In the days of King Arthur there stood a mighty oak tree within the walls of a castle. Peace reigned in the castle until the fearsome night when Lionel, longlost brother of Lord Weldon, returned to cause trouble and unhappiness.
It was then that Shan, the son of Lord Weldon, took on the duties of a knight and hid the sword in the hollow of the giant oak. The days that followed were filled with adventures that tried the courage of the young boy.
Shan was surprised by bearded robbers in the woods. He met noble knights in plumed helmets, and eventually he even made a trip to high-towered Camelot. His story is filled with the pageantry and color of England in King Arthur's time. It creates a vivid picture of the Knights of the Round Table and the wisdom of King Arthur himself.
Mr. Bulla captures the spirit of those romantic days in a straightforward, exciting manner. The result is another delightful book for his wide audience of young readers. Paul Galdone's vigorous illustrations are as evocative as the text.
About the Author
Clyde Robert Bulla is the author of over fifty books for children including The Secret Valley and The Story of Valentine’s Day. He has been writing since 1946 when he published his first book, The Donkey Cart. Mr. Bulla was the first recipient of the Southern California Council on Children’s Literature award for distinguished contribution to the field. He lives in Los Angeles, California.
Bruce Bowles was raised in Ft. Walton, Florida, and is a graduate of Art Center College of Design. His imaginative style has earned him several awards from the Society of Illustrators. Mr. Bowles lives in Oakland, California, with his wife, Mindy.
Read an Excerpt
The boy sat up in bed. A sound in the night had wakened him.His room was so dark he could see nothing, but he could hear steps outside his door. He held his breath and listened.
"Shan!" said a voice.
He let his breath go. It was his mother, calling his name.
"Yes?" he said. "What is it?"
Lady Marian came into the room. She had a candle in her hand, and the light moved over the stone walls.
"Shan, I'm glad to find you here," she said. "I was afraid you had gone with your father."
"Where has my father gone?" asked Shan.
"One of the servants just wakened him and they went away together," she said. "I heard them speak of a wounded knight."
"A wounded knight?" said Shan.
"Yes," said Lady Marian. "Shan, what does it mean? Is someone making war on us? Are there enemy soldiers outside?"
"Don't be afraid, Mother," said Shan. "Our good King Arthur has beaten all our enemies. And even if there were enemies, we would be safe here. There is no stronger castle in England than ours."
He went to the window. A light was moving in the courtyard below.
"Mother, I'm going down there," he said.
"I don't think you should go," said Lady Marian.
"No one is fighting," he said. "There's nothing to be afraid of."
He put on his clothes. He ran down the stairs and into the courtyard. There was a light near the castle gate. He went toward it.
At the gate he found his father. Some of the servants were there, too. One of them had a lighted torch in his hand.
"Father–" Shan stopped. On the stones at his father's feet lay a man. Along, black beard hid his face. Two of the servants were taking off his armor.
"Who is he?" asked Shan.
"No one knows," said his father. "He beat on the gate. We let him in, and he fell in a faint."
"My lord, I have found his wound," said one of the servants.
Shan's father looked at the wound in the man's side. "Bring him into the castle at once," he said.
The servants lifted the wounded man. They carried him into a bedroom in the castle.
"Has he lost much blood?" asked Shan.
"I think so," said his father. "The wound is deep."
"Shall I bring Nappus?" asked Shan.
"Yes. Nappus is a man of magic. He can make the knight well."
"Poor Nappus." Shan's father shook his head. "He knows no magic. But he was once the best of doctors."
"He is still the best of doctors," said Shan. "Remember how he took the fishbone from your throat? Remember how he bound up my arm when it was broken?"
"Yes, yes," said his father. "Go and bring him if you wish."
Shan took a lighted torch from one of the servants and ran out across the courtyard. He opened a door in the castle wall. It was the door to Nappus' room.
Nappus was sleeping, with his cloak over his head. Shan touched him. Nappus looked out from under the cloak.
He was a small man. His hair was white. He could neither hear nor speak, but his eyes were keen and bright.
"There is a wounded knight in the castle," said Shan. "Come and dress his wound."
Nappus watched Shan's lips, reading the words. He nodded to show that he understood. From a box in a corner he took some jars and bottles. He tied them up in a cloth.
Shan led the way to the castle. Nappus knelt by the wounded man. He washed the wound and dressed it. He opened the man's mouth and poured a little red wine down his throat.
The man moved. His eyes opened, and he looked at Nappus. "Lord Weldon!" he said in a whisper. "Where is Lord Weldon?"
Shan's father came forward. "I am Lord Weldon. You are safe in Weldon Castle."
The wounded man tried to lift himself. "Brother–!" he said. Then he fell back and was still.
Shan's father bent over the man and looked into his face. He cried out, "Lionel!" His voice shook with excitement. He said to Shan, "This knight is my brother. I am sure of it. Shan, this is your Uncle Lionel. After these many years, your Uncle Lionel has come home!"
Shan had heard many tales of his uncle. Now he wanted to hear more. "Tell me about my Uncle Lionel," he said to his father.
"Wait until he is strong," said Lord Weldon, "and he will tell you himself."
Shan asked his mother, "Will you tell me about my uncle?"
"I never knew him well," she said. "He sailed from England long before you were born. He was wild when he was a boy. He was never a kind and gentle knight, and he was never as brave as your father."
"Did he live here at Weldon Castle?" asked Shan.
"No," said Lady Marian. "He had a castle of his own, but he sold it and quickly spent the money. Then he went away to France and Spain and other far places."
"Do you think he will tell me about those far places?" asked Shan.
"He may," said his mother, "when he is strong again."
Every day Shan sat for a while by Lionel's bed. Most of the time his uncle slept. When he looked about him, his eyes were bright with fever and he knew no one.
But one morning, when he woke, the fever was gone from his eyes. He looked at Shan.
"Why do you sit there?" he asked.
Shan looked at him in surprise.
"Why do you sit and look at me?" cried Lionel. "Speak, you young dog!"
Shan jumped to his feet. "I am no dog. I am the son of Lord Weldon."
"You lie! My brother has no son."
"I do not lie, and you have no right to say so!" Shan turned and walked out of the room.The Sword in the Tree. Copyright © by Clyde Bulla. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
It is gerat.it is a gerat ferst book
I read this book when I was a little child. It was my very favorite and I would get it at the library countless times. This book is very dear to my heart and I would eencourage everyone to read it.
This was one of my favorite stories when I was a kid. We are headed off for a trip to England and this was the story I thought of to get my 8 year old daughter to give her the flavor of castles, knights, and a hint of Camelot.