The Once and Future King Part 1, Chapters 5-6 Summary

T. H. White

Part 1, Chapters 5-6 Summary

Sir Ector’s home is called the Castle of the Forest Sauvage. It serves as a refuge in those troubled times for the people who lived in the surrounding region. Whenever there was an attack, the people crowded into the castle. Among the inhabitants is the Dog Boy, whose nose was bitten off by the outlaw Wat. The Dog Boy keeps special care of the hunting dogs, with whom he sleeps and lives.

After Merlyn had been there a month, he announces to the Wart that it is time for lessons to begin. It is a hot August day, and the Wart does not want to be trapped in a school room. He looks down at the moat and wishes that he could go swimming. He tells Merlyn that he would like to be a fish. Merlyn calls up Neptune, who casts a spell on the Wart. The boy finds himself quickly turning into a fish and falling into the moat. He is soon followed by Merlyn, who has also turned into a fish. The Wart and Merlyn swim around the moat and visit the inhabitants, including a fish that swims upside down. Merlyn fixes her and then takes the Wart to visit the King of the Moat, who is a large pike. The King of the Moat tells the Wart that there is nothing except power, and Might makes Right. The Wart soon finds himself back on the drawbridge, smouldering in his clothes in the summer heat.

One afternoon, the Wart and Kay are shooting arrows for target practice. Merlyn stretches out underneath a tree and immediately falls asleep. Kay gets tired of shooting at targets and suggests that they shoot at a popinjay, which was an artificial bird on a stick. Kay consistently misses the popinjay, and so the Wart proposes that they play “Rovers,” in which they wander around and find something to shoot. When they come close to the forest, Kay decides to hunt some rabbits. After the fifth shot, he is finally lucky and hits one. The Wart is impressed and fetches it to take home. As is their usual tradition on these shooting expeditions, the Wart shoots an arrow up into the air as a parting salute. He watches the arrow fly up and up, glistening gold in the sunlight. He is upset when a crow flies by and snatches the arrow in his beak and flies off. He is angry since this was his best arrow. Kay simply says that it was a witch.