Translator's note: This chapter came through French from Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Brittaniae. The repeated translation of prophecies which were quite obscure to begin with has caused many garbled passages, so that the Spanish is frequently quite unintelligible. This translation makes no claims whatsoever of sensibility, faithfulness or accuracy as regards this chapter, although it was translated with the Historia in mind; those interested in Merlin's prophecies are strongly advised to go straight to the Historia.

Chapter 9:

How Merlin and the king with his rich men met in a room to hear what the dragons signified

"Lord king, the white dragon signifies the Saxons you put in the land, and the scarlet signifies the Bretons who are mistreated by the white, or it may resemble you and the sons of Costanes, as I will afterwards tell you. And furthermore know that the mountains will become equal to the valleys, and the rivers in the valleys will run blood, and the orders will be destroyed, and the oppressed will reach high status sooner, and the wild boar of Cornwall will give them aid. And because of this the French will enter the house of Rome; and more, after him will come the scarlet German, and the prophet will become mute because of the child who grows in the womb. Then the ill-fortune of the white will descend, and the buildings in his orchards will be destroyed, and the wombs of the mothers will be betrayed, and his children will come out too early and there will be a great storm of men. And he who will do these things, will be a man dressed in copper, and for a long time he will guard the doors of London on a copper horse. And the scarlet dragon will turn from him to its own customs and will try to do itself cruel harm, and the vengeance of God will come over all to massacre the town, and those who remain will forsake their native land. And the blessed king will fit out a ship, and will be counted in the heights among the blessed, and the white dragon will rise once again, and our orchards of loyal foundation will bear again, and the groves will wage war, and because of the danger they will become ill, and from this will be crowned the scarlet of Germany, and the copper prince will be humble, for an end is set him which he cannot evade. And one hundred and fifty years later, he will have the power of the lion for three hundred years, and he will then be glad, and the dragon will rise against him, and it will throw away the flowers that covered and raised him, and little by little he will rally; but destruction will never stand in his way from the north, for the town will come in wood and in shirts of iron, so that they will take vengeance for their ills and recover the houses of the old laborers. And the destruction of the perfidious will occur, and the body of the white dragon will be wounded by bows, and those who are left of the denuded generation will bring unending servitude and with hoes they will wound their own mother. And two dragons will come after him, and one of them will be burned with the trouble of envy, and the other will return under the shadow of his high name. After them will come the lion of justice for whom the French towers will shake and the dragons of the islands will tremble. On that day will be written the gold of the lily and of the nettle, and the evil silver for the laborers, and the shaven will dress in wool, and their outer garment will sound what is within, and the feet of the laborers will be severed and the animals will have peace. Through few humilities, by the tormented he will be betrayed and half of all trade will be rounded off. The teeth of the wolves will scorn the lion's cub, and they will change into great fish, and the eagle will make a nest on the mountain Pincio, and will become scarlet with the blood of his mother, and in the house of Cormeos he will kill six brothers, and the island will be wet with tears wept by night where all will be called to do all things. And the last-born will endeavor to fly above the high things, but the inheritance of the newborn will be praised and piety will break the cruel until their father comes. The wild boar of the five teeth will pass the peaks of the mountains, and will lodge over the shade of him who has the helmet, and this will anger Albania, which will call its retainers, and will learn how to scatter blood, and it will be given a bit in its jaws which will be made in the land of Britain by the eagle of that land in her third nesting. The crying kings will come, and they will leave the groves to fall upon the walls of the cities, and they will be dead and no few of those who came against them, and they will sever the tongues of the others, and the kings' necks will carry candles and their times will be renewed and purged in oil. The sixth will destroy the walls of Bernia, and the forests will return to the plain, and will turn aside from reason and will become one, and he will bear the head of a lion. His beginning will be low, but his end will fly above those men of his years, for he will renew the blessed seats. Through the land the shepherds will spread into the places they need, and two cities he will cover with palls and give gifts to virgins, and therefore he will merit the favor of God and will be counted among the blessed. And from the wolf will come a crying lynx which will surpass all things, who will seem to be the destruction of her people, for through her both isles will be lost and it will be cut off from the ancient