The great hero of the struggle between the Britons and the Saxons was King Arthur, but it was not until many many years after the time in which he lived that all the splendid stories of his knights, of his Round Table, and of his great conquests began to take the form in which we know them.
In five of the stories of The Mabinogion, King Arthur appears.
"Ancient hauberk, date of the sixth century, time of King Arthur and the Round Table; said to have belonged to the knight Sir Sagramor le Desirous; ob- serve the round hole through the chain-mail in the left breast; can't be accounted for; supposed to have been done with a bullet since invention of firearms -- per- haps maliciously by Cromwell's soldiers."
Then shall ye, said Sir Launcelot, on Whitsunday next coming go unto the court of King Arthur, and there shall ye yield you unto Queen Guenever, and put you all three in her grace and mercy, and say that Sir Kay sent you thither to be her prisoners.
Have ye ever heard of the wooing of Sir Keith, the stout young Cornish knight, in good King Arthur
They had analyzed and parsed it and torn it to pieces in general until it was a wonder there was any meaning at all left in it for them, but at least the fair lily maid and Lancelot and Guinevere and King Arthur
had become very real people to them, and Anne was devoured by secret regret that she had not been born in Camelot.
The truth was that Sir Agravaine the Dolorous was out of his element at King Arthur
's court, and he knew it.
A round table as large as King Arthur
's stood in the center of the room; while the waiters were getting ready to serve our dinner on it we all went out to see the renowned clock on the front of the municipal buildings.
Malory's purpose was to collect in a single work the great body of important Arthurian romance and to arrange it in the form of a continuous history of King Arthur
and his knights.
He tried to make us act plays and to enter into masquerades, in which the characters were drawn from the heroes of Roncesvalles, of the Round Table of King Arthur
, and the chivalrous train who shed their blood to redeem the holy sepulchre from the hands of the infidels.
``For his own part,'' he said, ``and in the land where he was bred, men would as soon take for their mark King Arthur
's round-table, which held sixty knights around it.
The King likes the history of Sir Iffven and Sir Gaudian particularly, which treats of King Arthur
, and his Knights of the Round Table; he has more than once joked about it with his high vassals."