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

A King Arthur Story: "The Half-Man"

Try me."

The king took him and tossed him in the air with his strong arms, till the boy shouted with delight. He then took Arthur by the hand and led him about the island, showing him his house, gardens and fields. He showed him the rows of men toiling in the meadows or felling trees. "They all work for me," he said carelessly. The king thought he had never seen a more stalwart set of laborers. Then the boy led him to the house, asked him what were his favorite fruits and beverages, and he seemed to have all at hand. He was an unaccountable little creature; in size and years he seemed a child, but in his activity and agility he seemed almost a man. When the king told him so, he smiled, as winningly as ever, and said, "That is what they call me -- Hanner Dyn, The Half-Man." Laughing merrily, he helped Arthur into his boat and bade him farewell, urging him to come again. The King sailed away, looking back with something like affection on his winsome little playmate.

It was months before Arthur came that way again. Again the merry child met him, having grown a good deal since their earlier meeting.

"How is my little wrestler?" said Arthur.

"Try me," said the boy. The king tossed him again in his arms, finding the delicate limbs firmer, and the slender body heavier than before, though he was still easily manageable. The island was as green as before yet more cultivated. There were more men working in the fields. Arthur noticed that their look was not cheerful, but rather as of those who had been discouraged and oppressed.

It was, however, a charming sail to the island and, as it became more familiar, the king often bade his steersman guide the small ship that way. He was often startled with the rapid growth and increased strength of the laughing boy, Hanner Dyn, while at other times he seemed to have made little progress. The youth never seemed to tire of wrestling. He always begged the king for a trial of skill, and the king rejoiced to see how readily the young wrestler caught on with the tricks of the art; so that the time had long passed when even Arthur's strength could toss him lightly in the air, as at first.

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