In Stephen Lawhead’s book Aruthur he gives an account of a crucial moment in the 15-year-olds life. He sees a great mountain and something in his heart is stirred. It is crucial how Merlin, Merlin’s mentor and father figure reacts.
Upon seeing those great cold looming mounds of slate, Arthur nearly fell off his horse in astonishment. “Look at that one! Have you ever seen a higher mountain? There is snow still on it! “It is a sight indeed,” agreed Merlin. “Does it have a name? What is it?” “It does. All this is Yr Widdfa, Region of Snows.” Merlin pointed to the highest peak. “The one you are gawking at is Eryri.” “It is …” He searched for just the right words. “… enormous! Enormous and beautiful.” He gazed in wonder at it, filling his eyes with the sight. “Has anyone ever climbed it?” The question caught Merlin off guard. “I do not believe so,” he answered. “I do not think it possible.” That was the wrong thing to say, certainly. “Good! Then I will be the first,” Arthur declared. He meant it, too. And he meant to begin at once. With a lash of the reins, he rode toward the mountain. Merlin made to call him back. But Cai intervened. “Please, Lord Emrys, I would like to climb it, too.”
“You, Cai?” Merlin turned and looked into the ruddy ” face. The clear green eyes held all the hope any one human can bear. To dash it would have been unthinkable. And Merlin saw that as much as Arthur wanted to climb the mountain, Cai wanted it more, but for a far different reason. “Now, Caius, you cannot—” began Emorius. Merlin cut hint short with a gesture. “Of course,” Merlin told him, “I think it is time this mountain was conquered. And you two are just the men to do it. Well, hurry or you will he left behind.’ He waved Cai away, and the boy rode after Arthur. “Do you think it wise? asked Ectorius, watching his son with some apprehension. Long had he protected his son’s lame leg—the result of an accident and a poorly set bone when Coa was first learning to ride. “No,” replied Merlin, “it is foolishness itself to let them go. “Then why…? Merlin smiled, lifting a hand to the mountain. “Because if we prevented them now they would never again risk the impossible with a whole and open heart.” Ectorius: “Is that so important?” “For ordinary men, no.” Merlin shook his head, watching the boys ride away. “But, Ector, we are not about making ordinary men.” “They could get themselves killed!” “Then they will die in glorious defeat,” Merlin declared. Ectorius opened his mouth to protest, bur my master stopped him, saying, “Ector, they will die one day in any event, and we cannot prevent that. Do you not see it?” “No, I do not” Ectorius showed his contempt for such an idea. “This needless hazard. “The dead are to long dead,” explained Merlin. “Better to have lived while alive, yes? Besides, if they achieve this, they will have conquered a giant, they will be invincible,” Ectorius: “If they do not?” “Then they will learn something about the limitations of men.”
Two days later the boys returned…
In a moment they appeared, and I shall never forget the expression on their faces. For I had never seen such triumph and exultation in a human countenance before—and have seen it only once since. They were bone-weary, disheveled, but ablaze with the light of victory. They were heroes. They were gods.
They staggered to the campfire and collapsed on the ground. Even in the firelight I could see their sunburnt cheeks and noses; Arthur’s fair skin was peeling, and Cai’s neck and brow were as red as his hair! Their clothes were dirty—torn and ragged at knees and elbows. Their hands were raw, and there were bruises, scrapes, and scratches on their arms and legs. They appeared to have passed through walls of hawthorn and thickets of thistle along the way. “Get them something ro drink!” ordered Ectorius, and someone hurried off to fetch the beer. The lord of Caer Ed, stared at his son, pride swelling his chest till he looked like a strutting grouse. I gathered food from our supper and gave it to them. Arthur took the bread and stuffed half the loaf into his mouth; Cai, too tired to eat, simply held it in his hand and stared at it. “Here,” said Merlin, handing them a waters, “drink this.” Cai drank, swallowing great mouthfuls at a time, and then handed the skin to Arthur, who gulped the cool water in noisy draughts. Ectorius could contain himself no longer “Well, how did you fare, son? Did you reach the top? “The top,” replied Cai reverently. “We reached the top, we did.” He turned his face to Arthur, and his eyes held the look of a man who has learned a profound and life-changing truth. “I would never have made it but for Arthur. Arthur lowered the warerskin. “Never say it, brother. We climbed it together—you and I together. He turned to the rest of us standing over him. It was wonderful! Glorious! You should have been them, Myrddin—Pelleasl—you should have come with us. You can see from one end of the world to the other! It was—it was … wonderful.. He lapsed into silence, at a loss for words. “You said it was impossible,” Cai reminded Merlin. “You said no one had ever done it. Well, we did it! We climbed it all the way to the top. He paused and added softly, turning once more to Arthur, “… He all but carried me..