The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Junior Classics, Volume 4: Heroes and heroines of chivalry

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Title: The Junior Classics, Volume 4: Heroes and heroines of chivalry

Editor: William Patten

Release date: August 1, 2004 [eBook #6323]
Most recently updated: December 29, 2020

Language: English


Produced by Tom Allen, Juliet Sutherland, Charles Franks

and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.


[Illustration: HE SEIZED THE HILT
From the painting by Walter Crane]


Managing Editor of the Harvard Classics

President Emeritus of Harvard University

Professor of English, Harvard University
President, Smith College, Northampton, Mass., since 1917





Of Arthur's Birth and How He Became King (Beatrice Clay)

The Round Table (Beatrice Clay)

Merlin the Magician (Beatrice Clay)

The Sword Excalibur (Sir Thomas Malory)

Sir Launcelot and the Adventure of the Castle Perilous (Beatrice

Sir Launcelot and the Falcon (Beatrice Clay)

The Adventures of Sir Gareth (Beatrice Clay)

The Coming of Sir Galahad (Beatrice Clay)

How Sir Galahad Won the Red Cross Shield (Beatrice Clay)

The Adventures of Sir Percivale (Beatrice Clay)

The Adventures of Sir Bors (Beatrice Clay)

The Adventures of Sir Launcelot (Beatrice Clay)

How Sir Launcelot Saw the Holy Grail (Beatrice Clay)

The End of the Quest (Beatrice Clay)

The Fair Maid of Astolat (Beatrice Clay)


Kynon's Adventure at the Fountain (Lady Charlotte Guest)

Owain's Adventure at the Fountain (Lady Charlotte Guest)

Gawain's Adventure in Search of Owain (Lady Charlotte Guest)

The Adventure of the Lion (Lady Charlotte Guest)

How Pwyll Outwitted Gawl (Lady Charlotte Guest)

How Manawyddan Caught a Thief (Lady Charlotte Guest)

The Story of Lludd and Llevelys (Lady Charlotte Guest)


The Adventures of King Horn (F. J. H. Darton)

Horn is Dubbed Knight (F. J. H. Darton)

Horn the Knight Errant (F. J. H. Darton)

Horn in Exile (F. J. H. Darton)

Horn's Return (F. J. H. Darton)

The King of Suddenne (F. J. H. Darton)

Havelok Hid from the Traitor (F. J. H. Darton)

Havelok Married Against His Will (F. J. H. Darton)

Havelok Wins Back His Kingdom (F. J. H. Darton)

The Fair Unknown (F. J. H. Darton)

The Fight With the Two Giants (F. J. H. Darton)

In the Castle of the Sorcerers (F. J. H. Darton)


The Old Woman and the Knight (F. J. H. Darton)

Death and the Three Revellers (F. J. H. Darton)

Patient Griselda (F. J. H. Darton)


Ogier the Dane (Thomas Bulfinch)

A Roland for an Oliver (Thomas Bulfinch)

The Treason of Ganelon (Sir George W. Cox)

The Great Battle of Roncesvalles (Sir George W. Cox)

Charlemagne Revenges Roland (Sir George W. Cox)

How Thierry Vanquished Ganelon (Sir George W. Cox)

Rinaldo and Bayard (Thomas Bulfinch)

How the Child of the Sea Was Made Knight (Robert Southey)


Why Don Sancho Attacked His Neighbors (Robert Southey)

Don Garcia Defies Don Sancho (Robert Southey)

Don Garcia Takes Don Sancho Prisoner (Robert Southey)

The Siege of Zamora (Robert Southey)

How Don Diego Fought the Three Brothers (Robert Southey)


Robin Hood and the Knight (Mary Macleod)

Little John and the Sheriff of Nottingham (Mary Macleod)

How Robin Hood Was Paid His Loan (Mary Macleod)

The Golden Arrow (Mary Macleod)

How the Sheriff Took Sir Richard Prisoner (Mary Macleod)

How the King Came to Sherwood Forest (Mary Macleod)

How Robin Hood Went Back to the Greenwood (Mary Macleod)

Robin Hood and the Butcher (Mary Macleod)

The Jolly Tanner (Mary Macleod)

How Robin Hood Drew His Bow for the Last Time (Mary Macleod)

DON QUIXOTE DE LA MANCHA (Miguel de Cervantes)

An Introduction to that Spanish Gentleman (Judge Parry)

He Sets Forth on His Adventures (Judge Parry)

The Knighting of Don Quixote (Judge Parry)

The Dreadful Adventure of the Windmills (Judge Parry)

Don Quixote and the Goatherds (Judge Parry)

How Don Quixote Arrived at an Inn Which He Imagined to be a Castle
(Judge Parry)

How Sancho Paid the Reckoning at the Inn (Judge Parry)

The Adventure of the Two Armies (Judge Parry)

Don Quixote Does Penance as Did the Knights of Old (Judge Parry)

Sancho's Journey to the Lady Dulcinea (Judge Parry)

The Story of Cardenio (Judge Parry)

The Story of Dorothea (Judge Parry)

The End of the Penance (Judge Parry)

The Journey to the Inn (Judge Parry)

Sancho Panza's Story of His Visit to the Lady Dulcinea (Judge

Don Quixote Wages a Battle Against a Giant (Judge Parry)

Adventures at the Inn (Judge Parry)

The Princess Micomicona (Judge Parry)

The Last of the Notable Adventures of our Good Knight (Judge


Of Arthur's Birth and How He Became King
Frontispiece illustration in color from the painting by Walter

The Sword Excalibur
From the painting by Walter Crane

The Coming of Sir Galahad
From the painting by Walter Crane

Patient Griselda
From the drawing by Hugh Thomson


The word chivalry is taken from the French cheval, a horse. A knight was a young man, the son of a good family, who was allowed to wear arms. In the story "How the Child of the Sea was made Knight," we are told how a boy of twelve became a page to the queen, and in the opening pages of the story "The Adventures of Sir Gareth," we get a glimpse of a young man growing up at the court of King Arthur. It was not an easy life, that of a boy who wished to become a knight, but it made a man of him. He was taken at an early age, sometimes when only seven years old, to the castle of the king or knight he was to serve. He first became a page or valet, and, under the instruction of a governor, was taught to carve and wait on the table, to hunt and fish, and was drilled in wrestling and riding on horseback. Most pages were taught to dance, and if a boy had talent he was taught to play the harp so he could accompany his voice when singing to the ladies.

By the time a boy was fourteen he was ready to become an esquire. He was then taught to get on and off a horse with his heavy armor on, to wield the battle axe, and practise tilting with a spear. His service to the ladies had now reached the point where he picked out a lady to serve loyally. His endeavor was to please her in all things, in order that he might be known as her knight, and wear her glove or scarf as a badge or favor when he entered the lists of a joust or tournament.

To become a knight was almost as solemn an affair as it was to become a priest. Before the day of the ceremony he fasted, spent the night in prayer, confessed his sins, and received the Holy Sacrament. When morning came he went, clothed in white, to the church or hall, with a knight's sword suspended from his neck. This the priest blessed and returned to him. Upon receiving back the sword he went and knelt before the presiding knight and took the oath of knighthood. The friends who accompanied him now came forward and handed him the spurs, the coat of mail, the armlet and gauntlet, and having put these on he girded on his sword. The presiding knight now bade him kneel, and, touching him three times on the shoulder with the flat of his sword, he pronounced the words that received him into the company of worthy knights: "In the name of God, of St. Michael, and St. George, I make thee a knight; be valiant, courteous, and loyal!" After this he received his helmet, his shield, and his spear, and the ceremony was completed.

The knight's real work, and greatest joy, was fighting for some one who needed his help. Tournaments and jousts gave them chances to show off their skill in public. We must remember that there were no big open-air theatres in those days, such as the Greeks had, no public races or trials of strength such as the Greeks held in the stadiums, nor were there chariot races or fighting gladiators such as the Romans had at an earlier day. Tournaments or jousts were the big public entertainments, and you will find a famous description of one by Sir Walter Scott in Ivanhoe, in the volume "Stories that Never Grow Old," the tournament of Ashby-de-la-Zouche. In it you will find a clear description of how the field of contest was laid out, of the magnificent pavilions decorated with flags, and the galleries spread with carpets and tapestries for the ladies.

The same qualities that made a manful fighter then, make one now: to speak the truth, to perform a promise to the utmost, to reverence all women, to be constant in love, to despise luxury, to be simple and modest and gentle in heart, to help the weak and take no unfair advantage of an inferior. This was the ideal of the age, and chivalry is the word that expresses that ideal. In all our reading we shall perhaps find no more glowing example of it as something real, than in the speech of Sir Jean de Vienne, governor of the besieged town of Calais who, when called upon by King Edward III of England to surrender unconditionally, replied:—

"We are but a small number of knights and squires, who have loyally served our lord and master as you would have done, and have suffered much ill and disquiet, but we will endure far more than any man has done in such a post, before we consent that the smallest boy in the town shall fare worse than ourselves."

And this story you can find in the volume "Tales of Courage and
Heroism," entitled "The Noble Burghers of Calais."



This great treasure-house of stories is to the English race what the stories of Ulysses and Aeneas were to the Greeks and Latins, a national inheritance of which they should be, and are, proud.

The high nobility, dauntless courage and gentle humility of Arthur and his knights have had a great effect in moulding the character of English peoples, since none of us can help trying to imitate what he admires and loves most.

As a series of pictures of life in the Middle Ages the stories are of the greatest value. The geography is confused, as it is in the Iliad and the Odyssey, and facts are sometimes mixed up with magic, but modern critics believe there was a real Arthur, who lived about the year 500 A.D.


Retold by Beatrice Clay

Long years ago, there ruled over Britain a king called Uther Pendragon. A mighty prince was he, and feared by all men; yet when he sought the love of the fair Igraine of Cornwall, she would have naught to do with him, so that, from grief and disappointment, Uther fell sick, and at last seemed like to die.

Now in those days, there lived a famous magician named Merlin, so powerful that he could change his form at will, or even make himself invisible; nor was there any place so remote that he could not reach it at once, merely by wishing himself there. One day, suddenly he stood at Uther's bedside, and said: "Sir king, I know thy grief, and am ready to help thee. Only promise to give me, at his birth, the son that shall be born to thee, and thou shalt have thy heart's desire." To this the king agreed joyfully, and Merlin kept his word: for he gave Uther the form of one whom Igraine had loved dearly, and so she took him willingly for her husband.

When the time had come that a child should be born to the king and queen, Merlin appeared before Uther to remind him of his promise; and Uther swore it should be as he had said. Three days later, a prince was born, and, with pomp and ceremony, was christened by the name of Arthur; but immediately thereafter, the king commanded that the child should be carried to the postern-gate, there to be given to the old man who would be found waiting without.

Not long after, Uther fell sick, and he knew that his end was come; so, by Merlin's advice, he called together his knights and barons, and said to them: "My death draws near. I charge you, therefore, that ye obey my son even as ye have obeyed me; and my curse upon him if he claim not the crown when he is a man grown." Then the king turned his face to the wall and died.

Scarcely was Uther laid in his grave before disputes arose. Few of the nobles had seen Arthur or even heard of him, and not one of them would have been willing to be ruled by a child; rather, each thought himself fitted to be king, and, strengthening his own castle, made war on his neighbors until confusion alone was supreme, and the poor groaned because there was none to help them.

Now when Merlin carried away Arthur—for Merlin was the old man who had stood at the postern-gate—he had known all that would happen, and had taken the child to keep him safe from the fierce barons until he should be of age to rule wisely and well, and perform all the wonders prophesied of him. He gave the child to the care of the good knight Sir Ector to bring up with his son Kay, but revealed not to him that it was the son of Uther Pendragon that was given into his charge.

At last, when years had passed and Arthur was grown a tall youth well skilled in knightly exercises, Merlin went to the Archbishop of Canterbury and advised him that he should call together at Christmas-time all the chief men of the realm to the great cathedral in London; "for," said Merlin, "there shall be seen a great marvel by which it shall be made clear to all men who is the lawful king of this land." The archbishop did as Merlin counselled. Under pain of a fearful curse, he bade the barons and knights come to London to keep the feast, and to pray heaven to send peace to the realm.

The people hastened to obey the archbishop's commands, and, from all sides, barons and knights came riding in to keep the birth-feast of Our Lord. And when they had prayed, and were coming forth from the cathedral they saw a strange sight. There, in the open space before the church, stood, on a great stone, an anvil thrust through with a sword; and on the stone were written these words: "Whoso can draw forth this sword is rightful King of Britain born."

At once there were fierce quarrels, each man clamoring to be the first to try his fortune, none doubting his success. Then the archbishop decreed that each should make the venture in turn, from the greatest baron to the least knight; and each in turn, having put forth his utmost strength, failed to move the sword one inch, and drew back ashamed. So the archbishop dismissed the company, and having appointed guards to watch over the stone, sent messengers through all the land to give word of great jousts to be held in London at Easter, when each knight could give proof of his skill and courage, and try whether the adventure of the sword was for him.

Among those who rode to London at Easter was the good Sir Ector, and with him his son, Sir Kay, newly made a knight, and the young Arthur. When the morning came that the jousts should begin, Sir Kay and Arthur mounted their horses and set out for the lists; but before they reached the field, Kay looked and saw that he had left his sword behind. Immediately Arthur turned back to fetch it for him, only to find the house fast shut, for all were gone to view the tournament. Sore vexed was Arthur, fearing lest his brother Kay should lose his chance of gaining glory, till, of a sudden, he bethought him of the sword in the great anvil before the cathedral. Thither he rode with all speed, and the guards having deserted their post to view the tournament, there was none to forbid him the adventure. He leaped from his horse, seized the hilt, and instantly drew forth the sword as easily as from a scabbard; then, mounting his horse and thinking no marvel of what he had done, he rode after his brother and handed him the weapon.

When Kay looked at it, he saw at once that it was the wondrous sword from the stone. In great joy he sought his father, and showing it to him, said: "Then must I be King of Britain." But Sir Ector bade him say how he came by the sword, and when Sir Kay told how Arthur had brought it to him, Sir Ector bent his knee to the boy, and said: "Sir, I perceive that ye are my king, and here I tender you my homage;" and Kay did as his father. Then the three sought the archbishop, to whom they related all that had happened; and he, much marvelling, called the people together to the great stone, and bade Arthur thrust back the sword and draw it forth again in the presence of all, which he did with ease. But an angry murmur arose from the barons, who cried that what a boy could do, a man could do; so, at the archbishop's word, the sword was put back, and each man, whether baron or knight, tried in his turn to draw it forth, and failed. Then, for the third time, Arthur drew forth the sword. Immediately there arose from the people a great shout: "Arthur is King! Arthur is King! We will have no King but Arthur;" and, though the great barons scowled and threatened, they fell on their knees before him while the archbishop placed the crown upon his head, and swore to obey him faithfully as their lord and sovereign.

Thus Arthur was made King; and to all he did justice, righting wrongs and giving to all their dues. Nor was he forgetful of those that had been his friends; for Kay, whom he loved as a brother, he made seneschal and chief of his household, and to Sir Ector, his foster father, he gave broad lands.


Retold by Beatrice Clay

Thus Arthur was made King, but he had to fight for his own; for eleven great kings drew together and refused to acknowledge him as their lord, and chief among the rebels was King Lot of Orkney, who had married Arthur's sister, Bellicent.

By Merlin's advice, Arthur sent for help overseas, to Ban and Bors, the two great kings who ruled in Gaul.

With their aid, he overthrew his foes in a great battle near the river Trent; and then he passed with them into their own lands and helped them drive out their enemies. So there was ever great friendship between Arthur and the Kings Ban and Bors, and all their kindred, and afterward some of the most famous Knights of the Round Table were of that kin.

Then King Arthur set himself to restore order throughout his kingdom. To all who would submit and amend their evil ways, he showed kindness; but those who persisted in oppression and wrong he removed, putting in their places others who would deal justly with the people. And because the land had become overrun with forest during the days of misrule, he cut roads through the thickets, that no longer wild beasts and men, fiercer than the beasts, should lurk in their gloom, to the harm of the weak and defenceless. Thus it came to pass that soon the peasant plowed his fields in safety, and where had been wastes, men dwelt again in peace and prosperity.

Among the lesser kings whom Arthur helped to rebuild their towns and restore order, was King Leodegrance of Cameliard. Now Leodegrance had one fair child, his daughter Guenevere; and from the first he saw her, Arthur gave her all his love. So he sought counsel of Merlin, his chief adviser. Merlin heard the king sorrowfully, and he said: "Sir king, when a man's heart is set, he may not change. Yet had it been well if ye had loved another."

So the king sent his knights to Leodegrance, to ask of him his daughter; and Leodegrance consented, rejoicing to wed her to so good and knightly a king. With great pomp, the princess was conducted to Canterbury, and there the king met her, and they two were wed by the archbishop in the great cathedral, amid the rejoicings of the people.

On that same day did Arthur found his Order of the Round Table, the fame of which was to spread throughout Christendom and endure through all time. Now the Round Table had been made for King Uther Pendragon by Merlin, who had meant thereby to set forth plainly to all men the roundness of the earth. After Uther died, King Leodegrance had possessed it; but when Arthur was wed, he sent it to him as a gift, and great was the king's joy at receiving it. One hundred and fifty knights might take their places about it, and for them Merlin made sieges or seats. One hundred and twenty-eight did Arthur knight at that great feast; thereafter, if any sieges were empty, at the high festival of Pentecost new knights were ordained to fill them, and by magic was the name of each knight found inscribed, in letters of gold, in his proper siege. One seat only long remained unoccupied, and that was the Siege Perilous. No knight might occupy it until the coming of Sir Galahad; for, without danger to his life, none might sit there who was not free from all stain of sin.

With pomp and ceremony did each knight take upon him the vows of true knighthood: to obey the king; to show mercy to all who asked it; to defend the weak; and for no worldly gain to fight in a wrongful cause: and all the knights rejoiced together, doing honor to Arthur and to his queen. Then they rode forth to right the wrong and help the oppressed, and by their aid, the king held his realm in peace, doing justice to all.


Retold by Beatrice Clay

Of Merlin and how he served King Arthur, something has been already shown. Loyal he was ever to Uther Pendragon and to his son, King Arthur, and for the latter especially he wrought great marvels. He brought the king to his rights; he made him his ships; and some say that Camelot, with its splendid halls, where Arthur would gather his knights around him at the great festivals of the year, at Christmas, at Easter, and at Pentecost, was raised by his magic, without human toil. Bleise, the aged magician who dwelt in Northumberland and recorded the great deeds of Arthur and his knights, had been Merlin's master in magic; but it came to pass in time that Merlin far excelled him in skill, so that his enemies declared no mortal was his father, and called him devil's son.

Then, on a certain time, Merlin said to Arthur: "The time draws near when ye shall miss me, for I shall go down alive into the earth; and it shall be that gladly would ye give your lands to have me again." Then Arthur was grieved, and said: "Since ye know your danger, use your craft to avoid it." But Merlin answered: "That may not be."

Now there had come to Arthur's court, a damsel of the Lady of the Lake—her whose skill in magic, some say, was greater than Merlin's own; and the damsel's name was Vivien. She set herself to learn the secrets of Merlin's art, and was ever with him, tending upon the old man, and with gentleness and tender service, winning her way to his heart; but all was a pretence, for she was weary of him and sought only his ruin, thinking it should be fame for her, by any means whatsoever, to enslave the greatest wizard of his age. And so she persuaded him to pass with her over seas into King Ban's land of Benwick, and there, one day, he showed her a wondrous rock formed by magic art. Then she begged him to enter into it, the better to declare to her its wonders; but when once he was within, by a charm that she had learned from Merlin's self, she caused the rock to shut down that never again might he come forth. Thus was Merlin's prophecy fulfilled, that he should go down into the earth alive. Much they marvelled in Arthur's court what had become of the great magician, till on a time, there rode past the stone a certain Knight of the Round Table and heard Merlin lamenting his sad fate. The knight would have striven to raise the mighty stone, but Merlin bade him not waste his labor, since none might release him save her who had imprisoned him there. Thus Merlin passed from the world through the treachery of a damsel, and thus Arthur was without aid in the days when his doom came upon him.


By Sir Thomas Malory

Merlin took up King Arthur, and rode forth with him upon the knight's horse. As they rode King Arthur said, "I have no sword." "No matter," said Merlin, "hereby is a sword that shall be yours, Sir King." So they rode till they came to a lake, which was a fair water and a broad; and in the midst of the lake King Arthur was aware of an arm clothed in white samite, that held a fair sword in the hand. "Lo," said Merlin unto the king, "yonder is the sword that I spake of." With that they saw a damsel going upon the lake. "What damsel is that?" said the king. "That is the Lady of the Lake," said Merlin, "and within that lake is a reach, and therein is as fair a place as any is on earth, and richly beseen; and this damsel will come to you anon, and then speak fair to her that she will give you that sword." Therewith came the damsel to King Arthur and saluted him, and he her again. "Damsel," said the king, "what sword is that which the arm holdeth yonder above the water? I would it were mine, for I have no sword." "Sir king," said the damsel of the lake, "that sword is mine, and if ye will give me a gift when I ask it you, ye shall have it."—"By my faith," said King Arthur, "I will give you any gift that you will ask or desire." "Well," said the damsel, "go ye into yonder barge, and row yourself unto the sword, and take it and the scabbard with you; and I will ask my gift when I see my time." So King Arthur and Merlin alighted, tied their horses to two trees, and so they went into the barge. And when they came to the sword that the hand held, King Arthur took it up by the handles, and took it with him: and the arm and the hand went under the water, and so King Arthur came to the land, and rode forth. * * * Then the king looked upon the sword, and liked it passing well. "Whether liketh you better," said Merlin, "the sword or the scabbard?" "Me liketh better the sword," said King Arthur.—"Ye are more unwise," said Merlin; "for the scabbard is worth ten of the sword; for while ye have the scabbard upon you ye shall lose no blood, be ye never so sore wounded; therefore keep well the scabbard alway with you."

* * * Then Arthur proclaimed that all the lords, knights, and gentlemen of arms, should draw unto a castle, that was called in those days Camelot, and the king would have a council-general and a great joust. So when the king was come thither, with all his baronage, and lodged as them seemed best, there came a damsel, sent on message from the great Lady Lily, of Avilion; and, when she came before King Arthur, she told him from whom she came, and how she was sent on message unto him for these causes. And she let her mantle fall, that was richly furred, and then she was girded with a noble sword, whereof the king had great marvel, and said, "Damsel, for what cause are ye gird with that sword? It beseemeth you not." "Now shall I tell you," said the damsel. "This sword, that I am gird withal, doth me great sorrow and remembrance; for I may not be delivered of this sword but by a good knight; and he must be a passing good man of his hands and of his deeds, and without villany or treachery. If I may find such a knight that hath all these virtues, he may draw out this sword of the scabbard. For I have been at King Rience; for it was told that there were passing good knights, and he and all his knights have assayed it, and none can speed."

"This is a great marvel," said King Arthur, "and if besooth, I will myself assay to draw out the sword; not presuming upon myself that I am the best knight, but that I will begin to draw at your sword, in giving example to all the barons, that they shall assay every one after other, when I have assayed." Then King Arthur took the sword by the scabbard and girdle and pulled at it eagerly, but the sword would not out. "Sir," said the damsel, "ye need not pull half so hard; for he that shall pull it out shall do it with little might." "Ye say well," said King Arthur: "now assay ye, all my barons; but beware ye be not defiled with shame, treachery, nor guile."—"Then it will not avail," said the damsel; "for he must be a clean knight, without villany, and of gentle stream of father's side and mother's side." Most of all the barons of the Round Table, that were there at that time, assayed all in turn, but none might speed. Wherefore the damsel made great sorrow out of measure, and said, "Alas! I weened in this court had been the best knights, without treachery or treason." "By my faith," said King Arthur, "here are as good knights as I deem any be in the world; but their grace is not to help you, wherefore I am greatly displeased."

It happened so, at that time, that there was a poor knight with King Arthur, that had been prisoner with him half a year and more, for slaying of a knight, which was cousin to King Arthur. The knight was named Balin le Savage: and by good means of the barons he was delivered out of prison; for he was a good man named of his body, and he was born in Northumberland. And so he went privily into the court, and saw this adventure, whereof his heart rose, and would assay it as other knights did; but for because he was poor, and poorly arrayed, he put him not far in press. But in his heart he was fully assured (if his grace happened him) as any knight that was there. And, as that damsel took her leave of King Arthur and the barons, this knight, Balin, called unto her, and said, "Damsel, I pray you of your courtesy, to suffer me as well to assay as these lords; though I be poorly clothed, in mine heart meseemeth I am fully assured as some of these other lords, and meseemeth in my heart to speed right well." The damsel beheld the poor knight, and saw he was a likely man; but, because of his poor array, she thought he should be of no worship without villany or treachery. And then she said to the knight Balin, "Sir, it is no need to put me to any more pain or labour; for beseemeth not you to speed there as others have failed." "Ah, fair damsel," said Balin, "worthiness and good graces and good deeds are not all only in raiment, but manhood and worship is hid within man's person; and many a worshipful knight is not known unto all people; and therefore worship and hardiness is not in raiment and clothing."—"By God!" said the damsel, "ye say truth; therefore ye shall assay to do what ye may." Then Balin took the sword by the girdle and scabbard, and drew it out easily; and when he looked upon the sword, it pleased him well. * * * Anon after Balin sent for his horse and his armour, and so would depart from the court, and took his leave of King Arthur.

The meanwhile that this knight was making him ready to depart, there came into the court a lady, which hight the Lady of the Lake, and she came on horseback, richly beseen, and saluted King Arthur, and there asked him a gift that he had promised her when she gave him the sword.

"That is sooth," said King Arthur, "a gift I promised you; but I have forgotten the name of the sword which ye gave me." "The name of it," said the lady, "is Excalibur; that is as much to say cut-steel."— "Ye say well," said King Arthur. "Ask what ye will, and ye shall have it, if it lie in my power to give it." "Well," said the Lady of the Lake, "I ask the head of the knight that hath won the sword, or else the damsel's head that brought it. And though I have both their heads I care not; for he slew my brother, a full good knight and true, and the gentlewoman was causer of my father's death."—"Truly," said King Arthur, "I may not grant you either of their heads with my worship; therefore ask what ye will else, and I shall fulfil your desire." "I will ask none other thing of you," said the lady. When Balin was ready to depart, he saw the Lady of the Lake there, by whose means was slain his own mother, and he had sought her three years. And when it was told him that she demanded his head of King Arthur, he went straight to her, and said, "Evil be ye found. Ye would have my head, and therefore ye shall lose yours!" And with his sword lightly he smote off her head, in the presence of King Arthur. "Alas! for shame," said the king. "Why have you done so? You have shamed me and all my court. For this was a lady that I was much beholden unto; and hither she came under my safe conduct. I shall never forgive you that trespass." "My lord," said Balin, "me forethinketh much of your displeasure; for this lady was the untruest lady living; and by her enchantment and witchcraft she hath been the destroyer of many good knights, and she was the causer that my mother was burnt, through her falsehood and treachery." Then King Arthur and all his court made great dole, and had great shame of the death of the Lady of the Lake. Then the king full richly buried her.

* * * "My time hieth fast," said King Arthur unto Sir Bedivere; "therefore take thou Excalibur, my good sword, and go with it unto yonder water-side; and when thou comest there, I charge thee, throw my sword into that water, and come again and tell me what thou shalt see there." "My lord," said Sir Bedivere, "your command shall be done, and lightly bring you word again." And so Sir Bedivere departed, and by the way he beheld that noble sword, where the pommel and the haft were all of precious stones. And then he said to himself, "If I throw this rich sword into the water, thereof shall never come good, but harm and loss." And then Sir Bedivere hid Excalibur under a tree; and as soon as he might, he came again unto King Arthur, and said he had been at the water. "What sawest thou there?" said the king. "Sir," said he, "I saw nothing but waves and wind."—"That is untruly said of thee," said King Arthur. "Therefore go thou lightly, and do my command; as thou art to me life and dear, spare not, but throw it in." Then Sir Bedivere returned again, and took the sword in his hand; and then he thought it sin and shame to throw away that noble sword: and so after he hid the sword and returned again, and told the king that he had been at the water and done his command. "What saw ye there?" said the king. "Sir," said he, "I saw nothing but the water lap and waves wan."—"Ah! traitor untrue," said King Arthur, "now hast thou betrayed me two times, who would have weened that thou that hast been unto me so self and dear, and thou art named a noble knight, and wouldest betray me for the rich sword. But now go again lightly, for thy long tarrying putteth me in great jeopardy of my life, for I have taken cold; and but if thou do as I command thee, and if ever I may see thee, I shall slay thee with mine own hands, for thou wouldest for my rich sword see me dead." Then Sir Bedivere departed and went to the sword and lightly took it up and went to the water's side, and there he bound the girdle about the belts. And then he threw the sword into the water as far as he might, and there came an arm and a hand above the water, and met it and caught it, and so shook it thrice and brandished. And then the hand vanished away with the sword in the water.

So Sir Bedivere came again to the king, and told him what he had seen. "Alas!" said the king, "help me from hence; for I dread me I have tarried over long." Then Sir Bedivere took King Arthur upon his back, and so went with him to the water's side; and, when they were at the water's side, even fast by the bank hovered a little barge, with many fair ladies in it: and among them all was a queen, and they all had black hoods; and they wept and shrieked when they saw King Arthur.

"Now put me into the barge," said the king. And so he did softly, and there received him three queens with great mourning; and so these three queens sat them down, and in one of their laps King Arthur laid his head. And then that queen said: "Ah! dear brother, why have ye tarried so long from me? Alas! this wound on your head hath taken overmuch cold." And so then they rowed from the land; and Sir Bedivere cried, "Ah! my lord Arthur, what shall become of me now ye go from me, and leave me here alone among mine enemies?" "Comfort thyself," said King Arthur, "and do as well as thou mayest; for in me is no trust for to trust in: for I will into the vale of Avilion, for to heal me of my grievous wound; and, if thou never hear more of me, pray for my soul."


Retold by Beatrice Clay

Now, as time passed, King Arthur gathered into his Order of the Round Table knights whose peers shall never be found in any age; and foremost among them all was Sir Launcelot du Lac. Such was his strength that none against whom he had lain lance in rest could keep the saddle, and no shield was proof against his sword dint; but for his courtesy even more than for his courage and strength, Sir Launcelot was famed far and near. Gentle he was and ever the first to rejoice in the renown of another; and, in the jousts, he would avoid encounter with the young and untried knight, letting him pass to gain glory if he might.

It would take a great book to record all the famous deeds of Sir Launcelot, and all his adventures. He was of Gaul, for his father; King Ban, ruled over Benwick; and some say that his first name was Galahad, and that he was named Launcelot du Lac by the Lady of the Lake, who reared him when his mother died. Early he won renown by delivering his father's people from the grim King Claudas, who, for more than twenty years, had lain waste the fair land of Benwick; then, when there was peace in his own land, he passed into Britain, to Arthur's Court, where the king received him gladly, and made him Knight of the Round Table and took him for his trustiest friend. And so it was that, when Guenevere was to be brought to Canterbury, to be married to the king, Launcelot was chief of the knights sent to wait upon her.

Now on a day, as he rode through the forest, Sir Launcelot met a damsel weeping bitterly, and seeing him, she cried, "Stay, sir knight! By your knighthood I require you to aid me in my distress." Immediately Sir Launcelot checked his horse and asked in what she needed his service. "Sir," said the maiden, "my brother lies at the point of death, for this day he fought with the stout knight, Sir Gilbert, and sorely they wounded each other; and a wise woman, a sorceress, has said that nothing may stanch my brother's wounds unless they be searched with the sword and bound up with a piece of the cloth from the body of the wounded knight who lies in the ruined chapel hard by. And well I know you, my lord Sir Launcelot, and that, if ye will not help me, none may." "Tell me your brother's name," said Sir Launcelot. "Sir Meliot de Logris," replied the damsel. "A Knight of our Round Table," said Sir Launcelot; "the more am I bound to your service. Only tell me, gentle damsel, where I may find this Chapel Perilous." So she directed him, and, riding through forest byways, Sir Launcelot came presently upon a little ruined chapel, standing in the midst of a churchyard, where the tombs showed broken and neglected under the dark yews. In front of the porch, Sir Launcelot paused and looked, for thereon hung, upside down, dishonored, the shield of many a good knight whom Sir Launcelot had known.

As he stood wondering, suddenly there pressed upon him from all sides thirty stout knights, all giants and fully armed, their drawn swords in their hands and their shields advanced. With threatening looks, they spoke to him, saying, "Sir Launcelot, it were well ye turned back before evil befell you." But Sir Launcelot, though he feared to have to do with thirty such warriors, answered boldly, "I turn not back for high words. Make them good by your deeds." Then he rode upon them fiercely, whereupon instantly they scattered and disappeared, and, sword in hand, Sir Launcelot entered the little chapel. All was dark within, save that a little lamp hung from the roof, and by its dim light he could just espy how on a bier before the altar there lay, stark and cold, a knight sheathed in armor. And drawing nearer Sir Launcelot saw that the dead man lay on a blood-stained mantle, his naked sword by his side, but that his left hand had been lopped off at the wrist by a mighty sword-cut. Then Sir Launcelot boldly seized the sword and with it cut off a piece of the bloody mantle. Immediately the earth shook and the walls of the chapel rocked, and in fear Sir Launcelot turned to go. But, as he would have left the chapel, there stood before him in the doorway a lady, fair to look upon and beautifully arrayed, who gazed earnestly upon him, and said: "Sir knight, put away from you that sword lest it be your death." But Sir Launcelot answered her: "Lady, what I have said, I do; and what I have won, I keep." "It is well," said the lady. "Had ye cast away the sword your life days were done. And now I make but one request. Kiss me once." "That may I not do," said Sir Launcelot. Then said the lady, "Go your way, Launcelot; ye have won, and I have lost. Know that, had ye kissed me, your dead body had lain even now on the altar bier. For much have I desired to win you; and to entrap you, I ordained this chapel. Many a knight have I taken, and once Sir Gawain himself hardly escaped, but he fought with Sir Gilbert and lopped off his hand, and so got away. Fare ye well; it is plain to see that none but our lady, Queen Guenevere, may have your services." With that, she vanished from his sight. So Sir Launcelot mounted his horse and rode away from that evil place till he met Sir Meliot's sister, who led him to her brother where he lay, pale as the earth, and bleeding fast. And when he saw Sir Launcelot, he would have risen to greet him; but his strength failed him, and he fell back on his couch. Sir Launcelot searched his wounds with the sword, and bound them up with the blood-stained cloth, and immediately Sir Meliot was sound and well, and greatly he rejoiced. Then Sir Meliot and his sister begged Sir Launcelot to stay and rest, but he departed on his adventures, bidding them farewell until he should meet them again at Arthur's court. As for the sorceress of the Chapel Perilous, it is said she died of grief that all her charms had failed to win for her the good knight Sir Launcelot.


Retold by Beatrice Clay

Sir Launcelot rode on his way, by marsh and valley and hill, till he chanced upon a fair castle, and saw fly from it, over his head, a beautiful falcon, with the lines still hanging from her feet. And as he looked, the falcon flew into a tree where she was held fast by the lines becoming entangled about the boughs. Immediately, from the castle there came running a fair lady, who cried: "O Launcelot, Launcelot! As ye are the noblest of all knights, I pray you help me to recover my falcon. For if my husband discover its loss, he will slay me in his anger." "Who is your husband, fair lady?" asked Sir Launcelot. "Sir Phelot, a knight of Northgalis, and he is of a hasty temper; wherefore, I beseech you, help me." "Well, lady," said Sir Launcelot, "I will serve you if I may; but the tree is hard to climb, for the boughs are few, and, in truth, I am no climber. But I will do my best." So the lady helped Sir Launcelot to unarm, and he led his horse to the foot of the tree, and springing from its back, he caught at the nearest bough, and drew himself up into the branches. Then he climbed till he reached the falcon and, tying her lines to a rotten bough, broke it off, and threw down the bird and bough to the lady below. Forthwith Sir Phelot came from among the trees and said: "Ah! Sir Launcelot! Now at length I have you as I would; for I have long sought your life." And Sir Launcelot made answer: "Surely ye would not slay me, an unarmed man; for that were dishonor to you. Keep my armor if ye will; but hang my sword on a bough where I may reach it, and then do with me as ye can." But Sir Phelot laughed mockingly and said: "Not so, Sir Launcelot. I know you too well to throw away my advantage; wherefore, shift as ye may." "Alas!" said Sir Launcelot, "that ever knight should be so unknightly. And you, madam, how could ye so betray me?" "She did but as I commanded her," said Sir Phelot.

Then Launcelot looked about him to see how he might help himself in these straits, and espying above his head a great bare branch, he tore it down. Then, ever watching his advantage, he sprang to the ground on the far side of his horse, so that the horse was between him and Sir Phelot. Sir Phelot rushed upon him with his sword, but Launcelot parried it with the bough, with which he dealt his enemy such a blow on the head that Sir Phelot sank to the ground in a swoon. Then Sir Launcelot seized his sword where it lay beside his armor, and stooping over the fallen knight, unloosed his helm. When the lady saw him do that, she shrieked and cried: "Spare his life! spare his life, noble knight, I beseech you!" But Sir Launcelot answered sternly: "A felon's death for him who does felon's deeds. He has lived too long already," and with one blow he smote off his head. Then he armed himself, and mounting upon his steed, rode away, leaving the lady to weep beside her lord.


Retold by Beatrice Clay

Gareth was the youngest of the sons of Lot and Bellicent, and had grown up long after Gawain and Mordred left their home for King Arthur's court; so that when he came before the king, all humbly attired, he was not known even by his own brothers.

King Arthur was keeping Pentecost at Kink Kenadon on the Welsh border, and, as his custom was, waited to begin the feast until some adventure should befall. Presently there was seen approaching a youth who, to the wonderment of all that saw, leaned upon the shoulders of two men, his companions; and yet as he passed up the hall, he seemed a goodly youth, tall and broad-shouldered. When he stood before the king, suddenly he drew himself up and after due greeting, said: "Sir king, I would ask of you three boons; one to be granted now and two hereafter when I shall require them." And Arthur, looking upon him, was pleased, for his countenance was open and honest. So he made answer: "Fair son, ask of me aught that is honorable and I will grant it." Then the youth said: "For this present, I ask only that ye will give me meat and drink for a year and a day." "Ye might have asked and had a better gift," replied the king; "tell me now your name." "At this time, I may not tell it," said the youth. Now King Arthur trusted every man until he proved himself unworthy, and in this youth he thought he saw one who should do nobly and win renown; so laughing, he bade him keep his own counsel since so he would, and gave him in charge to Sir Kay, the seneschal.

Now Sir Kay was but harsh to those whom he liked not, and from the first he scorned the young man. "For none," said he, "but a low-born lout would crave meat and drink when he might have asked for a horse and arms." But Sir Launcelot and Sir Gawain took the youth's part. Neither knew him for Gareth of the Orkneys, but both believed him to be a youth of good promise who, for his own reasons, would pass in disguise for a season.

So Gareth lived the year among the kitchen boys, all the time mocked and scorned by Sir Kay, who called him Fairhands because his hands were white and shapely. But Launcelot and Gawain showed him all courtesy, and failed not to observe how, in all trials of strength, he excelled his comrades, and that he was ever present to witness the feats of the knights in the tournaments.

So the year passed, and again King Arthur was keeping the feast of Pentecost with his knights, when a damsel entered the hall and asked his aid: "For," said she, "my sister is closely besieged in her castle by a strong knight who lays waste all her lands. And since I know that the knights of your court be the most renowned in the world, I have come to crave help of your mightiest." "What is your sister's name, and who is he that oppresses her?" asked the king. "The Red Knight, he is called," replied the damsel. "As for my sister, I will not say her name, only that she is a high-born lady and owns broad lands." Then the king frowned and said: "Ye would have aid but will say no name. I may not ask knight of mine to go on such an errand."

Then forth stepped Gareth from among the serving-men at the hall end and said: "Sir king, I have eaten of your meat in your kitchen this twelvemonth since, and now I crave my other two boons." "Ask and have," replied the king. "Grant me then the adventure of this damsel, and bid Sir Launcelot ride after me to knight me at my desire, for of him alone would I be made knight." "It shall be so," answered the king. "What!" cried the damsel, "I ask for a knight and ye give me a kitchen-boy. Shame on you, sir king." And in great wrath she fled from the hall, mounted her palfrey and rode away. Gareth but waited to array himself in the armor which he had kept ever in readiness for the time when he should need it, and mounting his horse, rode after the damsel.

But when Sir Kay knew what had happened, he was wroth, and got to horse to ride after Gareth and bring him back. Even as Gareth overtook the damsel, so did Kay come up with him and cried: "Turn back, Fairhands! What, sir, do ye not know me?" "Yes," answered Gareth, "I know you for the most discourteous knight in Arthur's court." Then Sir Kay rode upon him with his lance, but Gareth turned it aside with his sword and pierced Sir Kay through the side so that he fell to the ground and lay there without motion. So Gareth took Sir Kay's shield and spear and was about to ride away, when seeing Sir Launcelot draw near he called upon him to joust. At the first encounter, Sir Launcelot unhorsed Gareth, but quickly helped him to his feet. Then, at Gareth's desire, they fought together with swords, and Gareth did knightly till, at length, Sir Launcelot said, laughing: "Why should we fight any longer? Of a truth ye are a stout knight." "If that is indeed your thought, I pray you make me knight," cried Gareth. So Sir Launcelot knighted Gareth, who, bidding him farewell, hastened after the damsel, for she had ridden on again while the two knights talked. When she saw him coming, she cried: "Keep off! ye smell of the kitchen!" "Damsel," said Sir Gareth, "I must follow until I have fulfilled the adventure." "Till ye accomplish the adventure, Turn-spit? Your part in it shall soon be ended." "I can only do my best," answered Sir Gareth.

Now as they rode through the forest, they met with a knight sore beset by six thieves, and him Sir Gareth rescued. The knight then bade Gareth and the damsel rest at his castle, and entertained them right gladly until the morn, when the two rode forth again. Presently, they drew near to a deep river where two knights kept the ford. "How now, kitchen knave? Will ye fight or escape while ye may?" cried the damsel. "I would fight though there were six instead of two," replied Sir Gareth. Therewith he encountered the one knight in midstream and struck him such a blow on the head that he fell, stunned, into the water and was drowned. Then, gaining the land, Gareth cleft in two helmet and head of the other knight, and turned to the damsel, saying, "Lead on; I follow."

But the damsel mocked him, saying: "What a mischance is this that a kitchen boy should slay two noble knights! Be not overproud, Turn-spit. It was but luck, if indeed ye did not attack one knight from behind." "Say what you will, I follow," said Sir Gareth.

So they rode on again, the damsel in front and Sir Gareth behind, till they reached a wide meadow where stood many fair pavilions; and one, the largest, was all of blue, and the men who stood about it were clothed in blue, and bore shields and spears of that color; and of blue, too, were the trappings of the horses. Then said the damsel, "Yonder is the Blue Knight, the goodliest that ever ye have looked upon, and five hundred knights own him lord." "I will encounter him," said Sir Gareth; "for if he be good knight and true as ye say, he will scarce set on me with all his following; and man to man, I fear him not." "Fie!" said the damsel, "for a dirty knave, ye brag loud. And even if ye overcome him, his might is as nothing to that of the Red Knight who besieges my lady sister. So get ye gone while ye may." "Damsel," said Sir Gareth, "ye are but ungentle so to rebuke me; for, knight or knave, I have done you good service, nor will I leave this guest while life is mine." Then the damsel ashamed, and, looking curiously at Gareth, she said, "I would gladly know what manner of man ye are. For I heard you call yourself kitchen knave before Arthur's self, but ye have ever answered patiently though I have chidden you shamefully; and courtesy comes only of gentle blood." Thereat Sir Gareth but laughed, and said: "He is no knight whom a maiden can anger by harsh words."

So talking, they entered the field, and there came to Sir Gareth a messenger from the Blue Knight to ask him if he came in peace or in war. "As your lord pleases," said Sir Gareth. So when the messenger had brought back this word, the Blue Knight mounted his horse, took his spear in his hand, and rode upon Sir Gareth. At their first encounter their lances shivered to pieces, and such was the shock that their horses fell dead. So they rushed on each other with swords and shield, cutting and slashing till the armor was hacked from their bodies; but at last, Sir Gareth smote the Blue Knight to the earth. Then the Blue Knight yielded, and at the damsel's entreaty, Sir Gareth spared his life.

So they were reconciled, and, at the request of the Blue Knight, Sir Gareth and the damsel abode that night in his tents. As they sat at table, the Blue Knight said: "Fair damsel, are ye not called Linet?" "Yes," answered she, "and I am taking this noble knight to the relief of my sister, the Lady Liones." "God speed you, sir," said the Blue Knight, "for he is a stout knight whom ye must meet. Long ago might he have taken the lady, but that he hoped that Sir Launcelot or some other of Arthur's most famous knights, coming to her rescue, might fall beneath his lance. If ye overthrow him, then are ye the peer of Sir Launcelot and Sir Tristram." "Sir knight," answered Gareth, "I can but strive to bear me worthily as one whom the great Sir Launcelot made knight."

So in the morning they bade farewell to the Blue Knight, who vowed to carry to King Arthur word of all that Gareth had achieved; and they rode on till, in the evening, they came to a little ruined hermitage where there awaited them a dwarf, sent by the Lady Liones, with all manner of meats and other store. In the morning, the dwarf set out again to bear word to his lady that her rescuer was come. As he drew near the castle, the Red Knight stopped him, demanding whence he came. "Sir," said the dwarf, "I have been with my lady's sister, who brings with her a knight to the rescue of my lady." "It is lost labor," said the Red Knight; "even though she brought Launcelot or Tristram, I hold myself a match for them." "He is none of these," said the dwarf, "but he has overthrown the knights who kept the ford, and the Blue Knight yielded to him." "Let him come," said the Red Knight; "I shall soon make an end of him, and a shameful death shall he have at my hands, as many a better knight has had." So saying, he let the dwarf go.

Presently, there came riding toward the castle Sir Gareth and the damsel Linet, and Gareth marvelled to see hang from the trees some forty knights in goodly armor, their shields reversed beside them. And when he inquired of the damsel, she told him how these were the bodies of brave knights who, coming to the rescue of the Lady Liones, had been overthrown and shamefully done to death by the Red Knight. Then was Gareth shamed and angry, and he vowed to make an end of these evil practices. So at last they drew near to the castle walls, and saw how the plain around was covered with the Red Knight's tents, and the noise was that of a great army. Hard by was a tall sycamore tree, and from it hung a mighty horn, made of an elephant's tusk. Spurring his horse, Gareth rode to it, and blew such a blast that those on the castle walls heard it; the knights came forth from their tents to see who blew so bold a blast, and from a window of the castle the Lady Liones looked forth and waved her hand to her champion. Then, as Sir Gareth made his reverence to the lady, the Red Knight called roughly to him to leave his courtesy and look to himself: "For," said he, "she is mine, and to have her, I have fought many a battle." "It is but vain labor," said Sir Gareth, "since she loves you not. Know, too, sir knight, that I have vowed to rescue her from you." "So did many another who now hangs on a tree," replied the Red Knight, "and soon ye shall hang beside them," Then both laid their spears in rest, and spurred their horses. At the first encounter, each smote the other full in the shield, and the girths of the saddles bursting, they were borne to the earth, where they lay for a while as if dead. But presently they rose, and setting their shields before them, rushed upon each other with their swords, cutting and hacking till the armor lay on the ground in fragments. So they fought till noon and then rested; but soon they renewed the battle, and so furiously they fought, that often they fell to the ground together. Then, when the bells sounded for evensong, the knights rested again, unlacing their helms to breathe the evening air. But looking up to the castle windows, Gareth saw the Lady Liones gazing earnestly upon him; then he caught up his helmet, and calling to the Red Knight, bade him make ready for the battle; "And this time," said he, "we will make an end of it." "So be it," said the Red Knight. Then the Red Knight smote Gareth on the hand so that his sword flew from his grasp, and with another blow he brought him grovelling to the earth. At the sight of this, Linet cried aloud, and hearing her, Gareth, with a mighty effort, threw off the Red Knight, leaped to his sword, and got it again within his hand. Then he pressed the Red Knight harder than ever, and at the last bore him to the earth, and unlacing his helm, made ready to slay him; but the Red Knight cried aloud: "Mercy! I yield." At first, remembering the evil deaths of the forty good knights, Gareth was unwilling to spare him; but the Red Knight besought him to have mercy, telling him how, against his will, he had been bound by a vow to make war on Arthur's knights. So Sir Gareth relented, and bade him set forth at once for Kink Kenadon and entreat the king's pardon for his evil past. And this the Red Knight promised to do.

Then amid much rejoicing, Sir Gareth was borne into the castle. There his wounds were dressed by the Lady Liones, and there he rested until he recovered his strength. And having won her love, when Gareth returned to Arthur's court the Lady Liones rode with him, and they two were wed with great pomp in the presence of the whole fellowship of the Round Table; the king rejoicing much that his nephew had done so valiantly. So Sir Gareth lived happily with Dame Liones, winning fame and the love of all true knights. As for Linet, she came again to Arthur's court and wedded Sir Gareth's younger brother, Sir Gaheris.


Retold by Beatrice Clay

Many times had the Feast of Pentecost come round, and many were the knights that Arthur had made since first he founded the Order of the Round Table; yet no knight had appeared who dared claim the seat named by Merlin the Siege Perilous. At last, one vigil of the great feast, a lady came to Arthur's court at Camelot and asked Sir Launcelot to ride with her into the forest hard by, for a purpose not then to be revealed. Launcelot consenting, they rode together until they came to a nunnery hidden deep in the forest; and there the lady bade Launcelot dismount, and led him into a great and stately room. Presently there entered twelve nuns, and with them a youth, the fairest that Launcelot had ever seen. "Sir," said the nuns, "we have brought up this child in our midst, and now that he is grown to manhood, we pray you make him knight, for of none worthier could he receive the honor." "Is this thy own desire?" asked Launcelot of the young squire; and when he said that so it was, Launcelot promised to make him knight after the great festival had been celebrated in the church next day.

So on the morrow, after they had worshipped, Launcelot knighted Galahad—for that was the youth's name—and asked him if he would ride at once with him to the king's court; but the young knight excusing himself, Sir Launcelot rode back alone to Camelot, where all rejoiced that he was returned in time to keep the feast with the whole Order of the Round Table.

Now, according to his custom, King Arthur was waiting for some marvel to befall before he and his knights sat down to the banquet. Presently a squire entered the hall and said: "Sir king, a great wonder has appeared. There floats on the river a mighty stone, as it were a block of red marble, and it is thrust through by a sword, the hilt of which is set thick with precious stones." On hearing this, the king and all his knights went forth to view the stone and found it as the squire had said; moreover, looking closer, they read these words: "None shall draw me hence, but only he by whose side I must hang; and he shall be the best knight in all the world." Immediately, all bade Launcelot draw forth the sword, but he refused, saying that the sword was not for him. Then, at the king's command, Sir Gawain made the attempt and failed, as did Sir Percivale after him. So the knights knew the adventure was not for them, and returning to the hall, took their places about the Round Table.

No sooner were they seated than an aged man, clothed all in white, entered the hall, followed by a young knight in red armor, by whose side hung an empty scabbard. The old man approached King Arthur, and bowing low before him, said: "Sir, I bring you a young knight of the house and lineage of Joseph of Arimathea, and through him shall great glory be won for all the land of Britain." Greatly did King Arthur rejoice to hear this, and welcomed the two right royally. Then when the young knight had saluted the king, the old man led him to the Siege Perilous and drew off its silken cover; and all the knights were amazed, for they saw that where had been engraved the words, "The Siege Perilous," was written now in shining gold: "This is the siege of the noble prince, Sir Galahad." Straightway the young man seated himself there where none other had ever sat without danger to his life; and all who saw it said, one to another: "Surely this is he that shall achieve the Holy Grail." Now the Holy Grail was the blessed dish from which Our Lord had eaten the Last Supper, and it had been brought to the land of Britain by Joseph of Arimathea; but because of men's sinfulness, it had been withdrawn from human sight, only that, from time to time, it appeared to the pure in heart.

When all had partaken of the royal banquet, King Arthur bade Sir Galahad come with him to the river's brink; and showing him the floating stone with the sword thrust through it, told him how his knights had failed to draw forth the sword. "Sir," said Galahad, "it is no marvel that they failed, for the adventure was meant for me, as my empty scabbard shows." So saying, lightly he drew the sword from the heart of the stone, and lightly he slid it into the scabbard at his side. While all yet wondered at this adventure of the sword, there came riding to them a lady on a white palfrey who, saluting King Arthur, said: "Sir king, Nacien the hermit sends thee word that this day shall great honor be shown to thee and all thine house; for the Holy Grail shall appear in thy hall, and thou and all thy fellowship shall be fed therefrom." And to Launcelot she said: "Sir knight, thou hast ever been the best knight of all the world; but another has come to whom thou must yield precedence. "Then Launcelot answered humbly: "I know well I was never the best." "Ay, of a truth thou wast and art still, of sinful men," said she, and rode away before any could question her further.

So, that evening, when all were gathered about the Round Table, each knight in his own siege, suddenly there was heard a crash of thunder, so mighty that the hall trembled, and there flashed into the hall a sunbeam, brighter far than any that had ever before been seen; and then, draped all in white samite, there glided through the air what none might see, yet what all knew to be the Holy Grail. And all the air was filled with sweet odors, and on every one was shed a light in which he looked fairer and nobler than ever before. So they sat in an amazed silence, till presently King Arthur rose and gave thanks to God for the grace given to him and to his court. Then up sprang Sir Gawain and made his avow to follow for a year and a day the Quest of the Holy Grail, if perchance he might be granted the vision of it. Immediately other of the knights followed his example, binding themselves to the Quest of the Holy Grail until, in all, one hundred and fifty had vowed themselves to the adventure.

Then was King Arthur grieved, for he foresaw the ruin of his noble Order. And turning to Sir Gawain, he said: "Nephew, ye have done ill, for through you I am bereft of the noblest company of knights that ever brought honor to any realm in Christendom. Well I know that never again shall all of you gather in this hall, and it grieves me to lose men I have loved as my life and through whom I have won peace and righteousness for all my realm."

So the king mourned and his knights with him, but their oaths they could not recall.


Retold by Beatrice Clay

Great woe was there in Camelot next day when, after worship in the cathedral, the knights who had vowed themselves to the Quest of the Holy Grail got to horse and rode away. A goodly company it was that passed through the streets, the townfolk weeping to see them go; Sir Launcelot du Lac and his kin, Sir Galahad of whom all expected great deeds, Sir Bors and Sir Percivale, and many another scarcely less famed than they. So they rode together that day to the Castle of Vagon, where they were entertained right hospitably, and the next day they separated, each to ride his own way and see what adventures should befall him.

So it came to pass that, after four days' ride, Sir Galahad reached an abbey. Now Sir Galahad was still clothed in red armor as when he came to the king's court, and by his side hung the wondrous sword; but he was without a shield. They of the abbey received him right heartily, as also did the brave King Bagdemagus, Knight of the Round Table, who was resting there. When they had greeted each other, Sir Galahad asked King Bagdemagus what adventure had brought him there. "Sir," said Bagdemagus, "I was told that in this abbey was preserved a wondrous shield which none but the best knight in the world might bear without grievous harm to himself. And though I know well that there are better knights than I, to-morrow I purpose to make the attempt. But, I pray you, bide at this monastery awhile until you hear from me; and if I fail, do ye take the adventure upon you." "So be it," said Sir Galahad.

The next day, at their request, Sir Galahad and King Bagdemagus were led into the church by a monk and shown where, behind the altar, hung the wondrous shield, whiter than snow save for the blood-red cross in its midst. Then the monk warned them of the danger to any who, being unworthy, should dare to bear the shield. But King Bagdemagus made answer: "I know well that I am not the best knight in the world, yet will I try if I may bear it." So he hung it about his neck, and bidding farewell, rode away with his squire.

The two had not journeyed far before they saw a knight approach, armed all in white mail and mounted upon a white horse. Immediately he laid his spear in rest and, charging King Bagdemagus, pierced him through the shoulder and bore him from his horse; and standing over the wounded knight, he said: "Knight, thou hast shown great folly, for none shall bear this shield save the peerless knight, Sir Galahad." Then, taking the shield, he gave it to the squire, and said: "Bear this shield to the good Knight Galahad and greet him well from me." "What is your name?" asked the squire. "That is not for thee or any other to know." "One thing I pray you," said the squire; "why may this shield be borne by none but Sir Galahad without danger?" "Because it belongs to him only," answered the stranger knight, and vanished.

Then the squire took the shield and setting King Bagdemagus on his horse, bore him back to the abbey where he lay long, sick unto death. To Galahad the squire gave the shield and told him all that had befallen. So Galahad hung the shield about his neck and rode the way that Bagdemagus had gone the day before; and presently he met the White Knight, whom he greeted courteously, begging that he would make known to him the marvels of the red-cross shield. "That will I gladly," answered the White Knight. "Ye must know, sir knight, that this shield was made and given by Joseph of Arimathea to the good King Evelake of Sarras, that, in the might of the holy symbol, he should overthrow the heathen who threatened his kingdom. But afterward, King Evelake followed Joseph to this land of Britain, where they taught the true faith unto the people who before were heathen. Then when Joseph lay dying, he bade King Evelake set the shield in the monastery where ye lay last night, and foretold that none should wear it without loss until that day when it should be taken by the knight, ninth and last in descent from him, who should come to that place the fifteenth day after receiving the degree of knighthood. Even so has it been with you, sir knight." So saying, the unknown knight disappeared and Sir Galahad rode on his way.


Retold by Beatrice Clay

After he had left his fellows, Sir Percivale rode long through the forest until, one evening, he reached a monastery where he sought shelter for the night. The next morning, he went into the chapel to hear mass and there he espied the body of an old, old man, laid on a richly adorned couch. At first it seemed as if the aged man were dead, but presently, raising himself in his bed, he took off his crown and, delivering it to the priest, bade him place it on the altar. So when the service was concluded, Sir Percivale asked who the aged king might be. Then he was told that it was none other than King Evelake who accompanied Joseph of Arimathea to Britain. And on a certain occasion, the king had approached the Holy Grail nigher than was reverent and, for his impiety, God had punished him with blindness. Thereupon he repented and, entreating God earnestly, had obtained his petition that he should not die until he had seen the spotless knight who should be descended from him in the ninth degree. (This his desire was fulfilled later when Sir Galahad came thither; after which, he died and was buried by the good knight.)

The next day, Sir Percivale continued his journey and presently met with twenty knights who bore on a bier the body of a dead knight. When they espied Sir Percivale, they demanded of him who he was and whence he came. So he told them, whereupon they all shouted, "Slay him! slay him!" and setting upon him all at once, they killed his horse and would have slain him but that the good knight, Sir Galahad, passing that way by chance, came to his rescue and put his assailants to flight. Then Galahad rode away as fast as he might, for he would not be thanked, and Sir Percivale was left, horseless and alone, in the forest.

So Sir Percivale continued his journey on foot as well as he might; and ever the way became lonelier, until at last he came to the shores of a vast sea. There Sir Percivale abode many days, without food and desolate, doubting whether he should ever escape thence. At last it chanced that, looking out to sea, Sir Percivale descried a ship and, as it drew nearer, he saw how it was all hung with satin and velvet. Presently it reached the land and out of it there stepped a lady of marvellous beauty, who asked him how he came there; "For know," said she, "ye are like to die here by hunger or mischance." "He whom I serve will protect me," said Sir Percivale. "I know well whom ye desire most to see," said the lady. "Ye would meet with the Red Knight who bears the red-cross shield." "Ah! lady, I pray you tell me where I may find him," cried Sir Percivale. "With a good will," said the damsel; "if ye will but promise me your service when I shall ask for it, I will lead you to the knight, for I met him of late in the forest." So Sir Percivale promised gladly to serve her when she should need him. Then the lady asked him how long he had fasted. "For three days," answered Sir Percivale. Immediately she gave orders to her attendants forthwith to pitch a tent and set out a table with all manner of delicacies, and of these she invited Sir Percivale to partake, "I pray you, fair lady," said Sir Percivale, "who are ye that show me such kindness?" "Truly," said the lady, "I am but a hapless damsel, driven forth from my inheritance by a great lord whom I have chanced to displease. I implore you, sir knight, by your vows of knighthood, to give me your aid." Sir Percivale promised her all the aid he could give, and then she bade him lie down and sleep, and herself took off his helmet, and unclasped his sword-belt. So Sir Percivale slept, and when he waked, there was another feast prepared, and he was given the rarest and the strongest wines that ever he had tasted. Thus they made merry, and, when the lady begged Percivale to rest him there awhile, promising him all that ever he could desire if he would vow himself to her service, almost he forgot the quest to which he was vowed, and would have consented, but that his eye fell upon his sword where it lay. Now in the sword-hilt there was set a red cross and, seeing it, Percivale called to mind his vow, and, thinking on it, he signed him with the cross on his forehead. Instantly, the tent was overthrown and vanished in thick smoke; and she who had appeared a lovely woman disappeared from his sight in semblance of a fiend.

Then was Sir Percivale sore ashamed that almost he had yielded to the temptings of the Evil One and earnestly he prayed that his sin might be forgiven him. Thus he remained in prayer far into the night, bewailing his weakness; and when the dawn appeared, a ship drew nigh the land. Sir Percivale entered into it, but could find no one there; so commending himself to God, he determined to remain thereon, and was borne over the seas for many days, he knew not whither.


Retold by Beatrice Clay

Among the knights vowed to the Quest of the Holy Grail was Sir Bors, one of the kin of Sir Launcelot, a brave knight and pious. He rode through the forest many a day, making his lodging most often under a leafy tree, though once on his journey he stayed at a castle, that he might do battle for its lady against a felon knight who would have robbed and oppressed her.

So, on a day, as he rode through the forest, Sir Bors came to the parting of two ways. While he was considering which he should follow, he espied two knights driving before them a horse on which was stretched, bound and naked, none other than Sir Bors' own brother, Sir Lionel; and, from time to time, the two false knights beat him with thorns so that his body was all smeared with blood, but, so great was his heart, Sir Lionel uttered never a word. Then, in great wrath, Sir Bors laid his lance in rest and would have fought the felon knights to rescue his brother, but that, even as he spurred his horse, there came a bitter cry from the other path and, looking round, he saw a lady being dragged by a knight into the darkest part of the forest where none might find and rescue her. When she saw Sir Bors, she cried to him: "Help me! sir knight, help me! I beseech you by your knighthood." Then Sir Bors was much troubled, for he would not desert his brother; but bethinking him that ever a woman must be more helpless than a man, he wheeled his horse, rode upon her captor, and beat him to the earth. The damsel thanked him earnestly and told him how the knight was her own cousin, who had that day carried her off by craft from her father's castle. As they talked, there came up twelve knights who had been seeking the lady everywhere; so to their care Sir Bors delivered her, and rode with haste in the direction whither his brother had been borne. On the way, he met with an old man, dressed as a priest, who asked him what he sought. When Sir Bors had told him, "Ah! Bors," said he, "I can give you tidings indeed. Your brother is dead;" and parting the bushes, he showed him the body of a dead man, to all seeming Sir Lionel's self. Then Sir Bors grieved sorely, misdoubting almost whether he should not rather have rescued his own brother; and at the last, he dug a grave and buried the dead man; then he rode sorrowfully on his way.

When he had ridden many days, he met with a yeoman whom he asked if there were any adventures in those parts. "Sir," said the man, "at the castle, hard by, they hold a great tournament." Sir Bors thanked him and rode along the way pointed out to him; and presently, as he passed a hermitage, whom should he see sitting at its door but his brother, Sir Lionel, whom he had believed dead.

Then in great joy, he leaped from his horse, and running to Lionel, cried: "Fair brother, how came ye hither?" "Through no aid of yours," said Sir Lionel angrily; "for ye left me bound and beaten, to ride to the rescue of a maiden. Never was brother so dealt with by brother before. Keep you from me as ye may!" When Sir Bors understood that his brother would slay him, he knelt before him entreating his pardon. Sir Lionel took no heed, but mounting his horse and taking his lance, cried: "Keep you from me, traitor! Fight, or die!" And Sir Bors moved not; for to him it seemed a sin most horrible that brother should fight with brother. Then Sir Lionel, in his rage, rode his horse at him, bore him to the ground and trampled him under the horse's hoofs, till Bors lay beaten to the earth in a swoon. Even so, Sir Lionel's anger was not stayed; for, alighting, he drew his sword and would have smitten off his brother's head, but that the holy hermit, hearing the noise of conflict, ran out of the hermitage and threw himself upon Sir Bors. "Gentle knight," he cried, "have mercy upon him and on thyself; for of the sin of slaying thy brother, thou couldst never be quit." "Sir priest," said Lionel, "if ye leave him not, I shall slay you too." "It were a lesser sin than to slay thy brother," answered the hermit. "So be it," cried Lionel, and with one blow struck off the hermit's head. Then he would have worked his evil will upon his brother too, but that, even as he was unlacing Sir Bors' helm to cut off his head, there rode up the good knight Sir Colgrevance, a fellow of the Round Table. When he saw the dead hermit and was aware how Lionel sought the life of Bors, he was amazed, and springing from his horse, ran to Lionel and dragged him back from his brother. "Do ye think to hinder me?" said Sir Lionel. "Let come who will, I will have his life." "Ye shall have to do with me first," cried Colgrevance. Therewith, they took their swords, and, setting their shields before them, rushed upon each other. Now Sir Colgrevance was a good knight, but Sir Lionel was strong and his anger added to his strength. So long they fought that Sir Bors had time to recover from his swoon, and raising himself with pain on his elbow, saw how the two fought for his life; and as it seemed, Sir Lionel would prevail, for Sir Colgrevance grew weak and weary. Sir Bors tried to get to his feet, but so weak he was, he could not stand; and Sir Colgrevance, seeing him stir, called on him to come to his aid, for he was in mortal peril for his sake. But even as he called, Sir Lionel cut him to the ground, and, as one possessed, rushed upon his brother to slay him. Sir Bors entreated him for mercy, and when he would not, sorrowfully he took his sword, saying: "Now, God forgive me, though I defend my life against my brother."

Immediately there was heard a voice saying, "Flee, Bors, and touch not thy brother;" and at the same time, a fiery cloud burned between them, so that their shields glowed with the flame, and both knights fell to the earth. But the voice came again, saying, "Bors, leave thy brother and take thy way to the sea. There thou shalt meet Sir Percivale." Then Sir Bors made ready to obey, and, turning to Lionel, said: "Dear brother, I pray you forgive me for aught in which I have wronged you." "I forgive you," said Sir Lionel, for he was too amazed terrified to keep his anger.

So Sir Bors continued his journey, and at the last, coming to the sea-shore, he espied a ship draped all with white samite, and entering thereon, he saw Sir Percivale, and much they rejoiced them in each other's company.


Retold by Beatrice Clay

After Sir Launcelot had parted from his fellows at the Castle of Vagon, he rode many days through the forest without adventure, till he chanced upon a knight close by a little hermitage in the wood. Immediately, as was the wont of errant knights, they prepared to joust, and Launcelot, whom none before had overthrown, was borne down, man and horse, by the stranger knight. Thereupon a nun, who dwelt in the hermitage, cried: "God be with thee, best knight in all this world," for she knew the victor for Sir Galahad. But Galahad, not wishing to be known, rode swiftly away; and presently Sir Launcelot got to horse again and rode slowly on his way, shamed and doubting sorely in his heart whether this quest was meant for him.

When night fell, he came to a great stone cross which stood at the parting of the way and close by a little ruined chapel. So Sir Launcelot, being minded to pass the night there, alighted, fastened his horse to a tree and hung his shield on a bough. Then he drew near to the little chapel, and wondered to see how, all ruinous though it was, yet within was an altar hung with silk and a great silver candlestick on it; but when he sought entrance, he could find none and, much troubled in his mind, he returned to his horse where he had left it, and unlacing his helm and ungirding his sword, laid him down to rest.

