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Last Updated on February 3, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 488

Axl and Beatrice are an elderly married couple who live in a small, rural village in England. One morning, Axl succeeds in remembering several elusive memories, and he shares his plan with Beatrice: together, they will leave their village to visit their son.

Axl and Beatrice set out, and Beatrice...

(The entire section contains 488 words.)

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Axl and Beatrice are an elderly married couple who live in a small, rural village in England. One morning, Axl succeeds in remembering several elusive memories, and he shares his plan with Beatrice: together, they will leave their village to visit their son.

Axl and Beatrice set out, and Beatrice leads the way through the hills and across the Great Plain towards a Saxon village that she has visited on occasion to trade. On their journey, they spend part of an evening in a dilapidated villa occupied by an old woman and a boatman. Axl and Beatrice learn that the boatman had ferried the old woman's husband to a nearby island but had refused to ferry the old woman across. Axl and Beatrice hear conflicting accounts of the story, but they learn that boatmen question married couples who arrive at their ferries to test their commitment to each other. Only especially committed couples are allowed to cross together.

Axl and Beatrice arrive at the Saxon village and find the villagers tense and apprehensive. Beatrice speaks with an acquaintance for medical advice and information, and she learns that ogres have captured a young boy. She also learns that a monk named Father Jonus could have more information on her health.

Axl and Beatrice are taken in by Ivor, an elderly, respected Briton. They learn that a visiting Saxon warrior named Wistan has volunteered to rescue the young boy. The night passes, and Wistan returns victorious. But the young boy, Edwin, has been bitten by one of the beasts, and so the village seeks to cast him out. Wistan meets Axl and Beatrice and decides to take the boy as his charge and deliver him to Axl and Beatrice's son's village. Wistan seems to recall Axl's face.

The group ventures up the hills towards a monastery to seek Father Jonus for his advice. Edwin recalls the previous day when he was waiting for the village to reveal his fate. At that time, he heard his mother's voice, telling him to come and rescue him. On the path, they encounter a group of Briton soldiers guarding a bridge. Beatrice shares a kind moment with the group's leader, a gray-haired man, and they are allowed to pass. Farther up the road, they encounter an old knight and his horse. He is revealed to be Sir Gawain, cousin to the late King Arthur. They have heard that Gawain was tasked with slaying the she-dragon Querig, known to reside in the hills.

The gray-haired soldier returns, now skeptical as to why he allowed the group to pass. He recognizes Wistan as the Saxon, whom Lord Brennus has put a bounty upon. Lord Brennus seeks the death of Wistan, because Wistan has been charged with slaying the dragon Querig himself. The two duel, and the gray-haired soldier is killed. The group buries the body of the grain-haired soldier, and they take their leave of Gawain.

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