70 pages 2 hours read

John Steinbeck

The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1976

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Chapters 2-3Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 2 Summary: “The Knight with the Two Swords”

One day a maiden comes to Arthur’s court wearing a sword hanging from her belt. She says she has been sent by the lady Lyle of Avalon. Only a knight who is pure and worthy will be able to draw her sword. The maiden has searched in vain through many kingdoms, and Camelot is her last hope. Arthur and all his knights try, but none succeed in removing it from her belt. When everyone has given up, a ragged knight named Sir Balin asks to make an attempt: “The damsel looked at his ragged cloak and she could not believe him a man of honor and of noble blood” (52).

Balin explains that he was falsely imprisoned and has recently been released. He then demonstrates his worthiness by easily removing the sword. The maiden is pleased and asks to have the weapon back. Balin decides to keep it even though the maiden warns that the sword will destroy him. He dismisses the warning, takes his two swords, and plans to leave court for questing.

Just then, the Lady of the Lake arrives and demands the heads of the man who drew the sword and the maiden who brought it. Balin immediately beheads her and claims she is an evil witch who killed his mother.