Study Guide

The Once and Future King Book 1, Chapter 2

By T.H. White

Book 1, Chapter 2

  • So, the boys try fruitlessly to get Cully out of the tree.
  • Wart is afraid to lose Cully, because Hob (the head bird keeper guy) has spent so much time training him. Wart seems to show some good sense here.
  • Kay takes off, leaving Wart alone at the edge of the forest.
  • And—oh no! Cully goes deeper into the forest.
  • We learn that back then, the forest was a dangerous place. There are magicians out there… and outlaws, like Robin Hood.
  • Wart continues to follow Cully deeper into the forest, until the bird roosts for the night. Wart tries to bed down for the night among some tree roots.
  • Before he can fall asleep, though, an arrow almost hits him. Then two more arrows almost hit him.
  • After the initial shock, Wart isn't really afraid (even though he doesn't know who's shooting at him).
  • Wart sneaks off, and can hear his would-be assassin rustling around trying to find his arrows.
  • Big mistake. In his desire to get away from the bowman, Wart has lost his way—not to mention Cully.
  • He gets really hopeless and sad, and thinks that if he gets gobbled up by a magician, it'll be exactly what he deserves.
  • After the sun sets he finds a knight in the middle of a clearing in the forest.
  • And what a knight this is. He's kind of clumsy.
  • Turns out this guy's name is King Pellinore, and he's out searching for a magical creature called the Questing Beast.
  • He's been hunting this thing for seventeen years. Apparently, it's almost a career for this King.
  • This Questing Beast sounds pretty fierce. It has the head of a snake, the body of a leopard, the hind end of a lion, and feet like a deer. Oh, and it makes a noise in its stomach that sounds like thirty hounds baying.
  • Even Pellinore's dog (here called a "brachet") is clumsy. She's wound herself around a tree, and it takes a while for the pair of them to get untangled.
  • Pellinore gives Wart a big old sob story about how difficult it is to always be following the Questing Beast around.
  • He gets really happy when Wart tells him that Sir Ector would let him stay the night—and will even let him sleep on a feather bed. Swanky.
  • Suddenly, the Questing Beast appears, and Pellinore rushes off after the thing.

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