"A Beastly Anachronism"

Sci fi/Fantasy image by

Valerie Holt

Merlyn is one of the funniest characters in T. H. White's The Once and Future King. Since he has to live backwards in time, he is constantly befuddled and confused about what era he's living in. In this passage, Merlyn has a bit of trouble with his magic:Merlyn closed his eyes and began to mutter to himself. Presently a curious black cylindrical hat appeared on his head. It was a topper. Merlyn examined it with a look of disgust, and said bitterly, "And they call this service!" and handed it back to the air. Finally he stood up in a passion and exclaimed, "Come here!" Arthur and Archimedes the owl looked at each other, wondering what was meant, but Merlyn did not pay them any attention. "Now," said Merlyn furiously, apparently to nobody, "do you think you are being funny?" "Very well, then, why did you do it?" "That is no excuse. Naturally I meant the one I was wearing. "But wearing now, of course, you fool. I don't want a hat I was wearing in 1890. Have you no sense of time at all?" Merlyn took off the sailor hat which had just appeared and held it out to the air for inspection. "This is an anachronism," he said severely, "That is what it is, a beastly anachronism." Archimedes seemed to be accustomed to these scenes, for he now said in a reasonable voice: "Why don't you ask for the hat by name, master? Say, 'I want my magician's hat,' not 'I want the hat I was wearing.' Perhaps the poor chap finds it as difficult to live backwards as you do." "I want my magician's hat," said Merlyn sulkily. Instantly the long pointed cone was standing on his head. The tension in  the air relaxed.- T. H. White

Published More than a year ago

Category Mythology

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