Robin Wood, who had named their gang in honour of the ancient king. The men of Devon are accustomed to point out “the chair and oven” of Arthur among the rocks of their coast. In Somersetshire there are some villages called East and West Camel (ot),