I remember being in middle school and thinking that I had been born a few centuries too late. This was just before I really started taking an interest in King Arthur and his tutor Merlyn (Coincidentally, Disney produced the Sword and the Stone around that time).
If I were meant to live in the time of the Once and Future King, I would have been born eighteen hundred years too late, as the most convincing historical accounts put him in Cornwall during roughly the first three centuries A.D.
The Disney adventure was a great introduction to Arthur’s world, but it was based on a book series by T.H. White, which personified animals and ended in The Book of Merlyn, which in itself was a literary masterpiece.
By the end of Arthur’s journey, through those pages, the reader had learned, right alongside him, the more righteous ways to govern a people; from arguments against Monarchy and Communism to the intricacies of Democracy and Capitalism.
Perhaps, the most noble of arguments involved the subject of war, which was abundant in that era. As war simply doesn’t exist in the animal kingdom, Arthur’s furry comrades often pressed him about the insanity of the actions of men. The reader leaves the series with such an empathy for creatures he seldom can feel justified for swatting a fly.
Besides the many romanticized re-tellings of the legend of King Arthur, centered around the love affair of Guenevere and Lancelot, most literature seemed to keep a healthy focus on the education of the young boy king.
Coincidentally, Mark Twain retold the story, in a refreshing way, that painted the age of Arthur as young boys, run awry. A country run by privileged men with massive egos. Imagine if you will, your ten-year-old son boasting about the fifty pound bass he caught in the minnow pond, and no one to quell his imaginative exaggerations straight up into manhood!