Story of Merlin the Magician
The reign of the famous King Arthur belongs to the end of the V – the beginning of VI century. At the same time was the life and deeds of his trusted advisor – the magician Merlin. According to one legend Merlin was born to an earth woman from a demon. He was intended to be the Antichrist, but the mother confessed and repented of her sin. The infant was baptized by St. Vlas, and it neutralized the effect of evil forces, retaining, however, the inherent magical powers.
And the powers soon came in handy for the boy. At an early age he was forced to come to grips with the magicians of King Vortigern of the Britons. The situation in the country by that time there was severe: Vortigern had fought with the Germans, who tried to seize the island, but they, according to chronicles, succeed to give the king a love potion. And the king was kindled with insane passion for the daughter of a German leader Ronvene and, thus, actually allowed the foreigners to easily conquer Britain.
And then the court magicians who have been unable to defeat the German witchcraft, advised the monarch to build a castle in Wales, which supposedly has to stop the invasion. But when they tried to lay on top of the hill the foundation of the castle, it immediately went underground. Then the magicians declared that it’s impossible to build the castle, and that the hill needs to be straiten with a sprinkle of blood of a boy born to a mortal mother, but who had no mortal father. The search for the child ended up with Merlin and his mother, and they were lured into the castle Vortigern. Yet the future great magician appeared before the king full of grandeur, beauty and nobility. The monarch was so fascinated by the boy, that he decided not to kill him, but to open the case and ask for an advice. Then Merlin said: – “Your Majesty, your mages have no mind and your fortune tellers – are primitive and stupid. They showed their general ignorance and complete ignorance in the mysteries of nature: there is a huge body of water under the hill, which absorbs the foundation. Tell them to deepen the trench, and you will find the lake at the bottom of which lie two tables of stone, concealing the sleeping dragon.” This prophecy was correct, but when the dragons were discovered, they joined each other in mortal combat.
Having started his career in this way, Merlin served in the court of King Vortigern, then under Uther Pendragon and his son Arthur. But that’s another legend…
In the gloomy castle on a rocky promontory, waited Beautiful Lady Igraine for her old husband Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall. And she did not know that King Uther of Britain craves for her so much, that he’s ready to do anything. He turned to Merlin, who, using his ability to change the appearance of people, gave the king the appearance of the Gorlois. Fate wove its threads so, that while Uther performed his feats in bed, the Duke of Cornwall was killed in a battle.
Then the magician went to say goodbye to the body of Gorlois, which rested in the deserted hall of the fortress. He was sad: it was not for gold or the affection of King Uther he went for the fraud. The Magician knew what future holds for the fruit of a criminal love – Arthur, who will be a mighty king and will unite Britain and give her peace. Many things will remain after Arthur: glory of England, a proud national spirit, noble laws of chivalry, the legends that will become a mainstay in the difficult years. Rulers with quite different blood will come to the green island, but they still will think of their ancestor Arthur – as a symbol of power and invincibility.
While Arthur was a child, Marilyn anticipated for attempts by other claimants to the throne to kill the boy, so he convinced the royal pair to give him the child. Only the magician knew where the boy lived and was educated. When King Uther was near death, the magician turned to him and asked to recognize and to proclaim his son Arthur as the new King. So Uther did.
Then Merlin made a great sword Excalibur and put it with the power of his magic into a large stone on which was inscribed: “The one, who will remove this sword from a stone, by the right of birth, will be the king over Britain.” When people (rich and poor) saw, that no one except for Arthur can do it, he was recognized as their lord.
The legend is always simple, but in fact Merlin had to work hard to accommodate the interests of the most powerful lords of the nobility of the Shrew, and make them loyal servants, or at least allies of Arthur. Many years past in wars and battles for the unification of Britain: during this time Merlin appeared in the court, and then have been absent for a long time, despite the protests of his pupil. He loved Arthur with all his heart, but was well aware that under his constant care, Arthur cannot become a powerful king. And thus he appeared at the court only in those moments when he was really needed.
