Scene Retelling – The Once and Future King – Part 3

This is part 3 of a retelling of a scene from The Once and Future King book series, by T.H. White.

A maiden’s power

When a unicorn feels the presence of an innocent young maiden in its wood it responds by coming to greet her.

For our young maiden, Meg, it was an experience beyond expectation. Its neck was full of grace and power, and its mane flowed as though it was underwater. She stopped squirming and dried her eyes as the unicorn trotted through the tall grass towards her.

When it arrived, it knelt on one knee in a gesture that said, “My lady,” and it bowed its head and placed its horn in Meg’s lap. She sat transfixed at this creation, and took the horn in her hand to caress it gently.

The boys stood irresolute in the bushes. They, too, were surprised at the beauty of the unicorn and had forgotten their mission. It was Gawain who remembered their mother and why they had come.

He gritted his teeth, shouted a battle cry, and charged out of the bushes with his spear. The other boys stirred from their stupor and ran after, raising their fierce young voices.

At the sound of the attackers the unicorn whinnied and tried to escape, but Meg would not let go her gentle grip on the unicorn’s horn. She was dreaming so deeply she did not even hear the boys approach, and so the creature could not get away from the maiden which held it bound.

The fate of the unicorn

When the boys reached the unicorn they surrounded it and shook their spears, wondering what they should do next.

Gahareth said they should let it go, tears starting down his cheek. But Gawain shouted that it would all be for naught if they didn’t bring it back. Their mother wanted to hunt it down, and now they must do it for her.

Mordred waited no further. With his spindly little arms he arched his sword high over his head and then slammed it down on the thick of the unicorn’s neck.

Continued in Part 4 here.