Chapters in-between13-14, The In-Between Story

A Culminating Activity for The Sword and the Stone
Genevieve Bell

Student Submission

Set to appear in the April 2022 edition

It was a rare sunny afternoon, the clouds were only little puffs of breath in the sky. A bird soared
past the Warts window chirping a cheerful melody.

“A glorious day! A wonderful day! A perfect day!” Merlyn bursts in exclaiming. The
Wart opens his eyes momentarily and glances at Merlyn. Merlyn was to be found hopping
around the Warts room humming to himself, or perhaps he was not humming at all, but still
speaking. One could never tell with the magician sometimes. His outfit today was contrast to
many bright colors. He wore a flimsy purple gown with buttons, (or at least it looked as it may
have had buttons once) with dark green slippers (a gift from Robin Wood and Maid Marion) and
yellow stockings to bring it all together with a flourish. He called it his, ‘perfect day outfit.’
Merlyn stood there quite proudly too, his beard wiggling in anticipation with Archimedes resting
proudly on his shoulder. The Wart however was not in the mood to laugh or even smile. He
turned away from Merlyn praying for a couple more blissful moments of sleep. Merlyn would
not have it, “Come on now, Wart, get up or I shall turn you into a snail or something of that sort.”

With those words, Wart jumped up enthusiastically, “Truly? A snail? Oh, Merlyn, why don’t you?” If Merlyn could roll his eyes, he would be right at this moment, but he couldn’t-with aging backward apparently some things like eye-rolls
just never came to him. His body could not decide when it was the right time for him to learn to roll his eyes-so he instead wriggled his eyebrows in an intimidating manner.

The Wart sighed, “What is it I must do today for my education?”

Merlyn smiled, “I wish for you to meet some very good friends of mine.” He began to raise his wand at
the Wart, but then paused and placed his finger on his chin, “I suppose I must turn you into some animal so that you might meet my friends. The question is what?” He looked at the Wart so intensely the Wart began to feel uncomfortable,

“Err, Merlyn, perhaps-”

“Ah yes! That’s it, I shall turn you into a water vole. Yes, that’s just the thing to do it. Oh,
won’t he be so pleased!”

The Wart looked at Merlyn confused, “A what? And who will be pleased?” Merlyn never having much patience for the Wart’s questions only answered by waving his wand at the Wart and muttering a few unintelligible
words.

*******

The first thing the Wart felt was a wet thick substance underneath his feet. Mud. He
wriggled his feet, to find they were very peculiar. The feet-which he had four of- were small with
little tiny claws at the end. When moving he felt a great weight pull from behind. He turned and
trailing behind him was a long thin pink tail. He felt like…like a rat. He shuddered, he never did
prefer rats for that matter. He felt his nose twitch and doing so his whiskers got caught on a
bramble. While he worked on untangling them he felt rather than saw someone behind him,

“Hullo! What do we got here? Why, Mole come over here, we’ve got visitor I believe.”
The Wart swung around having finished untangling his whiskers and found him face to face with
a water rat, like himself and an odd-looking mole. They both wore clothes and talked like real
gentlemen. The Wart felt like he was in a dream.

“How do you do?” The Rat said when Wart remained dumbly silent.

“Perhaps he cannot speak.” The Mole whispered shyly to the Rat.

The Wart shook himself out of his shock and answered politely, “Hello, how do you do?”

The Rat stuck out his paw and shook it steadily with the Wart, “The name’s Rat, and this chap here is Mole. How can we help you, on this fine day?”

For the first time, Wart was unsure what to do or say. Merlyn did not give him any clear instructions. So the Wart started with this, “Good day, my name is Arthur, do you by any chance know Merlyn?”

Rat’s eyes widened and sparkled, “Ah, you must be young Master Art. Yes, I do know Merlyn, he is a very good friend of mine. Helped me build one of my finest boats ya know.” The Wart thinking Rat was finished
speaking opened his mouth to reply, but Rat continued, “Believe me, my young friend, there is
nothing- absolute nothing half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”1 Wart was
again opened his mouth to reply but, Rat continued muttering dreamily about boats, and the
water, and the sails, and the feel of the wind on your back.

Mole looked at the Wart, “Take no heed of him, Master Art. He gets like this sometimes. He’ll calm down in a
couple of moments.”

And like Mole said Rat trailed off and looked at Wart, “Suppose you would like an outing on the boat? Mole and I were just about to go and visit Mr. Toad.” The Wart nodded mutely, and followed Mole and Rat to the bank of a river.

The river was wide and alive. The current was slow and lazy, the water a clear glassy blue like the
scenic sky overhead. The river bubbled and laughed, working its way around the grassy bend. A
dreamlike world thought Wart.

“Well come on, then.” Said Rat as he and Mole clambered in. The Wart followed steed
and settle himself down next to Mole. The mole was a funny sort of person. He was shy and
awkward mostly, but you could tell he had a sweet temperament. Rat was not very shy and
seemed to bring out the best in Mole. Together they made a good pair. As the Wart watched them
talk and work together to man the boat, he thought of Kay. Kay was the closest friend he had, he
figured, but they weren’t close the way Rat and Mole were, and it made The Wart want that type
of friendship. He wished he could depend on Kay the way Rat and Mole could depend on each
other and he wished Kay could depend on him. He wondered if he and Kay would stay close and
become closer as they grow. Deep down inside though the Wart felt so melancholy his heart
ached. He had a feeling perhaps that him and Kay were only destined to grow apart. How was he
going to fight for this friendship? Would he even want to fight for this friendship? Was it
beneficial to the Wart? Or maybe it would be beneficial to Kay… As the Wart pondered all this
he watched Mole slip and almost go tumbling into the water, Wart jumped up to grab him, but
Rat already had a steady paw on the Moles coat and pulled him back.

“Steady there, my friend.”

“Thanks, Rat.” Said Mole bashfully. Friendship, thought the Wart, is something you must
hold on to because when you lose it you lose a part of yourself. He thought of Merlyn and
Archimedes, or Sir Grummore and King Pellinor. He thought of the way these men treated each
other and helped each other. The Wart felt that one day he might need to remember how
important friendship is and to hold on tight to it. And when your grip slips, you might just have
to take a leap.

*************

The Wart woke up dizzily in his bed. He felt as if the whole world was tilting back and
forth. Kay was still sleeping soundly in the bed next to him. He looked at Kay and whispered,
“Good night, brother.” Kay turned in his sleep.

 

1 Kenneth Grahame. Wind in the Willows (New Jersey: Childrens Classics, 1987), 9.

 

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