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By Robert Fisher
The Knight in Rusty Armour
Chapter 1 – The Knight's Dilemma ............................................................................................... 3 Chapter 2 – In Merlin's Woods ...................................................................................................... 8 Chapter 3 – The Path of Truth..................................................................................................... 14 Chapter 4 – The Castle of Silence .............................................................................................. 19 Chapter 5 – The Castle of Knowledge ........................................................................................ 25 Chapter 6 – The Castle of Will and Daring .................................................................................. 33 Chapter 7 – The Summit of Truth ................................................................................................ 36
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The Knight in Rusty Armour
Chapter 1 – The Knight's Dilemma
Once a long time ago, in a land far away, there lived a knight who thought of himself as good, kind, and loving. He did all the things that good, kind, and loving knights do. He fought foes that were bad, mean, and hateful. He slew dragons and rescued fair damsels in distress. When the knight business was slow, he had the annoying habit of rescuing damsels even if they did not want to be rescued, so, although many ladies were grateful to him, just as many were furious with him. This he accepted philosophically. After all, one can't please everybody. This knight was famous for his armour. It reflected such bright rays of light that villagers would swear they had seen the sun rise in the north or set in the east when the knight rode off to battle. And he rode off to battle frequently. At the mere mention of a crusade, the knight would eagerly don his shining armour, mount his horse, and ride off in any direction. So eager was he, in fact, that sometimes he would ride off in several directions at once, which was no easy feat. For years this knight strove to e the number one knight in the entire kingdom. There was always another battle to be won, dragons to be slain, or damsel to be rescued. The knight had a faithful and somewhat tolerant wife, Juliet, who wrote beautiful poetry, said clever things, and had a penchant for wine. He also had a young, golden haired son, Christopher, who he hoped would grow up to be a courageous knight. Juliet and Christopher saw little of the knight, because when not fighting battles, slaying dragons, and rescuing damsels, he was occupied with trying on his armour and admiring its brilliance. As time went on, the knight became so enamoured of his armour that he began wearing it to dinner and often to bed. After time, he didn't bother to take it off at all. Gradually his family forgot how he looked without it. Occasionally, Christopher would ask his mother what his father looked like. When this happened, Juliet would lead the boy to the fireplace and point above it to a portrait of the knight. "There's your father," she would sigh. One afternoon, while contemplating the portrait, Christopher said to his mother, "I wish I could see Father in person." "You can't have everything!" snapped Juliet. She was growing impatient with having only a painting to remind her of her husband's face, and she was tired from having her sleep disturbed by the blanking of armour. When he was at home and not completely preoccupied with his armour, the knight usually delivered monologues on his exploits. Juliet and Christopher were seldom able to get a work in edgewise. When they did, the knight shut it out either by closing his visor or by abruptly going to sleep. One day, Juliet confronted her husband. "I think you love your armour more than you love me."
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peering through his visor so that she could see his eyes. who normally enjoyed bantering." the smith agreed. because it showed everyone who he was . I’m stuck in this armour. accidentally bringing it down on the smith's big toe. and you don't really love me now. getting on MY horse. nothing happened. alas. and loving knight. I have to be ready to mount my horse and ride off in any direction". The knight felt only a twinge of discomfort. Without saying where he was going. "If you don't take off that armour. "I CAN'T take it off. Finally he came to a decision. "Try again. How could this have happened? Perhaps it was not so surprising to find the helmet stuck since he had not removed it for years. The blow didn't even make a dent. unaware that the smith obliged him out of anger. said Juliet. the smith was shaping a horseshoe with his bare hands. and riding out of your life. that was stuck. The smith let out a howl and. Suddenly the knight had an idea. 4 / 37 . "I have a problem. glowered. "I'm in no mood for your wisecracks right now. he had lifted it just that morning over a breakfast of scrambled eggs and suckling pig. sire. swinging a nearby hammer with vengeance and bringing it down squarely on the knight's helmet." answered the knight. he hurried to the blacksmith's shop in the castle courtyard. When he arrived. "Then take off that armour so that I can see who you really are!” she demanded. Reluctantly. but it didn't budge! He pulled harder." Well." ordered the knight. but he also loved his armour." said the knight. kind.The Knight in Rusty Armour "That's not sure. Why. The knight paced back and forth in great agitation. I'm taking Christopher. It held fast. He had opened it regularly to eat and drink. The knight." he bellowed as he stamped his steel-clad foot.a good. insisted the knight. he tried lifting his visor but. Continuing to wear the armour wasn't worth losing Juliet and Christopher. "Didn't I love you enough to rescue you from that dragon and set you up in this classy castle with wall-to-wall stones?" "What you loved". explained the knight. Why didn't Juliet realize that he was any of these things? The knight was in turmoil. He loved his wife and his son and his classy castle. too. "With pleasure. hugging her clumsily in his cold." "You ARE a problem. "was the IDEA of rescuing me. the knight reached up to remove his helmet. Though he tugged on the visor again and again. "Smith. The helmet didn't budge." "I DO love you". You didn't really love me then. dealt him a smashing blow to the helmet." quipped the smith with his usual tact. this was a real blow to the knight. momentarily forgetting the knight was his master. but the visor was another matter. stiff armour and nearly breaking her ribs. Dismayed. He didn't want Juliet to leave.
The Knight in Rusty Armour The knight was distraught. I've mashed my very last mutton chop!" "It's not MY fault that I got stuck in this armour. He had barely felt the smith's hammer that afternoon either. the smith sensed the knight's panic and grew sympathetic. and they kept at it for many more days without success. The knight felt nothing. Only when gravy began dripping down past the eyeholes in his visor did he realize that he'd been hit on the head. as she smashed her half-full plate of pigeon stew on his helmet. the knight had to admit that the smith's efforts were useless. and he had worn it for so long now that he'd forgotten how things felt without it. I HAD to wear it so that I would always be ready for battle. The smith was by far the strongest man in the kingdom. If he couldn't shuck the knight out of his armour. The knight dismissed one idea after another as being unlikely to work. When the knight returned home. who could? Being a kind man. the knight told Juliet that the blacksmith had tried to split open the armour but had failed. Knight. 5 / 37 . "You have a tough plight." argued Juliet. "You did it for YOURSELF!" The knight was sick at heart that his wife didn't seem to love him anymore. Finally. How else could I get nice castles and horses for you and Christopher?" "You didn't do it for US. Juliet became increasingly annoyed as she pushed bits of food she had mashed through the holes in the knight's visor. He knew that any knight who would even think of melting his armour off with a castle torch. Unable to find aid in his own kingdom. his armour kept him from feeling much of anything. He HAD to get the armour off. "Your son has nothing but a portrait for a father. You caught me at the end of a hard day. I'm never pushing food through the holes of that wretched thing again. but he didn't know how to do it. and I'm tired of talking to a closed visor. indeed! You can't even break open this steel junkyard!” the knight yelled in frustration. Juliet and Christopher would really leave. Each day the knight grew more despondent and Juliet grew colder. Some of the plans were downright dangerous. Parkway through the meal. Juliet shrieked at him. but don't give up. He and the miss HAD tried. the knight decided to search in other lands. "I don't believe you. In fact. He also feared that if he didn't get his armour off soon. freezing it off by jumping into an icy moat. when he thought about it. SOMEWHERE there must SOMEONE who can help me get this armour off." Dinner time that evening was difficult. "Strongest man in the kingdom. The knight was upset that Juliet didn't believe he was trying to get his armour off. he thought. except when his big toe was crushed. or blasting it off with a canon was badly in need of help. Come back tomorrow after I'm rested. you clanking clod!” she shouted.
he turned back to Gladbag. to bring the real you into sight." "Merlin? The only Merlin I've ever heard of is the great and wise teacher of King Arthur. he saw the court jester sitting crosslegged. but Gladbag called after him: "There is one who can help you. They're opportunities aknockin'. stiffening in his armour. "Oh. He didn't dare look back for fear he might change his mind. There were strange cards that he used to tell people's fortunes. but of course. Christopher. "The king has up and gone away. because." said the knight. aren't you a silly sight? All your might can't solve your plight.The Knight in Rusty Armour Of course." "I don't have time to stay and listen to your nonsense." The jester looked up. The jester was called Gladbag. he got onto his horse. On his way out of the providence. "Hi Gladbag." "You'd sing a different tune if YOU were the one stuck in here". early one morning. "You know someone who can get me out of this armour? Who is it?" "Merlin the Magician you must see." The knight pulled his horse to a stop and. and he rode away. his armour wouldn't let him. "He's taken off on a new crusade. so. playing a reed flute." barked the knight. I have to find a way to get out of this armour. who had been very good to him. one willing to remove his armour at bedtime and to be more a father to Christopher. he would miss Juliet. Gladbag retorted: "We're all stuck in armour of a kind. brightly coloured beads that he made appear and disappear. Nevertheless. "I came to say farewell to the king." With that the knight kneed his mount forward to leave. excitedly. Yours is merely easier to find." The knight felt very much like slumping in his saddle." he sighed. "I could starve to death in this armour by the time the king returns. he carried a beautiful rainbowcoloured bag filled with all sorts of things that made people laugh or smile." "I'm in no mood for your insulting rhymes. If you wait for him you'll be delayed. "Well. The king lived in a grand caste atop a hill in the height-rent district. He also feared that in his absence Juliet might find love with another knight. "Can't you take someone's problem seriously for once?" In a clear lyrical voice Gladbag sag: "Problems never sent me a-rockin'. I might never see him again. To you there's nothing can say" "Where has he gone?" asked the knight. over his shoulder." The knight was disappointed that he had missed the king and perturbed that he couldn't join him on the crusade. Knight. the knight stopped to say good-bye to the king. and funny little puppets that he used to amusingly insult his audiences. and his classy castle. growled the knight. the knight had to go. Then you'll discover how to be free. As the knight rode across the drawbridge and into the courtyard." 6 / 37 .
