Those of you older than dirt will remember as I do the wonders of seeing Walt Disney's animated film, 'The Sword In The Stone' in theatres during the 1960's. This was a time before colour television had become affordable, so going to the movies was a big deal and many memories were made there.
Disney put everything into their production, from sorcery and poverty to gallantry and the struggle between good and evil with swords and magical spells. Set in medieval England, Disney's story tells of a struggle between heirs to the throne of England and how a young man, born of royal blood but forced to live the life of a serf, is tutored by a magician to have enough power to overcome the old King's challenge; remove the sword from the stone and you inherit the throne. (LINK), (LINK),
Yet is it Disney's story? As it turns out, Walt and company were embellishing an existing story to better suit the young demographic of that time, and he borrowed it from 1930's Arthurian legends written by T.H. White.
In 1938, Terrence Hanbury (T.H.) White, a contemporary of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and George Orwell, published his version of 'The Sword And The Stone' . It is one of four novels set in Arthurian England which tell the tale of 'The Once And Future King' and his literature is responsible for the version of 'Camelot' in later 20th Century historical fiction. (LINK), (LINK), (LINK), (LINK),
Yet is it Terrence White's story? Being a contemporary of Tolkien and Lewis he is expected to have a similarly expansive imagination but as it turns out, he was embellishing an existing story so that it might better sell to the demographic of that time.
War-torn England of 1938 needed and wanted heroes, so Mr. White adapted a work written by Sir Thomas Malory 469-years before, titled 'Morte Darthur', or 'The Death Of Arthur'.
Admittedly both Tolkien and Lewis used legend, esoteric and religious literature to craft their stories but Terrence White's story was single sourced from Malory.
War Of The Roses
Sir Thomas Malory was by all accounts a very accomplished individual and not just because his 'Morte Darthur' is regarded as the first novel in English and in western literature. Born somewhere in England around the year 1415, Malory is said to have been a knight during the War of the Roses, a political activist and, as a result, a successful castle-tower escape artist, yet his true identity has not been pegged down.
Worldhistory.org's short article on Mallory states that, “ All that is known of him comes from commentary in his book and some legal records referring to a knight named Thomas Malory charged with crimes and imprisoned at different times between 1451-1470 CE.
Whoever he was, his work was a bestseller when it was first published, fell out of favor during the Renaissance, and was revived through the works of the British poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson in 1859 CE. Since then, the Arthurian Legends and Malory's version, in particular, have exerted significant influence in art and culture worldwide.” (LINK),
Yet is it Thomas Malory's story? If the literature is only Thomas Malory's 'version' of earlier tales, where did he get the source material? It is said that 'Morte Darthur' was written while Malory was imprisoned which suggests he was not manacled in a dark basement but had access to pen, paper and presumably the church and royal libraries.
Although Arthurian legends had been popular for centuries before Malory's time, his treatment of them seems very close to written 'histories' removed from the Glastonbury Abby after a fire destroyed much of the structure in the year 1184 AD, 285-years before Malory published.
What remains of those historical works we know today as the KOLBRIN Bible.
Within its pages lies the Celtic legend of Guinevere, Queen of Britain and wife of Arthur. It is an ancient story of the Queen and it contains the origin story for 'The Sword In The Stone' told well over a thousand years ago.
To that end permit the following excerpts from the KOLBRIN which recount an original version of 'The Sword In The Stone' which is in itself part of a Creation story;
The Book Of Creation
Chapter 5 - In The Beginning
5:21 - Dadam the Firstfather married Leitha, and they had a son called Herthew. Dadam then married Maeva who had a daughter, not by him, and this was Gwineva, the cuckoochild fathered by Abrimenid of Gwarthon, son of Namtenigal, whom we call Lewid the Darkfather.
5:22 - About the land of The Children of God was the wasteland where Yoslings, called The Children of Zumat, which means They Who Inherit Death, dwelt. Amongst these, Namtenigal, the wily hunter, was the most wise and cunning; he alone was unafraid of The Children of God, and he alone dared enter the Gardenland.
Chapter 8 - Gwineva
8.1 – 8.24 - Maeva, one time wife of Dadam, found refuge among people of Ardis where she gave birth to Gwineva the Cuckoochild, but as the child grew it was seen that she had red hair. Though all knew there were fair-haired and dark-haired people, none had ever seen anyone with red hair.
