The Once and Future King Part 1, Chapters 11-13 Summary

T. H. White

Part 1, Chapters 11-13 Summary

The company is divided up and the Wart is placed in Maid Marian’s group, much to his displeasure in being led by a woman. However, he finds that he has trouble keeping up with her, since she can crawl on all fours and wiggle like a snake. They approach the Castle Chariot, which is guarded by a large griffin. They manage to get past this monster, only to find that the fairies’ castle is made of food. They make their way to Morgan the Fey’s bedchamber and find her asleep on a bed of lard, with the prisoners tied to pillars of pork. Morgan the Fey is an overweight, middle-aged woman, but she may be able to assume a more beautiful form when she is tempting men into her lair. Kay wields an iron knife, since fairies have a hatred of the metal, having come to life before iron was invented. As the company approaches the queen with their knives, she writhes on the bed and the castle begins to shake. Before they can reach her, the castle disappears, and the prisoners are set free.

The griffin, however, is still present. It attacks the company, heading straight for the Wart. Kay shoots it in the eye, killing it as it leaps. It falls on the Wart, breaking his collar bone. As the boys prepare to return home, Kay takes the griffin’s head as his reward. The Wart asks for the liberty of the outlaw Wat, who has been captured by Robin’s band. They return to the castle, where Merlyn heals Wat, who now is a trusted member of the household.

The Wart is confined to bed for three days and thus becomes bored. He begs Merlyn to change him into something, so the wizard transforms the boy into an ant in the Wart’s ant farm. Wart finds himself receiving internal messages to work from some outside source. Everything is either “Done” or “Not Done.” Another ant reports Wart as insane (“Not Done”), but he is given clearance to keep working. He hears announcements that the ant colony is too numerous and is starving. The solution is to become more numerous so that they can starve even more. When they are numerous enough, they can attack other colonies and steal their food. As the ants prepare for war, the Wart is disgusted with their belligerence, likening it to human beings and their obsession with war. Luckily, Merlyn rescues him from the ant farm before the war commences.