Christmas Tale from Long Ago
illustrations by Barbara Crow
hb 0 9537267 4 6 £6.95
Gawain and the Green Knight is an entertaining story which
captivates the audience with its unexpected twists and turns of
plot, its humour, excitement and compassion. It was intended to
be read aloud as an entertainment at Christmastime.
this story of illusion, nothing is as it seems, from the beheading
of the Green Knight within the first few pages of the story to
the meeting at the mysterious green chapel at the end.
defeats monsters, battles against cold and hunger and finally
faces death itself at the hands of the Green Knight. But in this
story of illusion, such dangers are easy to recognise. The temptations
inside the castle are more dangerous because the hero is off his
guard and unaware of the peril he is facing.
the Green Chapel, Gawain comes face to face with death itself,
and, as in all the best tales, good overcomes evil.
Green Knight is menacing, pagan, uncivil, robust, strong, and
courageous. He also possesses supernatural powers which appear
to give him the upper hand in the confrontation between himself
playing a game with Gawain, the Green Knight often seems to be
enjoying a joke at Gawain's expense. But the game is deadly serious.
The Green Knight is challenging the way of life symbolised by
the court of King Arthur, a way of life which is civil and Christian,
and represents goodness and life.
the illusion is maintained to the last page. The story teller
gives many clues and the end is full of surprises, yet it is not
unexpected to the alert reader. Perhaps it is Gawain who has the