Also, Strange maladies had manifested in Ardis for which the strangers were blamed; therefore, because of these things, Maeva and her child were driven out. They came to a pool near the border of Krowkasis and built a habitation of reeds, living there for many years. However, Maeva was killed by a wild beast and Gwineva was left alone, but she learned much from familiars who came to her, and so she became a sorceress.
Time went by and the half-folk called Yoslings began to gather around her habitation and they thought she was a goddess and worshipped her. As her fame spread, word came to Herthew (King 'Arthur' ed.) concerning the strange woman, so he sent men to find out about her and report. Gwineva knew about Herthew, but he did not know who she was or that any child of Maeva lived.
When Herthew heard the report he was intrigued and sent men to escort her to him, and she came at his request. They brought her into his presence wearing a cloak of feathers and a garment of doeskin, her hair unbraided like that of other women, falling outside the cloak almost to her knees. He was amazed at the cascade of red hair and his heart was stirred by her beauty.
Herthew gave Gwineva a bower and attendants, but she preferred to be attended by Yoslings whom the people about Herthew despised. They gossiped about the strange woman, for it was seen that Yosling men freely entered her bower, yet her bearing was modest and maidenly, the Yoslings showing her every form of respect.
It was the season of fruitfulness and when Herthew went to the gathering place he took Gwineva with him, but the Yoslings could not be taken there. So they remained behind, but the people removed them. When they arrived at the gathering place and Gwidon (Sorcerer ed.) saw Gwineva, he was startled, for he had seen such a woman in the darkened waters; but he welcomed her and was surprised at her wisdom and skill at sorcery.
When the time came for Gwidon to prophesy and all who came to hear him were gathered about, they became apprehensive, for his coming forth was delayed and the moon began to disappear, eaten away by the blackness of the night. Then, when they started to jostle and flee there was a great shout and Gwidon appeared; as he did, a great fire sprang up on either side of him. The people remained, for each was rooted to the place where he stood.
Gwidon spoke at length, telling them that the nightsky sign heralded a new era. That as the moon grew again in brightness, so should their race wax strong and virile, spreading wide across the face of the Earth, driving lesser races before them. That a son of Herthew would lead their sons out of Krowkasis, and his sons and their sons would continue westwardly, towards Hesperis, meaning Land of Spirits. That there they would meet their final destiny.
He told them that there would be a great bloodletting, when brother would fight with brother and father with son, but that this would be the planting of the centrepole around which the framework for the structure of their race would be woven. He said, "I shall go before the vanguard in spirit".
Later, Herthew asked Gwidon to cast the omensticks and read the ashes, as he wished to know things concerning Gwineva. This Gwidon did, telling him that she was his fatemate, one destined to be his wife; that she was indeed a true maiden and he would not be foreridden. He said, "She acts as she does through innocence and not through brashness". But what Gwidon told Herthew was no more than a grain in the grainsack among all that which he knew and saw.
When Herthew returned to his homesite he paid court to Gwineva and asked her to marry him, and this she consented to do after one year. The people, hearing what was intended, were displeased and murmured against the marriage, saying it was unseemingly for their king to marry a sorceress and one strange in so many ways. Also, there was a custom forbidding the intermingling of blood, but there was no doubt as to what she was, some thinking she was one who could be acceptable.
Gwineva was not the bloodkin of Herthew, so as the marriage would not be incestuous Gwineva decided she would say nothing of their relationship, for she was in love with him and love is ever ready to make excuses. Yet, despite her knowledge and wisdom her heart was full of fears because of her background, but she displayed none of her anxieties. She did not feel at ease among the people, but never asked that the Yoslings be allowed back. She tried to become acceptable by ministering to the sick with simples and remedies, but the more she cured and healed the more people feared her, and fearing they shunned her, except they were in dire need of her help.
However, Herthew remained firm in his resolve to marry, though many advised that if he simply took Gwineva as a concubine or as something less than a wife, it would be more acceptable. They said, "None would object if she were treated as a woman with no standing, mate but do not marry, for marriage would grant her undue status, and is marriage so necessary? Does a wise man buy the pie whereof he can freely eat at any time?" Such sayings enraged Herthew, for he knew Gwineva to be a woman reserved for marriage, and this he tried to tell the people, but they laughed, saying, "She has bewitched you, put her to the test".
