The Once and Future King Part 1, Chapters 14-16 Summary

T. H. White

Part 1, Chapters 14-16 Summary

As autumn commences, everyone is involved in the harvest. Sir Ector keeps a close watch on the proceedings, identifying the good workers from the bad. He receives a letter from King Uther Pendragon, who owns the Forest Sauvage even though Sir Ector thinks of it as his. The king is sending his huntsman, William Twyti, to hunt for boars to feed the royal household. Twyti is bringing the king’s hunting dogs, and Uther expects Sir Ector to board and feed the whole party. Sir Ector resents the subservience this implies, feeling that he could just as easily send boars to the king instead of having to feed the hunting party. He thinks about asking Robin Wood to lead Twyti on the hunt, but this would be awkward, since Robin is poaching in the king’s forest.

At Christmas, William Twyti arrives. King Pellinore and Sir Grummore also are guests. Pellinore has been staying with Sir Grummore since their joust in the forest. The Christmas feast is a time of eating and singing, with all the guests taking part in the entertainment. They sing the National Anthem in honor of King Uther and retire for the night, preparing for the hunt the following day.

The Wart gets up the next morning and dresses in the freezing room. At breakfast, King Pellinore claims not to be feeling well, but Sir Grummore assumes it is just nerves. Sir Ector introduces Robin Wood to Twyti, assuring him that there is no connection between Wood and Robin Hood, even though they both wear green. The company rides out into the deep snow and soon comes upon a boar, which charges Sir Grummore. The knight misses a clean shot and is injured. The Wart follows William Twyti. The dogs surround the boar, making it difficult to get a good shot. One dog gives way, giving Twyti a chance. The boar falls over, trapping Twyti’s leg. The boar is quickly killed, and Twyti is removed from the carcass. He sees that one of his dogs, Beaumont, is seriously injured. He comforts it and allows Robin to put it out of its misery. Twyti rises to his feet and blows his hunting horn, but Wart believes that he is crying. Suddenly, King Pellinore takes off and soon returns, telling the others to follow him. Confused, the company does so and finds Pellinore under a gorse bush holding the head of Glatisant, the Questing Beast, which is pining away since Pellinore has given up the chase. Pellinore begs the men to take the Beast back to the castle so that he can be fed and warmed.