"When the armour’s gone from you. He wheeled his horse around." Gladbag rubbed his bruised fingers. "One never knows be it days. or years. "How will I find him in there?" Gladbag smiled." "I can't wait for Merlin to show up. yes. "Merlin and Arthur lived long ago.." said the knight. nearly crushing the jester's fingers with his gauntlet. The knight quickly released the jester's hand. galloped away. to find Merlin. the teacher appears. I'm going look for HIM. This Merlin I know is one and the same. when the pupil is ready. 7 / 37 . that's his claim to fame." "But it can't be!" exclaimed the knight. In yonder woods the sage doeth dwell. too" "I'm off!" said the knight. weeks. yet he's alive and well.." said the knight." "But those woods are so big. He reached out and shook Gladbag's hand in gratitude. "Sorry. Gladbag yelped." Gladbag replied: "It's true.The Knight in Rusty Armour "Yes. and with new hope in his heart. you'll feel the pain of others.
Reluctantly he admitted to himself that he didn't even know the poisonous berries from the edible ones. Animals of the forest were gathered around him. biting off a piece of carrot and sharing it with the nearest rabbit. night after night. but he didn't feel very smart at all trying to survive in the woods. He still hadn't found Merlin even though he'd travelled many leagues. He was sitting under a tree. One morning. There were many woods to search but only one Merlin. The knight shook his head glumly from side to side. "I've been looking for months. Merlin looked at him compassionately. becoming weaker and weaker. What made him feel worse was the fact that he didn't even know how far a league was." "I'm going to stay here only long enough to learn how to get out of this armour. The knight didn't much like this remark either. The knight recognized the magician at once." "All your life. but his helmet filled up with water." said Merlin. "A person cannot run and also learn. So the poor knight rode on. "You are most fortunate.The Knight in Rusty Armour Chapter 2 – In Merlin's Woods It was no easy task to find the wily wizard. The knight tried sticking his head into a stream." "Perhaps. sharing the carrot with some of the other animals. The knight stiffened. the knight climbed down from his horse. Twice he almost drowned. As if that weren't bad enough. clothed in a long white robe. Drinking was no less hazardous. the knight realized there were many things he didn't know. his armour squeaking as he did. Merlin smiled in reply. After months of searching in vain." "What does that mean?" snapped the knight. the knight was quiet discouraged. you have always taken the truth to be an insult. Fortunately. "I didn't come all this way to be insulted. How could all these animals find Merlin so easily when it was so hard for me? Wearily. The knight couldn't tell north from south or east from west." said the knight. He'd always thought of himself as very smart. he woke up feeling weaker than usual and a little peculiar. he dropped his metal-encased body onto the grass. day after day. That was the morning he found Merlin. and birds were perched on his shoulders and arms." corrected Merlin. As he rode through the woods alone." he commented. 8 / 37 . he had seen lost since entering the woods. Instead." he said the magician. "I've been looking for you. "You are too weak to run. his horse could. but he was too weak from hunger and thirst to climb back on his horse and ride away. He must stay in one place for a while. This made eating a game of Prussian roulette.
I'll drink it. then. "What is it?" asked the knight. was it not pleasant?" The knight nodded." "That was when you began to accept what you were drinking. eyeing the cup suspiciously. and the last swallows quite delicious." replied Merlin. he felt comforted and fell promptly asleep." Merlin replied." said the wise magician. When the knight awakened. and slipped the other into one of the holes in the knight's visor. "It is too precious to waste." He plucked a reed. "you were not born with that armour. "Is it not?" replied Merlin. Merlin held out a silver cup with a strange-coloured liquid in it. Somehow." "I will not. The first sips seemed bitter. "I call it a straw." Merlin said. but he was too weak." Merlin just smiled. Have you ever asked yourself why?" 9 / 37 . "Yes and the last swallows were quite delicious." The knight didn't bother to deny this. put one end in the cup. "you will never again have to climb on your horse and ride off all directions." he ordered. said Merlin. the knight handed the cup back to Merlin. raising an eyebrow in amusement." "Are you saying that life is good when you accept it?" asked the knight. as you tasted more of it. "I did it not first seem bitter. You put it on yourself. "What is it?" asked the knight.The Knight in Rusty Armour "When you learn that. Grateful. "This is a great idea!" said the knight. that is why you put on the armour in the first place. "Drink this. "You are so afraid. He tried to sit up. for he was too thirsty. the later ones more pleasant. "Why?" "Why not?" The night shrugged and sipped the liquid through the reed." stated Merlin. "You should put that stuff on the market. "Do you expect me to accept all this heavy armour?" "AH". You could sell flagons of it. Pour it into my visor." said Merlin. he saw Merlin and the animals all around him. "Life?" "Yes." The knight was too tired to question this. "Of course. "All right. "Life.
cracked and chewed a nut. "It is the mysterious. Merlin replied." One night." the knight asked a question long on his mind. He wasn't used to thinking in this manner. Each squirrel climbed up onto the knight's shoulder. invisible power that is the origin of all. and the deer crushed roots and berries for the knight to eat. You cannot get out of it just like that. The rabbits did the same thing with carrots. his head was beginning to hurt." Merlin said." added Merlin." "And you were afraid you would be seriously hurt or killed. "That is because you are trying to understand with your mind. Waiting until Merlin had finished playing "Hark Ye the Days of Old. This method of feeding would never be endorsed by the health department.The Knight in Rusty Armour "Why not?" retorted the knight irritably." 10 / 37 . and Merlin gave him large cups of Life to drink through the straw. Each day he asked Merlin the same question: "When will I get out of this armour?" Each day." said the knight. At this point. "Past. Then he remembered something that Merlin had said to him when first arrived." "I don't understand. the animals and the knight were listening to the magician play the latest troubadour hits on his lute. "But how can you still be alive? Arthur lived eons ago!" exclaimed the knight. and he began to feel more hopeful. When Knights Were Bold and Maidens Were Cold. present. lined up in front of the knight. the magician clapped his hands." argued the knight. "Were you really the teacher of King Arthur?" The magician's face lit up." The knight could not refute this." "I have a very good mind. "No. but your mind is limited. "You once said that I put on this armour because I was afraid." replied Merlin. and the squirrels. kind. "You will be able to think more clearly when you regain your strength. "Patience! You have been wearing that armour for a long time." added Merlin. "Isn't everybody?" Merlin shook his head. "Who ever said you had to go to battle?" "I had to prove that I was a good. I wore it for protection when I went to battle. "And a clever one. "Yes." he said. "What is the Source?" asked the knight. then pushed the pieces through the knight's visor. Slowly the knight grew stronger. and future are all one when you are connected to the Source. holding nuts in their little mouths. "It trapped you in all that armour. I taught Arthur." "Is that not true?" responded Merlin. but what else could a knight who was stuck in his armour in the woods possibly do? The animals fed the knight regularly. and loving knight. With that.
he could see most of the squirrel. sure we can.you and I are talking!" "A tribute to my good nature. "Otherwise.just because it IS?" 11 / 37 . kind. why did you have to prove it?" Merlin asked. kind. in amazement.. every time I cracked a nut and pushed it through your visor." "I don't doubt that. "considering that you sat on my tail. The following morning. The knight escaped thinking about this in his usual manner of escaping things . and loving? He decided to ask Merlin. "That's why you have to keep apologizing to people for hurting them. "Why do you always answer a question with another question?" "And why do you always seek the answers to your questions from others?" The knight stomped off angrily. I can't see very well with this visor in my way.he drifted off to sleep." replied the squirrel. "That I'm NOT good. What DID he think? "Could it be." The knight shook his head in bewilderment. "But don't you ever accept anything the way it is ." "How can I hear you now when I couldn't hear you then?" "I admire an inquiring mind. "Hey. excuse me!" said the knight. That is." said the knight. "Oh. he blurted out. kind.The Knight in Rusty Armour "If you really WERE good. the knight plunked his burdened body down under a tree to contemplate the magician's questions. Suddenly. "Sometimes he really gets under my armour!" With a thud. cursing Merlin under his breath. "It's just that people don't listen. "That Merlin!" he muttered." groused the knight." commented the squirrel." said the squirrel. and loving. and loving?" "Could be. "I don't have to stay here and talk to you. "Oh. Her tail was hidden from sight. "What do YOU think?" Merlin replied." He laboured against the armour’s weight in an attempt to get to his feet. he awakened with an odd thought stuck in his mind: Was it possible that he was NOT good." replied the squirrel without any resentment in her voice. quickly moving his leg so that the squirrel could reclaim her tail." said a little voice. "I hope I didn't hurt you." "But animals can't talk." "The only thing that irritates me more than a smart-aleck magician is a smart-aleck squirrel.. why are you sitting on my tail?" "Huh?" The knight peered down to the side and noticed a little squirrel sitting beside him.." he said aloud to no one in particular. "You've talked to me before?" "Certainly.
