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Friday, August 24, 2012

Otter First Sees the Sword in the Stone

screenshot from Disney's The Sword in the Stone

An Excerpt from Chapter 6: Otter Goes to the Village

This scene takes place about a third of the way into the book. It is Otter's first trip to the village of Dragon Head where he sees the sword in the stone for the first time. The story is told in first person from Otter's viewpoint.

You can listen to an audio file of the excerpt here:

or read the text below:

I was mesmerized by the village. I had never seen so many people and so much activity. The food was phenomenal. Shops sold and traded clothing, jewelry, beads, pottery, baskets, tools, and musical instruments. The shops surrounded a town square, which was the local gathering place for important meetings and events.

I was most intrigued by the town square and the peculiar decoration at its center. On top of a large stone sat an anvil. A sword had been thrust into the anvil. It seemed an odd centerpiece for the town.

When Arthur and Kay passed a blacksmith shop, they begged Merlin to stop so they could look at the swords and armor. Merlin waved a hand toward the shop to indicate it was okay. I beamed with pride at my own sword.

It was a hot day but the blacksmith in the back still slaved over his hot stove. He showed Arthur and Kay how to put the iron in the hot fire and then pound it into shape by placing the object on an anvil and hitting it with a hammer. He was eager to answer the boys’ questions.

After watching the blacksmith a few minutes, Arthur asked, “Did you put that sword in the anvil in the village square?”

“No,” replied the blacksmith. “No one knows how it got there. That large stone has been there as long as I can remember. A dozen years ago, that sword and anvil just showed up.”

“Why hasn’t someone pulled it out?” Arthur asked.

“It’s not from lack of trying,” replied the blacksmith. “I’ve seen the strongest knights in the kingdom tug on that thing for hours. No one’s even got it to budge.”

The answer satisfied Arthur and he returned to checking out the swords in the shop. A woman in front, who I assumed was the blacksmith’s wife, approached the boys.

“Be careful with those swords. I don’t want any heads lopped off in our shop.” Kay and Arthur nodded in agreement.

“You boys planning to be knights some day?” inquired the woman.

“Oh, yes, ma’am,” said Kay with excitement.

“Not me,” said Arthur in a disappointed voice.

“What’s the matter, boy? You don’t want to be a knight?”

“No, ma’am. I’d love it, but I’m not of noble birth.”

The woman looked at Arthur suspiciously. “You sure dress like a noble.”

“Oh,” said Arthur, “I was born to peasants but adopted by Sir Ector.”

“Hmmph. If you ask me, it’s the people like us who ought to be deciding if we fight or not. What do the nobles have to lose?” she grunted, jerking a thumb toward Kay. “They already have plenty.”

Kay rolled his eyes, but Arthur nodded in agreement. “I think you’re right,” he said. “Everyone should have a say.”

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