King Arthur’s life-story
writers have told us Arthur's story.
No-one really knows who he
was, but this is what is usually said about him:
- Uther Pendragon, the High-King of Britain fell in love with the Lady Igraine, but she was
already married to Gorlois, the Duke of Tintagel.
- King Uther decided he must marry Igraine. So he
took his army and fought with Gorlois. Gorlois was killed.
- King Uther married Igraine and they had a son
named Arthur. He was born at Tintagel Castle.
- This was a very dangerous time and attacks by Saxons happened a lot. So King Uther gave his baby son
to his wizard, Merlin, for safety.
- Merlin sent Arthur away to be raised in the
countryside by Sir Ector. He grew up with his foster brother, Kay. He
never knew who his real parents were.
The Sword in the Stone
- When King Uther died, no-one knew he had a son.
So there was lots of arguing about who should be High-King of Britain.
- Suddenly a mysterious stone magically appeared in
the churchyard of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. Sticking out of it was a
huge sword. There was a message on it. It said that whoever pulled the
sword from the stone was the rightful High-King of Britain.
- Lots of the local
kings (or 'tyrants') tried to pull the sword out. It
was magically stuck fast though and the arguing carried on.
- Years later, Arthur had grown into a fifteen year old lad. It was
time for his elder foster-brother, Kay, to go to his first tournament
(where knights practiced fighting). So the family went to London.
- Arthur got into trouble because he had forgotten
Kay’s sword. So he went off to look for one.
- He found the sword in the stone and pulled it out
- Arthur gave the sword to Kay. Kay noticed the
message and everyone wanted to know who had pulled the sword from the
- At first, no-one believed that Arthur had done
it. But he repeated what he had done. Everyone was amazed.
Rebellion against Arthur
- Arthur was crowned King by St. Dubricius.
- However, 11 of the local
kings would not agree to him being High-King. They did
not want to have to do what a fifteen-year-old told them to. They started
a rebellion (a war against the proper ruler).
- Merlin the Wizard helped King Arthur to rule
Britain. He took him to a magical lake. Merlin’s friend, the ‘Lady of the
Lake’ lived there beneath the water. She gave Arthur a magic sword called ‘Excalibur’.
- Excalibur was kept in a magic scabbard. If you
used Excalibur in a fight, you would always defeat your opponent. If you
had the scabbard, you would always be protected from being hurt yourself.
- Arthur led a big army against the 11 rebel kings.
There were many battles, but Arthur had Excalibur, so he won. The kings agreed that Arthur
should be High-King.
Arthur the successful
- Arthur set up his Royal palace at Camelot.
- When Arthur was a bit older, he married a
princess named Guinevere. She was the daughter of King Leodegrance of
Cameliard. As a wedding present, her father gave them a huge round table.
- All the knights in the country wanted to be
soldiers for King Arthur. The bravest of them were allowed to sit at the
round table. They were known as the ‘Knights of the Round Table’. Because
it was round, the positions of all the seats were equal. No-one could say
they were more important because they sat at the end.
- The Saxons were still attacking the British.
- Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table fought
against the Saxons in many battles. They finally defeated them at the
Battle of Mount Badon.
- Everyone was happy and felt very safe again.
- Arthur thought he was doing a better job than the
Roman Emperor in Italy. He decided to take his army to Europe. After a lot
of fighting, the Emperor agreed to give the western half of Europe to
- Back in Britain, the Knights of the Round Table
had lots of adventures. Some rescued princesses. Some fought dragons or
bad knights. Many of them went to look for a religious cup called the
King Arthur is lied to
- The best and bravest of the Knights of the Round
Table was called Sir Lancelot. He came from Brittany (in France) and was King
- He was also very handsome and Queen Guinevere
fell in love with him.
- The two would sneak away from the palace to spend
time together. King
Arthur had no idea what was going on.
- King Arthur’s nephew was called Mordred (or
Medrod). He was an evil man. He found out what Guinevere and Lancelot were
doing and he told King Arthur.
- Lancelot ran away, but Queen Guinevere was taken
to court. The judges decided she should be burnt to death.
- Lancelot rescued her and they escaped to
- Arthur took a big army across the English Channel
to Brittany. He wanted to punish Lancelot and Guinevere.
Evil Sir Mordred
Arthur left Mordred in charge
while he was away in Brittany.
- As Arthur had no children, Mordred was going to
inherit the kingdom when Arthur died; but he could not wait.
- Mordred told everyone that King Arthur had been
killed fighting in Brittany. People believed him and Mordred made himself
High-King of Britain.
- Luckily, Arthur heard about what was going on. He
returned to Britain with his army.
- Mordred had given away lots of money and so some
people liked him. They helped him put together his own army and start a
rebellion (a war against the proper ruler).
- The armies of Arthur and Mordred fought at the
Battle of Camlann. Unfortunately, Arthur did not have Excalibur’s scabbard
with him. It had been stolen by his wicked sister, Morgan Le Fay.
- The battle was so bad that only a few people were
left alive at the end. Two of these were King Arthur and Mordred.
- They fought each other in single combat. Arthur
killed Mordred, but was very badly hurt himself.
King Arthur’s death
- Arthur knew he was going to die. He gave Excalibur to
Sir Bedivere. He told him to return it to the magical lake.
- Bedivere pretended to do what he was told; but he
hid Excalibur under a bush instead.
- Arthur asked Bedivere what happened when he threw
the sword into the lake. Bedivere said that it sank.
- Arthur knew he was lying and told him to go and
do the job properly.
- Bedivere threw the sword into the lake. He saw
the hand of the ‘Lady of the Lake’ come out of the water to catch it.
- Three Queens arrived in a boat and took Arthur
away to the Isle of Avalon.
- It is thought that he died there soon afterwards.