After all. I am looking forward to the day when you start talking to flowers. about the attention he showered on his armour and about his closed visor and his habit of abruptly going to sleep to shut out her words. "What do you mean. 12 / 37 . "But I miss them." The knight was obliviously confused. kind." "And that is exactly how you will be going back if you go in your armour. Dazed." whined the knight. the knight shook his head. I want to go back now and be a good. so Merlin continued explaining. and you translated those vibrations into words." "You mean they might not want me back?" asked the knight in surprise. The knight looked troubled. I have to get out of these woods!" "Where would you go?" “Back to Juliet and Christopher. he saw Merlin approaching. "You've been around Merlin too long. "However. has to be accepted. "You did not talk to the squirrel in words. You are becoming sensitive enough to feel vibrations of others. I have to get back and take care of them. "Surely they would give me another chance." cautioned Merlin. "I want to go back to them in the worst way. "I don't want to wait until I get the armour off.The Knight in Rusty Armour "You're answering my questions with questions. The knight called after her." "And you haven't been around him long enough!" The squirrel flicked her tail at the knight and ran up a tree. The knight looked at Merlin sadly. He remembered Juliet's endless complaints about his going off to battle so often. "Merlin. He told the knight that going back to give of himself was a lovely gift." she replied very simply and vanished into the topmost branches. Otherwise it lies like a burden between people. "I HAVE to get out of here. splendid?" "Just that." said the knight." he said. "Wait! What's your name?" "Squirrel. The knight thought about this." "How can you take care of THEM when you cannot even take care of YOURSELF?" Merlin asked." Merlin nodded in understanding. Had he imagined all this? At that moment. Maybe Juliet WOULDN'T want him back. I AM one of the top knights in the kingdom. "Why not send Christopher a note and ask him?" suggested Merlin." "Splendid. They've been alone for too long. and loving husband to Juliet and a great father to Christopher. to be a gift." Merlin said gently." replied the magician." "Perhaps that armour is thicker than it appears. a gift. I've started talking to squirrels. but certainly Christopher would." "That'll be the day you plant them on my grave. but you felt her vibrations.
When Merlin finished playing his lute and singing "You'll Have a Long. However. exhausted and half-drowned from the tears in his helmet. "It's blank!" he exclaimed." the knight called after her. 13 / 37 . "Rebecca will take it. "Don't coo at any strange pigeons. and Rebecca still had not returned." The knight quickly apologized. so Merlin and the knight looked. the magician glanced at it and gravely told the knight that it was from Christopher. "which is more than I can say for you. Then. "She doesn't know where I live. too. Big-hearted bird that she was. fearing she might have fallen prey to one of the hunting falcons he and the other knights had trained. eagerly seizing the paper. said Merlin softly. realizing that the knight had much to learn. stunned. High above then. "that your son does not know enough about you to give you an answer. Rebecca accepted the knight's apology and flew off with his hastily written note to Christopher in her beak. Cold Winter if You Have a Short Cold Heart". He tried to choke back the tears. a great chattering arose from the animals. Not only had he talked to both a pigeon and a squirrel. then groaned and slowly sank to the ground. the knight fell asleep." The knight stood there for a moment.The Knight in Rusty Armour The knight agreed that this was good idea. She's only a stupid bird. Rebecca ignored his thoughtless remark." snapped Rebecca. wondering how he could have participated in such a foul sport then winced again at his awful pun. or you'll drop my note. but how could he get a note to Christopher? Merlin pointed to the pigeon sitting on his shoulder. for knights in shining armour simply didn't cry." The knight was puzzled. his grief soon overwhelmed him. The knight became more and more anxious. Taking the note from her beak. His jaw dropped with a clank as he stared at the note in disbelief. The knight struggled to his feet just as Rebecca swooped down onto Merlin's shoulder. but he'd gotten both of them mad at him in the same day." "I can tell north from south and east from west. He was thoroughly shaken. Merlin reassured the knight by making up a happy little verse: "The smartest pigeon who ever flew will never wind up in someone's stew" All at once. A week passed. "Let me see!" said the knight. They were all looking skyward. the knight expressed his worries about Rebecca. they saw Rebecca. He winced. circling for a landing. "What does that mean?" "It means".
"You mean this path was here. smelled the fragrance of a flower. 14 / 37 . fear. and you can go back that way if you want." "I didn't follow any path". "At times. but it leads to dishonesty. greed. "You have just taken the first step toward getting out of your armour. said the knight. and things will only get worse as time goes on. Merlin was sitting quietly beside him. "You're right Merlin. leading the knight to a path. Merlin reminded the knight of his NEW purpose: to get rid of his armour. He had come to enjoy staying in the woods with Merlin and the animals. "It is time for you to go. hatred. and there were several kings who would be happy to have him.The Knight in Rusty Armour Chapter 3 – The Path of Truth When the knight awoke. you are some of those things"." "You cannot continue living and thinking as you have in the past. and ignorance. "Why bother?" asked the knight morosely. You could even die of something like catching pneumonia from a soggy beard. "That is how you got stuck in your steel prison in the first place. jealousy. Anyway it seemed he had no place to go. Sure. or heard a beautiful melody without your armour getting in the way?" "I can hardly remember. Come to think of it. he could get back into the knight business and go on some crusades. and I'm fed up wit eating mushy food." "Are you saying that I am all those things?" the knight asked indignantly.” "I suppose my armour HAS become a nuisance"." replied the magician." "Do it for yourself" suggested Merlin." "And how long has it been since you have felt the warmth of a kiss. "It doesn't matter to Juliet and Christopher whether I get my armour off or not." "What do you mean?" "You will see. "I'm tired of lugging it around. replied the knight. He stood up. "It is not as difficult as it may seem. "This was the path you followed to get into these woods. He had a good reputation in battle. I have to get this armour off for MYSELF. I can't even scratch my back when it itches. but fighting no longer seemed to have any purpose." replied Merlin. but I couldn't see it?" "Yes." This disturbed the knight." said Merlin. “Being trapped in all that steel has caused you a lot of problems. Juliet and Christopher apparently didn't want him to come home. "I'm sorry I acted so unknightly." Merlin explained." mumbled the knight sadly." he added in disgust. "My beard got all soggy." "But how am I ever going to change all that?" asked the knight uneasily." said the knight. Merlin admitted quietly. "I was lost for months!" "People are often unaware of the path they are on." said Merlin. "Do not apologize.
"I think I'd rather die of a soggy beard. It gets steeper as it approaches the summit of a mountain far in the distance. where she'd heard the conversation." Merlin explained "your armour!" The knight pondered this. It was narrower than the first and very steep. there was no hope of removing this armour. I've been to the top of the mountain." observed the knight. Then he looked down at the steel covering his body. "That. and I know the way. "is the Path of Truth." The knight knew that he'd better start immediately. "I'll try the Path of Truth." 15 / 37 . Well. it seemed." "What do you expect me to do. As they walked toward the path. "OK. Who else is going to chew nuts for you and push them through your visor?" Rebecca flew over from a nearby tree. "You might not be able to ride me. the magician took an exquisite golden key from his neck and gave it to the knight. You will have to go on foot. "The path has areas too narrow for a horse to pass. shaking his head. he said to himself. "Oh. his courage waning rapidly. ride squirrel-back?" asked the knight. "This key will open the doors to three castles that will block your path." she said. What will I have when I get to the top?" "It is what you won't have. "I'll go with you." he said. "Your decision to take an unknown trail while encumbered with heavy armour takes great courage." he said. or he might change his mind. too. Merlin nodded in agreement. one of the top knights in the kingdom needing courage from a squirrel and a bird! He struggled to his feet. "I'm not sure it's worth it. dreading the thought of making the arduous journey with a smart-talking animal. was to follow the Path of Truth." Merlin told him. The willingness of the two animals to help gave the night the courage he needed. the knight plunked down on a rock." he said with resignation. signalling to Merlin that he was ready to begin his journey. "You will not have to travel alone. If he returned to the path that he had travelled before. but then he might die trying to struggle up the steep mountainside. The knight looked at the difficult path ahead." Aghast. no. Squirrel will accompany you." he said. The only way to get the armour off.The Knight in Rusty Armour The magician then pointed to another path. and he would probably die of loneliness and fatigue." said Squirrel. "That looks like a tough climb." The knight looked at the steep trail without enthusiasm." said Merlin. "but you'll need me to help you eat. and landed on the knights' shoulder." Merlin nodded. "I'll get my trusty horse. isn't this something.