divinity, and the citizens will return to the island, for discord will arise in the strangers, and the white-haired old man on his white horse will turn aside the river Parenes, and with white measuring-rod will measure the current. He called Catanum took Albamia in company, then brought death to the strangers. Then the rivers will run with blood, and then the Armorican wilds will come out, and they will be crowned with Brutus's crowns. Cabria will be full of waters, and the oak-groves of Cornwall will turn it green again; the island will be called by the name of Bretus, and the same which the strangers gave it will disappear. From Cananum will come the sharp-tusked wild boar, which will use the sharpness of his teeth within the French forests, for he will slash the best oaks and will guard the lesser ones and the lion of Arabia and those of Africa will tremble terribly before him, for the savagery of his age will take the remotest parts of Spain. After all this the great goat of Castro will come very lustfully, who will bear horns of gold and a beard of silver, and from his nostrils he will throw flame, so that all the face of the island will be startled. Security of land will exist in his time, the harvests will increase, and the women in his time will be serpents, and all his time will be full of pride with much vanity, and the troops of Venus will be renewed, and the fountain of Amne will not remain, and will turn to blood. And two kings will fight for the lioness of Bath, and all the land will turn to lust, and men and women will not cease to pass their time in fornication. All these things you will see in these three centuries; after they have been interred in the city of London; they will show themselves and return in the end to hunger and massacre, and there will be much great pain in the cities for the destruction of the city. And the wild boar will stop there and the dispersed flocks will return to their lost pleasures. His breast will be sustenance to those who are famished, his tongue will be drink to the parched and from his mouth rivers will come which will moisten the tongues of men. And over the tower of London a tree will grow which will be deepened by three famous branches, and it will startle the face of the whole island by the multitude of its leaves. And to this will come a sharp adversary and through his evil he will break off the third branch. And the other two will remain lessened as they are until one will turn against the other because of the multitude of its leaves, and will take the place of both, and it will lodge the birds of the other lands through its abundance, and will be noxious for those vanquished by the others, for through fear of his shade they will lose its free sight. And after all this will come the ass of much evil, maker of the most dangerous gold on the shore of the wolves. In that season oaks will burn through the forests and in the branches of the linden will be born acorns. And after that the great sovereign sea will run through seven parts and in the river of Caferberan for seven months its fish will die of fever, and very great serpents will come of them, and the baths of Bath will be filled and its beneficial and healthy waters will engender death. London will weep for the deaths of twenty thousand and Tumisa will turn to blood. Those who help and the workers will be heard in the mountains of the Alps, and three fountains will be born in the city of Bretonia, and its rivers will split the island into three parts. He who drinks of one will live a long time, and if he has some illness it will not much trouble him; and he who drinks of the other will perish of hunger which will never fail him, and his face will be yellow and bitter, and wishing to guard himself from such an ill adventure, will try to hide it through various coverings, and whoever throws himself upon him, will turn to the form of something else, for the land will turn to stone, and the stone to water, and the wood to ash and the ash to water, if they are thrown together one upon the other. This will happen in the city named Comito and from the forest will come a vine which will guard what is left, which after she consults all the arts, through her breath alone will dry up all the noxious fountains; and after it is abundant with healthy water, will bring in her right hand the name of Calydon and in her left the walls of London, and wherever she goes she will make footprints of sulfur, which will make smoke which will bring them again. And the smoke will be food to those under the sea, and that vine will weep tears of dole, and will fill the island with her frightening cry, and the stag of ten points will kill her, and four of its points will bear crowns, and six will turn to horns of oxen, which through their evil will move the three islands of Britain. They will rise from harm and speaking in the voice of man will call: 'Raise Canabria and join Cornwall to your side.' And will say to Vicorvia: 'You will serve the land and move the seat of the shepherd to where the ships have their port, and the other members will go behind the head, and the day will come when the citizens because of the sin of the perjurer will perish; the whiteness of wool will hurt them and the variety of their dyes, for he fled to the perjured people, for the noble city will be destroyed, and because of it they will flee to the ships, and from two ships they will make one. The hedgehog, with cargo of apples, will make the birds fly as one from all the trees, and