Updated: Aug 29, 2020
The beautiful Apple Isle was the home of Morgan le Fay and her sisterhood. It has been said that Avalon was the "Fortunate Isle" or the "Isle of the Blessed" which lay in the waters to the west. Glastonbury Tor in Somerset was once surrounded by an "adventurous marsh" and is also reputed to be the Islae of Avalon. There are many claims to this magical palace where winter never came, the crops rended themselves, the grass grew oanly to a manageable height, and the vines always hung heavy with fruit. The nine priestesses of teh Isle, particularly their leader, Morgan, were famed healers and shapeshifters. They were learned women whom the people said could control the weather and foretell the future. They pursued all fields of knowledge, but were especially talented in the magical arts. It was believed that Morgan was the Great Goddess incarnate, or at least a vessel through which she worked. Morgan was thus granted great respect and it seems only natural that the dying king be entrusted to her and her company after the fateful battle of Camlann.
As the battle fog lifted, Bedivere held his dying king. Arthur struggled to form words. He ordered his friend to return Excalibur to the water from whence it came. Bedivere was reluctant, not wishing to leave Arthur's side, but agreed to carry out his king's dying wish. He took the sword and rode to the nearest body of water. As he lifted Excalibur and looked a last time on its singular beauty, his heart waned. He could not bring himself to throw away the sacred sword and so hid it beneath a tree. On returning to the king, Arthur asked him what he had seen as he threw the sword. "Nothing but waves and wind," replied Bedivere. At these words the king knew he had lied. Bedivere was sent a second time to return Excalibur to the watery depths, but again he failed. "Would you betray me for the riches of the sword?" asked Arthur. At these harsh words Bedivere did as he was told, throwing Excalibur as far as he could. A hand rose up from teh water to meet the sword, grasped it by the hilt, raised it three times, then plunged beneath the surface. Bedivere returned and told the king what he had seen. Arthur then asked his knight to carry him to the water's edge. Waiting in the mists was a barge carrying the priestess Nimue and three queens: the Queen of Northgate, the Queen of teh Wasteland, and the Great Queen Morgan le Fay. Bedivere gently laid the king amongst the four black-hooded figures. With his head upon Morgan's lap, the failing Arthur offered words of comfort to his trusted and noble knight: "Do as thee may and comfort thyself, for I go now into the vale of Avalon to be healed of my wounds." The company then drifted out of sight. Bedivere grieved the loss of his king, gve up his life of arms, and remained in the forest as a hermit the rest of his days. Arthur remained in Avalon from whence, the people say, he and his knights shall return when their country has need of them.
From Ferguson, Anna-Marie. Keeper of Words. 1995 Llewellyn Publications. St. Paul, Minnesota. (110-111)