why. Once you enter them. narrow trail." The knight’s helmet squeaked as he shook his head in assent. the knight grew quiet while Merlin continued. Rebecca flew among the bushes and returned with some berries. "If you do. the knight fell asleep." From the knight’s point of view. "If you encounter anything you cannot handle. Besides. "there is a different battle to be fought on the Path of Truth. the second. You have to learn to save yourself first. The fight will be learning to love yourself. Rebecca and Squirrel decided that they might as well stop there for the night. Squirrel went to a nearby brook and filled some walnut shells with water. "Let's get going. Too tired to stay awake for the nuts Squirrel was preparing next. Then he disappeared. The knight sighed deeply as he gazed up the steep. The knight was astounded." Merlin replied. and the third. "There will be a princess inside each castle. Since it was almost dark anyway. From time to time. "Yes. He sensed that this journey was going to be much more difficult than a crusade. "This battle cannot be won with your sword." Merlin's gentle gaze rested on the knight for a moment." "You mean you can appear anywhere I happen to be?" "Any self-respecting magician can do that. exhausted and sore. the knight collapsed." "How will I do that?" asked the knight. Knowledge. Rebecca flew on scouting missions and returned to report what lay ahead. "There will be no princesses in any of these castles. Merlin knew what the knight was thinking. "It will begin with learning to know yourself". "He really hams it up sometimes. 16 / 37 . just call me.The Knight in Rusty Armour "I know!" cried the knight eagerly. castle tours didn't really appeal to him. you will find your way out only after you have learned what you are there to learn. answered Merlin." Merlin said firmly. so you can leave it here.. then the knight with Rebecca on his shoulder." Rebecca scolded. "Why. and you are certain to get lost. you'll stray from the path. at the moment." "You're going to waste all your energy talking. Even if there were. you are in no shape just now to be rescuing anyone. and I will come." "Enough!" Merlin broke in. After a few hours. "Why can't I just go around the castles?" he asked sulkily. this didn't sound like nearly as much fun as rescuing princesses." he agreed. They started out with Squirrel in the lead." Thus reprimanded. Will and Daring. It disappeared between tall trees that jutted up toward some low-hanging clouds. "The first castle is named Silence. he vanished!" Squirrel nodded. The only way you can get to the top of the mountain is to go through those castles. which the knight drank through the straw that Merlin had given him. He was not used to travelling in armour without his horse. and I'll slay the dragon guarding her and rescue. which she pushed through the holes in the knight's visor. Then he added..
Quite to the contrary. he suddenly realized that he could see more than he had the day before. He looked closely at the faces of some robins and saw that they didn't all look alike. he became that Squirrel and Rebecca were looking at him. a castle loomed ahead. Then my nurse looked down at me and said. the knight clanked forward even faster. Rebecca laughed and said." 17 / 37 . Sure enough. Just then Squirrel. The knight considered this. The sorrow he had felt was so deep that his armour could not protect him from it. I remember lying in my crib." I wound up being disappointed in myself for being ugly instead of beautiful." "But how?" asked the knight. "It rusted and fell off. His visor had never before allowed in so much light. you'll have fewer disappointments. the Castle of Silence looked just like any other tract castle. by the sun shining in his eyes. He reached the top of the hill quite out of breath. Unaccustomed to the glare. The knight confessed to Squirrel and Rebecca that he was disappointed." The knight tried to figure out exactly what Rebecca meant. for he still thought a knight should be smarter than a pigeon. "The Castle of Silence is just over the next rise. As he was trying to figure out this phenomenon. Squirrel answered the unspoken question. He had expected a very fancy structure. cooing merrily. He mentioned this to Rebecca who hopped up and down." said Rebecca. his tears had started to break down the steel surrounding him. and I was disappointed in the nurse for being so impolite. completely blocking the path. he squinted." The knight nodded at the wisdom of this. He noticed tiny sunlit particles in the air as they filtered through the branches of the trees. "That's it!" he shouted. and he could feel the cool air against his face. It was an especially fine day for the knight. "From the tears you cried after you saw your son's blank letter. excitedly chattering and cooing. "I've spent most of my life being disappointed. "You have face only a mother could love.The Knight in Rusty Armour He was awakened the next morning. He was too proud to ask. who had gone scouting ahead. "You're starting to see the differences in other forms of life because you're starting to the differences in yourself. thinking I was the most beautiful baby in the whole world. "Forsooth! Let's hit the Path of Truth!" Rebecca and Squirrel were so overjoyed at what was happening to the knight that neither of them even mentioned that this was terrible rhyming." Excited at the thought of seeing the castle. Pushing himself to a sitting position. Instead. "Squirrel! Rebecca!" he cried. "When do you learn to ACCEPT instead of EXPECT. came scampering back. "Tears from real feelings will release me from my armour!" He climbed to his feet faster than he had done in years. Part of his visor had broken off and fallen away! “How did that happen?” he wondered. The three of them continued on up the mountain.
she called cheerily. This made sense to the knight." Squirrel explained." If the sun doesn't come out. "We can show you the door. who was learning to love and trust the two animals." said Squirrel. "I expect the sun to come out this morning so I can go down to the lake and play. it wouldn't have mattered what she said. was disappointed that they would not accompany him. "We'll meet you on the other side." The knight mulled this over. "but have to walk through it alone. it won't ruin the rabbit's whole day." "The fact that you can say that makes you as smart as we are." The knight. The knight took the golden key from his neck and fitted it into the lock. He's happy just being a rabbit.The Knight in Rusty Armour "If you had truly accepted yourself as beautiful. "I don't think it has anything to do with being smart. He almost said so. He was expecting again. You'll never hear a rabbit say. The animals knew that the knight was hesitant to step into the castle." 18 / 37 . "I'm beginning to think that animals are smarter than people." As Rebecca flew off. but he caught himself. He couldn't recall many people who were happy just being people. As he opened the door. You wouldn't have been disappointed. Soon they came to the door of the huge castle. Rebecca whispered." said Rebecca." Squirrel replied. "Animals ACCEPT and humans EXPECT. "We're not going in with you.
"It's easier for my subjects to understand. "King!" he gasped. "said the king. and we can't get out. For a moment. What are you doing here?" "The same thing you are. with his armour." said the king. The knight had thought of his own castle as quiet. The Castle of Silence is well named. Then one day we get stuck behind the barriers. "Everybody understands crusades. "I don't see any door.looking for the door." declared the king." "That's the word I give out whenever I travel the Path of Truth. "but very few understand truth. He walked into the huge anteroom of the castle and he looked around." "Yes.The Knight in Rusty Armour Chapter 4 – The Castle of Silence Left on his own. and the knight trusted him. but Merlin had promised that there'd be no dragons to slay. "We set up barriers to protect who we think we are. especially at those times when Juliet didn't talk to him for several days." 19 / 37 . there seemed to be no door leading out of the room to other parts of the castle. "What do you mean?" asked the knight. he pulled himself together and walked boldly inside." The knight turned around and was astonished to see the king approaching him from a far corner of the room. eerie silence in this castle. He sat down on the rug nearest the fire. "Hello. Knight . the knight cautiously poked his head inside the doorway of the castle. I heard you were on a crusade. Not wanting to look chicken to a pigeon in case Rebecca could still see him. He saw only a fire blazing in an enormous stone fireplace on once wall and three rugs on the floor. King. "I'm surprised to see you here. he wished he hadn't left his sword behind. Suddenly."." "I certainly hope so. Never in his life had he felt so alone. His knees trembled slightly. closing the door after himself. there was an extraordinary." said the knight. caused him to make a low metallic rattle." "One can't really see until one understands. When you understand what's in this room." the king explained. The knight soon became aware of two things: First." agreed the knight. Knight." The knight looked puzzled. "I didn't even see you. he thought." The knight looked around again. "I wouldn't be on this path myself if I weren't trapped in this armour. He realized with a start that the fire wasn't even crackling. you'll be able to see the door to the next. but it was nothing like this. the knight was startled by the sound of a familiar voice behind him." "Most of us are trapped inside our armour. which. Second.
"I discovered that when I was with someone. Neither did I when I first began coming here. That armour hurts you more than it hurts me. sire." The king shook his head. "What do you mean you finally saw it? Didn't you remember where it was from the other times you were here?" asked the knight. "Sorry. The door to the next room is on the far wall. but now I realize that what one must do here. The king yelped in pain and hopped around. "Where are you going? The door is over here. The king laughed ruefully. adding. now the king. The king shook his head again. harder this time. It's true that my companions and I weren't lonely because we talked constantly." The knight was dismayed." The knight protested. I tried that. "Say. It made the emptiness less painful. "when you have been here long enough." "I don't get it. One must be alone to drop one's armour." "Being quiet is more than not talking.. "I once tried that. The king rubbed his toe tenderly. 20 / 37 . wondering why the king would bother to keep coming back." said the knight." said the king." Perplexed. standing tall. but still couldn't see the door out of this room." Then. stamping his foot emphatically and inadvertently bringing it down on the king's big toe. he limped across the room. He wasn't looking forward to wandering around the Castle of Silence by himself. "You will. The knight was horrified! First the smith. "I have enough wisdom to know when I'm stuck and to return here so that I can learn more about myself." said the knight." The knight was greatly encouraged." suggested the knight. one must do alone. "I must be on my way now. the knight asked. "could we go through the castle together? That way we wouldn't be so lonely. well." said the king.. "I don't want to stay here by myself!" he exclaimed. "No.The Knight in Rusty Armour "I never thought of you as being stuck. "I understand that you don’t' want to stay in this castle by yourself. thinking that perhaps the king could show him the way." With that. I finally saw it just as you came in. I showed only my best image. but when one talks." "Maybe we could just walk along and be quiet together. I wouldn't let down any barriers and allow either myself or the other person to see what I was trying to hide. "But if you weren't talking." "That door is only an entrance." replied the king. his face brightening. it's impossible to see the door out of this room. he looked knowingly at the knight." said the knight apologetically. "Oh. King." said the knight. You're so wise. too.
