“Demiurge has imposed a heavy burden on the King. The Captain helps him to carry the weight, but even in a still time, after so much time, it could become unbearable. Just try to imagine,” the Priest lifted a plump finger, “seeing the Spiral turn for everyone except you. The seasons pass, the generations follow one another, but nothing touches you, nothing concerns you. Your egg is the only one that will never hatch, because breaking the shell would destroy the entire nest. Do you understand how terrible it is?”
[Path of life and stone, Chapter 3]
In the King’s garden grows a very special tree, which he jealously guarded: in fact, the fruits of that tree, if eaten, can give knowledge.
The King has closed his garden behind high walls and a magical gate, which opens only by his own will.
No one can enter the King’s garden. No one can get that knowledge. The King is not cruel, but if someone tried to violate his ban, he would become. The King is jealous of his tree.
So it happens that, one night…
The King under the Mountains
The stories that characterize the figure of the King in the Mountains involve legendary heroes, accompanied by trusted armed warriors, who are used to sleeping at remote sites including caves located on high mountains, distant islands and supernatural worlds.
The King under the Mountain is often a historical figure linked to military events in the country where the King has his rest. He symbolizes the need of peoples to feel protected, and is often a tribute to a great hero who fell in battle, whose corpse he never found, and whose subjects do not accept death.
The stories collected by the Grimm Brothers about Frederick Barbarossa and Charlemagne are typical stories about the King in the Mountains.
Legend narrates that Charlemagne threw himself into the deep well of Nuremberg Castle and stayed there. Her beard grew up through the stone table in front of which she sits.
[Grimm brothers, German legends, chapter 23]
The presence of this king is always unexpected in these stories until someone, usually a shepherd who is looking for missing cattle, enters his resting place and sees the hero, from whom he has always grown a long beard, indicative of the long years he has spent hidden.
In the testimonies collected by the Grimms, the shepherd always speaks with the hero and their conversation is always based on a fixed pattern.
In an exemplary story, the King asks: “The eagles (or the crows) still fly in a circle around the mountain?”
The shepherd (or a mysterious voice) responds: “Yes, they still fly in a circle.”
To what, the hero responds: “Then go! My time has not yet come!”
The shepherd is often followed by supernatural events: he matures quickly and when he leaves the resting place of the King his hair becomes white, and often dies after telling the facts. Moreover, those who enter these caves seem to find themselves in a Time that flows differently from that of the Earth.
The story generally goes on and says that the king continues to sleep in the mountains, waiting to appear with his knights to defend the nation at a time of mortal danger. Its awakening will be announced by the extinction of the birds that live near its resting place.
There’s similar legend, but widespread in England and Wales: here is King Arthur the King under the Mountain, asleep in Avalon, waiting to awaken to protect his people from external enemies.