Then it seemed to Sir Launcelot that, as he lay between sleeping and waking, there passed him two white palfreys bearing a litter wherein was a sick knight, who cried: "Sweet Lord, when shall I be pardoned all my transgressions, and when shall the holy vessel come to me, to cure me of my sickness?" And instantly it seemed that the great candlestick came forth of itself from the chapel, floating through the air before a table of silver on which was the Holy Grail. Thereupon, the sick knight raised himself, and on his bended knees he approached so nigh that he kissed the holy vessel; and immediately he cried: "I thank Thee, sweet Lord, that I am healed of my sickness." And all the while Sir Launcelot, who saw this wonder, felt himself held that he could not move. Then a squire brought the stranger knight his weapons, in much joy that his lord was cured. "Who think ye that this knight may be who remains sleeping when the holy vessel is so near?" said the knight. "In truth," said the squire, "he must be one that is held by the bond of some great sin. I will take his helm and his sword, for here have I brought you all your armor save only these two." So the knight armed him from head to foot, and taking Sir Launcelot's horse, rode away with his squire. On the instant, Sir Launcelot awoke amazed, not knowing whether he had dreamed or not; but while he wondered, there came a terrible voice, saying: "Launcelot, arise and leave this holy place." In shame, Sir Launcelot turned to obey, only to find horse and sword and shield alike vanished. Then, indeed, he knew himself dishonored. Weeping bitterly, he made the best of his way on foot, until he came to a cell where a hermit was saying prayer. Sir Launcelot knelt too, and, when all was ended, called to the hermit, entreating him for counsel. "With good will," said the hermit. So Sir Launcelot made himself known and told the hermit all, lamenting how his good fortune was turned to wretchedness and his glory to shame; and truly, the hermit was amazed that Sir Launcelot should be in such case. "Sir," said he, "God has given you manhood and strength beyond all other knights; and more are ye bounden to his service." "I have sinned," said Sir Launcelot; "for in all these years of my knighthood, I have done everything for the honor and glory of my lady and naught for my Maker; and little thank have I given to God for all his benefits to me." Then the holy man gave Sir Launcelot good counsel and made him rest there that night; and the next day he gave him a horse, a sword and a helmet, and bade him go forth and bear himself knightly as the servant of God.


Retold by Beatrice Clay

For many days after he bad left the hermitage, Sir Launcelot rode through the forest, but there came to him no such adventures as had befallen him on other quests to the increase of his fame. At last, one night-tide, he came to the shores of a great water and there he lay down to sleep; but as he slept, a voice called on him: "Launcelot, arise, put on thine armor and go on thy way until thou comest to a ship. Into that thou shalt enter." Immediately, Sir Launcelot started from his sleep to obey, and, riding along the shore, came presently to a ship beached on the strand; no sooner had he entered it, than the ship was launched—how, he might not know. So the ship sailed before the wind for many a day. No mortal was on it, save only Sir Launcelot, yet were all his needs supplied. Then, at last, the ship ran ashore at the foot of a great castle; and it was midnight. Sir Launcelot waited not for the dawn, but, his sword gripped in his hand, sprang ashore, and then right before him, he saw a postern where the gate stood open indeed, but two grisly lions kept the way. And when Sir Launcelot would have rushed upon the great beasts with his sword, it was struck from his hands, and a voice said: "Ah! Launcelot, ever is thy trust in thy might rather than thy Maker!" Sore ashamed, Sir Launcelot took his sword and thrust it back into the sheath, and going forward, he passed unhurt through the gateway, the lions that kept it falling back from his path. So without more adventure, Launcelot entered into the castle; and there he saw how every door stood open, save only one, and that was fast barred, nor, with all his force, might he open it. Presently from the chamber within came the sound of a sweet voice in a holy chant, and then in his heart Launcelot knew that he was come to the Holy Grail. So, kneeling humbly, he prayed that to him might be shown some vision of that he sought. Forthwith the door flew open and from the chamber blazed a light such as he had never known before; but when he made to enter, a voice cried: "Launcelot, forbear," and sorrowfully he withdrew. Then where he knelt, far even from the threshold of the wondrous room, he saw a silver table and, on it, covered with red samite, the Holy Grail. At sight of that which he had sought so long, his joy became so great that, unmindful of the warning, he advanced into the room and drew nigh even to the table itself. Then on the instant there burst between him and it a blaze of light, and he fell to the ground. There he lay, nor might he move nor utter any sound; only he was aware of hands busy about him which bore him away from the chamber.

For four-and-twenty days Sir Launcelot lay as in a trance. At the end of that time he came to himself, and found those about him that had tended him in his swoon. These, when they had given him fresh raiment, brought him to the aged king—Pelles was his name—that owned that castle. The king entertained him right royally, for he knew of the fame of Sir Launcelot; and long he talked with him of his quest and of the other knights who followed it, for he was of a great age and knew much of men. At the end of four days he spoke to Sir Launcelot, bidding him return to Arthur's court: "For," said he, "your quest is ended here, and all that ye shall see of the Holy Grail ye have seen." So Launcelot rode on his way, grieving for the sin that hindered him from the perfect vision of the Holy Grail, but thanking God for that which he had seen. So in time he came to Camelot, and told to Arthur all that had befallen him.


Retold by Beatrice Clay

After he had rescued Sir Percivale from the twenty knights who beset him, Sir Galahad rode on his way till nightfall, when he sought shelter at a little hermitage. Thither there came in the night a damsel who desired to speak with Sir Galahad; so he arose and went to her. "Galahad," said she, "arm you and mount your horse and follow me, for I am come to guide you in your quest." So they rode together until they had come to the seashore, and there the damsel showed Galahad a great ship into which he must enter. Then she bade him farewell, and he, going on to the ship, found there already the good knights Sir Bors and Sir Percivale, who made much joy of the meeting. They abode in that ship until they had come to the castle of King Pelles, who welcomed them right gladly. Then, as they all sat at supper that night, suddenly the hall was filled with a great light, and the holy vessel appeared in their midst, covered all in white samite. While they all rejoiced, there came a voice, saying: "My knights whom I have chosen, ye have seen the holy vessel dimly. Continue your journey to the city of Sarras and there the perfect Vision shall be yours."

Now in the city of Sarras had dwelt long time Joseph of Arimathea, teaching its people the true faith, before ever he came into the land of Britain; but when Sir Galahad and his fellows came there after long voyage, they found it ruled by a heathen king named Estorause, who cast them into a deep dungeon. There they were kept a year, but at the end of that time, the tyrant died. Then the great men of the land gathered together to consider who should be their king; and, while they were in council, came a voice bidding them take as their king the youngest of the three knights whom Estorause had thrown into prison.

So in fear and wonder they hastened to the prison, and, releasing the three knights, made Galahad king as the voice had bidden them.

[Illustration: THERE CAME AN ARM AND A HAND ABOVE THE WATER. From the painting by Walter Crane.]

Thus Sir Galahad became king of the famous city of Sarras, in far Babylon. He had reigned a year when, one morning early, he and the other two knights, his fellows, went into the chapel, and there they saw, kneeling in prayer, an aged man, robed as a bishop and round him hovered many angels. The knights fell on their knees in awe and reverence, whereupon he that seemed a bishop turned to them and said: "I am Joseph of Arimathea, and I am come to show you the perfect Vision of the Holy Grail." On the instant there appeared before them, without veil or cover, the holy vessel, in a radiance of light such as almost blinded them. Sir Bors and Sir Percivale, when at length they were recovered from the brightness of that glory, looked up to find that the holy Joseph and the wondrous vessel had passed from their sight. Then they Went to Sir Galahad where he still knelt as in prayer, and behold, he was dead; for it had been with him even as he had prayed; in the moment when he had seen the vision, his soul had gone back to God.

So the two knights buried him in that far city, themselves mourning and all the people with them. And immediately after, Sir Percivale put off his arms and took the habit of a monk, living a devout and holy life until, a year and two months later, he also died and was buried near Sir Galahad. Then Sir Bors armed him, and bidding farewell to the city, sailed away until, after many weeks, he came again to the land of Britain. There he took horse, and stayed not till he had come to Camelot. Great was the rejoicing of Arthur and all his knights when Sir Bors was once more among them. When he had told all the adventures which had befallen him and the good knights, his companions, all who heard were filled with amaze. But the king, he caused the wisest clerks in the land to write in great books this Quest of the Holy Grail, that the fame of it should endure unto all time.


Retold by Beatrice Clay

At last, the Quest of the Holy Grail was ended, and by ones and twos the knights came back to Camelot, though many who had set out so boldly were never seen again about the Round Table.

Great was the joy of King Arthur when Sir Launcelot and Sir Bors returned, for, so long had they been away, that almost he had feared that they had perished. In their honor there was high festival for many days in London, where Arthur then had his court; and the king made proclamation of a great tournament that he would hold at Camelot, when he and the King of Nortgalis would keep the lists against all comers.

So, one fair morning of spring, King Arthur made ready to ride to Camelot and all his knights with him, save Launcelot who excused himself, saying that an old wound hindered him from riding. But when the king, sore vexed, had departed, the queen rebuked Sir Launcelot, and bade him go and prove his great prowess as of old. "Madam," said Sir Launcelot, "in this, as in all else, I obey you; at your bidding I go, but know that in this tournament I shall adventure me in other wise than ever before."

The next day, at dawn, Sir Launcelot mounted his horse and, riding forth unattended, journeyed all that day till, as evening fell, he reached the little town of Astolat, and there, at the castle, sought lodgment for that night. The old Lord of Astolat was glad at his coming, judging him at once to be a noble knight, though he knew him not, for it was Sir Launcelot's will to remain unknown.

So they went to supper, Sir Launcelot and the old lord, his son, Sir Lavaine, and his daughter Elaine, whom they of the place called the Fair Maid of Astolat. As they sat at meat, the baron asked Sir Launcelot if he rode to the tournament. "Yea," answered Launcelot; "and right glad should I be if, of your courtesy, ye would lend me a shield without device." "Right willingly," said his host; "ye shall have my son Sir Tirre's shield. He was but lately made knight and was hurt in his first encounter, so his shield is bare enough. If ye will take with you my young son, Sir Lavaine, he will be glad to ride in the company of so noble a knight and will do you such service as he may." "I shall be glad indeed of his fellowship," answered Sir Launcelot courteously.

Now it seemed to the fair Elaine that never had she beheld so noble a knight as this stranger; and seeing that he was as gentle and courteous as he was strong, she said to him: "Fair knight, will ye wear my favor at this tournament? For never have I found knight yet to wear my crimson sleeve, and sure am I that none other could ever win it such honor." "Maiden," said Sir Launcelot, "right gladly would I serve you in aught; but it has never been my custom to wear lady's favor." "Then shall it serve the better for disguise," answered Elaine. Sir Launcelot pondered her words, and at last he said; "Fair maiden, I will do for you what I have done for none, and will wear your favor." So with great glee, she brought it him, a crimson velvet sleeve embroidered with great pearls, and fastened it in his helmet. Then Sir Launcelot begged her to keep for him his own shield until after the tournament, when he would come for it again and tell them his name.

The next morn Sir Launcelot took his departure with Sir Lavaine and, by evening, they were come to Camelot. Forthwith Sir Lavaine led Sir Launcelot to the house of a worthy burgher, where he might stay in privacy, undiscovered by those of his acquaintance. Then, when at dawn the trumpets blew, they mounted their horses and rode to a little wood hard by the lists, and there they abode some while; for Sir Launcelot would take no part until he had seen which side was the stronger. So they saw how King Arthur sat high on a throne to overlook the combat, while the King of Northgalis and all the fellowship of the Round Table held the lists against their opponents led by King Anguish of Ireland and the King of Scots.

Then it soon appeared that the two kings with all their company could do but little against the Knights of the Round Table, and were sore pressed to maintain their ground. Seeing this, Sir Launcelot said to Sir Lavaine: "Sir knight, will ye give me your aid if I go to the rescue of the weaker side? For it seems to me they may not much longer hold their own unaided." "Sir," answered Lavaine, "I will gladly follow you and do what I may." So the two laid their lances in rest and charged into the thickest of the fight and, with one spear, Sir Launcelot bore four knights from the saddle. Lavaine, too, did nobly, for he unhorsed the bold Sir Bedivere and Sir Lucan the Butler. Then with their swords they smote lustily on the left hand and on the right, and those whom they had come to aid rallying to them, they drove the Knights of the Round Table back a space. So the fight raged furiously, Launcelot ever being in the thickest of the press and performing such deeds of valor, that all marvelled to see him, and would fain know who was the Knight of the Crimson Sleeve. But the knights of Arthur's court felt shame of their discomfiture, and, in especial, those of Launcelot's kin were wroth that one should appear who seemed mightier even than Launcelot's self. So they called to each other and, making a rally, directed all their force against the stranger knight who had so turned the fortunes of the day. With lances in rest, Sir Lionel, Sir Bors, and Sir Ector, bore down together upon Sir Launcelot, and Sir Bors' spear pierced Sir Launcelot and brought him to the earth, leaving the spear head broken off in his side. This Sir Lavaine saw, and immediately, with all his might, he rode upon the King of Scots, unhorsed him and took his horse to Sir Launcelot. Now Sir Launcelot felt as he had got his death-wound, but such was his spirit that he was resolved to do some great deed while yet his strength remained. So, with Lavaine's aid, he got upon the horse, took a spear and laying it in rest, bore down, one after the other, Sir Bors, Sir Lionel, and Sir Ector. Next he flung himself into the thickest of the fight, and before the trumpets sounded the signal to cease, he had unhorsed thirty good knights. Then the Kings of Scotland and Ireland came to Sir Launcelot and said: "Sir knight, we thank you for the service done us this day. And now, we pray you, come with us to receive the prize which is rightly yours; for never have we seen such deeds as ye have done this day." "My fair lords," answered Sir Launcelot, "for aught that I have accomplished, I am like to pay dearly; I beseech you, suffer me to depart." With these words, he rode away full gallop, followed by Sir Lavaine; and when he had come to a little wood, he called Lavaine to him, saying: "Gentle knight, I entreat you, draw forth this spear head, for it nigh slayeth me." "Oh! my dear lord," said Lavaine, "I fear sore to draw it forth lest ye die." "If ye love me, draw it out," answered Launcelot. So Lavaine did as he was bidden, and, with a deathly groan, Sir Launcelot fell in a swoon to the ground. When he was a little recovered, he begged Lavaine to help him to his horse and lead him to a hermitage hard by where dwelt a hermit who, in bygone days, had been known to Launcelot for a good knight and true. So with pain and difficulty they journeyed to the hermitage, Lavaine oft fearing that Sir Launcelot would die. And when the hermit saw Sir Launcelot, all pale and besmeared with blood, he scarce knew him for the bold Sir Launcelot du Lac; but he bore him within and dressed his wounds and bade him be of good cheer, for he should recover. So there Sir Launcelot abode many weeks and Sir Lavaine with him; for Lavaine would not leave him, such love had he for the good knight he had taken for his lord.

Now when it was known that the victorious knight had departed from the field sore wounded, Sir Gawain vowed to go in search of him. So it chanced that, in his wanderings, he came to Astolat, and there he had a hearty welcome of the Lord of Astolat, who asked him for news of the tournament. Then Sir Gawain related how two stranger knights, bearing white shields, had won great glory, and in especial one, who wore in his helm a crimson sleeve, had surpassed all others in knightly prowess. At these words, the fair Elaine cried aloud with delight. "Maiden," said Gawain, "know ye this knight?" "Not his name," she replied; "but full sure was I that he was a noble knight when I prayed him to wear my favor." Then she showed Gawain the shield which she had kept wrapped in rich broideries, and immediately Sir Gawain knew it for Launcelot's. "Alas!" cried he, "without doubt it was Launcelot himself that we wounded to the death. Sir Bors will never recover the woe of it."

Then, on the morrow, Sir Gawain rode to London to tell the court how the stranger knight and Launcelot were one; but the Fair Maid of Astolat rose betimes, and having obtained leave of her father, set out to search for Sir Launcelot and her brother Lavaine. After many journeyings, she came, one day, upon Lavaine exercising his horse in a field, and by him she was taken to Sir Launcelot. Then, indeed, her heart was filled with grief when she saw the good knight to whom she had given her crimson sleeve thus laid low; so she abode in the hermitage, waiting upon Sir Launcelot and doing all within her power to lessen his pain.

After many weeks, by the good care of the hermit and the fair Elaine, Sir Launcelot was so far recovered that he might bear the weight of his armor and mount his horse again. Then, one morn, they left the hermitage and rode all three, the Fair Maid, Sir Launcelot, and Sir Lavaine, to the castle of Astolat, where there was much joy of their coming. After brief sojourn, Sir Launcelot desired to ride to court, for he knew there would be much sorrow among his kinsmen for his long absence. But when he would take his departure, Elaine cried aloud: "Ah! my lord, suffer me to go with you, for I may not bear to lose you." "Fair child," answered Sir Launcelot gently, "that may not be. But in the days to come, when ye shall love and wed some good knight, for your sake I will bestow upon him broad lands and great riches; and at all times will I hold me ready to serve you as a true knight may." Thus spoke Sir Launcelot, but the fair Elaine answered never a word.

So Sir Launcelot rode to London where the whole court was glad of his coming; but from the day of his departure, the Fair Maid drooped and pined until, when ten days were passed, she felt that her end was at hand. So she sent for her father and two brothers, to whom she said gently: "Dear father and brethren, I must now leave you." Bitterly they wept, but she comforted them all she might, and presently desired of her father a boon. "Ye shall have what ye will," said the old lord; for he hoped that she might yet recover. Then first she required her brother, Sir Tirre, to write a letter, word for word as she said it; and when it was written, she turned to her father and said: "Kind father, I desire that, when I am dead, I may be arrayed in my fairest raiment, and placed on a bier; and let the bier be set within a barge, with one to steer it until I be come to London, Then, perchance, Sir Launcelot will come and look upon me with kindness." So she died, and all was done as she desired; for they set her, looking as fair as a lily, in a barge all hung with black, and an old dumb man went with her as helmsman.

Slowly the barge floated down the river until it had come to Westminster; and as it passed under the palace walls, it chanced that King Arthur and Queen Guenevere looked forth from a window. Marvelling much at the strange sight, together they went forth to the quay, followed by many of the knights. Then the king espied the letter clasped in the dead maiden's hand, and drew it forth gently and broke the seal. And thus the letter ran: "Most noble knight, Sir Launcelot, I, that men called the Fair Maid of Astolat, am come hither to crave burial at thy hands for the sake of the unrequited love I gave thee. As thou art peerless knight, pray for my soul."

Then the king bade fetch Sir Launcelot, and when he was come, he showed him the letter. And Sir Launcelot, gazing on the dead maiden, was filled with sorrow. "My lord Arthur," he said, "for the death of this dear child I shall grieve my life long. Gentle she was and loving, and much was I beholden to her; but what she desired I could not give." "Yet her request now thou wilt grant, I know," said the king, "for ever thou art kind and courteous to all." "It is my desire," answered Sir Launcelot.

So the Maid of Astolat was buried in the presence of the king and queen and of the fellowship of the Round Table, and of many a gentle lady who wept, that time, the fair child's fate. Over her grave was raised a tomb of white marble, and on it was sculptured the shield of Sir Launcelot; for, when he had heard her whole story, it was the king's will that she that in life had guarded the shield of his noblest knight, should keep it also in death.


Mabinogion means Tales, and it is the name given to the collection of popular tales belonging to the people of Wales. The Welsh is a very old language, one of the oldest in Europe, with poems dating from the sixth century. It is so much a spoken language, and so little a printed language, that it was only in recent years that the tales were translated into English by Lady Charlotte Guest. The following stories have been retold from her text.


By Lady Charlotte Guest

King Arthur was at Caerleon upon Usk; and one day he sat in his chamber, and with him were Owain, the son of Urien, and Kynon the son of Clydno, and Kay the son of Kyner, and Guenevere and her handmaidens at needlework by the window. In the centre of the chamber King Arthur sat, upon a seat of green rushes, over which was spread a covering of flame-covered satin, and a cushion of red satin was under his elbow.

Then Arthur spoke. "If I thought you would not disparage me," said he, "I would sleep while I wait for my repast; and you can entertain one another with relating tales, and can obtain a flagon of mead and some meat from Kay." And the king went to sleep. And Kynon the son of Clydno asked Kay for that which Arthur had promised them. "I too will have the good tale which he promised me," said Kay. "Nay," answered Kynon; "fairer will it be for thee to fulfil Arthur's behest in the first place, and then we will tell thee the best tale that we know." So Kay went to the kitchen and to the mead-cellar, and returned, bearing a flagon of mead, and a golden goblet, and a handful of skewers, upon which were broiled slices of meat. They ate the collops, and began to drink the mead. "Now," said Kay, "it is time for you to give me my story." "Kynon," said Owain, "do thou pay to Kay the tale that is his due." "I will do so," answered Kynon.

"I was the only son of my mother and father, and I was exceedingly aspiring, and my daring was very great. I thought there was no enterprise in the world too mighty for me: and after I had achieved all the adventures that were in my own country I equipped myself, and set forth to journey through deserts and distant regions. And at length it chanced that I came to the fairest valley in the world, wherein were trees all of equal growth; and a river ran through the valley, and a path was by the side of the river. I followed the path until midday, and continued my journey along the remainder of the valley until the evening; and at the extremity of the plain I came to a large and lustrous castle, at the foot of which was a torrent. I approached the castle, and there I beheld two youths with yellow curling hair, each with a frontlet of gold upon his head, and clad in a garment of yellow satin; and they had gold clasps upon their insteps. In the hand of each of them was an ivory bow, strung with the sinews of the stag, and their arrows and their shafts were of the bone of the whale, and were winged with peacock's feathers. The shafts also had golden heads. They had daggers with blades of gold, with hilts of the bone of the whale, and they were shooting at a mark.

"A little away from them I saw a man in the prime of life, with his beard newly shorn, clad in a robe and mantle of yellow satin, and round the top of his mantle was a band of gold lace. On his feet were shoes of variegated leather, fastened by two bosses of gold. When I saw him I went towards him and saluted him; and such was his courtesy, that he no sooner received my greeting than he returned it. And he went with me towards the castle. Now there were no dwellers in the castle, except those who were in one hall. There I saw four and twenty damsels, embroidering satin at a window. And this I tell thee, Kay, that the least fair of them was fairer than the fairest maid thou didst ever behold in the island of Britain; and the least lovely of them was more lovely than Guenevere, the wife of Arthur, when she appeared loveliest, at the feast of Easter. They rose up at my coming, and six of them took my horse, and divested me of my armor, and six others took my arms and washed them in a vessel till they were perfectly bright. And the third six spread cloths upon the tables, and prepared meat. And the fourth six took off my soiled garments, and placed others upon me, namely, an under vest and a doublet of fine linen, and a robe and a surcoat, and a mantle of yellow satin, with a broad gold band upon the mantle. And they placed cushions both beneath and around me, with coverings of red linen. And I sat down. Now the six maidens who had taken my horse unharnessed him as well as if they had been the best squires in the island of Britain.

"Then behold they brought bowls of silver, wherein was water to wash, and towels of linen, some green and some white; and I washed. And in a little while the man sat down at the table. I sat next to him, and below me sat all the maidens, except those who waited on us. The table was of silver, and the cloths upon the table were of linen. No vessel was served upon the table that was not either of gold or of silver or of buffalo horn, and our meat was brought to us. And verily, Kay, I saw there every sort of meat and every sort of liquor that I ever saw elsewhere; but the meat and the liquor were better served there than I ever saw them in any other place.

"Until the repast was half over, neither the man nor any one of the damsels spoke a single word to me; but when the man perceived that it would be more agreeable for me to converse than to eat any more, he began to inquire of me who I was. I told the man who I was, and what was the cause of my journey, and said that I was seeking whether any one was superior to me, or whether I could gain mastery over all. The man looked upon me, and smiled and said, 'If I did not fear to do thee a mischief, I would show thee that which thou seekest.' Then I desired him to speak freely. And he said: 'Sleep here to-night, and in the morning arise early, take the road upwards through the valley, until thou reachest the wood. A little way within the wood thou wilt come to a large sheltered glade, with a mound in the centre, and thou wilt see a black man of great stature on the top of the mound. He has but one foot, and one eye in the middle of his forehead. He is the wood-ward of that wood. Thou wilt see a thousand wild animals grazing around him. Inquire of him the way out of the glade, and he will reply to thee briefly, and will point out the road by which thou shalt find that which thou art in quest of.'

"Long seemed that night to me. The next morning I arose and equipped myself, mounted my horse, and proceeded straight through the valley to the wood, and at length I arrived at the glade. The black man was there, sitting upon the top of the mound; and I was three times more astonished at the number of wild animals that I beheld than the man had said I should be. I inquired of him the way, and he asked me roughly whither I would go. When I had told him who I was and what I sought, 'Take,' said he, 'that path that leads toward the head of the glade, and there thou wilt find an open space like to a large valley, and in the midst of it a tall tree. Under this tree is a fountain, and by the side of the fountain a marble slab, and on the marble slab a silver bowl, attached by a chain of silver, that it may not be carried away. Take the bowl and throw a bowlful of water on the slab. If thou dost not find trouble in that adventure, thou needest not seek it during the rest of thy life'

"So I journeyed on until I reached the summit of the steep. And there I found everything as the black man had described it to me. I went up to the tree, and beneath it I saw the fountain, and by its side the marble slab, and the silver bowl fastened by the chain. Then I took the bowl, and cast a bowlful of water upon the slab. Immediately I heard a mighty peal of thunder, so that heaven and earth seemed to tremble with its fury. And after the thunder came a shower; and of a truth I tell thee, Kay, that it was such a shower as neither man nor beast could endure and live. I turned my horse's flank toward the shower, and placed the point of my shield over his head and neck, while I held the upper part of it over my own neck. And thus I withstood the shower. Presently the sky became clear, and with that, behold, the birds lighted upon the tree, and sang. Truly, Kay, I never heard any melody equal to that, either before or since. And when I was most charmed with listening to the birds, lo! a chiding voice was heard of one approaching me, and saying: 'O knight, what has brought thee hither? What evil have I done to thee, that thou shouldst act toward me and my possessions as thou hast this day? Dost thou not know that the shower to-day has left in my dominions neither man nor beast alive that was exposed to it?' And thereupon, behold, a knight on a black horse appeared, clothed in jet-black velvet, and with a tabard of black linen about him. We charged each other, and as the onset was furious, it was not long before I was overthrown. Then the knight passed the shaft of his lance through the bridle-rein of my horse, and rode off with the two horses, leaving me where I was. He did not even bestow so much notice upon me as to imprison me, nor did he despoil me of my arms. So I returned along the road by which I had come. And when I reached the glade where the black man was, I confess to thee, Kay, it is a marvel that I did not melt down into a liquid pool, through the shame that I felt at the black man's derision. That night I came to the same castle where I had spent the night preceding, and I was more agreeably entertained that night than I had been the night before. I conversed freely with the inmates of the castle, and none of them alluded to my expedition to the fountain, neither did I mention it to any. And I remained there that night. When I arose on the morrow I found ready saddled a dark bay palfrey, with nostrils as red as scarlet. After putting on my armor, and leaving there my blessing, I returned to my own court. That horse I still possess, and he is in the stable yonder. And I declare that I would not part with him for the best palfrey in the island of Britain.

"Now, of a truth, Kay, no man ever before confessed to an adventure so much to his own discredit; and verily it seems strange to me that neither before nor since have I heard of any person who knew of this adventure, and that the subject of it should exist within King Arthur's dominions without any other person lighting upon it."


By Lady Charlotte Guest

"Now," quoth Owain, "would it not be well to go and endeavor to discover that place?" "By the hand of my friend," said Kay, "often dost thou utter that with thy tongue which thou wouldest not make good with thy deeds."

"In very truth," said Guenevere, "it were better thou wert hanged,
Kay, than to use such uncourteous speech towards a man like Owain."

"By the hand of my friend, good lady," said Kay, "thy praise of Owain is not greater than mine."

With that Arthur awoke, and asked if he had not been sleeping a little.

"Yes, lord," answered Owain, "thou hast slept awhile."

"Is it time for us to go to meat?"

"It is, lord," said Owain.

Then the horn for washing was sounded, and the king and all his household sat down to eat. When the meal was ended Owain withdrew to his lodging, and made ready his horse and his arms.

On the morrow with the dawn of day he put on his armor, mounted his charger, and travelled through distant lands, and over desert mountains. At length he arrived at the valley which Kynon had described to him, and he was certain that it was the same that he sought. Journeying along the valley, by the side of the river, he followed its course till he came to the plain, and within sight of the castle. When he approached the castle he saw the youths shooting with their bows, in the place where Kynon had seen them, and the yellow man, to whom the castle belonged, standing hard by. And no sooner had Owain saluted the yellow man, than he was saluted by him in return.

He went forward towards the castle, and there he saw the chamber; and when he had entered the chamber, he beheld the maidens working at satin embroidery, in chains of gold. Their beauty and their comeliness seemed to Owain far greater than Kynon had represented to him. They arose to wait upon Owain, as they had done to Kynon, and the meal which they set before him gave even more satisfaction to Owain than it had done to Kynon.

About the middle of the repast the yellow man asked Owain the object of his journey. Owain made it known to him, and said, "I am in quest of the knight who guards the fountain." Upon this the yellow man smiled, and said that he was as loath to point out that adventure to him as he had been to Kynon. However, he described the whole to Owain, and they retired to rest.

The next morning Owain found his horse made ready for him by the damsels, and he set forward and came to the glade where the black man was. The stature of the black man seemed more wonderful to Owain than it had done to Kynon; and Owain asked of him his road, and he showed it to him. And Owain followed the road till he came to the green tree; and he beheld the fountain, and the slab beside the fountain, with the bowl upon it. Owain took the bowl and threw a bowlful of water upon the slab. And, lo! the thunder was heard, and after the thunder came the shower, more violent than Kynon had described, and after the shower the sky became bright. Immediately the birds came and settled upon the tree and sang. And when their song was most pleasing to Owain he beheld a knight coming towards him through the valley; and he prepared to receive him, and encountered him violently. Having broken both their lances, they drew their swords and fought blade to blade. Then Owain struck the knight a blow through his helmet, head-piece, and visor, and through the skin, and the flesh, and the bone, until it wounded the very brain. Then the black knight felt that he had received a mortal wound, upon which he turned his horse's head and fled. Owain pursued him, and followed close upon him, although he was not near enough to strike him with his sword. Then Owain descried a vast and resplendent castle; and they came to the castle gate. The black knight was allowed to enter, but the portcullis was let fall upon Owain, and it struck his horse behind the saddle, and cut him in two, and carried away the rowels of the spurs that were upon Owain's heels. And the portcullis descended to the floor. And the rowels of the spurs and part of the horse were without, and Owain with the other part of the horse remained between the two gates, and the inner gate was closed, so that Owain could not go thence; and Owain was in a perplexing situation. While he was in this state, he could see through an aperture in the gate a street facing him, with a row of houses on each side. He beheld a maiden with yellow, curling hair, and a frontlet of gold upon her head; and she was clad in a dress of yellow satin, and on her feet were shoes of variegated leather. And she approached the gate, and desired that it should be opened. "Heaven knows, lady," said Owain, "it is no more possible for me to open to thee from hence, than it is for thee to set me free." And he told her his name, and who he was. "Truly," said the damsel, "it is very sad that thou canst not be released; and every woman ought to succor thee, for I know there is no one more faithful in the service of ladies than thou. Therefore," quoth she, "whatever is in my power to do for thy release, I will do it. Take this ring and put it on thy finger, with the stone inside thy hand, and close thy hand upon the stone. As long as thou concealest it, it will conceal thee. When they come forth to fetch thee, they will be much grieved that they cannot find thee. I will await thee on the horseblock yonder, and thou wilt be able to see me, though I cannot see thee. Therefore come and place thy hand upon my shoulder, that I may know that thou art near me. And by the way that I go hence do thou accompany me."

Then the maiden went away from Owain, and he did all that she had told him. The people of the castle came to seek Owain to put him to death; and when they found nothing but the half of his horse, they were sorely grieved.

And Owain vanished from among them, and went to the maiden, and placed his hand upon her shoulder; whereupon she set off, and Owain followed her, until they came to the door of a large and beautiful chamber, and the maiden opened it, and they went in. Owain looked around the chamber, and behold there was not a single nail in it that was not painted with gorgeous colors, and there was not a single panel that had not sundry images in gold portrayed upon it.

The maiden kindled a fire, and took water in a silver bowl, and gave Owain water to wash. Then she placed before him a silver table, inlaid with gold; upon which was a cloth of yellow linen, and she brought him food. Of a truth, Owain never saw any kind of meat that was not there in abundance, but it was better cooked there than he had ever found it in any other place. There was not one vessel from which he was served that was not of gold or of silver. Owain eat and drank until late in the afternoon, when lo! they heard a mighty clamor in the castle, and he asked the maiden what it was. "They are administering extreme unction," said she, "to the nobleman who owns the castle." And she prepared a couch for Owain which was meet for Arthur himself, and Owain went to sleep.

A little after daybreak he heard an exceeding loud clamor and wailing, and he asked the maiden what was the cause of it. "They are bearing to the church the body of the nobleman who owned the castle."

And Owain rose up, and clothed himself, and opened a window of the chamber, and looked towards the castle. He could see neither the bounds nor the extent of the hosts that filled the streets, and they were fully armed; and a vast number of women were with them, both on horseback and on foot, and all the ecclesiastics in the city singing. In the midst of the throng he beheld the bier, over which was a veil of white linen; and wax tapers were burning beside and around it; and none that supported the bier was lower in rank than a powerful baron.

Never did Owain see an assemblage so gorgeous with silk and satin. And, following the train, he beheld a lady with yellow hair falling over her shoulders, and stained with blood; and about her a dress of yellow satin, which was torn. Upon her feet were shoes of variegated leather. It was a marvel that the ends of her fingers were not bruised from the violence with which she smote her hands together. Truly she would have been the fairest lady Owain ever saw, had she been in her usual guise. And her cry was louder than the shout of the men or the clamor of the trumpets. No sooner had he beheld the lady than he became inflamed with her love, so that it took entire possession of him.

Then he inquired of the maiden who the lady was. "Heaven knows," replied the maiden, "she is the fairest, the purest, the most liberal, and the most noble of women. She is my mistress, and she is called the Countess of the Fountain, the wife of him whom thou didst slay yesterday." "Verily," said Owain, "she is the woman that I love best." "Verily," said the maiden, "she shall also love thee not a little."

The maiden prepared a repast for Owain, and truly he thought he had never before so good a meal, nor was he ever so well served. Then she left him, and went towards the castle. When she came there, she found nothing but mourning and sorrow; and the countess in her chamber could not bear the sight of any one through grief. Luned, for that was the name of the maiden, saluted her, but the Countess of the Fountain answered her not. And the maiden bent down towards her, and said, "What aileth thee, that thou answerest no one to-day?" "Luned," said the countess, "what change hath befallen thee, that thou hast not come to visit me in my grief. It was wrong in thee, and I so sorely afflicted." "Truly," said Luned, "I thought thy good sense was greater than I find it to be. Is it well for thee to mourn after that good man, or for anything else that thou canst not have?" "I declare to Heaven," said the countess, "that in the whole world there is not a man equal to him." "Not so," said Luned, "for an ugly man would be as good as or better than he." "I declare to Heaven," said the countess, "that were it not repugnant to me to put to death one whom I have brought up, I would have thee executed, for making such a comparison to me. As it is, I will banish thee." "I am glad," said Luned, "that thou hast no other cause to do so than that I would have been of service to thee, where thou didst not know what was to thine advantage. Henceforth, evil betide whichever of us shall make the first advance towards reconciliation to the other, whether I should seek an invitation from thee, or thou of thine own accord should send to invite."

With that Luned went forth; and the countess arose and followed her to the door of the chamber, and began coughing loudly. When Luned looked back, the countess beckoned to her, and she returned to the countess. "In truth," said the countess, "evil is thy disposition; but if thou knowest what is to my advantage, declare it to me." "I will do so," said she.

"Thou knowest that, except by warfare and arms, it is impossible for thee to preserve thy possessions; delay not, therefore, to seek some one who can defend them." "How can I do that?" said the countess. "I will tell thee," said Luned; "unless thou canst defend the fountain, thou canst not maintain thy dominions; and no one can defend the fountain except it be a knight of Arthur's household. I will go to Arthur's court, and I'll betide me if I return not thence with a warrior who can guard the fountain as well as, or even better than he who defended it formerly." "That will be hard to perform," said the countess. "Go, however, and make proof of that which thou hast promised."

Luned set out under the pretence of going to Arthur's court; but she went back to the mansion where she had left Owain, and she tarried there as long as it might have taken her to travel to the court of King Arthur and back. At the end of that time she apparelled herself, and went to visit the countess. The countess was much rejoiced when she saw her, and inquired what news she brought from the court. "I bring thee the best of news," said Luned, "for I have compassed the object of my mission. When wilt thou that I should present to thee the chieftain who has come with me hither?" "Bring him here to visit me tomorrow," said the countess, "and I will cause the town to be assembled by that time." And Luned returned home.

The next day, at noon, Owain arrayed himself in a coat and a surcoat, and a mantle of yellow satin, upon which was a broad band of gold lace; and on his feet were high shoes of variegated leather, which were fastened by golden clasps, in the form of lions. And they proceeded to the chamber of the countess.

Right glad was the countess of their coming. She gazed steadfastly upon Owain, and said, "Luned, this knight has not the look of a traveller." "What harm is there in that, lady?" said Luned. "I am certain," said the countess, "that no other man than this chased the soul from the body of my lord." "So much the better for thee, lady," said Luned, "for had he not been stronger than thy lord, he could not have deprived him of life. There is no remedy for that which is past, be it as it may." "Go back to thine abode," said the countess, "and I will take counsel."

The next day the countess caused all her subjects to assemble, and showed them that her earldom was left defenceless, and that it could not be protected but with horse and arms, and military skill. "Therefore," said she, "this is what I offer for your choice: either let one of you take me, or give your consent for me to take a husband from elsewhere, to defend my dominions."

So they came to the determination that it was better that she should have permission to marry some one from elsewhere; and thereupon she sent for the bishops and archbishops, to celebrate her nuptials with Owain. And the men of the earldom did Owain homage.

Owain defended the fountain with lance and sword. And this is the manner in which he defended it. Whensoever a knight came there, he overthrew him, and sold him for his full worth. What he thus gained he divided among his barons and his knights, and no man in the whole world could be more beloved than he was by his subjects. And it was thus for the space of three years.


By Lady Charlotte Guest

It befell that, as Gawain went forth one day with King Arthur, he perceived him to be very sad and sorrowful. And Gawain was much grieved to see Arthur in this state, and he questioned him, saying, "O my lord, what has befallen thee?" "In sooth, Gawain," said Arthur, "I am grieved concerning Owain, whom I have lost these three years; and I shall certainly die if the fourth year pass without my seeing him. Now I am sure that it is through the tale which Kynon, the son of Clydno, related, that I have lost Owain." "There is no need for thee," said Gawain, "to summon to arms thy whole dominions on this account, for thou thyself, and the men of thy household, will be able to avenge Owain if he be slain, or to set him free if he be in prison and, if alive, to bring him back with thee." And it was settled according to what Gawain had said.

Then Arthur and the men of his household prepared to go and seek Owain, and Kynon, the son of Clydno, acted as their guide. And Arthur came to the castle where Kynon had been before, and when he came there, the youths were shooting in the same place, and the yellow man was standing hard by. When the yellow man saw Arthur, he greeted him, and invited him to the castle. Arthur accepted his invitation, and they entered the castle together. Great as was the number of his retinue, their presence was scarcely observed in the castle, so vast was its extent. And the maidens rose up to wait on them. The service of the maidens appeared to them all to excel any attendance they had ever met with; and even the pages, who had charge of the horses, were no worse served that night than Arthur himself would have been in his own palace.

The next morning Arthur set out thence, with Kynon for his guide, and came to the place where the black man was. And the stature of the black man was more surprising to Arthur than it had been represented to him. They came to the top of the wooded steep, and traversed the valley, till they reached the green tree, where they saw the fountain and the bowl and the slab. And upon that Kay came to Arthur, and spoke to him. "My lord," said he, "I know the meaning of all this, and my request is that thou wilt permit me to throw the water on the slab, and to receive the first adventure that may befall." And Arthur gave him leave.

Then Kay threw a bowlful of water upon the slab, and immediately there came the thunder, and after the thunder the shower. And such a thunderstorm they had never known before. After the shower had ceased, the sky became clear, and on looking at the tree, they beheld it completely leafless. Then the birds descended upon the tree. And the song of the birds was far sweeter than any strain they had ever heard before. Then they beheld a knight, on a coal-black horse, clothed in sating coming rapidly towards them. Kay met him and encountered him, and it was not long before Kay was overthrown. The knight withdrew, and Arthur and his host encamped for the night.

When they arose in the morning, they perceived the signal of combat upon the lance of the knight. Then, one by one, all the household of Arthur went forth to combat the knight, until there was not one that was not overthrown by him, except Arthur and Gawain. And Arthur armed himself to encounter the knight. "O my lord," said Gawain, "permit me to fight with him first." And Arthur permitted him. He went forth to meet the knight, having over himself and his horse a satin robe of honor, which had been sent him by the daughter of the Earl of Rhangyr, and in this dress he was not known by any of the host. And they charged each other, and fought all that day until the evening. And neither of them was able to unhorse the other. And so it was the next day; they broke their lances in the shock, but neither of them could obtain the mastery.

The third day they fought with exceeding strong lances. They were incensed with rage, and fought furiously, even until noon. They gave each other such a shock that the girths of their horses were broken, so that they fell over their horses' cruppers to the ground. And they rose up speedily and drew their swords, and resumed the combat. All they that witnessed their encounter felt assured that they had never before seen two men so valiant or so powerful. Had it been midnight, it would have been light, from the fire that flashed from their weapons. And the knight gave Gawain a blow that turned his helmet from off his face, so that the knight saw that it was Gawain. Then Owain said, "My lord Gawain, I did not know thee for my cousin, owing to the robe of honor that enveloped thee; take my sword and my arms." Said Gawain, "Thou, Owain, art the victor; take thou my sword." And with that Arthur saw that they were conversing, and advanced toward them. "My lord Arthur," said Gawain, "here is Owain, who has vanquished me, and will not take my arms." "My lord," said Owain, "it is he that has vanquished me, and he will not take my sword." "Give me your swords," said Arthur, "and then neither of you has vanquished the other." Then Owain put his arms round Arthur's neck, and they embraced. All the host hurried forward to see Owain, and to embrace him. And there was nigh being a loss of life, so great was the press.

The next day Arthur prepared to depart. "My lord," said Owain, "this is not well of thee. For I have been absent from thee these three years, and during all that time, up to this very day, I have been preparing a banquet for thee, knowing that thou wouldst come to seek me. Tarry with me, therefore, until thou and thy attendants have recovered the fatigues of the journey, and have been anointed."

From the painting by Walter Crane.]

And they all proceeded to the castle of the Countess of the Fountain, and the banquet which had been three years preparing was consumed in three months. Never had they a more delicious or agreeable banquet. And Arthur prepared to depart. Then he sent an embassy to the countess to beseech her to permit Owain to go with him, for the space of three months, that he might show him to the nobles and the fair dames of the island of Britain. And the countess gave her consent, although it was very painful to her. So Owain came with Arthur to the island of Britain. And when he was once more amongst his kindred and friends, he remained three years, instead of three months, with them.


By Lady Charlotte Guest

As Owain one day sat at meat, in the city of Caerleon upon Usk, a damsel entered the hall upon a bay horse, with a curling mane, and covered with foam; and the bridle, and as much as was seen of the saddle, were of gold. The damsel was arrayed in a dress of yellow satin. And she came up to Owain, and took the ring from off his hand. "Thus," said she, "shall be treated the deceiver, the traitor, the faithless, the disgraced, and the beardless." And she turned her horse's head and departed.

Then his adventure came to Owain's remembrance, and he was sorrowful. Having finished eating, he went to his own abode, and made preparations that night. The next day he arose, but did not go to the court, nor did he return to the Countess of the Fountain, but wandered to the distant parts of the earth and to uncultivated mountains. And he remained there until all his apparel was worn out, and his body was wasted away, and his hair was grown long. And he went about with the wild beasts, and fed with them, until they became familiar with him. But at length he became so weak that he could no longer bear them company. Then he descended from the mountains to the valley, and came to a park, that was the fairest in the world, and belonged to a charitable lady.

One day the lady and her attendants went forth to walk by a lake that was in the middle of the park. They saw the form of a man, lying as if dead, and were terrified. Nevertheless they went near him, and touched him, and saw that there was life in him. And the lady returned to the castle, and took a flask full of precious ointment and gave it to one of her maidens. "Go with this," said she, "and take with thee yonder horse, and clothing, and place them near the man we saw just now; and anoint him with this balsam near his heart; and if there is life in him, he will revive, through the efficiency of this balsam. Then watch what he will do."

The maiden departed from her, and went and poured of the balsam upon Owain, and left the horse and garments hard by, and went a little way off and hid herself to watch him. In a short time she saw him begin to move. He rose up, looked at his person, and became ashamed of the unseemliness of his appearance. Then he perceived the horse and the garments that were near him. He clothed himself, and with difficulty mounted the horse.

Then the damsel discovered herself to him, and saluted him. And he and the maiden proceeded to the castle, and the maiden conducted him to a pleasant chamber, and kindled a fire, and left him.

He stayed at the castle three months, till he was restored to his former guise, and became even more comely than he had ever been before. And Owain rendered signal service to the lady, in a controversy with a powerful neighbor, so that he made ample requital to her for her hospitality; and he took his departure.

As he journeyed he heard a loud yelling in a wood. It was repeated a second and a third time. And Owain went towards the spot, and beheld a huge craggy mound, in the middle of the wood, on the side of which was a gray rock. There was a cleft in the rock, and a serpent was within the cleft.

Near the rock stood a black lion, and every time the lion sought to go thence the serpent darted towards him to attack him. And Owain unsheathed his sword, and drew near to the rock; and as the serpent sprung out he struck him with his sword and cut him in two; and he dried his sword, and went on his way as before. Behold the lion followed him, and played about him, as though it had been a greyhound that he had reared.

They proceeded thus throughout the day, until the evening. When it was time for Owain to take his rest he dismounted, and turned his horse loose in a flat and wooded meadow. He struck fire, and when the fire was kindled, the lion brought him fuel enough to last for three nights. And the lion disappeared. Presently the lion returned, bearing a fine large roebuck, and threw it down before Owain, who went towards the fire with it.

Owain took the roebuck, skinned it, and placed slices of its flesh upon skewers round the fire. The rest of the buck he gave to the lion to devour. While he was so employed, he heard a deep groan near him, and a second, and a third. The place whence the groans proceeded was a cave in the rock; and Owain went near, and called out to know who it was that groaned so piteously. And a voice answered, "I am Luned, the hand-maiden of the Countess of the Fountain." "And what dost thou here?" said he. "I am imprisoned," said she, "on account of the knight who came from Arthur's court, and married the countess. And he staid a short time with her, but he afterwards departed for the court of Arthur, and has not returned since. And two of the countess's pages traduced him, and called him a deceiver. And because I said I would vouch for it he would come before long and maintain his cause against both of them, they imprisoned me in this cave, and said that I should be put to death, unless he came to deliver me, by a certain day; and that is no further off than to-morrow, and I have no one to send to seek him for me. His name is Owain, the son of Urien." "And art thou certain that if that knight knew all this, he would come to thy rescue?" "I am most certain of it," said she.

When the slices of meat were cooked, Owain divided them into two parts, between himself and the maiden, and then Owain laid himself down to sleep; and never did sentinel keep stricter watch over his lord than the lion that night over Owain.

The next day there came two pages with a great troop of attendants to take Luned from her cell, and put her to death. Owain asked them what charge they had against her. They told him of the compact that was between them; as the maiden had done the night before. "And," said they, "Owain has failed her, therefore we are taking her to be burnt." "Truly," said Owain, "he is a good knight, and if he knew that the maiden was in such peril, I marvel that he came not to her rescue. But if you will accept me in his stead, I will do battle with you." "We will," said the youths.

And they attacked Owain, and he was hard beset by them. And with that, the lion came to Owain's assistance, and they two got the better of the young men. And they said to him, "Chieftain, it was not agreed that we should fight save with thyself alone, and it is harder for us to contend with yonder animal than with thee." And Owain put the lion in the place where Luned had been imprisoned, and blocked up the door with stones. And he went to fight with the young men as before.

But Owain had not his usual strength, and the two youths pressed hard upon him. And the lion roared incessantly at seeing Owain in trouble. And he burst through the wall, until he found a way out, and rushed upon the young men and instantly slew them. So Luned was saved from being burnt.

Then Owain returned with Luned to the castle of the Lady of the
Fountain. And when he went thence, he took the countess with him to
Arthur's court, and she was his wife as long as she lived.


By Lady Charlotte Guest

Once upon a time Pwyll was at Narberth, his chief palace, where a feast had been prepared for him, and with him was a great host of men. And after the first meal Pwyll arose to walk; and he went to the top of a mound that was above the palace, and was called Gorsedd Arberth. "Lord," said one of the court, "it is peculiar to the mound that whosoever sits upon it cannot go thence without either receiving wounds or blows, or else seeing a wonder." "I fear not to receive wounds or blows," said Pwyll; "but as to the wonder, gladly would I see it. I will therefore go and sit upon the mound."

And upon the mound he sat. While he sat there they saw a lady, on a pure white horse of large size, with a garment of shining gold around her, coming along the highway that led from the mound. "My men," said Pwyll, "is there any among you who knows yonder lady?" "There is not, lord," said they. "Go one of you and meet her, that we may know who she is." And one of them arose, and as he came upon the road to meet her, she passed by; and he followed as fast as he could, being on foot, and the greater was his speed, the further was she from him. When he saw that it profited him nothing to follow her, he returned to Pwyll, and said, "Lord, it is idle for any one in the world to follow her on foot." "Verily," said Pwyll, "go unto the palace, and take the fleetest horse that thou seest, and go after her."

So he took a horse and went forward. He came to an open, level plain, and put spurs to his horse; and the more he urged his horse, the further was she from him. And he returned to the place where Pwyll was, and said, "Lord, it will avail nothing for any one to follow yonder lady. I know of no horse in these realms swifter than this, and it availed me not to pursue her." "Of a truth," said Pwyll, "there must be some illusion here; let us go toward the palace." So to the palace they went, and spent the day.

And the next day they amused themselves until it was time to go to meat. And when meat was ended, Pwyll said, "Where are the hosts that went yesterday to the top of the mound?" "Behold, lord, we are here," said they. "Let us go," said he, "to the mound, and sit there. And do thou," said he to the page who tended his horse, "saddle my horse well, and hasten with him to the road, and bring also my spurs with thee." And the youth did thus. They went and sat upon the mound and ere they had been there but a short time they beheld the lady coming by the same road, "Young man," said Pwyll, "I see the lady coming; give me my horse." Before he had mounted his horse she passed him. And he turned after her and followed her. He let his horse go bounding playfully, and thought that he should soon come up with her, but he came no nearer to her than at first. Then he urged his horse to his utmost speed, yet he found that it availed not. Then said Pwyll, "O maiden, for the sake of him whom thou best lovest, stay for me." "I will stay gladly," said she; "and it were better for thy horse hadst thou asked it long since." So the maiden stopped; and she threw back that part of her head-dress which covered her face. Then he thought that the beauty of all the maidens and all the ladies that he had ever seen was as nothing compared to her beauty. "Lady," he said, "wilt thou tell me aught concerning thy purpose?" "I will tell thee," said she; "my chief quest was to see thee." "Truly," said Pwyll, "this is to me the most pleasing quest on which thou couldst have come; and wilt thou tell me who thou art?" "I will tell thee, lord," said she. "I am Rhiannon, the daughter of Heveydd, and they sought to give me a husband against my will. But no husband would I have, and that because of my love for thee; neither will I yet have one, unless thou reject me; and hither have I come to hear thy answer." "By Heaven," said Pwyll, "behold this is my answer. If I might choose among all the ladies and damsels in the world, thee would I choose." "Verily," said she, "if thou art thus minded, make a pledge to meet me ere I am given to another." "The sooner I may do so, the more pleasing will it be to me," said Pwyll; "and wheresoever thou wilt, there will I meet with thee." "I will that thou meet me this day twelvemonth at the palace of Heveydd." "Gladly," said he, "will I keep this tryst." So they parted, and he went back to his hosts, and to them of his household. And whatsoever questions they asked him respecting the damsel, he always turned the discourse upon other matters.

When a year from that time was gone, he caused a hundred knights to equip themselves, and to go with him to the palace of Heveydd. And he came to the palace, and there was great joy concerning him, with much concourse of people, and great rejoicing, and vast preparations for his coming. And the whole court was placed under his orders.

And the hall was garnished, and they went to meat, and thus did they sit: Heveydd was on one side of Pwyll, and Rhiannon on the other; and all the rest according to their rank. And they ate and feasted, and talked one with another. After the meat there entered a tall, auburn-haired youth, of royal bearing, clothed in a garment of satin, who saluted Pwyll and his companions. "The greeting of Heaven be unto thee," said Pwyll; "come thou and sit down." "Nay," said he, "a suitor am I, and I will do my errand." "Do so willingly," said Pwyll. "Lord," said he, "my errand is unto thee, and it is to crave a boon of thee that I come." "What boon soever thou mayest ask of me, so far as I am able, thou shalt have." "Ah!" said Rhiannon, "wherefore didst thou give that answer?" "Has he not given it before the presence of these nobles?" asked the youth. "My soul," said Pwyll, "what is the boon thou askest?" "The lady whom best I love is to be thy bride this night; I come to ask her of thee, with the feast and the banquet that are in this place," And Pwyll was silent, because of the promise which he had given. "Be silent as long as thou wilt," said Rhiannon, "never did man make worse use of his wits than thou hast done." "Lady," said he, "I knew not who he was." "Behold, this is the man to whom they would have given me against my will," said she; "and he is Gawl, the son of Clud, a man of great power and wealth, and because of the word thou hast spoken, bestow me upon him, lest shame befall thee." "Lady," said he, "I understand not thy answer; never can I do as thou sayest." "Bestow me upon him," said she, "and I will cause that I shall never be his." "By what means will that be?" asked Pwyll. She told him the thought that was in her mind, and they talked long together. Then Gawl said, "Lord, it is meet that I have an answer to my request." "As much of that thou hast asked as it is in my power to give, thou shalt have," replied Pwyll. "My soul," said Rhiannon unto Gawl, "as for the feast and the banquet that are here, I have bestowed them upon the men of Dyved, and the household and the warriors that are with us. These can I not suffer to be given to any. In a year from to-night, a banquet shall be prepared for thee in this palace, that I may become thy bride."

So Gawl went forth to his possessions, and Pwyll went also back to Dyved. And they both spent that year until it was the time for the feast at the palace of Heveydd. Then Gawl, the son of Clud, set out to the feast that was prepared for him; and he came to the palace, and was received there with rejoicing. Pwyll, also, the chief of Dyved, came to the orchard with a hundred knights, as Rhiannon had commanded him. And Pwyll was clad in coarse and ragged garments, and wore large, clumsy old shoes upon his feet. And when he knew that the carousal after the meat had begun, he went toward the hall; and when he came into the hall he saluted Gawl, the son of Clud, and his company, both men and women. "Heaven prosper thee," said Gawl, "and friendly greeting be unto thee!" "Lord," said he, "may Heaven reward thee! I have an errand unto thee." "Welcome be thine errand, and if thou ask of me that which is right, thou shalt have it gladly." "It is fitting," answered he; "I crave but from want, and the boon I ask is to have this small bag that thou seest filled with meat." "A request within reason is this," said he, "and gladly shalt thou have it. Bring him food." A great number of attendants arose and began to fill the bag; but for all they put into it, it was no fuller than at first. "My soul," said Gawl, "will thy bag ever be full?" "It will not, I declare to Heaven," said he, "for all that may be put into it, unless one possessed of lands, and domains, and treasure, shall arise and tread down with both his feet the food that is within the bag, and shall say, 'Enough has been put therein.'" Then said Rhiannon unto Gawl, the son of Clud, "Rise up quickly." "I will willingly arise," said he. So he rose up, and put his two feet into the bag. And Pwyll turned up the sides of the bag, so that Gawl was over his head in it. And he shut it up quickly, and slipped a knot upon the thongs, and blew his horn. And thereupon, behold, his knights came down upon the palace. They seized all the host that had come with Gawl, and cast them into his own prison, and Pwyll threw off his rags, and his old shoes, and his tattered array. As they came in, every one of Pwyll's knights struck a blow upon the bag, and asked, "What is here?" "A badger," said they. And in this manner they played, each of them striking the bag, either with his foot or with a staff. And then was the game of Badger in the Bag first played.

"Lord," said the man in the bag, "if thou wouldst but hear me, I merit not to be slain in a bag." Said Heveydd, "Lord, he speaks truth; it were fitting that thou listen to him, for he deserves not this." "Verily," said Pwyll, "I will do thy counsel concerning him." "Behold, this is my counsel then," said Rhiannon. "Thou art now in a position in which it behooves thee to satisfy suitors and minstrels. Let him give unto them in thy stead, and take a pledge from him that he will never seek to revenge that which has been done to him. And this will be punishment enough." "I will do this gladly," said the man in the bag. "And gladly will I accept it," said Pwyll, "since it is the counsel of Heveydd and Rhiannon. Seek thyself sureties." "We will be for him," said Heveydd, "until his men be free to answer for him." And upon this he was let out of the bag, and his liegemen were liberated. "Verily, lord," said Gawl, "I am greatly hurt, and I have many bruises. With thy leave, I will go forth. I will leave nobles in my stead to answer for me in all that thou shalt require." "Willingly," said Pwyll, "mayest thou do thus." So Gawl went to his own possessions.

And the hall was set in order for Pwyll and the men of his host, and for them also of the palace, and they went to the tables and sat down. And as they had sat that time twelvemonth, so sat they that night. They ate and feasted, and spent the night in mirth and tranquillity.

Next morning at break of day, "My lord," said Rhiannon, "arise and begin to give thy gifts unto the minstrels. Refuse no one to-day that may claim thy bounty." "Thus shall it be gladly," said Pwyll, "both to-day and every day while the feast shall last." So Pwyll arose, and he caused silence to be proclaimed, and desired all the suitors and minstrels to show and to point out what gifts they desired.

And this being done, the feast went on, and he denied no one while it lasted. And when the feast was ended, Pwyll said unto Heveydd, "My lord, with thy permission, I will set out for Dyved to-morrow." "Certainly," said Heveydd; "may Heaven prosper thee! Fix also a time when Rhiannon shall follow thee." "By Heaven," said Pwyll, "we will go hence together." "Willest thou this, lord?" said Heveydd. "Yes, lord," answered Pwyll.

And the next day they set forward toward Dyved, and journeyed to the palace of Narberth, where a feast was made ready for them. And there came to them great numbers of the chief men and the most noble ladies of the land, and of these there were none to whom Rhiannon did not give some rich gift, either a bracelet, or a ring, or a precious stone. And they ruled the land prosperously that year and the next.


By Lady Charlotte Guest

Pwyll and Rhiannon had a son, whom they named Pryderi. And when he was grown up, Pwyll, his father, died. And Pryderi married Kieva, the daughter of Gwynn Gloy.

Now Manawyddan returned from the war in Ireland, and he found that his cousin had seized all his possessions, and much grief and heaviness came upon him. "Alas! woe is me!" he exclaimed; "there is none save myself without a home and a resting-place." "Lord," said Pryderi, "be not so sorrowful. Thy cousin is king of the Island of the Mighty, and though he has done thee wrong, thou hast never been a claimant of land or possessions." "Yea," answered he, "but although this man is my cousin, it grieveth me to see any one in the place of my brother, Bendigeid Vran; neither can I be happy in the same dwelling with him." "Wilt thou follow the counsel of another?" said Pryderi. "I stand in need of counsel," he answered, "and what may that counsel be?" "Seven cantrevs belong unto me," said Pryderi, "wherein Rhiannon, my mother, dwells. I will bestow her upon thee, and the seven cantrevs with her; and though thou hadst no possessions but those cantrevs only, thou couldst not have any fairer than they. Do thou and Rhiannon enjoy them, and if thou desire any possessions thou wilt not despise these." "I do not, chieftain," said he, "Heaven reward thee for the friendship! I will go with thee to seek Rhiannon, and to look at thy possessions." "Thou wilt do well," he answered; "and I believe that thou didst never hear a lady discourse better than she, and when she was in her prime, none was ever fairer. Even now her aspect is not uncomely."

They set forth, and, however long the journey, they came at last to Dyved; and a feast was prepared for them by Rhiannon and Kieva. Then began Manawyddan and Rhiannon to sit and to talk together; and his mind and his thoughts became warmed towards her, and he thought in his heart he had never beheld any lady more fulfilled of grace and beauty than she. "Pryderi," said he, "I will that it be as thou didst say." "What saying was that?" asked Rhiannon. "Lady," said Pryderi, "I did offer thee as a wife to Manawyddan." "By that will I gladly abide," said Rhiannon. "Right glad am I also," said Manawyddan; "may Heaven reward him who hath shown unto me friendship so perfect as this!" And before the feast was over she became his bride.

"Tarry ye here the rest of the feast, and I will go into England to tender my homage unto Caswallawn, the son of Beli," said Pryderi. "Lord," said Rhiannon, "Caswallawn is in Kent; thou mayest therefore tarry at the feast, and wait until he shall be nearer." "We will wait," he answered. So they finished the feast. And they began to make the circuit of Dyved, and to hunt, and to take their pleasure. And as they went through the country, they had never seen lands more pleasant to live in, nor better hunting grounds, nor greater plenty of honey and fish. And such was the friendship between these four, that they would not be parted from each other by night nor by day.

In the midst of all this he went to Caswallawn at Oxford, and tendered his homage; and honorable was his reception there, and highly was he praised for offering his homage.

After his return Pryderi and Manawyddan began a feast at Narberth, for it was the chief palace. When they had ended the first meal, while those who served them ate, they arose and went to the Mound of Narberth, and their retinue with them. As they sat there, behold a peal of thunder, and, with the violence of the thunder-storm, lo! there came a fall of mist, so thick that not one of them could see the other. And after the mist it became light all around. When they looked towards the place where they were wont to see the cattle and herds and dwellings, they saw nothing now, neither house, nor beast, nor smoke, nor fire, nor man, nor dwelling, but the buildings of the court empty and uninhabited, without either man or beast within them.

"In the name of Heaven," said Manawyddan, "where are they of the court, and all my host beside? Let us go and see."

So they came to the castle, and saw no man, and into the hall, and to the sleeping-place, and there was none; and in the mead-cellar and in the kitchen there was naught but desolation. Then they began to go through the land, and all the possessions that they had; and they visited the houses and dwellings, and found nothing but wild beasts. And when they had consumed their feast and all their provisions, they fed upon the prey they killed in hunting.

One morning Pryderi and Manawyddan ranged their dogs and went forth to hunt. Some of the dogs ran before them, and came to a bush which was near at hand; but as soon as they were come to the bush, they hastily drew back, and returned to the men, their hair bristling up greatly. "Let us go," said Pryderi, "and see what is in it." As they came near, behold, a wild boar of a pure white color rose up from the bush. Then the dogs, being set on by the men, rushed towards him; but he left the bush, and fell back a little way from the men, and made a stand against the dogs, until the men had come near. When the men came up he fell back a second time, and betook him to flight. Then they pursued the boar until they beheld a vast and lofty castle, all newly built, in a place where they had never before seen either stone or building. And the boar ran swiftly into the castle, the dogs after him. Then men began to wonder at finding a castle in a place where they had never before seen any building, and listened for the dogs. But they heard not one of the dogs, nor aught concerning them.

"Lord," said Pryderi, "I will go into the castle to get tidings of the dogs." "Truly," he replied, "if thou wouldst follow my counsel, thou wouldst not enter therein. Whosoever has cast a spell over this land, has caused this castle to be here." "Of a truth," answered Pryderi, "I cannot thus give up my dogs," and to the castle he went.

When he came within the castle he found neither man nor beast, nor boar, nor dogs, nor house, nor dwelling within it. In the centre of the castle-floor he beheld a fountain with marble-work around it, and on the margin of the fountain a golden bowl upon a marble slab, and chains hanging from the air, to which he saw no end.

He was greatly pleased with the beauty of the gold, and with the rich workmanship of the bowl; and he went up to the bowl, and laid hold of it. And when he had taken hold of it, his hands stuck to the bowl, and his feet to the slab on which the bowl was placed; and all his joyousness forsook him, so that he could not utter a word. And thus he stood.

Manawyddan waited for him till near the close of the day. Late in the evening, being certain that he should have no tidings of Pryderi or the dogs, he went back to the palace. As he entered, Rhiannon looked at him. "Where," said she, "are thy companion and thy dogs?" "Behold," he answered, "the adventure that has befallen me." And he related it all unto her. "An evil companion hast thou been," said Rhiannon, "and a good companion hast thou lost." And with that word she went out, and proceeded towards the castle, according to the direction which he gave her. The gate of the castle she found open. She was nothing daunted, and went in. As she went in, she perceived Pryderi laying hold of the bowl, and she went towards him. "O my lord," said she, "what dost thou here?" She took hold of the bowl with him; and as she did so her hands also became fast to the bowl, and her feet to the slab, and she was not able to utter a word. And with that, as it became night, lo! there came thunder upon them, and a fall of mist; and thereupon the castle vanished, and they with it.

When Kieva saw that there was no one in the palace but herself and Manawyddan, she sorrowed so that she cared not whether she lived or died. And Manawyddan saw this. "Thou art in the wrong," said he, "if through fear of me thou grievest thus. I call Heaven to witness that thou hast never seen friendship more pure than that which I will bear thee, but it is not fitting for us to stay here; we have lost our dogs, and cannot get food. Let us go into England; it is easiest for us to find support there." "Gladly, lord," said she, "we will do so." And they set forth together to England.

"Lord," said she, "what craft wilt thou follow? Take up one that is seemly," "None other will I take," answered he, "but that of making shoes." "Lord," said she, "such a craft becomes not a man so nobly born as thou." "By that however will I abide," said he. "I know nothing thereof," said Kieva. "But I know," answered Manawyddan, "and I will teach thee to stitch. We will not attempt to dress the leather, but we will buy it ready dressed, and will make the shoes from it."

So they went into England, and went as far as Hereford; and they betook themselves to making shoes. He began by buying the best cordwain that could be had in the town, and associated himself with the best goldsmith in the town, and caused him to make clasps for the shoes, and to gild the clasps; and he marked how it was done until he learned the method. When they could be had from him, not a shoe nor hose was bought of any of the cordwainers in the town. When the cordwainers perceived that their gains were failing they came together and took counsel, and agreed that they would slay them. And he had warning thereof, and it was told him how the cordwainers had agreed together to slay him.

"Lord," said Kieva, "wherefore should this be borne from these boors?" "Nay," said he, "we will go back unto Dyved." So towards Dyved they set forth.

Now Manawyddan, when he set out to return to Dyved, took with him a burden of wheat. And he proceeded towards Narberth, and there he dwelt. Never was he better pleased than when he saw Narberth again, and the lands where he had been wont to hunt with Pryderi and with Rhiannon. And he accustomed himself to fish, and to hunt the deer in their covert. He began to prepare some ground, and he sowed a croft, and a second, and a third. And no wheat in the world ever sprung up better. The three crofts prospered with perfect growth, and no man ever saw fairer wheat.

Thus passed the seasons of the year until the harvest came. And he went to look at one of his crofts, and, behold, it was ripe. "I will reap this to-morrow," said he. On the morrow, when he came there, he found nothing but the bare straw. Every one of the ears of the wheat was cut off from the stalk, and all the ears carried entirely away. And at this he marvelled greatly.

Then he went to look at another croft, and, behold, that also was ripe. "Verily," said he, "this will I reap to-morrow." And on the morrow he came with the intent to reap it; and when he came there, he found nothing but the bare straw.

"O gracious Heaven!" he exclaimed. "I know that whosoever has begun my ruin is completing it, and has also destroyed the country with me."

Then he went to look at the third croft; and when he came there, finer wheat had there never been seen, and this also was ripe. "Evil betide me," said he, "if I watch not here to-night. Whoever carried off the other corn will come in like manner to take this, and I will know who it is." And he told Kieva all that had befallen. "Verily," said she, "what thinkest thou to do?" "I will watch the croft to-night," said he. And he went to watch the croft.

At midnight he heard something stirring among the wheat; and he looked, and behold, the mightiest host of mice in the world, which could neither be numbered nor measured. He knew not what it was until the mice had made their way into the croft, and each of them, climbing up the straw and bending it down with its weight, had cut off one of the ears of wheat and had carried it away, leaving there the stalk; and he saw not a single straw there that had not a mouse to it. And they all took their way, carrying the ears with them.

In wrath and anger did he rush upon the mice, but he could no more come up with them than if they had been gnats or birds of the air, except one only, which, though it was but sluggish, went so fast that a man on foot could scarce overtake it. After this one he went, and he caught it and put it in his glove, and tied up the opening of the glove with a string, and kept it with him, and returned to the palace. Then he came to the hall where Kieva was, and he lighted a fire, and hung the glove by the string upon a peg. "What hast thou there, lord?" said Kieva. "A thief," said he, "that I found robbing me." "What kind of a thief may it be, lord, that thou couldst put into thy glove?" said she. Then he told her how the mice came to the last of the fields in his sight. "And one of them was less nimble than the rest, and is now in my glove; to-morrow I will hang it." "My lord," said she, "this is marvellous; but yet it would be unseemly for a man of dignity like thee to be hanging such a reptile as this." "Woe betide me," said he, "if I would not hang them all, could I catch them, and such as I have I will hang." "Verily, lord," said she, "there is no reason that I should succor this reptile, except to prevent discredit unto thee. Do therefore, lord, as thou wilt."