All the knight could hear was the sound of his armour echoing through the castle. In order to pass the time. It. the knight began talking aloud to himself.just as he was doing now. he sang a couple of rousing battle songs: "I'll Be Down to Get You in a Crusade. To cheer himself up. Soon the thought struck him that all his life he had wasted time talking about what he had done and what he was going to do." "Wait! Please!" called the knight. This chamber appeared very much like the last. ”Be good to yourself. he talked to himself . the king turned. Only then could the knight frankly admit something he'd never acknowledged before: He was afraid to be alone. they were few. slowly pulled it open." he sat inside and read.The Knight in Rusty Armour "One never finishes travelling the Path of Truth. leaving the knight staring disbelievingly after him. then disappeared into the wall. At that moment. I find new doors as I understand more and more". The knight hurried over to where the king had been. He sat on the floor and continued thinking. "Yes?" The knight knew well that he couldn't shake the king's resolve. It was smaller than the previous one. "I guess I've ALWAYS been afraid to be alone. too. hoping that from up close. When there was no one to talk to. The knight thought hard about this until the sound of his own voice broke the chilling silence. reached out as if to open a door. "This is a new kind of crusade for you. he saw a door in the far wall of the room. my friend. he began to pace around the room. dear Knight . 21 / 37 . he felt more depressed than ever in his life." He sang them over and over again. He unexpectedly found himself saying that he had talked so much all his life to keep himself from feeling alone. He'd never enjoyed what was happening at the time. devastating quiet. and he had soon read them all. The king waved." As he spoke these words. After awhile. He talked about what he was like as a little boy and how he was different from the other boys he knew. he might be able to see the door. The king looked back at him compassionately. Each time I come here. except it was somewhat smaller.one that requires more courage than all the other battles you've known before. and stepped into another room. "Is there any advice you can give me before you go off?" The king thought for a moment then replied. enveloping him in utter. was void of all sound. It led to a room still smaller than the others. another door became visible. And yet another door appeared. Finding what appeared to be only a solid wall. As his voice grew tired. too. the stillness began to drown out his singing." With this. Honey" and "Anywhere I Hang My Helmet is Home. He crossed over to it. While they hunted quail and played "Pin the Tail on the Boar. Since books were handwritten by the monks then. He said anything that came into his mind. That is when he began talking eagerly to anyone who passed his way. The knight opened it and stepped into the next room. It will be your greatest victory if you can summon the strength to stay and do what you need to do here.
If YOU are the real you." 22 / 37 . "I've lived all these years without hearing a word from you. both of us are in trouble!" "Now see here. he waded to the door. Why haven't you spoken up before?" "I've been around for years. pray teal. He burst into tears. He was alone . and the sound of water running through the brooks must have always been there." he asked himself aloud. "but before I do. "but this is the first time that you've been quiet enough to hear me. It reminded the knight that he was sad. he had forced her to live in a castle of silence. It occurred to him that for most of his life. Juliet must have felt very lonely talking to a man encased in steel . but he never actually HEARD them. Soon he felt Juliet's pain and loneliness. "If you're the real ME." The knight was doubtful." said the voice with a note of disgust. Why don't you get some sleep?" "All right. too. His own pain and loneliness welled up in him. who am I?" The voice replied kindly. Who had spoken? "YOU did. I want to know what to call you. and the knight might have drowned if another door hadn't appeared in the wall just then." protested the knight. "Look at yourself. the knight looked around. The knight cried for so long that his tears poured through the holes in his visor and soaked the rug beneath him. and entered a room that wasn't much bigger than the stall where he'd once kept his horse. "I am the REAL you.or so he had believed.especially when she was sad. "I wonder why these rooms keep getting smaller. he hadn't really listened to anyone or anything.as lonely as he felt sitting in this tomblike room. Although he was exhausted from the deluge. the knight did something he'd never done before. it COULD be.The Knight in Rusty Armour Encouraged by his progress. For years." said the knight. the entire room was starting to flood." replied the voice. "sitting there half-starved in that hunk of junk with a rusted visor and sporting a soggy beard. All he had to do was pull down his visor. Indeed. the patter of the rain." "But I'M the real me. too." answered the voice. Nor had he heard Juliet when she tried to tell him how she felt ." Startled. then. The voice seemed to come from within himself. The rustle of the wind. The tears flowed into the fireplace and doused the fire." said the knight. "You can't expect to learn everything at once. pulled it open." said the voice in answer to his thought. In fact. He sat still and LISTENED to the silence. Now that I do. one of the reasons why he'd taken to leaving his armour on all the time was that it muffled the sound of Juliet's sad voice. A voice replied. the first thing you say is that YOU are the real me. and he could shut her out. Could that be? "Yes. "Because you're closing in on yourself.
"We know." they said merrily in unison. "Why." "Then for how long?" "What if I told you that while you were in there I could have easily gathered more that vie thousand nuts?" "I would say you're NUTS!" exclaimed the knight. "You weren't in the castle just overnight. He clasped both of his gauntleted hands to his head. "The only way possible." "I can't call you ME. The knight reached up to scratch his head. he might have imagined the while thing. He had a lot to think about." "I did." Rebecca cooed. "Why not?" came the reply. puzzled. scraggly beard. but it wasn't easy to explain. "You WERE in the castle for a long. The rest of the world seemed to have vanished. Squirrel was the first to catch her breath." "The last thing I remember.." "OK. Call me Sam. Rebecca answered. As he grew fully awake. and it took him a moment to realize that he was actually scratching his own skin. 23 / 37 . He was only aware of himself. Rebecca laid gasping and flapping on the ground. "but how could a whole helmet rust away over night?" The animals laughed uproariously. He wanted to tell Squirrel and Rebecca about Sam. Then his eyes closed as he fell into a deep." "You're out HERE. It confuses me. "Squirrel! Rebecca!" he shouted. "How did you get in here?" he asked. He looked around in amazement. he didn't know where he was. "You must have cried again in the Castle of Silence. I'm YOU. He demanded to know what was so funny. peaceful slumber. "We're not in THERE." replied the knight. "I was talking to. You thought your way out. Besides." "Why Sam?" asked the knight." said the knight. "How did I get out of there?" he asked." affirmed Rebecca. he was laying on the Path of Truth just the other side of the Castle of Silence." said the knight. Squirrel laughed. The knight thought she was going out of her bird.. The knight opened his eyes wider and pushed himself up to a sitting position. his head beginning to droop from sleepiness. His helmet had fallen away! He touched his face and his long. "You must know Merlin. the knight realized that Squirrel and Rebecca were sitting on his chest. Sure enough. When the knight first awoke.The Knight in Rusty Armour "Call me?" asked the voice. long time." He stopped himself.
just as you were meant to do. You WERE in the Castle of Silence for a very long time." As he had promised. You are just starting to listen to your real self. I must talk to you. in a booming voice. Rebecca was born with wings." said the knight. That was the first time you shed tears for another. He was bare except for his long beard. Merlin. We are all part of each other." said the knight. "I'm beginning to understand." The knight felt relieved. "No. 24 / 37 . said "Merlin. Sam is REAL . "How could you know I wanted to ask you that?" "Since I know myself. I could feel Juliet's pain because I'm part of her?" "Yes. He looked toward the sky and. "One does not have to feel proud of being human. "That is why you could cry for her as well as for yourself. "but this is an emergency! I …" "It is all right. "Then I rally DID hear him? It wasn't just my imagination?" Merlin chuckled." He shook water from his beard." The knight thought for a moment. I can know you." said Merlin. Apparently the knight had caught Merlin taking a bath. interrupting. "Sorry about the intrusion." said the knight. That is why time passed so swiftly without your realizing it. "I did not mean to be hard on you. You are doing very well." Merlin never failed to astound the knight." "I don't understand. You are not going crazy." Merlin answered.in fact. You were born with a heart . and he was dripping water." "You really know how to bring a fellow down.The Knight in Rusty Armour The knight's mouth dropped open in disbelief. "Magicians are often inconvenienced. The magician smiled indulgently. It is as pointless as it would be for Rebecca to feel proud that she can fly.and now you are using it. it is true. "To answer your question." The knight told Merlin that he felt proud. or you never would have met Sam." Then Merlin disappeared before the knight could ask any more questions. "You will by the time you go through the Castle of Knowledge. a more real you than the one you have been calling all these years. the magician appeared immediately.
