The Once and Future King Part 2, Chapters 11-12 Summary

T. H. White

Part 2, Chapters 11-12 Summary

Queen Morgause stays in her chamber, refusing all communication with her guests. King Pellinore misses his friends, but suddenly he hears shouting in the distance—someone calling his name. He finds Sir Palomides and Sir Grummore at the cliff’s edge, in a crevice, dressed in their beast costume. He sees that Glatisant, the Questing Beast, is also there. King Pellinore greets the beast and asks Sir Grummore why he is dressed as an animal. Sir Grummore begs the king to kill the beast that he has been chasing for eighteen years, but Pellinore refuses. Sir Palomides fears that the beast has fallen in love with the two men in the costume. Pellinore suggests that they flirt with Glatisant and lead her to the castle. He takes the beast by the tail, but Glatisant bites him. Sir Palomides and Sir Grummore manage to tempt the beast to follow them to the castle. When they reach the castle, they notice that King Pellinore is no longer with them. Looking back, they see the king walking toward them with his arm around a stout, middle-aged lady. Pellinore announces that it is the Queen of Flanders’s daughter, who has followed the Questing Beast to Orkney to find him. He says that, though he wrote many letters to her which remain unanswered, he had forgotten to put his return address on them, so she had no idea where he was.

The Questing Beast has started to besiege the castle, which reminds King Pellinore that she bit him. He shows his friends his wound, which the Queen of Flanders’s daughter had bound up for him with her petticoats. The Old Ones in the castle are trying to fend off the beast by throwing stones at her, but she promptly swallows the missiles. The Queen of Flanders’s orders the beast off as the others hurry into the safety of the castle. However, Glatisant intends to keep the castle under siege until her “mate” appears. Sir Toirdealbhach appears to announce his impending marriage to old Mother Morlan.

King Arthur begins the battle of Bedegraine at night, using “ungentlemanly” tactics, which surprise his opponents. Arthur’s actions are an atrocity in the eyes of King Lot and his soldiers, and they are unable to withstand the assault. Arthur quickly gains the victory the following day. Merlyn arrives, dressed as a common soldier of the infantry. He gives Arthur the news that the clans on foot have surrendered.