Sunday, 8 May 2016

The Land of King Arthur - Dozmary Pool



A slender arm that gripped a sword
rose slowly from the water.
"I'll save her" cried young Arthur.
"She must be some knight's daugter..."
"Be still," hissed Merlin. "There you see
the Lady of the Lake.
She's like a kind of mermaid.
That sword is yours to take."  

Excalibur the Magic Sword- Crazy Camelot Capers  Tony Mitton and Arthur Robins


My children loved the stories from Crazy Camelot when they were little. There is nothing like children stories in rhyme and the illustrations that are inside the book are fabulous. If you have young children and you want to introduce them to King Arthur and his knights then this is a fun way to do it.

Before I take the rest of this post to praise Crazy Camelot, I actually wanted to talk about a very famous lake in Arthurian legend.
 
There are two stories as to how Arthur came by his magical sword. Both will be familiar I am sure. The first one claims that Arthur pulled a sword from a stone. The other states that the sword was gifted to Arthur by the Lady of the Lake.

But where is the Lake?

Could Dozmary Pool be the lake in question??!




Dozmary Pool can be found in Cornwall, in the parish of Altarnun on Bodmin Moor. It is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is within the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty - I can understand why. And from the picture above, it is easy to imagine a sword rising from the water.

Now, Excalibur came with instructions - not quite a 'how to use' manual - I am sure Arthur knew how to handle a sword. The instructions were simple. I shall quote from Crazy Camelot again, so prepare yourself for some more rhyme...

I am Excalibur, your sword,
and I will never break.
But when your reign is over,
return me to the lake.

The general consensuses is that Arthur was mortally wounded at the Battle of Camlann. Arthur recalled the instructions about the sword. He had to get back to the lake. Sir Bedivere, the only surviving knight of The Round Table - took Arthur back to the lake, but Arthur was too weak to throw the sword back into the lake, so he instructs Sir Bedivere to do it for him. But Sir Bedivere could not bring himself to throw such a beautiful sword into the water, so he hid it and returned to Arthur. Arthur asked him if he had thrown the sword back in the lake. Sir Bedivere lied and said he had. Arthur could see through the lies and told Sir Bedivere to do as he instructed. But Sir Bedivere just could not do it. He lied to Arthur for the second time. Once again, Arthur could see through the lies and for the last time told Sir Bedivere to do as he was instructed. Against his better instincts, Sir Bedivere threw the sword into the lake. To his very great surprise, a hand reached up from the water and grabbed the sword, drawing it back down into the watery depths, out of sight forever more. Sir Bedivere returned to Arthur and told him what he had seen. This time, Arthur believed him.

Dozmary Pool is bottomless and has a secret tunnel that leads directly to the ocean - a perfect home for the Lady of the Lake.  
 
Back to the question is Dozmary Pool - that lake?

It is certainly atmospheric enough, but...

It isn't bottomless - in 1869 the pool dried up and apart from finding some amazing Neolithic arrowheads, there was no tunnel - so there goes that theory.

It is also argued that Dozmary Pool is too far away from the proposed site of the Battle of Camlann.

 So the bottom line is that it is very unlikely that Dozmary Pool is that lake - but it is stunning.

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Mary xx