“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
T.S. Eliot (from Four Quartets)
It was a great path for a horse to go along. You could get a good horse noise going of the hooves on the dry earth. It must have been just like this for the knights as they went along towards the battle with the sun on their backs and their lances held high.
Spring was here and we had come out after a long winter rest when we hadn’t had many battles. So we were rearing to get at the enemy before they caused any trouble.
The field of battle smelt good that morning. The earthy smells mixed together in our nostrils to put everyone in the mood for a fight. It was a great day to kill someone or even be killed if it went that way. Lying on the ground dying in such circumstances wasn’t such a bad thing. You could look up at the sky and feel the earth spinning underneath you, holding on to the tufts of grass in case you fell off.
My name on these occasions was Sir Lancelot from the knights of the Roundtable. I was always Sir Lancelot.
When we got to the battle field the other army was already there. So we got down to who was who.
“We’re the Knights of the Roundtable,” my friend Sir Galahad announced.
“Yes and I’m Sir Lancelot,” I said just in case someone got in before me.
“Well we’re Robin Hood and his merry men,” the enemy said.
Sir Galahad said, “You can’t be Robin Hood cos he never fought the Knights of the Roundtable. They were both good guys. You don’t even know that!”
You could feel the tension mounting as we exchanged insults. This is what knights did before battle.
“Who’s she then?” I asked pointing to a girl standing with a very big sword.
“I’m Maid Marian,” she said quick as a flash.
“Maid Marian doesn’t fight,” I said with as much disgust as I could muster. You had to establish your superiority early on.
The other knights laughed at her.
“Then I’m Queen Maeve,” she shouted back waving her sword around in defiance, not in the least embarrassed by her previous mistake.
“Who’s Queen Maeve when she’s at home,” asked Sir Percival with a sneer.
“She’s a warrior queen from Galway,” said the girl as bold as brass, “and I claim my first victory.”
With that she stabbed me with her sword and hard too. Girls never understood the rules and how swords can really hurt.
“You’re dead!” she shouted in triumph jumping up and down like a rabbit.
“The battle hadn’t started yet. So it doesn’t count,” I said as I rubbed my wound and injured pride.
“Yeah he’s right,” said Sir Galahad. “Be a proper army like us, be Mordred the Merciless and his band of robbers. There really evil.”
The enemy discussed this and agreed that that was good idea.
So battle commenced.
They made an immediate attack on our left flank. They were clever because that was where wee Sir Gawain was standing with his both arms the same length. He is useless. So we had to all rush to help him. While we did this the girl, this Queen Maeve, came up behind us and stabbed three of us before we could do anything.
But the knights of the roundtable don’t allow people to stab them in the back because it’s cheating: so it didn’t count. All it did was make us angry at such a dirty trick and when the knights of the roundtable get angry you have to watch out, because they have magical powers and will use them if you cheat and fight dirty.
So we killed them all with our special death lances to keep our unbeaten record.