they will add a great counsel of six running fountains to the island, which will give laws to those who are in its power. London will improve, Cornwall will grow into three walls, each part the fault of Matarmissa, and the news of the work will pass the Alps, and the hedgehog with its apples will make a road through that country. And in its time the stones and the sea will speak because men go to France, in a short time a man will come from one shore to the other and will hear a man on the other side, and the land of the island will rise. And the hidden things which are under the sea will show themselves, and France will tremble with fear. And after this the eagle will come out of the forest of Calaterio which will fly about the island for two years crying. By night it will call the birds, and all the lineage of the birds will take to itself the labors of man. And they will go and will enjoy plants of all natures, and hunger will therefore follow in the town with fatigue and mortality. And after this trouble ends, that evil bird will go to the valley of Ondegelas, and will raise the valley high. Then in all the height of the mountain it will plant one oak, and within its branches will make a nest, and three eggs it will lay in its nest, from which will come the vixen and the wolf and the bear, the vixen will eat its mother and will take the head of an ass, and then it will be so ill-favored that it will frighten its siblings and make them flee to Normandy, and they will bring the wild boar of the great teeth against her, and they will return to the nest and fight with the vixen. And being in the battle, she will pretend to be dead and will move the cruelty of the boar. And standing above her he will raise her by the eyes and the face, but she will not come to her senses, but by a trick will seize him by the mouth on the left foot, so that she will tear away all the flesh, and from there she will make her leap, and from the leap he will have his right ear all torn off, and she will go to hide in the caves of the mountains, and the disgraced boar will go to search for the wolf and the bear to give him back his members which he unwillingly lost; and after they hear his argument, they will promise him two feet, two ears, and a tail, and from themselves they will create the limbs of a boar. And he will rest and make sure that they fulfill their promise, and meanwhile the vixen will descend from the mountains and turn into a wolf. And while having speech with the goat, she will arrive near him artfully and eat him up, and will then transform into the limbless boar, and will wait for the others, and as soon as they arrive, she will kill them immediately with her teeth and will be crowned with a lion's head, and in her days will be born the snake who will kill and encircle London and kill those who pass there. And the wild king will take the head of a wolf and will whiten his teeth in the forge of Sania, and the nations of Albania and Cambria will accompany him, who will dry out Canisa, and the ass of the braggart tongue will call a goat and will change his form with its. And he will anger the wild boar and call the wolf, and will make himself a horned bull among them, and as soon as his cruelty is unleashed, he will eat them flesh and bone; in the height of Vriana he will be burned, the ashes of fire will change to swans which swim in dry land as well as in rivers; fish will eat fish and man will eat man, and when they come to the shore they will become marine wolves and make themselves into waves of the sea. They will sink boats, assemble much silver, rise within the waves and after they call their subjects, they will overflow their bounds, and the empty cities will burn, and the mountains will crumble away from them. They will join the fountain to them and will engulf Galaz by trickery and evil; from him will be born the dragon which will make the Venedicie come to battle, and the oak-groves as one will come there from the mountains, and will begin to fight with the kings of the Genvisaynos, and the raven and the kite will be called and will eat the corpses. Over the walls of Golges the owl will put a nest, and in her breast the ass will be born, and the snake of Malverna will raise the ass and put him up to much trickery. The crown he dons will surpass the high things, and in her days the mountains of Campana will tremble and the provinces will be shaken by his brays; that he will overcome the worm which will have the breath of fire which will blow and burn the trees and seven lions will come out of him which will have the ill-formed heads of goats, which by the odor of their noses will seduce the women and the father will not know which is his son, for the women will swell in pride like the beasts and their sons will be of many sources. And when the wine is put there men will become drunken; they will stop regarding the sky and they will regard the land and the stars will turn away their faces and they will leave the places where they ought be, and the harvests will become healthy and will burn; the love of heaven will be denigrated and the roots and the branches will change according to the times and the strangeness of these new things will be seen, and the resplendence of the sun will become dim because of the pleasure of Mercury, and will be frightening to those who cast their eyes over it. And the shield of Arcadia and the helm of Mars will change, and it will cast its shadow over the anger of Mercury, which will pass its orbit and the river