Study Guide

The Once and Future King Book 1, Chapter 1

By T.H. White

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Book 1, Chapter 1

  • Book 1 is called The Sword In the Stone, guys. Yup: just like that awesome old Disney movie.  It was based on this first of four books in the Once And Future King quartet.
  • Sir Ector and Sir Grummore Grummursum (that name) are discussing questing and the best way to go about educating boys.
  • A tutor, apparently, is required, since Sir Ector can't very well send his boys off to Eton. After all, it doesn't even exist yet.
  • Sir Ector's taken out an advertisement for a tutor. Some town criers have shouted the request about—since newspapers haven't been invented yet either.
  • The Wart (short for "Art," and key—it kinda rhymes with it) and Kay (two years older than Wart) are helping with the hay harvest on Sir Ector's estate.
  • After a big thunderstorm, Kay has the great idea to take a cranky hawk out and do some hawking.
  • We learn that Wart and Kay are not related by blood, and Wart isn't even Sir Ector's "proper" son. Kay seems to think this makes him better than the younger boy.
  • Wart is sensitive about this fact.
  • Kay and Wart go into the Mews (where the hunting birds are kept), and get out Cully, an old hawk that shouldn't really be flown right now—he's molting, or shedding his feathers to grow them back.
  • But Kay doesn't listen to Wart's advice not to take Cully out. Kay grabs him and the boys set out for the forest.
  • Kay releases Cully, but instead of capturing a rabbit, he flies up into a tree and stays there. Bummer.

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