To Live By The Sword

September 20, 2007 at 7:49 pm (Short stories)

 To Live By The Sword

It was a spring evening in 1912.

And Doctor Paul Lindley professor emeritus of Medieval History
at Uriel College, Oxford was examining a sword.

“Congratulations, Professor Quigley,” Doctor Lindley smiled
at the younger man, “this gold sword from the Celtic inscriptions
on it is indeed King Arthur’s sword Excalibur. Through this find,
you have proven that a man shrouded in mist and myth really did
exist. And so did his famous sword.”

“I was right to dig around the remnants of that ancient lakebed near
Glastonbury Tor,” Professor Quigley smiled back, “I thought it was the
lakebed which when a lake had the mystical Isle of Avalon on it. And so
the sword Excalibur was there. I shall make a great deal of money from
this find.”

“Money,” Doctor Lindley coughed, “but this sword is an important part
of Britain’s heritage. It must be given to the British Museum.”

“Nonsense,” Professor Quigley glared at the older man angrily, “I already
have an American millionaire in New York lined up to buy it. He’s to pay me
one million dollars for it.”

“I’m going to report this to the Antiquities Authority,” Doctor Lindley pointed
his finger at the younger man, “we do have laws in this country about plundering
important historical artifacts and selling them for profit.”

“You’ll do no such thing,” Professor Quigley grabbed the sword
and thrust it through the older man’s breast piercing his heart and killing

Professor Quigley wiped the blood off the sword and put it in his suitcase.
His boat to New York would leave tomorrow.

The next morning consternation could be heard throughout the
college rooms when Doctor Lindley’s body was found.

But Professor Quigley was already at the British Customs desk in Southampton.

“Open your suitcase,” the Customs officer instructed.

Professor Quigley felt faint.

“Joe, a woman has fainted,” another customs officer called out, “could
you lend a hand?”.

“All right, go ahead,” the customs officer waved Quigley aboard.

With his suitcase containing the sword Excalibur locked safely away in his
cabin, Professor Quigley breathed deeply the salt air as the ship left shore.

Yes, he Professor Ichabod Quigley had an appointment with destiny…

… the professor was still smiling as he walked beside a life jacket
emblazoned with the ship’s name…

… R.M.S. Titanic…

The End.

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