The Sword in the Stone
Believe it or not, there really is a “sword in the stone”. It’s just not necessarily what most people think it is. In 2001, Luigi Garlaschelli confirmed that the sword in the image above was indeed embedded in the solid rock around it. The analysis also confirmed that the upper piece and the invisible lower one are authentic and belong to one and the same artifact. The sword has also been dated to 12th century Italy. The question is, how did it get there, and why? Well, to begin with, the sword in the stone isn’t nearly old enough to be part of anything pertaining to figures from the Arthurian legends. Plus, Merlin lived on the British Isles, not in Italy with the sword in the stone. This is definitely not Excalibur we’re talking about here. So, that means there is only one other person that could have put the sword in the stone. His name was Galgano Guidotti.
According to one version of the medieval legends surrounding him, Galgano was riding a horse near his home one day when the archangel Michael appeared to him in a vision. Then, in 1180, when he was in his early thirties, Galgano Guidotti was about to go meet up with the woman that he would have ended up marrying, but through divine intervention, his horse suddenly refused to take another step, even with vigorous prodding. So, not being sure what was going on or just what he should do about it, Galgano dismounted and fell to his knees in prayer, immediately seeking guidance and forgiveness from God. A moment later, the archangel Michael came to visit Galgano and beckoned him to follow. After a while, they crossed a field of flowers and went up to Mount Siepi where Galgano received a vision of the twelve apostles. There the archangel instructed the man to do harsh penance.
In response to this, Galgano fell to the ground, drew his sword, and exclaimed:
“How do you deign, Oh Merciful Lord, to show so much favor to a miserable sinner? I could more easily plunge my sword into this stone than obtain forgiveness for my many sins.”
At which point, Galgano thrust his sword into the stone all the way up to the hilt, thinking that it would have broken off, but it didn’t. Through the power of Christ, the sword immediately fused with the stone sealing the splendid cruciform object in its earthly resting place. Since then the relic has remained in the rock, where the sword in the stone has continued to serve as a powerful reminder of the existence of miracles. It also stands as a testament to Jesus Christ and the promise of salvation. As such, the sacred site has become a popular place of pilgrimage for countless Christians, and tourists alike. So, to honor Galgano and to protect the relic, in 1185, four years after his death, Galgano Guidotti was made a saint, and Montesiepi Chapel was built around the sword in the stone, thereby enshrining it in the building shown below.
To this very day, inside the blessed building, the sword in the stone is being held under lock and key, as shown below, in Chiusdino, Italy, near the ruins of the Abbey of San Galgano, where it will forever remain in Montesiepi Chapel as an uncanny reminder of the power of transformation and the possibility of redemption. Such is the strange story of the sword in the stone.