THE ARTHUR OF POPULAR STORY
AND so Arthur seems to have been a real man, who led his countrymen to victory over the invading English about the year 500 -- the best fighter, perhaps, on the British side. How his fame grew until he became a great romantic king, we cannot definitely say; the history of the Arthurian legend at first is entirely obscure. We are sure, though, that popular tales were early connected with it. There is one in the history of Nennius,1 in which, not many pages before the mention of Arthur's victories, is an account of a castle which Vortigern, the British king, tried to build as a stronghold against his enemies. When the foundations had sunk from sight on three successive nights, Vortigern asked his wise men what the matter was. They told him that the only way to make the foundations lasting was to sprinkle them with the blood of a boy who had no father. Vortigern sent his messengers through the land in search of such a remarkable boy, whom they thought they had finally found in a young Ambrosius, whose mother maintained that she had never known mortal man. The boy was accordingly taken to Vortigern and about to be slain, when he declared that the wise men were entirely at fault. To prove his assertion, he challenged them to tell what was under the ground on which the foundations of the____________________
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Publication information: Book title: The Arthur of the English Poets. Contributors: Howard Maynadier - Author. Publisher: Houghton Mifflin. Place of publication: Boston. Publication year: 1907. Page number: 32.