and its door was solid gold. The knight looked and felt much better when this was done." Rebecca replied. and Rebecca crossed the drawbridge over the moat and stopped before the golden door. The knight carefully felt his way to her and saw that she was pointing to an inscription that glowed on the wall. and Rebecca started out once more on that Path of Truth. The knight took the key from around his neck and turned it in the lock. Squirrel. The knight. The three of them walked through the doorway and into a darkness so dense that the knight couldn't even see his own hand." The knight was surprised but pleased to hear from Sam again. This was the largest castle the knight had ever seen. "Silence is for one. If the Castle of Knowledge was anything like the Castle of Silence. heading toward the Castle of Knowledge. At that very moment. He liked San's sense of humour. knowledge is for all. he could eat nuts without Squirrel's help. the lighter it will get in here. I'll wager you're right!" exclaimed the knight. but whoever runs this castle sure is clever at cutting down on light bills.the source of all knowledge. They stopped only twice that day. Squirrel. and he was freer now than he'd been before. Though he had appreciated the lifesaving technique. It read: Knowledge is the light by which you shall find your way. I'd rather have a torch." grumbled the knight as Squirrel called out to him. but there weren't any." Sam replied. the knight's thoughts were interrupted by Sam's voice. once to eat and the other time for the knight to shave off his scraggly beard and cut his long hair with the sharpened edge of his gauntlet." Sam replied. thought the knight. How do you like me now that I've had a shave and a haircut?" "It's the first time you ever profited from being clipped. The knight laughed at Sam's joke. he asked Rebecca and Squirrel if they were going to leave as they had done before. He could also feed himself the fruits and roots to which he had become accustomed. As he pushed the door open. A castle with a door of gold and no torches? "Even cheap tracts castles have torches. "The Castle of Knowledge was designed by the universe itself . he really didn't consider it gracious living. he'd be happy to have Sam along for company." he said. Just before nightfall. I don't want to go through that again. Sam spoke up. "It means that the more you know." "Please." The knight wondered how the word PIGEON had come to mean an easy mark. 25 / 37 . I never left. Never again would he eat pigeon or any other fowl or meat because he realized that doing so would literally be having friends for dinner. The knight started the impressive structure and wondered who had designed it. the trio trudged over a hill and beheld the Castle of Knowledge in the distance. And a glimmer of light crept into the room. The knight groped for the customary torches by the castle door to light the way. "No. even larger than what the king had built for himself. With the helmet gone. It was larger than the Castle of Silence." "Sam. "I'm glad you're back.The Knight in Rusty Armour Chapter 5 – The Castle of Knowledge The knight. "Actually. "Remember that I'm YOU.
" "You're catching on quickly. For a moment. It seemed to him that he had no choice but to figure out what the inscription meant. was quite forbidding and. He'd left Juliet on her own to do most of the moving. The knight nodded. He wished he could have loved her more and needed her less. 26 / 37 . Yes." Sam replied. but didn't you NEED them. as he was usually off at some tournament. He had needed all the beauty that Juliet added to his life with her quick wit and lovely poetry. he was afraid. Squirrel called out again for the knight to join her. The knight reflected that Juliet also kept a very clean castle. and she had cooked delicious meals for the knight and his friends. He had given her a lot of castles to keep clean. but he didn't know how. Often they'd had to move into a cheaper one when he came home broke from a crusade. She had found another inscription that was chiselled into the wall and glowing: Have you mistaken need for love? Still perturbed. too?" "I suppose so. Indeed. He sighed and sat down before it. Then. you LOVED Juliet and Christopher. He thought back to the times when the knight business had been slow and they couldn't afford to buy new clothes or to employ serving maids. although he had to admit that he loved Juliet more before she began lying under wine casks and emptying their contents into her mouth. Sam said. he considered plunging into the darkness of the castle and blundering through." suggested Rebecca. the knight mumbled. "I don't have time to play Twenty Questions. and tears began to form in his eyes. He had also needed the nice things she did. The blackness. "Isn't that when Juliet started lying under wine casks?" asked Sam in a gentle voice.The Knight in Rusty Armour Just then." granted the knight. The knight was not in a receptive mood. he needed her wine drinking so that he could say that everything was her fault . he had needed her more than he'd loved her.including his being stuck in his armour. without his sword. tears flowed down his face. Juliet hat made attractive garments for the family to wear. He preferred to blame Juliet for all her wine drinking. He remembered how weary she'd looked as she moved their belongings from castle to castle and how sad she'd become when she was unable to reach him through his armour. "Yes. I want to find my way through this castle fast so that I can get to the top of the mountain!" "Maybe what you're supposed to learn here is that you have all the time in the world. As the knight realized how unfairly he'd used Juliet. a dreadful thought occurred to him: He hadn't wanted to blame himself for the things he did. and he didn't want to listen to her philosophy. too. to which the knight snorted. "I suppose I have to figure out the answer before I get any more light. however. He read it again: Have you mistaken need for love? The knight that he loved Juliet and Christopher. like often inviting friends over to cheer him up after he'd gotten stuck in his armour.
" And so saying. "That is all right." sobbed the knight. all atwitter. the knight got to his feet. The knight cried harder as he realized that if he didn't love himself." said the magician. Rebecca came flying out of the darkness ahead. This didn't mean the knight didn't love Christopher." replied Merlin. It seemed to come from nowhere. "Wow!" she said. He also liked to Christopher say." "How do I begin to love myself?" asked the knight." Encouraged. he saw Merlin smiling down. It was unlike any light that he'd seen before. for he loved his son's golden-haired beauty. too." the magician told the knight. As he admitted this. He thanked Merlin for showing up when he hadn't called him. ready to go on. "There is nothing more beautiful than the light of selfknowledge." said Merlin. bright light shone around the knight where there once had been darkness. "Do I have something to show you!" 27 / 37 . he vanished. As his eyes dried. "No. they had answered a need in him as well.The Knight in Rusty Armour As he continued to cry." This comforted the knight. he couldn't really love others. you know truth. and truth is love. "One does not always know when to ask for help. and he stopped crying. A knight needed a son to go out and do battle in his father's name when the father grew old. more than he'd loved him. is there?" "No. "You already have just by knowing what you know. A thought came to the knight in a blinding flash: He'd needed the love of Juliet and Christopher because he didn't love himself! In fact. Merlin echoed the knight's thought. a beautiful. His need for them would get in the way. "You have discovered a great truth. he noticed the light around him." but as he'd loved these things about Christopher. he had needed the love of all the damsels he'd rescued from dragons and all the people for whom he'd fought in crusades because he didn't love himself." The knight looked at the light around him then into the gloom ahead. "Not anymore. A gentle hand touched his shoulder. Looking up through his tears. it dawned on the knight that he had needed Christopher. As the knight started onward. "You can love others only to the extent that you love yourself. "I love you. "I know I'm a fool. "There's no darkness in this castle for you. yet everywhere. Dad.
But Rebecca insisted and. He'd never cared much for mirrors because he'd never considered himself very handsome." "I still feel like crying. "But I couldn't just say everything I felt like saying do everything I felt like doing. and loving." "You're seeing the REAL you." "Yes. The knight was disappointed." replied Sam. Then he sang this little tune: "Tears of self-pity end up in disgust. Nobody would have liked me. He WAS good." The knight was intrigued but not enthusiastic. Squirrel answered. "It's YOU. It's been there for so long that it's become visible and permanent." "If that's my potential. "you put an invisible armour between you and your real feelings. "the one who lives beneath your armour. "C'mon. kind. "Jumping javelins!" he exclaimed.The Knight in Rusty Armour The knight had never seen Rebecca so excited. It shows what you're REALLY like." said Sam. but now she hopped up and down on his shoulder. realizing that he'd lived his whole life in a way that would make people like him. instead of a tall man with sad eyes and a large nose." said the knight. "something terrible happened on my way to it. let’s get going." said the knight. armoured to the neck." "But". The truth was he didn't have to prove anything. "That's it! That's it!" Rebecca chirped loudly. They're not the kind that cause armours to rust." said the knight. kind. "It doesn't show what you LOOK like. the dragons he'd slain." answered Sam. To his amazement. her eyes sparkling with enthusiasm. he now stood before the mirror and gazed at his reflection." "This mirror is a phony. reluctantly.all to prove that he was good. You've needed time to learn what you just learned. And his face is full of beauty and innocence. so." Rebecca insisted. "It's only a crummy old mirror. and the damsels he'd rescued from distress . vital person whose eyes shone with compassion and love. and loving." The knight stopped short as he uttered these words." he said impatiently." Sam said quickly." "That's your potential. looking deeper into the mirror. scarcely able to contain herself as she guided the knight and Squirrel to a large mirror. "that man is a perfect specimen." 28 / 37 . he saw a charming. She was usually pretty cool. "I've wasted my whole life!" "No." "Maybe I DID hide my feelings. He thought of all the crusades he'd fought in." said the knight. "Who's that?" he asked. "Now THAT would be a waste." "It's not an ORDINARY mirror. protested the knight. "to be beautiful and innocent and perfect. "I don't look like that. "It hasn't been wasted." explained Sam.
