The Knight and the Lion

"The Sword-bridge"

Late in the afternoon, Lancelot reaches the Sword-bridge. The river below it is swift and fierce, black and raging like a whirlpool in a storm. It is so deep and bottomless that anything falling into it would be as lost as if it fell into the salt sea.

The bridge itself is unlike anything ever seen, for it is made from a gleaming sword, polished and sharp. The sword is as long as two lances, and at the other end two lions stand on the bank ready to devour anyone who might get across.

Lancelot sees the danger he faces, but he is driven on by love and does not fear the bridge any more than the dry land. First he removes the armour from his hands and feet, realising that this will make it easier to grip the shiny metal. Although the sword is sharper than a scythe and will cut him badly, Lancelot can see that if he falls in the water he will never escape alive.

Creeping slowly on hands and knees and feet, Lancelot crosses the bridge, trusting in God to protect him. His hands and feet bleed pitifully but he makes his way a centimetre at a time to the other side.

He stands upright, in great pain, expecting the lions he has seen to rush on him, but none appear. They were just part of the enchantment of the place. Lancelot gazes through the stone of a ring he wears, given to him by a fairy when he was a child. The ring always shows things as they are without any enchantment. Sure enough, there are no lions to be seen.

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