We’ve been wanting to choose a good, long book to take turns reading aloud in the evening during the coming winter nights. Tonight we picked up T.H. White’s The Once and Future King, a favorite of Michael’s and mine from way back. In fact, I don’t think I’ve read it since I was in high school.
Back then, of course, I identified with the “Wart” because he was the child and the hero. Tonight, though, as Michael read the first three chapters to us, I suddenly recognized a deep sympathy and understanding of King Pellinore, portrayed in the story as a bumbling knight in search of “The Questing Beast”. Pellinore has been searching for this beast for 17 years. He’s sick and tired of the whole enterprise, and all he wants is a nice, soft bed:
“Oh, how I do wish I had a nice house of my own to live in, a house with beds in it and real pillows and sheets. If I was rich that’s what I would buy. A nice bed with a nice pillow and a nice sheet that you could lie in… “
And when the Wart (Arthur) tells Pellinore that if he helps him find his way back to his (Arthur’s) home, his guardian will surely give Pellinore a feather bed of his own for the night, Pellinore says:
“A feather bed of one’s very own, with sheets and a pillow — perhaps even two pillows, or a pillow and a bolster — and no need to get up in time for breakfast!”
This is a man after my own heart.