But he replied, "This is unworthy, for it displays doubt and distrust; a virgin is a virgin, whether named so by horn or wand and remains so whatever the conjectures of carnal-minded men who are more familiar with women of lesser repute". Yet whether the marriage bar applied was still a thing of doubt in the minds of many, for none knew the lineage of Gwineva, nor did she enlighten anyone, though it was customary to recite this at the betrothal.
But Herthew and Gwineva remained unbetrothed, though the forthcoming marriage was made known. Now, the nephews and kin of Idalvar nurtured seeds of discord among the people and because it was a time of peace, when the skills of a warchief were not needed, many heeded their words. So it developed that there were those for Herthew and those against him. Then Herthew said to the people, "Let this not be something to cut people apart, but something which can be decided at the next folkfeast".
The seedsowing time had passed, but it was not yet harvest-tide and the young men held spear-throwing contests and tested each other in many manly skills. At such times, seated on a platform against the palisade, Herthew gave judgement and awarded merits. Inside the palisade was a walkway and places from which great stones could be hurled, and from one such place came a murderous weapon which cut down through Herthew's head to pierce the shoulder of his shield arm, striking him to the ground.
Immediately there was a great tumult and confusion, fighting broke out and men died, but Herthew was carried to safety in the bower of Gwineva. There he was protected by his retainers, but within the palisade all was taken over by those hostile to Herthew. Before the cowardly blow, those for Herthew had been more numerous and powerful, but after he was so sorely wounded they were less, and of these many were inclined to waver, for such is the nature of man. But to contrast with the frail reeds who wavered those who remained loyal were resolute, for this too is the nature of man.
Now, when Gwineva and the wise men attended to Herthew they saw that while the shield arm had been injured it was not unfeeling, for it grasped the hand of Gwineva, but this the sword arm could not do, though it was uninjured. Therefore, they knew the slaughter-bent weapon had been charmed and no woman could remove such enchantment, nor could the wise men, for they were unblooded.
In the days that followed, the enchantment caused demons to enter through the wound and take up their abode, so Herthew was tormented and his body wracked before subsiding into the quietness which precedes death. The demons had abused Gwineva and called her foul names and cried out in loud voices against people, so that they should abandon their king. The place where Herthew lay was near the lakeside and in the lake was an island called Inskris, meaning Isle of the Dead, where those about to die were taken, as well as the dead, before being consigned to the waters. For the people believed that those given into the lake went straight into awareness in the Otherworld, while anyone buried on land was only half aware upon arrival and remained half awake and half asleep for many years.
Isle Of The Dead
So those loyal to Herthew carried him down to the boats and accompanied him and Gwineva to the Isle and they were not molested, for none interfered with those mourning the dead. On the isle were priests and nine holy maidens who attended to the rites while other women ministered to the newly dead, but Herthew was dead, though halfway across the threshold. When Herthew arrived he was placed in the hospice house where Gwineva attended to him. Gwidon opened Herthew's skull where it had been cleft and let out the demon which had taken up habitation there, and he brewed powerful potions which removed the enchantment. When, after many days, he departed, Herthew was no longer at the door of death, though weak and in many ways like a baby.
While Herthew lay so sorely stricken, the kinsfolk of Idalvar were disputing among themselves, and this led to fighting and battles. But none came near the isle to harm Herthew, because it was a sacred place and gave him sanctuary. When it came to the time of the folkfeast there was a great battle at the gathering place and Gwidon was slain. There came a day when Herthew, though still not whole, could move about and then he and Gwineva departed with those who remained with them. They were married before leaving their isle of sanctuary.
They fled to a place afar off where, as the years went by, Herthew became whole again and Gwineva gave birth to sons and daughters. It was a good place, fertile and well watered and so they prospered. But there came a time of drought when the waters dried up and their flocks died. So Herthew sent men to Krowkasis and these came back saying that there, too, the land was stricken and the people distressed. He also sent others to the West and they returned saying that there the land was not stricken, but the people would not accept them except with spears. Herthew then sent men back to Krowkasis to tell the people there of the plenty which lay to the West and they came back with a warband led by Itilis, and many people followed.
