Chapter 14:

How Padragon and Uter fought with the Saxons and defeated them

Uter placed himself between the people in their host and the ships, for he found them far from the shore, in a plain without water. And he harried them in such manner that he made them fall back. And so Uter had them scattered and parted for two days. The third day King Padragon came and saw those of the host who did what they must as they fought with Uter, and when he saw this, he had his ranks form very soon, for each leader knew with whom he had to battle. Then each came closer to the other, and when the Saxons saw the two hosts and saw that they could not return to their ships without a battle, it seemed most ill to them. Then the scarlet dragon appeared, which ran through the air and expelled fire through its mouth and nostrils, and when the Saxons saw it, they felt great fear of it, and Padragon and Uter said to their people, "Now let us go strike at them, for they are vanquished, since we see all the signs Merlin told of."

And the king and his men went toward them as fast as their horses could carry them. And when Uter saw that the king went to fight, he went to fight on his side as well, and so began the battle of Salabres, and I do not want to tell you who fought well or who fought badly. But after the battle was begun, Padragon was killed and many other men with him, and the history recounts that Uter won the battle and that many of his men died there, but of the Saxons none of any note remained, since all were killed there in the battle and the sea.

And so ended the battle of the field of Salabres, and Uter stayed in the field and was lord of the kingdom, and he had all of the Christian corpses assembled together in one place, and each one was brought there by a friend. And Uter had his brother brought there and had monuments made to all of them and had a name written on each one, and commanded that his brother's monument be higher than the others, and said that his name would not be written there, for he who saw it would be very imperceptive if he did not realize that Padragon was the lord of those who lay there.

Then Uter remained lord of the land, and went to London with all the prelates of the sacred Church and had himself crowned and consecrated there. And fifteen days later Merlin came to the court. King Uter was very happy with Merlin, and Merlin said, "I want you to tell me all the things and all the signals that I told you before about what would happen to your people in the battle, and what I had you and your brother swear."

And Uter made known everything save the dragon, about which he knew nothing, for Merlin had only told it to Padragon in private. And after Uter made all this known, Merlin said, "Know that Padragon has the baptismal name Perder Lecus Ambrosis; but the people of the land of Londres gave him the name Padragon, because he bears on his breast the sign of the dragon, and because of this they gave him the name Padragon, which he never afterwards lost. And I want you to have that name because of the battle you won and because of the dragon which demonstrated your victory to you, and for love of your brother, and from today on you will have the name Uterpadragon; and you will have two gold dragons made, and one of them you will have placed in the church of Cardoyl, and the other you will have placed on the battlefield."

So the king had himself called Uterpadragon at the counsel of Merlin, and thus the noblemen knew the loyalty of Merlin and the good counsel he gave to the brothers. And thus Merlin was tested by Uterpadragon. And Uterpadragon went into his kingdom and held it very peacefully. Then Merlin said, "And why do you do no more for your king and brother who lies dead in Salabres?"

And Uterpadragon said, "Friend, what do you want me to do? For it will soon be done, if it is something which may be done by man."

And Merlin said, "You must fulfill your oath and I my word, for I told you that I would do a thing whose memory would endure forever."

And Uterpadragon said, "I will do it willingly."

And Merlin said, "Send for some huge stones which are in Ireland, and I will go show them to those who go after them."

Then the king had many ships prepared and sent Merlin there, and he showed them some huge and heavy stones, and when they saw them, they took the deed for a marvel and a great folly and said that everyone in the world could not possibly move one. "No such stones," they said "will we ever place in a ship on the sea."

And Merlin said, "If you cannot take these, you came here in vain, for it is worthless to take others."

Then they returned to the king and told him what Merlin had told them to do, for he had told them to bring stones, each one the size of a cliff, and they called the place where the stones were the Crown of the Giants, because the giants had thrown the stones there long ago to bury the bodies of the kings of that land, and there was there such a custom that no one could be placed there if he did not move one of those stones, which were so huge and so weighty that no one could move them by human force, if not by art; and the king told Merlin what his people said, and Merlin said, "Although all of them fail me, I will fulfill what I promised."

