“He’m verminous,” the hedgehog explained regretfully, “but he’m honest.” The little hedgehog, toiling from tussock to tussock, fell into the marshy puddles with grunts, panted as he struggled with the miniature cliffs. The weary King Arthur gave him a hand at the worst places, hoisting him to a better foothold or giving him a shove behind, noticing how pathetic and defenseless his bare legs looked from behind. When they had reached the top, he sat down puffing, and the old man sat beside him to admire the view...

Arthur saw suddenly all the people who had accepted sacrifice: learned men who had starved for truth, poets who had refused to compound in order to achieve success, parents who had swallowed their own love in order to let their children live, doctors and holy men who had died to help, millions of crusaders, generally stupid, who had been butchered for their stupidity—but who had meant well. They might be stupid, ferocious, unpolitical, almost hopeless. But here and there, oh so seldom, oh so rare, oh so glorious, there were those who would face the rack, the executioner, and even utter extinction, in the cause of something greater than themselves. Truth, that strange thing, that jest of Pilate’s...

The hedgehog asked, “Shire? Dost tha mind as how us used to sing for un?”

“I minds un well,” said Arthur. “’Twas ‘Rustic Bridge’, and ‘Genevieve' and ‘Home Sweet Home’.”

“Maggie’s Tea,” the hedgehog mentioned shyly, “us gotter fresh un. Twas for thy welcome, like. Us learned it off that there Mearn.” The hedgehog stood in the moonlight, assuming the position for song. And there, upon the height of England, in a good pronunciation because he had learned it carefully from Merlyn, with his sword of twigs in on grey hand and a chariot of mouldy leaves, the hedgehog stood to build Jerusalem, and meant it:

"Bring me my bow of burning gold:
Bring me my arrows of desire:
Bring me my spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire.
I will not cease from mental strife,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land."

-- T.H. White, “The Once and Future King” (The Book of Merlyn)

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