I read the article (linked below) with interest. I loved reading The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart. She really brought the legend to life and cast an unusual slant, but a very believable one, about Merlin. His feats, in The Crystal Cave, were relatively minor, but the locals, being superstitious, helped to grow the tale and you can imagine how much the local tales developed over time.
The article was interesting therefore, looking in to the history of Merlin, clearly with some speculation. Fiona Ingram, the author of the children's tale The Search for the Stone of Excalibur, has nicely laid out her views.
It is broadly accepted that Merlin is a fictional character introduced by Geoffrey of Monmouth in the History of the Kings of England. This was written in the 12 C and interestingly when Malory wrote Le Morte D'Arthur (a great book) Merlin was a bit of a villain because having a demon for a father at a time of inquisitions was not a good idea. Perhaps this is why Malory gave Merlin a timely death to appease the witch-finders of the time.
Whether Merlin or Arthur ever existed will probably never be known, but The Crystal Cave remains one of my favourite reads. It is such a shame that so little is know about the 5th Century. Having said that, if it was better known then we might not have such wonderful and rich legends.
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