Residence: United States
Date of Performance/Collection: April 27, 2016
Primary Language: English
Informant was a 19 year old female who was born in England and currently lives in Los Angeles. She lives in my hall, and I interviewed her.
Informant: King Arthur’s a pretty well known story, so I don’t know how much I can say that you probably don’t already know. But it’s a pretty big story in England, like he kinda symbolizes our heritage and stuff like that. And I think we had a real King Arthur too so some people think the story is real, which I think is funny. But basically the story goes like this. Arthur’s father was the king of England, but then like he really liked this other girl that was married to someone else, so he asked Merlin for help. Merlin’s the wizard. And he made himself look like that girl’s husband. And then they had Arthur, but Arthur was raised by a knight and didn’t know that his dad was the king or whatever. So eventually, the king died and like he didn’t have any kids except for Arthur who didn’t know that he was his kid. And then Merlin did this thing where he put the sword in this stone, and he said that the person who could take the sword out of the stone was the king. And then a bunch of people tried but like nobody could do it until Arthur came and did it, and he became the king. There’s a lot that comes after that with like the round table and the knights and all of that, but I don’t really know much about that. Just the sword thing.
Collector: Is there anything in particular that you like about this story?
Informant: It’s like part of my culture, I guess. Even though like everybody knows the story, it’s a very British thing, and we take pride in it. I mean, I don’t care much for that, but I know that a lot of people do. I just think it’s a cool story.
For another version of this story, see “Matthews, John. The Book of Arthur: Lost Tales from the Round Table. Old Saybrook, CT: Konecky & Konecky, 2002. Print.”
I have already heard of the tale of King Arthur multiple times, but I didn’t know that it meant a lot to English people. I thought that it was just a random story that Disney used and made popular, because that was the first time I had ever heard of it. It’s interesting to see how a story that is so well known around the world can have particular significance to a specific culture. Another thing that I think is interesting is that I didn’t know that the story included the king disguising himself to commit adultery. If my memory serves me right, I don’t remember that having been a part of the Disney movie. This is something that Disney has always done – obscure the more intense, not-PG versions of stories, and it makes me wonder what other things Disney has obscured.