Once King Arthur said to Merlin: “My barons don’t let me to rest and require from me to take a wife.” “It is true – said Merlin – You should get married. Is there such a woman that is dearer to you then others?” “Yes, – said Arthur – From all the women the sweeter is Guinevere, daughter of King of Leodegrance that reigns in the country Carmelide, and in his house he keeps a round table, which he got from my father.”
Merlin warned the king that he should not have Guinevere as wife, and predicted that she would fall in love with the best of Arthur’s knights – Sir Lancelot. But the king did not listen, and got married, though later it all happened exactly as Merlin predicted: Lancelot and Guinevere fell in love. But their love had to burn only in their hearts and dreams for a long time.
The period of grace of peaceful reign of Arthur lasted for 12 years. It was a time of luxuriant growth of chivalrous spirit. In his castle Camelot the King gathered the most valiant and devoted knights and seated them around the famous Round Table. Marilyn taught these knights not to commit murders, not to do any evil, to avoid treachery, deceit and dishonesty, to grant mercy to the beggars and, above all, to respect and protect women. And from Camelot, the knights were sent to fight the dragons, giants and tricky dwarfs.
But troubles lay in a way of Merlin, he fell madly in love with Vivian. British researcher E. Butler writes that “in some sources Vivian believed to be as the King’s daughter, in another – she was a water fairy. But no matter who was this woman, she loved the great magician and he was hopelessly bewitched by her. To maintain her power over him, she found his secret about a magic tomb carved into the rock, lured him there and forever locked him inside, so that Merlin was alive but totally cut off from the world.” In anticipation for these events, Merlin told Arthur, that he remained to be a short time on earth – he will be buried alive. The magician then begged the king to protect Excalibur, because a woman who Arthur trust will try to steal it. And so it happened. Arthur had a sister by mother – Morgan le Fay, who has decided to lime the king. Morgan herself was no stranger to the art of the sorcery: in her youth, she put a spell on the young Arthur and spent a night with him and gave birth to Mordred, whom she wanted to put on the British throne. Morgan stole the Excalibur from Arthur, by replacing it with indistinguishable copy. She gave the magic sword to her lover Sir Accolon and tricked him into a duel with the king, but Arthur, in spite of this, won the duel. Arthur discovered about Morgan’s role in the conspiracy, but forgave her. And in vain, as the witch didn’t calm down.
And here again appears on the scene the brave knight Lancelot. He held back his feelings for Guinevere for a long time, but you cannot escape from your destiny – and the prophecy of Merlin came true: the knight and the queen became lovers. Mordred has exposed them and forced Arthur to condemn his wife to public burning. Lancelot could not afford it, he stole the queen and fled with her to France. Decided to go and chase them, the king handed over the reins to Mordred, but he took advantage of the absence of Arthur and took over the castle.
The subsequent fate of Lancelot and Guinevere told differently in different legends: they both died in bloody wars against Arthur’s knights; Lancelot died and the queen was imprisonment in a monastery. According to one legend, just before his death, Lancelot realized that the powers of darkness with his hands have played their part – came the end of peace in Britain, came to an end the brotherhood of the “Round Table”, honor and love, and cane the time of treachery and blood. His consciousness blurred and he lost his memory. When he revived to life he was no longer a brilliant knight, but a dirty, ragged preacher, holding a cross in his hand instead of a sword.
But for Mordred, all authors are unanimous: he returned to Britain, and in a fierce battle Arthur pierced the treacherous traitor. But, alas, Morgan’s son had put the king a mortal wound.
Thus ends the story of King Arthur and not ends the story of Merlin, for the great magician still alive and cloistered somewhere by Vivian. One legend says that, along with others he was transported to the legendary Shambhala and lives now among the great teachers of mankind. And what happened to the King? Associates put him in a boat that slowly slide through the fog, and took the nice king Arthur by sea to the magical island of Avalon. “Do no worry – he said before he died to his heartbroken Knights. – And know that I will come again, when Britain will need me”…