Then Merlin took the ships and had the stones brought from Ireland, from that place which is called the Crown of the Giants, and put them in the cemetery of Salabres, and the king went to see them and took many people with him to see the marvel of the stones, and when they saw them, they said that all the world could not move a single stone of them, much less place them in ships, and they marveled greatly how Merlin could have brought them without anyone seeing or knowing about it.

Merlin said that they would seem better raised than on the ground. And he said, "Now turn around and I will raise them."

And the king said, "No one could do it save God, to my thinking."

And Merlin said, "You will soon see whether I acquit myself of what I promised your brother."

Then Merlin raised the stones, and so that work was accomplised by the wit of Merlin, and he remained with the king and served him a long time, and the king loved him much, so much that Merlin knew that he loved him rightly and believed what he said. So some days passed, and one day Merlin took Uterpadragon aside and said, "Lord, I must have you reveal the most private thing and the best counsel I know in the world. This land is yours, and no one could rule your kingdom better than you, since you possess it in complete peace and calm, and I want to show you such things because you will find them even more to your pleasure."

Uterpadragon said, "Tell me; for you could not tell me anything so strange that I would not do it if it could be done by man."

Then Merlin said, "I will not tell you anything strange, but I beg you to keep this private, for so the benefit and the goodwill of our Lord will all be yours."

And the king agreed that he would not tell. Then Merlin said to the king, "Lord, you know that I know all things said and done and thought, and this I know by my demonic nature, and our Lord gave me wit and understanding so that I know all things which are to come, and because of this virtue which God gave me, the devils lost me, and from here on I have the power of the things which I say and do. And I want to tell you some of the things which I know the Catholic faith contains.

"Lord, you should know that our Lord came to earth to save its people, and the day of the Supper he ate with his disciples, and to redeem us our Lord took death for us. And a knight begged for and was given His body in reward for his soldiery, and our Lord loved him greatly, because He wanted it to be given to him, and the knight afterwards suffered great travail. And when our Lord was resurrected, that knight went to an uninhabited land with many people of his lineage and the greatest of the people with him, and a great famine came to them, and he begged our Lord to show him why He wanted them to suffer such a great misfortune. Our Lord commanded him to make a table in the name of that at which He ate with His apostles, and He commanded him to put on it a chalice, and to cover it with white napkins of camlet, and that was the Holy Grail, and he who could see that table, would have his heart's desire of all good things. And at that table there was always an empty place which signified the place where Judas ate at the table with our Lord, when our Lord said to him: 'Eat and drink with Me what will be brought Me.' And he was parted from the company of Jesus Christ, and his place was thus empty until our Lord seated there another man whose name was Matia, to fill the count of twelve apostles, and thus the two tables were filled at the pleasure of God. And if you choose to believe me, you will make the third table in the name of the sacred Trinity, and I promise you that if you make it great good will come to you, and honor to your soul and your heart therefore, and such things will come of it that you will greatly marvel, and it will be one of the things of the world of which men most speak, for God will have given much grace to it and those who sit there. This table will have the name of the Round Table. I tell you that the people who guard that chalice went westward by the command of God, and if you choose to believe me you will do what I tell you and soon you will have much honor and price."

So Merlin spoke to the king, and he was very pleased by it. And Merlin said, "I do not wish this to occur through my will alone, and I want all to know that I put myself in your power, and that you could command me nothing I would not do were it something I was able to do."

The king was very pleased by this. Merlin said, "Where do you wish this to be?"

The king said to him, "Where you wish and where you see that it will be more suited to the will and pleasure of Jesus Christ."

And Merlin said, "We will make it in Cardoyl in Wales. And have your people assembled there the day of Pentecost, and let knights and ladies come there, and make a show of receiving them well, and show that you are so happy that you give them great gifts, and I will go before you and make the table, and you will give me people to do what I command them. And when you and the people are assembled, I will choose those who are to be at the Round Table."

In this manner was the Round Table begun in the time of Uterpadragon. And the king said to Merlin after his people were assembled, "I see that our Lord wants our table to be made, but I marvel greatly at the empty place, and I beg you to tell me who who will fill that seat."