Then he went to the Mound of Narberth, taking the mouse with him. He set up two forks on the highest part of the mound, and while he was doing this he saw a scholar coming towards him, in old and tattered garments. It was seven years since he had seen in that place either man or beast, except those four persons who had remained together until two of them were lost.

"My lord," said the scholar, "good day to thee." "Heaven prosper thee, and my greeting be unto thee! And whence dost thou come, scholar?" asked he. "I come, lord, from singing in England; and wherefore dost thou inquire?" "Because for the last seven years," answered he, "I have seen no man here save four secluded persons, and thyself this moment." "Truly, lord," said he, "I go through this land unto mine own. And what work art thou upon, lord?" "I am hanging a thief that I caught robbing me," said he. "What manner of thief is that?" asked the scholar. "I see a creature in thy hand like unto a mouse, and ill does it become a man of rank equal to thine to touch a reptile such as this. Let it go forth free." "I will not let it go free, by Heaven," said he; "I caught it robbing me, and the doom of a thief will I inflict upon it, and I will hang it." "Lord," said he, "rather than see a man of rank equal to thine at such a work as this, I would give thee a pound, which I have received as alms, to let the reptile go forth free." "I will not let it go free," said he, "neither will I sell it." "As thou wilt, lord," he answered; "I care naught." And the scholar went his way.

As he was placing the cross-beam upon the two forks, behold, a priest came towards him, upon a horse covered with trappings. "Good day to thee, lord," said he. "Heaven prosper thee!" said Manawyddan; "thy blessing." "The blessing of Heaven be upon thee! And what, lord, art Thou doing?" "I am hanging a thief that I caught robbing me," said he. "What manner of thief, lord?" asked he. "A creature," he answered, "in the form of a mouse. It has been robbing me, and I am inflicting upon it the doom of a thief." "Lord," said he, "rather than see thee touch this reptile, I would purchase its freedom." "By my confession to Heaven, neither will I sell it nor set it free." "It is true, lord, that it is worth nothing to buy; but rather than see thee defile thyself by touching such a reptile as this, I will give thee three pounds to let it go." "I will not, by Heaven," said he, "take any price for it. As it ought, so shall it be hanged." And the priest went his way.

Then he noosed the string around the mouse's neck, and as he was about to draw it up, behold, he saw a bishop's retinue, with his sumpter-horses and his attendants. The bishop himself came towards him, and he stayed his work. "Lord bishop," said he, "thy blessing." "Heaven's blessing be unto thee!" said he. "What work art thou upon?" "Hanging a thief that I caught robbing me," said he. "Is not that a mouse that I see in thy hand?" "Yes," answered he, "and she has robbed me." "Ay," said he, "since I have come at the doom of this reptile, I will ransom it of thee. I will give thee seven pounds for it, and that rather than see a man of rank equal to thine destroying so vile a reptile as this. Let it loose, and thou shalt have the money." "I declare to Heaven that I will not let it loose." "If thou wilt not loose it for this, I will give thee four and twenty pounds of ready money to set it free." "I will not set it free, by Heaven, for as much again," said he. "If thou wilt not set it free for this, I will give thee all the horses that thou seest in this plain, and the seven loads of baggage, and the seven horses that they are upon." "By Heaven, I will not," he replied. "Since for this thou wilt not set it free, do so at what price soever thou wilt." "I will that Rhiannon and Pryderi be free," said he. "That thou shalt have," he answered. "Not yet will I loose the mouse, by Heaven." "What then wouldst thou?" "That the charm and the illusion be removed from the seven cantrevs of Dyved." "This shalt thou have also; set therefore the mouse free." "I will not set it free, by Heaven," said he, "till I know who the mouse may be." "She is my wife." "Wherefore came she to me?" "To despoil thee," he answered. "I am Lloyd, the son of Kilwed, and I cast the charm over the seven cantrevs of Dyved. And it was to avenge Gawl, the son of Clud, from the friendship I had towards him, that I cast the charm. And upon Pryderi did I avenge Gawl, the son of Clud, for the game of Badger in the Bag, that Pwyll, the son of Auwyn, played upon him. And when it was known that thou wast come to dwell in the land, my household came and besought me to transform them into mice, that they might destroy thy corn. They went the first and the second night, and destroyed thy two crops. The third night my wife came unto me, and the ladies of the court, and besought me to transform them. And I transformed them. Now my wife was not in her usual health, for had she been in her usual health thou wouldst not have been able to overtake her; but since this has taken place, and she has been caught, I will restore to thee Pryderi and Rhiannon, and I will take the charm and illusion from off Dyved. Set her therefore free." "I will not set her free yet." "What wilt thou more?" he asked. "I will that there be no more charm upon the seven cantrevs of Dyved, and that none shall be put upon it henceforth; moreover, that vengeance be never taken for this, either upon Pryderi or Rhiannon, or upon me." "All this shalt thou have. And truly thou hast done wisely in asking this. Upon thy head would have lit all this trouble." "Yea," said he, "for fear thereof was it that I required this." "Set now my wife at liberty." "I will not," said he, "until I see Pryderi and Rhiannon with me free." "Behold, here they come," he answered.

And thereupon behold Pryderi and Rhiannon. He rose up to meet them, and greeted them, and sat down beside them. "Ah, chieftain, set now my wife at liberty," said the bishop. "Hast thou not received all thou didst ask?" "I will release her, gladly," said he. And thereupon he set her free.

Then he struck her with a magic wand, and she was changed back into a young woman, the fairest ever seen.

"Look round upon thy land," said he, "and thou wilt see it all tilled and peopled as it was in its best estate." And he rose up and looked forth. And when he looked he saw all the lands tilled, and full of herds and dwellings.


By Lady Charlotte Guest

Beli the Great, the son of Manogan, had three sons, Lludd and Caswallawn and Nynyaw; and according to the story he had a fourth son called Llevelys. And after the death of Beli, the kingdom of the island of Britain fell into the hands of Lludd his eldest son; and Lludd ruled prosperously, and rebuilt the city of London, and encompassed it about with numberless towers. And after that he bade the citizens build houses therein, such as no houses in the kingdom could equal. And moreover he was a mighty warrior, and generous and liberal in giving meat and drink to all that sought them. And though he had many castles and cities, this one loved he more than any. And he dwelt therein most part of the year, and therefore was it called Caer Lludd, and at last Caer London.

And after the stranger race came there, it was called London, or

Lludd loved Llevelys best of all his brothers, because he was a wise and a discreet man. Having heard that the King of France had died, leaving no heir except a daughter, and that he had left all his possessions in her hands, he came to Lludd his brother, to beseech his counsel and aid. And that not so much for his own welfare, as to seek to add to the glory and honour and dignity of his kindred, if he might go to France to woo the maiden for his wife. And forthwith his brother conferred with him, and this counsel was pleasing unto him.

So he prepared ships and filled them with armed knights, and set forth towards France. And as soon as they had landed, they sent messengers to show the nobles of France the cause of the embassy. And by the joint counsel of the nobles of France and of the princes, the maiden was given to Llevelys, and the crown of the kingdom with her. And thenceforth he ruled the land discreetly and wisely and happily, as long as his life lasted.

After a space of time had passed, three plagues fell upon the island of Britain, such as none in the islands had ever seen the like. The first was a certain race that came, and was called the Coranians; and so great was their knowledge that there was no discourse upon the face of the island however low it might be spoken, but what, if the wind met it, it was known to them. And through this they could not be injured.

The second plague was a shriek which came on every May eve, over every hearth in the island of Britain. And this went through people's hearts, and so scared them that men lost their hue and their strength, and the women their children, and the young men and the maidens lost their senses, and all the animals and the waters were left barren.

The third plague was, that however much of provisions and food might be prepared in the king's courts, were there even so much as a year's provisions of meats and drink, none of it could ever be found, except what was consumed in the first night. And two of these plagues, no one ever knew their cause; therefore was there better hope of being freed from the first than from the second and third.

And thereupon King Lludd felt great sorrow and care, because that he knew not how he might be freed from these plagues. And he called to him all the nobles of his kingdom, and asked counsel of them what they should do against these afflictions. And by the common counsel of the nobles, Lludd the son of Beli went to Llevelys his brother, King of France, for he was a man great of counsel and wisdom, to seek his advice.

And they made ready a fleet, and that in secret and in silence, lest that race should know the cause of their errand, or any besides the king and his counsellors. And when they were made ready they went into their ships, Lludd and those whom he chose with him. And they began to cleave the seas towards France.

And when these tidings came to Llevelys, seeing that he knew not the cause of his brother's ships, he came on the other side to meet him, and with him was a fleet vast of size. And when Lludd saw this, he left all the ships out upon the sea except one only; and in that one he came to meet his brother, and he likewise with a single ship came to meet him. And when they were come together, each put his arms about the other's neck, and they welcomed each other with brotherly love.

After that Lludd had shown his brother the cause of his errand, Llevelys said that he himself knew the cause of the coming to those lands. And they took counsel together to discourse on the matter otherwise than thus, in order that the wind might not catch their words, nor the Coranians know what they might say. Then Llevelys caused a long horn to be made of brass, and through this horn they discoursed. But whatsoever words they spoke through this horn, one to the other, neither of them could hear any other but harsh and hostile words. And when Llevelys saw this and that there was a demon thwarting them and disturbing through this horn, he caused wine to be put therein to wash it. And through the virtue of the wine the demon was driven out of the horn. And when their discourse was unobstructed, Llevelys told his brother that he would give him some insects whereof he should keep some to breed, lest by chance the like affliction might come a second time. And other of these insects he should take and bruise in water. And he assured him that he would have power to destroy the race of Coranians. That is to say, that when he came home to his kingdom he should call together all the people both of his own race and of the race of the Coranians for a conference, as though with the intent of making peace between them; and that when they were all together, he should take this charmed water, and cast it over all alike. And he assured him that the water would poison the race of the Coranians, but that it would not slay or harm those of his own race.

"And the second plague," said he, "that is in thy dominion, behold it is a dragon. And another dragon of foreign race is fighting with it, and striving to overcome it. And therefore does your dragon make a fearful outcry. And on this wise mayest thou come to know this. After thou hast returned home, cause the island to be measured in its length and breadth, and in the place where thou dost find the exact central point, there cause a pit to be dug, and cause a cauldron full of the best mead that can be made to be put in the pit with a covering of satin over the face of the cauldron. And then in thine own person do thou remain there watching, and thou wilt see the dragons fighting in the form of terrific animals. And at length they will take the form of dragons in the air. And last of all, after wearying themselves with fierce and furious fighting, they will fall in the form of two pigs upon the covering, and they will sink in and the covering with them, and they will draw it down to the very bottom of the cauldron. And they will drink up the whole of the mead; and after that they will sleep. Thereupon do thou immediately fold the covering round them, and bury them in a kistvaen, in the strongest place thou hast in thy dominions, and hide them in the earth. And as long as they shall bide in that strong place, no plague shall come to the island of Britain from elsewhere.

"The cause of the third plague," said he, "is a mighty man of magic, who takes thy meat and thy drink and thy stores. And he through illusions and charms causes every one to sleep. Therefore it is needful for thee in thy own person to watch thy food and thy provisions. And lest he should overcome thee with sleep, be there a cauldron of cold water by thy side, and when thou art oppressed with sleep, plunge into the cauldron."

Then Lludd returned back into his land. And immediately he summoned to him the whole of his own race and of the Coranians. And as Llevelys had taught him, he bruised the insects in water, the which he cast over them altogether, and forthwith it destroyed the whole tribe of the Coranians, without hurt to any of the Britons.

And some time after this Lludd caused the island to be measured in its length and breadth. And in Oxford he found the central point, and in that place he caused the earth to be dug, and in that pit a cauldron to be set, full of the best mead that could be made, and a covering of satin over the face of it. And he himself watched that night. And while he was there, he beheld the dragons fighting. And when they were weary they fell, and came down upon the top of the satin, and drew it with them to the bottom of the cauldron. And when they had drunk the mead, they slept. And in their sleep, Lludd folded the covering around them, and in the securest place he had in Snowdon, he hid them in a kistvaen. Now after that this spot was called Dinas Emreis, but before that, Dinas Ffaraon. And thus the fierce outcry ceased in his dominions.

And when this was ended, King Lludd caused an exceeding great banquet to be prepared. And when it was ready, he placed a vessel of cold water by his side and he in his own proper person watched it. And as he abode thus clad with arms, about the third watch of the night, lo! he heard many surpassing fascinations and various songs. And drowsiness urged him to sleep. Upon this, lest he should be hindered from his purpose and be overcome by sleep, he went often into the water. And at last, behold! a man of vast size, clad in strong, heavy armour, came in, bearing a hamper. And, as he was wont, he put all the food and provisions of meat and drink into the hamper and proceeded to go with it forth. And nothing was ever more wonderful to Lludd than that the hamper should hold so much.

And thereupon King Lludd went after him and spoke unto him thus: "Stop, stop," said he; "though thou hast done many insults and much spoil erewhile, thou shalt not do so any more unless thy skill in arms and thy prowess be greater than mine."

Then he instantly put down the hamper on the floor, and awaited him. And a fierce encounter was between them, so that the glittering fire flew out from their arms. And at the last Lludd grappled with him, and fate bestowed the victory on Lludd. And he threw the plague to the earth. And after he had overcome him by strength and might, he besought his mercy. "How can I grant thee mercy," said the king, "after all the many injuries and wrongs thou hast done me?" "All the losses that ever I have caused thee," said he, "I will make thee atonement for, equal to what I have taken. And I will never do the like from this time forth. But thy faithful vassal will I be." And the king accepted this from him.

And thus Lludd freed the island of Britain from the three plagues. And from thenceforth until the end of his life, in prosperous peace did Lludd the son of Beli rule the island of Britain. And this tale is called the Story of Lludd and Llevelys. And thus it ends.


King Horn, in the version here given, is a fine old English story, evidently very popular with the common people. Earlier versions were probably familiar to the Norse in the tenth century, at which time Dublin was the capital of a Norse kingdom. Suddenne was possibly the Isle of Man.

There seems to be some historical basis for the story of Havelok, since the seal of the city of Grimsby today represents Grim with "Habloc," or Havelok, on his right hand, and Goldborough on his left.

The Fair Unknown is one of the King Arthur stories that is not included in Sir Thomas Malory's Morte d'Arthur.


Retold by F. J. H. Darton

Murray was King of Suddenne in the west country, a wise king whom all his subjects honoured. Godhild was his queen, and no woman of that day was lovelier than she. Their son was named Horn; and when Horn was fifteen years old, the sun shone and the rain fell on no fairer boy.

Twelve squires, each one the son of a man of noble birth, were chosen to be Horn's companions. Athulf was the best and truest of them, and dearest to Horn's heart; and one Fikenhild was the basest among them.

It pleased King Murry, on a certain summer's day, to ride, as was his wont, by the seashore, with only two comrades. Suddenly, as they rode, they came upon a strange sight. There before them on the edge of the waves lay fifteen ships beached, full of fierce Saracens; and many other Saracens went busily to and fro upon the shore. "What seek you here, pagan men?" cried Murry at that sight. "What wares do you bring to this my land of Suddenne?" For he thought them to be merchants from a far land,

"We are come to slay all your folk who believe in Christ," answered one of them; "and that we do right soon. As for you, you go not hence alive. "Thereat Murry was sorely troubled in heart. Nevertheless, he made no sign of fear. He and his two companions, with bold mien, leapt down from their horses, to fight more readily, and drew their swords, and fell upon the pagans. Many a stout blow they dealt; many a Saracen felt the strength of their arms: but for all their might and valour, they were but three against a host. From every side the enemy fell upon them unceasingly, and in a little time they lay there dead upon the sand. Then the Saracens left their ships and spread over the whole of Suddenne, slaying and burning and laying waste wheresoever they came. None might live, were he stranger or friend or native of the land, unless he forswore the Christian faith and became a pagan.

Of all women in those days Godhild the queen was saddest. Her kingdom was lost, her husband cruelly slain, and all her days were filled with grief. But worse befell her, for on a certain day the Saracens came suddenly and took Horn prisoner and carried him away. Godhild escaped, and in her dire distress fled alone to a distant cave, and there lay hid, worshipping her God in secret, and praying that He would save her son from harm.

Horn and his companions—for all his twelve squires had been captured with him—seemed in sorry case. The savage pagans were for killing all Christians. But their chief Emir wished to have no innocent blood on his hands, and spoke out boldly. "We might well slay you, Horn," he said; "you are young and fair and strong, and will grow yet stronger. Perchance, if we spare you now, you will some day return and be avenged upon us, when you have come to your full power. Yet we ourselves will not put you to death; the guilt shall not be on us, but on the sea. To the sea will we give you and your comrades; the sea shall be your judge, to save or drown you as it will."

Weeping and wringing their hands, Horn and his comrades were led down to the seashore. There a boat was made ready for them, with oars, but no rudder or sail.

All their tears were vain: the Saracens forced them aboard, and turned the little craft adrift into the wide ocean.

The boat drove fast and far through the water, and fear came down upon those in it. Soon they were tossing haphazard upon the rushing waves, now resting forlornly, now praying for help, now rowing wildly, as if for their lives, if ever the violence of the sea abated for a moment. All that afternoon, and through the long, dark night, they voyaged in cold and terror, till in the morning, as the day dawned, Horn looked up and saw land at a little distance. "Friends," said he, "I have good tidings. Yonder I spy land; I hear the song of birds, and see grass growing. Be merry once more; our ship has come into safety."

They took their oars and rowed lustily. Soon the keel touched the shore, and they sprang out eagerly on to dry land, leaving the boat empty. The waves drew the little craft gently back to themselves, and it began to glide away into the great sea. "Go now from us, dear boat," cried Horn lovingly to it, as he saw it drawn away; "farewell, sail softly, and may no wave do you harm."

The boat floated slowly away, and Horn wept sorely at parting from it. Then they all turned their faces inland, and left the sea behind them, and set forth to seek whatsoever fortune might bring them.


Retold by F.J.H. Darton

The country to which Horn and his comrades had come was called Westerness: Aylmer the Good was king of it. But of that the wanderers knew nought as yet.

They journeyed far over hill and dale, ignorant of the way, and seeing no living man, until, as the day drew to an end? there met them Aylmer the king himself. "Whence do you come, friends?" asked he. "Who are you that are so fair and straight of body?"

Horn spoke up for them all, for he was wisest and most skilled in the use of courteous words. "We are from Suddenne, sire, of good lineage and Christian faith. The pagans came to our land, and slew my father and many others, and drove us from our homes. We thirteen whom you see were set adrift in a boat, to be the sport of the sea; a day and a night have we travelled without sail or rudder, and our boat brought us to this land. We are in your hands, sire: slay us, or keep us bound as prisoners; do with us as you will."

The good king was no ungentle boor: he spoke them fair and graciously. "Tell me, child," he said, "what is your name? No harm shall come to you at my hands, whosoever you he."

"Horn am I called, sire."

"Horn, child, you are well and truly named: your fame shall ring like a horn over dale and hill. Now, Horn, come with me. You and your comrades shall abide at my court."

They set out for the king's palace. When they were come thither, Aylmer entrusted them to his steward, Athelbrus, whom he charged to bring them up in knightly ways. They were added to Aylmer's household, and taught all that squires of kings should know. But Horn was to come to greater things than this. He learnt quickly, and became beloved by every one; and most of all, Rimenhild, the king's daughter, loved him from the day when she first set eyes on him. Her love for him grew daily stronger and stronger, though she dared speak no word of it to him, for she was a princess, and he only a squire rescued by chance from the sea.

At length Rimenhild could hide her love no longer.

She sent for Athelbrus the steward, and bade him bring Horn to her bower. But he, guessing her secret from her wild looks, was unwilling to send Horn to her, fearing the king's displeasure; and he bade Athulf, Horn's dearest companion, go to the princess instead, hoping either that the princess would not know him from Horn (for she had as yet spoken to neither of them, and they were much alike in face and mien), or that by this plan she would see the folly of her desire.

Athulf came to Rimenhild's bower, and she did not know that he was not Horn, and received him lovingly. But soon the trick was made plain, for Athulf, as beseems a loyal heart, could not hear himself praised above all other squires at Aylmer's court, and vowed that Horn was far fairer and better than he. Then Rimenhild in a rage sent him from her, and bade Athelbrus bring Horn to her without more ado. And thus at last Horn came before the princess.

"King's daughter," said he with reverence and courtesy, "Athelbrus, the steward, bade me come to you here. Say what you would have me do."

Rimenhild rose, answering nothing till she had taken him by the hand, and made him sit by her, and embraced him lovingly. "Welcome, Horn," she said; "you are so fair that I cannot but love you. Take me to wife; have pity on my love."

Horn knew not what to say. "Princess," he began at last, "I am too lowly for such a wife as you. I am but a thrall [Footnote: A slave or bondsman.] and a foundling, and owe all that I have to the king your sire. There is no meet wedding between a thrall and the king's daughter." At those words Rimenhild fell into a swoon; and Horn was filled with pity and love at the sight, and took her in his arms, and kissed her.

"Dear lady," he said, "be brave. Help me to win knighthood at the hands of my lord the king; if I be dubbed knight my thraldom is ended, and I am free to love you, as I do in my heart already." For Horn had long loved the princess secretly, but dared not hope that she would give him her love in turn.

Rimenhild came to her senses as he spoke. "Horn," she said, "it shall be as you wish. Ere fourteen days have passed you shall be made a knight."

Thereupon she sent for Athelbrus again, and bade him pray the king Aylmer to dub Horn a knight; and, to be brief, Horn was speedily knighted, and, asking the king's leave, himself knighted in turn his twelve companions.

As soon as he was knighted, Rimenhild called him to her; and Athulf, his dear comrade, went with him into her presence. "Sir Horn, my knight," she said, "sit by me here. See, it is time to fulfil your word. Take me for your wife."

"Nay, Rimenhild," answered Horn; "that may not be yet. It is not enough that I am knighted. I must prove my knighthood, as all men do, in combat with some other knight. I must do a deed of prowess in the field for love of you: then if I win through with my life, I will return and take you to wife."

"Be it so, Horn. Now take from me this carven ring of gold. On it is wrought: 'Be true to Rimenhild.' Wear it always on your finger, for my love's sake. The stone in it has such grace that never need you fear any wound nor shrink from any combat, if you do but wear this ring, and look steadfastly upon it, and think of me. And you, Athulf, you too, when you have proven your knighthood, shall have such another ring also. Sir Horn, may Heaven bless and keep you, and bring you safe to me again."

With that Horn kissed her, and received her blessing, and went away to prove his knighthood in brave feats of arms.


Retold by F. J. H. Darton

When Horn had saddled his great black horse, and put on his armour, he rode forth to adventure, singing gaily. Scarce had he gone a mile when he spied by the seashore a ship, beached, and filled with heathen Saracens. "What do you bring hither?" asked Horn. "Whence do you come?" The pagans saw that he was but one man, and they were many, and answered boldly, "We are come to win this land, and slay all its folk."

At that Horn gripped his sword, and his blood ran hot. He sprang upon the Saracen chief and smote him with all his strength, so that he cleft the man's head from off his shoulders. Then he looked at the ring which Rimenhild had given him; and immediately such might came upon him that in a trice he slew full five score of the pagans. They fled in terror before him, and few of those whom he did not slay at the first onset escaped.

Horn set the head of the Saracen leader on the point of his sword, and rode back to Aylmer's court. When he had come to the king's palace, he went into the great hall, where the king and all his knights sat. "King Aylmer," he cried, "and you, his knights, hear me. To-day, after I was dubbed knight, I rode forth and found a ship by the shore, filled with outlandish knaves, fierce Saracens, who were for slaying you all. I set upon them; my sword failed not, and I smote them to the ground. Lo, here is the head of their chief."

Men marvelled at Horn's prowess, and the king gave him words of praise. But not yet did Horn dare speak of his love for Rimenhild. On the morrow, at dawn, King Aylmer went a-hunting in the forest, and Horn's twelve companions rode with him. But Horn himself did not go to the chase; he sought instead to tell his lady Rimenhild of his deeds, and went to her bower secretly, thinking to hear her joy in the feats he had done. But he found her weeping bitterly. "Dear love," he said, "why do you weep?"

"Alas, Horn, I have had an evil dream," she answered. "I dreamed that I went fishing, and saw my net burst. A great fish was taken in it, and I thought to have drawn him out safely; but he broke from my hands, and rent the meshes of the net. It is in my mind that this dream is of ill omen for us, Horn, and that the great fish signifies you yourself, whereby I know that I am to lose you."

"Heaven keep this ill hap from us, dear princess," said Horn. "Nought shall harm you, I vow; I take you for my own for ever, and plight my troth to you here and now." But though he seemed to be of good cheer, he too was stirred by this strange dream, and had evil forebodings.

Meanwhile Fikenhild, riding with King Aylmer by the river Stour, was filled with envy of Horn's great deeds against the Saracens; and at last he said to the king, "King Aylmer, hear me. This Horn, whom you knighted yesterday for his valour in slaying the Saracens, would fain undo you. I have heard him plotting to kill you and take Rimenhild to wife. Even now, as we ride here by the river, he is in her bower—he, Horn, the foundling, is with your daughter, the Princess Rimenhild. Go now, and take him, and drive him out of your land for his presumption." For Fikenhild had set a watch on Horn, and found out the secret of his love for Rimenhild.

Thereupon King Aylmer turned his horse, and rode home again, and found Horn with Rimenhild, even as Fikenhild had said. "Get you hence, Horn," he cried in anger, "you base foundling; forth out of my daughter's bower, away with you altogether! See that you leave this land of Westerness right speedily; here is no place nor work for you. If you flee not soon, your life is forfeit."

Horn, flushed with rage, went to the stable, and set saddle on his steed, and took his arms; so fierce was his mien that none dared withstand him. When all was ready for his going, he sought out Rimenhild. "Your dream was true, dear love," he said. "The fish has torn your net, and I go from you. But I will put a new ending to the dream; fear not. Now fare you well; the king your father has cast me out of his realm, and I must needs seek adventure in other lands. Seven years will I wander, and it may be that I shall win such fortune as shall bring me back to sue honourably for you. But if at the end of seven years I have not come again to Westerness, nor sent word to you, then do you, if you so will, take another man for husband in my stead, and put me out of your heart. Now for the last time hold me in your arms and kiss me good-bye."

So Horn took his leave. But before he went away from Aylmer's court, he charged Athulf his friend to watch over Rimenhild and guard her from harm. Then he set forth on his horse, and rode down to the sea, and took ship to sail away alone from Westerness.


Retold by F. J. H. Barton

Ere Horn had sailed long, the wind rose, and the ship drove blindly before it for many leagues, till at length it was cast up on land. Horn stepped out on to the beach, and there before him saw two princes, whose names (for they greeted him kindly) were Harild and Berild.

"Whence are you?" they asked, when they had told him who they were.
"What are you called?"

Horn thought it wise to hide his real name from them, lest it should come to Aylmer's ears, and his anger reach Horn even in this distant land. "I am called Cuthbert," he answered, "and I am come far from the west in this little ship, seeking adventure and honour."

"Well met, sir knight," said Harild. "Come now to our father the king: you shall do knightly deeds in his service." They led him to King Thurston their father; and when Thurston saw that Horn was a man of might, skilled in arms, and a true knight, he took him into his service readily. So Horn—or Cuthbert, as they knew him—abode at Thurston's court, and served the king in battle. But no great and notable thing befell him until the coming of Christmas.

It was King Thurston's custom to make each Christmas a great feast, lasting many days. To this feast Horn was bidden, with all the other knights of the court. Great mirth and joy was there that Yule-tide; all men feasted with light hearts. Suddenly, about noon-day, the great doors of the king's hall were flung open, and a monstrous giant strode in. He was fully armed, in pagan raiment, and his mien was proud and terrible.

"Sit still, sir king," he roared, as Thurston turned to him. "Hearken to my tidings. I am come hither with a Saracen host, and my comrades are close at hand. From them I bring a challenge; and this is the challenge. One of us alone will fight any three of your knights, in a certain place. If your three slay our one, then we will depart and leave you and your land unscathed. But if our one champion slays your three, then will we take your land for our own, and deal with it and you as it pleases us. To-morrow at dawn we will make ready for the combat; and if you take not up this challenge, and send your appointed knights to battle, then will we burn and lay waste and slay all over this realm." Thereupon he turned, and stalked out of the hall, saying never another word. "This is a sorry hap," said King Thurston, when the Saracen had gone and left them all aghast. "Yet must we take up this challenge. Cuthbert," he said, turning to Horn, "you have heard this pagan boast; will you be one of our three champions? Harild and Berild, my sons, shall be the other two, and may God prosper all three! But alas! it is of little avail. We are all dead men!"

But Horn felt no fear. He started up from the board when he heard the king's sorrowful words. "Sir king," he cried, "this is all amiss. It is not to our honour that three Christian knights should fight this one pagan. I alone will lay the giant low, with my own sword, unaided."

Thurston hoped little of this plan, but none the less he agreed to it; and when the next day came, he arose betimes, and with his own hands helped to arm Horn; and having made ready, he rode down to the field of battle with him. There, in a great open space, stood the Saracen giant awaiting them, his friends standing by him to abide the issue of the combat. They made little tarrying, but fell to right soon. Horn dealt mightily with the giant; he attacked him at once, and showered blows upon him, so that the pagan was hard pressed, and begged for a breathing space.

"Let us rest awhile, sir knight," he said. "Never suffered I such blows from any man's hand yet, except from King Murry, whom I slew in Suddenne."

At that dear name Horn's blood ran hot within him: before him he saw the man who had slain his father and had driven himself from his kingdom. He fell to more furiously than ever, and drove hard at the giant beneath the shield; and as he smote he cast his eye upon the ring Rimenhild had given him.

Therewith his strength was redoubled; so straight and strong was the blow, so true his arm, that he pierced the giant to the heart, and he fell dead upon the ground.

When they saw their champion slain, the Saracens were stricken with panic. They turned and fled headlong to their ships, Thurston and his knights pursuing. A great battle was fought by the ships: Harild and Berild were slain, but Horn did such deeds of prowess that every pagan was killed.

There was great lamentation over the two princes. Their bodies were brought to the king's palace and laid in state, and lastly buried in a great church built for them.


Retold by F. J. H. Darton

There was now no heir to Thurston's kingdom, since Harild and Berild were slain; and in a little time, when the king's grief abated, he bethought him of what should befall his people when his time came to die.

"Cuthbert," he said to Horn one day, when he had pondered long over these things, "there is no heir to my kingdom. There is but my daughter Reynild to come after me. Will you wed her, and he king and rule this land after my death?"

Horn was sorely tempted. But he looked on his ring, and remembered Rimenhild. "Sir king," he answered, "you do me great honour, and I give you thanks. But I am under a vow, and cannot wed the lady Reynild." He would say no more, but was firm in his purpose; and King Thurston had to be content with his loyal service only. For seven years Horn abode at Thurston's court, serving in arms under him and winning great fame by his knightly deeds. No word did he send to Rimenhild, nor received tidings of any kind from Westerness.

About the end of the seventh year Horn chanced to be riding in the forest, when he met a page journeying as if towards Thurston's palace. "What do you here?" he said. "Whither do you go?"

"Sir," answered the page, "I have a message for one Sir Horn from Sir Athulf in Westerness, where Aylmer is king. The Lady Rimenhild is to be wedded on Sunday to King Modi of Reynes, and I am sent to bring tidings thereof to Sir Horn. But I can find him nowhere, nor hear even so much as his name, though I have wandered far and wide."

At this heavy news Horn hid his name no longer. He told the page who he was, and bade him go back with all speed, and say to Rimenhild that she need no longer mourn: her lover would save her ere Sunday came.

The page returned blithely with this message. But he never delivered it, for as he went back he was by chance drowned; and Rimenhild, hearing no word of Horn, despaired. Athulf, too, watching long for Horn each day on a tower of Aylmer's palace, gave up hope.

But Horn was not idle or forgetful. When he had despatched the page, as he thought, safely back to Athulf and Rimenhild, he went straight to King Thurston, and without more pretence told him his true name and all the story of the adventures.

"Sire," he said, at the end, "I have served you well. Grant me reward for my service, and help me to win Rimenhild. See, you offered me the hand of your daughter Reynild; that I might not accept, for I was pledged already; but perchance my comrade Athulf might be deemed an honourable suitor. If you will but help me, Athulf shall be Reynild's husband; that I vow. Sire, give me your aid."

"Be it so," said Thurston, loath to lose Horn, but glad to hear of a knight waiting to wed the lady Reynild. Straightway a levy of knights was made, and Horn set forth in a ship with a brave body of fighting men. The wind blew favourably, and ere long they came to Westerness. Even as they touched the shore, the bells ceased ringing for the marriage of Rimenhild to King Modi.

Horn saw how late they had arrived, and that he must needs act warily, if he would save Rimenhild in the midst of the rejoicings over her wedding. He left his men on board ship, and landed alone, setting out to walk to the palace, where the wedding-feast was about to be held. As he walked thus, he met a palmer [Footnote: A pilgrim], clad in pilgrim's weeds. "Whither go you, sir palmer?" he asked.

"I have just come from a wedding," he answered, "from the wedding of Rimenhild, the king's daughter; and sad and sorrowful she seemed to be, in truth, on this wedding day."

"Now Heaven help me, palmer, but I will change clothes with you. Take you my robe, and give me your long cloak. To-day I will drink at that wedding feast, and some shall rue the hour that I sit at the board with them."

Without more ado he changed clothes with the palmer, taking also his staff and scrip, and staining his face till it was like that of a toil-worn traveller. Then he set out for the palace once more.

He came soon to the gates, where a porter strove to bar his entrance. But Horn broke in the wicket-gate, and entered, and threw the man over the drawbridge, so that his ribs were broken. None other stood in Horn's way, and he went into the great hall, and took his place in a lowly seat among the beggars and poor men.

As he looked about him, he saw, at a little distance, Rimenhild, weeping and lamenting sorely. Athulf he did not see, for he was still keeping watch in the tower for Horn's return. Before long Rimenhild rose from her seat and began to minister to the guests, according to custom, pouring them out wine and ale in horn beakers. When she came low down among the guests, Horn spoke to her.

"Fair queen," he said, "serve us also; we beggars are athirst."

She laid down the vessel she bore, and took a great gallon cup, and filled it with brown ale, and offered it him, thinking him a glutton. "Take this cup," she said, "and drink your fill. Never saw I so forward a beggar."

"I will not drink your ale, lady," answered Horn, for he was minded to let her know who he was, and yet to hide himself from all others at the feast. "Give me wine; I am no beggar. I am a fisherman, come hither to search my nets, and see what I have caught. Pledge me now yourself and drink to Horn of horn."

Thus by his strange words he thought to recall to her that dream she had formerly dreamed, of a great fish that escaped from her net.

Rimenhild looked on him, and hope and fear sprang up in her heart together. She knew not what his saying about his nets and "Horn of horn" might mean. With a steadfast look, she took her drinking-horn, and filled it with wine, and gave it to Horn.

"Drink your fill, friend," she said, "and tell me if you have seen aught of this Horn of whom you seem to speak."

Horn drained the beaker, and as he put it down dropped into it the ring that Rimenhild had given him so long ago. When Rimenhild saw the ring she knew it at once. She made an excuse, and left the feast, and went to her bower. In a little time she sent for the palmer secretly, and asked him where he got the ring.

"Queen," said Horn, "in my travels I met one named Horn. He gave me this ring to bring to you; it was on shipboard I met him, and he lay dying."

He said this to prove if her love were still constant to him. But Rimenhild believed him, and when she heard him say that Horn was dead, became as one mad with grief. Then Horn, seeing how strong was her love, threw off his palmer's cloak, and showed her the false stain on his face, and told her that he was in very truth Horn, her lover.

When their first joy at meeting again was over, Horn told the princess of the men he had brought with him in his ship. Secretly they sent for Athulf, and when he too had learnt all Horn's tidings, a message was sent to the men in the ship, who came to the palace speedily, and were admitted by a private door. Then all the company of them broke suddenly into the banquet-hall, and fell upon those there, and slew many; but Modi and Fikenhild escaped and fled from Westerness.


Retold by F. J. H. Barton

When they had made an end of slaying, Horn revealed himself to Aylmer, and reproached him for giving his daughter in marriage to Modi, whom she did not love; and Aylmer, when he heard of Horn's deeds—for the fame which Horn had won under the name of Cuthbert had gone into many lands—could not but feel sorrow that he had sent Horn away in anger seven years ago; and he begged Horn to stay at his court and wed Rimenhild, for the marriage with Modi was not fully complete when Horn and his men broke up the feast.

"Nay, I am of royal blood," answered Horn. "You thought me a foundling and despised me. For that insult you formerly put upon me, I vow I will not take Rimenhild for my wife until I have won my kingdom of Suddenne back from the Saracens, and avenged my father King Murry, whom they slew. I am a king's son; I will be a king before my wife shall come to me."

Aylmer could not gainsay Horn in his purpose, and once more Horn set out on his wanderings. With him went Sir Athulf and a band of brave knights. They took ship and for five days sailed the sea with a favouring wind, till at last, late at night on the fifth day, they came to the shores of Suddenne.

Horn and Athulf landed, to spy out the country. A little way inland they came upon an old knight sleeping by the wayside; on his shield was the device of a cross. Horn woke him gently. "Tell me, sir knight, who are you?" he asked. "Your shield shows that you are a Christian; but this land is ruled by pagans."

"I am a Christian, truly," said the old knight. "But I serve the pagans perforce. They hold the power, and I must needs fight for them, against my will. This land is in a sorry case. If King Murry's son, Horn, were here, perchance we might drive the pagans out. But I know not where to find him, nor where my own son is; for Athulf, my son, was Horn's dearest companion."

Such changes had the long absence wrought in Horn and Athulf and the old knight that they did not recognise one another. But at these words Horn and Athulf knew for certain that they were indeed in Suddenne. They told the old knight who they were, and learnt that Horn's mother, the Queen Godhild, was still alive, and many knights in the land besides, desirous of driving the Saracens out, but unable to fulfil their desire through lack of a leader and of men.

Horn forthwith summoned his men from the ships, and blew his trumpet for battle, and attacked the Saracens. There was a great fight, but before long the heathen were defeated, and those who were not slain were driven altogether out of the land.

Thus Horn came into his kingdom again; but he had yet to punish Fikenhild the traitor, who first separated him from Rimenhild (for this Aylmer had told him), and King Modi, who had sought to wed her against her will.

Fikenhild, when Horn came back to Westerness in time to save Rimenhild from Modi, had fled; but he still plotted deep treachery in his heart. By bribes and favours he won many knights to follow him; and he built himself a great castle of stone, set on a rock, surrounded on all sides with water, so that none could come at it easily. Then by stealth one night he carried off Rimenhild, and married her in this castle, holding a great feast at sunrise to celebrate the marriage.

Horn knew nought of this by word of mouth or letter. But in a dream he beheld Rimenhild: she seemed to him as though shipwrecked, calling upon his name; but when she tried to swim to him, Fikenhild appeared and prevented her.

When he awoke, Horn told Athulf this vision; and when they had thought upon the lore of dreams, they agreed that it meant that Rimenhild was in Fikenhild's sea-girt castle, the fame of which was known to all men. Straightway they took a ship and sailed to the land hard by where the castle lay.

There a certain knight named Arnoldin, cousin of Athulf, met them, and told them that Fikenhild had just wedded Rimenhild, arid the wedding-feast was now beginning.

They could not come nigh the castle openly as enemies, for none could approach it across the water unless those within were willing to let him enter. But Horn and some of his knights disguised themselves as harpers, hiding their swords under long cloaks.

They took a boat and rowed under the walls of the banqueting-hall, and there they played and sang merrily, till Fikenhild heard them, and called them in to the feast.

When they had come into the hall, they began to sing again, at Fikenhild's bidding. But soon Horn looked once more upon his ring, and then, with a shout, he and his companions fell upon Fikenhild and his men and slew every one of them.

The tale is soon told. Horn made Arnoldin king in Fikenhild's castle. Athulf he sent to Thurston's court, where in a little time he married the princess Reynild; and Horn went back to his kingdom of Suddenne, and there made Rimenhild his queen. Long and happily they reigned in true love and in fear of God.


Retold by F. J. H. Darton

In former days there was a King of England called Athelwold; the very flower of England was he, and he ruled justly and well. All things in his realm he ordered strictly, and maintained truth and right throughout the land. Under his rule robbers and traitors were put down; men bought and sold freely, without fear, and wrongdoers were so hard pressed that they could but lurk and creep in secret corners. Athelwold set up justice in his kingdom. There was mercy for the fatherless in his day; his judgments could not be turned aside by bribes of silver and gold. If any man did evil, the king's arm reached him to punish him, were he never so wary and strong.

This Athelwold had no heir, save only one daughter, very fair to look upon, named Goldborough. But ere she grew up, the king fell ill of a dire sickness. He knew well that his time was come, and that death was nigh him. "What shall I do now?" he said in his heart. "How shall my daughter fare when I am dead? My heart is troubled for her: I think nought of myself. She cannot yet speak or walk: if she were of age to ride, she could rule England, and I would care nothing about dying."

But it was idle to lament. The king was sure in his mind that he must die, and he sent messengers to all his vassals, to his earls, and his barons, rich and poor, from Roxburgh to Dover, bidding them come to him speedily where he lay sick.

All those who heard his message were sad at the tidings, and prayed that he might be delivered from death. They came with all speed to the king at Winchester.

"Welcome," said he, when they entered the hall of his dwelling. "Full glad am I that you are come. You see in what sorry case I lie. I have bidden you here that you may know that my daughter shall be your lady when I, your lord, am dead. But she is yet a child, and I am fain to make some true man her guardian till she be a woman grown: I will that Godrich, Earl of Cornwall, do guard her and bring her up. He is a true man, wise in counsel and wise in deed, and men have him in awe."

They brought a holy book to the king. On it he made Earl Godrich swear a solemn oath to keep Goldborough well and truly, till she was of age to rule and to order the realm of England wisely. Then the little maid was given to the earl, her new guardian. Athelwold thanked the earl, and bade him to be true to his charge; and in a little while death took the good king.

When King Athelwold was dead, Godrich ruled England. In every castle he set some knight of his own, whom he could trust: all the English folk he caused to take an oath to be faithful to him; and in a little while Athelwold's realm was altogether in his power.

In the meantime Goldborough was kept at Winchester, and brought up as befitted a king's daughter. Every day she seemed to grow in wisdom and fairness, till when she was twenty years old there was none like her in the land. But Godrich, when he saw how good and how fair she was, grew jealous of her. "Shall she be queen over me?" he thought. "Must I give up my kingdom and my power to her? She has waxed all too proud; I have treated her with too great gentleness. She shall not be queen. I will rule, and after me my son shall be king."

As that treason crept into his mind, he forgot his oath to Athelwold, caring not a straw for it. Without more ado he sent for Goldborough from Winchester and took her to Dover. There he set her in a strong castle, and clad her meanly, and guarded her so strictly that no man could see her or come at her without his leave.

Now it chanced that about this time the same thing came to pass in Denmark as in England. Birkabeyn, King of Denmark, died, and at his death gave to one Earl Godard the charge of his kingdom and of his son Havelok and his two daughters, Swanborough and Elfled. Godard stood by his oath no better than Godrich, but cast all three children into prison, and well-nigh starved them to death. But when they had lain in prison for a little time, and were nearly dead of hunger, he went to see them.

"How do you fare?" he asked, for Havelok ran to him, and crept upon his knees when he sat down, and looked up joyfully into his face. "I hear that you moan and cry: why is this?"

"We hunger sore," answered Havelok. "We have nought to eat, and no man has brought us meat or drink. We are nigh dead of hunger."

Godard heard his words, but felt no pity; he cared not a straw for their misery. He took Swanborough and Elfled by the hand, and slew them then and there. Then he turned to Havelok and would have slain him also. But the boy in terror cried for mercy. "Have pity," he said. "Spare me and I will give you all Denmark, and will vow never to take up arms against you. Let me live, and I will flee from Denmark this very day, and never more come back; I will take oath that Birkabeyn was not my father."

At that some touch of doubt came into Godard's mind. He put up his knife, and looked at Havelok. "If I let him go alive," he thought, "he might work me much woe. He shall die, but not now; I will cast him in the sea and drown him."

He went thence, and sent for a fisherman named Grim. "Grim," he said, "you are my thrall; do my will and to-morrow I will give you your freedom. Take the boy Havelok at night to the sea and cast him therein."

Grim took the boy, and bound him with strong cords, and bore him on his back to his cottage, and showed him to his wife Leve. "You see this boy, wife," said he. "I am to drown him in the sea; when I have done it, I shall be made a free man, and much gold will be ours; so has our Lord Godard promised."

When Dame Leve heard that, she started up, and threw Havelok down so roughly that he hurt his head on a great stone that lay on the ground. "Alas that ever I was a king's son!" he moaned in his pain; and he lay there where he fell till night-time.

When night fell Grim made ready for his task. "Rise up, wife, blow the fire," said he. "Light a candle. I must keep my word to my lord."

Leve rose to tend the fire. Her eyes fell on Havelok, who still lay on the ground. Round him, she marvelled to see, shone a bright light, and out of his mouth proceeded light as it were a sunbeam.

"What is that light?" quoth Dame Leve. "Grim, look what it means; what is this light?"

Grim went to Havelok, and unbound him. He rolled back the shirt from the boy's shoulder. There he saw, bright and clear, a king's birthmark.

"Heaven help us," said Grim, "this is the heir to Denmark, who should be king and lord of us all. He will work Godard great harm." Then he fell on his knees before Havelok. "Lord king," he said, "have mercy on me and on Leve here. We are both yours, lord, both your servants. We will keep you and nurture you till you can ride and bear shield and spear; Godard shall know nought of it. Some day I will take my freedom at your hands, not at his."

Then was Havelok blithe and glad. He sat up and asked for bread. "I am well-nigh dead," he said, "with hunger and hardship."

They fed him and cared for him, and lastly put him to bed; and he slept soundly. On the morrow Grim went to the traitor Godard. "I have done your will on the boy, lord," he said. "He is drowned in the sea. Now I pray you give me gold for a reward, and grant me my freedom, as you vowed."

Godard looked at him, fierce and cruel of mien. "Will you not rather be made an earl, proud knave?" he asked. "Go home, fool; go, and be evermore a thrall and churl, [Footnote: An Ignorant laborer of the lowest rank.] as you have ever been; no other reward shall be yours. For very little I would lead you to the gallows for your wicked deed."

Grim went away. "What shall I do?" he thought as he hurried home. "He will assuredly hang me on the gallows-tree. It were better to flee out of the land altogether."

He came home and told Leve all; and they took counsel together. Soon Grim sold all his possessions. Only his boat he kept; and that he made ready for a voyage, till there was not so much as a nail wanting to make it better. Then he took on board his wife and his three sons, Robert the Red, William Wendat, and Hugh Raven, and his two fair daughters, Gunnild and Levive, and Havelok; and they set sail.

The wind blew fair behind them, and drove them out to sea. Long did they sail, and came at last to England, to Lindsey at the mouth of the Humber. They landed safely; and before long Grim began to make a little house of clay and turf for them to dwell in. He named the place after himself, Grimsby; and so men call it now, and shall call it forever, from now even to doomsday.


Retold by F. J. H. Darton

Grim was a skilful fisherman, and caught many good fish. Great baskets did he make, and others his sons made; and they carried the fish inland in these baskets, and sold them. All over the country did Grim go with his fish, and came home always with store of bread, or corn, or beans, against their need. Much he sold in the fair town of Lincoln, and counted many a coin after his sales there.

Thus Grim fared for many winters; and Havelok worked with the rest, thinking it no shame to toil like any thrall, though he was a king's son born.

There came at last a year of great dearth. Corn was so scarce that all men were in poverty, and Grim did not know how to feed all his family. For Havelok he had great dread, for he was strong and lusty, and would eat more than he could earn. And soon the fish in the sea also began to fail them, so that they were in sore straits. But Grim cared more for Havelok than for all his own family; all his thoughts ran on Havelok.

"Dear son Havelok," he said at last, "we shall die of hunger anon; all our food is gone. It is better for you to go hence, and strive for yourself only, and not try to help us here. You are stout and strong; go to Lincoln; there is many a man of substance there, who might take you in service. It were better for you to serve there than to see us starve here and to starve along with us. Would that I could clothe you fitly! Alas I am too poor. Yet for your sake I will cut up the sail of my boat and make you a cloak of it to cover your rags."

He took the sail from his boat, and cut it up rudely into a cloak for Havelok. Then Havelok bade him God-speed, and set out, and came in time to the city of Lincoln.

He had no friend in Lincoln, and knew no man. For two days he went to and fro, fasting; no man had work or food for him. But on the third day he heard a cry, "Porters, porters, hither quickly!" He sprang forward like a spark from coal, and thrust aside all who stood in his path; sixteen stout lads did he knock down, and came to where fish was being laden into carts for Earl Godrich of Cornwall. There stood the earl's cook, calling for men to load the carts; and Havelok fell to work with a will at his bidding.

When all was done, "Will you take service with me?" said the cook to
Havelok. "I will pay you good hire and feed you well."

"Give me enough to eat, good sir," answered Havelok, "and I care not what you pay me. I will blow your fire, and fetch wood and water; I can wash dishes, and cleave faggots, and clean eels, and do all that you need."

"You shall be my man," answered the cook.

So Havelok took service in Earl Godrich's household, and drew water and cut wood. Strong and large was he of body, and fair to look on.

Earl Godrich was lord of all England; it lay as it were in his hand. Many men were wont to come to him at Lincoln to talk of great things; and they held a parliament there, and came thither with a great train of men-at-arms and followers, so that the town was always full of folk coming and going.

It chanced one day that eight or ten young men began to play together near where Havelok was at work; they fell to throwing a great stone, huge and heavy. He must needs be a stout man who could so much as lift it to his knee. But those who threw it now were champions, and could cast it many a foot.

Havelok looked on and longed to throw against them; and his master, seeing his looks, bade him go and try what he could do. He took the stone and poised it well; and at the first effort he threw it twelve feet or more farther than any other man.

"We have been here too long," said the rest. "This lad is mightier than any of us; it is time for us to go hence."

They went away, and spread the news that there was at Lincoln a lad mightier than any man of that day; and Havelok's fame grew and was known far and wide. It came at last to Earl Godrich's ears.

"This is a stout knave," thought the earl, when he heard of Havelok's strength. "I would that he were wedded to Goldborough; he is the fairest and strongest man in England, and if I gave Goldborough to him, I should keep my word to Athelwold in some sort, for there is none like Havelok: no better man could she desire. And if she were wedded to him, she would be out of my way, and I should be secure in my rule, and my son should reign in England after me."

Thus he thought and planned secretly. Anon he sent for Goldborough, and brought her to Lincoln. At her coming he caused bells to be rung, and there was great rejoicing; but he was nevertheless full of craft. "You shall have the fairest man alive for husband," he said to Goldborough; "therefore have I sent for you."

"I will wed no man but a king or a king's son, be he ever so fair," she answered boldly.

"Would you gainsay me as if you were queen and lady over me?" cried Godrich in great wrath. "You shall have a churl for husband, and no other. My cook's knave shall wed you; he shall be your lord. To-morrow shall you be wedded to him."

Goldborough wept and prayed his mercy, but it was of no avail. On the morrow the church-bell was rung, and Godrich sent for Havelok. "Master, are you minded to marry?" he asked.

"Nay, by my life," quoth Havelok. "What should I do with a wife? I cannot feed her or clothe her; I have no house and no possessions. The very clothes I wear are the cook's, and I am his servant."

"If you do not take to wife her whom I will give you," said Godrich,
"I will hang you high aloft, or thrust out your eyes."

At that Havelok was sore afraid, and granted all that Godrich bade. Then Godrich sent for Goldborough. "You will take this man for husband," he said, "or you go to the gallows, unless rather I burn you at the stake."

She was afraid at his threats, and dared not refuse, though she liked it ill. So they two were wedded perforce, and neither took joy in it.


Retold by F. J. H. Darton

When they were married, Havelok knew not what to do. He had no home whereto he might take Goldborough. Godrich had such hatred for Athelwold's daughter that he would do nought to aid them; and Havelok was in sore straits till he bethought himself of Grimsby.

Straightway he took Goldborough to Grimsby. But Grim himself was dead. Nevertheless his sons welcomed Havelok gladly.

"Welcome, dear lord, and welcome to your fair lady," they said. "We have here horses and nets and ships, gold and silver, and much else that Grim our father bequeathed. But he bade us give them to you; take them, dear lord; they are all yours. You shall be our lord, and we will be your servants in all things."

So Havelok came back to Grimsby. But on the night of his coming Goldborough was sad and sorrowful as she lay beside him, and she could not sleep. Her wakeful eyes fell on Havelok, and she was aware suddenly of a wondrous sight. A bright light, clear and flaming, issued from his mouth, and lit up all the chamber. "What may this mean?" she said to herself in sore dread. "Does it show me that some high fortune shall come upon Havelok?"

She looked again, and saw a new wonder. On Havelok's shoulder a king's mark shone, a noble cross of red gold; and as she looked, an angel's voice spoke to her:

"Goldborough, let your sorrow be; Havelok, your husband, is a king's son and a king's heir. The golden cross signifies that he shall possess all Denmark and England, and shall be king of both realms."

When she heard the angel's voice Goldborough could not contain her joy, but turned and kissed Havelok as he slept. Havelok had not heard the angel, but he started out of his sleep at Goldborough's kiss.

"Dear lady, are you awake?" he said. "A strange dream have I just dreamed. I thought I was in Denmark, on the highest hill that ever I came to; it was so high that I could see, it seemed, all the world spread out. As I sat there, I began to possess Denmark, with all its towns and strong castles; and my arms were so long that I surrounded in one grasp all Denmark, and drew it towards me till every man therein cleaved to me. Another dream I dreamed also, that I flew over the salt sea to England, and with me went all the folk of Denmark. When I came to England, I took it all into my hand, and, Goldborough, I gave it to you. Dear wife, what may this be?"

"May these dreams turn to joy, Havelok, as I deem they will," answered Goldborough. "I say to you that you shall wear the crown of England in time to come, and Denmark shall kneel at your feet. Within a year this shall come to pass. Let us two go to Denmark speedily; and do you pray Grim's sons that they go with you, all three."

On the morrow Havelok went to church and besought aid of God. Then he betook himself to Grim's three sons, Robert, and William, and Hugh. "Listen now to me," he said, "and I will tell you a thing concerning myself. My father was king of the Danish land, and I should have been his heir; but a wicked man seized the kingdom when my father died, and slew my two sisters, and gave me to Grim to drown, but Grim spared me and brought me hither, as you know. Now I am come to an age when I can wield weapons and deal stout blows; and never will I take comfort till I see Denmark again. I pray you come thither with me; I will reward you well and will give each of you ten castles, with the land and towns and woods that belong thereto."

"We will follow you whithersoever you bid us, Havelok," they answered, "and we will, if it please God, win back your kingdom for you."

Havelok gave them due thanks, and began straightway to prepare all things for his going to Denmark. Soon he had made ready, and they set sail.

Their voyage prospered, and they landed safely in Denmark, in the dominions of one Ubbe, a rich earl, who had been a friend of King Birkabeyn, Havelok's father.

When Havelok heard who was lord of that part of Denmark, he was glad, and set out to go to Ubbe's castle in good hope. He dared not say yet that he was Birkabeyn's son, for if Earl Godard heard of it, he would come against him and slay him before he could win any followers. But he went to Ubbe and spoke him fair and courteously, and gave him a gold ring, and asked leave to settle in that land to be a merchant; and Ubbe, seeing how strong and comely Havelok was, gladly gave him leave, and thereafter bade him to a great feast. Havelok went to the feast, and Goldborough with him, and Grim's sons also; and Ubbe grew to love him so well that when the feast was ended, he sent him with ten knights and sixty men-at-arms to the magistrate of those parts, Bernard Brun, a man of might and substance.

Bernard was a trusty man, and entertained Havelok and Goldborough and all their company well.

But as they sat at meat, there came tidings that a band of sixty thieves, well armed and fierce, was at the gate, demanding entrance.

At that news Bernard started up and took a good axe in his hand, and went to the gate; and Havelok followed him.

"What do you here, rascals?" cried Bernard, "If I open the door to you, some of you will rue it."

"What say you?" answered one of the thieves. "Think you that we are afraid of you? We shall enter by this gate for all that you can do." Thereupon he seized a great boulder, and cast it mightily against the gate, and broke it.

Havelok saw what befell, and went to the gate. He drew therefrom the great cross-bar, and threw the gate wide open. "I abide here," he cried. "Flee, you dogs."

"Nay," quoth one, "you shall pay for waiting;" and he came running at Havelok, and the two others close behind with him. But Havelok lifted up the door-beam, and at one blow slew all three. Then he turned upon others, and in a moment overthrew four more. But a host of them beset him with swords, and all his skill could not prevent them from wounding him: full twenty wounds had he, from crown to toe. But he began so to mow with the beam that the robbers soon felt how hard he could smite. There was none who could escape him, and in a little while he had felled twenty of them.

Then a great din began to arise, for the rest of the thieves set upon Havelok and Bernard with all their might. But Hugh and his brothers heard the noise, and came running with many other men; and before long there was not one of the thieves left alive.

On the morrow tidings came to Ubbe that Havelok had slain with a club more than a score of stout rogues. He went down to Bernard and asked him what had come to pass; and Bernard, sore wounded from the fight, showed him his wounds, and told him how sixty robbers had attacked his house, and how Havelok had slain great plenty of them; but Havelok also, he said, was grievously wounded.

Others also of Bernard's men told the like true tale; and Ubbe sent for Havelok, and when he had seen his wounds, called for a skilful leech, and took Havelok into his house and cared for him.

The first night that Havelok lay in Ubbe's house, Ubbe slept nigh him in a great chamber, with places boarded off for each man. About midnight he awoke, and saw a great light in the place where Havelok lay, as bright as if it were day. "What may this be?" he thought. "I will go myself and see. Perchance Havelok secretly holds revel with his friends, and has lit many lights. I vow he shall do no such sottishness in my castle."

He stood up, and peeped in between the boards that shut Havelok from him. He saw him sleeping fast, as still as any stone; and he was aware of a great light coming as it were from Havelok's mouth.

He was aghast at that sight, and called secretly to his knights and sergeants and men-at-arms, more than five score of them, and bade them come and see the strange light; and the light continued to issue from Havelok's mouth, and to grow in strength till it was as bright as two hundred wax-candles.

Havelok's right shoulder was towards Ubbe and his men.

Suddenly, as they looked at the light, they saw the king's mark on the shoulder, a bright cross, brighter than gold, sparkling like a carbuncle stone. Then Ubbe knew that Havelok was a king's son, and he guessed that he must be Birkaheyn's son, the rightful king.

When Havelok awoke, he fell at his feet and did obeisance, he and all his men. "Dear lord," he said, "I know you to be Birkabeyn's son. You shall be King of Denmark; right soon shall every lord and baron come and do you homage." Then was Havelok glad and blithe, and gave thanks to God for His goodness.

Before long Ubbe dubbed Havelok knight; and as soon as he was knighted all the barons and lords of those parts came to him and swore fealty; and anon they crowned him King of Denmark, and set themselves in array to attack the false Earl Godard.

But Godard's knights, being weary of his rule, had all gone over to
Havelok; and Grim's son, Robert, sufficed to meet him in combat.
Robert wounded him in the right arm, and they bound him and brought
him before Havelok.

Sorry now was Godard's lot; all his greatness was gone from him. He came before Havelok and his nobles, and they gave sentence upon him, that he should be flayed alive, and then hanged. And so he came to his end in great misery and torment.

When Godrich in England heard that Havelok was king of all Denmark, and purposed (for Havelok had given out that this was his intent) to come to England and set Goldborough on her throne, he set to work to gather a great host to meet Havelok when he should come; and he spread lying tales to make the English hate and fear Havelok, saying that he would burn and destroy, and oppress them; and by these means he got together many and led them to Grimsby.

Afron came Havelok and his men, and landed at Grimsby; and they fought a great battle. All that day Havelok's men fought with Godrich's men; and on the morrow they fought again, and Godrich came face to face with Havelok himself.

"Godrich," Havelok cried, "you have taken Athelwold's kingdom for yourself; I claim it for his daughter Goldborough. Yield it up, and I will forgive you, for you are a doughty knight."

"Never will I yield," answered Godrich: "I will slay you here."

He gripped his sword, and smote at Havelok, and clove his shield in twain. But Havelok drew his own good sword, and with one blow felled him to the earth. Yet Godrich started up again, and dealt him such a stroke on the shoulder that his armour was broken, and the blade bit into the flesh. Then Havelok heaved up his sword in turn, and struck fiercely, and shore off Godrich's hand, so that he could smite no more, but yielded as best he might.

They seized Godrich and fettered him; and all the English took the oath of fealty to Goldborough, and swore to be her men. Then they passed judgment on Godrich, and sentenced him to be burnt to death.

So Havelok and Goldborough came again into their kingdoms; and Havelok rewarded Grim's sons and made them barons. Havelok was crowned King of England as well as of Denmark; and full sixty winters did he reign with Goldborough in great joy and prosperity.


Retold by F. J. H. Darton

Sir Gawain had a son, and he was fair to look on, bright of face and well-favoured in body. He was named Geynleyn. But for love of his fair face his mother called him Beau-fys, and no other name; and he never asked her what he was truly called, for Sir Gawain had wedded this lady secretly, and none knew that he was Geynleyn's father. On a certain day Geynleyn went to the woods to hunt the deer, and there he found a knight in gay armour, lying slain. Geynleyn wondered thereat; but in a little time he took off the knight's garments, and clad himself in the rich armour; and when he had done this, he went to Glastonbury, where King Arthur lay at that time. He came into the hall before the knights and greeted them.

"King Arthur, my lord," he said, "grant that I may speak a word, I pray you. I would fain be made a knight."

"Tell me your name," answered King Arthur, "for since I was born I never saw before me one so fair to look on."

"I know not what is my true name," answered the lad. "While I was at home, my mother, jesting, called me Beau-fys, and nought else."

Then said Arthur the king, "This is a wondrous thing, that the boy should know not his name when he would become a knight; and yet he is full fair of face. Now will I give him a name before you all. Let him be called Le Beau Disconus, which is to say, 'The fair unknown': so is he to be named." Thereupon King Arthur made him a knight, and gave him bright arms, and girt him with a sword, and hung round him a shield wrought with the design of a griffin. Sir Gawain took charge of him to teach him knightly ways.

When Le Beau Disconus had been made a knight, he asked yet another boon of the king. "My lord," he said, "I should be right glad in heart if I might have the first fight that is asked of you."

"I grant your asking," answered Arthur the king, "whatsoever the combat be. But you seem too young to do well in a great fight."

Then they sat down to feast. Not long had they feasted ere there came a maiden riding, and a dwarf beside her, in a great heat as though with haste. This maid was called Elene the bright and gentle; no countess or queen could be her equal in loveliness. She was richly clad, and the saddle and bridle of her milk-white steed were full of diamonds. Her dwarf wore silk of India; a stout and bold man was he, and his beard, yellow as wax, hanged down to his girdle. His shoes were decked with gold, and truly seemed a knight that felt no poverty. His name was Teondelayn; he was skilled in playing all musical instruments.

The dwarf spoke to the maiden, and bade her tell her errand, and lose no time. She knelt in the hall before all the knights, and greeted them with honour, and said, "Never was sadder tidings than I bring. My lady of Synadown is brought into a strong prison; she prays King Arthur to send her a knight of stout courage, to win her out of prison."

Up started the young knight Le Beau Disconus; his courage was stout and high. "Arthur, my lord," he said, "I shall take up this combat, and win the lady bright, if you are true to your word."

"Certain it is that I have promised even so," said King Arthur. "God grant you grace and might."

Then Elene began to complain, and said, "Alas that I was ever sent hither! Now will the word go forth that Arthur's manhood is lost, if you send a witless and wild child to deal doughty blows, when there are here knights of proved valour, Launcelot, Percevale, and Gawain." Le Beau Disconus answered, "Never yet was I afraid of any man; I have learned to fight with spear and sword. I will take the battle, and never forsake it, as is Arthur's law."

Then said Arthur, "Maiden, you get no other knight of me. If you think him not man enough, go get another of greater might where you can." The maid said no more; but for wrath she would neither drink nor eat at their feast, but sat down with her dwarf till the tables were taken away.

King Arthur bade four of the best knights of the Round Table arm Le Beau Disconus straightway in arms true and perfect. "Through the help of Christ, he shall hold to his word, and be a good champion to the lady of Synadown, and uphold all her rights," he said.

When he was armed Sir Le Beau Disconus sprang on his horse and received the king's blessing, and set forth a-riding with the maiden and the dwarf. Till the third day she railed at the young knight continually; and on the third day, when they came to a certain place, she said, "Caitiff, now is your pride undone. This vale before us is kept by a knight who will fight every man that comes; and his fame is gone far abroad. William Selebranche is he named, and he is a mighty warrior. Through heart or thigh of all those who come against him he thrusts his spear."

"Does he fight so mightily then?" asked Le Beau Disconus. "Has he never been hit? Whatsoever betides me, against him will I ride and prove how he fights."

On they rode all three till they came to a castle in a vale. There they saw a knight in bright armour. He bore a shield of green, with a device of three lions: and he was that William Selebranche of whom maid Elene had spoken. When the knight had sight of them he rode towards them, and said, "Welcome, fair brother. He that rides here, day or night, must fight with me, or leave his arms here shamefully."

"Now let us pass," said Sir Le Beau Disconus, "We have far to go to our friends, I and this maid; we must needs speed on our way."

"You shall not escape so," answered William. "Ere you go we will fight."

Then said Le Beau Disconus, "Now I see that it must be so. Make ready quickly and do your best. Take a course with the spear, if you are a knight of skill, for I am in haste."

No longer did they wait, but rode together in arms. Le Beau Disconus smote William in the side with his spear; but William sat firm in his saddle. Nevertheless so mightily was he struck that his stirrup leathers were broken, and he swayed over the horse's crupper and fell to the ground. His steed galloped away, but William started up speedily. "By my faith, never met I so stout a man," he said. "Now that my steed is gone, let us fight on foot." They fell to on foot with falchions. [Footnote: Broad, short swords.] So hard they struck that sparks flew from their helmets. But William drove his sword through Le Beau Disconus's shield, and a piece of it fell to the ground; and thereat Le Beau Disconus was wroth. He smote with his sword downwards from the crest of William's helmet even to his hawberk, and shaved off with the point of his blade the knight's beard, and well-nigh cut the flesh also. Then William smote back so great a blow that his sword brake in two.

"Let me go alive," cried William at that, seeing himself reft of his arms. "It were great villainy to do to death an unarmed knight."

"I will spare you," said Le Beau Disconus, "if you swear a vow ere we go from one another. Kneel down, and swear on my sword to go to King Arthur, and say to him, 'Lord of renown, a knight sent me hither, defeated and a prisoner: his name is Le Beau Disconus, of unknown kith and kin.'"

William went upon his knees and took a vow as Le Beau Disconus bade him, and thus they departed each on his way. William took the road to Arthur's court; and it chanced that as he went, he met, on that self-same day, three proud knights, his own sister's sons. "William our uncle," said they when they saw his wounds and his sorry array, "who has done you this shame?"

"The man is not to blame," answered William. "He was a knight stout and stern. One thing only grieves me sorely, that I must at his bidding go to King Arthur's court." And he told them of his vow.

"You shall be full well avenged," said they. "He alone against us three is not worth a straw. Go your way, uncle, and fulfil your vow; and we will assail the traitor ere he be out of this forest." Then William went on his way to the court of King Arthur.

But the three knights his nephews armed themselves, and leapt on their steeds, and without more tarrying went after Le Beau Disconus.

Le Beau Disconus knew nought of this, but rode on with the fair maid, and made great mirth with her, for she had seen that he was a true and doughty knight. She asked pardon for the ill things she had said against him at the king's court, and he forgave her this trespass; and the dwarf was their squire, and served them in all their needs.

At morning when it was day, as they rode on towards Synadown, they saw three knights in bright mail. They cried to him straightway, "Thief, turn again and fight."

"I am ready to ride against you all," quoth Le Beau Disconus. He pricked his horse towards them. The eldest brother (Sir Gower was his name) ran against him with a spear; but Le Beau Disconus smote him such a blow that he broke his thigh, and ever thereafter was lame. The knight groaned for pain, but Le Beau Disconus with might and main felled him altogether.

