Browsing Tag


Short story

Merlin is a liar

Author: Emily Weeks

Illustration: Christopher Harrisson

Arthur stood at the pinnacle of Glastonbury Tor, surveying the wetlands which stretched far and wide.

‘Do you ever wonder whether people will remember us?’ he asked.

‘Of course I don’t,’ said the elderly man standing next to him. He leaned heavily on a stick. ‘I know that they will, as surely as I know that these wetlands will never be tamed by man.’

‘How do you know?’ Arthur asked curiously.

‘I know because I am the Merlin,’ the old man replied.

A murmuration of starlings rose up from the reeds. The two men watched them in silence.

‘Suppose I don’t have any sons,’ Arthur remarked, after a while. ‘Will they remember me even then?’

‘Arthur, my boy, in the not too distant future a man called Alfred will be remembered for burning a few cakes,’ the Merlin said patiently. ‘I think you can rest easily. It’s not every day a man pulls a sword from the heart of solid stone,’ he added, with a twinkle in his green eyes.

Arthur laughed.

‘I can’t believe you wrote “ex saxo” instead of “ex saxon”. You knew perfectly well what you were doing.’

‘Where’s the harm in one letter?’ the Merlin shrugged his shoulders. ‘Everything we do now has ripples throughout the rest of time, my boy. Besides, people will believe anything they’re told, especially if it’s written down.’