Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/482

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The Legend of Merlin.

those two dragons and all the nations of the earth rose up against it to swallow it up. And there were clouds and darkness and obscurity upon the face of the earth . . . and the dragons fought one another with cruel fury and frenzy and no one separated them. And Mordecai beheld and lo! a fountain of living water sprang and flowed between the two fighting dragons and stopped their fight. And the small fountain swelled into a mighty river and overflowed like a mighty sea and swept everything off the face of the earth. And the sun rose up and the rays lighted up the whole earth."

Here we have the floods at the bottom of the castle and the two fighting dragons. The small nation may be represented by the small child. The interpretation by Mordecai of that symbolical dream, just as Merlin interprets afterwards the appearance of these two fighting dragons and their symbolical meaning for the future of the house of Vortigern, and the Sibylla, Sheba, prophesies the future when leaving King Solomon.

Let us now briefly sum up the results at which we have arrived. A king is engaged in the building of an important house (temple, castle). He cannot carry it out without the assistance of a being endowed with supernatural powers (a demon, a half-and-half human and demoniacal being, a child born under extraordinary circumstances and endowed with supernatural wisdom). This being helps the king in his undertakings and defeats the machinations of its enemies (the demon becomes the friend, wife, of the king); the cause of the trouble is found in unquenchable floods or in dragons shaking the foundation; the cause is laid bare and the event is invested with a symbolical meaning (a prophetic utterance), foretelling the future. On the way to the king the supernatural being acts in a curious and apparently unaccountable manner, but in the end his wisdom and foreknowledge is vindicated by subsequent events. All these elements the