The next brother came riding fierce as a lion, as if to cast Le Beau
Disconus down. Like a warrior out of his wits he smote Le Beau
Disconus on his helmet with his sword; he struck so hard that the
blade drove through the helmet and touched the young knight's head.

Then Le Beau Disconus, when he felt the sword touch him, swung his sword as a madman, and all that he struck he clove through. Though two were against him—for the third brother also came riding to the fray—they saw that they had no might to withstand him in his fury. They yielded up their spears and shields to Le Beau Disconus, and cried mercy.

"Nay," answered Le Beau Disconus, "you escape not, unless you plight me your faith to go to King Arthur, and tell him that I overcame you and sent you to him. If you do not so, I will slay you all three." The knights swore to go to King Arthur, and plighted their troth upon it. Then they departed, and Le Beau Disconus and the fair maid rode on towards Synadown. All that day they rode, and at night they made their lodges in the wood out of green leaves and boughs, for they came nigh no town or castle; and thus for three days they pricked ever westwards.


Retold by F. J. H. Darton

As they slept at night the dwarf woke, fearing that thieves might steal their horses. Suddenly his heart began to quake, for less than half a mile away he saw a great fire. "Arise, young knight," he cried. "Arm yourself, and to horse! I doubt there is danger here: I hear a great sound, and smell burning afar off."

Le Beau Disconus leapt on his war-horse and took his arms, and rode towards the fire. When he drew nigh he saw there two giants, one red and loathly to look upon, the other swarthy as pitch. The black giant held in his arms a maiden as bright as a flower, while the red giant was burning a wild boar on a spit before the flaming fire.

The maiden cried aloud for help. "Alas," she said, "that ever I saw this day!"

Then said Le Beau Disconus, "It were a fair venture to save this maiden from shame. To fight with giants so grim is no child's game."

He rode against them with his spear, and at the first course smote the black giant clean through the body and overthrew him, so that never could he rise again. The maiden his prisoner fled from his grasp, and betook herself to maid Elene; and they went to the lodge of leaves in the wood, and prayed for victory for Le Beau Disconus.

But the red giant, seeing his brother fall, smote at Le Beau Disconus with the half-roasted boar, like a madman; and he laid on so sore that Le Beau Disconus's horse was slain. But Le Beau Disconus leapt out of the saddle, like a spark from a torch, and drove at him with his falchion, fierce as a lion. The giant fought with his spit till it broke in two; then he caught up a tree by the roots, and smote Le Beau Disconus so mightily that his shield was broken into three pieces. But before the giant could heave up the tree again, Le Beau Disconus struck off his right arm; and at that sore wound he fell to the ground, and Le Beau Disconus cut off his head.

Then Le Beau Disconus turned to the two maidens; and he learned that she whom he had saved was called Violette, and her father was Sir Autore, an earl in that country. Long had the two giants sought to take her; and the day before at eventide they had sprung out upon her suddenly and carried her off.

Le Beau Disconus took the giants' heads, and when he had escorted the maidens to the castle of Sir Autore, he sent the heads to King Arthur. Sir Autore wished to give him Violette to wife; but Le Beau Disconus refused, saying that he was upon a quest with fair Elene. And with that they set forth once more on their journey.

Presently they came to the fair city of Kardevyle, and saw there in a park a castle stout and stark, royally built: never such a castle had they seen. "Oh," said Le Beau Disconus, "here were a worthy thing for a man to win."

Then laughed maid Elene. "The best knight in all the country round owns that castle, one Giffroun," she said. "He that will fight with him, be it day or night, is bowed down and laid low. For love of his lady, who is wondrous fair, he has proclaimed that he will bestow a gerfalcon, white as a swan, on him who brings a fairer lady. But if she be not so bright and fair as his lady, he must fight this knight Giffroun, who is a mighty warrior. Giffroun slays him, and sets his head on a spear, that it may be seen afar abroad; and you may see on the castle walls a head or two set thus."

"I will fight this Giffroun," said Sir Le Beau Disconus, "and try for the gerfalcon; I will say that I have in this town a lady fairer than his; and if he would see her I will show him you."

"That were a great peril," said the dwarf. "Sir Giffroun beguiles many a knight in combat."

"Heed not that," answered Le Beau Disconus. "I will see his face ere
I go westward from this city."

Without more ado they went to the town, and dwelt there in the inn for the night. In the morn Le Beau Disconus rose and armed himself, and rode with the dwarf towards Giffroun's palace.

Sir Giffroun, when he came out of his house, saw Le Beau Disconus advancing as proudly as a prince. He rode out to him, and cried in a loud voice, "Come you for good or for ill?"

"I should have a great delight in fighting you," answered Le Beau Disconus, "for you say a grievous thing, that there is no woman so fair as your lady. I have in this town one fairer, and therefore I shall take your gerfalcon and give it to Arthur the king."

"Gentle knight," said Giffroun, "how shall we prove which of the two be fairer?"

"Here in Kardevyle city," said Le Beau Disconus, "they shall both be set in the market-place where all men may look on them. If my lady be not esteemed so fair as yours, I will fight with you to win the gerfalcon."

"All this I grant," said Sir Giffroun. "This day shall it be done."
And he held up his glove for a proof.

Sir Le Beau Disconus rode to his lodging, and bade maid Elene put on her seemliest robes. Then he set her on a dappled palfrey, and they rode forth to the market-place. Presently came also Sir Giffroun riding, with his lady and two squires. And the lady was so lovely that no man could describe her. All, young and old, judged that she was fairer than Elene; she was as sweet as a rose in an arbour, and Elene seemed but a laundry-maid beside her.

Then said Sir Giffroun, "Sir Le Beau Disconus, you have lost the gerfalcon."

"Nay," said Le Beau Disconus, "we will joust for it. If you bear me down, take my head and the falcon; and if I bear you down, the falcon shall go with me."

They rode to the lists, and many people with them. At the first course each smote the other on the shield, so that their lances were broken; and the sound of their onset was as thunder. Sir Giffroun called for a lance that would not break. "This young knight is as firm in his saddle as a stone in the castle wall," quoth he. "But were he as bold a warrior as Alexander or Arthur, Launcelot or Percevale, I will shake him out over his horse's crupper."

Together they charged again. Le Beau Disconus smote Giffroun's shield from his arm at the shock: never yet had man been seen to joust so stoutly. Giffroun, like a madman, struck furiously back at him, but Le Beau Disconus sat so firm that Giffroun was thrown, horse and all, and broke his leg.

All men said that Giffroun had lost the white gerfalcon; and they bore him into the town upon his shield. But Le Beau Disconus sent the white gerfalcon to King Arthur for a gift, and the king sent him a hundred pounds' weight of florins. And thereafter he feasted forty days in Kardevyle.

At the end of this feasting, Le Beau Disconus and maid Elene took their leave of Kardevyle, and rode towards Synadown. As they were riding, they heard horns blowing hard under a hill, and the noise of hounds giving tongue in the vale. "To tell truth," said the dwarf Teondelayn, "I know that horn well. One Sir Otes de Lyle blows it; he served my lady some while, but in great peril fled into Wirral."

As they rode talking, a little hound came running across their way; never man saw hound so gay; it was of all colours of flowers that bloom between May and midsummer.

"Never saw I jewel," said maid Elene, "that so pleased me. Would I had him!"

Le Beau Disconus caught the hound, and gave him to her. And they went on their way. They had scarce ridden a mile before they saw a hind fleeing, and two greyhounds close upon it. They stopped and waited under a linden tree to watch; and they saw riding behind the hounds a knight clad in silk of India, upon a bay horse. He began to blow his bugle, so that his men should know where he was. But when he saw Le Beau Disconus, and the dog in maid Elene's arms, he drew rein and said. "Sir, that hound is mine; I have had him these seven years past. Friends, let him go."

"That shall never be," said Le Beau Disconus, "for with my two hands I gave him to this maiden."

Straightway answered Sir Otes de Lyle (for it was he), "Then you are in peril."

"Churl," said Le Beau Disconus, "I care not for whatever you say."

"Those are evil words, sir," said Sir Otes. "Churl was never my name. My father was an earl and the Countess of Karlyle my mother. Were I armed now, even as you are, we would fight. If you give me not the hound, you shall play a strange game ere evening."

"Whatsoever you do," answered Le Beau Disconus, "this hound shall go with me."

Then they took their way westward once more. But Sir Otes rode home to his castle, and sent for his friends, and told them that one of Arthur's knights had used him shamefully and taken his little hound. They armed themselves, and when all was ready, rode out after Le Beau Disconus. Upon a high hill they saw him riding slowly. "Traitor, you shall die for your trespass," they cried to him, when they came a little distance from him.

Sir Le Beau Disconus beheld how full of knights the vale was. "Maid Elene," he said, "we are come into a sorry case for the sake of this little hound. It were best that you go into the greenshaws and hide your heads. For though I be slain, yet will I abide combat with these knights."

Into the woods they rode; but Le Beau Disconus stayed without, as beseems an adventurous knight. They shot at him with bows and arbalists, [Footnote: A crossbow] but he charged with his horse, and bore down horse and man and spared none; whosoever Le Beau Disconus struck, after the first blow that man slept for evermore.

But soon Le Beau Disconus was beset as in a net. Twelve knights came riding through the forest, in arms clear and bright: all day they had rested, and thought thereby to slay Le Beau Disconus. One of them was Sir Otes himself and they smote at Le Beau Disconus all at once, and thought to fell him.

Fierce was the fight; sword rang on steel, sparks sprang from shield and helmet. Le Beau Disconus slew three, and four flew. But Sir Otes and his four sons stayed to sell their lives there.

Le Beau Disconus against those five fought like a madman. His sword brake, and he took a great blow on his helmet that bore him down. Then the foeman thought to slay him outright; but Le Beau Disconus was minded suddenly of his axe that was at his hinder saddle-bow. He quitted himself like a true knight: three steeds he hewed down in three strokes.

Sir Otes saw that sight, and turned his horse and fled. Le Beau Disconus stood no longer on defence, but pursued him, and caught him under a chestnut tree and made him yield.

Le Beau Disconus sent this knight also to King Arthur for a sign of his powers; and himself and maid Elene went to Sir Otes's castle, and there rested and were refreshed.


Retold by F. J. H. Darton

When they had tarried at this castle a certain time, they rode forth again. It was the month of June, when the days are long and birds' songs are merry. Sir Le Beau Disconus and maid Elene and the dwarf Teondelayn came riding by a river-side, and saw a great and proud city, with high strong castles and many gates. Le Beau Disconus asked the name of this city.

"They call it Golden Isle," answered maid Elene. "Here hath been more fighting than in any country, for a lady of price, fair as a rose, has put this land in peril. A giant named Maugis, whose like is nowhere on earth, has laid siege to her. He is as black as pitch, stern and stout indeed. He that would pass the bridge into her castle must lay down his arms and do a reverence to the giant."

Then said Le Beau Disconus, "I shall not turn aside for him. If God give me grace, ere this day's end I will overthrow him."

They rode all three towards the fair city. On a wooden bridge they saw Maugis, as bold as a wild boar. His shield was black, and all his armour black also. When he saw Le Beau Disconus, he cried, "Tell me, fellow in white, what are you? Turn home again for your own profit."

"Arthur made me a knight," said Le Beau Disconus, "and to him I made a vow that I would never turn back. Therefore, friend in black, make ready."

They rode forthright at one another. Their lances brake at the first blows. But they drew swords in a fury and rushed at one another. Le Beau Disconus smote the giant's shield so that it fell from him; but Maugis in turn slew Le Beau Disconus's steed with a great blow on its head. Le Beau Disconus said nought, but started up from his dead charger and took his axe: a great blow he struck, that shore the head of Maugis's horse clean from its body.

Then they fell to on foot, and no man can tell of the blows that passed from one to the other; and they fought till evening drew nigh.

Sir Le Beau Disconus thirsted sore, and said, "Maugis, let me go to drink. I will grant you what boon you ask of me in like case. Great shame would it be to slay a knight by thirst."

Maugis granted it, but when Le Beau Disconus went to the river and drank, Maugis struck him unawares such a blow that he fell into the river. "Now am I truly refreshed," cried Le Beau Disconus, as he climbed out. "I will repay you for this."

Then a new fight was begun, and they continued till darkness grew apace. At length Le Beau Disconus struck such a blow that the giant's right arm was shorn off. Thereupon Maugis fled, but Le Beau Disconus ran swiftly after him and with three stern strokes clove his backbone. Then Le Beau Disconus smote off the giant's head, and went into the town; and all the folk welcomed him.

A fair lady came down to meet him, called Le Dame d'Amour; and she thanked him for his aid against the giant, and led him to her palace. There he was clad in clean raiment, and feasted, and the lady would have had him be lord of her city and castle.

Le Beau Disconus granted her prayer, and gave her his love, for she was indeed fair and bright. Alas that he did not refrain! Twelve months and more he dwelt there; and fair Elene was afraid lest he might never go thence, for the lady of the castle knew much of sorcery, and put a charm upon Le Beau Disconus so that he wished never to leave her.

But it fell on a day that Le Beau Disconus met maid Elene by chance within the castle. "Sir knight," she said, "you are false of faith to King Arthur. For love of a sorceress you do great dishonour. The lady of Synadown lies in prison yet!"

At her words Le Beau Disconus thought his heart would break for sorrow and shame. By a postern-gate he crept away from the lady of the castle, and took with him his horse and his armour and rode forth with maid Elene and the dwarf and a squire named Gyfflet. Fast they rode without ceasing till on the third day they came in sight of the strong city of Synadown.

But Le Beau Disconus wondered at a custom he saw as he descried the town. For all the waste and refuse that was cast outside the town was gathered again by the folk and kept.

"What means this?" asked Sir Le Beau Disconus.

"This it is," said maid Elene. "No knight may abide here without leave of a steward called Sir Lambard. Ride to that eastern gate yonder, and ask his leave to enter fairly and well; ere he grants it, he will joust with you. And if he bears you down, he will blow his trumpets, and all through Synadown, at the sound thereof, the maidens and boys will throw on you this filth and mud that they have gathered; and so to your life's end will you be known as a coward, and King Arthur shall lose his honour through you."

"That were great shame for any man living," said Sir Le Beau Disconus. "I will meet this man. Gyfflet, make me ready." Then they made ready and rode to the castle gate, and asked where knights might find lodging. The porter let them in and asked, "Who is your overlord?"

"King Arthur, the well of courtesy and flower of chivalry, is my lord," answered Le Beau Disconus.

The porter went and told Sir Lambard of the knight, and Sir Lambard was glad, and vowed to joust with him. Thereupon the porter came again to Le Beau Disconus, and said, "Adventurous knight, ride to the field without the castle gate, and arm you speedily, for my lord would joust with you."

Sir Le Beau Disconus rode to the field and made ready. Presently there came the steward all armed for the fight, and they fell to. Long and fierce was the fray, but at the last Le Beau Disconus struck Sir Lambard so fiercely that he was borne clean out of his saddle backwards.

"Will you have more?" asked Sir Le Beau Disconus.

"Nay," answered Sir Lambard. "Never since I was born came I against such a knight. If you will fight for my lady, you are welcome, sir knight."

"Nay," said Sir Le Beau Disconus, "but I fight for a lady even now." Then they went into Sir Lambard's castle and feasted and were right merry. Sir Lambard and Sir Le Beau Disconus spoke much of adventures, and at last Sir Le Beau Disconus asked him concerning his quest. "What is the knight's name who holds in prison the gentle lady of Synadown?"

"Nay, sir, knight is he none. Two magicians are her foes, false in flesh and bone: Mabon and Irayn are their names, and they have made this town a place of strange magic arts. They hold this noble lady in prison, and often we hear her cry, but have no power to come to her. They have sworn to slay her if she will not do their will, and give up to them all her rights in this fair dukedom which is hers."

They took their rest. On the morrow Le Beau Disconus clad himself in his best armour, and rode forth to the gate of the great palace of Synadown; and with him for escort came Lambard and his knights.

They found the gate open, but no further durst any man go save Le Beau Disconus and his squire Gyfflet; and Le Beau Disconus made Gyfflet also turn back with the rest.

Then he rode alone into the palace, and alighted at the great hall. He saw minstrels before the dais, and a fire burning brightly, but no lord of the palace was there. Le Beau Disconus paced through all the chambers, and saw no one but minstrels who made merry. Le Beau Disconus went further, seeking those whom he should fight. He peered into all the corners, and looked on wondrous pillars of jasper and fine crystal; but never a foe did he see.

At last he sat him down at the dais in the great hall. As he sat, the minstrels ceased their music and vanished, and the torches were extinguished; doors and windows shook like thunder, and the very stones of the walls fell round him. The dais began to quake, and the roof above opened.

As he sat thus dismayed, believing that he was betrayed by magic, he heard horses neigh. "Yet may I hope to joust," he said, better pleased. He looked out into a field, and there he saw two knights come riding with spear and shield; their armour was of rich purple, with golden garlands. One of the knights rode into the hall. "Sir knight," he cried, "proud though you be, you must fight with us."

"I am ready to fight," answered Le Beau Disconus, and he leapt into his saddle, and rode against the knight. His might bore Mabon (for it was he) over his horse's tail: the hinder saddle-bow broke, and he fell. With that rode in Irayn fully armed, fresh for the fight, and meaning with main and might to assail Sir Le Beau Disconus. But Le Beau Disconus was aware of him, and bore down on him with his spear, leaving Mabon where he had fallen. They broke their lances at the first stroke, and fell to with swords. As they fought, Mabon rose up from the ground, and ran to aid Irayn. But Le Beau Disconus fought both, and kept himself back warily.

When Irayn saw Mabon, he smote fiercely at Le Beau Disconus and struck his steed. But Sir Le Beau Disconus returned his blow, and shore off his thigh, skin and bone and all: of no avail were his arms or his enchantments then!

Then Le Beau Disconus turned swiftly again to Mabon; and Mabon with a great blow broke the knight's sword. But Le Beau Disconus ran to Irayn, where he lay dying, and drew from him his sword, and rushed fiercely upon Mabon once more, and smote off his left arm with the shield.

"Hold, gentle knight," said Mabon, "and I will yield that to your will, and will take you to the fair lady. Through the wound from that sword I am undone, for I poisoned both it and mine, to make certain of slaying you."

"I will have none of your gifts, were I to win all this world by them," said Le Beau Disconus. "Lay on. One of us shall die."

Then they fell to again, and so fiercely did Le Beau Disconus fight that in a little while he cleft Mabon's head and helmet in twain.

When Mabon was slain, he ran to where he had left Irayn, meaning to cleave his head also. But Irayn was not there; he had been borne away, whither Le Beau Disconus did not know. He sought him everywhere, and when he found him not, he believed that he was caught in a snare, and fell on his knees and prayed. As he prayed a marvel came to pass. In the stone wall a window opened, and a great dragon issued therefrom. It had the face of a woman, fair and young, her body and wings shone like gold; her tail was loathly, and her paws grim and great.

Le Beau Disconus's heart sank within him, and he trembled. Ere he could think, the dragon clasped him by the neck and kissed him; and lo! as it kissed him, the tail and wings fell from it, and he saw before him the fairest lady that ever he looked upon.

"Gentle knight," she said, "you have slain the two magicians, my foes. They changed me into a dragon, and bade me keep that shape till I had kissed Sir Gawain or some other knight of kin to Sir Gawain. You have saved my life: I will give you fifteen castles and myself for wife, if it be King Arthur's will."

Then was Le Beau Disconus glad and blithe, and leapt on his horse and rode back to Sir Lambard to bring him these good tidings; and presently there came to him from the palace the lady herself, richly clad, and all the people of the town made a fair procession in her train. Every knight in Synadown did her homage and fealty as was due to her. Seven nights did they abide in the castle with Lambard, and then Sir Le Beau Disconus returned with the fair lady to King Arthur, and at his court gave thanks to God for their adventures. King Arthur gave the lady to Le Beau Disconus for wife; and the joy of that bridal can be told in no tale or song.


Geoffrey Chaucer, born about 1340, was the first great English poet. The immense popularity of the Canterbury Tales is shown by the number of manuscript copies still in existence. It was one of the first books printed in England.

The vividness with which the author describes scenes and events and people, as if he had them before his eyes, is one of his greatest charms as a writer. Those who know him best place him second only to Shakespeare as a writer of delightful English.

The spelling of Chaucer's time differs so much from ours that the difficulty of reading it discourages a great many people. The few stories here given are retold in the language of to-day.


Retold by F. J. H. Darton

In the old days of King Arthur all the land was filled with fairies, and the elf queen and her merry company held many a dance in the green meadows where now you will see never one of them. But that was many hundred years ago.

It happened that there was at King Arthur's court a young knight, in the full vigour and pride of his strength, who one day, as he was riding out, came upon a maiden walking all alone. She was very beautiful, and the sight of her made him forget his knighthood.

He went up to her, and tried to carry her off with him by force; but before he could succeed help came, and he was seized and taken before the king.

The king sentenced him to die, according to the law at that time, and he would surely have been put to death if the queen and her ladies had not long and earnestly prayed for mercy. The king at last relented and granted him his life, and left it to the queen to say what punishment should be given him.

When the queen had thanked King Arthur she sent for the knight. She did not wish to let him go wholly free.

"You are still in danger of losing your life," she said to him; "but I will give you your freedom on one condition: you must find me the answer to the question—'What is it that women most desire?' If you cannot now give me the answer that I have in my mind you shall have a year and a day in which to learn it. Do your best, and take great care, for if at the end of that time you still cannot answer, you must die."

The knight pondered awhile, but he could not guess the answer at once.

So he pledged himself to return to the court at the end of a year and a day, and went away very sorrowfully.

How was he to find the answer to the riddle? He thought for a long time by himself, and then asked every one he met what it was that women loved best. But nowhere could he discover two people who agreed in saying the same thing. Some told him the answer was honour; some, riches; others, fine clothing; others, again, flattery. But none of these replies pleased the knight, and he could not guess anyhow what it was that the queen had in her mind as the right answer.

He wandered far and wide in his mournful search for some one wise enough to help him. At length the time came when he had to turn homewards again, in order to return to the queen by the appointed day. His way lay through a forest, and he was riding along sadly enough when suddenly he saw a strange sight. In a little glade just in front of him was a ring of fair ladies dancing, four-and-twenty or more of them; but as he drew nigh eagerly to look at them more closely, and see if by chance lie might gain an answer from them, they all vanished.

In the place where they had been not a living thing remained except an old woman sitting on the grass. When he came near to her he saw that she was withered and ugly, and as horrible a sight as could be imagined,

"Sir knight," she said to him, standing up, "this road leads to no place. Whither are you going? Tell me your errand, and perchance I can help you. We old folk have knowledge of many things."

"Old mother," he said, "my trouble is this: I am as good as dead if I cannot discover what it is that women love best. If you could help me I would reward you well." And he told her the conditions on which his life was spared.

"Give me your word here and now that you will do the next thing that I ask of you, whatever it is, if it is in your power," said the hag when she heard the story, "and I will tell you the answer."

"I give my word," the knight replied.

"Then your life is safe. I promise you that my answer will be that which the queen wishes to have, and the proudest lady of all her court will not dare gainsay it. Let us go on our journey without any more talking."

She whispered a word or two in his ear, and bade him pluck up heart; and together they rode to the court.

The knight came before the queen, and said that he was ready to give his answer, and a great company of noble ladies gathered to hear what he would reply to the riddle. Silence was proclaimed, and he was called upon to speak.

"I have kept my word faithfully," he said in a manly voice that was heard all over the hall, "and I am here on the day appointed, prepared to answer the queen's question. The answer she desired was that women love power best, whether it be over husband or lover. If that is not the right answer do with me as you wish. I am here ready to die if you so will it."

They all agreed that he had saved his life by his reply. But when their verdict was made known up started the old hag who had told the knight the answer.

"Give me justice, lady queen, before your court departs," she cried. "I told the knight that answer, and he gave me his word that he would do the first thing that I asked of him if it lay in his power. Now, before all this court, I ask you, sir knight, to take me to be your wife; and remember it is I who have saved your life."

"Alas!" said the knight; "truly I gave my word, but will you not ask some other thing of me? Take all my riches, and let me go."

"No," insisted the old woman. "Though I be old and poor and ugly I would not let you go for all the gold on earth. I will be your wife and your love."

"My love!" he cried; "nay, rather my death! Alas that any of my race should suffer such dishonour."

All the knight's prayers and entreaties were of no avail. He had to keep his word and marry the hideous old hag; and a mournful wedding he made of it. He took his new bride home to his house, feeling not at all like a happy lover; and his woe was increased by her first words to him.

"Dear husband, will you not kiss me? Is it the custom of the king's court for every knight to neglect his wife? I am your own love, who saved you from death, and I have done you no wrong. Yet you act towards me like a madman who has lost his senses, with your groans and your glum looks. Tell me what I have done amiss, and I will set it right."

"You cannot set it right," said the knight sorrowfully. "Do you wonder that I am ashamed to have married one of such mean birth, so poor and old and ugly?"

"Is that the cause of your grief?" she asked.

"Yes," answered he.

"I could set it right," said his wife. "But you speak so proudly of your high birth and old family. Such pride is worth nothing, for poverty and low birth are no sin. Look rather at him who leads the best life both in secret and in the open, who strives always to do gentle and honourable deeds; take him for the truest gentleman, and be sure that a noble nature like his is not made only by high birth or the wealth of his fathers. But you say that I am low-born, old, and ugly. Well, choose now which you would desire me to be—as I am, poor, old, and ugly, but a true and faithful wife who will obey you always; or young and fair, but fickle and fond of vain pleasures, always emptying your purse and wounding your love?"

The knight did not know which to choose. He was moved to shame by his wife's words, and after long thought he said: "My lady, my dear wife, I put myself in your hands. Choose for yourself; that will do honour to you, and what you wish is enough for me."

"Then I have gained the mastery! I have power over you," said she, "if
I may choose as I please."

"Yes, dear wife," he answered, "I think that best."

"Kiss me," she said, "and let us quarrel no longer. I will be both to you—both fair and true. I will be as good a wife as ever there was since the beginning of the world; and if I am not as beautiful as any lady, queen, or empress in the whole earth, from east to west, then slay me or do with my life as you wish."

The knight looked up at her again. But instead of the withered old crone he expected to see, his eyes fell upon the most beautiful wife that could be imagined; for the old woman was a fairy, and had wished to give him a lesson before he knew her as she really was. No longer now was he ashamed of her, and they lived together happily to their lives' end.


Retold by F. J. H. Darton

There was once in Flanders a company of young men who spent much time in drinking and rioting among the taverns, wasting their lives in gambling and dancing day and night.

Early one morning a certain three of these revellers were sitting in a tavern drinking, and making a great noise with their horrible talk. As they jested idly with one another they heard a bell tolling outside for a dead man who was about to be buried.

"Run quickly," one of them called to his servant-boy, "and ask the name of the man whose body is being carried out to burial. Take care to tell it us aright."

"I need not go, sirs," answered the boy. "I heard two hours before you came here that this man who is now dead was an old comrade of yours, slain last night as he lay in a drunken sleep. There came to him a stealthy old thief named Death, who kills many folk in this country; he pierced your comrade's heart with a spear, and went his way without a word. He has slain a thousand or more in the pestilence here. I think it would be well for you; my masters, to beware of coming into the presence of such a foe, and to be ready to meet him."

"Yes," said the keeper of the tavern, "the boy speaks truly. Death has this year slain men, women, and children, pages and peasants, throughout the whole of a great village a mile from here. I think he dwells in that place. It would be wise to be prepared before he does one any evil."

"Is it so great a danger to meet him, then?" cried one of the revellers with an oath. "I will go myself, and seek him high and low in the streets and lanes. Listen, comrades: there are three of us; let us join together and slay this false traitor Death. We will swear to be true to one another, and before night-time we will slay him who kills so many others."

The other two agreed, and the three swore to be to one another as brothers. Up they started, and went forth towards the village where Death was said by the innkeeper to live.

"Death shall die," they cried, with many a boastful oath, "if we once lay hold of him!"

They had not gone half a mile on their way when they met an old, poor-looking man, who greeted them meekly and bade them God-speed.

"Who are you, you ragged old beggar?" cried the proudest of the rioters to him. "Why are you so well wrapped up, except for your face? Why is an old man like you allowed to live so long?"

The old man looked him in the face, and said: "I must needs keep my old age myself. I can find no man anywhere—no, not even if I walked to India—who would exchange his youth for my age. Death himself refuses to take my life; so I walk restlessly up and down the world, old and weary, tapping the ground with my staff early and late, and begging Mother Earth to take me to her again. 'Look how I am slowly vanishing,' I cry to her; 'I feel myself wasting, flesh and skin and blood and all. Receive me into the dust again, Mother Earth, for my bones are tired.' But the earth will not hear my prayer yet, and I must wander on. I beseech you, therefore, do not harm an old man, good sirs, and may the blessing of Heaven be upon you!"

"Nay, old churl," said one of the revellers, "you shall not get off so lightly. You spoke just now of the traitor Death, who slays all our friends in this district. Tell us where he is to be seen, or you shall rue it. I believe that you must be one of his friends yourself, and anxious to slay us young folk, since you talk so lovingly of him."

"Sirs," answered the old man, "if you are so eager to find Death, turn up this crooked path. In that grove yonder, upon my faith, I left him, under a tree. There he will await you. He will not hide himself from you for all your boasts. Do you see the oak? You shall find Death there. God save you and make you better men!"

Thus spoke the old stranger. They paid no more heed to him, but ran off straightway to search for Death by the oak tree. There they found, not Death himself, but a great heap of fine golden florins piled up, well-nigh eight bushels of them. No longer had they any thought about Death, but were so glad at the sight of the fair bright florins that they sat down there by the precious heap to think what should be done.

The worst of the three was the first to speak. "Listen to me, brethren. I am no fool, for all that I spend my life in folly. Fortune has given us this great treasure, so that we can live the rest of our lives in mirth and jollity. It has come to us easily, and easily we will spend it. But there is one thing which we must do to make our happiness sure: we must get the gold away from this place to my house, or else to one of yours—for, of course, the treasure is ours. But we cannot do this by day; men would say that we were thieves, and we should be hanged for stealing our own treasure. It must be done by night, as secretly and carefully as we can, and we must wait here all day. Let us therefore draw lots to see which of us shall go to the town and bring food and drink hither as quickly as he can for the other two. The others must stay by the treasure, for we cannot leave it unguarded. Then, when night comes, we will carry it all away safely."

They agreed to this, and drew lots. The lot fell on the youngest of them, who left them at once and went towards the town.

As soon as he was gone, one of those who remained with the gold said to the other: "You know that we have sworn to be true to one another like brothers. Hear, then, how can we win profit for ourselves: our comrade is gone, and has left us here with this gold, of which there is great plenty. We are to divide it among the three of us, by our agreement. But if I can contrive that we divide it between us two alone, will not that be doing you a friendly turn?"

"How can it be?" asked the other. "He knows that the gold is with us; what could we say to him?"

"Will you keep a secret?" said his comrade. "If so, I will tell you in a few words what we must do."

"Yes," answered the other; "trust me not to betray you."

"Look you, then, there are two of us, and two are stronger than one. When he comes back and sits down, do you rise and go to him as if for a friendly wrestling bout. I will stab him in the side as you struggle in play; see that you also do the like with your dagger. Thus shall the treasure be divided between us two, dear friend, and we shall live in ease and plenty for the rest of our lives."

The two rogues agreed on this plan for getting rid of their comrade; but he, as he went on his way to the town, could not take his mind away from the bright golden florins.

"If only I could have this treasure all for myself," he thought, "no man on earth would live so merrily as I." And at last the idea of poisoning his comrades came into his head.

When he reached the town, he went without hesitating any more to an apothecary, and asked him to sell him some poison to kill the rats in his house; and there was a polecat also, he said, which ate his chickens.

"You shall have a poison," answered the apothecary, "the like of which is not to be found on earth. It is so strong that if a man does but taste a little piece of it, the size of a grain of wheat, he shall die at once; before you can walk a mile he will be dead, so strong and violent is this poison."

The man took the poison in a box and went into the next street. There he borrowed three large bottles, and into two he put the poison; the third he kept clean for his own drink, thinking that he would be working hard that night, carrying the gold all by himself to his own house. Then he filled all the bottles up with wine, and went back to his comrades.

Why should a long tale be made of it? When he came back the other two set upon him, and killed him as they had planned.

"Now let us eat and drink," said one to the other. "When we have made merry we will bury him."

With that word, he took one of the bottles; it happened to be one of those containing the poisoned wine. He drank, and gave it to his fellow; and in a little while they both fell dead beside the body of their comrade.

Thus the three revellers met Death, whom they set out to kill.


Retold by F. J. H. Darton

There is on the western side of Italy a large and fertile plain, wherein lie a tower and town founded long ago by the men of the olden days. The name of this noble country is Saluzzo. A worthy marquis called Walter was once lord of it, as his fathers had been before him. He was young, strong, and handsome, but he had several faults for which he was to blame; he took no thought for the future, but in his youth liked to do nothing but hawk and hunt all day, and let all other cares go unheeded. And the thing which seemed to the people of Saluzzo to be worst of all was that he would not marry.

At length his subjects came to him in a body to urge him to take a wife. The wisest of them spoke on behalf of the rest.

"Noble marquis," he said, "you are ever kind to us, and so we now dare to come to you and tell you our grief. Of your grace, my lord, listen to our complaint. Bethink you how quickly our lives pass, and that no man can stop the swift course of time. You are in your youth now, but age will creep upon you in a day which you cannot foresee. We pray you therefore to marry, that you may leave an heir to rule over us when you are gone. If you will do this, lord marquis, we will choose you a wife from among the noblest in the land. Grant our boon, and deliver us from our fears, for we could not live under a lord of a strange race."

Their distress and grief filled the marquis with pity. "My own dear people," he answered, "you are asking of me that which I thought never to do. I rejoice to be free, and like not to have my freedom cut short by marriage. But I see that your prayer is just and truly meant, and that it is my duty to take a wife. Therefore I consent to marry as soon as I may. But as for your offer to choose a wife for me, of that task I acquit you. The will of God must ordain what sort of an heir I shall have, and be your choice of a wife never so wise, the child may yet be amiss, for goodness is of God's gift alone. To Him, therefore, I trust to guide my choice. You must promise also to obey and reverence my wife, and not to rebel against her so long as she lives, whosoever she may be."

With hearty goodwill they promised to do as he bade them, and to obey his wife, but before they went away they begged him to fix a day for the wedding.

Walter appointed a day for his marriage, saying that this, too, he did because they wished it; and they fell on their knees and thanked him, and went away to their homes again, while he gave orders to his knights and officers to prepare a great wedding-feast, with every kind of splendour and magnificence. But he told no one who was to be his bride.

Near the great palace of the marquis there stood a small village, where a number of poor folk dwelt. Among them lived a man called Janicola, the poorest of them all. Janicola had a daughter named Griselda, the fairest maiden under the sun, and the best. She had been brought up simply, knowing more of labour than of ease, and she worked hard to keep her father's old age in comfort. All day long she sat spinning and watching sheep in the fields; when she came home to their poor cottage in the evening she would bring with her a few herbs, which she would cut up and cook, to make herself a meal before she lay down to rest on her hard bed; and she had not a moment idle till she was asleep.

Walter had often seen this maiden as he rode out a-hunting, and he was filled with pleasure at the sight of her loveliness and her gentle, kindly life. In his heart he had vowed to marry none other than her, if ever he did marry.

The day appointed for the wedding came, but still no one knew who would be the bride. Men wondered and murmured and gossiped secretly, But the marquis had ordered all kinds of costly gems, brooches, and rings to be made ready, and rich dresses were prepared for the bride (for there was a maid in his service about Griselda's stature, so that they knew how to measure the cloth and silks and fine linen for the wedding garments). Yet still, when the very hour for the marriage arrived, no one but Walter knew who would be the bride.

All the palace was put in array, and the board set for the feast. The bridal procession started as if to fetch the bride, the marquis at its head, dressed in gay attire, and attended by all his lords and ladies.

They set out in all their pomp and magnificence, to the sound of joyful music, and rode until they came to the little village where Griselda lived.

Griselda, all ignorant of what was to happen, went that morning to the well to draw water, according to her wont, for she had heard of the procession which would take place in honour of the wedding.

"I will do my work as soon as I can, and go and stand at the door as the other maidens do," she thought, "to watch the marquis and his bride pass, if they come this way to the castle."

Just as she went to the door the procession reached the cottage, and the marquis called her. She set down her waterpot by the threshold of the ox's stall (for they were so poor that their one ox lived in the hut with them), and fell on her knees to hear what the marquis wished to say to her.

"Where is your father, Griselda?" he asked soberly and gravely.

"My lord, he is within," she answered humbly, and went in and brought
Janicola before him.

Walter took the old man by the hand, and led him aside. "Janicola," he said, "I can no longer hide the desire of my heart. If you will grant me your daughter, I will take her with me to be my wife to my life's end. You are my faithful liege subject, and I know that you love and obey me. Will you, then, consent to have me for your son-in-law?"

The sudden question so amazed the old man that he turned red and confused, and stood trembling before the marquis. All he could say was: "My lord, my will is as your will, and you are my sovereign. Let it be as you wish."

"Let us talk privately a little," said the marquis, "and afterwards I will ask Griselda herself to be my wife, and we three will speak of the matter together." So they went apart to confer privately about it. Meanwhile the courtiers were in the yard of the mean little cottage, marvelling at the care and kindness which Griselda showed in tending her old father. But their wonder was not so great as hers, for she had never before seen so splendid a sight as these richly-dressed lords and ladies, nor received such noble guests; and she stood in their presence pale with astonishment.

But her father and the marquis called her. "Griselda," said Walter, "your father and I desire that you shall become my wife. I wish to ask you whether you give your consent now, or whether you would like to think further of it. If you marry me, will you be ready to love and obey me, and never to act against my will, even so much as by a word or a frown?"

"My lord," Griselda answered, fearing and wondering at his words, "I am all unworthy of so great an honour; but as you wish, so will I do. Here and now I promise that I will never willingly disobey you in deed or thought—no, not if I die for it."

"That is enough, my Griselda," said the marquis; and with that he went gravely to the door, with Griselda following him.

"This is my bride," he cried to all the people. "Honour and love her,
I pray you, if you love me."

Then, that she might not enter his palace poorly dressed in her old clothes, he bade the women robe her fitly and honourably; and though these ladies did not like even to touch the old rags which Griselda wore, still, at his orders, they took them off her, and clad her afresh from head to foot. They combed her hair, and set a crown on her head, and decked her with precious stones and jewelled clasps, so that they hardly knew her again; and in this rich array she seemed more lovely than ever. The marquis put a ring on her finger, she was set on a snow-white horse, and they all rode to the palace, where they feasted and revelled till the sun set.

Thus Griselda was married to Walter. By her marriage her gentleness and beauty seemed only to increase, so that folk who had known her many a year would not believe that she was the same Griselda, the daughter of Janicola, who had lived in a mean hut in a poor village. Every one who looked on her loved her, and her fame spread all over Walter's realm, so that young and old used to come to Saluzzo merely to see her.

Thus for a time Walter and Griselda lived together in great happiness. At length Griselda had a daughter, and though they would have liked a son better, Walter and Griselda were very glad and joyful at the event, and so were all their subjects.

But when the child was still quite young a strange desire came upon the marquis to try his wife's goodness and obedience, though he had tested it in many ways times enough already, and had discovered no faults in her. It was cruel to put her to such pains for no need, but he could not rid himself of the wish, and he set about carrying it out.

One night, as she lay alone, he came to her with a stern, grave face. "Griselda," he said, "I think you have not forgotten the day when I took you from your poor home and set you high in rank and nobility. This present dignity which you now enjoy must not make you unmindful of your former low estate. Take heed to my words, therefore, now that we are alone, with none to hear what I am going to say. You must know that you are very dear to me, but not to my people. They say that it is shameful to be subjects of one of such mean birth; and since your daughter was born their grumbling has not grown less. Now, I wish to live my life with them in peace, as I have always done, and I cannot but give ear to their words. I must deal with your child as seems best, not for my own sake, but for my people's. Yet I am very loth to do what must be done, and I will not do it unless you consent. Show me, therefore, the obedience and patience which you promised at our marriage."

Griselda never moved when she heard of all this false tale. She did not reveal her grief in look or word, but simply answered: "My lord, it is in your power to do as you please; my child and I are yours. Do with us as you wish. Whatever you do cannot displease me, for all my desire is to obey you, and no length of time can change it—no, not even death itself—nor move my heart from you."

Walter was filled with gladness at this gentle answer, but he hid his joy, and went mournfully out of her room. A little while after this he told his plan to a faithful servant, a harsh and fierce-looking officer, whom he had often before trusted greatly; and when this man understood what was to be done he went to Griselda, and stalked into her chamber, silent and grim.

"My lady," he said bluntly, "I must obey my lord, and you must forgive me for doing that which I am ordered to do. I am commanded to take away your daughter."

Not a word more did he say, but seized the child and made as if to slay it there and then. Griselda sat obedient to the commands which she thought to be those of her lord, and uttered no sound. At last she spoke, and gently prayed him to let her kiss her child before it was slain; and he granted her prayer. She clasped her little daughter to her bosom, kissing it and lulling it to rest, and saying softly, "Farewell, my child; never again shall I see you. May the kind Father above receive your soul!"

Then she spoke again to the officer, so meekly and humbly that it would have stirred any mother's heart to see her. "Take the little child and go and do whatever my lord has bidden you. Only one thing more I ask you—that, unless my lord forbid it, you bury the babe so that no birds of prey can reach her little body." But he would promise nothing. He took the child, and went his way again to Walter, and told him all that Griselda had said and done.

The marquis was touched a little by remorse when he heard of his wife's gentle obedience, but none the less he held to his cruel purpose like a man who is resolved to have his own way. He bade the officer take the babe with all care and secrecy to his sister, who was Countess of Bologna, and tell her the whole story, asking her to bring the child up honourably, without saying whose it was.

But Walter's mind was not yet softened from his wicked intent. He looked eagerly to see if what he had done would make his wife show in her face any signs of grief or anger. But Griselda did not seem to be changed in the least. She was always gentle and kind, and still as glad, as humble, as ready to obey him as she had ever been; and not a word either in jest or in earnest did she say of her little daughter.

Thus there passed four years or so more, until Griselda had a little son, at which Walter and all his subjects were overjoyed, giving thanks to God because now there was an heir to the kingdom.

But when the boy was some two years old Walter's heart again became cruel and perverse, and he made up his mind to test his wife's patience once more. Her gentle obedience seemed only to make him wish to torment her still further.

"Wife," he said to her. "I have told you that my subjects did not like our marriage, but now, since our son was born, their murmuring has been worse than ever before, so that I am greatly afraid of what they may do. They speak openly of the matter. 'When Walter dies,' they say, 'we shall be ruled by Janicola's grandson.' I cannot but hear their words, and I fear them. So, in order to live in peace, I am resolved to serve our son as I did his sister before; and I warn you now, so that you may have patience to bear his loss when the time comes."

"I have always said, and always will say," answered Griselda, "that I will do nothing but what you wish. I am not grieved that both my son and my daughter are slain, if it is you who order it. You are my lord, and can do with me as you will. When I left my home and my poor rags I left there my freedom also, and took your clothing, and became obedient to your commands. Therefore do as you will; if I knew beforehand what you wished I would do it, and if my death would please you I would gladly die."

When Walter heard these words he cast down his eyes, wondering at the patience of his wife. Yet he went away from her with a stern and cruel face, though his heart was full of joy at her goodness.

The fierce officer came to her again in a little while, and seized her son. Again she prayed him to give the babe proper burial, and kissed its little face, and blessed it, without a word of complaint or bitterness. Again the child was taken to Bologna, to be brought up there. The marquis watched for signs of grief in his wife, but found none, and the more he regarded her the more he wondered.

Meanwhile rumours crept about among the people that Walter had murdered his two children secretly because their mother was nothing but a poor village maiden of low birth. The report spread far and wide, so that the marquis began to be hated by the subjects who had formerly loved him so well. Nevertheless, he did not change his purpose. He sent a secret message to Rome, asking that a decree from the Pope should be forged which would allow him, for the good of his subjects to put away his wife Griselda and wed another.

In due time the false decree arrived. It said that, since great strife had arisen between the Marquis of Saluzzo and his people because he had married a poor wife of humble birth, he was to put away this wife, and be free to marry another if he pleased. The common people believed these lying orders, but when the news came to Griselda her heart was full of woe. Yet she resolved to endure patiently whatever was done by the husband whom she loved so dearly.

Walter now sent a letter secretly to Bologna to the count who had married his sister asking him to bring to Saluzzo Griselda's son and daughter, openly and in state, but without saying to any man whose children they really were, and to proclaim that the young maiden was soon to be married to the Marquis of Saluzzo.

The count did as he was asked. He set out with a great train of lords and ladies in rich array, bringing the girl with her brother riding beside her.

She was decked in bright jewelled robes, as if for marriage, and the boy, too, was nobly and fittingly dressed.

When all this plan was being carried out, the marquis, according to his wicked design, put yet another trial upon Griselda's patience by saying to her boisterously, before all his court: "Griselda, I was once glad to marry you for your goodness and obedience—not for your birth or your wealth. But now I know that great rulers have duties and hardships of many kinds; I am not free to do as every ploughman may, and marry whom I please. Every day my people urge me to take another wife, and now I have got leave to do so to stop the strife between me and them. I must tell you that even now my new wife is on her way hither. Be brave then, and give place to her, and I will restore to you again the dowry you brought me when I married you. Return again to your father's house; remember that no one is always happy, and bear steadfastly the buffeting of misfortune."

"My lord," answered Griselda patiently, "I knew always how great was the distance between your high rank and my poverty. I never deemed myself worthy to be your wife, nor even to be your servant. May Heaven be my witness that in this house whither you led me as your wife I have always tried to serve you faithfully, and ever will while my life lasts. I thank God and you that of your kindness you have so long held me in honour and dignity when I was so unworthy. I will go to my father gladly, and dwell with him to my life's end. May God of His grace grant you and your new wife happiness and prosperity! As for the dowry which you say I brought with me, I remember well what it was; it was my poor clothes that I wore in my father's house. Let me, then, go in my old smock back to him. Though I have lost your love, I will never in word or deed repent that I gave you my heart."

"You may take the old smock and go," said Walter. Scarcely another word could he speak, but went away with great pity in his heart.

Before them all Griselda stripped off her fine clothes, and went forth clad only in her smock, barefoot and bareheaded. The people followed her weeping and railing at her hard lot, but she made no complaint, and spoke never a word. Her father met her at his door, lamenting the day that he saw her cast off thus. So Griselda went home and lived for a while with Janicola as though she had never left him.

At length the count drew near from Bologna with Griselda's son and daughter. The news spread among the people, and every one talked of the grand wife who was coming to be married to the marquis with such splendour as had never been seen in all West Lombardy.

When Walter heard of their approach he sent for Griselda. She came humbly and reverently, and knelt before him.

"Griselda," said he, "I desire that the lady whom I am to wed shall be received to-morrow as royally as may be. I have no woman who can make all the preparations for this, and arrange that every one shall be placed according to his proper rank, and I have sent for you to do it, since you know my ways of old. Your garments are poor and mean, but you will do your duty as well as you can."

"I am glad always to do your will, my lord," she answered. With that she turned to her task of setting the house in order for the guests of the marquis.

The next morning the Count of Bologna arrived with Griselda's son and daughter. All the people ran out to see the fine sight. She was younger and even fairer than Griselda, and the fickle people, ever changeable, as a weathercock, were full of praises for the choice of the marquis.

Griselda had made everything ready, and went into the courtyard of the palace with the other folk to greet the marquis and his bride. When the procession reached the banquet-hall, she took no shame in her torn old clothes, but went busily about her work with a cheerful face, showing the guests each to his appointed place.

At length, when they were all sitting down to the feast, Walter called out to her as she busied herself in the great hall. "Griselda," he cried, as if in jest, "what think you of my wife?"

"Never have I looked upon a fairer maiden, my lord," she answered. "I pray that you may have all prosperity to your lives' end. One thing only I ask of you—that you do not torment her as you did me; for she is tenderly brought up, and could not bear hardship as well as I, who was poorly bred."

When Walter heard her gentle answer, and saw that even now she had no discontent or malice for all the wrong he had done her, he relented at last, and blamed himself sorely for his cruelty.

"Enough, Griselda," he said; "be not ill at ease any longer. I have tried and tested your faithfulness and goodness, and I know your true heart, dear wife."

He took her in his arms and kissed her, but she was so filled with wonder that she hardly heard what he said till he spoke again.

"Griselda, you are my wife, and I will have no other. This is your daughter, who you thought was my new bride, and this your son, who shall be my heir; they have been kept and brought up secretly at Bologna. Take them again, and see for yourself that your children are safe. Let no one think evil of me for my cruelty; I did it but to make trial of my wife's goodness and show it the more brightly."

Griselda swooned for joy at his words. When she came to her senses again she thanked Heaven for restoring her children to her. "And I thank you, too, my lord. Now I fear nothing, not even death itself, since I have truly won your love. Dear children, God of His mercy has brought you back to me."

[Illustration: "This is my bride" he cried to all the people. From the drawing by Hugh Thomson.]

Suddenly she swooned again. Walter raised her up and comforted her till every one wept at the sight. Then the ladies of the court took her into a chamber apart, and dressed her in splendid robes again, and set a golden crown on her head, and brought her back into the banquet-hall, where she was honoured as she deserved with feasting and rejoicing that lasted all that day.

Full many a year Walter and Griselda lived together in happiness and peace. Janicola, too, was brought to the court, and dwelt there with them. Their daughter was married to one of the greatest lords in all Italy, and their son succeeded Walter at his death, and ruled well and prosperously.


As many stories gather round the great name of the French King Charlemagne as about that of the English King Arthur. Some versions are in French and some in Italian. The four stories beginning with "The Treason of Ganelon" make up the great epic song of France, the "Chanson de Roland" and the battle they celebrate was fought in 788. Roncesvalles is in Spain.

When William the Conqueror fought the battle of Hastings in 1066,
Taillefer, his minstrel, rode ahead of the army and sang of Roland and
Oliver, and of the rear guard which fell at Roncesvalles.

"How the Child of the Sea Was Made Knight" is from Amadis of Gaul, which is described in Don Quixote as one of the earliest and best of the Spanish romances. Some critics give it a Portuguese and some a French origin. Lobeira, its author, died in 1405.


By Thomas Bulfinch

Ogier the Dane was the son of Geoffroy, who wrested Denmark from the Pagans, and reigned the first Christian king of that country. In his education nothing was neglected to elevate him to the standard of a perfect knight, and render him accomplished in all the arts necessary to make him a hero.

He had hardly reached the age of sixteen years, when Charlemagne, whose power was established over all the sovereigns of his time, recollected that Geoffroy, Ogier's father, had omitted to render the homage due to him as emperor, and sovereign lord of Denmark. He accordingly sent an embassy to demand of the King of Denmark this homage, and on receiving a refusal, sent an army to enforce the demand. Geoffroy, after an unsuccessful resistance, was forced to comply, and as a pledge of his sincerity, delivered Ogier, his eldest son, a hostage to Charles, to be brought up at his court.

Ogier grew up more and more handsome and amiable every day. He surpassed in form, strength, and address all the noble youths his companions; he failed not to be present at all tourneys; he was attentive to the elder knights, and burned with impatience to imitate them.

Yet his heart rose sometimes in secret against his condition as a hostage, and as one apparently forgotten by his father.

Ogier's mother having died, the king had married a second wife, and had a son named Guyon. The new queen had absolute power over her husband, and fearing that, if he should see Ogier again, he would give him the preference over Guyon, she had adroitly persuaded him to delay rendering his homage to Charlemagne, till now four years had passed away since the last renewal of that ceremony. Charlemagne, irritated at this delinquency, drew closer the bonds of Ogier's captivity until he should receive a response from the King of Denmark to a fresh summons which he caused to be sent to him.

The answer of Geoffroy was insulting and defiant, and the rage of Charlemagne was roused in the highest degree. He was at first disposed to wreak his vengeance upon Ogier, his hostage; but consented to spare his life, if Ogier would swear fidelity to him as his liege-lord, and promise not to quit his court without his permission. Ogier accepted these terms, and was allowed to retain all the freedom he had before enjoyed.

The emperor would have immediately taken arms to reduce his disobedient vassal, if he had not been called off in another direction by a message from Pope Leo, imploring his assistance. The Saracens had landed in the neighborhood of Rome, and prepared to carry fire and sword to the capital of the Christian world. Charlemagne speedily assembled an army, crossed the Alps, traversed Italy, and arrived at Spoleto, a strong place to which the Pope had retired. He stopped but two days at Spoleto, and learning that the Infidels were besieging the Capitol, marched promptly to attack them.

The advanced posts of the army were commanded by Duke Namo, on whom Ogier waited as his squire. He did not yet bear arms, not having received the order of knighthood. The Oriflamme, the royal standard, was borne by a knight named Alory, who showed himself unworthy of the honor.

Duke Namo, seeing a strong body of the Infidels advancing to attack him, gave the word to charge them. Ogier remained in the rear, with the other youths, grieving much that he was not permitted to fight. Very soon he saw Alory lower the Oriflamme, and turn his horse in flight. Ogier pointed him out to the young men, and, seizing a club, rushed upon Alory and struck him from his horse. Then, with his companions, he disarmed him, clothed himself in his armor, raised the Oriflamme, and, mounting the horse of the unworthy knight, flew to the front rank, where he joined Duke Namo, drove back the Infidels, and carried the Oriflamme quite through their broken ranks. The duke, thinking it was Alory, whom he had not held in high esteem, was astonished at his strength and valor. Ogier's young companions imitated him, supplying themselves with armor from the bodies of the slain; they followed Ogier and carried death into the ranks of the Saracens, who fell back in confusion upon their main body.

Duke Namo now ordered a retreat, and Ogier obeyed with reluctance, when they perceived Charlemagne advancing to their assistance. The combat now became general, and was more terrible than ever. Charlemagne had overthrown Corsuble, the commander of the Saracens, and had drawn his famous sword, Joyeuse, to cut off his head, when two Saracen knights set upon him at once, one of whom slew his horse, and the other overthrew the emperor on the sand. Perceiving by the eagle on his casque who he was, they dismounted in haste to give him his death-blow. Never was the life of the emperor in such peril. But Ogier, who saw him fall, flew to his rescue. Though embarrassed with the Oriflamme, he pushed his horse against one of the Saracens and knocked him down; and with his sword dealt the other so vigorous a blow that he fell stunned to the earth. Then helping the emperor to rise, he remounted him on the horse of one of the fallen knights. "Brave and generous Alory!" Charles exclaimed, "I owe to you my honor and my life!" Ogier made no answer; but, leaving Charlemagne surrounded by a great many of the knights who had flown to his succor, he plunged into the thickest ranks of the enemy, and carried the Oriflamme, followed by a gallant train of youthful warriors, till the standard of Mahomet turned in retreat and the Infidels sought safety in their intrenchments.

As the good Archbishop Turpin took his mitre and his crosier, and intoned Te Deum, Ogier, covered with blood and dust, came to lay the Oriflamme at the feet of the emperor. He knelt at the feet of Charlemagne, who embraced him, calling him Alory, while Turpin, from the height of the altar, blessed him with all his might. Then young Orlando, son of the Count Milone and nephew of Charlemagne, no longer able to endure this misapprehension, threw down his helmet, and ran to unlace Ogier's, while the other young men laid aside theirs. It would be difficult to express the surprise, the admiration, and the tenderness of the emperor and his peers. Charlemagne folded Ogier in his arms, and the happy fathers of those brave youths embraced them with tears of joy. "My dear Ogier! I owe you my life! My sword leaps to touch your shoulder, and those of your brave young friends." At these words he drew that famous sword, Joyeuse, and, while Ogier and the rest knelt before him, conferred on them the order of knighthood. The young Orlando and his cousin Oliver could not refrain from falling upon Ogier's neck and pledging with him that brotherhood in arms, so dear and so sacred to the knights of old times; but Charlot, the emperor's son, at the sight of the glory with which Ogier had covered himself, conceived the blackest jealousy and hate.

The rest of the day and the next were spent in the rejoicings of the army. Duke Namo presented them with golden spurs, Charlemagne himself girded on their swords. But what was his astonishment when he examined that intended for Ogier! The loving fairy, Morgana, had had the art to change it, and to substitute one of her own procuring, and when Charlemagne drew it out of the scabbard, these words appeared written on the steel: "My name is Cortana, of the same steel and temper as Joyeuse and Durindana." The emperor saw that a superior power watched over the destiny of Ogier; he vowed to love him as a father would, and Ogier promised him the devotion of a son.

The Saracen army had hardly recovered from its dismay when Carahue, King of Mauritania, who was one of the knights overthrown by Ogier, determined to challenge him to single combat. With that view, he assumed the dress of a herald, resolved to carry his own message. He began by passing the warmest eulogium upon the knight who bore the Oriflamme on the day of the battle, and concluded by saying that Carahue, King of Mauritania, respected that knight so much that he challenged him to the combat.

Ogier had risen to reply, when he was interrupted by Charlot, who said that the gage of the King of Mauritania could not fitly be received by a vassal, living in captivity; by which he meant Ogier, who was at that time serving as hostage for his father. Fire flashed from the eyes of Ogier, but the presence of the emperor restrained his speech, and he was calmed by the kind looks of Charlemagne, who said, with an angry voice, "Silence, Charlot! By the life of Bertha, my queen, he who has saved my life is as dear to me as yourself. Ogier," he continued, "you are no longer a hostage. Herald! report my answer to your master, that never does knight of my court refuse a challenge on equal terms. Ogier the Dane accepts of his, and I myself am his security."

Carahue, profoundly bowing, replied, "My lord, I was sure that the sentiments of so great a sovereign as yourself would be worthy of your high and brilliant fame; I shall report your answer to my master, who I know admires you, and unwillingly takes arms against you." Then, turning to Charlot, whom he did not know as the son of the emperor, he continued, "As for you, sir knight, if the desire of battle inflames you, I have it in charge from Sadon, cousin of the King of Mauritania, to give the like defiance to any French knights who will grant him the honor of the combat."

Chariot, inflamed with rage and vexation at the public reproof which he had just received, hesitated not to deliver his gage. Carahue received it with Ogier's, and it was agreed that the combat should be on the next day, in a meadow environed by woods and equally distant from both armies.

During the night Charlot collected some knights unworthy of the name; he made them swear to avenge his injuries, armed them in black armor, and sent them to lie in ambush in the wood, with orders to make a pretended attack upon the whole party, but in fact to lay heavy hands upon Ogier and the two Saracens.

At the dawn of day Sadon and Carahue, attended only by two pages to carry their spears, took their way to the appointed meadow; and Charlot and Ogier repaired thither also, but by different paths. Ogier advanced with a calm air, saluted courteously the two Saracen knights, and joined them in arranging the terms of combat.

While this was going on, the perfidious Charlot remained behind and gave his men the signal to advance. That cowardly troop issued from the wood and encompassed the three knights. All three were equally surprised at the attack, but neither of them suspected the other to have any hand in the treason. Seeing the attack made equally upon them all, they united their efforts to resist it, and made the most forward of the assailants bite the dust. Cortana fell on no one without inflicting a mortal wound, but the sword of Carahue was not of equal temper and broke in his hands. At the same instant his horse was slain, and Carahue fell, without a weapon and entangled with his prostrate horse. Ogier, who saw it, ran to his defence, and, leaping to the ground, covered the prince with his shield, supplied him with the sword of one of the fallen ruffians, and would have had him mount his own horse. At that moment Charlot, inflamed with rage, pushed his horse upon Ogier, knocked him down, and would have run him through with his lance if Sadon, who saw the treason, had not sprung upon him and thrust him back. Carahue leapt lightly upon the horse which Ogier presented him, and had time only to exclaim, "Brave Ogier, I am no longer your enemy, I pledge to you an eternal friendship," when numerous Saracen knights were seen approaching, having discovered the treachery, and Charlot with his followers took refuge in the wood.

The troop which advanced was commanded by Dannemont, the exiled King of Denmark, whom Geoffroy, Ogier's father, had driven from his throne and compelled to take refuge with the Saracens. Learning who Ogier was he instantly declared him his prisoner, in spite of the urgent remonstrances and even threats of Carahue and Sadon, and carried him, under a strong guard, to the Saracen camp. Here he was at first subjected to the most rigorous captivity, but Carahue and Sadon insisted so vehemently on his release, threatening to turn their arms against their own party if it was not granted, while Dannemont as eagerly opposed the measure, that Corsuble, the Saracen commander, consented to a middle course, and allowed Ogier the freedom of his camp, upon his promise not to leave it without permission.

Carahue was not satisfied with this partial concession. He left the city next morning, proceeded to the camp of Charlemagne, and demanded to be led to the emperor. When he reached his presence he dismounted from his horse, took off his helmet, drew his sword, and, holding it by the blade, presented it to Charlemagne as he knelt before him.

"Illustrious prince," he said, "behold before you the herald who brought the challenge to your knights from the King of Mauritania. The cowardly old King Dannemont has made the brave Ogier prisoner, and has prevailed on our general to refuse to give him up. I come to make amends for this ungenerous conduct by yielding myself, Carahue, King of Mauritania, your prisoner."

Charlemagne, with all his peers, admired the magnanimity of Carahue; he raised him, embraced him, and restored to him his sword. "Prince," said he, "your presence and the bright example you afford my knights consoles me for the loss of Ogier. Would to God you might receive our holy faith, and be wholly united with us." All the lords of the court, led by Duke Namo, paid their respects to the King of Mauritania. Charlot only failed to appear, fearing to be recognized as a traitor; but the heart of Carahue was too noble to pierce that of Charlemagne by telling him the treachery of his son.

Meanwhile the Saracen army was rent by discord. The troops of Carahue clamored against the commander-in-chief because their king was left in captivity. They even threatened to desert the cause, and turn their arms against their allies. Charlemagne pressed the siege vigorously, till at length the Saracen leaders found themselves compelled to abandon the city and betake themselves to their ships. A truce was made; Ogier was exchanged for Carahue, and the two friends embraced one another with vows of perpetual brotherhood. The Pope was reestablished in his dominions, and Italy being tranquil, Charlemagne returned, with his peers and their followers, to France.


By Thomas Bulfinch

Guerin de Montglave held the lordship of Vienne, subject to Charlemagne. He had quarrelled with his sovereign, and Charles laid siege to his city, having ravaged the neighboring country. Guerin was an aged warrior, but relied for his defence upon his four sons and two grandsons, who were among the bravest knights of the age. After the siege had continued two months, Charlemagne received tidings that Marsilius, King of Spain, had invaded France, and, finding himself unopposed, was advancing rapidly in the Southern provinces. At this intelligence, Charles listened to the counsel of his peers, and consented to put the quarrel with Guerin to the decision of Heaven, by single combat between two knights, one of each party, selected by lot. The proposal was acceptable to Guerin and his sons. The names of the four, together with Guerin's own, who would not be excused, and of the two grandsons, who claimed their lot, being put into a helmet, Oliver's was drawn forth, and to him, the youngest of the grandsons, was assigned the honor and the peril of the combat. He accepted the award with delight, exulting in being thought worthy to maintain the cause of his family. On Charlemagne's side Roland was the designated champion, and neither he nor Oliver knew who his antagonist was to be.

They met on an island in the river Rhone, and the warriors of both camps were ranged on either shore, spectators of the battle. At the first encounter both lances were shivered, but both riders kept their seats, immovable. They dismounted, and drew their swords. Then ensued a combat which seemed so equal, that the spectators could not form an opinion as to the probable result. Two hours and more the knights continued to strike and parry, to thrust and ward, neither showing any sign of weariness, nor ever being taken at unawares. At length Roland struck furiously upon Oliver's shield, burying Durindana in its edge so deeply that he could not draw it back, and Oliver, almost at the same moment, thrust so vigorously upon Roland's breastplate that his sword snapped off at the handle. Thus were the two warriors left weaponless. Scarcely pausing a moment, they rushed upon one another, each striving to throw his adversary to the ground, and failing in that, each snatched at the other's helmet to tear it away. Both succeeded, and at the same moment they stood bareheaded face to face, and Roland recognized Oliver, and Oliver, Roland. For a moment they stood still; and the next, with open arms, rushed into one another's embrace. "I am conquered," said Roland. "I yield me," said Oliver.

The people on the shore knew not what to make of all this. Presently they saw the two late antagonists standing hand in hand, and it was evident the battle was at an end. The knights crowded round them, and with one voice hailed them as equals in glory. If there were any who felt disposed to murmur that the battle was left undecided, they were silenced by the voice of Ogier the Dane, who proclaimed aloud that all had been done that honor required, and declared that he would maintain that award against all gainsayers.

The quarrel with Guerin and his sons being left undecided, a truce was made for four days, and in that time, by the efforts of Duke Namo on the one side, and of Oliver on the other, a reconciliation was effected. Charlemagne, accompanied by Guerin and his valiant family, marched to meet Marsilius, who hastened to retreat across the frontier.


By Sir George W. Cox

Charles the great king had tarried with his host seven years in Spain, until he conquered all the land down to the sea, and his banners were riddled through with battle-marks. There remained neither burg nor castle the walls whereof he brake not down, save only Zaragoz, a fortress on a rugged mountain top, so steep and strong that he could not take it. There dwelt the pagan King Marsilius, who feared not God.

King Marsilius caused his throne to be set in his garden beneath an olive-tree, and thither he summoned his lords and nobles to council. Twenty thousand of his warriors being gathered about him, he spake to his dukes and counts saying, "What shall we do? Lo! these seven years the great Charles has been winning all our lands till only Zaragoz remains to us. We are too few to give him battle, and, were it not so, man for man we are no match for his warriors. What shall we do to save our lands?"

Then up and spake Blancandrin, wily counsellor—"It is plain we must be rid of this proud Charles; Spain must be rid of him. And since he is too strong to drive out with the sword, let us try what promises will do. Send an ambassage and say we will give him great treasure in gold and cattle, hawk and hound; say we will be his vassals, do him service at his call; say we will be baptized, forsake our gods and call upon his God: say anything, so long as it will persuade him to rise up with his host and quit our land."

And all the pagans said, "It is well spoken."

Charles the emperor held festival before Cordova, and rejoiced, he and his host, because they had taken the city. They had overthrown its walls; they had gotten much booty, both of gold and silver and rich raiment; they had put cables round about its towers and dragged them down. Not a pagan remained in the city; for they were all either slain or turned Christian. The emperor sat among his knights in a green pleasance. Round about him were Roland his nephew, captain of his host, and Oliver, and Duke Sampson; proud Anseis, Geoffrey of Anjou the king's standard-bearer, and fifteen thousand of the noblest born of gentle France. Beneath a pine-tree where a rose-briar twined, sat Charles the Great, ruler of France, upon a chair of gold. White and long was his beard; huge of limb and hale of body was the king, and of noble countenance. It needed not that any man should ask his fellow, saying, "Which is the king?" for all might plainly know him for the ruler of his people.

When the messengers of King Marsilius came into his presence, they knew him straightway, and lighted quickly down from their mules and came meekly bending at his feet. Then said Blancandrin, "God save the king, the glorious king whom all men ought to worship. My master King Marsilius sends greeting to the great Charles, whose power no man can withstand, and he prays thee make peace with him. Marsilius offers gifts of bears and lions and leashed hounds, seven hundred camels and a thousand moulted falcons, of gold and silver so much as four hundred mules harnessed to fifty chariots can draw, with all his treasure of jewels. Only make the peace and get thee to Aachen, and my master will meet thee there at the feast of St. Michael; and he will be thy man henceforth in service and worship, and hold Spain of thee; thou shalt be his lord, and thy God shall be his God."

The emperor bowed his head the while he thought upon the purport of the message; for he never spake a hasty word, and never went back from a word once spoken. Having mused awhile he raised his head and answered, "The King Marsilius is greatly my enemy. In what manner shall I be assured that he will keep his covenant?" The messengers said, "Great king, we offer hostages of good faith, the children of our noblest. Take ten or twenty as it seemeth good to thee; but treat them tenderly, for verily at the feast of St. Michael our king will redeem his pledge, and come to Aachen to be baptized and pay his homage and his tribute."

Then the king commanded a pavilion to be spread wherein to lodge them for the night. On the morrow, after they had taken their journey home, he called his barons to him and showed them after what manner the messengers had spoken, and asked their counsel.

With one voice the Franks answered, "Beware of King Marsilius."

Then spake Roland and said, "Parley not with him, trust him not. Remember how he took and slew Count Basant and Count Basil, the messengers whom we sent to him aforetime on a peaceful errand. Seven years have we been in Spain, and now only Zaragoz holds out against us. Finish what has been so long a-doing and is well nigh done. Gather the host; lay siege to Zaragoz with all thy might, and conquer the last stronghold of the pagans; so win Spain, and end this long and weary war."