which is hard as iron will denude the sword of dissension; they will worry over the news and Jupiter will come out of his right bounds, and Saturn will fall, and will kill the mortals with his curved sickle, and the twelve houses of the stars will weep to see their inmates stray thus. They will lose through their cries the girders which they usually had and they will call the strong stones, and the weights of Libra will lose until the sinister Carnerolo loses his horns, and the tail of the Scorpion will raise lightning, and the Crab will quarrel with the Sun; Virgo will rise to the back of Sagittarius and will make ropes and virgin flowers, and the course of the Moon will stray in the Zodiac and to her favorites she will begin to cry, and no one will return to his office, but, the door closed, will hide themselves in the fractures of Adiana. The seas will rise in the wound of the lightning and the town of the winds will renew itself; the winds will fight a harsh gust and will make a great noise under the stars. After this the wild boar will come and will govern the town with bad lordship. Claudius will come near and raise up the lion and through many battles it will tire the wild boar and in the end the lion will quarrel with the kingdom and will climb on the shoulders of the high men. And the bull will overcome in battle, and will wound the lion with its right hoof, but will break his horns on the walls of Venian. The vixen will avenge herself on the lion, then will eat it up with her teeth. The snake of Lindocobi will show herself to many dragons, and after a frightening hiss each will mangle other, and he who has wings will bring evil to the other without wings, and will fix in his jaw the poisoned claws, and the others will have vengeance, and each will kill the other, and afterwards will come the fifth dead one and shatter what is left. Through the trickery of many guises it will rise to the back of one with sword and will cut off its head; it will rise above the orchard and catch hold of the other in its right and left claws; for, dressed, nothing will avail him, and he will torment others with the sword, and throw them out of the kingdom. And the lion will overcome him roaring, feared for his great cruelty, and will make fifteen pieces into one and will hold all well; the giant will be resplendent with white color and will bear fruit which will be the white people. Riches will weaken the princes and those under their power will become vicious beasts. A lion swollen with the blood of men will be born among them and will throw himself upon the reaper of harvests, that insofar as he works with his heart will be prized; and then he will throw out the lord, and will threaten the East, and will fill with blood the ruts of his wheels and from it will be made a well in the sea with wine inside it. And from him and the snake will come three bulls which after they waste the grazing land will become trees, and the first will bring scourge of serpents and it will turn his back, and the second will strengthen himself to take the scourge, but he will be punished by the boar many times until he uses the poisoned glass. And after this will come the worker of Albania, on whose back will come the serpent, and he will work the earth and it will whiten with harvests. And they will strive to do away with poison, so that the crops will ripen, and the town will weaken through a mortal pestilence, and the walls of the cities will be destroyed, and the city of Claudius will escape, and in a small time the island will be destroyed. And thence two will come here, and the horned dragon will serve, and one will come dressed in iron, and will ride on the flying serpent, and will hold its tail in his right hand. And because of him the seas will move and they will frighten the second man, and the second man will accompany the wolf, but in their territory they will fight among themselves and do each other much harm, but the savagery of the beast will be able to do more. After this will come a man with lyre and tamborine who will calm the cruelty of the lion and the generations of the kingdom will have peace. And after he is placed in his seat, they will hold out their hands to Albania. The provinces of Aguion will sadden and open the doors of the temples and the standard-bearing wolf will direct the companies and encircle Cornwall with his tail, and the knight in the cart will resist it, who changes his town into the wild boar, and the boar will ruin the provinces, and in the depths of the Sabrina will hide its head and a man will embrace the lion. In the shining and clarity of gold, the eyes of those who examine it will be blinded and the silver will whiten around it, and the places will be troubled and the giant of evil will overcome who will frighten all with the sharpness of his eyes, and the dragon of Bregonan will rise against him and will endeavor to throw him out, and as soon as they meet the dragon will be vanquished and will be prized as the vanquisher of evil, for the tall dragon will rise above him and become proud, and will raise his tail and make his nest and the giant will take strength from extremity and will break its jaws with his sword and at the peak will stab the dragon under its tail and will die poisoned.

So Merlin finished his prophecies and the king and those who were with him begged him to declare to them what the matter of the dragons signified, and Merlin declared that and other things with it.

Previous chapter | Next chapter | Table of contents