page 44 of 960 of Sir Thomas Malory: Le Morte Darthur: The Definitive Original Text Edition

044:

She also wants him to take the scabbard (because it’s actually better than the sword). Merlin asks Arthur which he prefers and, of course, Arthur think the sword is better which, of course, is the wrong answer. The scabbard will protect him and he shall lose no blood or be sore wounded as long as he has the scabbard. Sword=killing, death, talisman of authority,male. Scabbard=life,chain of immortality,female.