Chapter 7:

How all the masters entered in concert and each one discussed and argued about how the matter appeared to them

After they were together the greatest master among them said to them, "Do you wish me to tell you what I find?"

"Yes," they said."You told me one thing, and hid another from me. You said you saw a boy, born without a father and seven years old, and you said no more. Not a single one of you did not see more. Certes, I know you saw that because of this boy you would have to die, and I myself saw that. It is not sensible for you to show me one thing and hide another, for you hide your deaths from me, and we must take counsel; since we already know our deaths, to my mind we should all be of one accord and say that the tower will not stand, unless it contains the blood of that child born without a father, and if this blood is obtained, some should be put in the cement of the tower and thus the tower will be strong and endure forever, and thus must each one say for himself so that all will find that we are as one, and so we may guard ourselves from that boy through whom such harm is to come to us. And because we know as a certainty that we are all to die because of him, we will make sure the king neither sees nor hears him, and those who go after him will kill him as soon as they find him."

And they agreed to this, and came before the king and said that they did not wish to tell of their findings together, but each one alone, and that the king should choose the best.

Thus they pretended that the one did not know the mind of the other, and each one told his findings to the king and to five of his men. And when the king heard what they said, he marveled greatly, and said that it could well be so, if it was true that a man could be born without a father, and he took the wizards for very wise men and called them all together. And he said to them, "All of you told me the same thing, each one by himself."

And they said, "Lord, if it was not the truth, do with us what you please."

And the king said, "Could it be true that a child was born without an earthly father?"

And they said, "Yes, lord, and this one is already eight years old, and we even wish for you to have us guarded until his blood is brought to you, and you have put it in the cement, because thus the tower will be firm."

And he had them put in a tower and sent twelve messengers two by two to travel through all his lands, and he made them swear not to turn back until they found the child, and that as soon as they found him they would kill him and take his blood. And so the messengers went through many places to search for the boy, and it was said that two messengers fell in with another two, and all four traveled together. And one day when they passed through a field, Merlin walked there playing with other children, and he knew that they came to find him, and he struck out at another boy, and the other said to him that he was born without a father, and the messengers went and asked who he was, and he said, "I am that boy whom you seek, and he whom you swore to kill and whose blood you swore to take to King Verenguer."

When they heard this, they were amazed and they said, "Who told you this?"

And he said, "I knew it well as soon as you swore to it."

And they said, "You will come with us."

And he said, "Do not kill me; I am afraid of you."

And he said it to test them, for he knew that they did not have the power to kill him, and he said to them, "I will tell you why the tower fell as it did."

And when they heard this, they marveled and said, "This one tells us marvels, and he will tell us much more if we do not kill him." And each one of them said that they would rather be perjurers than kill him. Then Merlin said to them, "You will lodge with my mother, for I cannot leave her without her knowing."

And they granted it, and Merlin took the messengers with him to a nunnery in which she lived, and as soon as they dismounted he took them to Blaise and said to him, "Master, you see here those whom I told you would come to seek me and kill me, about which you did not believe me."

And he said to the messengers, "I beg you to make known the truth of what I will say to you before my master."

And they said that they would truly make it known. And Merlin said to Blaise, "Now reflect on what I will say."

And he began to recount how the tower had fallen three times, and the wizards had found out they would die because of him, and how they determined to say that through Merlin's blood it would be possible to build the tower, and the king sent twelve messengers to find him, and how those four fell in together, and passed through the path where he played with the other boys, and struck at one of them so that he would reveal him, for he knew that those four companions came to seek him. And after he had recounted this point for point he said, "Now ask them if this is the truth."

They said to him, "As God may take us to His country in peace and health, what he has said is true, just as he says."

The master, when he heard this, crossed himself and said, "It would be a great shame if you killed him."

And they said, "We would sooner be perjurers for the rest of our lives, than do such a thing, and since he knows all things, he will know whether we have the will to do it."

Blaise said, "Are you telling the truth? And I will ask Merlin about it in your presence."

Then they called him, for he had gone so that the holy man Blaise could ask them questions. And Blaise asked him, and Merlin laughed when he heard and said, "I know, many thanks to God, that they have no wish to kill me; if not, let them say it."

And they answered, "Certes, that is true." And they said to Merlin, "You should come with us."

"Yes," said Merlin, "without fail, if you promise you will take me before the king."

They promised to do just as he said.

When the master heard this, he said, "Now I see that you wish to leave me, but I beg you for love of me to tell me what I should do about this work which you had me begin."

Merlin responded to what Blaise had said, saying, "Master, pleasing that eternal God our savior, give me such grace in this you ask of me so that I can give you again a reason to write; I defer to you to do what seems good, because now I must go to that land whence they came to seek me because of many great happenings which will occur there, and I will do so much that I will be the most trusted man that has ever been or will ever be, save for God. And you will go there to complete this work you began, but you must ask about a land whose name is Huelaven, and there you will die, and I will come to you and give you all the things which you will need to complete your work, and you should work hard therefore, for you will have a good reward in your life and the fullest pleasure, and undying pleasure in the hereafter. And your work will be read forever and heard willingly while the world endures. This grace comes to you from the grace which God gave to Joseph, he to whom God was given off the cross; and you will be such a man that you deserve to be with them, and I will show you where they are, and you will see the lovely glory which Joseph had through the body of Jesus Christ which he was given; and I want you to know it to make you more sure, for in this land where I shall go, I will make many a good man and many good people work for one who will be of that lineage which God will greatly love. And know that this work will be when the fifth king is there, and his name will be Arthur; and you will go where I tell you, and I will come to you often and bring you what you need, as I have said, for your book. And certainly, no life will ever be heard so willingly, as that which will have the name of Arthur and of those who will come to his court, and when your book is done, you and all the others of your line will die at the pleasure of Jesus Christ."

