Excalibur is the legendary sword of King Arthur, often said in traditional and contemporary¹ lore to have magical powers.
In Malory’s Morte d’Arthur the young boy Arthur succeeds in pulling the sword from a stone, a seemingly impossible feat which not even adults can accomplish. In another account the sword is given to Arthur by the Lady of the Lake.
As Arthur is dying he commands Sir Bedivere to toss the sword into the lake and a mysterious hand grasps it, drawing it under the surface. In an older version of the legend by Geoffrey of Monmouth, Arthur’s sword is known as Caliburn.
¹ Such as the TV series Merlin » http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1199099/ and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merlin_%28TV_series%29
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