Briton has always been a land of myths and legends. From St George and the Dragon to Robin Hood. Dick Whittington and his Cat to the Loch Ness Monster. But nothing had capture the imagination of the populous quite like Merlin, King Arthur, and his Knights.
Today I am going to head over to Wiltshire and tell you the story of a King, a great Sorcerer, and some Standing Stones.
Once upon a time, there was a great but terrible battle. King Ambrosius lost over 3,000 of his noble Knights. As he looked upon the carnage of the battlefield, his heart felt heavy.
With tears in his eyes, he turned to his most trusted advisor — a young boy whose name was Merlin.
"I will not have their noble sacrifice forgotten," King Ambrosius said. "I want to build a monument, so all who pass this way will remember how they gave their lives for this Kingdom."
"I know just the thing," Merlin said, smiling for the first time that day. "Have you heard of The Giant's Dance, Sire?"
"No," King Ambrosius stated.
"The Giants Dance is a circle of stones. It is said they are magical, some even claim they can heal the sick."
"Then we should bring The Giant's Dance here," King Ambrosius said as he turned his back on all the dead.
"There is just one problem," Merlin said, a frown on his brow. "The Giant's Dance is in Killaraus—"
"Ireland?" King Ambrosius sighed unhappily. "I do not have the men to go to Ireland."
"But Sire," Merlin persisted. "These stones will stand as a monument forever. No one will forget the deaths of our most noble knights. These stones will stand as testament."
King Ambrosius thought on this. Finally he said, "You can go to Ireland with 15,000 knights and bring the stones back. Uther will accompany you."
Uther, Ambrosius brother, had just walked up to them, his face was splattered with blood, as were his clothes. He yawned with fatigue. "Where are we going?" Uther asked tiredly.
"Ireland," King Ambrosius informed him. He smiled and patted his brother on the back before walking away.
"Ireland?" Uther asked, looking at Merlin for an explanation.
"It was his idea," Merlin said, pointing to the King.
What Uther said next isn't suitable for this blog...!
The crossing of the Irish Sea was no picnic. The tide was high and unpredictable. By the time the coast of Ireland came into view, even Merlin was wondering if he had been a little hasty at his suggesting The Giant's Dance as a monument.
Along the top of the cliffs, an army watched their progress. The Irish knew the Knights of Ambrosius would only cross the sea for one thing and one thing only. But if they thought they could come here and take the sacred Stones then they had another think coming.
But as the Knights of Ambrosius departed from the boats, the Irish realised the fragility of their numbers. There was no way they could win. So with heavy hearts, they dropped their weapons and walked away. The Stones would have to take care of themselves.
Meeting no resistance, Merlin and the Knights made for the Stones. But try as they might the Knights of Ambrosius could not move the Stones. Merlin sat down in the grass and watched with barely concealed enjoyment.
Defeated, Uther sat down next to him.
"I wouldn't say deluded, " Merlin said, rising to his feet. And then with a few softly spoken words, the Stones began to tremble. Ambrosius' Knights stepped back and looked at the Stones with panic.
Merlin walked confidently forward as the Stones still trembled. He raised his arms in the air and continued to chant. To the astonishment of everyone gathered, the Stones began to rise slowly into the air.
"To the boats," Merlin said with a grin to the Knights who were stood watching the Stones with opened mouths.
"Why didn't he just do that in the first place?" One of the Knights asked Uther.
Uther shook his head and breathed out unsteadily.
The sea was calm during the crossing back, but Merlin, who continued to chant, looked tired and drawn. By the time they reached Salisbury, Merlin was supported by Uther and another Knight, but still, he continued to chant. When they came into the presence of the King, Merlin allowed the Stones to fall softly to the earth.
“You did it,” King Ambrosius said, grinning like a fool.
Merlin was too exhausted to reply.
King Ambrosius immediately summoned the clergy and his people to celebrate the erection of the monument. Merlin once again began to mutter under his breath and the Stones once more lifted into the air, but this time when they landed, they were in their rightful positions, just as they had been in Ireland.
Copyright © Mary Anne Yarde 2017
All images can be found on Pixabay
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