Herthew could no longer bear weapons and his sons were as yet young and unblooded. Therefore, he gave his two sons who were of sufficient age into the keeping of Ithilis, so they might learn the art of war, and they followed him loyally, becoming men of valour in the conflict which ensued. Many people left Krowkasis and settled in the land lying to the West, and Herthew and Gwineva also settled there.
Time passed and Herthew became renowned for his wisdom, and Ithilis king of Arania, honoured him with lands and servants. Herthew's two sons, who had followed the king and were twins, married the king's two eldest daughters who were also twins. This caused problems, for the king, though having three wives, was sonless, therefore the twin sons of Herthew became his heirs. The king was perplexed, for the two men could not rule together and both were of equal standing in his eyes. Yet it was the king's duty to nominate his heir and proclaim him to the people so there should be no division after his death. Therefore, Ithilis consulted Herthew as to how the judgement should be made, and Herthew said, "Let fate decree who shall be king".
In Arania the people gathered four times a year for the folkfeasts. At such times it was customary for new laws to be proclaimed, judgements given and all contentious issues settled. So before the next folkfeast Herthew prepared a manmade stone from sand, clay and other things, and while it was still soft he set the hilt of his great sword, Dislana the Bitterbiter, into it and when the stone was hardened Dislana was fast.
The sword-implanted stone was then set down near the place where the king gave judgement. Around it was drawn a wide circle bisected across. On the day when the people were first assembled to hear his words, Ithilis told them of his perplexity over the problem concerning the twin sons of Herthew and his daughters, he said, "So the people are not divided and the kingdom rent by strife, it is well this matter be settled now. Therefore, I am setting a fair test involving no men other than these two whom I hold equally dear.
Whichsoever of them shall remove their father's great weapon from this stone, so he frees it and grasps the hilt, shall become my lawful heir, with the other being to him as a younger brother. They will each try in turn during the duration of the fall of a feather, the first trier being he who casts his bracelet over the blade. Then each of Herthew's sons was placed in a spot where the bisecting line joined the circle, so they stood opposite each other, and each had three bracelets. They threw until one encircled the blade with his bracelet.
8.24 - Then this one tried to withdraw the weapon with his hand but could not, because of the sharpness, The other tried by placing his two palms on each side of the blade, then pressing them together while lifting, but he could not move it either. The first one tried again, copying what had just been done more powerfully, so the stone almost lifted off the ground, but the sword did not leave the stone. Then the other approached the stone, but this time he put his hands under the edges of the stone, so he could lift it in his arms and he dashed it down over a rock which was nearby, so it broke asunder. He then picked Dislana up by the hilt and brandished it over his head. The people acclaimed him while his brother grasped his arms in congratulations. Thus, by wisdom was the problem overcome.
Did you happen to notice that all versions of 'The Sword In The Stone' subsequent to the KOLBRIN telling of it, have the sword implanted blade first? Makes story telling easier, yes, but it removes from the moral of the story which is that God-given intelligence is greater than any magic wielded by a sorcerer or his apprentice.
The KOLBRIN is considered a bible in so much as parts of it contain creation stories and discussions on God, but its historical and esoteric content have made it a heretical work since it's compilation over a thousand years ago.
Author Yvonne Whiteman describes the KOLBRIN as “...a collection of eleven books, six Egyptian and five Celtic, first published in New Zealand in 1994 by the Hope Trust (now dissolved) and the Culdian Trust, a metaphysical organization based loosely on the original ‘Culdees’ or Celtic followers of Christianity brought to south-west Britain by Joseph of Arimathea in the 1 century AD.”
Yvonne goes on to state that. “ Originally, the Introduction tells us, there were five great book-boxes containing 132 scrolls and five, ring-bound volumes which comprised The Great Book of the Egyptians. But over the centuries many of the books have been lost or destroyed – the Lesser Book of the Egyptians, the Book of the Trial of the Great God, the Sacred Register, the Book of Establishment, the Book of Magical Concoctions, the Book of Songs, the Book of Creation and Destruction, and the Book of Tribulation have all gone. “ (LINK), (LINK),