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Main > Welsh folktales > Fairy tale "A King Arthur Story: "The Half-Man""

A King Arthur Story: "The Half-Man"

K ing Arthur in his youth was fond of wrestling, and he was so excellent at the art that few dared to challenge him. Old men who had been champions in years gone by sat in the summer evenings watching the youths try their skill before them. They told the king that he had no rival in Cornwall, and that his only remaining competitor was one who had tired out all others.

"Where is he?" said Arthur.

"He dwells on an island," said one old man. "He, of all wrestlers, is the most formidable. At first you will think him so insignificant as to be hardly worth a contest; you will easily throw him at the first trial. But after a while you will find him growing strong. He seeks out all your weak points as if by magic; he never gives up. You may throw him again and again, but he will conquer you at last."

"His name! His name!" said Arthur.

"His name," they answered, "is Hanner Dyn. His home is everywhere, but on his own island you will be likely to find him sooner or later. Keep clear of him, or he will get the best of you in the end, and make you his slave as he makes slaves of all others whom he has conquered."

Far and wide over the ocean the young Arthur searched for Hanner Dyn. He landed at island after island. He saw many weak men who did not dare to wrestle with him, and many strong ones whom he could always throw. Until one day, he came to a far-off island he had never seen before and which seemed uninhabited. Presently there came out from beneath an arbor of flowers a little miniature man, as graceful and quick-moving as an elf. Arthur eagerly said to him, "Tell me, young man, do you know in what island dwells Hanner Dyn?"

"In this island," was the answer.

"Where is he?" said Arthur.

"I am he," said the laughing boy, taking hold of his hand.

"What did they mean by calling you a wrestler?" said Arthur.

"Oh," said the child coaxingly, "I am a wrestler.

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