Questions about King Arthur abound: Did King Arthur really exist? What was he like? Where exactly was his kingdom? This mixture of legend, anecdote, fact, and speculation frames the answers to such questions by showing that in the long run they may not be all that important. Sifting through both literary and historical sources, Kevin Crossley-Holland illuminates the essential aspects of King Arthur's chivalrous world that have kept people returning to it for inspiration and entertainment down through the ages.Here are the passionate, magical stories of the king and his sword, Excalibur; of Mordred, King Arthur's villainous son; of the enchanters Merlin, Nimue, and Morgan le Fay; of Lancelot and Guinevere. Here too are the daily lives of knights and ladies and pages; instructions on how to be a butler; and much more.Witty, engaging excerpts from medieval texts create a palpable feel for how human behavior was instructed and commented upon so many hundreds of years ago. Peter Malone's exquisite paintings glow like brilliant jewels, giving visible testimony to the author's claim that "medieval men and women'understood how each drop of water, leaf, and stone had an energy of its own."