And Merlin said, "I can tell you that it will not be filled in your time, because he who is to be the father of he who will fill the place, has not yet lain with woman. And he who is to fill that seat will later fill the place at the table where the Holy Grail is, for those who guard it have never seen it filled; nor will this be fulfilled in your time, but in the time which will come after you. And I beg you that you hold your court three times every year in this villa."

And he said that he would do that willingly. And Merlin said, "I am going away and you will not see me at this time."

The king said to Merlin, "Will you not be there when I hold court?"

And he said, "No, for I do not want the men, when they see the things which are to come, to say that I did them."

So Merlin left Uter, and went to Blaise in Urberlanda, and told him all these things and what had passed of the matter of the table, and many other things which you will see in his books. And thus it was that Merlin did not come to the court for more than two years. And those who did not love him or the king and who showed it openly when they could, came to the king in Cardoyl, to a court he held one Christmas day, and said, "What is this? And why is there not some good man in that empty place? Thus the table would be complete."

The king answered, "Merlin told me a great marvel about that place, that no man could sit there in my time, and he who is to sit there has not yet been born."

And they spoke falsely to him, for they were false, "And how, lord, can you believe in this marvel? And do you think that better men will come after you than we who are now in this land?"

The king said, "I know no more, but Merlin, who told me what I tell you, might."

And they said, "Now you are worth nothing, if you do not test it."

The king said, "I will not test it now, for it seems to me to be an evil idea, and that Merlin would become angry at it."

They said, "We do not tell you to test it now; but you say that Merlin knows what men do and say, and since he knows what we are now saying about him and his work, he will come if he is alive. Then we can test that place for the great lie he told, and understand that we will test it if he does not come before Pentecost; and we will ourselves test it willingly, for there are many good men in our lineage who will test it willingly, and you will see whether one may sit there."

The king said, "If you do not worry that Merlin will be heavyhearted, there is nothing in the world I would do more willingly."

They said, "Wait for Merlin, and if he does not come we will become angry."

And the king granted it. Then they were very happy and believed they had put their proposed plan of harm in action very well, and that they had already undertaken what they wished against Merlin. So matters remained until the day of Pentecost, and the king put out a command throughout the land that people come to his court. Merlin, who knew all things, said to Blaise that he did not want to go, because the marvel of the empty place was to be tested, and that he preferred for them to test it through their evil inclinations and by evil men rather than good ones. "For if I went there they would eventually say that I only went to prevent them. Because of this I do not want to go."

And he waited until fifteen days had passed after Pentecost. And the king and many people with him came to those who were to test the place in Cardoyl, and they saw the place, and there was news from their men that Merlin was dead, and that peasants had killed him on a mountain. And so they had it said, and they said that the king himself believed it, especially since he had so delayed that they did not believe he would suffer the place to be tested. The king went to Cardoyl the eve of Pentecost, and asked those who wanted to test the place which of them wished to sit there. And one who was a great favorite of the king and who had begun this suit said, "Lord, I wish that no one but myself should sit there."

And he was of great lineage and a nobleman and powerful in the land. And the king had knights and priests and good men come there, for he believed that Merlin was to come, and as soon as they saw that he did not come, that knight said that he wished to sit there. Then he went to the table where the knights were and said to them, "I come to seat myself to keep company with you."

And they spoke not a word; before they had been silent and very humble, and they thought about what he wanted to do, and the king and many people were there assembled, and he passed by the knights and went to sit down in the empty place, and as quickly as he sat down, that quickly he was drawn down, as if he were submerged in water, and none of those who were there could make head nor tail of what had happened to him. And when the king and the other knights and noblemen saw this, they were very frightened to see the marvel. And when his relatives saw that he had thus damned himself, they wanted to sit there so that they would be damned with him, because of the great dole they felt for him. And when the king saw this, he commanded under sentence of death that no one be so bold as to seat himself in the place nor test it further, because he knew that all who sat there would die that death. And they arose later, and the court made great dole. The king held himself deceived and did not wish his kingdom to suffer as well.