luckily. The knight groaned. "Do you get this one?" he asked them. "Real knowledge isn't divided into compartments because it all stems from one truth. "and I'll be this tree doesn't have any either. At this thought. but. Then he noticed an inscription chiselled on a slab of stone beside the tree: For this fruit. "This castle has a courtyard with a big apple tree growing in the center of it. the beautiful light shone once more." he yelled." she said thoughtfully. for they had been his all along. The sturdy boughs of the large tree bent under the weight of the reddest." chimed in Squirrel." said the knight. and unselfishness looked back at him. Finally. It seemed there was no way to get around Sam. guns hadn't been invented yet." "Neither do I." The knight nodded in agreement." "Oh." "She's on to something." "No one ever said that the Castle of Knowledge would be a breeze. but." "That's all right for trees and animals. It has no ambitions. who also shook her head no. "It's the standard building for a Castle of Knowledge. he decided to forget it. The knight sighed. "These inscriptions are getting harder and harder to understand. It illuminated the whole room. revealing. brighten than before." Sam said firmly. "How do you like them apples?" quipped Sam. compassion. "I'm YOU. love. Kindness. "But I DO know. He was ready to leave just as Squirrel came running up. the knight gladly would have shot himself to get rid of Sam." said Rebecca. The knight and Rebecca followed Squirrel into the courtyard. The knight looked at Rebecca. "Stop with those tiresome rhymes. Maybe you don't need any. "that I don't have any ambitions. 29 / 37 . The knight found himself chuckling. quite frankly he had no idea what it meant. I impose no condition. picked an apple." chortled Sam. "This tree is like us. we'll never get out of here. Or I'll kick you out." Sam piped up. that the castle had only one gigantic room. shiniest apples that the knight had ever seen. Squirrel shook her head. The knight pondered this." said Sam. "But what would a person be without ambitions?" "Happy. but may you now learn about ambition. take me to it." said the knight eagerly. "If you do. for he was getting quite hungry. to the knight's surprise. The knight looked into the mirror again. "You can't kick me out. He realized that all he had to do to have these qualities was reclaim them. intelligence. Don't you remember?" At that moment." said Sam.The Knight in Rusty Armour The knight was in no mood to appreciate Sam's song or his humour. and sat down under the tree with Rebecca and Squirrel.
loving. I mean they want to be better than they think they are. "No. compassionate. only ambition that comes from the heart can also bring happiness. They want to be smart and have nice castles and be able to trade in last year's horse for a new one. Trees are content just being trees ." explained the knight. "How could you be better than other knights when they were all born as beautiful. "I know people need ambition. and perfect." "All of you are right.The Knight in Rusty Armour "No. I don't think so.you know." said the knight. like I've always wanted to be the best knight in the kingdom.just as there is more than one kind of ambition. What could be better than that?" Merlin asked." "But human beings are different." muttered the knight." answered the knight. innocent. The knight turned and saw Merlin standing behind him and the animals. "They have minds." declared Squirrel. intelligent. They want to get ahead." Merlin smiled." responded the magician. Either you want to get ahead or you don't." "It seems to me that ambition is ambition. how could that person be richer?" "Those riches can't buy castles and horses. and unselfish. "Better than what?" Merlin asked. "Were you? Or were you so busy trying to BECOME that you couldn't enjoy just BEING?" "You're getting me all confused. "They are born beautiful." said the knight. too. "I was about to call you." said Merlin.. It's just that human beings have very complicated minds that make them want to become better. The magician was dressed in his long white robe." "Ah yes." replied the knight. and perfect as you were?" "I was happy trying. "Better than they are. "It is true. "ambition from that complicated mind of yours led you to try to prove that you were better than other knights. who was somewhat offended. "Sorry." 30 / 37 ." said a familiar voice. and they want to be better than others are. and it can get you fine horses." replied the magician." "There is more to it than that. but if a person is kind. "there is more than one kind of riches . "Ambition that comes from the mind can get you nice castles. However.the same as Rebecca and Squirrel are happy just being what they are." "Now you are talking about man's desire to be rich." protested the knight." "We have minds." "So what's wrong with that?" asked the knight defensively.. and he was carrying a lute. "Everyone needs help to understand a tree. "I know. innocent. idly plucking a few notes on his lute.
all were beautiful specimens of life. bearing fine fruit which it gives freely to all. "if I sat around all day giving away free apples. they would truly understand ambition from the heart. then again. It can be the same with people when they have ambition from the heart.scrawny and with a beard that had begun to get scraggly again." said Merlin. The idea was frightening. it serves one in such a way that it serves others at the same time. objected the knight. The more apples that people pick. As the knight spoke these words. Then he considered himself ." "How?" asked the knight. but if they would stand still more often to accept and appreciate instead of running around to grab. and exhausted from lugging around his heavy armour." "It's easier for trees than it is for people in this world. but it is necessary to separate need from greed. "Here's where we can learn from this apple tree. "It is all a matter of perception. want to have lots of nice things." said Merlin. "Human beings were given two feet so that they would not have to stay in one place. the castle and Merlin both disappeared. He studied the apple tree flourishing before him.fulfilling it's potential to the benefit of all. 31 / 37 . "You receive the same life energy as the tree. you too can bring forth the fruits that nature intended . "You could sell some of your apples to pay for a new castle and horse. Merlin laughed. and the same nourishment from the earth. nervous." he pledged. the same air. he'd already lost everything. I assure you that if you learn from the tree. A hint of amusement flickered across Merlin's face." "You. "Ambition from the heart is pure. This tree is doing exactly what apple trees are meant to do . I couldn't own a classy castle and I wouldn't be able to trade in last year's horse for a new one. Then you could give away the apples you don't need so that others could be nourished. All this he had acquired by ambition from the mind.and you'll soon have all the horses and castles you want. He looked from it to Squirrel to Rebecca to Merlin. so. and all this he now knew that he must change. like most people. what did he have to lose? "From this moment on." "Go tell that to a wife who wants a castle in a better neighbourhood. It competes with no one and harms no one. In fact. philosophically. trying hard to understand." "You mean I could get everything I need just by being rooted and staying in my own backyard?" asked the knight quizzically. You use the same water. but." retorted the knight.The Knight in Rusty Armour "What's ambition from the heart?" questioned the knight. and the knight found himself back on the Path of Truth with Rebecca and Squirrel. and Merlin's ambition was obviously from his heart." said the knight. It has become handsome and fully mature." "But". my ambition will come from the heart. Neither the tree nor the animals had ambition." The knight sat quietly. "the more the tree grows and the more beautiful it becomes. He was undernourished. contemplating Merlin's words. They all looked happy and well nourished.
He also discovered that he liked himself better than he had in years.The Knight in Rusty Armour Alongside the path was a sparkling brook. like the Castle of Silence. The knight contemplated this rather odd phenomenon and soon realized that Merlin had been right. He recollected how often time had dragged on and on when he was depending upon others to fill it. He decided that time DOES pass quickly when one is listening to oneself. he knelt to drink from it and noticed with some surprise that the armour on his arms and legs had rusted and fallen away. 32 / 37 . he started out for the Castle of Will and Daring with Rebecca flying above him and Squirrel scrambling at his heels. With all his armour gone except for the breastplate. had played tricks with time. Evidently. Thirsty. the Castle of Knowledge. With the firm step of a young man. His beard was very long again. the knight felt lighter and younger than he had in years.
In the strongest. and its walls looked thicker. "What are you doing in the Castle of Will and Daring?" he asked. but also out of its eyes and ears. "Get out of my way. He promised there wouldn't be any dragons on the Path of Truth. the unlikely trio came to the final castle." laughed the dragon. In a croaky. "Ho. the magician didn't appear. The dragon bellowed again. The knight. glittering with shiny. Fear and doubt were precisely what he felt. "Can you think of a better place for me to live? I'm the Dragon of Fear and Doubt." Rebecca. To make matter worse. He began to tremble. "I don't know. but his hand fell away empty. "Why doesn't he come?" the knight asked anxiously as he dodged a jet of blue flame from the monster." Rebecca whispered in the knight's ear. It was enormous. Shocked. as was the case with any run-ofthe-mill dragon." replied Rebecca firmly. it's last "ho" nearly igniting the seat of the knight's pants. "He's usually pretty reliable. but this one beat them all. green scales. not knowing what to do next. "Then YOU take on that jolly green flame thrower!" The knight turned and quickly retreated across the drawbridge. ho.The Knight in Rusty Armour Chapter 6 – The Castle of Will and Daring By dawn of the next day." roared the monster in a booming voice that shook the trees and nearly knocked Rebecca off the knight's shoulder. It was taller than the others. When they were halfway across. and flames roared not only out of its mouth. "He meant ordinary dragons. the knight started across the drawbridge with the animals." He can't let me down now. unrecognizable voice. "Are you quitting after you've come this far?" Squirrel asked as the knight brushed sparks from his backside. A dragon that could read minds was absolutely the worst kind." The knight had to admit this dragon was well named. "Merlin once said that self-knowledge can kill the Dragon of Fear and Doubt. fire-breathing dragon. "From what I can pick up. who was sitting on the knight's shoulder. 33 / 37 . Merlin's in Paris attending a magicians' conference. He'd seen some dragons in his time. Confident that he'd soon pass through this castle as well. ho." "Do you believe that?" the knight whispered back. The knight reached for his sword. the knight called out to Merlin for help. the flames were blue meaning that this dragon had high butane content. he shouted. loudest voice he could command. menacing. cocked her head and listened attentively. you oversized Bunsen burner!" The beast snorted. but much to the knight's dismay." replied Squirrel. The situation looked grave. the knight stopped dead in his tracks. the knight said to himself. "Yes. sending fire in all directions. the door to the castle flew open and out lumbered a huge. stalled for time. "Pretty tough talk from a scared-cat". but somehow the knight forced himself to stop trembling. "I'm here to knock off all you smart alecks who think you can lick anybody just because you've been through the Castle of Knowledge.
