THE DRAWING OF THE SWORD 7
be swordless I thought of the sword in this stone, and I pulled it out.' ' Were any Knights present when you did this ? ' asked Sir Ector. ' No, none,' said Arthur. ' Then it is you,' said Sir Ector, ' who are the rightful King of this land.' ' But why am I the King ? ' inquired Arthur. ' Because,' answered Sir Ector, ' this is an enchanted sword, and no man could draw it but he who was born a King. Therefore put the sword back into the stone, and let me see you take it out.' ' That is soon done,' said Arthur, replacing the sword, and Sir Ector himself tried to draw it, but he could not. ' Now it is your turn,' he said to Sir Kay, but Sir Kay fared no better than his father, though he tugged with all his might and main. 'Now you, Arthur,' and Arthur pulled it out as easily as if it had been lying in its sheath, and as he did so Sir Ector and Sir Kay sank on their knees before him. ' Why do you, my father and brother, kneel to me ? ' asked Arthur in surprise. ' Nay, nay, my lord,' answered Sir Ector, ' I was never your father, though till to-day I did not know who your father really was. You are the son of Uther Pendragon, and you were brought to me when you were born by Merlin himself, who promised that when the time came I should know from whom you sprang. And now it has been revealed to me.' But when Arthur heard that Sir Ector was not his father, he wept bitterly. 'If I am King,' he said at last, 'ask what you will, and I shall not fail you. For to you, and to my lady and mother, I owe more than to anyone in the world, for she loved me and treated me as her son.' ' Sir,' replied Sir Ector, ' I only ask that you will make your foster-brother, Sir Kay, Seneschal1 of all your lands.' ' That I will readily,' answered Arthur, ' and while he and I live no other shall fill that office.'
Sir Ector then bade them seek out the Archbishop with him, and they told him all that had happened concerning the sword, which Arthur had left standing in the 1 ' Seneschal' means steward.