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

A King Arthur Story: "The Half-Man"

Hanner Dyn was growing incredibly fast into a tall young fellow. Instead of the weakness that often comes with rapid growth, his muscles grew ever harder and harder. Still merry and smiling, he began to wrestle in earnest.

One day, in a moment of carelessness, Arthur received a back fall, and landed on moist ground. Rising with a quick motion, he laughed at the angry faces of his attendants and bade the boy farewell. The men at work in the fields glanced up, attracted by the sound of voices, and he saw them exchange looks with one another.

Yet he felt his kingly dignity a little impaired by the fall, and he hastened before long to revisit the island and teach the saucy boy a lesson. Months had passed, and the youth had expanded into a man of princely promise, but with the same sunny look. His shoulders were now broad, his limbs of the firmest form, his eyes clear, keen, and penetrating. "Of all the wrestlers I have ever yet met," said the king, "this yonker promises to be the most formidable. I can easily throw him now, but what will he be in a few years?"

The youth greeted him joyously, and they began their usual match. The sullen field hands stopped to watch them. An aged Druid, whom Arthur had brought ashore with him to give the old man air and exercise from the boat, opened his weak eyes and closed them again.

As the two of them began to wrestle, the king felt, by the very grasp of the youth's arms, by the firm set of his foot upon the turf, that this was to be unlike any previous effort. The wrestlers stood after the old Cornish fashion, breast to breast, each resting his chin on the other's shoulder. They grasped each other round the body, each setting his left hand above the other's right. Each tried to force the other to touch the ground with both shoulders and one hip, or with both hips and one shoulder; or else to compel the other to let go of his hold for an instant -- either of these successes giving the victory.

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