" added Sam. of course.The Knight in Rusty Armour "I don't know." 34 / 37 ." said Squirrel. “I’ve become used to some little luxuries . you give it the power to burn your behind or anything else. With a cry of both fear and anguish. it was two and a half against a half. This time. "Because you made the fire real by believing that the dragon is real. the knight took a deep breath and slowly marched back over the drawbridge. Squirrel and Rebecca stood on the bank. "You were very brave. too. as did his beard. "What do you mean FIRST try?" Squirrel said matter-of-factly. Astonished. It was three against one. "Certainly. Spotting a small brook. He was born good. "You'll do better when you go back the second time. "And the fire coming out of its mouth? Was that an illusion. he quickly plunged his scorched seat into the cool water. Yet the knight's courage soon began to melt. the knight looked up from where he sat." answered Rebecca. "God gave man courage." said Rebecca. Or rather. "How can you live with yourself if you don't have the will and daring to test your selfknowledge?" "Do you believe. With a howls of pain." The knight retorted angrily." added Rebecca." Sam chimed in. As the knight grappled with his flagging courage. from the heat of the dragon's flame. however. The dragon was only an illusion. kind. for the Sam half of the knight agreed with Squirrel and Rebecca. and you know what they say: Truth is mightier than the sword." "Then why am I sitting in this brook with a burned behind?" demanded the knight. Self-knowledge is truth. but has anybody ever proved it and lived?” quibbled the knight. "YOU go back a second time!" "Remember. With the thought in mind that the dragon existed only if he believed it did. apparently to keep practice. while the other half of him wanted to stay in the brook. "If you believe the Dragon of Fear and Doubt is real. The dragon. No sooner had he uttered these words than the knight remembered he didn't need to prove anything. too. came out to meet the knight again. too?" "Right. he heard Sam say." "I know they say that. he didn't have feel fear and doubt. trying to comfort him. that self-knowledge can kill the Dragon of Fear and Doubt?" asked the knight. the knight continued marching forward. and loving." explained Rebecca. "You have to go back and face the dragon once and for all. "Not too bad for a first try.like living. Therefore. "They're right. The knight looked across the drawbridge to where the monster was pawing the ground and setting fire to some nearby bushes." The knight felt cornered. the knight turned and ran. The dragon let out a mighty laugh and shot a stream of searing flame at the retreating knight. I'd much rather just sit here in the brook and relax." said Squirrel. snorting and spitting fire. quenching the flames with a hiss." "I'm tired of figuring out what things mean." the knight replied. the dragon was only an illusion. the knight flew across the drawbridge with Squirrel and Rebecca close behind him. "The fire was an illusion. Courage gives God to man.
The patch appeared much steeper than it had been so far. I was right. it vanished in a puff of blue smoke. 35 / 37 . It's your trip." The knight threw back his head. The dragon could barely speak. THIS time I'm REALLY going to burn you!" But it was a different knight who was marching toward the dragon now . "I wouldn't have wanted to interfere. but.didn't stop the knight either." The dragon threw gigantic. "You see. took a deep breath. crackling flames at the knight." Amused. Reluctantly. Self-knowledge CAN kill the Dragon of Fear and Doubt. until it was finally no bigger than a frog. but didn't matter. "Come back whenever you want. "I've won!" shouted the knight victoriously. and you'll be weaker. "You don't have to learn will and daring because you've just shown that you have them." Sam encouraged. This was certainly a stubborn fellow." the knight called after it. The dragon looked up in disbelief." "Decisions are simple when there's really no alternative. "Each time you do. laughing in pure joy. why didn't you walk up to the dragon with me?" asked the knight. "Back again?" it snorted.a knight who chanted over and over. Its flame extinguished. "if you FACE the dragon. "Perhaps this time. As the knight continued to approach." "If you truly BELIEVED that. no longer feeling inferior to his feathered friend. He knew that NOTHING could stop him now." With that. the knight started to reach for the castle door. tries as hard as the monster might. time and time again. the dragon became smaller and smaller. the dragon began to spit small seeds at the knight.the Seeds of Doubt . but the Castle of Will and Daring was gone! Sam explained. there's a CHANCE that it will destroy you.The Knight in Rusty Armour "Look. "Fear and doubt are illusions. he struggled to his feet. But these seeds . "Well. He could see the top of the mountain. it will SURELY destroy you. and once again started across the drawbridge. but if you DON'T face the dragon." said the knight. it couldn't set fire to him." Rebecca flew up and landed on the knight's shoulder. Rebecca fluffed her feathers. The dragon became still smaller as the knight continued to advance determinedly. but I'll be back again and again to stand in your way. I'll be stronger.
"IT . When he was almost to the top. The knight felt entirely too exhausted to overcome this final hurdle." The knight peered over his shoulder into the apparently bottomless chasm below. The knight looked up at the rock. which somewhat cleared his head. He recalled all the things in his life for which he had blamed his mother." said Sam. God -whatever you want to call it. "If that's the case. There were his beliefs those things he thought were true and those things he thought were false. "It's not a WHO but an IT!" "IT?" asked the knight. his son. Believing that he was going to die.the things he held as good and those he held as bad. Not surprisingly. and you're full of stress and fear. it had an inscription chiselled on it: Though this universe I own." "I'm not NEARLY as afraid as I used to be." "What are you trying to do? Kill both of us?" the knight screamed. and everyone else. his teachers. "Not WHOM". for the influence that people had had on it. his fingers bleeding from holding onto the sharp rocks. and blood was now oozing from his fingertips where he clutched the rock. and for the events that had shaped it. his path was blocked by a huge boulder. but quickly stopped themselves. Then he read the last part of the inscription aloud: "for I cannot know the unknown if to the known I cling." said Sam. Faster and faster he dropped. the knight let go and plunged down. he accepted full responsibility for his life. Knight. 36 / 37 ." said Sam. knowing that sympathy can weaken a human being. he let go of all the judgments that he'd made against them. The. "Let go. but he knew he had to try. "Actually. down into the infinite depth of his memories. his wife.and TRUST. his father. he saw his life clearly without judgment and without excuses. giddy as his mind descended into this heart. "Yes. In that instance. his friends. There was his identify . the knight climbed. As he fell deeper into the void.life. He was losing strength every second. And there were his judgments . It seemed impossible to decipher the inscription while clinging to the side of the mountain at the same time. we're dying right now. the universe. He wanted no more of Sam's philosophy. I possess not a thing. "Take a look at yourself. The knight seemed to have no choice." said the knight. and a horrifying thought entered his mind: The rock to which he was clinging for dear life was also known to him. the force. Did the inscription mean that he would have to let go and fall into the abyss of the unknown? "You've got it right. Squirrel and Rebecca were tempted to offer sympathy.The Knight in Rusty Armour Chapter 7 – The Summit of Truth Inch by inch and hand over hand. "Trust WHOM?" the knight retorted hotly. for I cannot known the unknown if to the known I cling. then let go ." Sam whispered urgently." The knight considered some of the "knowns" to which he had been clinging all his life. You're so thin you could be slipped under a door." said Sam.who he thought he was and who he thought he wasn't. "You have to let go. Sam replied. The knight took a deep breath. for the first time.
and more. unaware that a radiant. fear of the unknown had dulled his senses. I nearly died from the tears I left “uncried”. knowing that he was joined to both heaven and earth. His heart brimmed with love . No more would people see the shining reflection of steel and think that the sun was rising in the north or setting in the east. not the effect. and he knew the full meaning of the inscription on the rock. and an overwhelming sense of wellbeing swept through him. he still felt connected to the deepest part of it . He grew dizzy from the enchantment of seeing. Suddenly. through his beard. Now the universe was his to experience and enjoy. Tears of gratitude flowing from his eyes. The Beginning 37 / 37 . but now he was able to experience everything with breathtaking clarity. for Juliet and Christopher. He WAS the sun. hearing. He continued falling higher and higher. and the beauty of nature's shapes and colours that painted the landscape as far as his eyes could see filled the knight with indescribable pleasure. he was no longer falling but standing on top of the mountain. the tears were extraordinarily hot. impossible as it seemed. new light now shone from him . His willingness to embrace the unknown had set him free. He was LOVE.sparkling like a brook. for life. he felt connected to the very center of the earth. The recognition that he was the cause. The knight cried out with joy. dazzling like the sun. up out of the abyss! At the same time. indeed. He WAS the moon. He was now unafraid. and feeling the universe all around him. Because they came from his heart. The knight stood on the mountaintop breathing deeply.for himself. Squirrel and Rebecca watched the knight drop to his knees. He'd let go of all that he'd feared and all he had known and possessed. For. he would no longer blame his mistakes and misfortunes on anyone or anything outside himself. He smiled through his tears. he thought.a light far brighter and more beautiful than his armour at its polished best . and onto his breastplate. and they quickly melted the last of his armour. for Squirrel and Rebecca. Before. The warmth of the afternoon sun.The Knight in Rusty Armour From this moment on. because he was one with the universe. gave him a new feeling of power. and for the entire wondrous world. a strange thing happened: he began to fall UPWARD! Yes. shining like the moon. the knight WAS the brook. The tears poured down his cheeks. No more would he don his armour and ride off in all directions. He could be all these things at once now.in fact. he was falling up. the melody of the gentle mountain breeze. for Merlin. As an unfamiliar sense of calm overtook him.
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