This Chapter (1) is Taken from The Book “My Life and Quest” By Arthur Osborne.
As a Small boy there were three books that I read over and over again The Knights of King Arthur, Asgard and the Gods and The Arabian Nights. It was King Arthur that was my favourite. My mother had a leather bound edition that she had acquired as a school prize, and there was not a page of it without my grubby finger marks. Next in preference came the Norse legends. The more sophisticated mythology of Greece never appealed to me, but there was a wild grandeur about that of the Norseman that stirred me so deeply that it has remained in my memory ever since — the arrogant immensity of the giants in the time of their scendancy, so that even a blow of Thor’s hammer was felt no more than an acorn falling on the brow. And then the return of Thor to power. How the giants had stolen his hammer Mjolnir and hidden it deep within the earth and would only return it at the price of Odin’s daughter as bride to one of them; how the gods tricked them, dressing Thor up in brides clothes and sending him veiled to their palace. Even through the veil the flash of his eyes could be seen. Then the story grew tense as the bridegroom asked for the veil to be removed but the pretended bride insisted that Mjolnir should be first placed in her lap. Then, when this was done, how Thor laughed aloud and tore off the veil as he rose to his feet, brandishing Mjolnir, and how he left their whole palace in smoking ruins. This and the more tragic stories: the killing of Baldur the Beautiful, the treachery of Loki, the rise of his fearsome sons from the underworld, and the end of everything in the last terrible battle of Ragnarok. As I grew older I began vaguely to feel the mystery of symbolism behind the stories. Indeed it is remarkable all three books should have been allegories of the universal doctrines of the quest. Not only did I read these stories, but I constantly made up my own, especially about King Arthur and his knights, telling them to myself while walking or doing things. This was my secret. I never told any one about it. Unknowingly, I must have been telling the stories in verse, because I remember puzzling why it was that if I added one word, that is one syllable, the sentence sounded wrong, while if I added two it sounded right again.
The time came when I began to consider these imaginings as sin and resolved to stop them, but try as I would I always slipped back into them. Once, as a penance and a constant reminder, I decided to wear a knotted cord around my loins, as I had read of medieval monks doing. So I found an old piece of garden rope, made knots in it, and tied it tightly round my waist. However, this gave me stomach ache and I could not think of any other way of tying that would hold up, so I abandoned the idea.
A favourite daydream at this time was of some mighty king in a far off land in time and space. Many people came tohim, bringing all imaginable wealth and pleasures; and then I would come in a monk’s robe offering him renunciation and hardship. I was to discover later that the king was the ego enthroned amid the pleasures of this world and then bidden to renounce and set forth on the lonely quest.
All this does not mean that I was a morose or gloomy child. On the contrary, I was exuberant, as a Sagittarian should be, fun-loving, delighted when visitors came or when we went out anywhere. Only there was this inner current of life also, and it was something I did not speak about.
Extrovert or introvert? I do not believe the definitions are anywhere near so widely applicable as commonly supposed: a person of high vitality is often both, a person of low vitality neither. Certainly I was both to a high degree.