The Arthurian Legend
Somewhere in Britain, high in the mountains, the body of King Arthur, clothed in armour and wearing his crown, lies in a state of suspended animation in a hidden cave. When his people need him, he will awaken from his sleep and lead them once again to fulfil their destiny. Some say the cave is in Scotland, others in Wales; others still claim that Arthur sleeps at Alderley Edge in Cheshire or at Sewingshield Crags in Northumberland.
There are many versions of the Arthurian legend, but the basic story remains the same. Arthur was the illegitimate child of Igraine, the wife of Gorlois of Cornwall, and the king of Britain, Uther Pendragon. Their union was masterminded by Merlin, and after the child was born he ensured that Arthur was raised in secret until the time came for him to claim the throne. Arthur was recognized as the rightful king when he was the only contender to succeed in withdrawing a sword embedded in stone. Another sword, Excalibur, was given to Arthur by a mysterious Lady of the Lake.
Advised by his magician, Merlin, Arthur was a wise and magnanimous ruler, who gathered around him the knights of the Round Table at his court at Camelot. His fate was sealed, however, when his sister, the sorceress Morgan le Fay, encouraged his estranged son (or, in some tales, nephew) Mordred to seize the throne in his absence. At the Battle of Camlann, before Arthur killed him, Mordred delivered a fatal blow, and Arthur’s body was carried away on a barge to Avalon.