But Ganelon drew near to the king and spake: "Heed not the counsel of any babbler, unless it be to thine own profit. What has Marsilius promised? Will he not give up his gods, himself, his service and his treasure? Could man ask more? Could we get more by fighting him? How glorious would it be to go to war with a beaten man who offers thee his all! How wise to wage a war to win what one can get without! Roland is wholly puffed up with the pride of fools. He counsels battle for his glory's sake. What careth he how many of us be slain in a causeless fight, if he can win renown? Roland is a brave man; brave enough and strong enough to save his skin, and so is reckless of our lives."

Then said Duke Naymes (a better vassal never stood before a king), "Ganelon has spoken well, albeit bitterly. Marsilius is altogether vanquished, and there is no more glory in fighting him. Spurn not him who sues at thy feet for pity. Make peace, and let this long war end." And all the Franks answered, "The counsel is good."

So Charles said, "Who will go up to Zaragoz to King Marsilius, and bear my glove and staff and make the covenant with him?"

Duke Naymes said straightway, "I will go;" but the king answered, "Nay, thou shalt not go. Thou art my right hand in counsel and I cannot spare thee." Then said Roland, "Send me." But Count Oliver, his dear companion, said, "What! send thee upon a peaceful errand? Hot-blooded as thou art, impatient of all parleying? Nay, good Roland, thou wouldst spoil any truce. Let the king send me."

Charles stroked his long white beard and said, "Hold your peace, both of you; neither shall go."

Then arose Archbishop Turpin and said, "Let me go. I am eager to see this pagan Marsilius and his heathen band. I long to baptize them all, and make their everlasting peace."

The king answered, "All in good time, zealous Turpin; but first let them make their peace with me: take thy seat. Noble Franks, choose me a right worthy man to bear my message to Marsilius."

Roland answered, "Send Ganelon, my stepfather." And the Franks said, "Ganelon is the man, for there is none more cunning of speech than he."

Now when the coward Ganelon heard these words, he feared greatly, well knowing the fate of them which had gone aforetime as messengers to Marsilius; and his anger was kindled against Roland insomuch that the expression of his countenance changed in sight of all. He arose from the ground and throwing the mantle of sable fur from his neck, said fiercely to Roland, "Men know full well that I am thy step-father, and that there is no love between us; but thou art a fool thus openly to show thy malice. If God but give me to return alive, I will requite thee."

Then he came bending to King Charles, "Rightful emperor, I am ready to go up to Zaragoz, albeit no messenger ever returned thence alive. But I pray thee for my boy Baldwin, who is yet young, that thou wilt care for him. Is he not the son of thy sister whom I wedded? Let him have my lands and honors, and train him up among thy knights if I return no more."

Charles answered, "Be not so faint-hearted; take the glove and baton, since the Franks have awarded it to thee, and go, do my bidding." Ganelon said, "Sire, this is Roland's doing. All my life have I hated him; and I like no better his companion, Oliver. And as for the twelve champion peers of France, who stand by him in all he does, and in whose eyes Roland can do no wrong, I defy them all, here and now."

Charles smoothed his snowy beard and said, "Verily Count Ganelon thou hast an ill humor. Wert thou as valiant of fight as thou art of speech, the twelve peers perchance might tremble. But they laugh. Let them. Thy tongue may prove of better service to us upon this mission than their swords." Then the king drew off the glove from his right hand, and held it forth; but Ganelon, when he went to take it, let it fall upon the ground. Thereat the Franks murmured, and said one to another, "This is an evil omen, and bodes ill for the message." But Ganelon picked it up quickly, saying, "Fear not: you shall all hear tidings of it." And Ganelon said to the king, "Dismiss me, I pray thee." So the king gave him a letter signed with his hand and seal, and delivered to him the staff, saying, "Go, in God's name and mine."

Many of his good vassals would fain have accompanied him upon his journey, but Ganelon answered, "Nay. 'Tis better one should die than many." Then Ganelon leaped to horse, and rode on until he overtook the pagan messengers who had halted beneath an olive-tree to rest. There Blancandrin talked with Ganelon of the great Charles, and of the countries he had conquered, and of his riches and the splendor of his court. Ganelon also spake bitterly of Roland and his eagerness for war, and how he continually drove the king to battle, and was the fiercest of all the Franks against the pagans. And Blancandrin said to Ganelon, "Shall we have peace?" Ganelon said, "He that sueth for peace often seeketh opportunity for war." Blancandrin answered, "He that beareth peace to his master's enemies often desireth to be avenged of his own." Then each of the two men knew the other to be a rogue; and they made friends, and opened their hearts to each other, and each spake of what was in his mind, and they laid their plans. So it befell that when they came to Zaragoz, Blancandrin took Ganelon by the hand, and led him to King Marsilius, saying, "O king! we have borne thy message to the haughty Charles, but he answered never a word. He only raised his hands on high to his God, and held his peace; but he has sent the noble Count Ganelon, at whose mouth we shall hear whether we may have peace or no."

Then Ganelon, who had well considered beforehand what he should say, began, "God save the worthy King Marsilius. Thus saith the mighty Charles through me his messenger: 'So thou wilt become a Christian, I will give thee the half of Spain to hold of me, and thou shalt pay me tribute and be my servant. Otherwise I will come suddenly and take the land away by force, and will bring thee to Aachen, to my court, and will there put thee to death.'"

When King Marsilius heard this, the color went from his face, and he snatched a javelin by the shaft, and poised it in his hand. Ganelon watched him, his fingers playing the while with the sword-hilt underneath his mantle, and he said, "Great king, I have given my message and have freed me of my burden. Let the bearer of such a message die if so it seemeth good to thee. What shall it profit thee to slay the messenger? Will that wipe out the message, or bring a gentler one? Or thinkest thou Charles careth not for his barons? Read now the writing of King Charles the Great." Therewith he gave into the king's hand a parchment he had made ready in the likeness of his master's writing. And Marsilius brake the seal, and read: "Before I will make the peace, I command thee send hither to me thine uncle, the caliph, that sitteth next thee on the throne, that I may do with him as I will." Then the king's son drew his scimitar and ran on Ganelon, saying, "Give him to me; it is not fit this man should live!" But Ganelon turned, brandished his sword and set his back against a pine-trunk. Then cried Blancandrin, "Do the Frank no harm; for he has pledged himself to be our spy, and work for our profit." So Blancandrin went and fetched Ganelon, and led him by the hand and brought him against the king. And the king said, "Good Sir Ganelon, I was wrong to be angry; but I will make amends. I will give thee five hundred pieces of gold in token of my favor." Ganelon answered, "He that taketh not counsel to his own profit is a fool. God forbid I should so ill requite thy bounty as to say thee nay."

Marsilius said, "Charles is very old. For years and years he has fought and conquered, and put down kings and taken their lands, and heaped up riches more than can be counted. Is he not yet weary of war, nor tired of conquest, nor satisfied with his riches?" Ganelon answered, "Charles has long been tired of war; but Roland, his captain, is a covetous man, and greedy of possession. He and his companion Oliver, and the twelve peers of France, continually do stir up the king to war. Were these but slain, the world would be at peace. But they have under them full twenty thousand men, the pick of all the host of France, and they are very terrible in war."

Marsilius spake to him again, saying, "Tell me; I have four hundred thousand warriors, better men were never seen: would not these suffice to fight with Charles?"

Ganelon answered, "Nay; what folly is this! Heed wiser counsel. Send back the hostages to Charles with me. Then will Charles gather his host together, and depart out of Spain, and go to Aachen, there to await the fulfilment of thy covenant. But he will leave his rear-guard of twenty thousand, together with Roland and Oliver and the Twelve, to follow after him. Fall thou on these with all thy warriors; let not one escape. Destroy them, and thou mayest choose thy terms of peace, for Charles will fight no more. The rear-guard will take their journey by the pass of Siza, along the narrow Valley of Roncesvalles. Wherefore surround the valley with thy host, and lie in wait for them. They will fight hard, but in vain."

Then Marsilius made him swear upon the book of the law of Mohammed, and upon his sword handle, that all should happen as he had said. Thus Ganelon did the treason. And Marsilius gave Ganelon rich presents of gold and precious stones, and bracelets of great worth. He gave him also the keys of his city of Zaragoz, that he should rule it after these things were come to pass, and promised him ten mules' burden of fine gold of Arabia. So he sent Ganelon again to Charles, and with him twenty hostages of good faith.

When Ganelon came before Charles, he told him King Marsilius would perform all the oath which he sware, and was even now set out upon his journey to do his fealty, and pay the price of peace, and be baptized. Then Charles lifted up his hands toward Heaven, and thanked God for the prosperous ending of the war in Spain.


By Sir George W. Cox

In the morning the king arose and gathered to him his host to go away to keep the feast of Saint Michael at Aachen, and to meet Marsilius there.

And Ogier the Dane made he captain of the vanguard of his army which should go with him. Then said the king to Ganelon, "Whom shall I make captain of the rear-guard which I leave behind?" Ganelon answered, "Roland; for there is none like him in all the host." So Charles made Roland captain of the rear-guard. With Roland there remained behind, Oliver, his dear comrade, and the twelve peers, and Turpin the archbishop, who for love of Roland would fain go with him, and twenty thousand proven warriors. Then said the king to his nephew, "Good Roland, behold, the half of my army have I given thee in charge. See thou keep them safely." Roland answered, "Fear nothing. I shall render good account of them,"

So they took leave of one another, and the king and his host marched forward till they reached the borders of Spain. And ever as the king thought upon his nephew whom he left behind, his heart grew heavy with an ill foreboding. So they came into Gascoigny and saw their own lands again. But Charles would not be comforted, for being come into France he would sit with his face wrapped in his mantle, and he often spake to Duke Naymes, saying he feared that Ganelon had wrought some treason.

Now Marsilius had sent in haste to all his emirs and his barons to assemble a mighty army, and in three days he gathered four hundred thousand men to Roncesvalles, and there lay in wait for the rearguard of King Charles.

Now when the rear-guard had toiled up the rocky pass and climbed the mountain ridge, way-wearied, they looked down on Roncesvalles, whither their journey lay. And behold! all the valley bristled with spears, and the valley sides were overspread with them, for multitude like blades of grass upon a pasture; and the murmur of the pagan host rose to them on the mountain as the murmur of a sea. Then when they saw that Ganelon had played them false, Oliver spake to Roland, "What shall we now do because of this treason? For this is a greater multitude of pagans than has ever been gathered together in the world before. And they will certainly give us battle." Roland answered, "God grant it; for sweet it is to do our duty for our king. This will we do: when we have rested we, will go forward." Then said Oliver, "We are but a handful. These are in number as the sands of the sea. Be wise; take now your horn, good comrade, and sound it; peradventure Charles may hear, and come back with his host to succor us." But Roland answered, "The greater the number the more glory. God forbid I should sound my horn and bring Charles back with his barons, and lose my good name, and bring disgrace upon us all. Fear not the numbers of the host; I promise you they shall repent of coming here; they are as good as dead already in my mind." Three times Oliver urged him to sound his horn, but Roland would not, for he said, "God and His angels are on our side." Yet again Oliver pleaded, for he had mounted up into a pine tree and seen more of the multitude that came against them; far as the eye could see they reached; and he prayed Roland to come and see also. But he would not; "Time enough," he said, "to know their numbers when we come to count the slain. We will make ready for battle."

Then Archbishop Turpin gathered the band of warriors about him, and said, "It is a right good thing to die for king and faith; and verily this day we all shall do it. But have no fear of death. For we shall meet to-night in Paradise, and wear the martyr's crown. Kneel now, confess your sins, and pray God's mercy." Then the Franks kneeled on the ground while the archbishop shrived them clean and blessed them in the name of God. And after that he bade them rise, and, for penance, go scourge the pagans.

Roland ranged his trusty warriors and went to and fro among them riding upon his battle-horse Veillantif; by his side his good sword Durendal. Small need had he to exhort them in extremity; there was not a man but loved him unto death and cheerfully would follow where he led. He looked upon the pagan host, and his countenance waxed fierce and terrible; he looked upon his band, and his face was mild and gentle. He said, "Good comrades, lords, and barons, let no man grudge his life to-day; but only see he sells it dear. A score of pagans is a poor price for one of us. I have promised to render good account of you. I have no fear. The battlefield will tell, if we cannot." Then he gave the word, "Go forward!" and with his golden spurs pricked Veillantif. So, foremost, he led the rear-guard down the mountain-side, down through the pass of Siza into the Valley of Death called Roncesvalles. Close following came Oliver, Archbishop Turpin, and the valiant Twelve; the guard pressing forward with the shout "Montjoy!" and bearing the snow-white banner of their king aloft.

Marvellous and fierce was the battle. That was a good spear Roland bare; for it crashed through fifteen pagan bodies, through brass and hide and bone, before the trusty ash brake in its hand, or ever he was fain to draw Durendal from his sheath. The Twelve did wondrously; nay, every man of the twenty thousand fought with lionlike courage; neither counted any man his life dear to him. Archbishop Turpin, resting for a moment to get fresh breath, cried out, "Thank God to see the rear-guard fight to-day!" then spurred in again among them. Roland saw Oliver still fighting with the truncheon of his spear and said, "Comrade, draw thy sword," but he answered, "Not while a handful of the stump remains. Weapons are precious to-day."

For hours they fought, and not a Frank gave way. Wheresoever a man planted his foot, he kept the ground or died. The guard hewed down the pagans by crowds, till the earth was heaped with full two hundred thousand heathen dead. Of those kings which banded together by oath to fight him, Roland gave good account, for he laid them all dead about him in a ring. But many thousands of the Franks were slain, and of the Twelve there now remained but two.

Marsilius looked upon his shattered host and saw them fall back in panic, for they were dismayed because of the Franks. But Marsilius heard the sound of trumpets from the mountain top and a glad man was he; for twenty strong battalions of Saracens were come to his help, and these poured down the valley-side. Seeing this, the rest of the pagans took heart again, and they all massed about the remnant of the guard, and shut them in on every hand. Nevertheless Roland and his fast lessening band were not dismayed. So marvellously they fought, so many thousand pagans hurled they down, making grim jests the while as though they played at war for sport, that their enemies were in mortal fear and doubted greatly if numbers would suffice to overwhelm these men, for it misgave them whether God's angels were not come down to the battle. But the brave rear-guard dwindled away, and Roland scarce dared turn his eyes to see the handful that remained.

Then Roland spake to Oliver, "Comrade, I will sound my horn, if peradventure Charles may hear and come to us." But Oliver was angry, and answered, "It is now too late. Hadst thou but heeded me in time, much weeping might have been spared the women of France, Charles should not have lost his guard, nor France her valiant Roland." "Talk not of what might have been," said Archbishop Turpin, "but blow thy horn. Charles cannot come in time to save our lives, but he will certainly come and avenge them."

Then Roland put the horn to his mouth and blew a great blast. Far up the valley went the sound and smote against the mountain tops; these flapped it on from ridge to ridge for thirty leagues. Charles heard it in his hall, and said, "Listen! what is that? Surely our men do fight to-day." But Ganelon answered the king: "What folly is this! It is only the sighing of the wind among the trees."

Weary with battle Roland took the horn again and winded it with all his strength. So long and mighty was the blast, the veins stood out upon his forehead in great cords; he blew on till with the strain his brain-pan brake asunder at the temples. Charles heard it in his palace and cried, "Hark! I hear Roland's horn. He is in battle or he would not sound it." Ganelon answered, "Too proud is he to sound it in battle. My lord the king groweth old and childish in his fears. What if it be Roland's horn? He hunteth perchance in the woods."

In sore pain and heaviness Roland lifted the horn to his mouth and feebly winded it again. Charles heard it in his palace, and started from his seat; the salt tears gathered in his eyes and dropped upon his snowy beard; and he said, "O Roland, my brave captain, too long have I delayed! Thou art in evil need. I know it by the wailing of the horn!' Quick, now, to arms! Make ready, every man! For straightway we will go and help him." Then he thrust Ganelon away, and said to his servants, "Take this man, and bind him fast with chains; keep him in ward till I return in peace and know if he have wrought us treason." So they bound Ganelon and flung him into a dungeon; and Charles the Great and his host set out with all speed.

Fierce with the cruel throbbing of his brain, and well nigh blinded, Roland fought on, and with his good sword Durendal slew the pagan prince Faldrun and three and twenty redoubtable champions.

The little company that was left of the brave rear-guard cut down great masses of the pagans, and reaped among them as the reapers reap at harvest time; but one by one the reapers fell ere yet the harvest could be gathered in. Yet where each Frank lay, beside him there lay for a sheaf his pile of slain, so any man might see how dear he had sold his life. Marganices, the pagan king, espied where Oliver was fighting seven abreast, and spurred his horse and rode and smote him through the back a mortal wound. But Oliver turned and swung his sword Hautclere, and before he could triumph clove him through the helmet to his teeth. Yet even when the pains of death gat hold on Oliver so that his eyes grew dim and he knew no man, he never ceased striking out on every side with his sword and calling "Montjoy!" Then Roland hasted to his help, and cutting the pagans down for a wide space about, came to his old companion to lift him from his horse. But Oliver struck him a blow that brake the helm to shivers on his throbbing head.

Nevertheless Roland for all his pain took him tenderly down and spake with much gentleness, saying, "Dear comrade, I fear me thou art in an evil case." Oliver said, "Thy voice is like Roland's voice; but I cannot see thee." Roland answered, "It is I, thy comrade." Then he said "Forgive me, that I smote thee. It is so dark I cannot see thy face; give me thy hand; God bless thee, Roland; God bless Charles, and France!" So saying he fell upon his face and died.

A heavy-hearted man was Roland; little recked he for his life since Oliver his good comrade was parted from him. Then he turned and looked for the famous rear-guard of King Charles the Great.

Only two men were left beside himself.

Turpin the archbishop, Count Gaulter, and Roland set themselves together with the fixed intent to sell their lives as dearly as they might; and when the pagans ran upon them in a multitude with shouts and cries, Roland slew twenty, Count Gaulter six, and Turpin five. Then the pagans drew back and gathered together all the remnant of their army, forty thousand horsemen and a thousand footmen with spears and javelins, and charged upon the three. Count Gaulter fell at the first shock. The archbishop's horse was killed, and he being brought to earth, lay there a-dying, with four wounds in his forehead, and four in his breast. Yet gat Roland never a wound in all that fight, albeit the pain in his temples was very sore.

Then Roland took the horn and sought to wind it yet again. Very feeble was the sound, yet Charles heard it away beyond the mountains, where he marched fast to help his guard. And the king said, "Good barons, great is Roland's distress; I know it by the sighing of the horn. Spare neither spur nor steed for Roland's sake." Then he commanded to sound all the clarions long and loud; and the mountains tossed the sound from peak to peak, so that it was plainly heard down in the Valley of Roncesvalles.

The pagans heard the clarions ringing behind the mountains, and they said, "These are the clarions of Charles the Great. Behold Charles cometh upon us with his host, and we shall have to fight the battle again if we remain. Let us rise up and depart quickly. There is but one man more to slay." Then four hundred of the bravest rode at Roland; and he, spurring his weary horse against them, strove still to shout "Montjoy!" but could not, for voice failed him. And when he was come within spear-cast, every pagan flung a spear at him, for they feared to go nigh him, and said, "There is none born of woman can slay this man." Stricken with twenty spears, the faithful steed, Veillantif, dropped down dead. Roland fell under him, his armor pierced everywhere with spear-points, yet not so much as a scratch upon his body. Stunned with the fall he lay there in a swoon. The pagans came and looked on him, and gave him up for dead. Then they left him and made all speed to flee before Charles should come.

Roland lifted his eyes and beheld the pagans filing up the mountain passes; and he was left alone among the dead. In great pain he drew his limbs from underneath his horse, and gat upon his feet, but scarce could stand for the anguish of his brain beating against his temples. He dragged himself about the valley, and looked upon his dead friends and comrades, and Roland said, "Charles will see that the guard has done its duty." He came to where Oliver lay, and lifted the body tenderly in his arms, saying, "Dear comrade, thou wast ever a good and gentle friend to me; better warrior brake never a spear, nor wielded sword; wise wert thou of counsel, and I repent me that once only I hearkened not to thy voice. God rest thy soul! A sweeter friend and truer comrade no man ever had than thou." Then Roland heard a feeble voice, and turned and was ware of Archbishop Turpin. Upon the ground he lay a-dying, a piteous sight to see; howbeit, he raised his trembling hands and blessed the brave dead about him in the dear name of God.

And when Turpin beheld Roland, his eyes were satisfied. He said, "Dear Roland, thank God the field is thine and mine. We have fought a good fight." Then joined he his hands as though he fain would pray, and Roland, seeing the archbishop like to faint for the sharpness of his distress, took and dragged himself to a running stream that he espied pass through the valley; and he dipped up water in his horn to bring to him, but could not, for he fell upon the bank and swooned. And when he came to himself, and crawled to where the archbishop lay, he found him with his hands still clasped, but having neither thirst nor any pain, for he was at rest. A lonesome man in the Valley of Death, Roland wept for the last of his friends.

And Roland, when he found death coming on him, took his sword Durendal in one hand, and his horn in the other, and crawled away about a bowshot to a green hillock whereupon four diverse marble steps were built beneath the trees.

Then he took Durendal into his hands, and prayed that it might not fall into the power of his enemies. He said, "O Durendal, how keen of edge, how bright of blade thou art! God sent thee by his angel to King Charles, to be his captain's sword. Charles girt thee at my side. How many countries thou hast conquered for him in my hands! O Durendal, though it grieves me sore, I had rather break thee than that pagan hands should wield thee against France." Then he besought that God would now eke out his strength to break the sword; and lifting it in his hands he smote mightily upon the topmost marble step. The gray stone chipped and splintered, but the good blade brake not, neither was its edge turned. He smote the second step, which was of sardonyx; the blade bit it, and leaped back, but blunted not, nor brake. The third step was of gray adamant; he smote it with all his might; the adamant powdered where he struck, but the sword brake not, nor lost its edge. And when he could no more lift the sword, his heart smote him that he had tried to break the holy blade; and he said, "O Durendal, I am to blame; the angels gave thee; they will keep thee safe for Charles and France!"

Then Roland lay down and set his face toward Spain and toward his enemies, that men should plainly see he fell a conqueror. Beneath him he put the sword and horn; then having made his peace with God, he lay a-thinking. He thought of his master Charles. He thought of France and his home that was so dear. He thought of his dear maid, Hilda, who would weep and cry for him. Then lifted he his weary hands to Heaven and closed his eyes in death.

Gloom fell; the mists went up, and there was only death and silence in the valley. The low red sun was setting in the west.


By Sir George W. Cox

Charles and his host rode hard, and drew not rein until they reached the mountain top, and looked down on the Valley of Roncesvalles. They blew the clarions, but there was no sound, neither any that answered save the ringing mountain sides. Then down through gloom and mist they rode, and saw the field; saw Roland dead, and Oliver; the archbishop and the twelve valiant peers, and every man of the twenty thousand chosen guard; saw how fiercely they had fought, how hard they died.

There was not one in all the king's host but lifted up his voice and wept for pity at the sight they saw.

But Charles the king is fallen on his face on Roland's body, with a great and exceeding bitter cry. No word lie spake, but only lay and moaned upon the dead that was so passing dear to him.

Charles was an old man when he took the babe Roland from his mother's arms. He had brought him up and nourished him, had taught him war, and watched him grow the bravest knight, the stanchest captain of his host. Right gladly would he have given Spain and the fruits of all the seven years' war to have Roland back again. Tears came, but brought no words; and God sent sleep to comfort him for his heaviness.

Then having watered and pastured their horses, the king left four good knights in Roncesvalles to guard the dead and set out in chase of the pagans.

In the Vale of Tenebrus the Franks overtook them, hard by the broad, swift river Ebro. There being hemmed in, the river in front and the fierce Franks behind, the pagans were cut to pieces; Not one escaped, save Marsilius and a little band who had taken another way and got safe to Zaragoz. Thence Marsilius sent letters to Baligant, King of Babylon, who ruled forty kingdoms, praying him to come over and help him. And Baligant gathered a mighty great army and put off to sea to come to Marsilius.

But King Charles went straightway back to Roncesvalles to bury the dead. He summoned thither his bishops and abbots and canons to say mass for the souls of his guard and to burn incense of myrrh and antimony round about. But he would by no means lay Roland and Oliver and Turpin in the earth. Wherefore he caused their bodies to be embalmed, that he might have them ever before his eyes; and he arrayed them in stuffs of great price and laid them in three coffins of white marble, and chose out the three richest chariots that he had and placed the coffins in them, that they might go with him whithersoever he went.

Now after this Marsilius and Baligant came out to battle with King Charles before the walls of Zaragoz. But the king utterly destroyed the pagans there and slew King Baligant and King Marsilius, and brake down the gates of Zaragoz and took the city. So he conquered Spain and avenged himself for Roland and his guard.

But when King Charles would go back again to France his heart grew exceeding heavy. He said, "O Roland, my good friend, I have no more pleasure in this land which we have conquered. When I come again to Laon, to my palace, and men ask tidings, they will hear how many cities and kingdoms we have taken; but no man will rejoice. They will say, Count Roland our good captain is dead, and great sadness will fall on all the realm. O Roland, my friend, when I come again to Aachen, to my chapel, and men ask tidings, they will hear that we have won a land and lost the best captain in all France; and they will weep and mourn, and say the war has been in vain. O Roland, my friend, would God that I had died for thee!"

Now when the people of France heard how King Charles the Great returned victorious, they gathered together in great multitudes to welcome him. And when Hilda, the fair maid whom Roland loved, heard it, she arrayed herself in her richest apparel and proudly decked herself with her jewels. For she said, "I would be pleasing in the eyes of my brave true captain who comes home to wed with me. There is no gladder heart in France than mine." Then she hasted to the palace. The king's guards all drew back for fear and let her pass, for they dared not speak to her. Right proudly walked she through them, and proudly came she to the king, saying,—"Roland, the captain of the host, where is he?"

And Charles feared exceedingly and scarce could see for tears. He said, "Dear sister, sweet friend, am I God that I can bring back the dead? Roland my nephew is dead; Roland my captain and my friend is dead. Nay, take time and mourn with us all, and when thy heart is healed I will give thee Louis mine own son, who will sit after me upon the throne. Take Louis in his stead."

Hilda cried not, nor uttered sound. The color faded from her face, and straightway she fell dead at the king's feet.


By Sir George W. Cox

It is written in the old chronicle, that after these things Charles sent and summoned many men from many lands to come and try if Ganelon had done him a treason or no; for the twenty thousand who were betrayed being dead and the pagans utterly destroyed, there was none left to bear witness against him. So the king sent and fetched Ganelon up out of prison and set him on his trial. Howbeit Ganelon contrived to get thirty of his kinsfolk chosen among his judges, and chief of them Pinabel, a man of great stature and strength of limb. Moreover, Pinabel was a ready man to pick a quarrel with any; a man cunning of tongue and very rich and powerful, so that people feared him greatly. These thirty Ganelon bribed, with part of the price he took from King Marsilius for the treason, to give judgment for him. Then Pinabel and the others went to and fro among the judges and persuaded them, saying: "We have no witnesses, only Ganelon himself, and what saith he? He owns he hated Roland, and for that cause he challenged Roland, in the presence of the king and all his court, to fight when he returned from his mission. The open challenger is not the betrayer in secret. Moreover, had he done this thing, would Ganelon have come back again to King Charles? Besides, would any man betray an army of his friends to rid himself of a single enemy? Blood enough has been shed. Slaying Ganelon will not bring Roland back. The Franks are angry since they have lost their captain, and blindly clamor for a victim. Heed not their foolish cry, for Ganelon has done no treason." To this the others all agreed, save Thierry, the son of Duke Geoffrey; and he would not.

The judges came to King Charles and said, "We find that Ganelon has done nothing worthy of death. Let him live and take anew the oath of fealty to France and the king." Then the king was grieved, and said, "It misgives me you have played me false. In my esteem the judgment is not just. Nevertheless, it is judgment: only God can alter it."

Then stepped forth the youth Thierry, Geoffrey's son. He was but a lad, very little and slender of body, and slight of limb. And he said, "Let not the king be sad. I Thierry do impeach Ganelon as a felon and a traitor who betrayed Roland and the rear-guard to the pagans, and I also say that thirty of Ganelon's kinsfolk have wrought treason and corrupted judgment. And this will I maintain with my sword, and prove upon the body of any man who will come to defend him or them." Thereto to pledge himself he drew off his right glove and gave it to the king for a gage.

Pinabel strode forward, a giant among the throng. He looked down upon the lad Thierry and despised him; he came to the king and gave his glove, saying, "I will fight this battle to the death." The Franks pitied Thierry and feared for him, for they had hoped Naymes or Olger or some mighty champion would have undertaken the cause, and not a stripling. But Charles the king said, "God will show the right." So they made ready the lists; and the king commanded Ganelon and his thirty kinsmen to be held in pledge against the issue.

The battle was done in a green meadow near to Aachen in presence of the king and his barons and a great multitude of people. First the men rode together and tilted till their spears brake and the saddle-girths gave way; then they left their steeds and fought on foot. Thierry was wondrous quick and agile, and wearied Pinabel at the outset by his swift sword-play; but Thierry's hand was weak against his sturdy adversary, and his sword point pierced not mail nor shield. Pinabel clave his helm and hewed great pieces off his mail, but could not slay him. Then said Pinabel, "Fool, why should I kill thee? Give up the battle and the cause, and I will be thy man henceforth in faith and fealty. It shall prove greatly for thy profit to reconcile Ganelon and the king."

Thierry answered, "I will not parley; God will surely show whether of us twain be right! Guard thyself." So they fell to again, and all men saw that nothing would now part them till one was dead; and straightway they gave the lad Thierry up for lost. Pinabel's sword was heavy, and great the strength of his arm. He smote Thierry a blow upon the helm that sliced off visor and ventailles. But Thierry lifted up his sword and struck the brown steel helm of Pinabel. God put His might into the young man's arm, for the blade cleft steel and skull, and entered Pinabel's brain, so that he reeled and dropped down dead. Then all the people shouted, "God hath spoken! Away with Ganelon and his fellows."

Then King Charles raised up his hands to heaven and gave thanks, and taking Thierry in his arms embraced him for joy, and with his own hands took off his armor, and he set the noblest in the land to tend his wounds.

King Charles sat in judgment in his palace at Aachen.

He said, "Take the thirty kinsmen of Ganelon, perverters of justice, let not one escape, and hang them." Blithely the Franks obeyed his word.

But Ganelon he caused to be drawn and quartered; and thus did Charles the king make an end of his vengeance for his guard.

This is the song which Turold used to sing.


By Thomas Bulfinch

Charlemagne was overwhelmed with grief at the loss of so many of his bravest warriors at the disaster of Roncesvalles, and bitterly reproached himself for his credulity in resigning himself so completely to the counsels of the treacherous Count Ganelon. Yet he soon fell into a similar snare when he suffered his unworthy son Charlot to acquire such an influence over him, that he constantly led him into acts of cruelty and injustice that in his right mind he would have scorned to commit. Rinaldo and his brothers, for some slight offence to the imperious young prince, were forced to fly from Paris, and to take shelter in their castle of Montalban; for Charles had publicly said, if he could take them, he would hang them all. He sent numbers of his bravest knights to arrest them, but all without success. Either Rinaldo foiled their efforts and sent them back, stripped of their armor and of their glory, or, after meeting and conferring with him, they came back and told the king they could not be his instruments for such a work.

At last Charles himself raised a great army, and went in person to compel the paladin to submit. He ravaged all the country round about Montalban, so that supplies of food should be cut off, and he threatened death to any who should attempt to issue forth, hoping to compel the garrison to submit for want of food.

Rinaldo's resources had been brought so low that it seemed useless to contend any longer. His brothers had been taken prisoners in a skirmish, and his only hope of saving their lives was in making terms with the king.

So he sent a messenger, offering to yield himself and his castle if the king would spare his and his brothers' lives. While the messenger was gone, Rinaldo, impatient to learn what tidings he might bring, rode out to meet him. When he had ridden as far as he thought prudent he stopped in a wood, and, alighting, tied Bayard to a tree. Then he sat down, and, as he waited, he fell asleep. Bayard meanwhile got loose, and strayed away where the grass tempted him. Just then came along some country people, who said to one another, "Look, is not that the great horse Bayard that Rinaldo rides? Let us take him, and carry him to King Charles, who will pay us well for our trouble." They did so, and the king was delighted with his prize, and gave them a present that made them rich to their dying day.

When Rinaldo woke he looked round for his horse, and, finding him not, he groaned, and said, "O unlucky hour that I was born! how fortune persecutes me!" So desperate was he, that he took off his armor and his spurs, saying, "What need have I of these, since Bayard is lost?" While he stood thus lamenting, a man came from the thicket, seemingly bent with age. He had a long beard hanging over his breast, and eyebrows that almost covered his eyes. He bade Rinaldo good day. Rinaldo thanked him, and said, "A good day I have hardly had since I was born." Then said the old man, "Signor Rinaldo, you must not despair, for God will make all things turn to the best." Rinaldo answered, "My trouble is too heavy for me to hope relief. The king has taken my brothers, and means to put them to death. I thought to rescue them by means of my horse Bayard, but while I slept some thief has stolen him." The old man replied, "I will remember you and your brothers in my prayers. I am a poor man, have you not something to give me?" Rinaldo said, "I have nothing to give," but then he recollected his spurs. He gave them to the beggar, and said, "Here, take my spurs. They are the first present my mother gave me when my father, Count Aymon, dubbed me knight. They ought to bring you ten pounds."

The old man took the spurs, and put them into his sack, and said, "Noble sir, have you nothing else you can give me?" Rinaldo replied, "Are you making sport of me? I tell you truly if it were not for shame to beat one so helpless, I would teach you better manners." The old man said, "Of a truth, sir, if you did so, you would do a great sin. If all had beaten me of whom I have begged, I should have been killed long ago, for I ask alms in churches and convents, and wherever I can." "You say true," replied Rinaldo, "if you did not ask, none would relieve you." The old man said, "True, noble sir, therefore I pray if you have anything more to spare, give it me." Rinaldo gave him his mantle, and said, "Take it, pilgrim. I give it you for the love of Christ, that God would save my brothers from a shameful death, and help me to escape out of King Charles's power."

The pilgrim took the mantle, folded it up, and put it into his bag. Then a third time he said to Rinaldo, "Sir, have you nothing left to give me that I may remember you in my prayers?" "Wretch!" exclaimed Rinaldo, "do you make me your sport?" and he drew his sword, and struck at him; but the old man warded off the blow with his staff, and said, "Rinaldo, would you slay your cousin, Malagigi?" When Rinaldo heard that he stayed his hand, and gazed doubtingly on the old man, who now threw aside his disguise, and appeared to be indeed Malagigi. "Dear cousin," said Rinaldo, "pray forgive me. I did not know you. Next to God, my trust is in you. Help my brothers to escape out of prison, I entreat you. I have lost my horse, and therefore cannot render them any assistance." Malagigi answered, "Cousin Rinaldo, I will enable you to recover your horse. Meanwhile, you must do as I say."

Then Malagigi took from his sack a gown, and gave it to Rinaldo to put on over his armor, and a hat that was full of holes, and an old pair of shoes to put on. They looked like two pilgrims, very old and poor. Then they went forth from the wood, and, after a little while, saw four monks riding along the road. Malagigi said to Rinaldo, "I will go meet the monks, and see what news I can learn."

Malagigi learned from the monks that on the approaching festival there would be a great crowd of people at court, for the prince was going to show the ladies the famous horse Bayard that used to belong to Rinaldo. "What!" said the pilgrim; "is Bayard there?" "Yes," answered the monks; "the king has given him to Charlot, and, after the prince has ridden him, the king means to pass sentence on the brothers of Rinaldo, and have them hanged." Then Malagigi asked alms of the monks, but they would give him none, till he threw aside his pilgrim garb, and let them see his armor, when, partly for charity and partly for terror, they gave him a golden cup, adorned with precious stones that sparkled in the sunshine.

Malagigi then hastened back to Rinaldo, and told him what he had learned.

The morning of the feast-day Rinaldo and Malagigi came to the place where the sports were to be held. Malagigi gave Rinaldo his spurs back again, and said, "Cousin, put on your spurs, for you will need them." "How shall I need them," said Rinaldo, "since I have lost my horse?" Yet he did as Malagigi directed him.

When the two had taken their stand on the border of the field among the crowd, the princes and ladies of the court began to assemble. When they were all assembled, the king came also, and Charlot with him, near whom the horse Bayard was led, in the charge of grooms, who were expressly enjoined to guard him safely. The king, looking round on the circle of spectators, saw Malagigi and Rinaldo, and observed the splendid cup that they had, and said to Chariot, "See, my son, what a brilliant cup those two pilgrims have got. It seems to be worth a hundred ducats." "That is true," said Chariot; "let us go and ask where they got it." So they rode to the place where the pilgrims stood, and Chariot stopped Bayard close to them.

The horse snuffed at the pilgrims, knew Rinaldo, and caressed his master. The king said to Malagigi, "Friend, where did you get that beautiful cup?" Malagigi replied, "Honorable sir, I paid for it all the money I have saved from eleven years' begging in churches and convents. The Pope himself has blessed it." Then said the king to Chariot, "My son, these are right holy men; see how the dumb beast worships them."

Then the king said to Malagigi, "Give me a morsel from your cup, that I may be cleared of my sins." Malagigi answered, "Illustrious lord, I dare not do it, unless you will forgive all who have at any time offended you. You know that Christ forgave all those who had betrayed and crucified him." The king replied, "Friend, that is true; but Rinaldo has so grievously offended me, that I cannot forgive him, nor that other man, Malagigi, the magician. These two shall never live in my kingdom again. If I catch them, I will certainly have them hanged. But tell me, pilgrim, who is that man who stands beside you?" "He is deaf, dumb, and blind," said Malagigi. Then the king said again, "Give me to drink of your cup, to take away my sins." Malagigi answered, "My lord king, here is my poor brother, who for fifty days has not heard, spoken, nor seen. This misfortune befell him in a house where we found shelter, and the day before yesterday we met with a wise woman, who told him the only hope of a cure for him was to come to some place where Bayard was to be ridden, and to mount and ride him; that would do him more good than anything else." Then said the king, "Friend, you have come to the right place, for Bayard is to be ridden here to-day. Give me a draught from your cup, and your companion shall ride upon Bayard." Malagigi, hearing these words, said, "Be it so." Then the king, with great devotion, took a spoon, and dipped a portion from the pilgrim's cup, believing that his sins should be thereby forgiven.

When this was done, the king said to Chariot, "Son, I request that you will let this sick pilgrim sit on your horse, and ride if he can, for by so doing he will be healed of all his infirmities." Chariot replied, "That will I gladly do." So saying, he dismounted, and the servants took the pilgrim in their arms, and helped him on the horse.

When Rinaldo was mounted, he put his feet in the stirrups, and said, "I would like to ride a little." Malagigi, hearing him speak, seemed delighted, and asked him whether he could see and hear also. "Yes," said Rinaldo, "I am healed of all my infirmities." When the king heard it, he said to Bishop Turpin, "My lord bishop, we must celebrate this with a procession, with crosses and banners, for it is a great miracle."

When Rinaldo remarked that he was not carefully watched, he spoke to the horse, and touched him with the spurs. Bayard knew that his master was upon him, and he started off upon a rapid pace, and in a few moments was a good way off. Malagigi pretended to be in great alarm. "O noble king and master," he cried, "my poor companion is run away with; he will fall and break his neck." The king ordered his knights to ride after the pilgrim, and bring him back, or help him if need were. They did so, but it was in vain. Rinaldo left them all behind him, and kept on his way till he reached Montalban. Malagigi was suffered to depart, unsuspected, and he went his way, making sad lamentation for the fate of his comrade, who he pretended to think must surely be dashed to pieces.

Malagigi did not go far, but, having changed his disguise, returned to where the king was, and employed his best art in getting the brothers of Rinaldo out of prison. He succeeded; and all three got safely to Montalban, where Rinaldo's joy at the rescue of his brothers and the recovery of Bayard was more than tongue can tell.


[Footnote: The young Amadis, son of King Perion of Gaul, was called by his father the Child of the Sea because he was born on the sea.]

By Robert Southey

King Falangiez reigned in Great Britain, and died without children. He left a brother Lisuarte, of great goodness in arms, and much discretion, who had married Brisena, daughter of the King of Denmark; and she was the fairest lady that was to be found in all the islands of the sea. After the death of the king the chief men of his land sent for Lisuarte to be their king.

When King Lisuarte heard this embassage he set sail with a great fleet, and on their way they put into Scotland, where he was honorably received by King Languines. Brisena, his wife, was with him, and their daughter Oriana, born in Denmark and then about ten years old, the fairest creature that ever was seen, wherefore she was called the one without a peer. And because she suffered much at sea it was determined to leave her there. Right gladly did King Languines accept this charge, and his queen said: "Believe me, I will take care of her like her own mother." So Lisuarte proceeded. * * *

The Child of the Sea was now twelve years old, but in stature and size he seemed fifteen, and he served the queen; but now that Oriana was there the queen gave her the Child of the Sea that he should serve her, and Oriana said that it pleased her; and that word which she said the child kept in his heart, so that he never lost it from his memory, and in all his life he was never weary of serving her, and his heart was surrendered to her, and his love lasted as long as they lasted, for as well as he loved her did she also love him. But the Child of the Sea, who knew nothing of her love, thought himself presumptuous to have placed his thoughts on her, and dared not speak to her; and she who loved him in her heart was careful riot to speak more with him than with another; but their eyes delighted to reveal to the heart what was the thing on earth that they loved best. And now the time came that he thought he could take arms if he were knighted, and this he greatly desired, thinking that he could do such things that, if he lived, his mistress would esteem him. With this desire he went to the king, who was at that time in the garden, and fell upon his knees before him, and said, "Sire, if it please you, it is time for me to receive knighthood." "How, Child of the Sea?" said Languines, "are you strong enough to maintain knighthood? it is easy to receive, but difficult to maintain; and he who would keep it well, so many and so difficult are the things he must achieve, that his heart will often be troubled; and if, through fear, he forsakes what he ought to do, better is death to him than life with shame." "Not for this," replied he, "will I fail to be a knight; my heart would not require it, if it were not in my will to accomplish what you say. And since you have bred me up, complete what you ought to do in this; if not, I will seek some other who will do it." The king, who feared lest he should do this, replied, "Child of the Sea, I know when this is fitting better than you can know, and I promise you to do it, and your arms shall be got ready; but to whom did you think to go?" "To King Perion, who they say is a good knight, and has married the sister of your queen. I would tell him how I was brought up by her, and then he would willingly fulfil my desire." "Now," said the king, "be satisfied, it shall be honourably done." And he gave orders that the arms should be made, and sent to acquaint Gandales thereof.

When Gandales heard this, he greatly rejoiced; and sent a damsel with the sword and the ring and the letter in the wax, which he had found in the ark. The Child of the Sea was with Oriana and the ladies of the palace, discoursing, when a page entered and told him there was a strange damsel without who brought presents for him, and would speak with him. When she who loved him heard this her heart trembled, and if any one had been looking at her he might have seen how she changed; and she told the Child of the Sea to let the damsel come in, that they might see the presents. Accordingly she entered, and said, "Sir Child of the Sea, your good friend Gandales salutes you as the man who loves you much, and sends you this sword and this ring and this wax, and he begs you will wear this sword while you live for his sake." He took the presents, and laid the ring and the wax in his lap, while he unrolled the sword from a linen cloth in which it was wrapt, wondering that it should be without a scabbard. Meantime Oriana took up the wax, and said, "I will have this," not thinking that it contained anything: it would have better pleased him if she had taken the ring, which was one of the finest in the world. While he was looking at the sword, the king came in and asked him what he thought of it. "It seems a goodly one, sir," said he, "but I marvel wherefore it hath no scabbard." "It is fifteen years," said the king, "since it had one"; and, taking him by the hand, he led him apart, and said, "You would be a knight, and you know not whether of right you should be one. I therefore tell you all that I know concerning you." And with that he told him all that Gandales had communicated. The Child of the Sea answered, "I believe this; for the damsel said my good friend Gandales had sent her, and I thought she had mistaken, and should have called him my father; but am nothing displeased herewith, except that I know not my parents, nor they me, for my breast tells me I am well born; and now, sir, it behoves me more to obtain knighthood, that I may win honour and the praise of prowess, since I know not my lineage, and am like one whose kindred are all dead." When the king heard him speak thus, he believed that he would prove a hardy and good knight.

As they were thus conversing, a knight came to inform the king that King Perion was arrived. Languines went to welcome him, as one who knew how to do honour to all, and, after they had saluted, he asked how it was that he came so unexpectedly. "I come to seek for friends," replied Perion, "of whom I have more need than ever; for King Abies of Ireland wars upon me, and is now, with all his power, in my country; and Daganel, his half-brother, is with him; and both together have collected such a multitude against me that I stand in need of all my friends and kinsmen; for I have lost many of my people in battle already, and others whom I trusted have failed me." "Brother," replied Languines, "your misfortunes grieve me not a little, and I shall aid you the best I can." Agrayes, who was already knighted, now came and knelt before his father, saying, "Sir, I beg a boon." The which being granted,—for King Languines loved him as himself,—he pursued, "I request that I may go to defend the queen, my aunt." "And I grant it," answered Languines; "and you shall be as honourably and well accompanied as may be."

This while had the Child of the Sea been looking earnestly at Perion, not as his father, for of that he knew nothing, but because of his great goodness in arms, of which he had heard the fame; and he desired to be made a knight by his hand, rather than by any man in the world. To attain this purpose, he thought best to entreat the queen; but her he found so sad that he would not speak to her, and going to where Oriana was, he knelt before her, and said, "Lady Oriana, could I know by you the cause of the queen's sadness?" Oriana's heart leaped at seeing him whom she most loved before her, and said to him, "Child of the Sea, this is the first thing ye ever asked of me, and I shall do it with a good will."—"Ah, lady! I am neither so bold nor worthy as to ask anything from one like you, but rather to obey what it pleases you to command." "What!" said she. "Is your heart so feeble?"—"So feeble, that in all things towards you it would fail me, except in serving you like one who is not his own, but yours." "Mine!" said she. "Since when?"—"Since it pleased you." "How since it pleased me?"—"Remember, lady, the day whereon your father departed, the queen took me by the hand, and leading me before you, said, 'I give you this child to be your servant'; and you said it pleased you. And from that time I have held and hold myself yours to do your service: yours only, that neither I nor any other, while I live, can have command over me." "That word," said she, "you took with a meaning that it did not bear; but I am well pleased that it is so." Then was he overcome with such pleasure that he had no power to answer; and Oriana, who now saw the whole power that she had over him, went to the queen, and learnt the cause of her sadness, and, returning to the Child of the Sea, told him that it was for the queen, her sister, who now was so distressed. He answered, "If it please you that I were a knight, with your aid, I would go and aid the queen, her sister." "With my leave! And what without it? Would you not then go?"—"No," said he; "for without the favour of her whose it is, my heart could not sustain itself in danger." Then Oriana smiled, and said, "Since I have gained you, you shall be my knight, and you shall aid the sister of the queen." The Child of the Sea kissed her hand—"The king, my master, has not yet knighted me; and I had rather it should be done by King Perion at your entreaty." "In that," said she, "I will do what I can; but we must speak to the Princess Mabilia, for her request will avail with her uncle."

Mabilia, who loved the Child of the Sea with pure love, readily agreed. "Let him go," said she, "to the chapel of my mother, armed at all points, and we and the other damsel will accompany him; and when King Perion is setting off, which will be before daybreak, I will ask to see him; and then will he grant our request, for he is a courteous knight." When the Child of the Sea heard this, he called Gandalin, and said to him, "My brother, take all my arms secretly to the queen's chapel, for this night I think to be knighted; and, because it behoves me to depart right soon, I would know if you wish to bear me company." "Believe me," quoth Gandalin, "never, with my will, shall I depart from ye." The tears came in the eyes of the Child at this, and he kissed him on the face, and said, "Do, now, what I told you." Gandalin laid the arms in the chapel, while the queen was at supper; and, when the cloths were removed, the Child of the Sea went there, and armed himself, all save his head and his hands, and made his prayer before the altar, beseeching God to grant him success in arms, and in the love which he bore his lady.

When the queen had retired, Oriana and Mabilia went with the other damsels to accompany him, and Mabilia sent for Perion as he was departing; and, when he came, she besought him to do what Oriana, the daughter of King Lisuarte, should request. "Willingly," said King Perion, "for her father's sake." Then Oriana came before him; and when he saw her how fair she was, he thought there could not be her equal in the world. She begged a boon, and it was granted. "Then," said she, "make this my gentleman knight." And she showed him to Perion kneeling before the altar. The king saw him how fair he was, and approaching him, said, "Would you receive the order of knighthood?"—"I would."— "In the name of God, then! And may He order it that it be well bestowed on you, and that you may grow in honour as you have in person." Then, putting on the right spur, he said, "Now are you a knight, and may receive the sword." The king took the sword, and gave it to him, and the Child girded it on. "Then," said Perion, "according to your manner and appearance, I would have performed this ceremony with more honours; and I trust in God that your fame will prove that so it ought to have been done." Mabilia and Oriana then joyfully kissed the king's hands, and he, commending the Child of the Sea to God, went his way.


The Cid, who was as actual individual, is the Arthur and Roland of the Spaniards, the great hero of mediaeval Spain. The Chronicles, based on heroic songs and national traditions of the struggle with the Moors, pictures for us the life of an old and haughty nation, proud in arms. It was compiled in the reign of King Alfonso the Wise, who reigned between 1252 and 1284, and was translated into English by Robert Southey in 1808.

In the stories here given, Southey's rich and descriptive English has been retained, the condensation being secured by omitting long, tedious passages.


By Robert Southey

History relates that after the death of King Don Ferrando of Spain, the three kings, his sons, Don Sancho, Don Alfonso and Don Garcia, reigned each in his kingdom, according to the division made by their father. Don Ferrando had divided into five portions (one for each of the sons and one for each of the two daughters, Donya Urraca and Donya Elvira) that which should all by right have descended to Don Sancho as the eldest son.

Now, the kings of Spain were of the blood of the Goths, which was a fierce blood, for it had many times come to pass among the Gothic kings, that brother had slain brother. From this blood was King Don Sancho descended, and he thought that it would be a reproach to him if he did not join together the three kingdoms under his own dominion, for he was not pleased with what his father had given him, holding that the whole ought to have been his. And he went through the land setting it in order, and what thing soever his people asked, that did he grant them freely, to the end that he might win their hearts.

When King Don Sancho of Navarre, nephew of Don Ferrando, saw that there was a new king in Castille, he thought to recover the lands which had been lost when the king, his father, was defeated and slain in the mountains of Oca. And now seeing that the kingdom of Ferrando was divided, he asked help of his uncle Don Ramiro, King of Aragon; and the men of Aragon and of Navarre entered Castille together. But King Don Sancho gathered together his host, and put the Cid at their head; and such account did he give of his enemies, that he of Navarre was glad to lay no farther claim to what his father had lost. The King of Castille was wroth against the King of Aragon, that he should thus have joined against him without cause; and in despite of him he marched against the Moors of Zaragoza, and laying waste their country with fire and sword, he came before their city, gave orders to assault it, and began to set up his engines. The Moors seeing that they could not help themselves, made such terms with him as it pleased him to grant, and gave him hostages that they might not be able to prove false. They gave him gold and silver and precious stones in abundance, so that with great riches and full honourably did he and all his men depart from the siege.

Greatly was the King of Aragon displeased at this which King Don Sancho had done. He required he should yield unto him all the spoil which the King of Zaragoza had given him, else should he not pass without battle. King Don Sancho, being a man of great heart, made answer that he was the head of the kingdoms of Castille and Leon, and all the conquests in Spain were his. Wherefore he counselled him to waive his demand, and let him pass in peace. But the King of Aragon drew up his host for battle, and the onset was made, and heavy blows were dealt on both sides, and many horses were left without a master. And while the battle was yet undecided, King Don Sancho riding right bravely through the battle, began to call out Castille! Castille! and charged the main body so fiercely that by fine force he broke them; and when they were thus broken, the Castillians began cruelly to slay them, so that King Don Sancho had pity, and called to his people not to kill them, for they were Christians. Then King Don Ramiro being discomfited, retired to a mountain, and King Don Sancho beset the mountain round about, and made a covenant with him that he should depart, and that the King of Zaragoza should remain tributary to Castille; and but for this covenant the King of Aragon would then have been slain, or made prisoner.

In all these wars did my Cid demean himself after his wonted manner; and because of the great feats which he performed the king loved him well, and made him his Alfarez, [Footnote: A standard bearer] so that in the whole army he was second only to the king. And because when the host was in the field it was his office to choose the place for encampment, therefore was my Cid called the Campeador. [Footnote: One who is remarkable for his exploits]


By Robert Southey

While King Don Sancho was busied in these wars, King Don Garcia of Galicia took by force from Donya Urraca his sister a great part of the lands which the king their father had given her. When King Don Sancho heard what his brother had done he was well pleased thereat, thinking that he might now bring to pass that which he so greatly desired; and he assembled together his Ricos-omes [Footnote: Noblemen, grandees.] and his knights, and said unto them, The king my father divided the kingdoms which should have been mine, and therein he did unjustly; now King Don Garcia my brother hath broken the oath and disherited Donya Urraca my sister; I beseech ye therefore counsel me what I shall do, and in what manner to proceed against him, for I will take his kingdom away from him. Upon this Count Don Garcia Ordonez arose and said, There is not a man in the world, sir, who would counsel you to break the command of your father, and the vow which you made unto him. And the king was greatly incensed at him and said, Go from before me, for I shall never receive good counsel from thee. The king then took the Cid by the hand and led him apart, and said unto him, Thou well knowest, my Cid, that when the king my father commended thee unto me, he charged me upon pain of his curse that I should take you for my adviser, and whatever I did that I should do it with your counsel, and I have done so even until this day; and thou hast always counselled me for the best, and for this I have given thee a county in my kingdom, holding it well bestowed. Now then I beseech you advise me how best to recover these kingdoms, for if I have not counsel from you I do not expect to have it from any man in the world.

Greatly troubled at this was the Cid, and he answered and said, Ill, sir, would it behove me to counsel you that you should go against the will of your father. You well know that when I went to him, after he had divided his kingdoms, how he made me swear to him that I would always counsel his sons the best I could, and never give them ill counsel; and while I can, thus must I continue to do. But the king answered, My Cid, I do not hold that in this I am breaking the oath made to my father, for I ever said that the partition should not be, and the oath which I made was forced upon me. Now King Don Garcia my brother hath broken the oath, and all these kingdoms by right are mine: and therefore I will that you counsel me how I may unite them, for from so doing there is nothing in this world which shall prevent me, except it be death.

Then when the Cid saw that he could by no means turn him from that course, he advised him to obtain the love of his brother King Don Alfonso, that he might grant him passage through his kingdom to go against Don Garcia: and if this should be refused he counselled him not to make the attempt. And the king saw that his counsel was good, and sent his letters to King Don Alfonso beseeching him to meet him at Sahagun. When King Don Alfonso received the letters he marvelled to what end this might be: howbeit he sent to say that he would meet him. And the two kings met in Sahagun. And King Don Sancho said, Brother, you well know that King Don Garcia our brother hath broken the oath made unto our father, and disherited our sister Donya Urraca: for this I will take his kingdom away from him, and I beseech you join with me. But Don Alfonso answered that he would not go against the will of his father, and the oath which he had sworn. Then King Don Sancho said, that if he would let him pass through his kingdom he would give him part of what he should gain: and King Don Alfonso agreed to this. And upon this matter they fixed another day to meet; and then forty knights were named, twenty for Castille and twenty for Leon, as vouchers that this which they covenanted should be faithfully fulfilled on both sides.

Then King Don Sancho gathered together a great host. He sent Alvar Fanez, the cousin of the Cid, to King Don Garcia, to bid him yield up his kingdom, and if he refused to do this to defy him on his part. When King Don Garcia heard this he was greatly troubled, and he said to Alvar Fanez, Say to my brother that I beseech him not to break the oath which he made to our father; but if he will persist to do this thing I must defend myself as I can. He called his chief captains together and they advised him that he should recall Don Rodrigo Frojaz, for having him the realm would be secure, and without him it was in danger to be lost. So two hidalgos [Footnote: A man belonging to the lower nobility, a gentleman by birth] were sent after him, and they found him in Navarre, on the eve of passing into France. But when he saw the king's letters, and knew the peril in which he then stood, setting aside the remembrance of his own wrongs, like a good and true Portuguese, he turned back, and went to the king. In good time did he arrive, for the captains of King Don Sancho had now gained many lands in Galicia and in the province of Beira, finding none to resist them. When Don Rodrigo heard this and knew that the Castillians were approaching he promised the king either to maintain his cause, or die for it. He ordered the trumpets to be sounded, and the Portugueze sallied, and a little below the city the two squadrons met. The Portugueze fought so well, and especially Don Rodrigo, and his brothers, that at length they discomfited the Castillians, killing of them five hundred and forty, of whom three hundred were knights, and winning their pennons and banners. Howbeit this victory was not obtained without great loss to themselves; for two hundred and twenty of their people were left upon the field, and many were sorely wounded, among whom, even to the great peril of his life, was Don Rodrigo Frojaz, being wounded with many and grievous wounds.


By Robert Southey

A sorrowful defeat was that for King Don Sancho, and he put himself at the head of his army and hastened through Portugal to besiege his brother in Santarem.

The Portugueze and Galegos took counsel together what they should do. Don Rodrigo Frojaz said unto the king that it behoved him above all things to put his kingdom upon the hazard of a battle; for his brother being a greater lord of lands than he, and richer in money and more powerful in vassals, could maintain the war longer than he could, who peradventure would find it difficult another year to gather together so good an army as he had now ready. For this cause he advised him to put his trust in God first, and then in the hidalgos who were with him, and without fear give battle to the king his brother, over whom God and his good cause would give him glorious victory. Now when the two hosts were ready to join battle, Alvar Fanez came to King Don Sancho and said to him, Sir, I have played away my horse and arms; I beseech you give me others for this battle, and I will be a right good one for you this day; if I do not for you the service of six knights, hold me for a traitor. And the king ordered that horse and arms should be given him. So the armies joined battle bravely on both sides, and it was a sharp onset; many were the heavy blows which were given on both sides, and many were the horses that were slain at that encounter, and many the men. Now my Cid had not yet come up into the field.

Now Don Rodrigo Frojaz and his brethren and the knights who were with them had resolved to make straight for the banner of the King of Castille. And they broke through the ranks of the Castillians, and made their way into the middle of the enemy's host, doing marvellous feats of arms. Then was the fight at the hottest, for they did their best to win the banner, and the others to defend it; the remembrance of what they had formerly done, and the hope of gaining more honours, heartened them; and with the Castillians there was their king, giving them brave example as well as brave words. The press of the battle was here, and the banner of King Don Sancho was beaten down, and the king himself also, and Don Rodrigo made way through the press and laid hands on him and took him. But in the struggle he lost much blood, and perceiving that his strength was failing, he sent to call the King Don Garcia with all speed. And as the king came, the Count Don Pedro Frojaz met him and said, An honourable gift, sir, hath my brother Don Rodrigo to give you, but you lose him in gaining it. And tears fell from the eyes of the king, and he made answer and said, It may indeed be that Don Rodrigo may lose his life in serving me, but the good name which he hath gained, and the honour which he leaveth to his descendants, death cannot take away. Saying this, he came to the place where Don Rodrigo was, and Don Rodrigo gave into his hands the King Don Sancho his brother, and asked him three times if he was discharged of his prisoner; and when the king had answered Yes, Don Rodrigo said, For me, sir, the joy which I have in your victory is enough; give the rewards to these good Portugueze, who with so good a will have put their lives upon the hazard to serve you, and in all things follow their counsel, and you will not err therein. Having said this he kissed the king's hand, and lying upon his shield, for he felt his breath fail him, with his helmet for a pillow, he kissed the cross of his sword in remembrance of that on which the Son of God had died for him, and rendered up his soul into the hands of his Creator. This was the death of one of the worthy knights of the world, Don Rodrigo Frojaz. In all the conquests which King Don Ferrando had made from the Moors of Portugal, great part had he borne, insomuch that that king was wont to say that other princes might have more dominions than he, but two such knights as his two Rodrigos, meaning my Cid and this good knight, there was none but himself who had for vassals.

King Don Garcia being desirous to be in the pursuit himself, delivered his brother into the hands of six knights that they should guard him, which he ought not to have done. And when he was gone King Don Sancho said unto the knights, Let me go and I will depart out of your country and never enter it again; and I will reward ye well as long as ye live; but they answered him, that for no reward would they commit such disloyalty, but would guard him well, not offering him any injury, till they had delivered him to his brother the King Don Garcia. While they were parleying Alvar Fanez came up, he to whom the king had given horse and arms before the battle; and he seeing the king held prisoner, cried out with a loud voice, Let loose my lord the king: and he spurred his horse and made at them; and before his lance was broken he overthrew two of them, and so bestirred himself that he put the others to flight; and he took the horses of the two whom he had smote down, and gave one to the king, and mounted upon the other himself, for his own was hurt in the rescue; and they went together to a little rising ground where there was yet a small body of the knights of their party, and Alvar Fanez cried out to them aloud, Ye see here the king our lord, who is free; now then remember the good name of the Castillians, and let us not lose it this day. And about four hundred knights gathered about him. And while they stood there they saw the Cid Ruydiez coming up with three hundred knights, for he had not been in the battle, and they knew his green pennon. And when King Don Sancho beheld it his heart rejoiced, and he said, Now let us descend into the plain, for he of good fortune cometh: and he said, Be of good heart, for it is the will of God that I should recover my kingdom, for I have escaped from captivity, and seen the death of Don Rodrigo Frojaz who took me, and Ruydiez the fortunate one cometh. And the king went down to him and welcomed him right joyfully, saying, In happy time are you come, my fortunate Cid; never vassal succoured his lord in such season as you now succour me, for the king my brother had overcome me. And the Cid answered, Sir, be sure that you shall recover the day, or I will die; for wheresoever you go, either you shall be victorious or I will meet my death.

By this time King Don Garcia returned from the pursuit, singing as he came full joyfully, for he thought that the king his brother was a prisoner, and his great power overthrown. But there came one and told him that Don Sancho was rescued and in the field again, ready to give him battle a second time. Bravely was that second battle fought on both sides; and if it had not been for the great prowess of the Cid, the end would not have been as it was: in the end the Galegos and Portugueze were discomfited, and the King Don Garcia taken in his turn. And the King Don Sancho put his brother in better ward than his brother three hours before had put him, for he put him in chains and sent him to the strong castle of Luna.

When King Don Sancho had done this he took unto himself the kingdom of Galicia and of Portugal, and without delay sent to his brother King Don Alfonso, commanding him to yield up to him the kingdom of Leon, for it was his by right. At this was the King of Leon troubled at heart; howbeit he answered that he would not yield up his kingdom, but do his utmost to defend it. Then King Don Sancho entered Leon, slaying and laying waste before him, as an army of infidels would have done; and King Don Alfonso sent to him to bid him cease from this, for it was inhuman work to kill and plunder the innocent: and he defied him to a pitched battle, saying that to whichsoever God should give the victory, to him also would he give the kingdom of Leon: and the King of Castille accepted the defiance, and a day was fixed for the battle. Both kings were in the field that day, and full hardily was the battle contested, and great was the mortality on either side, for the hatred which used to be between Moors and Christians was then between brethren.

Nevertheless the power of King Don Alfonso was not yet destroyed, and he would not yield up his kingdom: and he sent to his brother a second time to bid him battle, saying that whosoever conquered should then certainly remain King of Leon. The two armies met and joined battle, and they of Leon had the victory, for my Cid was not in the field. And King Don Alfonso had pity upon the Castillians because they were Christians, and gave orders not to slay them; and his brother King Don Sancho fled. Now as he was flying, my Cid came up with his green pennon; and when he saw that the king his lord had been conquered it grieved him sorely: howbeit he encouraged him saying, This is nothing, sir! to fail or to prosper is as God pleases. But do you gather together your people who are discomfited, and bid them take heart. The Leonese and Galegos are with the king your brother, secure as they think themselves in their lodging, and taking no thought of you; for it is their custom to extol themselves when their fortune is fair, and to mock at others, and in this boastfulness will they spend the night, so that we shall find them sleeping at break of day, and will fall upon them. And it came to pass as he had said. The Leonese lodged themselves in Vulpegera, taking no thought of their enemies, and setting no watch; and Ruydiez arose betimes in the morning and fell upon them, and subdued them before they could take their arms. King Don Alfonso fled to the town of Carrion, which was three leagues distant, and would have fortified himself there in the Church of St. Mary, but he was surrounded and constrained to yield.

Now the knights of Leon gathered together in their flight, and when they could not find their king they were greatly ashamed, and they turned back and smote the Castillians; and as it befell, they encountered King Don Sancho alone and took him prisoner, for his people considered the victory as their own, and all was in confusion. And thirteen knights took him in their ward and were leading him away,—but my Cid beheld them and galloped after them: he was alone, and had no lance, having broken his in the battle. And he came up to them and said, Knights, give me my lord and I will give unto you yours. They knew him by his arms, and they made answer, Ruydiez, return in peace and seek not to contend with us, otherwise we will carry you away prisoner with him. And he waxed wroth and said, Give me but a lance and I will, single as I am, rescue my lord from all of ye: by God's help I will do it. And they held him as nothing because he was but one, and gave him a lance. But he attacked them therewith so bravely that he slew eleven of the thirteen, leaving two only alive, on whom he had mercy; and thus did he rescue the king. And the Castillians rejoiced greatly at the king's deliverance: and King Don Sancho went to Burgos, and took with him his brother prisoner.

Great was the love which the Infanta Donya Urraca bore to her brother King Don Alfonso, and when she heard that he was made prisoner, she feared lest he should be put to death: and she took with her the Count Don Peransures, and went to Burgos. And they spake with the Cid, and besought him that he would join with them and intercede with the king that he should release his brother from prison, and let him become a monk. Full willing was the Cid to serve in any thing the Infanta Donya Urraca, and he went with her before the king. And she knelt down before the king her brother, and besought him that he would let their brother Don Alfonso take the habit of St. Benedict, in the royal Monastery of Sahagun. And the king took my Cid aside, and asked counsel of him what he should do; and the Cid said, that if Don Alfonso were willing to become a monk, he would do well to set him free upon that condition, and he besought him so to do. Then King Don Sancho, at my Cid's request, granted to Donya Urraca what she had asked. And Don Alfonso became a monk in the Monastery at Sahagun, more by force than of free will. And being in the monastery he spake with Don Peransures, and took counsel with him, and fled away by night from the monks, and went among the Moors to King Alimaymon of Toledo. And the Moorish king welcomed him with a good will, and did great honour to him, and gave him great possessions and many gifts.

But when King Don Sancho heard how his brother had fled from the monastery, he drew out his host and went against the city of Leon. The Leonese would fain have maintained the city against him, but they could not, and he took the city of Leon, and all the towns and castles which had been under the dominion of his brother King Don Alfonso. And then he put the crown upon his head, and called himself king of the three kingdoms. He was a fair knight and of marvellous courage, so that both Moors and Christians were dismayed at what they saw him do, for they saw that nothing which he willed to take by force could stand against him. And he went forth with his army, and took from the Infanta Donya Elvira the half of the Infantazgo [Footnote: Inherited land] which she possessed, and also from Donya Urraca the other half. And he went against Toro, the city of Donya Elvira, and took it, and then he went to Zamora to Donya Urraca, bidding her yield him up the city, and saying that he would give her lands as much as she required in the plain country. But she returned for answer, that she would in no manner yield unto him that which the king her father had given her; and she besought him that he would suffer her to continue to dwell peaceably therein, saying that no disservice should ever be done against him on her part.

Then King Don Sancho went to Burgos, because it was the season for besieging a town, being winter. And he sent his letters through all the land, calling upon his vassals to assemble together upon the first day of March in Sahagun, upon pain of forfeiting his favour. And they assembled together in Sahagun on the day appointed; and when the king heard in what readiness they were, it gladdened him, and he lifted up his hands to God and said, Blessed be thy name, O Lord, because thou hast given me all the kingdoms of my father. And when he had said this he ordered proclamation to be made through the streets of Burgos, that all should go forth to protect the host and the body of the king their lord. They made such speed that in five days they arrived before Zamora, and pitched their tents upon the banks of the Douro. And he mounted on horseback with his bidalgos and rode round the town, and beheld how strongly it was situated upon a rock, with strong walls, and many and strong towers, and the river Douro running at the foot thereof; and he said unto his knights, Ye see how strong it is, neither Moor nor Christian can prevail against it; if I could have it from my sister either for money or exchange, I should be Lord of Spain.

