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Merlin the greatest magician of all time He lived if indeed he lived at all inWales and southern England during the dawn of Christianity in those lands longbefore written historical records were kept Yet his name is universally recognizedaround the world as synonymous with magic and his popular image is almost as wellknown as that of Santa Claus The beginning and ends of all things are all withinMerlins sight he keeps the prophecies of the future he holds the memories of all thathas passed When you hear the name Merlin an immediate image springs into themind of an old man with a flowing white beard and bushy white eyebrows dressed ina midnight blue robe and a tall pointed hat covered with stars He is the prototypicalMerlin is best known as the teacher and advisor of Arthur Pendragon king of allthe Britons The legends of these two mythical figures are linked but there is nocertain proof that either man existed Supposedly on Merlins advice the famousRound Table of Arthurs court was built and he helped select 50 of the knights whoThe popular myth of Merlin as we know it today has come down to usprimarily from two sources one the historian Geoffrey of Monmouth and the other awriter Sir Thomas Malory Both men collected bits and pieces from earlier sources Most of Malorys work was based on the French Arthurian prose cycle a group ofFrench medieval romances centered around the court of King Arthur Before Maloryboth Merlin and Arthur were better known on the Continent than they were inEngland Malorys work crystallized the Arthurian legend into the form we recognizetoday We know Merlin as a mysterious figure whose origin is uncertain he has thepower to communicate with animals to see visions of the future and to work miraclesof magic he has no specific home but dwells in the forest After Arthurs ascent tothe throne Merlin lives with him for a time in Camelot Merlin usually first
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