And so Merlin left his master, and showed him what he had to do. And Merlin told him that he would be master of his mother, and when the good man heard it, he was very happy, and Merlin said to the messengers, "I want you to see how I take leave of my mother."

And he took them where his mother was and said, "Mother, these men came to seek me, and I want to go with them with your blessing, for I must show gratitude to Jesus Christ for the service he did me when he gave me the power, and I cannot serve him if I do not go to the land where they want to take me, and your master will be there with me."

And his mother said to him, "Son, be commended to God, but if it please you, I would wish that you left Blaise with me."

Merlin said, "This cannot be."

Thus Merlin took leave of his mother, and Blaise went to Ireland, where Merlin sent him. And he went with the messengers, and they travelled so that they passed one day through a village where a market was being held, and when they went into town they found a villager who had some leather shoes in his hand, to mend them, since he wanted to go to Rome. And when Merlin saw that villager near him, he began to laugh. And when the messengers saw him laugh, they asked him what he was laughing at, and he said to them, "I am laughing at this villager, since if you ask him what he wants to do with that leather he is carrying, he will say that he wants it to mend his shoes when they break; go after him, for I tell you that he will be dead before he arrives at his house."

And they said that they would test that. And they went to the villager and asked him what he wanted to do with the leather he was carrying, and he said to them that he wanted to mend his shoes when they broke, since he wanted to go to Rome.

And they said among themselves: "This man seems to us to be healthy and happy; now two of us will go after him, and two will stay." And thus they did. And before they travelled one league, the villager fell to earth dead with his shoes in his hands. And when they saw this they waited for the others and said to them, "Foolish were those wizards who commanded such a wise boy to be killed."

And the others said that they would sooner lose a great loss in their holdings and their bodies than kill him. And this they said in private, so that Merlin did not hear it. And when they came before him, he thanked them very much for what they had said, and they marveled and said, "What is this, that we can neither know nor do nor say anything that this child does not know?"

They travelled so that they arrived in the land of Verenguer, and one day it befell that they passed through a village and saw that the villagers carried a child to burial, and behind him went many men and priests. And Merlin began to laugh, and they asked him why he was laughing. And he said, "Because of a marvel I see."

They begged him to tell of it, and he told them, "Do you see that good man who makes very great dole?"

"Yes," they said."And you see that priest who sings before the others who are there. He should be sad instead of that good man, for that child is his son, and he who is crying has nothing to do with him."

And the messengers asked him how they could find out the truth. Merlin said to them, "I will tell you. Go to the woman and ask her why her husband makes such great dole, and she will tell you : 'For his son.' And tell her: 'We know as well as you that it is not his son, but the son of that priest, since he told us the time he begot him on you."

The messengers asked the woman, and said just what Merlin had told them to, and when the woman heard it, she was very frightened and said, "Sirs, for God's sake, mercy, and do not reveal anything of this, for you seem to be good men. I beg you in God's name not to tell my husband, for if he finds out, he will kill me."

Then she told everything, holding back nothing, and when they heard this marvel, they said that there was no other boy in the world so good. Then they rode and walked a day until they got to where Verenguer was, and, once arrived, they said to Merlin, "Now we must take counsel as to how we are to talk before our lord Verenguer, because two of us want to tell him what we found and the things which have befallen us. And now you must teach us what you want us to say of you, since we are greatly afraid that he will fault us because we did not kill you." And Merlin, when he heard them talk thus and saw the fear they felt for their lord Verenguer because they had not killed him, said to them, "Hearten yourselves; do not be afraid, and do as I will tell you, and you will not be faulted nor will you receive harm thereby. Go to your lord Verenguer and say to him that you found me and are bringing me with you, and tell him at great length all you have heard and seen, and what I told you before the holy man Blaise, my master, so that you hold back nothing. And tell him in addition, if it please you, that I will show him without fail why the tower could not stand, and that for assurance of this, so that he will be sure of me, I condemn myself to death if it is not thus; and tell him that he should do to those masters what they wanted him to do to me, and I will tell him why they commanded me killed. Then I command you to do with me honestly what he will command you."

Then the messengers went to Verenguer secretly, and when the king saw them, he was very happy, and asked them what they had done with their orders, and they said to him, "Lord, the best we could."

Then they took him aside and said to him what had come about, that Merlin came to him very willingly.

And the king said to them, "What do you say to me now of that Merlin? Did I not send you to seek the boy without a father, in order to bring me his blood?"

"Lord," they said, "this is that Merlin we tell you of, and know that he is the best diviner that ever was, save for God. And, lord, we told him everything you made us swear and commanded us, and he said that your clerics did not know why the tower fell, but that he will tell you and show you before your eyes why it is not fixed. Other great marvels he told us, and very many, and he sent us to you to ask whether you wish to speak to him, and if you wish to do this; if not, we will kill him, for our companions remain with him, to guard him."

And when the king heard this, he said, "If you assure me upon your lives that he will show me why the tower falls, I do not wish him to die."

They said, "We assure it to you."

The king said, "Then go for him, for I have a great desire to speak with him."