The Once and Future King Part 1, Chapters 9-10 Summary

T. H. White

Part 1, Chapters 9-10 Summary

The Wart wakes up the next morning, tired from his ordeal with the hawks. Kay pesters him to find out where he was all night, but of course Wart can say nothing. The two boys end up in a fight, in which Kay gets a bloody nose and Wart a black eye. Kay complains that Merlyn will do things for Wart but not for him. Wart goes off to the tower to talk to Merlyn. He asks the wizard if he will change Kay into an animal too, but Merlyn refuses. The Wart thinks this is unfair, so Merlyn tells him a story of the prophet Elijah and the Rabbi Jachanan. The two men went on a journey and stopped for the night at the home of a poor man and woman. The couple’s only possession was a cow. They let the two men have their bed while they slept on the floor. In the morning, they find that their cow has died. Elijah and the rabbi next stay at the home of a wealthy merchant, who had them sleep in a shed and gave them only bread and water. In the morning, Elijah repairs a protective wall that surrounded the merchant’s home. The rabbi does not understand why Elijah showed kindness to the miserly merchant, but the poor people lost their only possession, the cow. Elijah explains that the poor man’s wife was destined to die that night, so it was a mercy that the cow died instead. As for the merchant’s wall, there was a treasure of gold hidden there, which the merchant would have found if he repaired the wall himself. Therefore, Elijah’s kindness was in fact a punishment. Merlyn explains that he was sent only to teach Wart, not Kay, but he promises to send the two boys on an adventure that does not require magic.

Wart and Kay follow the path that Merlyn told them to take, soon coming to the forest. They come across an old woodman, who does not respond to them. Going on, they meet a tall man who reveals himself to be Little John. He decides to take them to Robin Wood (or Robin Hood, as Wart misunderstands Little John). They meet Robin and Maid Marian, and Robin tests the boys’ archery skills. He says that he will take them in to his band of Merry Men, since he needs more help to fight against Morgan le Fey, an enchantress. She is the queen of the fairies and has captured Friar Tuck, the outlaw Wat, Sir Ector's Dog Boy, and the dog Cavall, holding them in the Castle Chariot.