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CHAPTER SUMMARIES AND NOTES
BOOK ONE: THE SWORD IN THE STONE
Summary and Notes
It is autumn at the Castle of the Forest Sauvage, and the castles is preparing for the winter. Everyone is busy and content, even the serfs, and the author spends s0ome time convincing the reader that although the slave/master relationship in the general medieval world was contentious, in Ector’s manor, it was idyllic.
One day, Ector receives a letter from the King, Uther Pendragon. The letter states that the King’s private huntsman, William Twyti, will be arriving shortly to hunt in the Forest Sauvage. Ector is to be Twyti’s host at the command of the King.
Ector is resentful and nervous, even though the forest, of course, is not technically his own, but the lawful property of the King. He is furthermore irritated that his own hunting dogs must be displaced to make room for Twyti’s pack. He walks through his estate and broods about ways to get the better of Twyti during his short visit. It occurs to him that inviting Robin Wood to the hunting party might be just the thing as Robin Wood is a master huntsman and could probably upstage Twyti. Ector has a moment of indecision because he is not sure whether it would be proper to invite Robin; after all, they are from different classes. He further ruminates that it would be amusing to catch the Questing Beast itself (Pellinore now lives on the estate with Grummore) and allow it to eat Twyti and his inconvenient hounds.
Summary and Notes
It is Christmas Eve at the castle, and everyone is there feasting. The author notes that at this time the food, song, and most particularly, the weather, behaved exactly as it ought to as opposed to these fickle modern times. In the summer, it was “beautifully hot for no less than four months,” and on this night “all around the castle the snow lay as it ought to lie.” Most of the major characters are collected together, and the men have been drinking. Pellinore, Ector, and Twyti each toast the crowd in turn with a drunken song. Twyti has been accepted into the fold. Ector gives his annual Christmas speech to the group, and everyone retires to their chambers satisfied and peaceful.