People or events that appear very briefly in life may have dramatic effects onthe lives of people they touch upon. Basketball coaches from the junior highschool level often influence their athletes to take up playing basketball intheir high school career. Dying friends often compel people to conduct researchand dedicate their lives to the study of medicine.
Galapas’ short stint withMerlin turns Merlin’s life around in the novel, The Crystal Cave by MaryStewart. From the beginning, Galapas was an influential figure in young Merlin’slife. Galapas is an old man with a mysterious past. He possesses great knowledgeof the arts, sciences, and magic.
Merlin first met him when he was wandering thecountryside with his horse, Aster. Galapas soon becomes his teacher and mentor,in spite of Merlin’s already having a conventional tutor. In time, he shares allof his knowledge and wisdom with Merlin. “He taught me practical things,too; how to gather herbs and dry them to keep, how to use them for medicines,. . .Order now
poisons. He made me study the beasts and birds, . . . and-with the deaddeer-I learnt about the organs and bones of the body. .
. The map Galapas showedme was a copy from a book by Ptolemy of Alexandria. ” (The Crystal Cave,Pgs. 59-60) Galapas also helps Merlin to put the meanings of his periodicvisions of the future and of events far away into action.
“‘Go? But if I goback, they’ll kill me, or shut me up. . . Won’t they?’.
. . ‘You can no more behidden now, than your merlin could go back into its egg. ” (The CrystalCave, Pg. 100) At the end of Merlin’s adventures with Ambrosius, his father andEmperor, he returns to the Crystal Cave to seek out Galapas.
Nearby the cave, ina patch of grass, Galapas’ bones are scattered about in the dirt. Merlin layshis bones down to rest in the proper fashion and begins to occupy the cave; justlike Galapas used to. Merlin studies and meditates in the Crystal Cave with hisservant, Cadal. “My books had come form Less Britain; the great chest wasbacked against the wall of the cave, where Galapas’ box had been. . .
I waswearing my oldest clothes, a tunic with grass stains that not even Cadal couldremove, and my mantle was burred and pulled by thorns and brambles. My sandalswere of canvas like a slave’s. . . Compared even with the plainly dressed youngmen.
. . I must look like a beggar. ” (The Crystal Cave, Pgs. 396, 400) Hebecomes older, grizzled looking, and wiser in the cave and soon becomes a mirrorimage of Galapas. Thus, Galapas still has a great impact on Merlin’s life evenafter his death.
Therefore, Galapas’ short time with young Merlin took at firmgrasp on his life and helped shape it even beyond the grave. At an early age,Merlin is introduced to the fine arts and sciences and magic. Later in life,Merlin returns to find Galapas, but in turn finds Galapas in himself and becomesa facsimile of Galapas. Galapas is truly a stepping stone in the advancement ofMerlin’s personality.