10 Arthur's Dream

Mordred had raised an army against his father, the king. On the even of his last battle, Arthur had a dreadful dream. He found himself lost in a wood of wild beasts. All about him they feasted on the bodies of his dead knights. Terrorized by the sight, Arthur ran until he reached a clearing. It was a gentle meadow covred with clover and wildflowers. Shepherds tended the flocks under an avenue of trees where silver vines hang heavy with grapes.

From within the clouds appeared a beautiful woman dressed in embroidered silk and ribbons of gold. In her hand she carried a wheel which she occasionally spun. A fine chair was fastened to this wheel and below it, clinging to the rim, were two kings. Both were a white as chalk as they desperately tried to reach the chair. The man closest to the chair wore a cloak of silver embroidered with crosses of gold, while the other wore a cloak of blue decorated with gold feurs de lys.

Fortuna picked up Arthur and set him upon the chair. She then fed him all manner of fruits and wine, asking that he drink to her. Fortuna showed him much affection, but with time she took on a menacing mood and began to threaten the king. Arthur became aware of deep water beneath him in which hideous serpents spat and thrashed about. With the words "Thou shalt lose this game" Fortuna suddenly spun her wheel. In his fall from grace Arthur crushed his jaw, w hile the spinning wheel broke the rest of his bones, leaving him to be torn apart by the monstrous worms. The terrified Arthur awoke, but soon drifted into a half sleep. In this state the ghost of Gawain appeared to him and warned him not to fight the following day--for if he did he would surely die.

From Ferguson, Anna-Marie. Keeper of Words. 1995 Llewellyn Publications. St. Paul, Minnesota. (70)

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