Then the king returned to his tents, and sent for the Cid, and said unto him, Cid, you well know how manifoldly you are bound unto me. I have ever shown favour unto you, and you have ever served me as the loyalest vassal that ever did service to his lord. Now therefore I beseech you as my friend and true vassal, that you go to Zamora to my sister Donya Urraca, and say unto her again, that I beseech her to give me the town either for a price, or in exchange, and I will give to her Medina de Rioseco, with the whole Infantazgo, from Villalpando to Valladolid, and Tiedra also, which is a good Castle; and I will swear unto her, with twelve knights of my vassals, never to break this covenant between us; but if she refuseth to do this I will take away the town from her by force. And my Cid kissed the hand of the king and said unto him, This bidding, sir, should be for other messenger, for it is a heavy thing for me to deliver it; for I was brought up in Zamora by your father's command, with Donya Urraca and with his sons, and it is not fitting that I should be the bearer of such bidding. And the king persisted in requiring of him that he should go, insomuch that he was constrained to obey his will. And he took with him fifteen of his knights and rode towards Zamora, and when he drew nigh he called unto those who kept guard in the towers not to shoot their arrows at him, for he was Ruydiez of Bivar, who came to Donya Urraca with the bidding of her brother King Don Sancho. With that there came down a knight who had the keeping of the gate, and he bade the Cid enter. It pleased the Infanta well that he should be the messenger, and she bade him come before her that she might know what was his bidding. When the Cid entered the palace Donya Urraca advanced to meet him, and greeted him full well, and they seated themselves both upon the Estrado. And Donya Urraca said unto him, Cid, you well know that you were brought up with me here in Zamora, and when my father was at the point of death he charged you that you should always counsel his sons the best you could. Now tell me I beseech you what is it which my brother goes about to do, now that he has called up all Spain in arms, and to what lands he thinks to go, whether against Moors or Christians. Then the Cid answered and said, Lady, give me safe assurance and I will tell unto you that which the king your brother hath sent me to say. And she said she would do as Don Arias Gonzalo should advise her. And Don Arias answered that it was well to hear what the king her brother had sent to say. Donya Urraca then said to the Cid, that he might speak his bidding safely. Then said my Cid, The king your brother sends to greet you, and beseeches you to give him this town of Zamora, either for a price or in exchange; and he will give to you Medina de Rio-seco, with the whole Infantazgo, from Villalpando to Valladolid, and the good castle of Tiedra, and he will swear unto you, with twelve knights his vassals, never to do you hurt or harm; but if you will not give him the town, he will take it against your will.

When Donya Urraca heard this she lamented aloud, saying, Wretch that I am, many are the evil messages which I have heard since my father's death! He hath disherited my brother King Don Garcia of his kingdom, and taken him, and now holds him in irons as if he were a thief or a Moor: and he hath taken his lands from my brother King Don Alfonso, and forced him to go among the Moors, and live there exiled as if he had been a traitor; and he hath taken her lands from my sister Donya Elvira against her will, and now would he take Zamora from me also! Now then let the earth open and swallow me, that I may not see so many troubles! I am a woman, and well know that I cannot strive with him in battle; but I will have him slain either secretly or openly. Then Don Arias Gonzalo stood up and said, Lady, give order that all the men of Zamora assemble in St. Salvador's and know of them whether they will hold with you, seeing that your father gave them to you to be your vassals. If they will hold with you, then give not up the town, neither for a price, nor in exchange; but if they will not, let us then go to Toledo among the Moors, where your brother King Don Alfonso abideth.

And she did as her foster-father had advised, and it was proclaimed through the streets that the men of Zamora should meet in council at St. Salvador's. When they were all assembled, Donya Urraca arose and said, Don Sancho bids me give him Zamora, either for a price or in exchange. Now concerning this I would know whereunto ye advise me. Then by command of the Council there rose up a knight who was called Don Nuno, a man of worth, aged, and of fair speech; and he said, We beseech you give not up Zamora, neither for price nor for exchange, for he who besieges you upon the rock would soon drive you from the plain. The Council of Zamora will do your bidding, and will not desert you. Sooner, lady, will we expend all our possessions, and eat our mules and horses, than give up Zamora, unless by your command. And they all with one accord confirmed what Don Nuno had said. When the Infanta Donya Urraca heard this she was well pleased, and praised them greatly; and she turned to the Cid and said unto him, I beseech you help me now against my brother, and intreat him that he will not seek to disherit me; but if he will go on with what he hath begun, say to him that I will rather die with the men of Zamora and they with me, than give him up the town, either for price or exchange. And with this answer did the Cid return unto the king.


By Robert Southey

When King Don Sancho heard what the Cid said, his anger kindled against him, and he said, You have given this counsel to my sister because you were bred with her. And my Cid answered and said, Faithfully have I discharged your bidding, and as a true vassal. Howbeit, O king, I will not bear arms against the Infanta your sister, nor against Zamora, because of the days which are passed;—and I beseech you do not persist in doing this wrong. But then King Don Sancho was more greatly incensed, and he said unto him, If it were not that my father left you commended to me, I would order you this instant to be hanged. But for this which you have said I command you to quit my kingdom within nine days. The Cid went to his tent in anger, and called for his kinsmen and his friends, and bade them make ready on the instant to depart with him. He set forth with all the knights and esquires of his table, and with all their retainers horse and foot, twelve hundred persons, all men of approved worth, a goodly company;—and they took the road to Toledo, meaning to join King Don Alfonso among the Moors. That night they slept at Castro Nuno. But when the counts and Ricos-omes, and the other good men of the host saw this, they understood the great evil, which might arise to the king from the departure of the Cid. They went to the king and said unto him, Sir, wherefore would you lose so good a vassal, who has done you such great service? If he should go unto your brother Don Alfonso among the Moors, he would not let you besiege this city thus in peace. And the king perceived that they spake rightly, and he called for Don Diego Ordonez and bade him follow the Cid, and beseech him in his name to return; and whatever covenant he should make it should be confirmed unto him; and of this he ordered his letters of credence to be made out. And Don Diego Ordonez rode after the Cid, and delivered the king's bidding, and said that the king besought him not to bear in mind the words which he had spoken unto him in anger. Then the Cid called together his kinsmen and friends, and they counselled him that he should return to the king, for it was better to remain in his land and serve God, than to go among the Moors. He held their counsel good, and called for Don Diego, and said that he would do the will of the king. And when the Cid drew nigh unto the host, the king went out with five hundred knights to meet him, and received him gladly, and did him great honour. And the Cid kissed his hand and asked him if he confirmed what Don Diego had said; and the king confirmed it before all the knights who were there present, promising to give him great possessions. And when they came to the army great was the joy because of the Cid's return, and great were the rejoicings which were made: but as great was the sorrow in Zamora, for they who were in the town held that the siege was broken up by his departure. Nevertheless my Cid would not bear arms against the Infanta, nor against the town of Zamora, because of the days which were past.

The king ordered proclamation to be made throughout the host that the people should make ready to attack the town. They fought against it three days and three nights so bravely that all the ditches were filled up, and the barbicans thrown down, and they who were within fought sword in hand with those without, and the waters of the Douro, as they past below the town, were all discoloured with blood. And when Count Don Garcia de Cabra saw the great loss which they were suffering, it grieved him; and he went unto the king and told him that many men were slain, and advised him to call off the host that they should no longer fight against the town, but hold it besieged, for by famine it might soon be taken. Then the king ordered them to draw back, and he sent to each camp to know how many men had died in the attack, and the number was found to be a thousand and thirty. And when the king knew this he was greatly troubled for the great loss which he had received, and he ordered the town to be beleaguered round about, that none could enter into it, neither go out therefrom; and there was a great famine within the town. And when Don Arias Gonzalo saw the misery, and the hunger, and the mortality which were there, he said to the Infanta Donya Urraca, You see, lady, the great wretchedness which the people of Zamora have suffered, and do every day suffer to maintain their loyalty; now then call together the Council, and thank them truly for what they have done for you, and bid them give up the town within nine days to the king your brother. And we, lady, will go to Toledo to your brother King Don Alfonso, for we cannot defend Zamora; King Don Sancho is of so great heart and so resolute, that he will never break up the siege, and I do not hold it good that you should abide here longer. And Donya Urraca gave orders that the good men of Zamora should meet together in council; and she said unto them, Friends, ye well see the resoluteness of King Don Sancho my brother. Ye have done enough, and I do not hold it good that ye should perish, I command ye therefore give up the town to him within nine days, and I will go to Toledo to my brother King Don Alfonso. The men of Zamora when they heard this had great sorrow, because they had endured the siege so long, and must now give up the town at last; and they determined all to go with the Infanta, and not remain in the town.

When Vellido Dolfos heard this, he went to Donya Urraca and said, Lady, I came here to Zamora to do you service with thirty knights, all well accoutred, as you know; and I have served you long time, and never have I had from you guerdon for my service, though I have demanded it: but now if you will grant my demand I will relieve Zamora, and make King Don Sancho break up the siege. Then said Donya Urraca, Vellido, I do not bid thee commit any evil thing, if such thou hast in thy thought; but I say unto you, that there is not a man in the world to whom if he should relieve Zamora, and make the king my brother raise the siege, I would not grant whatsoever he might require. And when Vellido heard this he kissed her hand, and went to a porter who kept one of the gates of the town, saying, that he should open the gate unto him when he saw him flying toward it, and he gave him his cloak. Then he armed himself, and mounted his horse, and rode to the house of Don Arias Gonzalo, and cried with a loud voice, We all know the reason, Don Arias Gonzalo, why you will not let Donya Urraca exchange Zamora with her brother; it is because you deal with her like an old traitor. When Arias Gonzalo heard this, it grieved him to the heart. Then his sons arose and armed themselves hastily, and went after Vellido, who fled before them toward the gate of the town. The porter when he saw him coming opened the gate, and he rode out and galloped into the camp of the King Don Sancho, and the others followed him till they were nigh the camp, but farther they did not venture. And Vellido went to the king and kissed his hand, and said unto him these false words with a lying tongue: Sir, because I said to the Council of Zamora that they should yield the town unto you, the sons of Arias Gonzalo would have slain me, even as you have seen. And therefore come I to you, sir, and will be your vassal, if I may find favour at your hands. And I will show you how in a few days you may have Zamora, if God pleases; and if I do not as I have said, then let me be slain. And the king believed all that he said, and received him for his vassal, and did him great honour. And all that night they talked together of his secrets, and he made the king believe that he knew a postern by means of which he would put Zamora into his hands.

On the morrow in the morning, one of the knights who were in the town went upon the wall, and cried out with a loud voice, King Don Sancho, give ear to what I say; I am a knight, and they from whom I spring were true men and delighted in their loyalty, and I also will live and die in my truth. I say unto you, that from this town of Zamora there is gone forth a traitor to kill you; his name is Vellido Dolfos. Look to yourself therefore and take heed of him. I say this to you, that if evil should befall you by this traitor, it may not be said in Spain that you were not warned against him. And the men of Zamora sent also to the king to bid him beware of Vellido; nevertheless he gave no heed to the warning. And Vellido, when he heard this went to the king, and said, Sir, the old Arias Gonzalo is full crafty, and hath sent to say this unto you, because he knows that by my means you would have won the town. And he called for his horse, feigning that he would depart because of what had been said. But the king took him by the hand and said, Friend and vassal, take no thought for this; I say unto you, that if I may have Zamora, I will make you chief therein, even as Arias Gonzalo is now. Then Vellido kissed his hand and said, God grant you life, sir, for many and happy years, and let you fulfil what you desire. But the traitor had other thoughts in his heart.

After this Vellido took the king apart and said to him, If it please you, sir, let us ride out together alone; we will go round Zamora, and see the trenches which you have ordered to be made; and I will show unto you the postern which is called the queen's, by which we may enter the town, for it is never closed. When it is night you shall give me a hundred knights who are hidalgos, well armed, and we will go on foot, and the Zamorans because they are weak with famine and misery, will let us conquer them, and we will enter and open the gate, and keep it open till all your host shall have entered in. The king believed what he said, and they took horse and went riding round the town, and the king looked at the trenches, and that traitor showed him the postern. And after they had ridden round the town the king had need to alight; now he carried in his hand a light hunting spear which was gilded over, such as the kings from whom he was descended were wont to bear; and he gave this to Vellido to hold it while he went aside, to cover his feet. And Vellido Dolfos, when he saw him in that guise, took the hunting spear and thrust it between his shoulders, so that it went through him and came out at his breast. And when he had stricken him he turned the reins and rode as fast as he could toward the postern. Now it chanced that the Cid saw him riding thus, and asked him wherefore he fled, and he would not answer; and then the Cid understood that he had done some treason, and his heart misgave him and he called in haste for his horse, but while they were bringing it, Vellido had ridden far away; and the Cid being eager to follow him, took only his lance and did not wait to have his spurs buckled on. And he followed him to the postern and had well nigh overtaken him, but Vellido got in; and then the Cid said in his anger, Cursed be the knight who ever gets on horseback without his spurs. Now in all the feats of the Cid never was fault found in him save only in this, that he did not enter after Vellido into the town; but he did not fail to do this for cowardice, neither for fear of death, or of imprisonment; but because he thought that this was a device between him and the king, and that he fled by the king's command; for certes, if he had known that the king was slain, there was nothing which would have prevented him from entering the town, and slaying the traitor in the streets, thereright.

Now the history saith, that when Vellido Dolfos had got within the postern, he was in such fear both of those who were in the town and of those who were without, that he went and placed himself under the mantle of the Infanta Donya Urraca. And when Don Arias Gonzalo knew this, he went unto the Infanta and said, Lady, I beseech you that you give up this traitor to the Castillians, otherwise the Castillians will impeach all who are in Zamora, and that will be greater dishonour for you and for us. And Donya Urraca made answer, Counsel me then so that he may not die for this which he hath done. Don Arias Gonzalo then answered, Give him unto me, and I will keep him in custody for three days, and if the Castillians impeach us we will deliver him into their hands; and if they do not impeach us within that time, we will thrust him out of the town so that he shall not be seen among us. And Don Arias Gonzalo took him from thence, and secured him with double fetters, and guarded him well.

Meantime the Castillians went to seek their king, and they found him by the side of the Douro, where he lay sorely wounded, even unto death; but he had not yet lost his speech, and the hunting spear was in his body, through and through, and they did not dare to take it out lest he should die immediately. And a master of Burgos came up who was well skilled in these things, and he sawed off the ends of the spear, that he might not lose his speech, and said that he should be confessed, for he had death within him. Then Count Don Garcia de Cabra said unto him, Sir, think of your soul, for you have a desperate wound. And the king made answer, The traitor Vellido has killed me, and I well know that this was for my sins, because I broke the oath which I made unto the king my father. As the king was saying this the Cid came up and knelt before him and said, I, sir, remain more desolate than any other of your vassals, for for your sake have I made your brethren mine enemies, and all in the world who were against you, and against whom it pleased you to go. The king your father commended me to them as well as to you, when he divided his kingdoms, and I have lost their love for your sake, having done them great evil. And now neither can I go before King Don Alfonso, your brother, nor remain among the Christians before Donya Urraca your sister, because they hold that whatsoever you have done against them was by my counsel. Now then, sir, remember me before you depart. And the king said, I beseech all ye who are here present, that if my brother King Don Alfonso should come from the land of the Moors, ye beseech him to show favour unto you, my Cid, and that he always be bountiful unto you, and receive you to be his vassal. Then the Cid arose and kissed his hand, and all the chief persons who were there present did the like. And the king said unto them, I beseech ye intreat my brother King Don Alfonso to forgive me whatever wrong I have done him, and to pray to God to have mercy upon my soul. And when he had said this he asked for the candle, and presently his soul departed. And all who were there present made great lamentation for the king.

Now when the king was dead, the townsmen who were in the camp forsook their tents and fled, but the noble Castillians would not depart from Zamora, nor break up the siege thereof, but remained bravely before it, though they had lost their lord. And they took counsel together how they should proceed against the men of Zamora for this great treason which had been committed. Then Count Don Garcia de Cabra arose and said, Friends, if there be one here who will impeach them for this thing, we will do whatever may be needful that he may come off with honour, and the impeachment be carried through. Then Don Diego Ordonez arose, and he said unto them, If ye will all assent to this which ye have heard, I will impeach the men of Zamora for the death of the king our lord: and they all assented. Now my Cid did not make this impeachment against the people of Zamora, because of the oath which he had sworn.

Then Don Diego Ordonez went to his lodging and armed himself well and rode toward Zamora. And when he drew nigh unto the town he began to cry aloud, asking if Don Arias Gonzalo were there, for he would speak with him. And Don Arias Gonzalo went with his sons upon the wall to see who called for him, and he spake to the knight, saying, Friend, what wouldest thou? And Don Diego Ordonez answered, The Castillians have lost their lord; the traitor Vellido slew him, being his vassal, and ye of Zamora have received Vellido and harboured him within your walls. Now therefore I say that he is a traitor who hath a traitor with him, if he knoweth and consenteth unto the treason. And for this I impeach the people of Zamora, the great as well as the little, the living and the dead. If there be any one in Zamora to gainsay what I have said, I will do battle with him, and with God's pleasure conquer him, so that the infamy shall remain upon you. Don Arias Gonzalo replied, If I were what thou sayest I am, it had been better for me never to have been born; but in what thou sayest thou liest, and I will do battle with thee upon this quarrel, or give thee one in my stead. But know that you have been ill advised in making this impeachment, for the manner is, that whosoever impeacheth a council must do battle with five, one after another, and if he conquer the five he shall be held a true man, but if either of the five conquer him, the council is held acquitted and he a liar. When Don Diego heard this it troubled him; howbeit he dissembled this right well, and said unto Don Arias Gonzalo, I will bring twelve Castillians, and do you bring twelve men of Zamora, and they shall swear upon the Holy Gospel to judge justly between us, and if they find that I am bound to do battle with five, I will perform it. And Don Arias made answer that he said well, and it should be so. And truce was made for three times nine days, till this should have been determined and the combat fought.

Then when the truce was made they chose out twelve alcades on the one part, and twelve on the other, who should decide in what manner he was bound to perform combat who impeached a council. Two of them who were held the most learned in these things arose, the one being a Castillian and the other of Zamora, and said that they had found the law as it was written to be this: That whosoever impeacheth the council of a town which was a bishop's seat, must do battle with five in the field, one after another; and that after every combat there should be given unto him fresh arms and horse, and three sops of bread, and a draught either of wine or of water, as he chose. And in this sentence which the twain pronounced, the other twenty and two accorded.

On the morrow the four and twenty alcades marked out the lists upon the sand beside the river, and in the middle of the lists they placed a bar, and ordained that he who won the battle should lay hand on the bar, and say that he had conquered: and then they appointed a term of nine days for the combatants to come to those lists which had been assigned. And when all was appointed the Infanta Donya Urraca ordered a meeting to be called, at which all the men of the town assembled. And when they were gathered together, Don Arias Gonzalo said unto them, Friends, I beseech ye, if there be any here among ye who took counsel for the death of King Don Sancho, or were privy thereunto, that ye now tell me, and deny it not; for rather would I go with my sons to the land of the Moors, than be overcome in the field, and held for a traitor. Then they all replied, that there was none there who knew of the treason, nor had consented unto it. At this was Don Arias Gonzalo well pleased, and he went to his house with his sons, and chose out four of them to do combat, and said that he would be the fifth himself.


By Robert Southey

When the day appointed was come, Don Arias Gonzalo early in the morning armed his sons, and they armed him. As they rode through the gates of their house, Donya Urraca with a company of dames met them, and said to Don Arias, weeping, Remember now how my father, King Don Ferrando, left me to your care, and you swore between his hands that you would never forsake me; and lo! now you are forsaking me. I beseech you remain with me. And she took hold on him, and would not let him go, and made him be disarmed. Then came many knights around him, to demand arms of him, and request that they might do battle in his stead; nevertheless he would give them to none. And he called for his son Pedro Arias, who was a right brave knight, though but of green years, and Don Arias armed him completely with his own hands, and instructed him how to demean himself, and gave him his blessing with his right hand. Then went they into the field, where Don Diego Ordonez was awaiting them, and Pedro Arias entered the lists, and the judges placed them each in his place, and divided the sun between them, and went out, leaving them in the lists.

Then they turned their horses one against the other, and ran at each other full bravely, like good knights. Five times they encountered, and at the sixth encounter their spears brake, and they laid hand upon their swords, and dealt each other such heavy blows that the helmets failed; and in this manner the combat between them continued till noon. And when Don Diego Ordonez saw that it lasted so long, and he could not yet conquer him, he called to mind that he was there fighting to revenge his lord, who had been slain by a foul treason, and he collected together all his strength. And he lifted up his sword and smote Pedro Arias upon the helmet, so that he cut through it, and through the hood of the mail also, and made a wound in the head. And Pedro Arias with the agony of death bowed down to the neck of the horse; yet with all this he neither lost his stirrups, nor let go his sword. And Don Diego Ordonez seeing him thus, thought that he was dead, and would not strike him again; and he called aloud, saying, Don Arias, send me another son, for this one will never fulfil your bidding. When Pedro Arias heard this, grievously wounded as he was, he went fiercely against him: and he took the sword in both hands, and thought to give it him upon his head; but the blow missed, and fell upon the horse, and the horse immediately ran away because of the great wound which he had received. And Don Diego had no reins wherewith to stop him, and perceiving that he should else be carried out of the lists, he threw himself off. And while he did this, Pedro Arias fell down dead, just without the mark. And Don Diego Ordonez laid hand on the bar, and said, Praised be the name of God, one is conquered. And incontinently the judges came and took him by the hand, and led him to a tent and disarmed him, and gave him three sops, and he drank of the wine and rested awhile. And afterwards they gave him other arms, and a horse that was a right good one, and went with him to the lists.

Then Don Arias Gonzalo called for another son, whose name was Diego Arias, gave him his blessing and went with him to the lists. And the judges took the reins of the two champions and led them each to his place, and went out and left them in the lists. And they ran against each other with such force that both shields failed, and in another career they brake their lances. Then laid they hand on their good swords, and delivered such blows that their helmets were cut away, and the sleeves of the mail. And at length Diego Arias received such a blow near the heart that he fell dead. And Don Diego Ordonez went to the bar and laid hold on it, and cried out to Don Arias Gonzalo, Send me another son, for I have conquered two, thanks be to God. Then the judges came and said that the dead knight was not yet out of the lists, and that he must alight and cast him out. Don Diego Ordonez did as they had directed him, and then went and laid hand upon the bar again. And then the judges came to him, and led him to the tent, and disarmed him, and gave him the three sops and the wine, as they had done before.

Then Don Arias Gonzalo, in great rage called for his son Rodrigo Arias, who was a good knight, right hardy and valiant, the elder of all the brethren. And Don Arias said unto him, Son, go now and do battle with Diego Ordonez, to save Donya Urraca your lady, and yourself, and the Council of Zamora; and if you do this, in happy hour were you born. Then Rodrigo Arias kissed his hand and answered, Father, I thank you much for what you have said, and be sure that I will save them, or take my death. And he took his arms and mounted, and his father gave him his blessing, and went with him to the lists; and the judges took his reins and led him in. And when the judges were gone out, they twain ran at each other, and Don Diego missed his blow, but Rodrigo Arias, did not miss, for he gave him so great a stroke with the lance that it pierced through the shield, and broke the saddle-bow behind, and made him lose his stirrups, and he embraced the neck of his horse. But albeit that Don Diego was sorely bested with that stroke, he took heart presently, and went bravely against him, and dealt him so great a blow that he broke the lance in him; for it went through the shield and all his other arms, and great part of the lance remained in his flesh. After this they laid hand to sword, and gave each to the other great blows, and great wounds with them. And Rodrigo Arias gave so great a wound to Diego Ordonez, that he cut his left arm through to the bone. And Don Diego Ordonez, when he felt himself so sorely wounded, went against Rodrigo Arias and delivered him a blow upon the head which cut through the helmet and the hood of the mail, and entered into his head. When Rodrigo Arias felt himself wounded to death, he let go the reins and took his sword in both hands, and gave so great a blow to the horse of Don Diego that the horse ran out of the lists, and carried Don Diego out also, and there died. And Rodrigo Arias fell dead as he was following him. Then Don Diego Ordonez would have returned into the field to do battle with the other two, but the judges would not permit this, neither did they think good to decide whether they of Zamora were overcome in this third duel or not. And in this manner the thing was left undecided. Nevertheless, though no sentence was given, there remained no infamy upon the people of Zamora. Better had it been for Don Arias Gonzalo if he had given up Vellido to the Castillians, that he might have died the death of a traitor; he would not then have lost these three sons, who died like good men, in their duty. Now what was the end of Vellido the history sayeth not, but it is to be believed, that because the impeachment was not made within three days, Don Arias Gonzalo thrust him out of the town as Donya Urraca had requested, and that he fled into other lands, peradventure among the Moors.

In the meantime the Infanta Donya Urraca wrote letters secretly and sent messengers with them to Toledo to King Don Alfonso, telling him that King Don Sancho his brother was dead, and had left no heir, and that he should come as speedily as he could to receive the kingdoms.

As soon as King Don Alfonso arrived at Zamora, he took counsel with his sister. And the Infanta Donya Urraca, who was a right prudent lady and a wise, sent letters throughout the land, that a cortes should assemble and receive him for their lord. And when the Leonese and the Gallegos knew that their lord King Don Alfonso was come, they were full joyful, and they came to Zamora and received him for their lord and king. And afterwards the Castillians arrived, and they of Navarre, and they also received him for their lord and king, but upon this condition, that he should swear that he had not taken counsel for the death of his brother King Don Sancho. Howbeit they did not come forward to receive the oath, and they kissed his hands in homage, all, save only Ruydiez, my Cid. And when King Don Alfonso saw that the Cid did not do homage and kiss his hand, he said, Since now ye have all received me for your lord, and given me authority over ye, I would know of the Cid Ruydiez why he will not kiss my hand and acknowledge me. And the Cid arose and said, Sir, all whom you see here present, suspect that by your counsel the King Don Sancho your brother came to his death; and therefore, I say unto you that, unless you clear yourself of this, as by right you should do, I will never kiss your hand, nor receive you for my lord. Then said the king, Cid, what you say pleases me well; and here I swear to God and to St. Mary, that I never slew him, nor took counsel for his death, neither did it please me, though he had taken my kingdom from me. And I beseech ye therefore all, as friends and true vassals, that ye tell me how I may clear myself. And the chiefs who were present said, that he and twelve of the knights who came with him from Toledo, should make this oath in the church at St. Gadea at Burgos, and that so he should be cleared.

So the king and all his company took horse and went to Burgos. And when the day appointed for the oath was come, the king went to hear mass in the church of Gadea. And the king came forward upon a high stage that all the people might see him, and my Cid came to him to receive the oath; and my Cid took the book of the Gospels and opened it, and laid it upon the altar, and the king laid his hands upon it, and the Cid said unto him, King Don Alfonso, you come here to swear concerning the death of King Don Sancho your brother, that you neither slew him nor took counsel for his death; say now you and these hidalgos, if ye swear this. And the king and the hidalgos answered and said, Yea, we swear it. And the Cid said, If ye knew of this thing, or gave command that it should be done, may you die even such a death as your brother the King Don Sancho, by the hand of a villain whom you trust; one who is not a hidalgo, from another land, not a Castillian; and the king and the knights who were with him said Amen. And the king's colour changed; and the Cid repeated the oath unto him a second time, and the king and the twelve knights said Amen to it in like manner, and in like manner the countenance of the king was changed again. And my Cid repeated the oath unto him a third time, and the king and the knights said Amen; but the wrath of the king was exceeding great, and he said to the Cid, Ruydiez, why dost thou thus press me, man? To-day thou swearest me, and to-morrow thou wilt kiss my hand. And from that day forward there was no love towards my Cid in the heart of the king.

After this was King Don Alfonso crowned King of Castille, and Leon, and Galicia, and Portugal; and he called himself King and Emperor of all Spain, even as his father had done before him.


Robin Hood is said to have been born at Locksley in the County of Nottingham, in the reign of Henry II, about 1160. Some claim that he came of good family, and was in reality the Earl of Huntingdon.

Public performances of plays based on the tales became so common by 1550 that they had to be forbidden, "but the people would not be forbidden," said John Knox, the preacher. Bishop Latimer complained bitterly how, when he was one day ready to preach in a country church, he was told it was Robin Hood's day, a busy day with them, and they could not hear him.

You will find a lot about Robin Hood in Scott's Ivanhoe, some of which is in the volume "The Stories that never Grow Old."


Retold by Mary Macleod

In the days of Richard I there lived a famous outlaw who was known by the name of Robin Hood. He was born at Locksley in the county of Nottingham, and was of noble origin, for he is often spoken of as "Earl of Huntingdon." Robin was very wild and daring, and having placed his life in danger by some reckless act, or possibly through some political offence, he fled for refuge to the greenwood. His chief haunts were Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire, and Barnsdale in Yorkshire. Round him soon flocked a band of trusty followers. An old chronicler states that Robin Hood "entertained an hundred tall men and good archers." They robbed none but the rich, and killed no man except in self-defence. Robin "suffered no woman to be oppressed or otherwise molested; poor men's goods he spared, abundantly relieving them" with spoils got from abbeys or the houses of rich people.

Robin Hood's exploits were widely known, and although the poorer classes were all on his side, those in authority were naturally incensed against him. Many attempts were made to seize him, and large rewards were offered for his capture. He was often in danger of his life, and had many narrow escapes, but so daring was his courage, and so quick and clever his wit and resource that he always contrived to get clear away.

An old tradition says that the father of Robin was a forester, a renowned archer. On one occasion he shot for a wager against the three gallant yeomen of the north country—Adam Bell, Clym-of-the-Clough, and William of Cloudesly, and the forester beat all three of them.

The mother of Robin Hood was a niece of the famous Guy, Earl of
Warwick, who slew the blue boar; her brother was Gamwel of Great
Gamwel Hall, a squire of famous degree, and the owner of one of the
finest houses in Nottinghamshire.

When the other outlaws flocked to Robin Hood they begged him to tell them what sort of life they were to lead, and where they were to go, what they were to take and what to leave, what sort of people they were to rob, and whom they were to beat and to bind—in short, how they were to act in every circumstance.

"Have no fear, we shall do very well," answered Robin. "But look you do no harm to any husbandman that tilleth with his plough, nor to any good yeoman that walketh in the greenwood, nor to any knight or squire who is a good fellow. And harm no folk in whose company is any woman.

"But fat rascals, and all who have got rich by pilfering, canting, and cheating, those you may beat and bind, and hold captive for ransom. And chiefly the Sheriff of Nottingham—look you, bear him well in mind."

And his followers promised to pay heed to his words, and carry them out carefully.

Chief among the band of outlaws known as "Robin Hood's merry men" was "Little John," so called because his name was John Little, and he was seven feet high. Robin Hood was about twenty years old when he first came to know Little John, and they got acquainted in this way. Robin was walking one day in the forest when coming near a brook he chanced to spy a stranger, a strong lusty lad like himself. The two met in the middle of a long narrow bridge, and neither would give way. They quarrelled as to which should be the master, and finally agreed to fight with stout staves on the bridge, and whichever fell into the water the other was to be declared to have won. The encounter was a stiff one, but finally the stranger knocked down Robin Hood, and tumbled him into the brook. Robin bore no malice, but owned at once the other had got the best of it, and seeing what a stout nimble fellow he was, persuaded him to join his band of archers, and go and live with them in the greenwood.

Next to Little John the chief man was Will Scarlet, who in reality was Robin's own cousin or nephew, young Gamwel of Gamwel Hall. Having slain his father's steward either by accident or in some brawl, young Will fled to his kinsman, Robin Hood, in Sherwood Forest, where, as in the case of Little John, he first made his acquaintance by fighting with him. As young Will on this occasion happened to be dressed very smartly in silken doublet and scarlet stockings Robin Hood dubbed him "Will Scarlet," by which name he was always afterwards known.

Besides these two famous outlaws there were many others of lesser note who from time to time joined the band. Among them may be mentioned "Gilbert of the white hand" who was almost as good an archer as Robin himself; Allen-a-Dale, whose bride Robin Hood helped him to secure; Much, the son of a miller; George-a-Green; Friar Tuck; Will Stutely, who was taken prisoner by the Sheriff of Nottingham and nearly hanged, but was rescued from the gallows by the gallant yeomen; Arthur-a-Bland, the sturdy tanner of Nottingham, who beat Robin when they fought with staves; the jolly tinker of Banbury who went out to arrest Robin, but ended by joining his band, and the chief ranger of Sherwood Forest, who did the same.

Lastly, there was the bonny maid of noble degree, who was known in the north country as Maid Marian. She had loved Robin Hood when they were young together, in the days when he was still the Earl of Huntingdon, but spiteful fortune forced them to part. Robin had to fly for refuge to the greenwood, and Maid Marian, unable to live without him, dressed herself like a page, with quiver and bow, sword and buckler, and went in search of him. Long and wearily she ranged the forest, and when the lovers met they did not know each other, for Robin, too, had been obliged to disguise himself. They fought as foes, and so sore was the fray that both were wounded, but Robin so much admired the valour of the stranger lad that he bade him stay his hand, and asked him to join his company. When Marian knew the voice of her lover she quickly made herself known to him, and great was the rejoicing. A stately banquet was quickly prepared, which was served in a shady bower, and they feasted merrily, while all the tall and comely yeomen drank to the health of Robin Hood's bride. So for many years they dwelt together with great content in the greenwood.

It happened one day as Robin Hood stood under a tree in Barnsdale that
Little John went up to him, and said:

"Master, if you would dine soon, would it not be well?"

"I do not care to dine," answered Robin, "until I have some bold baron or stranger guest to eat with us, or else some rich rascal who will pay for the feast, or else some knight or squire who dwells in these parts."

"It is already far on in the day; now heaven send us a guest soon, so that we may get to dinner," said Little John.

"Take thy good bow in thy hand," said Robin, "and let Will Scarlet and Much go with thee, and walk up to the Sayles and so to Watling Street. There wait for some strange guest whom it may very well chance you will meet. Be it earl or baron, or abbot or knight, bring him here to lodge; his dinner shall be ready for him."

So these three good yeomen, Little John, Will Scarlet, and Much went off to the great high-road which is known as Watling Street, and there they looked east and they looked west, but not a man could they see. But as they looked in Barnsdale, by a little private path there came a knight riding, whom they soon met. Very dreary and woebegone seemed this traveller; one foot was in the stirrup, the other dangled outside; his hood hung down over his eyes; his attire was poor and shabby; no sorrier man than he ever rode on a summer's day.

Little John bent low in courtesy before him.

"Welcome, sir knight! Welcome to greenwood! I am right glad to see you. My master hath awaited you fasting these three hours."

"Who is your master?" asked the knight.

"Robin Hood, sir," answered Little John.

"He is a brave yeoman; I have heard much good of him," said the knight. "I will go in company with you, my comrades. My purpose was to have dined to-day at Blyth or Doncaster."

So the knight went with the yeomen, but his face was still sad and careworn, and tears often fell from his eyes. Little John and Will Scarlet brought him to the door of the lodge in Barnsdale, where the outlaws were staying at that time, and as soon as Robin saw him he lifted his hood courteously, and bent low in token of respect.

"Welcome, sir knight, welcome. I am right glad to see you. I have awaited you fasting, sir, for the last three hours."

"God save thee, good Robin, and all thy fair company," returned the knight pleasantly.

Robin brought clear water from the well for the guest to wash himself from the dust of travel, and then they sat down to dinner. The meal was spread under the trees in the greenwood, and rarely had the stranger seen a repast so amply furnished. Bread and wine they had in plenty, and dainty portions of deer, swans and pheasants, plump and tender, and all kinds of water-fowl from the river, and every sort of woodland bird that was good for eating.

Robin heaped his guest's plate with choice morsels, and bade him fall to merrily.

"Eat well, sir knight, eat well," he urged him.

"Thanks, thanks," said the knight. "I have not had such a dinner as this for three weeks. If I come again into this country, Robin, I will make as good a dinner for you as you have made for me."

"Thanks for my dinner, good knight, when I have it," returned the outlaw. "I was never so greedy as to crave for dinner. But before you go, would it not be seemly for you to pay for what you have eaten? It was never the custom for a yeoman to pay for a knight."

"I have nothing in my coffers that I can proffer, for shame," said the knight.

"Go, Little John, and look," said Robin. "Now swear to me that you are telling the truth," he added to his guest.

"I swear to you, by heaven, I have no more than ten shillings," said the knight.

"If you have no more than that I will not take one penny," said
Robin. "And if you have need of any more I will lend it you. Go now,
Little John, and tell me the truth. If there be no more than ten
shillings, not one penny of that will I touch."

Little John spread out his mantle on the ground ready to hold any treasure he might find, but when lie looked in the knight's coifer he saw nothing but one piece of money of the value of half a pound. He left it lying where it was, and went to tell his master.

"What tidings, John?" asked Robin.

"Sir, the knight is true enough."

"Fill a cup with the best wine, and hand it first to the knight," said Robin. "Sir, I much wonder that your clothing is so thin. Tell me one thing, I pray. I trow you must have been made a knight by force, or else you have squandered your means by reckless or riotous living? Perhaps you have been foolish and thriftless, or else have lost all your money in brawling and strife? Or possibly you have been a usurer or a drunkard, or wasted your life in wickedness and wrong-doing?"

"I am none of those things, by heaven that made me," declared the knight. "For a hundred years my ancestors have been knights. It has often befallen, Robin, that a man may be disgraced, but God who waits in heaven above can amend his state. Within two or three years, my neighbours knew it well, I could spend with ease four hundred pounds of good money. Now I have no goods left but my wife and my children. God has ordained this until He see fit to better my condition."

"In what manner did you lose your riches?" asked Robin.

"By my great folly and kindness," was the answer. "I had a son, who should have been my heir. At twenty years old he could joust right well in the field. Unhappily the luckless boy slew a knight of Lancashire, and to pay the heavy penalty exacted from him to save his rights I was forced to sell all my goods. Besides this, Robin, my lands are pledged until a certain day to a rich abbot living close by here at St. Mary's Abbey."

"What is the sum?" asked Robin.

"Sir, four hundred pounds, which the abbot lent me."

"Now, if you lose your land what will become of you?" asked Robin.

"I will depart in haste over the salt sea to Palestine. Farewell, friend, there is no better way." Tears filled the knight's eyes, and he made a movement to go. "Farewell, friends, farewell! I have no more that I can pay you."

But Robin stopped him as he would have gone.

"Where are your friends?" he asked.

"Sir, there are none who will know me now. When I was rich enough at home they were glad to come and flatter me, but now they all run from me. They take no more heed of me than if they had never seen me."

The knight's sorrowful story so touched the hearts of Little John and
Will Scarlet that they wept for pity.

"Come, fill of the best wine," cried Robin. "Come, sir, courage!
Never be downcast! Have you any friends from whom you can borrow?"

"None," replied the knight.

"Come forth, Little John, and go to my treasury," said Robin. "Bring me four hundred pounds, and look that you count it out carefully."

Then forth went Little John, and with him went Will Scarlet, and he counted out four hundred pounds. But Much, the miller's son, did not look very well pleased to see all this money going into the hands of a stranger.

"Is this wisely done?" he muttered.

"What grieves you?" said Little John. "It is alms to help a noble knight who has fallen into poverty. Master," he went on to Robin Hood, "his clothing is full thin; you must give the knight a suit of raiment to wrap himself in. For you have scarlet and green cloth, master, and plenty of rich apparel. I dare well say there is no merchant in England who has a finer store."

"Give him three yards of cloth of every colour," said Robin Hood, "and see that it be well meted out."

Little John took no other measure than his bow, and every handful he measured he leapt over three feet.

"What devilkin's draper do you think you are?" asked little Much in half-angry astonishment.

Will Scarlet stood still and laughed.

"John may well give him good measure," he said. "It cost him but light."

Little John paid no heed to their scoffing, but quietly went on with his task.

"Master," he said to Robin Hood, when he had put aside a bountiful store for their guest, "you must give the knight a horse to carry home all these goods."

"Give him a grey courser, and put a new saddle on it," said Robin.

"And a good palfrey as befits his rank," added little Much.

"And a pair of boots, for he is a noble knight," said Will Scarlet.

"And what will you give him, Little John?" asked Robin.

"Sir, a pair of shining gilt spurs to pray for all this company. God bring him safely out of all his trouble."

The poor knight scarcely knew how to thank them for all their goodness.

"When shall the day be for me to pay back the money you have lent me?" he said. "What is your will?"

"This day twelve-month under this greenwood tree," said Robin. "It were a great shame," he added, "for a knight to ride alone without squire, yeomen, or page to walk by his side. I will lend you my man, Little John, to be your lad. He may stand you in yeoman stead if ever you are in need."

As the knight went on his way he thought how well matters had happened for him, and when he looked on Barnsdale be blessed Robin Hood. And when he thought of Will Scarlet, Much, and Little John he blessed them for the best company he had ever been in.

"To-morrow I must go to York town to St. Mary's Abbey," he said to Little John, "and to the abbot of that place I have to pay four hundred pounds. If I am not there by to-morrow night my lands will be lost for ever."

The next day he strode out of the abbot's hall, all his care gone; he flung off his worn raiment, put on his good clothing, and left the other lying where it fell. He went forth singing merrily, back to his own home at Wierysdale, and his lady met him at the gate.

"Welcome, my lord," said his wife. "Sir, are all your possessions lost?"

"Be merry, dame," said the knight, "and pray for Robin Hood that his soul may always dwell in bliss. He helped me out of my distress; had it not been for his kindness we should have been beggars. The abbot and I are in accord; he is served with his money; the good yeoman lent it me as I came by the way."

* * * * * *

The good knight, whose name was Sir Richard Lee, dwelt in prosperity at home till he had four hundred pounds all ready to pay back Robin Hood. He provided himself with a hundred bows made with the best string, and a hundred sheaves of good arrows with brightly burnished heads. Every arrow was an ell long, well dressed with peacock's feathers, and they were all inlaid with silver so that it was a goodly sight to see. The knight provided himself also with a hundred men, well armed, and clothed in white and red, and in the same fashion he attired himself. He bore a lance in his hand, and a man led the horse which carried his change of apparel. And thus he rode with a light heart to Barnsdale.

As he drew near a bridge he was forced to tarry awhile, for there was a great wrestling, and all the best yeomen of the West Country had flocked to it. A good game had been arranged, and valuable prizes were offered. A white bull had been put up, and a great courser, with saddle and bridle all burnished with gold, a pair of gloves, a red gold ring, and a pipe of wine in prime condition. The man who bore himself the best would carry off the prize.

Now there was a certain worthy yeoman there who ought by rights to have been awarded the prize, but because he was a stranger the other wrestlers were jealous, and all set on him unfairly. As he was far from home and had no friends there, he would certainly have been slain if it had not been for the knight who, from the place where he stood, saw what was going on. He took pity on the yeoman, and swore no harm should be done to him, for the love he bore to Robin Hood. He pressed forward into the place, and his hundred archers followed him, with bows bent and sharp arrows to attack the crowd. They shouldered every one aside, and made room for Sir Richard Lee to make known what he had to say.

Then the knight took the yeoman by the hand, and declared he had fairly won the prize. He bought the wine from him for five marks, and bade that it should be broached at once, and that every one who wished should have a draught. Thus good humour and jollity were restored, and the rest of the sports went on merrily.

The knight tarried till the games were done, and in the meanwhile it came to be three hours after noon. And all this time Robin had waited fasting for the coming of the knight to whom twelve months before he had lent the four hundred pounds.


Retold by Mary Macleod

It will be remembered that when the poor knight left Robin Hood in the forest Little John went with him to act as his yeoman. He stayed for some time in Sir Richard's service, and a light and pleasant post he found it, for he was free to do pretty much as he liked.

It happened one fine day that the young men of Nottingham were eager to go shooting, so Little John fetched his bow, and said he would meet them in a trial of skill. While the match was going on, the Sheriff of Nottingham chanced to pass, and he stood for a while near the marks to watch the sport.

Three times Little John shot, and each time he cleft the wand.

"By my faith, this man is the best archer that ever I saw," cried the sheriff. "Tell me now, my fine lad, what is your name? In what county were you born, and where do you dwell?"

"I was born at Holderness," said Little John, "and when I am at home men call me Reynold Greenleaf."

"Tell me, Reynold Greenleaf, will you come and live with me? I will give you twenty marks a year as wages."

"I have a master already, a noble knight," answered Little John. "It would be better if you would get leave of him."

The sheriff was so pleased with the prowess of Little John that he wanted to get him into his own service, so he went to the knight, and it was agreed the sheriff should have him for twelve months. Little John was therefore given at once a strong horse, well equipped, and now behold him the sheriff's man.

But Little John had not forgotten Robin Hood's words of warning about the sheriff; he knew him to be a false and greedy man, and a ruthless enemy to the outlaws, and Little John was always thinking how he could pay him out for his treachery.

"By my loyalty and truth," said Little John to himself, "I will be the worst servant to him that ever he had."

Little John soon found that his new place was little to his liking. The other servants were not well pleased to see the newcomer; they were jealous of the favour shown to him at first by his master, and treated him with rudeness and contempt. The sheriff himself was very mean; he wished to secure Little John for his service, for he knew such a comely lad and fine archer would do him credit, but once he was sure of him he paid no heed to seeing that he was properly lodged and fed.

It happened one day the sheriff went out hunting, and Little John was left at home forgotten. No meal was served to him, and he was left fasting till noon. As he was by this time very hungry he went to the steward, and asked civilly for something to eat.

"Good sir steward, I pray thee give me to dine," he said. "It is too long for Greenleaf to be so long fasting, therefore I pray thee, steward, give me my dinner."

"I've had no orders," said the steward rudely. "Thou shalt have nothing to eat or to drink till my lord comes back to town."

"Rather than that I'll crack thy head," said Little John.

The steward started forward to the buttery, and shut fast the door, but Little John gave him such a rap on his back it almost broke in two—as long as he lived he would be the worse for the blow. Then Little John put his foot to the door, and burst it open, and Little John went in and helped himself plentifully to both ale and wine.

"Since you will not dine, I will give you to drink," he said to the steward; "though you live for a hundred years you shall remember Little John."

He ate and drank for as long as he chose, and the steward dared say nothing, for he was still smarting from the blow. But the sheriff had in his employ a cook, a bold, sturdy man, and he was no coward either.

"A fine sort of fellow you are to dwell in a house and ask for dinner thus," he cried, and he dealt Little John three good blows.

"I vow I am very well pleased with those strokes of yours," said Little John, "and before I leave this place you shall be tested better."

He drew his good sword, and the cook seized another, and they went for each other then and there. Neither had any thought of giving in, but both meant to resist stoutly. There they fought sorely for a whole hour, and neither could in any way harm the other.

"Thou art truly one of the very best swordsmen that ever I saw," said Little John. "Couldst thou shoot as well with a bow thou shouldst go with me to the greenwood. Thou wouldst have from Robin Hood twenty marks a year as wages, and a change of clothing twice a year."

"Put up thy sword, and we will be comrades," said the cook.

He fetched at once for Little John a right good meal—dainty venison, good bread, and excellent wine—and they both ate and drank heartily. When they had well feasted they plighted their troth together that they would be with Robin that self-same night. Then they ran as fast as they could to the sheriff's treasury, and though the locks were of good steel they broke them every one. They carried off all the silver plate—vessels, dishes, gold pieces, cups, and spoons, nothing was forgotten.

They took also the money—three hundred and three pounds—and then they went off straight to Robin Hood in the forest.

"God save thee, my dear master," cried Little John.

"Welcome art thou, and also that fair yeoman whom thou bringest with thee," said Robin Hood. "What tidings from Nottingham, Little John?"

"The proud sheriff greeteth thee well, and sendeth you here by me his cook and his silver vessels and three hundred and three pounds," said Little John.

"I dare take my oath it was never by his good will these goods come to me," laughed Robin.

Thus they all made merry in the greenwood, and said the sheriff had been rightly paid for the greed and tyranny with which he performed the duties of his office, for by bribery and oppression he had got his ill-earned wealth.

Presently Little John bethought him of a shrewd device by which they could still further get the better of him. He ran into the forest here and there, and when he had gone about five miles it fell out as he wished; he came across the sheriff himself hunting with hound and horn. Little John was mindful of his manners, and went and knelt on his knee before him, and saluted him courteously.

"Why, Reynold Greenleaf, where hast thou been now?" cried the sheriff.

"I have been in the forest," said Little John, "and there I have seen a wondrous sight, one of the finest I ever yet saw. Yonder I saw a right gallant hart; his colour is green. Seven score of deer in a herd altogether are with him. His antlers are so sharp, master, I durst not shoot, for dread lest they should slay me."

"By heaven, I would fain see that sight," said the sheriff.

"Turn thy steps thither, then, at once, dear master," said Little
John. "Come with me; I will show you where he lies."

The sheriff rode off, and Little John ran beside him, for he was full smart of foot. Through the forest they went, and by-and-by they came to Robin Hood in the midst of his band of yeomen.

"Lo, there is the master hart," said Little John. The sheriff stood still in dismay, and he was a sorry man.

"Woe worth thee, Reynold Greenleaf, thou hast betrayed me."

"Ye are to blame, master, I swear," said Little John. "When I was at home with you I was misserved of my dinner."

Then the outlaws made their guest sit down to supper with them, which he did with no good will, for he would fain have departed to his home at Nottingham. He was served on his own silver dishes, and when he saw his beautiful cups and vessels the sheriff for sorrow could not eat.

"Cheer up, sheriff," urged Robin Hood. "For the sake of Little John thy life is granted thee. What, man, eat and be merry! Here is fine fat venison served in a goodly vessel."

By the time they had well supped, the day was done. Robin then bade his men strip the sheriff of his fine clothes, his hose and his shoes, his kirtle, and the large handsome coat all trimmed with fur—and to give him in their place a green mantle to wrap himself in. He further bade his sturdy lads all to lie round the sheriff in a circle under the greenwood tree, so that he might see them, and know there was no chance of escape.

It was a sorry night the sheriff passed, cold and shivering, in his shirt and breeches, on the hard ground; small wonder that his bones ached, and that he sighed piteously for his soft warm bed at home.

"Come, come, sheriff, cheer up!" said Robin; "for this is our order, you know, under the greenwood tree."

"This is a harder order than any anchorite or friar!" groaned the sheriff. "For all the gold in merry England I would not dwell here long."

"Thou wilt dwell here with me for the next twelve months," said
Robin. "I shall teach thee, proud sheriff, to be an outlaw."

"Before I lie here another night, Robin, smite off my head rather, and I'll forgive it thee," said the sheriff. "Let me go, for pity's sake!" he begged, "and I will be the best friend that ever thou hadst."

"Before I let thee go, thou shalt swear me here an oath," said the outlaw. "Swear on my sword that thou wilt never seek to do me harm by water or by land. And if thou find any of my men, by night or by day, thou shalt swear on thy oath to help them all thou canst."

There was no other way to get back his freedom, so the sheriff was compelled to take the oath demanded by Robin. Then he was allowed to depart, and he went back to Nottingham a sad and sorry man, feeling that he had had more than enough of the greenwood to last him a very long time.


Retold by Mary Macleod

Twelve months had come and gone since Robin Hood lent four hundred pounds to the poor knight to redeem his land, and now the day had arrived when he had promised to pay back the money.

The sheriff had returned to Nottingham, and Robin Hood and his merry men were left in the greenwood.

"Let us go to dinner," said Little John.

"Nay, not yet," said Robin. "Now I fear our friend the knight is likely to prove false, for he comes not to pay back the money, according to his word."

"Have no doubt, master," said Little John, "for the sun has not yet gone to rest."

"Take thy bow," said Robin, "and let Much and Will Scarlet go with you, and walk up into the Sayles, and to Watling Street, and wait there for some stranger guest, for you may well chance upon one there. Whether he be messenger or mountebank, rich man or poor man, he shall share dinner with me."

Forth then started Little John, half-angry and half-troubled, and under his green mantle he girded on a good sword.

The three yeomen went up to the Sayles; they looked east and they looked west, and not a man could they see.

But all the time Robin kept thinking of the knight who had promised to return that day with the borrowed money.

"I marvel much he does not come," he said. "I fear he does not mean to keep faith."

"Have no doubt, master," said Little John. "You have no need, I say."

Sir Richard Lee, meanwhile, who had tarried to see the wrestling, came while it was still daylight to fulfil his promise. He went straight to Barnsdale, and there he found Robin Hood and his band under the greenwood tree. Directly the knight saw Robin, he dismounted from his palfrey, and saluted him courteously on one knee.

"God save thee, good Robin Hood, and all this company."

"Welcome, welcome, noble knight," said Robin. "I pray thee tell me what need driveth thee to greenwood? I am right glad to see thee. Why hast thou been so long in coming?"

"The abbot and the high justice have been trying to get hold of my land," said the knight.

"Hast thou thy land again?"

"Yea, and for that I thank God and thee. But take not offence that I have come so late in the day. On my journey hither I passed by some wrestling, and there I helped a poor yeoman who was being wrongly put behind by the others."

"Nay, by my faith, for that I thank thee," said Robin. "The man that helpeth a good yeoman, his friend will I be."

"Have here the four hundred pounds you lent me," said the knight, "and here is also twenty marks for your courtesy."

"Nay, keep it and use it well yourself," said Robin, "and thou art right welcome under my trysting-tree. But what are all those bows for, and those finely feathered arrows?"

"They are a poor present to thee," said the knight.

Then Robin Hood bade Little John go to his treasury and fetch four hundred pounds, and he insisted on the knight's accepting this money as a gift.

"Buy thyself a good horse and harness, and gild thy spurs anew," he said laughingly. "And if thou lack enough to spend come to Robin Hood, and by my truth thou shalt never lack while I have any goods of my own. Keep the four hundred pounds I lent thee, and I counsel thee never leave thyself so bare another time."

So good Robin Hood relieved the gentle knight of all his care, and they feasted and made merry under the greenwood tree.


Retold by Mary Macleod

The knight took his leave and went on his way, and Robin Hood and his merry men lived on for many a day in Barnsdale.

Now the Sheriff of Nottingham proclaimed a grand sport to be held—that all the best archers of the north country should come one day and shoot at the butts, and that a prize should be given to the best archer.

The butts were to be set in a glade in the forest and he who shot the best of all should receive an arrow, the like of which had never been seen in England, for the shaft was to be of silver, and the head and feathers of red gold.

Now all this was a device of the sheriff's to try to enthral the outlaws, for he imagined that when such matches took place Robin Hood's men without any doubt would be the bowmen there.

Tidings of this came to Robin Hood in the forest, and he said: "Come, make ready, my lads, we will go and see that sport. Ye shall go with me, and I will test the sheriff's faith, and see if he be true."

With that a brave young man, called David of Doncaster, stepped forward.

"Master," he said, "be ruled by me, and do not stir from the greenwood. To tell the truth I am well informed yonder match is a wile. The sheriff has devised it to entrap us."

"That sounds like a coward," said Robin; "thy words do not please me. Come what will of it, I'll try my skill at yonder brave archery."

Then up spoke brave Little John.

"Let us go thither, but come, listen to me, and I will tell you how we can manage it without being known. We will leave behind us our mantles of Lincoln green, and we will all dress differently so that they will never notice us. One shall wear white, another red, a third one yellow, another blue. Thus in disguise we will go to the sport, whatever may come of it."

When they had their bows in order and their arrows well feathered there gathered round Robin seven score of stalwart young men.

When they came to Nottingham they saw the butts set out fair and long, and many were the bold archers who came to shoot. The outlaws mixed with the rest to prevent all suspicion, for they thought it more discreet not to keep together.

"Only six of you shall shoot with me," said Robin to his men. "The rest must stand on guard with bows bent so that I be not betrayed."

The sheriff looked all round, but amidst eight hundred men he could not see what he suspected.

The outlaws shot in turn, and they all did so well that the people said that if Robin Hood had been there, and all his men to boot, none of them could have surpassed these men.

"Ay," quoth the sheriff ruefully, rubbing his head. "I thought he would have been here; I certainly thought he would, but though he is bold he doesn't dare to appear."

His speech vexed Robin Hood to the heart. "Very soon," he thought angrily, "thou shalt well see that Robin Hood was here."

Some cried blue jacket, another cried brown, and a third cried brave yellow, but a fourth man said: "Yonder man in red hath no match in the place."

Now that was Robin Hood himself, for he was clothed in red. Three times he shot, and each time he split the wand. To him, therefore, was delivered the golden arrow as being the most worthy. He took the gift courteously, and would have departed back to the greenwood; but the Sheriff of Nottingham had by this time marked him, and had no mind to let him go so easily. The alarm was raised; they cried out on Robin Hood, and great horns were blown to summon help to capture him.

"Treachery! treason!" cried Robin. "Full evil art thou to know! And woe to thee, proud sheriff, thus to entertain thy guest! It was otherwise thou promised me yonder in the forest. But had I thee in the greenwood again, under my trysting-tree, thou shouldst leave me a better pledge than thy loyalty and truth."

Then on all sides bows were bent, and arrows flew like hail; kirtles were rent, and many a stout knave pricked in the side. The outlaws shot so strong that no one could drive them back, and the sheriff's men fled in haste.

Robin saw the ambush was broken, and would fain have been back in the greenwood, but many an arrow still rained on his company. Little John was hurt full sorely, with an arrow in his knee, and could neither ride nor walk.

"Master," he cried, "if ever thou loved me, and for the meed of my service that I have served thee, let never that proud sheriff find me alive! But take thy sword and smite off my head, and give me deep and deadly wounds, so that no life be left in me."

"I would not that, John—I would not thou wert slain for all the gold in merry England!" cried Robin.

"God forbid that thou shouldst part our company, Little John," said

He took Little John up on his back, and carried him a good mile, and more. Often he laid him down on the ground, and turned to shoot those who came after, and then he took him up and carried him on again. So the outlaws fought their way, step by step, back to the forest.

A little within the wood there was a fair castle, with a double moat, and surrounded by stout walls. Here dwelt that noble knight, Sir Richard Lee, to whom Robin Hood had lent the four hundred pounds to redeem his land.

He saw the little company of outlaws fighting their way along, so he hastened to call them to come and take shelter in his castle.

"Welcome art thou, Robin Hood! Welcome!" he cried, as he led them in. "Much I thank thee for thy comfort and courtesy and great kindness to me in the forest. There is no man in the world I love so much as thee. For all the proud Sheriff of Nottingham, here thou shalt be safe!—Shut the gates, and draw the bridge, and let no man come in!" he shouted to his retainers. "Arm you well; make ready; guard the walls! One thing, Robin, I promise thee: here shalt thou stay for twelve days as my guest, to sup, and eat, and dine."

Swiftly and readily tables were laid and cloths spread, and Robin Hood and his merry men sat down to a good meal.


Retold by Mary Macleod

The Sheriff of Nottingham was wroth when he heard that Robin Hood and his band of outlaws had taken refuge in the knight's castle. All the country was up in rout, and they came and besieged the castle. From his post outside the walls the sheriff loudly proclaimed that the knight was a traitor, and was shielding the king's enemy against the laws and right.

"I am ready to answer for the deeds I have done here by all the lands I possess, as I am a true knight," was Sir Richard's answer. "Go on your way, sirs, and leave me alone in peace until ye know our king's will, what he will say to you."

The sheriff, having had his answer, curt and to the point, rode forth at once to London to carry the tale to the king.

He told him of the knight, and of Robin Hood, and of the band of bold archers which the latter kept up.

"The knight boasts of what he has done to aid these outlaws," said the sheriff. "He would be lord, and set you at nought through all the north country."

"I will be at Nottingham within the fortnight," said the king, "and I will seize Robin Hood, and also that knight. Go home, sheriff, and do as I bid thee. Get ready enough good archers from all the country round about."

So the sheriff took his leave, and went home to Nottingham to do as the king commanded.

Robin meanwhile had left the castle, and had gone back to the greenwood, and Little John, as soon as he was whole from the arrow-shot in his knee, went and joined him there. It caused great vexation to the sheriff to know that Robin Hood once more walked free in the forest, and that he had failed of his prey; but all the more he was resolved to be revenged on Sir Richard Lee. Night and day he kept watch for that noble knight; at last, one morning when Sir Richard went out hawking by the riverside, the sheriff's men-at-arms seized him, and he was led bound hand and foot to Nottingham.

When Sir Richard's wife heard that her husband had been taken prisoner, she lost no time in seeking help. Mounting a good palfrey, she rode off at once to the greenwood, and there she found Robin Hood and all his men.

"God save thee, Robin Hood, and all thy company! For the love of heaven, grant me a boon! Let not my wedded lord be shamefully slain. He is taken fast bound to Nottingham, all for the love of thee!"

"What man hath taken him?" asked Robin.

"The proud sheriff," said the lady. "He has not yet passed on his way three miles."

Up then started Robin as if he were mad.

"Arm, lads! Arm and make ready! By heaven, he that fails me now shall never more be man of mine!"

Speedily good bows were bent, seven score and more, and away went the outlaws, full speed over hedge and ditch, in chase of the sheriff's men, When they came to Nottingham, there in the street they overtook the sheriff.

"Stay, thou proud sheriff—stay and speak with me!" said Robin. "I would fain hear from thee some tidings of our king. By heaven, these seven years have I never gone so fast on foot, and I swear it bodeth no good for thee."

He bent his bow, and sent an arrow with all the might he could; it hit the sheriff so that he fell to the ground, and lay there stunned, and before he could rise to his feet Robin drew his sword and smote off his head.

"Lie thou there, proud sheriff, traitor and evildoer!" said
Robin. "No man might ever trust to thee whilst thou wert still alive!"

Now they fought hand to hand. Robin Hood's men drew their shining swords, and laid on so heavily that they drove down the sheriff's men one after another.

Robin Hood ran to Sir Richard Lee, and cut his bonds in two, and, thrusting a bow into his hand, bid him stand by him.

"Leave thy horse behind thee, and learn to run on foot," he counselled him. "Thou shalt go with me to the greenwood through mire and moss and fen. Thou shalt go with me to the forest, and dwell with me there, until I have got our pardon from Edward, our king."


Retold by Mary Macleod

Tidings of the sheriff's death were sent to King Edward in London, and he came to Nottingham with a great array of knights to lay hold of Sir Richard Lee and Robin Hood, if that were possible. He asked information from men of all the country round, and when he had heard their tale and understood the case he seized all the lands belonging to Sir Richard Lee. He went all through Lancashire, searching far and wide, till he came to Plumpton Park, and everywhere he missed many of his deer. There he had always been wont to see herds in large numbers, but now he could scarcely find one deer that bore any good horn.

The king was furiously wroth at this.

"By heaven I would that I had Robin Hood here before me to see him with my own eyes," he exclaimed. "And he that shall smite off the knight's head and bring it here to me shall have all the lands belonging to Sir Richard Lee. I will give them him with my charter, and seal it with my hand for him to have and to hold, for evermore."

Then up spoke a good old knight who was very faithful and loyal.

"Ay, my liege lord the king, but I will say one word to you," he said. "There is no man in this country who will have the knight's lands as long as Robin can go or ride and carry bow in hand. If any one try to possess them he will assuredly lose his head. Give them to no man, my lord, to whom you wish any good."

The king dwelt for many months in Nottingham, but no man came to claim the knight's lands, nor could he ever hear of Robin Hood in what part of the country he might be. But always Robin went freely here and there, roving wherever he chose over hill and valley, slaying the king's deer, and disposing of it at his will.

Then a head forester, who was in close attendance on the king, spoke up, and said:

"If you would see good Robin you must do as I tell you. Take five of the best knights that are in your train, and go down to yonder abbey, and get you monks' habits. I will be your guide to show you the way, and before you get back to Nottingham I dare wager my head that you will meet with Robin if he be still alive. Before you come to Nottingham you shall see him with your own eyes."

The king hastened to follow the forester's counsel; he and his five monks went to the abbey, and speedily disguised themselves in the garb of monks, and then blithely returned home through the greenwood. Their habits were grey; the king was a head taller than all the rest, and he wore a broad hat, just as if he were an abbot, and behind him followed his baggage-horse, and well-laden sumpters, and in this fashion they rode back to the town.

They had gone about a mile through the forest under the linden trees when they met with Robin Hood standing in the path with many of his bold archers.

"Sir abbot, by your leave, ye must bide awhile with us," said Robin, seizing the king's horse. "We are yeomen of this forest, we live by the king's deer, and we have no other means. But you have both churches and rents, and full great plenty of gold; give us some of your store for charity's sake."

"I brought no more than forty pounds with me to the greenwood," said the pretended abbot. "I have been staying at Nottingham for a fortnight with the king, and I have spent a great deal on many of the fine lords there. I have only forty pounds left, but if I had a hundred I would give it thee."

Robin took the forty pounds, and divided it into two parts; half he gave to his men, and bade them be merry with it, and the other half he returned to the king.

"Sir, have this for your spending," he said courteously. "We shall meet another day."

"Thanks," said the king. "But Edward our king greeteth you well; he sends thee here his seal, and bids thee come to Nottingham to dine and sup there."

He took out the broad seal, and let him see it, and Robin at the sight of it, knowing what was right and courteous, set him on his knee.

"I love no man in all the world so well as I do my king," he said. "Welcome is my lord's seal, and welcome art thou, monk, because of thy tidings. Sir abbot, for love of my king thou shalt dine with me to-day under my trysting-tree."

Forth he led the king with all gentle courtesy, and many a deer was slain and hastily dressed for the feast. Then Robin took a great horn and blew a loud blast and seven score of stalwart young men came ready in a row, and knelt on their knee before Robin in sign of salutation.

"Here is a brave sight," said the king to himself. "In good faith his men are more at his bidding than mine are at mine."

Dinner was speedily prepared, and they went to it at once, and both Robin and Little John served the king with all their might. Good viands were quickly set before him—fat venison, fish out of the river, good white bread, good red wine, and fine brown ale. The king swore he had never feasted better in his life.

Then Robin took a can of ale, and bade every man drink a health to the king. The king himself drank to the king, and so the toast went round, and two barrels of strong old ale were spent in pledging that health.

"Make good cheer, abbot," said Robin, "and for these same tidings thou hast brought thou art doubly welcome. Now before thou go hence thou shalt see what life we lead here in the greenwood, so that thou mayest inform the king when ye meet together."

The meal was scarcely over when up started all the outlaws in haste, and bows were smartly bent. For a moment the king was sorely aghast, for he thought he would certainly be hurt. But no man intended ill to him. Two rods were set up, and to them all the yeomen flocked to try their skill at archery. The king said the marks were too far away by fifty paces, but he had never seen shooting such as this. On each side of the rods was a rose garland, and all the yeomen had to shoot within this circle. Whoever failed of the rose garland had as penalty to lose his shooting gear, and to hand it to his master, however fine it might be, and in addition to this he had to stand a good buffet on the head. All that came in Robin's way he smote therewith right good will.

When his own turn came Robin shot twice, and each time cleft the wand, so also did the good yeoman Gilbert. Little John and Will Scarlet did not come off so well, and when they failed to hit within the garland they each got a good buffet from Robin.

But at his last shot, in spite of the way in which his friends had fared, Robin, too, failed of the garland by three fingers or more.

"Master, your tackle is lost," said Gilbert. "Stand forth and take your pay."

"If it be so there is no help for it," said Robin. "Sir abbot, I deliver thee mine arrow; I pray thee, sir, serve thou me."

"It falleth not within my order, by thy leave, Robin, to smite any good yeoman, for fear lest I grieve him," said the king.

"Smite on boldly; I give thee full leave," said Robin.

The king at these words at once folded back his sleeves, and gave
Robin such a buffet that it nearly knocked him to the ground.

"By heaven, thou art a stalwart friar," cried Robin. "There is pith in thine arm; I trow thou canst shoot well."

Then King Edward and Robin Hood looked each other full in the face, and Robin Hood gazed wistfully at the king. So also did Sir Richard Lee, and then he knelt down before him on his knee. And all the wild outlaws, when they saw Sir Richard Lee and Robin Hood kneeling before the king, also knelt down.

"My lord the King of England, now I know you well," said Robin. "Mercy, of thy goodness and thy grace, for my men and me! Yes, before heaven, I crave mercy, my lord the king, for me and for my men."

"Yes, I grant thee thy petition," said the king, "if thou wilt leave the greenwood, thou and all thy company, and come home with me, sir, to my court, and dwell with me there."

"I will swear a solemn vow that so it shall be," said Robin. "I will come to your court to see your service and bring with me seven score and three of my men. But unless I like well your service, I shall soon come back to the forest, and shoot again at the dun deer, as I am wont to do."


Retold by Mary Macleod

"Hast thou any good cloth that thou wilt sell to me now?" said the king.

"Yes, three and thirty yards," said Robin.

"Then I pray thee, Robin, sell me some of it for me and my company."

