The legendary Sword in the Stone. Often mistaken as Excalibur, Clarent is the sword that Arthur pulled from the Stone proclaiming him as the true King of Britain. It serves as the central force behind his rise to power and his symbol of his right to rule. Late in his life it serves as the instrument of his death as well at the hands of his son Mordred.
According to legend, Clarent was Uther’s sword and the ancestral sword of the High Kings of Britain. Merlin, Uther’s counselor and magician took it upon himself at Uther’s death to use his magic and run the sword in to the Stone. He casts a spell upon the sword so it can only be drawn by the rightful King of Britain. There came a day when Sir Ector and his son Kay attend a tournament with Ector’s other son Arthur who, acting as squire to both his father and brother goes in search of a sword to replace Kay’s broken one. He comes to the stone and easily pulls the sword free and runs to give the sword to his brother. Kay seeing what sword Arthur has brought him, runs to his father tells him that he pulled the sword himself. Sir Ector suspects his son of lying and forces him to tell the truth. Kay then admits that it was Arthur who brought him the sword.
Merlin eventually arrives and declares Arthur to be King Uther’s son and Sir Ector his foster father. To prove this Merlin puts the sword back in the stone, and casts the same enchantment as before. Men from tournament come forth to try their hand at pulling the sword but none can. Then once again Arthur comes forth and easily removes the sword in front of all, thus becoming King of Britain.
The stories of Clarent and Excalibur often overlap, even so far as to the exclusion of Clarent altogether. Excalibur however is the sword that Arthur receives from the Lady of the Lake. The Story of Excalibur will be discussed further in Thursday’s post, E is for Excalibur!