Study Guide

The Once and Future King Book 1, Chapter 9

By T.H. White

Book 1, Chapter 9

  • Uh oh! Kay threatens to tell on Wart because the younger boy was away after curfew.
  • The boys argue for a bit, culminating in Kay pinching Wart, and Wart kicking him in the eye—typical medieval brother-type stuff.
  • We find out that Kay's just a bit jealous that Merlyn pays more attention to the Wart than to him.
  • This makes Wart feel bad.
  • Meeting up with Merlyn in his tower, Wart asks him to turn Kay into an animal the next time he decides to do it for Wart.
  • Merlyn points out that sometimes life just isn't fair. Oh, snap.
  • To illustrate this, Merlyn tells Wart a story about Elijah and the Rabbi Jachanan. Basically, the moral is that life isn't fair, but usually things work out the way they're supposed to and people get what they deserve.
  • He also tells Wart that he was sent only to tutor Wart and no one else. So we get the impression that Wart is special.
  • Having none of Merlyn's explanations, Wart insists that Merlyn turn him and Kay into snakes. Or something.
  • Merlyn has a sort of temper tantrum—he jumps up and down on his glasses and curses.
  • And then disappears! Wart is quite confused (and we don't blame him!)
  • Regaining his patience, Merlyn explains that he was not sent to tutor Kay, and that he only has the power to change Wart into things.
  • Not one to let things go, Wart asks Merlyn if he could at least send him and Kay on some kind of adventure.
  • Giving in, Merlyn agrees, and tells Wart to take Kay and visit a particular field after Mass that day.

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