"Yes, I will," said Robin. "I should be a fool if I did not, for I trow another day you will clothe me against Christmas."

So the king speedily cast off his coat, and donned a garment of green, and so did all his knights. When they were all clad in Lincoln green and had thrown aside their monks' grey habits, "Now we will go to Nottingham," said the king.

They bent their bows, and away they went, shooting in the same band, as if they were all outlaws. The king and Robin Hood rode together, and they shot "pluck-buffet" as they went by the way—that is to say, whoever missed the mark at which he aimed was to receive a buffet from the other; many a buffet the king won from Robin Hood, and good Robin spared nothing of his pay.

"Faith," said the king, "thy game is not easy to learn; I should not get a shot at thee though I tried all this year."

When they drew near Nottingham, all the people stood to behold them. They saw nothing but mantles of green covering all the field; then every man began saying to another: "I dread our king is slain; if Robin Hood comes to the town, he will never leave one of us alive. "They all hastened to make their escape, both men and lads, yeomen and peasants; the ploughman left the plough in the fields, the smith left his shop, and old wives who could scarcely walk hobbled along on their staves.

The king laughed loud and long to see the townsfolk scurry off in this fashion, and he commanded them to come back. He soon let them understand that he had been in the forest, and that from that day for evermore he had pardoned Robin Hood. When they found out the tall outlaw in the Lincoln green was really the king, they were overjoyed; they danced and sang, and made great feasting and revelry for gladness at his safe return.

Then King Edward called Sir Richard Lee, and there he gave him his lands again, and bade him be a good man. Sir Richard thanked the king, and paid homage to him as the true and loyal knight he had always been.

So Robin Hood went back to London with the king, and dwelt at court. But before many months had gone he found all his money had melted away, and that he had nothing left. He had spent over a hundred pounds and now had not enough to pay the fees of his followers. For everywhere he went he had always been laying down money both for knights and squires, in order to win renown. When he could no longer afford to pay their fee, all the new retainers left him, and by the end of the year he had none but two still with him, and those were his own faithful old comrades, Little John and Will Scarlet.

It happened one day some young men of the court went out to shoot, and as Robin Hood stood with a sad heart to watch them, a sudden great longing for his old life in the greenwood came over him.

"Alas!" he sighed, "my wealth has gone! Once on a time I too was a famous archer, sure of eye and strong of hand; I was accounted the best archer in merry England. Oh, to be back once more in the heart of the greenwood, where the merry does are skipping, and the wind blows through the leaves of the linden, and little birds sit singing on every bough! If I stay longer with the king, I shall die of sorrow!"

So Robin Hood went and begged a boon of the king.

"My lord the King of England, grant me what I ask! I built a little chapel in Barnsdale, which is full seemly to see, and I would fain be there once again. For seven nights past I have neither slept nor closed my eyes, nor for all these seven days have I eaten or drunk. I have a sore longing after Barnsdale; I cannot stay away. Barefoot and doing penance will I go thither."

"If it be so, there is nothing better to be done," said the king. "Seven nights—no longer—I give thee leave to dwell away from me."

Thanking the king, Robin Hood saluted him and took his leave full courteously, and away he went to the greenwood.

It was a fair morning when he came to the forest. The sun shone, the soft green turf was strewn with flowers that twinkled like stars, and all the air rang with the song of birds. The cloud of care and sorrow rolled away from Robin's spirit, and his heart danced as light as a leaf on the tree.

"It is long since I was here last," he said, as he looked around him. "I think I should like to shoot once more at the deer."

He fitted an arrow to his bow, and away it sped to its mark, and down dropped a fine fat hart. Then Robin blew his horn. And as the blast rang out, shrill and sweet and piercing, all the outlaws of the forest knew that Robin Hood had come again. Through the woodland they gathered together, and fast they came trooping, till in a little space of time seven score stalwart lads stood ready in order before Robin. They took off their caps, and fell on their knee in salutation.

"Welcome, our master! Welcome, welcome back to the greenwood!" they shouted.


Retold by Mary Macleod

It happened one day when Robin Hood was in the forest that he saw a jolly butcher with a fine mare, who was going to market to sell his meat.

"Good morrow, good fellow, what food have you there?" said Robin. "Tell me what is your trade, and where you live, for I like the look of you."

"No matter where I live," answered the man. "I am a butcher, and I am going to Nottingham to sell my flesh."

"What's the price of your flesh?" said Robin. "And tell me, too, the price of your mare, however dear she may be, for I would fain be a butcher."

"Oh, I'll soon tell you the price of my flesh," replied the butcher. "For that, with my bonny mare, and they are not at all dear, you must give me four marks."

Robin Hood agreed at once to the bargain.

"I will give you four marks. Here is the money; come, count it, and hand me over the goods at once, for I want to be a butcher."

So the man took the money, and Robin took the mare and the cart of meat, and went on to Nottingham to begin his new trade. He had a plan in his mind, and in order to carry it out he went to the sheriff's house, which was an inn, and took up his lodging there.

When the butchers opened their shops Robin boldly opened his, but he did not in the least know how to sell, for he had never done anything of the kind before. In spite of this, however, or rather because of it, while all the other butchers could sell no meat Robin had plenty of customers, and money came in quickly. The reason of this was that Robin gave more meat for one penny than others could do for three. Robin therefore sold off his meat very fast, but none of the butchers near could thrive.

This made them notice the stranger who was taking away all their custom, and they began to wonder who he was, and where he came from. "This must be surely some prodigal, who has sold his father's land, and is squandering away his money," they said to each other. They went up to Robin to get acquainted with him. "Come, brother, we are all of one trade," said one of them; "will you go dine with us?"

"By all means," answered Robin, "I will go with you as fast as I can, my brave comrades." So off they hastened to the sheriff's house, where dinner was served at once, and Robin was chosen to sit at the head of the table and say grace.

"Come, fill us more wine; let us be merry while we are here," he cried. "I'll pay the reckoning for the wine and good cheer however dear it may be. Come, brothers, be merry. I'll pay the score, I vow, before I go, if it costs me five pounds or more."

"This is a mad blade," said the butchers, but they laughed and made haste to eat and drink well at Robin's expense.

Now the sheriff, who was of a very shrewd and grasping nature, had not failed to remark this handsome young butcher lad who was so very lavish of his money, and who sold his meat in the market so much cheaper than any one else. If there were good bargains to be made he determined to make his own profit out of them. "He is some prodigal," he said to himself, "who has sold land, and now means to spend all the money he has got for it." If Robin were able to sell his meat so cheap it occurred to the sheriff that probably he possessed a great deal of cattle, and would most likely be ready to part with them for a very low price. "Hark'ee, good fellow, have you any horned beasts you can sell me?" he asked in a lordly way.

"Yes, that I have, good master sheriff, two or three hundred," answered Robin. "And I have a hundred acres of good free land, if it would please you to see it. I'll hand it over to you as securely as ever my father did to me."

The sheriff, quite pleased to think of the fine bargain he was likely to make, saddled his palfrey, and taking three hundred pounds in gold in his portmanteau, went off with Robin Hood to see his horned beasts. Away they rode till they came to the forest of Sherwood, and then the sheriff began to look about him in some alarm.

"God preserve us this day from a man they call Robin Hood," he said earnestly.

When they had gone a little further Robin Hood chanced to spy a hundred head of good fat deer, who came tripping quite close.

"How like you my horned beasts, good master sheriff? They are fat and fair to see, are they not?"

"I tell you, good fellow, I would I were gone, for I like not your company," said the sheriff, now very ill at ease.

Robin set his horn to his mouth, and blew three blasts, and immediately Little John and all his company came flocking up.

"What is your will, master?" asked Little John.

"I have brought hither the Sheriff of Nottingham to dine with thee to-day."

"He is welcome," said Little John; "I hope he will pay honestly. I know he has gold enough, if it is properly reckoned, to serve us with wine for a whole day."

Robin took off his mantle and laid it on the ground and from the sheriff's portmanteau he counted out three hundred pounds in gold. Then he led him through the forest, set him on his dapple-grey palfrey, and sent him back to his own home.


Retold by Mary Macleod

About this time there was living in Nottingham a jolly tanner whose name was Arthur-a-Bland. Never a squire in Nottingham could beat Arthur, or bid him stand if he chose to go on. With a long pike-staff on his shoulder he could clear his way so well he made every one fly before him.

One summer's morning Arthur-a-Bland went forth into Sherwood Forest to see the deer, and there he met Robin Hood. As soon as Robin saw him he thought he would have some sport, so he called to him to stand.

"Why, who art thou, fellow, who rangest here so boldly?" he said. "In sooth, to be brief, thou lookst like a thief who comes to steal the king's venison. I am a keeper in the forest; the king puts me in trust to look after the deer. Therefore I must bid thee stand."

"If you be a keeper in this forest, and have so great authority," answered the tanner, "yet you must have plenty of helpers in store before you can make me stop."

"I have no helpers in store, nor do I need any. But I have good weapons which I know will do the deed."

"I don't care a straw for your sword or your bow, nor all your arrows to boot," said Arthur-a-Bland. "If you get a knock on your pate, your weapons will be no good."

"Speak civilly, good fellow," said Robin, "or else I will correct thee for thy rudeness, and make thee more mannerly."

"Marry, see how you'll look with a knock on your head!" quoth the tanner. "Are you such a goodly man? I care not a rush for your looking so big. Look out for yourself, if you can."

Then Robin Hood unbuckled his belt, and laid down his bow, and took up a staff of oak, very stiff and strong.

"I yield to your weapons, since you will not yield to mine," said Robin. "I, too, have a staff, not half a foot longer than yours. But let me measure before we begin, for I would not have mine to be longer than yours, for that would be counted foul play."

"The length of your staff is nothing to me," said the tanner. "Mine is of good stout oak; it is eight feet and a half long, and it will knock down a calf—and I hope it will knock down you."

At these rude and mocking words, Robin could not longer forbear, but gave the tanner such a crack on the head that the blood began to flow. Arthur quickly recovered, and gave Robin in return such a knock that in a few minutes blood ran trickling down the side of his face. As soon as he felt himself so badly hurt, Robin raged like a wild boar, while Arthur-a-Bland laid on so fast it was almost as if he were cleaving wood. Round about they went, like wild boars at bay, striving to maim each other in leg or arm or any place. Knock for knock they dealt lustily, so that the wood rang at every blow, and this they kept up for two hours or more.

But at last Robin was forced to own that he had met his match, and he called to the sturdy stranger to stay.

"Hold thy hand, hold thy hand, and let our quarrel drop!" he cried. "For we may thrash our bones all to smash here, and get no good out of it. Hold thy hand, and hereafter thou shalt be free in the merry forest of Sherwood."

"Thank you for nothing!" retorted Arthur. "I have bought my own freedom. I may thank my good staff for this, and not you."

"What tradesman are you, good fellow, and where do you dwell?"

"I am a tanner, and in Nottingham I have worked for many years. If you will come there, I vow and protest I will tan your hide for nothing."

"Heaven have mercy, good fellow, since you are so kind and obliging," said Robin. "If you will tan my hide for nothing, I'll do as much for you. But come, if you will forsake your tanner's trade, to live here with me in the greenwood, my name is Robin Hood, and I swear faithfully to give you good gold and wages."

"If you are Robin Hood, as I think very well you are, then here's my hand," said the tanner. "My name is Arthur-a-Bland. We two will never part. But tell me, where is Little John? I would fain hear of him, for we are allied, through our mother's family, and he is my dear kinsman."

Then Robin blew a loud, shrill blast on his bugle, and instantly
Little John came quickly tripping over the hill.

"Oh, what is the matter? Master, I pray you tell me!" cried Little John. "Why do you stand there with your staff in your hand? I fear all is not well."

"Yes, man, I do stand here, and this tanner beside me has made me stand," said Robin. "He is a fine fellow, and master of his trade, for he has soundly tanned my hide."

"He is to be commended if he can do such a feat," said Little John. "If he is so sturdy, we will have a bout together, and he shall tan my hide too."

"Hold your hand," said Robin; "for, as I understand he is a good yeoman of your own blood; his name is Arthur-a-Bland."

Then Little John flung away his staff as far as he could, and running up to Arthur-a-Bland, threw his arms around his neck. Both were ready and eager to be friends, and made no attempt to hide their delight at the meeting, but wept for joy. Then Robin Hood took a hand of each, and they danced all round the oak-tree, singing:

  "For three merry men, and three merry men,
    And three merry men we be!

  "And ever hereafter, as long as we live,
    We three will be as one;
  The wood it shall ring, and the old wife sing,
    Of Robin Hood, Arthur, and John."


Retold by Mary Macleod

But there came a day at last when Robin Hood had to bid farewell to the greenwood where he and his merry men had spent so many happy years. Word was sent to the king that the outlaws waxed more and more insolent to his nobles and all those in authority, and that unless their pride was quelled the land would be overrun.

A council of state was therefore called, to consider what was best to be done. Having consulted a whole summer's day, at length it was agreed that some one should be sent to seize Robin Hood and bring him before the king.

A trusty and most worthy knight, called Sir William, was chosen for this task.

"Go you hence to that insolent outlaw, Robin Hood," said the king, "and bid him surrender himself without more ado, or he and all his crew shall suffer. Take a hundred valiant bowmen, all chosen men of might, skilled in their art, and clad in glittering armour."

"My sovereign liege, it shall be done," said the knight. "I'll venture my blood against Robin Hood, and bring him alive or dead."

A hundred men were straightway chosen, as proper men as were ever seen, and on midsummer day they marched forth to conquer the bold outlaw.

With long yew-bows and shining spears they marched in pomp and pride, and they never halted nor delayed till they came to the forest.

"Tarry here, and make ready your bows, that in case of need you may follow me," said the knight to his archers. "And look you observe my call. I will go first, in person, with the letters of our good king, duly signed and sealed, and if Robin Hood will surrender we need not draw a string."

The knight wandered about the forest, till at length he came to the tent of Robin Hood. He greeted the outlaw, and showed him the king's letter, whereupon Robin sprang to his feet and stood on guard.

"They would have me surrender, then, and lie at their mercy?" quoth Robin. "Tell them from me that shall never be while I have seven score of good men."

Sir William, who was a bold and hardy knight, made an attempt to seize Robin then and there, but Robin was too quick to be caught, and bade him forbear such tricks. Then he set his horn to his mouth, and blew a blast or two; the knight did the same.

Instantly from all sides archers came running, some for Robin Hood, some for the knight.

Sir William drew up his men with care, and placed them in battle array. Robin Hood was no whit behind with his yeomen. The fray was stern and bloody. The archers on both sides bent their bows, and arrows flew in clouds. In the very first flight the gallant knight, Sir William, was slain; but nevertheless the fight went on with fury, and lasted from morning until almost noon. They fought till both parties were spent, and only ceased when neither side had strength to go on. Those of the king's archers that still remained went back to London with right good will, and Robin Hood's men retreated to the depths of the greenwood.

But Robin Hood's last fight was fought, and of all the arrows that ever he shot, there was but one yet to fly. As he left the field of battle he was taken ill, and he felt his strength fail, and the fever rise in his veins.

His life was ebbing fast away, and now he was too weak to go on.

Then he remembered his little bugle-horn, which still hung at his side, and setting it to his mouth, he blew once, twice, and again—a low, weak blast.

Away in the greenwood, as he sat under a tree, Little John heard the well-known call, but so faint and feeble was the sound it struck like ice to his heart.

"I fear my master is near dead, he blows so wearily!"

Never after hart or hind ran Little John as he ran that day to answer his master's dying call. He raced like the wind till he came to where Robin was, and fell on his knee before him.

"Give me my bent bow in my hand," said Robin Hood, "and I will let fly a broad arrow, and where this arrow is taken up, there shall you dig my grave.

  "Lay me a green sod under my head,
     And another at my feet;
   And lay my bent bow at my side,
     Which was my music sweet;
   And make my grave of gravel and green,
     Which is most right and meet."

So Robin Hood drew his bow for the last time, and there where the arrow fell, under a clump of the greenwood trees, they dug the grave as he had said, and buried him.


This masterpiece of humor was first published in 1605, and is, of course, a work of fiction. It is unsurpassed as a picture of Spanish life.

Millions have laughed over the adventures of that upright, unconquered, unafraid Don Quixote, the wisest of madmen.

Cervantes set out to make fun of the romances of chivalry, which had become ridiculous because of their extravagance, but while writing the book he fell in love with Don Quixote for wanting to be a chivalrous knight, and with Sancho Panza for wanting to be a loyal squire, and it is this love for them that he makes us see on every page.

The condensed version of the stories, by Judge Parry, well preserves the flavor of the best translation, Thomas Shelton's.


Retold by Judge Parry

Once upon a time there lived in a certain village in a province of Spain called the Mancha, a gentleman named Quixada or Queseda, whose house was full of old lances, halberds, and other weapons. He was, besides, the owner of an ancient target or shield, a raw-boned steed, and a swift greyhound. His food consisted daily of common meats, some lentils on Fridays, and perhaps a roast pigeon for Sunday's dinner. His dress was a black suit with velvet breeches, and slippers of the same colour, which he kept for holidays, and a suit of homespun which he wore on week-days.

On the purchase of these few things he spent the small rents that came to him every year. He had in his house a woman-servant about forty years old, a niece not yet twenty, and a lad that served him both in field and at home, and could saddle his horse or manage a pruning-hook.

The master himself was about fifty years old, a strong, hard-featured man with a withered face. He was an early riser, and had once been very fond of hunting. But now for a great portion of the year he applied himself wholly to reading the old books of knighthood, and this with such keen delight that he forgot all about the pleasures of the chase, and neglected all household matters. His mania and folly grew to such a pitch that he sold many acres of his lands to buy books of the exploits and adventures of the knights of old. These he took for true and correct histories, and when his friends the curate of the village, or Mr. Nicholas the worthy barber of the town, came to see him, he would dispute with them as to which of the knights of romance had done the greatest deeds.

So eagerly did he plunge into the reading of these books that he many times spent whole days and nights poring over them; and in the end, through little sleep and much reading, his brain became tired, and he fairly lost his wits. His fancy was filled with those things that he read, of enchantments, quarrels, battles, challenges, wounds, wooings, loves, tempests, and other impossible follies, and those romantic tales so firmly took hold of him that he believed no history to be so truthful and sincere as they were.

Finally he was seized with one of the strangest whims that ever madman stumbled on in this world, for it seemed to him right and necessary that he himself should become a knight-errant, and ride through the world to seek adventures and practise in person all that he had read about the knights of old. Therefore he resolved that he would make a name for himself by revenging the injuries of others, and courting all manner of dangers and difficulties, until in the end he should be rewarded for his valour in arms by the crown of some mighty empire. And first of all he caused certain old rusty arms that belonged to his great-grandfather, and had lain for many years neglected and forgotten in a corner of his house, to be brought out and well scoured. He fixed them up as well as he could, and then saw that they had something wanting, for instead of a proper helmet they had only a morion or headpiece, like a steel bonnet without any visor. This his industry supplied, for he made a visor for his helmet by patching and pasting certain papers together, and this pasteboard fitted to the morion gave it all the appearance of a real helmet. Then, to make sure that it was strong enough, he out with his sword and gave it a blow or two, and with the very first blow he spoiled that which had cost him a week to make. To make things better he placed certain iron bars within it, and feeling sure it was now sound and strong, he did not put it to a second trial.

He next examined his horse, who though he had nothing on him but skin and bone, yet he seemed to him a better steed than Bucephalus, the noble animal that carried Alexander the Great when he went to battle. He spent four days inventing a name for his horse, saying to himself that it was not fit that so famous a knight's horse, and so good a beast, should want a known name. Therefore he tried to find a name that should both give people some notion of what he had been before he was the steed of a knight-errant, and also what he now was; for, seeing that his lord and master was going to change his calling, it was only right that his horse should have a new name, famous and high-sounding, and worthy of his new position in life. And after having chosen, made up, put aside, and thrown over any number of names as not coming up to his idea, he finally hit upon Rozinante, a name in his opinion sublime and well-sounding, expressing in a word what he had been when he was a simple carriage horse, arid what was expected of him in his new dignity.

The name being thus given to his horse, he made up his mind to give himself a name also, and in that thought laboured another eight days. Finally he determined to call himself Don Quixote, and remembering that the great knights of olden time were not satisfied with a mere dry name, but added to it the name of their kingdom or country, so he like a good knight added to his own that of his province, and called himself Don Quixote of the Mancha, whereby he declared his birthplace and did honour to his country by taking it for his surname.

His armour being scoured, his morion transformed into a helmet, his horse named, and himself furnished with a new name, he considered that now he wanted nothing but a lady on whom he might bestow his service and affection. "For," he said to himself, remembering what he had read in the books of knightly adventures, "if I should by good hap encounter with some giant, as knights-errant ordinarily do, and if I should overthrow him with one blow to the ground, or cut him with a stroke in two halves, or finally overcome and make him yield to me, it would be only right and proper that I should have some lady to whom I might present him. Then would he, entering my sweet lady's presence, say unto her with a humble and submissive voice: 'Madam, I am the Giant Caraculiambro, lord of the island called Malindrania, whom the never-too-much-praised knight Don Quixote of the Mancha hath overcome in single combat. He hath commanded me to present myself to your greatness, that it may please your highness to dispose of me according to your liking."

You may believe that the heart of the knight danced for joy when he made that grand speech, and he was even more pleased when he had found out one whom he might call his lady. For, they say, there lived in the next village to his own a hale, buxom country girl with whom he was sometime in love, though for the matter of that she had never known of it or taken any notice of him whatever. She was called Aldonca Lorenso, and her he thought fittest to honour as the Lady of his Fancy. Then he began to search about in his mind for a name that should not vary too much from her own, but should at the same time show people that she was a princess or lady of quality. Thus it was that he called her Dulcinea of Toboso, a name sufficiently strange, romantic, and musical for the lady of so brave a knight. And now, having taken to himself both armour, horse, and lady fair, he was ready to go forth and seek adventures.


Retold by Judge Parry

All his preparations being made, he could no longer resist the desire of carrying out his plans, his head being full of the wrongs he intended to put right, and the evil deeds he felt called upon to punish. Without telling any living creature, and unseen of anybody, somewhat before daybreak—it being one of the warmest days in July—he armed himself from head to foot, mounted on Rozinante, laced on his strange helmet, gathered up his target, seized his lance, and through the back door of his yard sallied forth into the fields, marvellously cheerful and content to see how easily he had started on his new career. But scarcely was he clear of the village when he was struck by a terrible thought, and one which did well-nigh overthrow all his plans. For he recollected that he had never been knighted, and therefore, according to the laws of knighthood, neither could he nor ought he to combat with any knight. And even if he were a knight, he remembered to have read that as a new knight he ought to wear white armour without any device upon his shield until he should win it by force of arms.

He journeyed all that day, and at night both he and his horse were tired and hungry, and looking about him on every side to see whether he could discover any castle to which he might retire for the night, he saw an inn near the highway, which was as welcome a sight to him as if he had seen a guiding star. Spurring his horse he rode towards it and arrived there about nightfall.

There stood by chance at the inn door two jolly peasant women who were travelling towards Seville with some carriers, who happened to take up their lodging in that inn the same evening. And as our knight-errant believed all that he saw or heard to take place in the same manner as he had read in his books, he no sooner saw the inn than he fancied it to be a castle with four turrets and pinnacles of shining silver, with a drawbridge, a deep moat, and all such things as belong to grand castles. Drawing slowly towards it, he checked Rozinante with the bridle when he was close to the inn, and rested awhile to see if any dwarf would mount on the battlements to give warning with the sound of a trumpet how some knight did approach the castle; but seeing they stayed so long, and Rozinante was eager to get to his stable, he went to the inn door, and there beheld the two women, whom he supposed to be two beautiful damsels or lovely ladies. At that moment it happened that a certain swineherd, as he gathered together his hogs, blew the horn which was used to call them together, and at once Don Quixote imagined it was some dwarf who gave notice of his arrival; and he rode up to the inn door with marvellous delight. The ladies, when they beheld one armed in that manner with lance and target, made haste to run into the inn; but Don Quixote, seeing their fear by their flight, lifted up his pasteboard visor, showed his withered and dusky face, and spoke to them thus: "Let not your ladyships fly nor fear any harm, for it does not belong to the order of knighthood which I profess to wrong anybody, much less such high-born damsels as your appearance shows you to be."

The women looked at him very earnestly, and sought with their eyes for his face, which the ill-fashioned helmet concealed; but when they heard themselves called high-born damsels, they could not contain their laughter, which was so loud that Don Quixote was quite ashamed of them and rebuked them, saying: "Modesty is a comedy ornament of the beautiful, and too much laughter springing from trifles is great folly; but I do not tell you this to make you the more ashamed, for my desire is none other than to do you all the honour and service I may."

This speech merely increased their laughter, and with it his anger, which would have passed all bounds if the innkeeper had not come out at this instant. Now this innkeeper was a man of exceeding fatness, and therefore, as some think, of a very peaceable disposition; and when he saw that strange figure, armed in such fantastic armour, he was very nearly keeping the two women company in their merriment and laughter. But being afraid of the owner of such a lance and target, he resolved to behave civilly for fear of what might happen, and thus addressed him: "Sir knight! if your worship do seek for lodging, we have no bed at liberty, but you shall find all other things in abundance."

To which Don Quixote, noting the humility of the constable of the castle—for such he took him to be—replied: "Anything, sir constable, may serve me, for my arms are my dress, and the battlefield is my bed."

While he was speaking, the innkeeper laid hand on Don Quixote's stirrup and helped him to alight. This he did with great difficulty and pain, for he had not eaten a crumb all that day. He then bade the innkeeper have special care of his horse, saying he was one of the best animals that ever ate bread.

The innkeeper looked at Rozinante again and again, but he did not seem to him half so good as Don Quixote valued him. However, he led him civilly to the stable, and returned to find his guest in the hands of the high-born damsels, who were helping him off with his armour. They had taken off his back and breast plates, but they could in no way get his head and neck out of the strange, ill-fashioned helmet which he had fastened on with green ribands.

Now these knots were so impossible to untie that the women would have cut them, but this Don Quixote would not agree to. Therefore he remained all the night with his helmet on, and looked the drollest and strangest figure you could imagine. And he was now so pleased with the women, whom he still took to be ladies and dames of the castle, that he said to them: "Never was knight so well attended on and served by ladies as was Don Quixote. When he departed from his village, damsels attended on him and princesses on his horse. O ladies! Rozinante is the name of my steed, and I am called Don Quixote, and the time shall come when your ladyships may command me and I obey, and then the valour of mine arm shall discover the desire I have to do you service."

The women could make nothing of his talk, but asked him if he would eat, and Don Quixote replying that such was his desire, there was straightway laid a table at the inn door. The host brought out a portion of badly boiled haddocks, and a black, greasy loaf, which was all the inn could supply. But the manner of Don Quixote's eating was the best sport in the world, for with his helmet on he could put nothing into his mouth himself if others did not help him to find his way, and therefore one of the women served his turn at that, and helped to feed him. But they could not give him drink after that manner, and he would have remained dry for ever if the innkeeper had not bored a cane, and putting one end in his mouth, poured the wine down the other. And all this he suffered rather than cut the ribands of his helmet.

And as he sat at supper the swineherd again sounded his horn, and Don Quixote was still firm in the belief that he was in some famous castle, where he was served with music, and that the stale haddock was fresh trout, the bread of the finest flour, the two women high-born damsels, and the innkeeper the constable of the castle. Thus he thought his career of knight-errant was well begun, but he was still greatly troubled by the thought that he was not yet dubbed knight, and could not therefore rightly follow his adventures until he received the honour of knighthood.


Retold by Judge Parry

When he had finished his sorry supper, he took his host with him to the stable, and shutting the door threw himself down upon his knees before him, saying: "I will never rise from this place where I am. sir constable, until your courtesy shall grant unto me a boon that I mean to demand of you, something which will add to your renown and to the profit of all the human race."

The innkeeper, seeing his guest at his feet, and hearing him speak these words, stood confounded at the sight, not knowing what he would say or do next, and tried to make him arise. But all was in vain until he had promised him that he would grant him any gift that he sought at his hands.

"Signor," said Don Quixote, rising from his knees, "I did never expect less from your great magnificence, and now I will tell you that the boon which I demanded of you, and which you have so generously granted, is that to-morrow in the morning you will dub me knight. This night I will watch mine armour in the chapel of your castle, and in the morning, as I have said, the rest of my desires shall be fulfilled, that I may set out in a proper manner throughout the four parts of the world to seek adventures to the benefit of the poor and: needy, as is the duty of knighthood and of knights-errant."

The innkeeper, who was a bit of a jester, and had before thought that the wits of his guest were none of the best, was sure that his suspicions were true when he heard him speak in this manner. And in order to enjoy a joke at his expense, he resolved to fall in with his humour, and told him that there was great reason in what he desired, which was only natural and proper in a knight of such worth as he seemed to be. He added further that there was no chapel in his castle where he might watch his arms, for he had broken it down to build it up anew. But, nevertheless, he knew well that in a case of necessity they might be watched in any other place, and therefore he might watch them that night in the lower court of the castle, where in the morning he, the innkeeper, would perform all the proper ceremonies, so that he should be made not only a dubbed knight, but such a one as should not have an equal in the whole universe.

The innkeeper now gave orders that Don Quixote should watch his armour in a great yard near one side of the inn, so he gathered together all his arms, laid them on a cistern near a well, and buckling on his target he laid hold of his lance and walked up and down before the cistern very demurely, until night came down upon the scene.

In the meantime the roguish innkeeper told all the rest that lodged in the inn of the folly of his guest, the watching of his arms, and the knighthood which he expected to receive. They all wondered very much at so strange a kind of folly, and going out to behold him from a distance, they saw that sometimes he marched to and fro with a quiet gesture, other times leaning upon his lance he looked upon his armour for a good space of time without beholding any other thing save his arms.

Although it was now night, yet was the moon so clear that everything which the knight did was easily seen by all beholders. And now one of the carriers that lodged in the inn resolved to give his mules some water, and for that purpose it was necessary to move Don Quixote's armour that lay on the cistern.

Seeing the carrier approach, Don Quixote called to him in a loud voice: "O thou, whosoever thou art, bold knight, who dares to touch the armour of the bravest adventurer that ever girded sword, look well what thou doest, and touch them not if thou meanest not to leave thy life in payment for thy meddling!"

The carrier took no notice of these words, though it were better for him if he had, but laying hold of the armour threw it piece by piece into the middle of the yard.

When Don Quixote saw this, he lifted up his eyes towards heaven, and addressing his thoughts, as it seemed, to his Lady Dulcinea, he said: "Assist me, dear lady, in this insult offered to thy vassal, and let not thy favour and protection fail me in this my first adventure!"

Uttering these and other such words, he let slip his target or shield, and lifting up his lance with both hands he gave the carrier so round a knock on his head that it threw him to the ground, and if he had caught him a second he would not have needed any surgeon to cure him. This done, he gathered up his armour again, and laying the pieces where they had been before, he began walking up and down near them with as much quietness as he did at first.

Soon afterwards another carrier, without knowing what had happened (for his companion still lay on the ground), came also to give his mules water, and started to take away the armour to get at the cistern, Don Quixote let slip again his target, and lifting his lance brought it down on the carrier's head, which he broke in several places.

All the people in the inn, and amongst them the innkeeper, came running out when they heard the noise, and Don Quixote seeing them seized his target, and, drawing his sword, cried aloud: "O lady of all beauty, now, if ever, is the time for thee to turn the eyes of thy greatness on thy captive knight who is on the eve of so marvellous great an adventure."

Saying this seemed to fill him with so great a courage, that if he had been assaulted by all the carriers in the universe he would not have retreated one step.

The companions of the wounded men, seeing their fellows in so evil a plight, began to rain stones on Don Quixote from a distance, who defended himself as well as he might with his target, and durst not leave the cistern lest he should appear to abandon his arms.

The innkeeper cried to them to let him alone, for he had already told them that he was mad. But Don Quixote cried out louder than the innkeeper, calling them all disloyal men and traitors, and that the lord of the castle was a treacherous and bad knight to allow them to use a knight-errant so basely; and if he had only received the order of knighthood he would have punished him soundly for his treason. Then calling to the carriers he said: "As for you, base and rascally ruffians, you are beneath my notice. Throw at me, approach, draw near and do me all the hurt you may, for you shall ere long receive the reward of your insolence."

These words, which he spoke with great spirit and boldness, struck a terrible fear into all those who assaulted him, and, partly moved by his threats and partly persuaded by the innkeeper, they left off throwing stones at him, and he allowed them to carry away the wounded men, while he returned to his watch with great quietness and gravity.

The innkeeper did not very much like Don Quixote's pranks, and therefore determined to shorten the ceremony and give him the order of knighthood at once before any one else was injured. Approaching him, therefore, he made apologies for the insolence of the base fellows who had thrown stones at him, and explained that it was not with his consent, and that he thought them well punished for their impudence. He added that it was not necessary for Don Quixote to watch his armour any more, because the chief point of being knighted was to receive the stroke of the sword on the neck and shoulder, and that ceremony he was ready to perform at once.

All this Don Quixote readily believed, and answered that he was most eager to obey him, and requested him to finish everything as speedily as possible. For, he said, as soon as he was knighted, if he was assaulted again, he intended not to leave one person alive in all the castle, except those which the constable should command, whom he would spare for his sake.

The innkeeper, alarmed at what he said, and fearing lest he should carry out his threat, set about the ceremony without delay. He brought out his day-book, in which he wrote down the accounts of the hay and straw which he sold to carriers who came to the inn, and attended by a small boy holding the end of a candle and walking before him, and followed by the two women who were staying at the inn, he approached Don Quixote, He solemnly commanded him to kneel upon his knees, while he mumbled something which he pretended to read out of the book that he held in his hand. Then he gave him a good blow on the neck, and after that another sound thwack over the shoulders with his own sword, always as he did so continuing to mumble and murmur as though he were reading something out of his book. This being done, he commanded one of the damsels to gird on his sword, which she did with much grace and cleverness. And it was with difficulty that they all kept from laughing during this absurd ceremony, but what they had already seen of Don Quixote's fury made them careful not to annoy him even by a smile.

When she had girded on his sword, the damsel said: "May you be a fortunate knight, and meet with good success in all your adventures."

Don Quixote asked her how she was called, that he might know to whom he was obliged for the favours he had received. She answered with great humility that she was named Tolosa, and was a butcher's daughter of Toledo. Don Quixote replied requesting her to call herself from henceforth the Lady Tolosa, which she promised to perform. The other damsel buckled on his spurs, and when Don Quixote asked her name she told him it was Molinera, and that she was daughter of an honest miller of Antequera. Don Quixote entreated her also to call herself Lady Molinera, and offered her new services and favours.

These strange and never-before-seen ceremonies being ended, Don Quixote could not rest until he was mounted on horseback that he might go to seek adventures. He therefore caused Rozinante to be instantly saddled, leaped on his back, and embracing the innkeeper, thanked him in a thousand wild and ridiculous ways for the great favour he had done him in dubbing him knight. The innkeeper, who was only eager to be rid of him without delay, answered him in the same fashion, and let him march off without demanding from him a single farthing for his food or lodging.


Retold by Judge Parry

Don Quixote persuaded a certain labourer, his neighbour, an honest man, but one of very shallow wit, to go away with him and serve him as squire. In the end he gave him so many fair words and promises that the poor fellow determined to go with him. Don Quixote, among other things, told him that he ought to be very pleased to depart with him, for at some time or other an adventure might befall which should in the twinkling of an eye win him an island and leave him governor thereof. On the faith of these and other like promises, Sancho Panza (for so he was called) forsook his wife and children and took service as squire to his neighbour.

Whilst they were journeying along, Sancho Panza said to his master: "I pray you have good care, sir knight, that you forget not that government of the island which you have promised me, for I shall be able to govern it be it never so great."

And Don Quixote replied: "Thou must understand, friend Sancho, that it was a custom very much used by the ancient knights-errant, to make their squires governors of the islands and kingdoms they conquered, and I am resolved that so good a custom shall be kept up by me. And if thou livest and I live it may well be that I might conquer a kingdom within six days, and crown thee king of it."

"By the same token," said Sancho Panza, "if I were a king, then should
Joan my wife become a queen and my children princes?"

"Who doubts of that?" said Don Quixote.

"That do I," replied Sancho Panza, "for I am fully persuaded that though it rained kingdoms down upon the earth, none of them would sit well on my wife Joan. She is not worth a farthing for a queen. She might scrape through as a countess, but I have my doubts of that."

As they were talking, they caught sight of some thirty or forty windmills on a plain. As soon as Don Quixote saw them he said to his squire: "Fortune is guiding our affairs better than we could desire. For behold, friend Sancho, how there appear thirty or forty monstrous giants with whom I mean to do battle, and take all their lives. With their spoils we will begin to be rich, for this is fair war, and it is doing great service to clear away these evil fellows from off the face of the earth."

"What giants?" said Sancho amazed.

"Those thou seest there," replied his master, "with the long arms."

"Take care, sir," cried Sancho, "for those we see yonder are not giants but windmills, and those things which seem to be arms are their sails, which being whirled round by the wind make the mill go."

"It is clear," answered Don Quixote, "that thou art not yet experienced in the matter of adventures. They are giants, and if thou art afraid, get thee away home, whilst I enter into cruel and unequal battle with them."

So saying, he clapped spurs to Rozinante, without heeding the cries by which Sancho Panza warned him that he was going to encounter not giants but windmills. For he would neither listen to Sancho's outcries, nor mark what he said, but shouted to the windmills in a loud voice: "Fly not, cowards and vile creatures, for it is only one knight that assaults you!"

A slight breeze having sprung up at this moment, the great sail-arms began to move, on seeing which Don Quixote shouted out again: "Although you should wield more arms than had the giant Briareus, I shall make you pay for your insolence!"

Saying this, and commending himself most devoutly to his Lady Dulcinea, whom he desired to aid him in this peril, covering himself with his buckler, and setting his lance in rest, he charged at Rozinante's best gallop, and attacked the first mill before him. Thrusting his lance through the sail, the wind turned it with such violence that it broke his weapon into shivers, carrying him and his horse after it, and having whirled them round, finally tumbled the knight a good way off, and rolled him over the plain, sorely damaged.

Sancho Panza hastened to help him as fast as his ass could go, and when he came up he found the knight unable to stir, such a shock had Rozinante given him in the fall.

"Bless me," said Sancho, "did I not tell you that you should look well what you did, for they were windmills, nor could any think otherwise unless he had windmills in his brains!"

"Peace, friend Sancho," said Don Quixote, "for the things of war are constantly changing, and I think this must be the work of the same sage Freston who robbed me of my library and books, and he hath changed these giants into windmills to take from me the glory of the victory. But in the end his evil arts shall avail but little against the goodness of my sword."

"May it prove so," said Sancho, as he helped his master to rise and remount Rozinante, who, poor steed, was himself much bruised by the fall.

The next day they journeyed along towards the Pass of Lapice, a romantic spot, at which they arrived about three o'clock in the afternoon.

"Here," said Don Quixote to his squire, "we may hope to dip our hands up to the elbows in what are called adventures. But take note of this, that although thou seest me in the greatest dangers of the world, thou art not to set hand to thy sword in my defence, unless those who assault me be base or vulgar people. If they be knights thou mayest not help me."

"I do assure you, sir," said Sancho, "that herein you shall be most punctually obeyed, because I am by nature a quiet and peaceful man, and have a strong dislike to thrusting myself into quarrels."

Whilst they spoke thus, two friars of the order of St. Benedict, mounted on large mules—big enough to be dromedaries—appeared coming along the road. They wore travelling masks to keep the dust out of their eyes and carried large sun umbrellas. After them came a coach with four or five a-horseback travelling with it, and two lackeys ran hard by it. In the coach was a Biscayan lady who was going to Seville. The friars were not of her company, though all were going the same way.

Scarcely had Don Quixote espied them than he exclaimed to his squire: "Either I much mistake, or this should be the most famous adventure that hath ever been seen; for those dark forms that loom yonder are doubtless enchanters who are carrying off in that coach some princess they have stolen. Therefore I must with all my power undo this wrong."

"This will be worse than the adventure of the windmills," said Sancho. "Do you not see that they are Benedictine friars, and the coach will belong to some people travelling?"

"I have told thee already, Sancho," answered Don Quixote, "that thou art very ignorant in the matter of adventures. What I say is true, as thou shalt see."

So saying he spurred on his horse, and posted himself in the middle of the road along which the friars were coming, and when they were near enough to hear him he exclaimed in a loud voice: "Monstrous and horrible crew! Surrender this instant those exalted princesses, whom you are carrying away in that coach, or prepare to receive instant death as a just punishment of your wicked deeds."

The friars drew rein, and stood amazed at the figure and words of Don Quixote, to whom they replied: "Sir knight, we are neither monstrous nor wicked, but two religious men, Benedictines, travelling about our business, and we know nothing about this coach or about any princesses."

"No soft words for me," cried Don Quixote, "for I know you well, treacherous knaves."

And without waiting for their reply he set spurs to Rozinante; and laying his lance on his thigh, charged at the first friar with such fury and rage, that if he had not leaped from his mule he would have been slain, or at least, badly wounded.

The second friar, seeing the way his companion was treated, made no words but fled across the country swifter than the wind itself.

Sancho Panza, on seeing the friar overthrown, dismounted very speedily off his ass and ran over to him, and would have stripped him of his clothes, But two of the friars' servants came up and asked him why he was thus despoiling their master. Sancho replied that it was his due by the law of arms, as lawful spoils gained in battle by his lord and master, Don Quixote.

The lackeys, who knew nothing of battles or spoils, seeing that Don Quixote was now out of the way, speaking with those that were in the coach, set both at once upon Sancho and threw him down, plucked every hair out of his beard and kicked and mauled him without mercy, leaving him at last stretched on the ground senseless and breathless.

As for the friar, he mounted again, trembling and terror-stricken, all the colour having fled from his face, and spurring his mule, he joined his companion, who was waiting for him hard by.

While this was happening, Don Quixote was talking to the lady in the coach, to whom he said: "Dear lady, you may now dispose of yourself as you best please. For the pride of your robbers is laid in the dust by this my invincible arm. And that you may not pine to learn the name of your deliverer, know that I am called Don Quixote of the Mancha, knight-errant, adventurer, and captive of the peerless and beauteous Lady Dulcinea of Toboso. And in reward for the benefits you have received at my hands, I demand nothing else but that you return to Toboso, there to present yourself in my name before my lady, and tell her what I have done to obtain your liberty."

All this was listened to by a Biscayan squire who accompanied the coach. He hearing that the coach was not to pass on but was to return to Toboso, went up to Don Quixote, and, laying hold of his lance, said to him: "Get away with thee, sir knight, for if thou leave not the coach I will kill thee as sure as I am a Biscayan."

"If," replied Don Quixote haughtily, "thou wert a gentleman, as thou art not, I would ere this have punished thy folly and insolence, caitiff creature."

"I no gentleman?" cried the enraged Biscayan. "Throw down thy lance and draw thy sword, and thou shalt soon see that thou liest."

"That shall be seen presently," replied Don Quixote; and flinging his lance to the ground he drew his sword, grasped his buckler tight, and rushed at the Biscayan.

The Biscayan, seeing him come on In this manner, had nothing else to do but to draw his sword. Luckily for him he was near the coach, whence he snatched a cushion to serve him as a shield, and then they fell on one another as if they had been mortal enemies.

Those that were present tried to stop them, but the Biscayan shouted out that if he were hindered from ending the battle he would put his lady and all who touched him to the sword.

The lady, amazed and terrified, made the coachman draw aside a little, and sat watching the deadly combat from afar.

The Biscayan, to begin with, dealt Don Quixote a mighty blow over the target, which, if it had not been for his armour, would have cleft him to the waist. Don Quixote, feeling the weight of this tremendous blow which had destroyed his visor and carried away part of his ear, cried out aloud: "O Dulcinea, lady of my soul, flower of all beauty, help thy knight, who finds himself in this great danger!" To say this, to raise his sword, to cover himself with his buckler, and to rush upon the Biscayan was the work of a moment. With his head full of rage he now raised himself in his stirrups, and, gripping his sword more firmly in his two hands, struck at the Biscayan with such violence that he caught him a terrible blow on the cushion, knocking this shield against his head with tremendous violence. It was as though a mountain had fallen on the Biscayan and crushed him, and the blood spouted from his nose and mouth and ears. He would have fallen straightway from his mule if he had not clasped her round the neck; but he lost his stirrups, then let go his arms, and the mule, frightened at the blow, began to gallop across the fields, so that after two or three plunges it threw him to the ground.

Don Quixote leaped off his horse, ran towards him, and setting the point of his sword between his eyes, bade him yield, or he would cut off his head.

The lady of the coach now came forward in great grief and begged the favour of her squire's life.

Don Quixote replied with great stateliness: "Truly, fair lady, I will grant thy request, but it must be on one condition, that this squire shall go to Toboso and present himself in my name to the peerless Lady Dulcinea, that she may deal with him as she thinks well."

The lady, who was in great distress, without considering what Don Quixote required, or asking who Dulcinea might be, promised that he should certainly perform this command.

"Then," said Don Quixote, "on the faith of that pledge I will do him no more harm."

Seeing the contest was now over, and his master about to remount Rozinante, Sancho ran to hold his stirrups, and before he mounted, taking him by his hand he kissed it and said: "I desire that it will please you, good my lord Don Quixote, to bestow on me the government of that island which in this terrible battle you have won."

To which Don Quixote replied: "Brother Sancho, these are not the adventures of islands, but of cross roads, wherein nothing is gained but a broken pate or the loss of an ear. Have patience awhile, for the adventures will come whereby I can make thee not only a governor, but something higher."

Sancho thanked him heartily, and kissed his hand again and the hem of his mailed shirt. Then he helped him to get on Rozinante, and leaped upon his ass to follow him.

And Don Quixote, without another word to the people of the coach, rode away at a swift pace and turned into a wood that was hard by, leaving Sancho to follow him as fast as his beast could trot.


Retold by Judge Parry

As they rode along, Don Quixote turned to his squire and said to him: "Tell me now in very good earnest, didst thou ever see a more valorous knight than I am throughout the face of the earth? Didst thou ever read in histories of any other that hath or ever had more courage in fighting, more dexterity in wounding, or more skill in overthrowing?"

"The truth is," replied Sancho, "that I have never read any history whatever, for I can neither read nor write. But what I dare wager is, that I never in my life served a bolder master than you are, and I only trust that all this boldness does not land us within the four walls of the gaol."

"Peace, friend Sancho," said Don Quixote, "when didst thou read of a knight-errant that was brought before the judge though he killed ever so many people?"

"I have read nothing, as you know, good master; but a truce to all this, let me attend to your wound, for you are losing a good deal of blood in that ear, and I have got some lint and a little white ointment in my wallet."

"That," said Don Quixote, "would have been unnecessary if I had remembered to make a bottleful of the balsam of Fierabras, for with only one drop of it both time and medicines are saved."

"What balsam is that, then?" asked Sancho Panza.

"It is a balsam, the receipt of which I have in my memory, and whoever possesses it need not fear death nor think to perish by any wound. Therefore after I have made it and given it unto thee, thou hast nothing else to do but when thou shalt see that in any battle I be cloven in twain, than deftly to take up the portion of the body which is fallen to the ground and put it up again on the half which remains in the saddle, taking great care to fix it exactly in the right place. Then thou shalt give me two draughts of the balsam I have mentioned, and I shall become as sound as an apple."

"If that be true," said Sancho, "I renounce from now the government of the promised island, and will demand nothing else in payment of my services but only the receipt of this precious liquor. But tell me, is it costly in making?"

"With less than three reals" said Don Quixote, "a man may make three gallons of it. But I mean to teach thee greater secrets than this, and do thee greater favours also. And now let me dress my wound, for this ear pains me more than I would wish."

Sancho took out of his wallet his lint and ointment to cure his master. But before he could use them Don Quixote saw that the visor of his helmet was broken, and he had like to have lost his senses. Setting his hand to his sword, he cried: "I swear an oath to lead the life which was led by the great Marquis of Mantua when he swore to revenge the death of his nephew Baldwin, which was not to eat off a tablecloth, nor to comb his hair, nor to change his clothes, nor to quit his armour, and other things which, though I cannot now remember, I take as said, until I have had complete revenge on him that hath done this outrage."

"Look, your worship, Sir Don Quixote." said Sancho, when he heard these strange words, "you must note that if the Biscayan has done what you told him, and presented himself before my Lady Dulcinea of Toboso, then he has fully satisfied his debt, and deserves no other penalty unless he commits a new fault."

"Thou hast spoken well and hit the mark truly," answered Don Quixote; "and, therefore, in respect of that, I set the oath aside. But I make it and confirm it again, that I will lead the life I have said, until I take by force another helmet as good as this from some other knight."

"Such oaths are but mischief," said Sancho discontentedly, "for tell me now, if by chance we do not come across a man armed with a helmet, what are we to do? Do but consider that armed men travel not these roads, but only carriers and waggoners, who not only wear no helmets, but never heard them named all the days of their life."

"Thou art mistaken in this," said Don Quixote, "for we shall not have been here two hours before we shall see more knights than went up against Albraca to win Angelica the Fair."

"So be it," said Sancho, "and may all turn out well for us, that the time may come for the winning of that island which is costing me so dear."

"Have no fear for thine island, Sancho Panza," said Don Quixote; "and now look if thou hast aught to eat in thy wallet, for soon we should go in search of some castle where we may lodge the night and make the balsam of which I have spoken, for in truth this ear of mine pains me greatly."

"I have got here an onion and a bit of cheese and a few crusts of bread, but such coarse food is not fit for so valiant a knight as your worship."

"How little dost thou understand the matter," replied Don Quixote, "for it is an honour to knights-errant not to eat more than once a month, and if by chance they should eat, to eat only of that which is next at hand! And all this thou mightest have known hadst thou read as many books as I have done. For though I studied many, yet did I never find that knights-errant did ever eat but by mere chance, or at some costly banquets that were made for them. And the remainder of their days they lived on herbs and roots. Therefore, friend Sancho, let not that trouble thee which is my pleasure, for to a knight-errant that which comes is good."

"Pardon me, sir," said Sancho, "for since I can neither read nor write, as I have already told you, I have not fallen in rightly with the laws of knighthood. But from henceforth my wallet shall be furnished with all sorts of dried fruits for your worship, because you are a knight, and for myself, seeing I am none, I will provide fowls and other things, which are better eating."

So saying he pulled out what he had, and the two fell to dinner in good peace and company.

But being desirous to look out for a lodging for that night, they cut short their meagre and sorry meal, mounted at once a-horseback, and made haste to find out some dwellings before night did fall.

But the sun and their hopes did fail them at the same time, they being then near the cabins of some goatherds. Therefore they determined to pass the night there. And though Sancho's grief was great to lie out of a village, yet Don Quixote was more joyful than ever, for he thought that as often as he slept under the open heaven, so often did he perform an act worthy of a true knight-errant.

They were welcomed by the goatherds very cordially, and Sancho, having put up Rozinante and his ass the best way he could, made his way towards the smell given out by certain pieces of goat's flesh which were boiling in a pot on the fire. And though he longed that very instant to see if they were ready, he did not do so, for he saw the goatherds were themselves taking them off the fire and spreading some sheep-skins on the ground, and were laying their rustic table as quickly as might be. Then with many expressions of good will they invited the two to share in what they had. Those who belonged to the fold, being six in number, sat round on the skins, having first with rough compliments asked Don Quixote to seat himself upon a trough which they placed for him turned upside down.

Don Quixote sat down, but Sancho remained on foot to serve him with the cup which was made of horn. Seeing him standing, his master said: "That thou mayest see, Sancho, the good which is in knight-errantry, and how fair a chance they have who exercise it to arrive at honour and position in the world, I desire that here by my side, and in company of these good people, thou dost seat thyself, and be one and the same with me that am thy master and natural lord. That thou dost eat in my dish and drink in the same cup wherein I drink. For the same may be said of knight-errantry as is said of love, that it makes all things equal."

"Thanks for your favour," replied Sancho, "but I may tell your worship that provided I have plenty to eat I can eat it as well and better standing and by myself, than if I were seated on a level with an emperor. And, indeed, if I speak the truth, what I eat in my corner without ceremony, though it be but a bread and onion, smacks much better than turkeycocks at other tables, where I must chaw my meat leisurely, drink but little, wipe my hands often, nor do other things that solitude and liberty allow."

"For all that," said Don Quixote, "here shalt thou sit, for the humble shall be exalted," and taking him by the arm, he forced his squire to sit down near himself.

The goatherds did not understand the gibberish of squires and knights-errant, and did nothing but eat, hold their peace, and stare at their guests, who with great relish were gorging themselves with pieces as big as their fists. The course of flesh being over, the goatherds spread on the skins a great number of parched acorns and half a cheese, harder than if it had been made of mortar. The horn in the meantime was not idle, but came full from the wineskins and returned empty, as though it had been a bucket sent to the well.

After Don Quixote had satisfied his appetite, he took up a fistful of acorns, and beholding them earnestly, began in this manner: "Happy time and fortunate ages were those which our ancestors called Golden: not because gold—so much prized in this our Iron Age—was gotten in that happy time without any labours, but because those who lived in that time knew not these two words, Thine and Mine. In that holy age all things were in common. No man needed to do aught but lift up his hand and take his food from the strong oak, which did liberally invite them to gather his sweet and savoury fruit. The clear fountains and running rivers did offer them transparent water in magnificent abundance, and in the hollow trees did careful bees erect their commonwealth, offering to every hand without interest the fertile crop of their sweet labours." Thus did the eloquent knight describe the Golden Age, when all was peace, friendship, and concord, and then he showed the astonished goatherds how an evil world had taken its place, and made it necessary for knights-errant like himself to come forward for the protection of widows and orphans, and the defence of distressed damsels. All this he did because the acorns that were given him called to his mind the Golden Age. The goatherds sat and listened with grave attention, and Sancho made frequent visits to the second wine-skin during his discourse. At length it was ended, and they sat round the fire, drinking their wine and listening to one of the goat herds singing, and towards night, Don Quixote's ear becoming very painful, one of his hosts made a dressing of rosemary leaves and salt, and bound up his wound. By this means being eased of his pain, he was able to lie down in one of the huts and sleep soundly after his day's adventures.

Don Quixote spent several days among the goatherds, and at length, when his wound was better, he thanked them for their hospitality, and rode away in search of new adventures, followed by the faithful Sancho.

They came to a halt in a pleasant meadow rich with beautiful grass, by the side of a delightful and refreshing stream, which seemed to invite them to stop and spend there the sultry hours of noon, which were already becoming oppressive.

Don Quixote and Sancho dismounted, and leaving Rozinante and Dapple loose, to feed on the grass that was there in plenty, they ransacked the wallet, and without any ceremony fell to eating what they found in it.

Sancho had neglected to tie up Rozinante, and, as luck would have it, a troop of Galician ponies belonging to some Yanguesian carriers, whose custom it is to rest at noon with their teams in spots and places where grass and water abound, were feeding in the same valley.

It must be believed that Rozinante supposed that the grass the ponies were feeding on was better than his own; but be that as it may, he started off at a little swift trot to feed among them. They resented his appearance, and, as he sought to enter their ranks and feed among them, they received him with their heels and teeth, with such vigour that in a trice he had burst his girth, and his saddle was stripped from his back. But the worst of all was that the carriers, taking part with their own ponies, ran up with stakes and so belaboured him that they brought him to the ground in a sore plight.

Upon this Don Quixote and Sancho, who witnessed the basting of Rozinante, came running up all out of breath, and Don Quixote said to Sancho: "From what I see, friend Sancho, these be no knights, but base, rascally fellows of low breeding. I say this, that thou mayest freely aid me in taking vengeance for the wrong which they have done to Rozinante before our eyes."

"What vengeance can we take," replied Sancho, "when there are more than twenty, and we are but two—nay, perhaps but one and a half?"

"I count for a hundred," said Don Quixote, and without further parley he drew his sword and flew upon the Yanguesians, boldly followed by Sancho Panza.

With his first blow Don Quixote pierced a buff coat that one of them wore, wounding him grievously in the shoulder. Then the Yanguesians, finding themselves so rudely handled by two men only, they being so many, betook themselves to their stakes, and hemming in their adversaries in the midst of them, they laid on with great fury. In fact the second thwack brought Sancho to the ground, and the same fate soon befell Don Quixote, whose dexterity and courage availed him nothing, for he fell at the feet of his unfortunate steed, who had not yet been able to arise.

Then, seeing the mischief they had done, the Yanguesians loaded their team with as much haste as possible, and went their way, leaving the adventurers in a doleful plight and a worse humour.


Retold by Judge Parry

For some time after the Yanguesian carriers had gone on their way Don Quixote and Sancho Panza lay on the ground groaning and saying nothing.

The first that came to himself was Sancho Panza, who cried in a weak and pitiful voice: "Sir Don Quixote! O Sir Don Quixote!"

"What wouldst thou, brother Sancho?" answered Don Quixote in the same faint and grievous tone as Sancho.

"I would, if it were possible," said Sancho Panza, "that your worship should give me a couple of mouthfuls of that balsam of Fierabras, if so be that your worship has it at hand. Perhaps it will be as good for broken bones as for wounds."

"If I had it here," sighed Don Quixote, "we should lack nothing. But I swear to thee, Sancho Panza, on the faith of a knight-errant, that before two days pass, unless fortune forbids, I will have it in my possession."

"I pray you," asked Sancho, "in how many days do you think we shall be able to move our feet?"

"I cannot say," said the battered knight; "but I take on myself the blame of all, for I should not have drawn my sword against men that are not knights. Therefore, brother Sancho, take heed of what I tell thee, for it mightily concerns the welfare of us both; and it is this, that when thou seest such rabble offer us any wrong, wait not for me to draw sword upon them, for I will not do it in any wise, but put thou thy hand to thy sword and chastise them at thy pleasure."

But Sancho Panza did not much relish his master's advice, and replied: "Sir, I am a peaceable, sober, and quiet man, and can let pass any injury whatever, for I have a wife and children to take care of. Therefore, let me also say a word to your worship, that by no manner of means shall I put hand to sword either against clown or against knight. And from this time forth I forgive whatever insults are paid to me, whether they are or shall be paid by persons high or low, rich or poor, gentle or simple."

On hearing this his master said: "Would that I had breath enough to be able to speak easily, and that the pain I feel in this rib were less, that I, might make thee understand, Sancho, the mistake thou art making! How can I appoint thee governor of an island when thou wouldst make an end of all by having neither valour nor will to defend thy lands or revenge thine injuries?"

"Alas!" groaned Sancho. "I would that I had the courage and understanding of which your worship speaks, but in truth at this moment I am more fit for plasters than preachments. See if your worship can rise, and we will help Rozinante, although he deserves it not, for he was the chief cause of all this mauling."

"Fortune always leaves one door open in disasters, and your Dapple will now be able to supply the want of Rozinante and carry me hence to some castle where I may be healed of my wounds. Nor shall I esteem such riding a dishonour, for I remember to have read that old Silenus, tutor and guide of the merry god of Laughter, when he entered the city of a hundred gates, rode very pleasantly, mounted on a handsome ass."

"That may be," replied Sancho, "but there is a difference between riding a-horseback and being laid athwart like a sack of rubbish."

"Have done with your replies," exclaimed Don Quixote, "and rise as well as thou art able and sit me on top of thine ass, and let us depart hence before the night comes and overtakes us in this wilderness."

Then Sancho, with thirty groans and sixty sighs and a hundred and twenty curses, lifted up Rozinante—who if he had had a tongue would have complained louder than Sancho himself—and after much trouble set Don Quixote on the ass. Then tying Rozinante to his tail, he led the ass by the halter, and proceeded as best he could to where the highroad seemed to lie.

And Fortune, which had guided their affairs from good to better, led him on to a road on which, he spied an inn, which to his annoyance and Don Quixote's joy must needs be a castle. Sancho protested that it was an inn, and his master that it was a castle; and their dispute lasted so long that they had time to arrive there before it was finished; and into this inn or castle Sancho entered without more parley with all his team.

The innkeeper, seeing Don Quixote laid athwart of the ass, asked Sancho what ailed him. Sancho answered that it was nothing, only that he had fallen down from a rock, and had bruised his ribs somewhat. The innkeeper's wife was by nature charitable, and she felt for the sufferings of others, so she hastened at once to attend to Don Quixote, and made her daughter, a comely young maiden, help her in taking care of her guest. There was also serving in the inn an Asturian woman, broad-cheeked, flat-pated, with a snub nose, blind of one eye and the other not very sound. This young woman, who was called Maritornes, assisted the daughter, and the two made up a bed for Don Quixote in a garret which had served for many years as a straw-loft. The bed on which they placed him was made of four roughly planed boards on two unequal trestles; a mattress which, in thinness, might have been a quilt, so full of pellets that if they had not through the holes shown themselves to be wool, they would to the touch seem to be pebbles. There was a pair of sheets made of target leather; and as for the coverlet, if any one had chosen to count the threads of it he could not have missed one in the reckoning.

On this miserable bed did Don Quixote lie, and presently the hostess and her daughter plastered him over from head to foot, Maritornes holding the candle for them.

While she was plastering him, the hostess, seeing that he was in places black and blue, said that it looked more like blows than a fall. Sancho, however, declared they were not blows, but that the rock had many sharp points, and each one had left a mark; and he added: "Pray, good mistress, spare some of that tow, as my back pains are not a little."

"In that case," said the hostess, "you must have fallen, too."

"I did not fall," said Sancho Panza, "but with the sudden fright I took on seeing my master fall, my body aches as if they had given me a thousand blows, and I now find myself with only a few bruises less than my master, Don Quixote."

"What is this gentleman's name?" asked Maritornes.

"Don Quixote of the Mancha," answered Sancho Panza; "and he is a knight-errant, and one of the best and strongest that have been seen in the world these many ages."

"What is a knight-errant?" asked the young woman.

"Art thou so young in the world that thou knowest it not?" answered Sancho Panza. "Know then, sister mine, that a knight-errant is a thing which in two words is found cudgelled and an emperor. To-day he is the most miserable creature in the world, and the most needy; to-morrow he will have two or three crowns of kingdoms to give to his squire."

"How is it, then," said the hostess, "that thou hast not gotten at least an earldom, seeing thou art squire to this good knight?"

"It is early yet," replied Sancho, "for it is but a month since we set out on our adventures. But believe me, if my master, Don Quixote, gets well of his wounds—or his fall, I should say—I would not sell my hopes for the best title in Spain."

To all this Don Quixote listened very attentively, and sitting up in his bed as well as he could, he took the hostess's hand and said: "Believe me, beautiful lady, that you may count yourself fortunate in having entertained me in this your castle. My squire will inform you who I am, for self-praise is no recommendation; only this I say, that I will keep eternally written in memory the service you have done to me, and I will be grateful to you as long as my life shall endure."

The hostess, her daughter, and the good Maritomes remained confounded on hearing the words of the knight-errant, which they understood as well as if he had spoken in Greek, but yet they believed they were words of compliment, and so they thanked him for his courtesy and departed, leaving Sancho and his master for the night.

There happened to be lodging in the inn that night one of the officers of the Holy Brotherhood of Toledo, whose duty it was to travel the roads and inquire into cases of highway robbery. He hearing some time later that a man was lying in the house sorely wounded must needs go and make an examination of the matter. He therefore lighted his lamp and made his way to Don Quixote's garret.

As soon as Sancho Panza saw him enter arrayed in a shirt and a nightcap with the lamp in his hand, which showed him to be a very ugly man, he asked his master: "Will this by chance be some wizard Moor come to torment us?"

"A wizard it cannot be," said Don Quixote, "for those under enchantment never let themselves be seen."

The officer could make nothing of their talk, and came up to Don Quixote, who lay face upwards encased in his plasters. "Well," said the officer roughly, "how goes it, my good fellow?"

"I would speak more politely if I were you," answered Don Quixote. "Is it the custom in this country, lout, to speak in that way to a knight-errant?"

The officer, finding himself thus rudely addressed, could not endure it, and, lifting up the lamp, oil and all, gave Don Quixote such a blow on the head with it that he broke his lamp in one or two places, and, leaving all in darkness, left the room.

"Ah!" groaned Sancho, "this is indeed the wizard Moor, and he must be keeping his treasures for others, and for us nothing but blows."

"It is ever so," replied Don Quixote; "and we must take no notice of these things of enchantment, nor must we be angry or vexed with them, for since they are invisible, there is no one on whom to take vengeance. Rise, Sancho, if thou canst, and call the constable of this fortress, and try to get him to give me a little wine, oil, salt, and rosemary to prepare the health-giving balsam, of which I have grievous need, for there comes much blood from the wound which the phantom hath given me."

Sancho arose, not without aching bones, and crept in the dark to where the innkeeper was, and said to him: "My lord constable, do us the favour and courtesy to give me a little rosemary, oil, wine, and salt to cure one of the best knights-errant in the world, who lies yonder in bed sorely wounded at the hands of a Moorish enchanter." When the innkeeper heard this he took Sancho Panza for a man out of his wits, but nevertheless gave him what he wanted, and Sancho carried it to Don Quixote. His master was lying with his hands to his head, groaning with pain from the blows of the lamp, which, however, had only raised two big lumps; what he thought was blood being only the perspiration running down his face.

He now took the things Sancho had brought, of which he made a compound, mixing them together and boiling them a good while until they came to perfection.

Then he asked for a bottle into which to pour this precious liquor, but as there was not one to be had in the inn, he decided to pour it into a tin oil-vessel which the innkeeper had given him.

This being done, he at once made an experiment on himself of the virtue of this precious balsam, as he imagined it to be, and drank off a whole quart of what was left in the boiling-pot.

The only result of this was that it made him very sick indeed, as well it might, and, what with the sickness and the bruising and the weariness of body, he fell fast asleep for several hours, and at the end of his sleep awoke so refreshed and so much the better of his bruises that he took himself to be cured and verily believed he had hit upon the balsam of Fierabras.

Sancho Panza, to whom his master's recovery seemed little short of a miracle, begged that he might have what was left in the boiling-pot, which was no small quantity. Don Quixote consenting, he took the pot in both hands, and tossed it down, swallowing very little less than his master had done.

It happened, however, that Sancho's stomach was not so delicate as his master's and he suffered such terrible pains and misery before he was sick that he thought his last hour was come, and cursed the balsam and the thief who had given it to him.

Don Quixote, seeing him in this bad way, said: "I believe, Sancho, that all this evil befalleth thee because thou art not dubbed knight, for I am persuaded that this balsam may not benefit any one that is not."

"If your worship knew that," replied poor Sancho "bad luck to me and mine, why did you let me taste it?"

Before Don Quixote could reply to this, Sancho became so terribly sick that he could only lie groaning and moaning for two hours, at the end of which he felt so shaken and shattered that he could scarcely stand, and sadly wished that he had never become squire to a knight-errant.


Retold by Judge Parry

Now whilst Sancho Panza lay groaning in his bed, Don Quixote, who, as we have said, felt somewhat eased and cured, made up his mind to set off in search of new adventures. And full of this desire he himself saddled Rozinante and put the pack-saddle on his squire's beast, and helped Sancho to dress and to mount his ass. Then getting a-horseback he rode over to the corner of the inn and seized hold of a pike which stood there, to make it serve him instead of a lance.

All the people that were staying at the inn, some twenty in number, stood staring at him, and among these was the innkeeper's daughter. Don Quixote kept turning his eyes towards her and sighing dolefully, which every one, or at least all who had seen him the night before, thought must be caused by the pain he was in from his bruises.

When they were both mounted and standing by the inn gate, he called to the innkeeper and said in a grave voice: "Many and great are the favours, sir constable, which I have received in this your castle, arid I shall remain deeply grateful for them all the days of my life. If I am able to repay you by avenging you on some proud miscreant that hath done you any wrong, know that it is my office to help the weak, to revenge the wronged, and to punish traitors. Ransack your memory, and if you find anything of this sort for me to do, you have but to utter it, and I promise you, by the Order of Knighthood which I have received, to procure you satisfaction to your heart's content,"

"Sir knight," replied the innkeeper with equal gravity, "I have no need that your worship should avenge me any wrong, for I know how to take what revenge I think good when an injury is done. All I want is that your worship should pay me the score you have run up this night in mine inn, both for the straw and barley of your two beasts, and your suppers and your beds."

"This then is an inn?" exclaimed Don Quixote.

"Ay, that it is, and a very respectable one, too," replied the innkeeper.

"All this time then I have been deceived," said Don Quixote, "for in truth I thought it was a castle and no mean one. But since it is indeed an inn and no castle, all that can be done now is to ask you to forgive me any payment, for I cannot break the laws of knights-errant, of whom I know for certain that they never paid for lodging or anything else in the inns where they stayed. For the good entertainment that is given them is their due reward for the sufferings they endure, seeking adventures both day and night, winter and summer, a-foot and a-horseback, in thirst and hunger, in heat and cold, being exposed to all the storms of heaven and the hardships of earth."

