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Sword in the Floating Stone


In the Vulgate Cycle work Suite du Merlin, Merlin placed a sword in a block of marble and only the best knight in the world could draw the sword out. The block of marble floated down the river to Camelot. Arthur believed Lancelot to be the greatest and asked him to try to pull the sword out, but he refused. Arthur then ordered Gawain, the second best knight, to try. Lancelot told Gawain that he would be punished for the attempt, but reluctantly Gawain obeyed his king. However, Gawain was unsuccessful. Galahad was also questing for the Grail, but he did not have a sword. Arthur let him try, and he was able to pull the sword free, signifying that he was the greatest knight in the world. Galahad would later wound Gawain by accident, fulfilling the omen foretold by Lancelot.

In the Post-Vulgate Cycle, it was said that the sword in the floating stone was the sword of Balin; the same sword that was responsible for the Dolorous Stroke (or Dolorous Blow) which set off an earthquake that devastated the kingdom. It was also known as the Sword with the Red Hilt.

Arthurian, England, Mythology, Sword, Weapon


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