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CHAPTER SUMMARIES AND NOTES
BOOK ONE: THE SWORD IN THE STONE
Summary and Notes
Robin tells the boys that only a child can enter the Castle Cavall, where Morgan is, and the boys volunteer to do the rescuing. The boys pass the day before the nighttime mission learning the ways of life of Robin’s men. Robin tells the boys that there are a number of challenges involved in getting into the Castle Cavall: there is a griffin outside that the boys can slip pass, and to overcome the dangers inside the boys will carry with them a piece of iron. The Old Ones are terrified of iron because it is the metal that supplanted their people. Moreover, it is important not to eat anything that the boys see, no matter how tempting.
The boys are astonished to see all of the men in Robin’s tribe repeating his speech word for word; they are all illiterate and must rely on their memories for directions.
Marian leads the men and boys through the forest and Wart is quite taken with her, as she is far superior to any of the others in sheer athleticism and survival skills. The hundreds in the band “stalk” through the forest during the night to reach the Castle, and come upon the griffin, which is far larger and fiercer than anything the boys had imagined. The griffin is guarding the Oldest Ones’ castle, which is made entirely of food.
The castle is meant to be tempting to children, but in an amusing miscalculation, the fairies have chosen foods, that are repulsive: cheese and tripe and moldy milk. Morgan is equally distasteful, and because of the iron, the boys have an easy time with the rescue: the castle literally dissolves. The boys have Wat and Dog Boy safely in their care.