Study Guide

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court Chapter 23

By Mark Twain

Chapter 23

Restoration of the Fountain

  • After numerous attempts to restore the fountain, Merlin tries one last enchantment, and when it also fails, he claims that the fountain is cursed forever.
  • The Yankee claims that a "spirit with a Russian name" has cursed the well, but claims he might be able to break it. He needs the area around the fountain cleared until he's finished.
  • Merlin, in an attempt to peg the Yankee down, asks him if he knows the spirit's name. The Yankee says that he does; Merlin then claims that uttering the name of the spirit would kill him.
  • The Yankee's assistants arrive, bringing with them pumps, fireworks, and other equipment.
  • They repair the leak and set the pump, then prepare the fireworks… as well as a platform for witnesses to watch the miracle. You can't have a miracle without witnesses, right? Otherwise what's the point?
  • A crowd gathers—including Merlin and the old abbot—and the Yankee utters a series of nonsense words while touching off his fireworks.
  • The last word is supposedly the name of the evil spirit.
  • The water begins to flow from the fountain again.
  • Merlin is convinced that the Yankee is a sorcerer, and claims that he never heard the name of the spirit pronounced so well. (He's, um, lying.)

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