"All that is no business of mine," retorted the innkeeper. "Pay me what you owe me, and keep your tales of knights-errant for those who want them. My business is to earn my living."

"You are a fool and a saucy fellow," said Don Quixote angrily, and, spurring Rozinante and brandishing his lance, he swept out of the inn yard before any one could stop him, and rode on a good distance without waiting to see if his squire was following.

The innkeeper, when he saw him go without paying, ran up to get his due from Sancho Panza, who also refused to pay, and said to him: "Sir, seeing I am squire to a knight-errant, the same rule and reason for not paying at inns and taverns hold as good for me as for my master."

The innkeeper grew angry at these words, and threatened that if he did not pay speedily he would get it from him in a way he would not like.

Sancho replied that by the Order of Knighthood which his lord and master had received, he would not pay a penny though it cost him his life.

But his bad fortune so managed it, that there happened to be at the inn at this time four woolcombers of Segovia, and three needlemakers of Cordova, and two neighbours from Seville, all merry fellows, very mischievous and playsome. And as if they were all moved with one idea, they came up to Sancho, and pulling him down off his ass, one of them ran in for the innkeeper's blanket, and they flung him into it. But looking up and seeing that the ceiling was somewhat lower than they needed for their business, they determined to go out into the yard, which had no roof but the sky, and there placing Sancho in the middle of the blanket, they began to toss him aloft and to make sport with him by throwing him up and down. The outcries of the miserable be-tossed squire were so many and so loud that they reached the ears of his master, who, standing awhile to listen what it was, believed that some new adventure was at hand, until he clearly recognised the shrieks to come from poor Sancho. Immediately turning his horse, he rode back at a gallop to the inn gate, and finding it closed, rode round the wall to see if he could find any place at which he might enter. But he scarcely got to the wall of the inn yard, which was not very high, when he beheld the wicked sport they were making with his squire. He saw him go up and down with such grace and agility, that, had his anger allowed him, I make no doubt he would have burst with laughter. He tried to climb the wall from his horse, but he was so bruised and broken that he could by no means alight from his saddle, and therefore from on top of his horse he used such terrible threats against those that were tossing Sancho that one could not set them down in writing.

But in spite of his reproaches they did not cease from their laughter or labour, nor did the flying Sancho stop his lamentations, mingled now with threats and now with prayers. Thus they carried on their merry game, until at last from sheer weariness they stopped and let him be. And then they brought him his ass, and, helping him to mount it, wrapped him in his coat, and the kind-hearted Maritornes, seeing him so exhausted, gave him a pitcher of water, which, that it might be the cooler, she fetched from the well.

Just as he was going to drink he heard his master's voice calling to him, saying: "Son Sancho, drink not water, drink it not, my son, for it will kill thee. Behold, here I have that most holy balsam,"—and he showed him the can of liquor,—"two drops of which if thou drinkest thou wilt undoubtedly be cured."

At these words Sancho shuddered, and replied to his master: "You forget surely that I am no knight, or else you do not remember the pains I suffered last evening. Keep your liquor to yourself, and let me be in peace."

At the conclusion of this speech he began to drink, but finding it was only water he would not taste it, and called for wine, which Maritornes very kindly fetched for him, and likewise paid for it out of her own purse.

As soon as Sancho had finished drinking, he stuck his heels into his ass, and the inn gate being thrown wide open he rode out, highly pleased at having paid for nothing, even at the price of a tossing. The innkeeper, however, had kept his wallet, but Sancho was so distracted when he departed that he never missed it.

When Sancho reached his master, he was almost too jaded and faint to ride his beast. Don Quixote, seeing him in this plight, said to him: "Now I am certain that yon castle or inn is without doubt enchanted, for those who made sport with thee so cruelly, what else could they be but phantoms, and beings of another world? And I am the more sure of this, because when I was by the wall of the inn yard I was not able to mount it, or to alight from Rozinante, and therefore I must have been enchanted. For if I could have moved, I would have avenged thee in a way to make those scoundrels remember the jest for ever, even although to do it I should have had to disobey the rules of knighthood."

"So would I also have avenged myself," said Sancho, "knight or no knight, but I could not. And yet I believe that those who amused themselves with me were no phantoms or enchanted beings, but men of flesh and bones as we are, for one was called Pedro, and another Tenorio, and the innkeeper called a third Juan. But what I make out of all this, is that those adventures which we go in search of, will bring us at last so many misadventures that we shall not know our right foot from our left. And the best thing for us to do, in my humble opinion, is to return us again to our village and look after our own affairs, and not go jumping, as the saying is, 'out of the frying-pan into the fire.'"

"How little dost thou know of knighthood, friend Sancho," replied Don Quixote. "Peace, and have patience, for a day will come when thou shalt see with thine own eyes how fine a thing it is to follow this calling. What pleasure can equal that of winning a battle or triumphing over an enemy?"

"I cannot tell," answered Sancho; "but this I know, that since we are knights-errant, we have never won any battle, unless it was that with the Biscayan, and even then your worship lost half an ear. And ever after that time it has been nothing but cudgels and more cudgels, blows and more blows,—I getting the tossing in the blanket to boot. And all this happens to me from enchanted people on whom I cannot take vengeance."

"That grieves me," replied Don Quixote; "but who knows what may happen? Fortune may bring me a sword like that of Amadis, which did not only cut like a razor, but there was no armour however strong or enchanted which could stand before it."

"It will be like my luck," said Sancho, "that when your worship finds such a sword it will, like the balsam, be of use only to those who are knights, whilst poor squires will still have to sup sorrow."

"Fear not that, Sancho," replied his master; and he rode ahead, his mind full of adventures, followed at a little distance by his unhappy squire.


Retold by Judge Parry

Whilst they were riding on their way, Don Quixote saw a large, dense cloud of dust rolling towards them, and turning to Sancho said: "This is the day on which shall be shown the might of my arm and on which I am to do deeds which shall be written in the books of fame. Dost thou see the dust which arises there? Know then that it is caused by a mighty army composed of various and numberless nations that are marching this way." "If that be so," replied Sancho, "then must there be two armies, for on this other side there is as great a dust."

Don Quixote turned round to behold it, and seeing that it was so, he was marvellous glad, for he imagined that there were indeed two armies coming to fight each other in the midst of that spacious plain. For at every hour and moment his fancy was full of battles, enchantments, and adventures, such as are related in the books of knighthood, and all his thoughts and wishes were turned towards such things.

As for the clouds he had seen, they were raised by two large flocks of sheep which were being driven along the same road from two opposite sides, and these by reason of the dust could not be seen until they came near.

Don Quixote was so much in earnest when he called them armies that Sancho at once believed it, asking: "What then shall we do, good master?"

"What!" cried Don Quixote. "Why, favour and help those who are in distress and need. Thou must know, Sancho, that this which comes on our front is led by the mighty Emperor Alifamfaron, lord of the great island of Trapobana. This other which is marching at our back is the army of his foe, the King of the Garamantes, Pentapolin of the Naked Arm, for he always goes into battle with his right arm bare."

"But why do these two princes hate each other so much?" asked Sancho.

"They are enemies," replied Don Quixote, "because Alifamfaron is a furious pagan and is deeply in love with Pentapolin's daughter, who is a beautiful and gracious princess and a Christian. Her father refuses to give her to the pagan king until he abandons Mahomet's false religion and becomes a convert to his own."

"By my beard," said Sancho, "Pentapolin does right well, and I will help him all I can."

"Then thou wilt but do thy duty," said Don Quixote, "for it is not necessary to be a dubbed knight to engage in battles such as these."

"Right!" replied Sancho, "but where shall we stow this ass that we may be sure of finding him after the fight is over, for I think it is not the custom to enter into battle mounted on such a beast."

"That is true," said Don Quixote; "but thou mayest safely leave it to chance whether he be lost or found, for after this battle we shall have so many horses that even Rozinante runs a risk of being changed for another. And now let us withdraw to that hillock yonder that we may get a better view of both those great armies."

They did so, and standing on the top of a hill gazed at the two great clouds of dust which the imagination of Don Quixote had turned into armies. And then Don Quixote, with all the eloquence he could muster, described to Sancho the names of the different knights in the two armies, with their colours and devices and mottoes, and the numbers of their squadrons, and the countries and provinces from which they came.

But though Sancho stood and listened in wonder he could see nothing as yet of knights or armies, and at last he cried out: "Where are all these grand knights, good my master? For myself, I can see none of them. But perhaps it is all enchantment, as so many things have been."

"How! Sayest them so?" said Don Quixote. "Dost thou not hear the horses neigh and the trumpets sound and the noise of the drums?"

"I hear nothing else," said Sancho, "but the great bleating of sheep."

And so it was, indeed, for by this time the two flocks were approaching very near to them.

"The fear thou art in," said Don Quixote, "permits thee neither to see nor hear aright, for one of the effects of fear is to disturb the senses and make things seem different from what they are. If thou art afraid, stand to one side and leave me to myself, for I alone can give the victory to the side which I assist."

So saying he clapped spurs to Rozinante, and, setting his lance in rest, rode down the hillside like a thunderbolt.

Sancho shouted after him as loud as he could: "Return, good Sir Don Quixote! Return! For verily all those you go to charge are but sheep and muttons. Return, I say! Alas that ever I was born! What madness is this? Look, there are neither knights, nor arms, nor shields, nor soldiers, nor emperors, but only sheep. What is it you do, Wretch that I am?"

For all this Don Quixote did not turn back, but rode on, shouting in a loud voice: "So ho! knights! Ye that serve and fight under the banner of Pentapolin of the Naked Arm, follow me, all of you. Ye shall see how easily I will revenge him on his enemy Alifamfaron of Trapobana!"

With these words he dashed into the midst of the flock of sheep, and began to spear them with as much courage and fury as if he were fighting his mortal enemies.

The shepherds that came with the flock cried to him to leave off, but seeing their words had no effect, they unloosed their slings and began to salute his head with stones as big as one's fist.

But Don Quixote made no account of their stones, and galloping to and fro everywhere cried out: "Where art thou, proud Alifamfaron? Where art thou? Come to me, for I am but one knight alone, who desires to prove my strength with thee, man to man, and make thee yield thy life for the wrong thou hast done to the valorous Pentapolin."

At that instant a stone gave him such a blow that it buried two of his ribs in his body. Finding himself so ill-treated he thought for certain that he was killed or sorely wounded, and recollecting his balsam, he drew out his oil pot and set it to his mouth to drink. But before he could take as much as he wanted, another stone struck him full on the hand, broke the oil pot into pieces, and carried away with it three or four teeth out of his mouth, and sorely crushed two fingers of his hand. So badly was he wounded by these two blows that he now fell off his horse on to the ground.

The shepherds ran up, and believing that they had killed him, they collected their flocks in great haste, and carrying away their dead muttons, of which there were seven, they went away without caring to inquire into things any further.

Sancho was all this time standing on the hill looking at the mad pranks his master was performing, and tearing his beard and cursing the hour when they had first met. Seeing, however, that he was fallen on the ground, and the shepherds had gone away, he came down the hill and went up to his master, and found him in a very bad way, although not quite insensible.

"Did I not tell you, Sir Don Quixote," said Sancho mournfully, "did I not tell you to come back, for those you went to attack were not armies but sheep?"

"That thief of an enchanter, my enemy, can alter things and make men vanish away as he pleases. Know, Sancho, that it is very easy for those kind of men to make us seem what they please, and this malicious being who persecutes me, envious of the glory that I was to reap from this battle, hath changed the squadrons of the foe into flocks of sheep. If thou dost not believe me, Sancho, get on thine ass and follow them fair and softly, and thou shalt see that when they have gone a little way off they will return to their original shapes, and, ceasing to be sheep, become men as right and straight as I painted them to you at first."

At this moment the balsam that Don Quixote had swallowed began to make him very sick, and Sancho Panza ran off to search in his wallet for something that might cure him. But when he found that his wallet was not upon his ass, and remembered for the first time that it was left at the inn, he was on the point of losing his wits. He cursed himself anew, and resolved in his heart to leave his master and return to his house, even though he should lose his wages and the government of the promised island.

Don Quixote had now risen, and with his left hand to his mouth that the rest of his teeth might not fall out, with the other he took Rozinante by the bridle, and went up to where his squire stood leaning against his ass with his head in his hand, looking the picture of misery.

Don Quixote, seeing him look so miserable, said to him: "Learn, Sancho, not to be so easily downcast, for these storms that befall us are signs that the weather will soon be fair. Therefore thou shouldst not vex thyself about my misfortunes, for sure thou dost not share in them."

"How not?" replied Sancho; "mayhap he they tossed in a blanket yesterday was not my father's son? And the wallet which is missing to-day with all my chattels, is not that my misfortune?"

"What, is the wallet missing, Sancho?" said Don Quixote,

"Yes, it is missing," answered Sancho.

"In that case we have nothing to eat to-day," said Don Quixote.

"It would be so," said Sancho, "should the herbs of the field fail us, which your worship says you know of, and with which you have told me knights-errant must supply their wants."

"Nevertheless," answered Don Quixote, "I would rather just now have a hunch of bread, or a cottage loaf and a couple of pilchards' heads, than all the herbs that Dioscorides has described. But before thou mountest thine ass, lend me here thy hand and see how many teeth are lacking on this right side of my upper jaw, for there I feel the pain."

Sancho put his fingers in, and, feeling about, asked: "How many teeth did your worship have before, on this side?"

"Four," replied Don Quixote, "besides the wisdom tooth, all whole and sound."

"Mind well what you say, sir," answered Sancho.

"Four, say I, if not five," said Don Quixote, "for in all my life I never had tooth drawn from my mouth, nor has any fallen out or been destroyed by decay."

"Well, then, in this lower part," said Sancho, "your worship has but two teeth and a half, and in the upper, neither a half nor any, for all is as smooth as the palm of my hand."

"Unfortunate I!" exclaimed Don Quixote, "for I would rather they had deprived me of my arm, as long as it were not my sword arm. Know, Sancho, that a mouth without teeth is like a mill without a grindstone, and a tooth is more to be prized than a millstone. But all this must we suffer who profess the stern rule of knights-errant. Mount, friend, and lead the way, for I will follow thee what pace thou pleasest."


Retold by Judge Parry

Don Quixote mounted once again on Rozinante, and commanded Sancho to follow him. Dapple, the ass, had been stolen from them one night while they slept, and Sancho was now obliged to walk. They travelled slowly through the thickest and roughest part of the mountains. "What is it that your worship intends to do in this out of the way spot?" asked Sancho.

"I will keep you no longer in the dark," replied Don Quixote. "You must know that Amadis of Gaul was the most perfect of all knights-errant. And as he was the morning star and the sun of all valiant knights, so am I wise in imitating all he did. And I remember that when his lady Oriana disdained his love, he showed his wisdom, virtue, and manhood by changing his name to Beltenebros and retiring to a wild country, there to perform a penance. And as I may more easily imitate him in this than in staying giants, beheading serpents, killing monsters, destroying armies, and putting navies to flight, and because this mountain seems fit for the purpose, I intend myself to do penance here."

By this time they had arrived at the foot of a lofty mountain, which stood like a huge rock apart from all the rest. Close by glided a smooth river, hemmed in on every side by a green and fertile meadow. Around were many fine trees and plants and flowers, which made the spot a most delightful one.

"Here!" cried Don Quixote in a loud voice, "I elect to do my penance. Here shall the tears from my eyes swell the limpid streams, and here shall the sighs of my heart stir the leaves of every mountain tree. O Dulcinea of Toboso, day of my night and star of my fortunes, consider the pass to which I am come, and return a favourable answer to my wishes!"

With this he alighted from Rozinante, and, taking off his saddle and bridle, gave him a slap on his haunches, and said: "He gives thee liberty that wants it himself, O steed, famous for thy swiftness and the great works thou hast done!"

When Sancho heard all this he could not help saying: "I wish Dapple were here, for he deserves at least as long a speech in his praise; but truly, sir knight, if my journey with your letter, and your penance here are really to take place, it would be better to saddle Rozinante again, that he may supply the want of mine ass that was stolen from me."

"As thou likest about that," said Don Quixote; "but thou must not depart for three days as yet, during which time thou shalt see what I will say and do for my lady's sake, that thou mayest tell her all about it."

"But what more can I see," asked Sancho, "than what I have already seen?"

"Thou art well up in the matter, certainly," replied his master, "for as yet I have done nothing, and if I am to be a despairing lover, I must tear my clothes, and throw away mine armour, and beat my head against these rocks, with many other things that shall make thee marvel."

"For goodness' sake," cried Sancho, "take care how you go knocking your head against rocks, for you might happen to come up against so ungracious a rock that it would put an end to the penance altogether. If the knocks on the head are necessary, I should content yourself, seeing that this madness is all make-believe, with striking your head on some softer thing, and leave the rest to me, for I will tell your lady that I saw you strike your head on the point of a rock that was harder than a diamond."

"I thank thee, Sancho, for thy good will," replied the knight, "but the rules of knighthood forbid me to act or to speak a lie, and therefore the knocks of the head must be real solid knocks, and it will be necessary for thee to leave me some lint to cure them, seeing that fortune has deprived us of that precious balsam."

"It was worse to lose the ass," said Sancho, "seeing that with him we lost lint and everything; but pray, your worship, never mention that horrible balsam again, for the very name of it nearly turns me inside out. And now write your letter, and let me saddle Rozinante and begone, for I warrant when I once get to Toboso I will tell the Lady Dulcinea such strange things of your follies and madness, that I shall make her as soft as a glove even though I find her harder than a cork-tree. And with her sweet and honied answer I will return as speedily as a witch on a broom-stick, and release you from your penance."

"But how shall we write a letter here?" said Don Quixote.

"And how can you write the order for the handing over to me of the ass-colts?" asked Sancho.

"Seeing there is no paper," said the knight, "we might, like the ancients, write on waxen tablets, but that wax is as hard to find as paper. But now that I come to think of it, there is Cardenio's pocket-book. I will write on that, and thou shalt have the matter of it written out in a good round hand at the first village wherein thou shalt find a schoolmaster."

"But what is to be done about the signature?" asked Sancho.

"The letters of Amadis were never signed," replied Don Quixote.

"That is all very well," said Sancho, "but the paper for the three asses must be signed, for if it be copied out they shall say it is false, and then I shall not get the ass-colts."

"Well, then, the order for the ass-colts shall be signed in the book," said Don Quixote; "and as for the love-letter, thou shalt put this ending to it, 'Yours till death, the Knight of the Rueful Countenance.' And it will be no great matter that it goes in a strange hand, for as well as I remember Dulcinea can neither read nor write, nor has she ever seen my handwriting. For indeed, during the twelve years I have been loving her more dearly than the light of my eyes, I have only seen her four times, and I doubt if she hath ever noticed me at all, so closely have her father Lorenzo Corchuelo, and her mother Aldonza brought her up."

"Ha! ha!" cried Sancho, "then the Lady Dulcinea of Toboso is the daughter of Lorenzo Corchuelo, and is called Aldonza Corchuelo?"

"That is she," said Don Quixote, "and a lady worthy to be the empress of this wide universe."

"I know her very well," replied Sancho, "and can tell you that she can throw an iron bar with the strongest lad in our village. She is a girl of mettle, tall and stout, and a sturdy lass that can hold her own with any knight-errant in the world. Out upon her, what an arm she hath! Why, I saw her one day stand on top of the church belfry, to call her father's servants from the fields, and, though they were half a league off, they heard her as though she were in the next field; and the best of her is there is nothing coy about her, but she jokes with all and makes game and jest of everybody. To be frank with you, Sir Don Quixote, I have been living under a great mistake, for, really and truly, I thought all this while that the lady Dulcinea was some great princess with whom your worship was in love."

"I have told thee, Sancho, many times before now," said Don Quixote, "that thou art a very great babbler. Understand, then, that my lady Dulcinea is to me as good and beautiful as any princess in the world, and that is enough."

With these words; he took out the pocket-book, and, going aside, began to write with great gravity. When he had ended, he called Sancho to him and read him the following letter:—


"The sere wounded one, O sweetest Dulcinea of Toboso, sends thee the health which he wants himself. If thy beauty disdain me, I cannot live. My good Squire Sancho will give thee ample account, O ungrateful fair one, of the penance I do for love of thee. Should it be thy pleasure to favour me, I am thine. If not, by ending my life I shall satisfy both thy cruelty and my desires.

"Thine until death,


"By my father's life," said Sancho, "it is the noblest thing that ever I heard in my life; and now will your worship write the order for the three ass-colts?"

"With pleasure," answered Don Quixote, and he did as he was desired.

"And now," said Sancho, "let me saddle Rozinante and be off. For I intend to start without waiting to see those mad pranks your worship is going to play. There is one thing I am afraid of, though, and that is, that on my return I shall not be able to find the place where I leave you, it is so wild and difficult."

"Take the marks well, and when thou shouldst return I will mount to the tops of the highest rocks. Also it will be well to cut down some boughs and strew them after you as you go, that they may serve as marks to find your way back."

Sancho did this, and, not heeding his master's request to stay and see him go through some mad tricks in order that he might describe them to Dulcinea, he mounted Rozinante and rode away.

He had not got more than a hundred paces when he returned and said: "Sir, what you said was true, and it would be better for my conscience if I saw the follies you are about to do before I describe them to your lady."

"Did I not tell thee so?" said Don Quixote; "wait but a minute."

Then stripping himself in all haste of most of his clothes, Don Quixote began cutting capers and turning somersaults in his shirt tails, until even Sancho was satisfied that he might truthfully tell the Lady Dulcinea that her lover was mad, and so, turning away, he started in good earnest upon his journey.


Retold by Judge Parry

Don Quixote, left to himself, climbed to the top of a high mountain, and spent his days making poems about the beautiful Dulcinea, which he recited to the rocks and trees around him. In this, and in calling upon the nymphs of the streams, and the satyrs of the woods, to hear his cries, did he pass his time while Sancho was away.

As for his squire, turning out on the highway, he took the road which led to Toboso, and arrived the next day at the inn where he had been tossed in a blanket. He no sooner saw it than he imagined that he was once again flying through the air, and he half made up his mind that he would not enter the inn, although it was now dinner-hour and he felt a marvellous longing to taste some cooked meat again, as he had eaten nothing but cold fare for a good many days.

This longing made him draw near to the inn, remaining still in some doubt as to whether he should enter it or not.

As he stood musing, there came out of the inn two persons who recognised him at once, and the one said to the other: "Tell me, sir curate, is not that horseman riding there Sancho Panza, who departed with Don Quixote to be his squire?"

"It is," said the curate, "and that is Don Quixote's horse."

They knew him well enough, for they were Don Quixote's friends, the curate and the barber, who not so long ago had helped to burn his books and wall up his library; so, wanting to learn news of Don Quixote, they went up to him and said: "Friend Sancho Panza, where have you left your master?"

Sancho Panza knew them instantly, but wanted to conceal the place and manner in which the knight remained, and answered that his master was kept in a certain place by affairs of the greatest importance of which he must say nothing.

"That will not do, friend Sancho," said the barber. "If thou dost not tell us where he is, we shall believe that thou hast robbed and slain him, seeing that thou art riding his horse. Verily thou must find us the owner of the steed, or it will be the worse for thee."

"Your threats do not trouble me, for I am not one who would rob or murder anybody, and, for my master, he is enjoying himself doing penance in the Brown Mountains, where I have just left him."

Then Sancho told them from beginning to end how his master was carrying out his penance, and of the mad pranks he intended to perform, and how he, Sancho, was bearing a letter to the Lady Dulcinea of Toboso, who was none other than the daughter of Lorenzo Corchuelo, with whom the knight was head and ears in love.

Both of them were amazed at what they heard, although they knew something of Don Quixote's madness already. They asked Sancho to show, them the letter he was carrying to the Lady Dulcinea. Sancho told them it was written in the pocket-book, and that he was ordered to get it copied out at the first village he came to.

The curate told him that if he would show it to them, he would make a fair copy of it for him. Then Sancho thrust his hand into his bosom to search for the little book, but he could not find it, nor would he have found it if he had hunted until Doomsday, for he had left it with Don Quixote, who had quite forgotten to give it to him, nor had he remembered to ask for it when he came away. When Sancho discovered that the book was lost, his face grew as pale as death, and feeling all over his body he saw clearly that it was not to be found. Without more ado he laid hold of his beard, and with both his fists plucked out half his hair and gave himself half a dozen blows about his face and nose, so that he was soon bathed in his own blood.

Seeing this, the curate and the barber asked him what was the matter, that he should treat himself so ill.

"What is the matter?" cried poor Sancho. "Why, I have let slip through my fingers three of the finest ass-colts you ever saw."

"How so?" asked the barber.

"Why, I have lost the pocket-book," replied Sancho, "which had in it not only the letter for Dulcinea, but also a note of hand signed by my master addressed to his niece, ordering her to give me three ass-colts of the four or five that were left at his house." So saying, he told them the story of his lost Dapple.

The curate comforted him by telling him that as soon as they had found his master they would get him to write out the paper again in proper form. With this Sancho took courage, and said if that could be done all would be right, for he cared not much for the loss of Dulcinea's letter, as he knew it by heart.

"Say it then, Sancho," said the barber, "and we will write it out."

Then Sancho stood still and began to scratch his head and try to call the letter to memory. He stood first on one leg and then on the other, and looked first to heaven and then to earth, while he gnawed off half his nails, and at the end of a long pause said: "I doubt if I can remember all, but it began, 'High and unsavoury lady.'"

"I warrant you," interrupted the barber, "it was not 'unsavoury' but 'sovereign lady.'"

"So it was," cried Sancho; "and then there was something about the wounded one sending health and sickness and what not to the ungrateful fair, and so it scrambled along until it ended in 'Yours till death, the Knight of the Rueful Countenance.'"

They were both much amused at Sancho's good memory, and praised it highly, asking him to repeat the letter once or twice more to them, so that they might be able to write it down when they got a chance. Three times did Sancho repeat it, and each time he made as many new mistakes. Then he told them other things about his master, but never a word about being tossed in a blanket, although he refused, without giving any reason, to enter the inn, though he begged them to bring him something nice and hot to eat, and some barley for Rozinante, when they had finished their own repast.

With that they went into the inn, and after a while the curate brought him some meat, which Sancho was very glad to see.

Now whilst the curate and the barber were in the inn they discussed together the best means of bringing Don Quixote back to his home, and the curate hit upon a plan which fitted in well with Don Quixote's humour, and seemed likely to be successful. This plan was, as he told the barber, to dress himself like a wandering damsel, while the barber took the part of her squire, and in this disguise they were to go to where Don Quixote was undergoing his penance, and the curate, pretending that he was an afflicted and sorely distressed damsel, was to demand of him a boon, which as a valiant knight errant he could not refuse.

The service which the damsel was to ask was that Don Quixote would follow her where she should lead him, to right a wrong which some wicked knight had done her. Besides this, she was to pray him not to command her to unveil herself or inquire as to her condition, until he had done her right against the wicked knight. And thus they hoped to lead Don Quixote back to his own village, and afterwards to cure him of his mad ideas.

The curate's notion pleased the barber well, and they resolved to carry it out. They borrowed of the innkeeper's wife a gown and a head-dress, leaving with her in exchange the curate's new cassock. The barber made for himself a great beard of a red ox's tail in which the innkeeper used to hang his horse-comb.

The innkeeper's wife asked them what they wanted these things for, and the curate told her shortly all about Don Quixote's madness, and how this disguise was necessary to bring him away from the mountains where he had taken up his abode.

The innkeeper and his wife then remembered all about their strange guest, and told the barber and the curate all about him and his balsam, and how Sancho had fared with the blanket. Then the innkeeper's wife dressed up the curate so cleverly that it could not have been better done. She attired him in a stuff gown with bands of black velvet several inches broad, and a bodice and sleeves of green velvet trimmed with white satin, both of which might have been made in the days of the Flood. The curate would not consent to wear a headdress like a woman's, but put on a white quilted linen nightcap, which he carried to sleep in. Then with two strips of black stuff he made himself a mask and fixed it on, and this covered his face and beard very neatly. He then put on his large hat, and, wrapping himself in his cloak, seated himself like a woman sideways on his mule, whilst the barber mounted his, with a beard reaching down to his girdle, made, as was said, from a red ox's tail.

They now took their leave, and all at the inn wished them a good success; but they had not gone very far when the curate began to dread that he was not doing right in dressing up as a woman and gadding about in such a costume, even on so good an errand. He therefore proposed to the barber that he should be the distressed damsel, and he, the curate, would take the part of the squire and teach him what to say and how to behave. Sancho now came up to them, and, seeing them in their strange dresses, could not contain his laughter.

The curate soon threw off his disguise, and the barber did the same, and both resolved not to dress up any more until they should come nearer to Don Quixote, when the barber should be the distressed damsel and the curate should be the squire.

Then they pursued their journey towards the Brown Mountains, guided by Sancho, to whom they explained that it was necessary that his master should be led away from his penance, if he was ever to become an emperor and be in a position to give Sancho his desired island.


Retold by Judge Parry

The next day they arrived at the place where Sancho had left the boughs strewn along his path, and there he told them they were near to Don Quixote, and that they had better get dressed. For they had told Sancho part of their plan to take away his master from this wretched penance he was performing, and warned him not to tell the knight who they were. They also said that if Don Quixote asked, as they were sure he would, whether he had delivered his letter to Dulcinea, he was to say that he had done so; but as his lady could not read, she had sent a message that he was to return to her. Sancho listened to all this talk, and said he would remember everything, for he was anxious that his master should give up penances and go forth again in search of islands. He also suggested that it were best he should go on in advance, as perhaps the message from Dulcinea would of itself be enough to bring Don Quixote away from the mountains.

With that, Sancho went off into the mountain gorges, leaving the other two behind by a stream overhung with pleasant trees and rocks.

It was one of the hottest days of August, when in those parts the heat is very great, and it was about three in the afternoon when Sancho left them. The two were resting in the shade at their ease when they heard the sound of a voice, not accompanied by any instrument, but singing very sweetly and melodiously. The song surprised them not a little, for this did not seem the place in which to find so good a singer.

The singer finished his song, and the barber and curate, in wonder and delight, listened for more. But as silence continued, they agreed to go in search of this strange musician. As they were moving away he again burst into song, and at the end of this, uttered a deep sigh, and the music was changed into sobs and heartrending moans.

They had not gone far in their search when, in turning the corner of a rock, they saw a man with a black and matted beard, his hair long and untangled, his feet unshod and his legs bare. The curate at once went up to him and the man returned his greeting in a hoarse tone but with great courtesy.

"Whoever you may be, good sirs, I see clearly that, unworthy as I am, there are yet human beings who would show me kindness. My name is Cardenio; the place of my birth one of the best cities in Andalusia; my lineage noble, my parents rich, and my misfortunes so great that I think no one was ever to be pitied as I am. A terrible madness masters me to live in these mountains and many blame my outrageous conduct rather than pity my misery. But if you will listen to my story, you will know why I have been driven here, what has made me mad, and will understand how far I ought to be blamed and how much I may be pitied."

The curate and the barber, who wanted nothing better than to learn the cause of his woe from his own lips, asked him to tell his story.

Upon this Cardenio began in the middle of his story and progressed rapidly in spite of repeated questioning until he came to the book that his beloved Lucinda had borrowed about Amadis Gaul.

There was no interruption from any one on this occasion, so Cardenio went on to tell them how, when Lucinda returned the book he found in it a letter full of tender wishes beautifully expressed.

"It was this letter," continued Cardenio, "that moved me to again ask Lucinda for wife; it was this letter also which made Don Fernando determine to ruin me before my happiness could be complete. I told Don Fernando how matters stood with me, and how her father expected mine to ask for Lucinda, and how I dared not speak to my father about it for fear he should refuse his consent; not because he was ignorant of the beauty and worth of Lucinda, but because he did not wish me to marry so soon, or at least not until he had seen what the Duke Ricardo would do for me. I told Don Fernando that I could not venture to speak to my father about it, and he offered to speak on my behalf, and persuade my father to ask for Lucinda's hand.

"How could I imagine that with a gentleman like Fernando, my own friend, such a thing as treachery was possible? But so it was! And my friend, as I thought him, knowing that my presence was a stumbling-block to his plans, asked me to go to his elder brother's to borrow some money from him to pay for six horses which Fernando had bought in the city. It never entered my thoughts to imagine his villainy, and I went with a right good will to do his errand. That night I spoke with Lucinda, and told her what had been arranged between me and Fernando, telling her to hope that all would turn out well. As I left her, tears filled her eyes, and we both seemed full of misery and alarm, tokens, as I now think, of the dark fate that awaited me. I reached the town to which I was sent, and delivered my letters to Don Fernando's brother. I was well received, but there seemed no haste to send me back again, and I was put off with many excuses about the difficulty of raising the money that Don Fernando needed. In this way I rested several days, much to my disgust, and it seemed to me impossible to live apart from Lucinda for so long a time.

"But on the fourth day after I had arrived, there came a man in search of me with a letter, which, by the handwriting, I knew to be Lucinda's. I opened it, not without fear, knowing that it must be some serious matter which would lead her to write to me, seeing she did it so rarely. I asked the bearer, before I read the letter, who had given it to him, and how long it had been on the way. He answered that, passing by chance at midday through a street in my native city, a very beautiful lady had called to him from a window. Poor thing, said he, her eyes were all bedewed with tears, and she spoke hurriedly, saying: 'Brother, if thou art a good man, as thou seemest to be, I pray thee take this letter to the person named in the address, and in so doing thou shalt do me a great service. And that thou mayest not want money to do it, take what thou shalt find wrapped in that handkerchief.'

"'So saying she threw out of the window a handkerchief in which was wrapped a hundred reals, this ring of gold which I carry here, and this letter which I have given you. I made signs to her that I would do what she bade, and as I knew you very well I made up my mind not to trust any other messenger, but to come myself, and so I have travelled this journey, which you know is some eighteen leagues, in but sixteen hours.'

"Whilst the kind messenger was telling his story, I remained trembling with the letter in my hand, until at last I took courage and opened it, when these words caught my eyes:—

"'The promise Don Fernando made to you to persuade your father to speak to mine, he has kept after his own fashion. Know, then, that he has himself asked me for wife, and my father, carried away by his rank and position, has agreed to his wishes, so that in two days we are to be privately married. Imagine how I feel, and consider if you should not come at once. Let me hope that this reaches your hand ere mine be joined to his who keeps his promised faith so ill.'

"Such were the words of her letter, and they caused me at once to set out on my journey without waiting for the despatch of Don Fernando's business, for now I knew that it was not a matter of buying horses, but the pursuit of his own wretched pleasure, that had led to my being sent to his brother. The rage which I felt for Don Fernando, joined to the fear I had of losing the jewel I had won by so many years of patient love, seemed to lend me wings, and I arrived at my native city as swiftly as though I had flown, just in time to see and speak with Lucinda. I entered the city secretly, and left my mule at the house of the honest man who had brought my letter, and went straight to the little iron gate where I had so often met Lucinda.

"There I found her, and as soon as she saw me she said in deep distress: 'Cardenio, I am attired in wedding garments, and in the hall there waits for me the traitor, Don Fernando, and my covetous father, with other witnesses, who shall see my death rather than my wedding. Be not troubled, dear friend, for if I cannot persuade them to give me my freedom, I can at least end my life with this dagger.'

"I answered her in great distress, saying: 'Sweet lady, if thou carriest a dagger, I also carry a sword to defend thy life, or to kill myself, should fortune be against us.'

"I believe she did not hear all I said, for she was hastily called away, and I aroused myself from my grief, as best I could, and went into the house, for I knew well all the entrances and exits. Then, without being seen, I managed to place myself in a hollow formed by the window of the great hall, which was covered by two pieces of tapestry drawn together, whence I could see all that went on in the hall without any one seeing me.

"The bridegroom entered the hall, wearing his ordinary dress. His groomsman was a first cousin of Lucinda's, and no one else was in the room but the servants of the house. In a little while Lucinda came out of her dressing-room with her mother and two of her maids. My anxiety gave me no time to note what she wore. I was only able to mark the colours, which were crimson and white; and I remember the glimmer with which the jewels and precious stones shone in her head-dress. But all this was as nothing to the singular beauty of her fair golden hair.

"When they were all stood in the hall, the priest of the parish entered, and, taking each by the hand, asked: 'Will you, Lady Lucinda, take the Lord Don Fernando for your lawful husband?' I thrust my head and neck out of the tapestry to hear what Lucinda answered. The priest stood waiting for a long time before she gave it, and then, when I expected, nay, almost hoped, that she would take out the dagger to stab herself, or unloose her tongue to speak the truth, or make some confession of her love for me, I heard her say in a faint and languishing voice, 'I will.'

"Then Don Fernando said the same, and, giving her the ring, the knot was tied. But when the bridegroom approached to embrace her, she put her hand to her heart and fell fainting in her mother's arms.

"It remains only for me to tell in what a state I was, when in that 'Yes!' I saw all my hopes at an end. I burned with rage and jealousy. All the house was in a tumult when Lucinda fainted, and, her mother unclasping her dress to give her air, found in her bosom a paper, which Fernando seized and went aside to read by the light of a torch. Whilst he read it he fell into a chair and covered his face with his hands in melancholy discontent.

"Seeing every one was in confusion I ventured forth, not caring where I went, not having even a desire to take vengeance on my enemies. I left the house, and came to where I had left my mule, which I caused to be saddled. Then without a word of farewell to any one I rode out of the city, and never turned my head to look back at it again.

"All night I travelled, and about dawn I came to one of the entrances to these mountains, through which I wandered three days at random. I then left my mule, and such things as I had, and took to living in these wilds. My most ordinary dwelling is in the hollow of a cork-tree, which is large enough to shelter this wretched body. The goatherds who live among these mountains give me food out of charity. They tell me, when they meet me in my wits, that at other times I rush out at them and seize with violence the food they would offer me in kindness.

"I know that I do a thousand mad things, but without Lucinda I shall never recover my reason, and I feel certain that my misery can only be ended by death."


Retold by Judge Parry

As soon as Cardenio had finished his melancholy story, the curate was about to offer him some consolation, when he was stopped by hearing a mournful voice calling out: "Oh that I could find an end to this life of misery! Alas, how much more agreeable to me is the company of these rocks and thickets than the society of faithless man! Would that I had any one to advise me in difficulty, to comfort me in distress, or to avenge my wrongs!" This was overheard by the curate and all who were with him, and thinking that the person who spoke must be hard by, they went to search, and had not gone twenty paces when they saw behind a large rock a boy sitting under an ash-tree. He wore a peasant's dress, but as he was bending down to wash his feet in the brook, his head was turned from them. They approached softly and without speaking, while his whole attention was employed in bathing his legs in the stream. They wondered at the whiteness and beauty of his feet, that did not seem formed to tread the furrows, or follow the cattle or the plough, as his dress seemed to suggest. The curate, who was ahead of the rest, made signs to them to crouch down, or hide themselves behind a rock. This done, they all gazed at the beautiful youth, who was clad in a grey jacket, and wore breeches and hose of the same cloth, with a grey hunting-cap on his head. Having washed his delicate feet, he wiped them with a handkerchief which he took out of his cap, and in doing so he raised his head, showing to those who were looking at him a face of such exquisite beauty that Cardenio murmured: "Since this is not Lucinda, it can be no earthly but some celestial being."

The youth took off his cap, and, shaking his head, a wealth of hair, that Apollo might have envied, fell down upon his shoulders, and discovered to them all that the peasant was not only a woman, but one of the most delicate and handsome women they had ever seen. Even Cardenio had to admit to himself that only Lucinda could rival her in beauty. Her golden locks fell down in such length and quantity that they not only covered her shoulders, but concealed everything except her feet, and the bystanders more than ever desired to know who this mysterious beauty might be. Some one advanced, and at the noise the beauteous phantasy raised her head, and thrust aside her locks with both hands, to see what it was that had startled her. No sooner did she perceive them than she started up, and, without staying to put on her shoes or tie up her hair, seized her bundle, and took to flight full of alarm, but she had not run six yards when her delicate feet, unable to bear the roughness of the stones, failed her, and she fell to the ground.

They all ran to her assistance, and the curate, who was first, said: "Stay, madam, whosoever you are; those you see here have no desire to harm you, and there is therefore no necessity whatever for flight."

To this she made no reply, being ashamed and confused, but the curate, taking her hand, continued in a kindly manner: "Madam, it can be no slight cause that has hidden your beauty in such an unworthy disguise, and brought you to this lonely place where we have found you. Let us at least offer you our advice and counsel in your distress, for no sorrow can be so great that kind words may not be of service. Therefore, madam, tell us something of your good or evil fortune, that we may help you in your troubles as best we can."

At first, while the curate spoke, the disguised damsel stood rapt in attention, and gaped and gazed at them all as if she were some stupid villager, who did not understand what was said; but finding that the curate understood something of her secret, she sighed deeply, and said: "Since these mountains cannot conceal me, and my poor hair betrays my secret, it would be vain for me to pretend things which you could not be expected to believe. Therefore I thank you all, gentlemen, for your kindness and courtesy, and I will tell you something of my misfortunes, not to win your pity, but that you may know why it is I wander here alone and in this strange disguise."

All this was said in such a sweet voice, and in so sensible a manner, that they again assured her of their wish to serve her, and begged that she would tell them her story.

To this she replied by putting on her shoes and binding up her hair, and seating herself upon a rock in the midst of her three hearers. Then, brushing away a few tears from her eyes, she began in a clear voice the story of her life.

"In the Province of Andalusia there is a certain town from which a great duke takes his name, which makes him one of our grandees, as they are called in Spain. He has two sons. The elder is heir to his estates, the younger is heir to I know not what, unless it be his father's evil qualities. To this nobleman my parents are vassals, of humble and low degree, but still so rich that if nature had gifted them with birth equal to their wealth, I should have been nobly born, nor should I now have suffered these strange misfortunes. They are but farmers and plain people, and what they mostly prized was their daughter, whom they thought to be the best treasure they had. As they had no other child, they were almost too affectionate and indulgent, and I was their spoilt child. And as I was the mistress of their affection, so also was I mistress of all their goods. I kept the reckoning of their oil-mills, their wine-presses, their cattle and sheep, their beehives—in a word, of all that a rich farmer like my father could possess. I engaged and dismissed the servants, and was the stewardess of the estate. The spare hours that were left from the management of the farm I spent with the needle, the lace cushion, and the distaff, or else I would read some good hook or practise upon my harp.

"This was the life that I led in my father's house. And though I seldom went abroad except to church, yet it seems I had attracted the eyes of the duke's younger son, Don Fernando, for so he was called."

No sooner did she mention the name of Don Fernando than Cardenio's face changed colour, and the curate and barber noticing it, feared that he would burst out into one of his mad fits. But he did nothing but tremble and remain silent, and the girl continued her story.

"No sooner, then, had Don Fernando seen me than he was smitten with love for me, and from that moment I had no peace. I could not sleep for his serenades. I had numerous letters from him, full of declarations of love, and at last at his earnest entreaty we had many meetings. But though he talked much of love, yet I knew that his father would not allow him to marry the daughter of one of his own vassals, and my parents both assured me that the duke would never consent to our marriage.

"One evening Don Fernando gave me a beautiful ring, and promised that he would always be true to me, and from that moment I felt that I was betrothed to him, and that he really intended, in spite of the duke's opposition, to make me his wife. For some days I lived in the greatest joy, and Don Fernando came constantly to see me, but after a while his visits grew less frequent, and at last ceased altogether, and I heard that he had gone on a visit to another city.

"I waited in hopes of receiving a letter from him, but none came. Ah, how sad and bitter those days and hours were to me, when I first began to doubt and even to disbelieve in my lover's faith! I had to keep watch on my tears, and wear a happy face for fear my parents should find out the reason of my unhappiness. All this time of doubt, however, came to an end at an instant. For at last it was announced in the town that Don Fernando had married, in the city where he was visiting, a damsel of exceeding beauty and of very noble birth called Lucinda, and there were many strange tales told of their wedding."

Cardenio, hearing the name of Lucinda, did nothing but shrug his shoulders, bow his head, and shed bitter tears. But yet, for all that, Dorothea, for such was the maiden's name, did not interrupt the thread of her story, but continued.

"When this doleful news reached my ears, I was inflamed with rage and fury. I ordered one of my father's shepherds to attend me, and without saying a word to my parents, I packed up some dresses and some money and jewels, and set off on foot for the city where Don Fernando had gone, that I might get from him at least some explanation of his wickedness. In two days and a half I arrived at my journey's end, and the first person I asked told me the whole story of Don Fernando's wedding. He told me that at the time of the wedding, after Lucinda had uttered her consent to be Fernando's wife, she had fainted, and there fell from her bosom a letter written in her own hand, in which she said that she could not be the wife of Don Fernando, because she was betrothed to Cardenio, a gentleman of that city. The letter went on to say that she intended to kill herself at the end of the ceremony, and upon her was found a dagger, which seemed to bear out what she said. Don Fernando seeing this, and thinking that Lucinda had mocked him, would have stabbed her with the dagger had her parents not prevented him. After this, I was told, Don Fernando fled, and I learned that this Cardenio had been present at the wedding, and, hearing her words, had vanished from the city in despair, leaving a letter behind, declaring the wrongs Lucinda had done to him. The whole city were talking of these terrible things, and they talked the more when it was known that Lucinda was missing from her father's house, and that her parents had almost lost their reason in their distress. When I heard all these things I made up my mind I would find Don Fernando, married or unmarried. But before I left the city on my search, I was told there was a proclamation made by the public crier, offering a large reward for any one who should bring me back to my parents. Fearing that this might tempt the shepherd to betray my whereabouts, I made my escape from the city, and in this disguise came to the Brown Mountains, where I have lived for some months with an old goatherd, and I help him to tend his goats. Here I have managed to pass as a peasant lad until my hair betrayed me to you gentlemen as what I am, a distressed and unfortunate maiden. This is indeed the true story of my tragedy, for which consolation is in vain, and relief, I fear me, impossible."


Retold by Judge Parry

When the unfortunate Dorothea had finished her story, she remained silent, her face flushed with sorrow; and as the priest was about to comfort her, Cardenio took her by the hand and said: "Lady, thou art the beautiful Dorothea, daughter unto rich Cleonardo."

Dorothea was amazed when she heard her father's name spoken by a person of such wretched appearance as Cardenio, and answered: "Who art thou, friend, that knowest so well my father's name? For, unless I am mistaken, I did not once name him throughout all my story."

"I am," said Cardenio, "the unlucky one to whom Lucinda was betrothed; and I, too, had thought that I was without hope of comfort. But now I hear that Lucinda will not marry Fernando because she is mine, and Fernando cannot marry Lucinda because he is yours, it seems to me that there is yet some consolation for both of us. And I vow, on the faith of a gentleman, not to forsake you until I see you in the possession of Don Fernando."

The curate now told them both the nature of his errand, and begged that they would join him in his travels, and stay as long as they pleased at his village. By this time they heard the voice of Sancho Panza, who, not finding them where he had left them, was calling out as loudly as he might.

They went to meet him, and asked for Don Quixote. Sancho told them that he had found him almost naked to his shirt, lean and yellow, half dead with hunger, and sighing for the Lady Dulcinea; and although he had told him that she commanded him to journey to Tohoso, yet he declared that he had made up his mind not to appear before her until he had done feats worthy of her great beauty.

The curate now returned and told Dorothea of their plan, and she at once offered to act the part of the distressed damsel, for she had a lady's dress in the bundle which she carried.

"The sooner, then, we set about our work the better," said the barber.

Dorothea retired to put on her robe of a fine rich woollen cloth, a short mantle of another green stuff, and a collar and many rich jewels which she took from a little casket. With these things she adorned herself so gorgeously that she appeared to be a princess at least. When Sancho saw her he was amazed, and asked the curate with great eagerness to tell him who the lady was, and what she was doing in these out of the way places.

"This beautiful lady, brother Sancho," replied the curate, "is the heiress in direct line of the mighty Kingdom of Micomicon, who has come in search of thy master, to ask of him a boon, which is to avenge her of a wrong done by a wicked giant. And, owing to the great fame of thy master which has spread through all lands, this beautiful princess has come to find him out."

"A happy searcher and a happy finding," cried Sancho; "my master shall soon slay the great lubber of a giant, unless he turn out to be a phantom, for he has no power over those things. And when this is done, my lord shall marry the princess, whose name, by the bye, you have not yet told me, and by this means shall he become an emperor, and have islands to give away."

"Her name," replied the curate, "is the Princess Micomicona, and as to your master's marriage, I will do what I can to help."

Sancho was quite satisfied with these answers, and, when Dorothea had mounted the mule, he guided them towards the spot where Don Quixote was to be found. And as they went along, the barber told Sancho he must in no way pretend to know who he was, for if he did, Don Quixote would never leave the mountains and would never become an emperor. The curate and Cardenio remained behind, promising to join them again on the first opportunity.

Having travelled about three-quarters of a league, they found Don Quixote clothed, though still unarmed, sitting amidst the rocks. No sooner did Sancho tell Dorothea that this was his master than she whipped up her palfrey, closely followed by the well-bearded barber, who jumped from his mule, and ran to help his lady alight.

Quickly dismounting, she threw herself on her knees before Don Quixote, and refusing his efforts to raise her, spoke as follows: "Never will I rise from this position, most valiant and invincible knight, until you grant me a boon which will not only add to your honour and renown, but also assist the most injured and unfortunate damsel that ever the sun beheld. And if the valour of your mighty arm be equal to what I have heard of your immortal fame, you can indeed render aid to a miserable being who comes from a far-distant land to seek your help."

"Beauteous lady," replied Don Quixote, "I will not answer one word, nor hear a jot of your affairs, until you rise from the ground."

"I will not rise, my lord," answered the unfortunate maiden, "until I have obtained from you the boon I beg."

"Dear lady," replied Don Quixote, "it is granted, so that it be not anything that touches my duty to my king, my country, or the chosen queen of my heart."

"Your kindness shall in no way affect them," replied Dorothea.

At this moment Sancho came up and whispered softly in his master's ear: "Sir, you may very well grant the request she asketh, for it is a mere nothing; it is only to kill a monstrous giant, and she that demands it is the Princess Micomicona, Queen of the great Kingdom of Micomicon in Ethiopia."

"Let her be what she will," said Don Quixote, "I will do my duty towards her." And then turning to the damsel, he said: "Rise, most beautiful lady, for I grant you any boon you shall please to ask of me."

"Why, then," said Dorothea, "what I ask of you is, that you will at once come away with me to the place where I shall guide you, and that you promise me not to undertake any new adventure, until you have revenged me on a traitor who has driven me out of my kingdom."

"I grant your request," said Don Quixote, "and therefore, lady, you may cast away from this day forward all the melancholy that troubles you, for this mighty arm shall restore you to your kingdom."

The distressed damsel strove with much ado to kiss his hand, but Don Quixote, who was a most courteous knight, would not permit it, and, making her arise, treated her with the greatest respect.

He now commanded Sancho to saddle Rozinante and help him to arm himself, and this done the knight was ready to depart. The barber, who had been kneeling all the while, had great difficulty to stop laughing aloud at all this, and his beard was in danger of falling off. He was glad to get up and help his lady to mount the mule, and when Don Quixote was mounted, and the barber himself had got upon his beast, they were ready to start. As for Sancho, who trudged along on foot, he could not help grieving for the loss of his Dapple; but he bore it all with patience, for now he saw his master on the way to marry a princess, and so become at least King of Micomicon, though it grieved him to think that that country was peopled by blackamoors, and that when he became a ruler his vassals would all be black.

While this was going on, the curate and Cardenio had not been idle. For the curate was a cunning plotter, and had hit on a bright idea. He took from his pocket a pair of scissors, and cut off Cardenio's rugged beard and trimmed his hair very cleverly. And when he had thrown his riding-cloak over Cardenio's shoulders, he was so unlike what he was before, that he would not have known himself in a looking-glass. This finished, they went out to meet Don Quixote and the others.

When they came towards them, the curate looked earnestly at the knight for some time, and then ran towards him with open arms, saying: "In a good hour is this meeting with my worthy countryman, the mirror of knighthood, Don Quixote of the Mancha, the champion of the distressed."

Don Quixote did not at first know him, but when he remembered the curate he wanted to alight, saying: "It is not seemly, reverend sir, that I should ride whilst you travel on foot."

But the curate would not allow him to dismount and give him his horse, but suggested that he might ride behind the lady's squire on his mule.

"I did not think of that, good master curate," said Don Quixote; "but I know my lady the princess will for my sake order her squire to lend you the use of his saddle."

"That I will," said the princess; "and I know my squire is the last man to grudge a share of his beast to this reverend father."

"That is most certain," said the barber, and got off his steed at once.

The curate now mounted, but the misfortune was that when the barber tried to get up behind, the mule, which was a hired one, lifted up her legs and kicked out with such fury that she knocked Mr. Nicholas to the ground, and, as he rolled over, his beard fell off and lay upon the earth. Don Quixote, seeing that huge mass of beard torn from the jaw without blood, and lying at a distance from the squire's face, said: "This, I vow, is one of the greatest miracles I ever saw in my life. The beard is taken off as clean by the heel of the mule as if it had been done by the hand of a barber."

The curate, seeing the risk they ran of their plan being found out, came to where Master Nicholas was lying, and with one jerk clapped it on again, muttering as he did so some Latin words, which he said were a charm for fixing on beards.

By this means, to Don Quixote's amazement, the squire was cured again, and he asked the curate to tell him this charm, which, he said, since it could heal a wound of this kind, must be good for even more dangerous injuries.

The curate agreed to tell him the secret some other day, and, having mounted the mule, the party rode slowly away towards the inn.


Retold by Judge Parry

The curate rode first on the mule, and with him rode Don Quixote and the princess. The others, Cardenio, the barber, and Sancho Panza, followed on foot.

And as they rode, Don Quixote said to the damsel: "Madam, let me entreat your highness to lead the way that most pleaseth you."

Before she could answer, the curate said: "Towards what kingdoms would you travel? Are you for your native land of Micomicon?"

She, who knew very well what to answer, being no babe, replied: "Yes, sir, my way lies towards that kingdom."

"If it be so," said the curate, "you must pass through the village where I dwell, and from thence your ladyship must take the road to Carthagena, where you may embark. And, if you have a prosperous journey, you may come within the space of nine years to the Lake Meona, I mean Meolidas, which stands on this side of your highness's kingdom some hundred days' journey or more."

"You are mistaken, good sir," said she, "for it is not yet fully two years since I left there, and, though I never had fair weather, I have arrived in time to see what I so longed for, the presence of the renowned Don Quixote of the Mancha, whose glory was known to me as soon as my foot touched the shores of Spain."

"No more," cried Don Quixote. "I cannot abide to hear myself praised, for I am a sworn enemy to flattery. And though I know what you speak is but truth, yet it offends mine ears. And I can tell you this, at least, that whether I have valour or not, I will use it in your service, even to the loss of my life. But let me know, master curate, what has brought you here?"

"You must know, then," replied the curate, "that Master Nicholas, the barber, and myself travelled towards Seville to recover certain sums of money which a kinsman of mine in the Indies had sent me. And passing yesterday through this way we were set upon by four robbers, who took everything that we had. And it is said about here, that those who robbed us were certain galley slaves, who they say were set at liberty, almost on this very spot, by a man so valiant that in spite of the guard he released them all. And doubtless he must be out of his wits, or else he must be as great a knave as they, to loose the wolf among the sheep, and rebel against his king by taking from the galleys their lawful prey."

Sancho had told the curate of an adventure they had had with galley slaves, and the curate spoke of it to see what Don Quixote would say. The knight, however, durst not confess his part in the adventure, but rode on, changing colour at every word the curate spoke.

When the curate had finished, Sancho burst out: "By my father, master curate, he that did that deed was my master, and that not for want of warning, for I told him beforehand that it was a sin to deliver them, and that they were great rogues who had been sent to the galleys to punish them for their crimes."

"You bottlehead!" replied Don Quixote. "It is not the duty of knights-errant to examine whether the afflicted, enslaved, and oppressed whom they meet by the way are in sorrow for their own default; they must relieve them because they are needy and in distress, looking at their sorrow and not at their crimes. And if any but the holy master curate shall find fault with me on this account, I will tell him that he knows nought of knighthood, and that he lies in his throat, and this I will make him know by the power of my sword."

Dorothea, who was discreet enough to see they were carrying the jest too far, now said: "Remember, sir knight, the boon you promised me, never to engage in any other adventure, be it ever so urgent, until you have seen me righted. And had master curate known that it was the mighty arm of Don Quixote that freed the galley slaves, I feel sure he would have bit his tongue through ere he spoke words which might cause you anger."

"That I dare swear," said the curate.

"Madam," replied Don Quixote, "I will hold my peace and keep my anger to myself, and will ride on peaceably and quietly until I have done the thing I promised. Tell me, therefore, without delay, what are your troubles and on whom am I to take revenge."

To this Dorothea replied: "Willingly will I do what you ask, so you will give me your attention."

At this Cardenio and the barber drew near to hear the witty Dorothea tell her tale, and Sancho, who was as much deceived as his master, was the most eager of all to listen.

She, after settling herself in her saddle, began with a lively air to speak as follows: "In the first place, I would have you know, gentlemen, that my name is—" Here she stopped a moment, for she had forgotten what name the curate had given her.

He, seeing her trouble, said quickly: "It is no wonder, great lady, that you hesitate to tell your misfortunes. Great sufferers often lose their memory, so that they even forget their own names, as seems to have happened to your ladyship, who has forgotten that she is called the Princess Micomicona, heiress of the great Kingdom of Micomicon."

"True," said the damsel, "but let me proceed. The king, my father, was called Tinacrio the Sage, and was learned in the magic art. By this he discovered that my mother, the Queen Xaramilla, would die before him, and that I should soon afterwards be left an orphan. This did not trouble him so much as the knowledge that a certain giant, called Pandafilando of the Sour Face, lord of a great island near our border, when he should hear that I was an orphan, would pass over with a mighty force into my kingdom and take it from me. My father warned me that when this came to pass I should not stay to defend myself, and so cause the slaughter of my people, but should at once set out for Spain, where I should meet with a knight whose fame would then extend through all that kingdom. His name, he said, should be Don Quixote, and he would be tall of stature, have a withered face, and on his right side, a little under his left shoulder, he should have a tawny spot with certain hairs like bristles."

On hearing this, Don Quixote said: "Hold my horse, son Sancho, and help me to strip, for I would know if I am the knight of whom the sage king spoke."

"There is no need," said Sancho, "for I know that your worship has such a mark near your backbone."

"It is enough," said Dorothea, "for among friends we must not be too particular, and whether it is on your shoulder or your backbone is of no importance. And, indeed, no sooner did I land in Osuna than I heard of Don Quixote's fame, and felt sure that he was the man."

"But how did you land in Osuna, madam," asked Don Quixote, "seeing that it is not a sea town?"

"Sir," said the curate, "the princess would say that she landed at Malaga, and that Osuna was the first place wherein she heard tidings of your worship."

"That is so," said Dorothea; "and now nothing remains but to guide you to Pandafilando of the Sour Face, that I may see you slay him, and once again enter into my kingdom. For all must succeed as the wise Tinacrio, my father, has foretold, and if the knight of the prophecy, when he has killed the giant, so desires, then it will be my lot to become his wife, and he will at once possess both me and my kingdom."

"What thinkest thou of this, friend Sancho? Did I not tell thee this would come about? Here we have a kingdom to command and a queen to marry."

When Sancho heard all this he jumped for joy, and running to Dorothea stopped her mule, and asking her very humbly to give him her hand to kiss, he kneeled down as a sign that he accepted her as his queen and lady.

All around could scarcely hide their laughter at the knight's madness and the squire's simplicity, and when Dorothea promised Sancho to make him a great lord, and Sancho gave her thanks, it roused their mirth anew.

"Madam," continued Don Quixote, who appeared to be full of thought, "I repeat all I have said, and make my vow anew, and when I have cut off the head of Pandafilando I will put you in peaceable possession of your kingdom, but since my memory and will are captive to another, it is not possible for me to marry."

So disgusted was Sancho with what he heard that he cried out in a great rage: "Surely, Sir Don Quixote, your worship is not in your right senses. Is it possible your worship can refuse to marry a princess like this? A poor chance have I of getting a countship if your worship goes on like this, searching for mushrooms at the bottom of the sea. Is my Lady Dulcinea more beautiful? She cannot hold a candle to her. Marry her! Marry at once, and when you are king make me a governor."

Don Quixote, who heard such evil things spoken of his Lady Dulcinea, could not bear them any longer, and therefore, lifting up his lance, without speaking a word to Sancho, gave him two blows that brought him to the earth, and if Dorothea had not called to the knight to spare him, without doubt he would have taken his squire's life.

"Think you, miserable villain," cried Don Quixote, "that it is to be all sinning on thy side and pardoning on mine? Say, scoffer with the viper's tongue, who dost thou think hath gained this kingdom and cut off the head of this giant and made thee marquis—for all this I take to be a thing as good as completed—unless it be the worth and valour of Dulcinea using my arm as her instrument? She fights in my person, and I live and breathe in her. From her I hold my life and being. O villain, how ungrateful art thou that seest thyself raised from the dust of the earth to be a nobleman, and speakest evil of her who gives thee such honours!"

Sancho was not too much hurt to hear what his master said. He jumped up nimbly and ran behind Dorothea's palfrey, and from there said to his master: "Tell me, your worship, if you are not going to marry this great princess, how this kingdom will become yours, and how you can do me any favours. Pray marry this queen now we have her here. I say nothing against Lady Dulcinea's beauty, for I have never seen her."

"How, thou wicked traitor, thou hast not seen her!" cried Don
Quixote. "Didst thou not but now bring me a message from Her?"

"I mean," replied Sancho, "not seen her for long enough to judge of her beauty, though, from what I did see, she appeared very lovely."

"Ah!" said Don Quixote, "then I do excuse thee, but have a care what thou sayest, for, remember, the pitcher may go once too often to the well."

"No more of this," said Dorothea. "Run Sancho, kiss your master's hand, and ask his pardon. Henceforth speak no evil of the Lady Dulcinea, and trust that fortune may find you an estate where you may live like a prince."

Sancho went up hanging his head and asked his lord's hand, which he gave him with a grave air, and, after he had kissed it, the knight gave him his blessing, and no more was said about it.

While this was passing, they saw coming along the road on which they were a man riding upon an ass, and when he drew near he seemed to be a gipsy.

But Sancho Panza, whenever he met with any asses, followed them with his eyes and his heart, and he had hardly caught sight of the man when he knew him to be an escaped robber, Gines of Passamonte, and the ass to be none other than his beloved Dapple.

Gines had disguised himself as a gipsy, but Sancho knew him, and called out in a loud voice: "Ah! thief Gines, give up my jewel, let go my life, give up mine ass, give up the comfort of my home. Fly, scoundrel! Begone, thief! Give back what is none of thine."

He need not have used so many words, for Gines leaped off at the first and raced away from them all as fast as his legs could carry him.

Sancho then ran up to Dapple, and, embracing him, cried: "How hast thou been cared for, my darling and treasure, Dapple of mine eyes, my sweet companion?" With this he stroked and kissed him as if he had been a human being. But the ass held his peace, and allowed Sancho to kiss and cherish him without answering a word.


Retold by Judge Parry

"Friend Sancho," said Don Quixote, "let us bury all our differences, and tell me when, how, and where didst thou find Dulcinea. What was she doing? What saidst thou to her? What answer made she? How did she look when she read my letter? Who copied it for thee? Tell me all, without adding to it or lying, for I would know everything."

"Master," replied Sancho, "if I must speak the truth, nobody copied out the letter, for I carried no letter at all."

"Thou sayest true," said Don Quixote, "for I found the pocket-book, wherein it was written, two days after thy departure, and I did expect that thou wouldst return for it."

"I had done so," said Sancho, "if I had not carried it in my memory when you read it to me, so that I could say it to a parish clerk, who copied it out of my head, word for word, so exactly that he said that in all the days of his life he had never read such a pretty letter."

"And hast thou it still by heart, Sancho?" asked Don Quixote.

"No, sir, for after I gave it, seeing that it was to be of no more use, I let myself forget it. If I remember, it began, Scrubby Queen, Sovereign Lady, and the ending—yours till death, the Knight of the Rueful Countenance—but between these things I put in three hundred hearts, and loves, and dear eyes."

"All this I like to hear, therefore say on," said Don Quixote. "Thou didst arrive; and what was the Queen of Beauty doing then? I daresay thou foundest her threading pearls or embroidering some curious device with golden threads for this her captive knight."

"No, that I did not," said Sancho, "but winnowing two bushels of wheat in the yard of her house."

"Why, then," said Don Quixote, "thou mayest reckon that each grain of wheat was a pearl, seeing they were touched by her hands. But tell me, when thou didst deliver my letter, did she kiss it? Did she use any ceremony worthy of such a letter? Or what did she?"

"When I went to give it to her," said Sancho, "she was all in a bustle with a good lot of wheat in her sieve, and said to me: 'Lay down that letter there on the sack, for I cannot read it until I have winnowed all that is here.'"

"O discreet lady!" said Don Quixote; "she must have done that, so that she might read and enjoy it at leisure. Go on, then, Sancho, and tell all she said about me, and what thou saidst to her."

"She asked me nothing," replied the squire, "but I told her the state which I left you in for her sake, doing penance, and I told her how you slept on the ground and never combed your beard, but spent your time weeping and cursing your fortune."

"There thou saidst ill," said Don Quixote, "for I do not curse my fortune, but rather bless it, seeing that it hath made me worthy to merit the love of so beautiful a lady as Dulcinea of Toboso. But tell me, after she had sifted her corn and sent it to the mill, did she then read my letter?"

"The letter," replied Sancho, "she did never read, for she said she could neither read nor write, and therefore she tore it into small pieces, and would allow no one to read it lest the whole village might know her secrets. Lastly, she told me that I was to say to your worship that she kissed your hands, and that she had a greater desire to see you than to write to you. Therefore she begged, as you loved her, that you should quit these bushes and brambles, and leave off these mad pranks, and set out for Toboso, for she had a great longing to see your worship. She laughed a good deal when I told her they called your worship the Knight of the Rueful Countenance. I asked her whether the beaten Biscayan came there. She said yes, and that he was a very good fellow. I asked also after the galley slaves you sent; but she told me that she had seen none of them as yet."

"All goes well, then," said Don Quixote; "but tell me, what jewel did she bestow on thee at thy departure for reward of the tidings thou hadst brought? For it is a usual and ancient custom among knights-errant and their ladies to give to their squires, damsels, or dwarfs who bring good tidings, some rich jewel as a reward for their welcome news."

"It may well be," replied Sancho; "and I think it was a most excellent custom, but I doubt if it exists nowadays, for it would seem to be the manner of our age only to give a piece of bread and cheese; for this was all that my Lady Dulcinea bestowed on me when I took my leave, and, by the way, the cheese was made of sheep's milk."

"She is marvellous liberal," said the knight; "and if she gave thee not a jewel of gold, it was doubtless because she had none then about her. But that will be put right some day. Knowest thou, Sancho, at what I am astonished? It is at thy sudden return, for it seems to me thou wast gone and hast come back again in the air, for thou hast been away but a little more than three days, although Toboso is more than thirty leagues from hence. Therefore I do believe that the wise enchanter, who takes care of my affairs and is my friend, must have helped thee to travel without thy being aware of it. For there are sages that take up a knight-errant sleeping in his bed, and, without knowing how or in what manner, he awakes the next day more than a thousand leagues from the place where he fell asleep. For otherwise knights-errant could not help one another in perils as they do now. For it may be that one is fighting in the mountains of Armenia with some dragon or fierce serpent, and is at the point of death, and, just when he least expects it, he sees on a cloud, or in a chariot of fire, some other knight, his friend, who a little before was in England, who helps him and delivers him from danger. And all this is done by the craft and wisdom of those sage enchanters who take care of valorous knights. But, leaving all this apart, what dost thou think I should do about my lady's commands to go and see her?"

"Tell me, good your worship," replied Sancho, "do you intend to journey to Toboso and lose so rich and noble a prize as this princess we have just met at the inn? Peace! take my advice and marry her in the first village that hath a parish priest, or let the curate do it, for he is here, and remember the old saying, 'A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.'"

"Look you, Sancho," said his master, "if you counsel me to marry, to the end that I may be king when I have slain the giant and be able to give you an island, know that I can do that without marrying, for I will make it a condition that upon conquering this monster they shall give me a portion of the kingdom, although I marry not the princess, and this I will bestow upon thee."

"Let it be so, then," said Sancho. "And trouble not your mind, I pray you, to go and see the Lady Dulcinea at this moment, but go away and kill the giant and let us finish off this job, for I believe it will prove of great honour and greater profit."

"I believe, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "that thou art in the right, and I will follow thy advice in going first with the princess rather than visiting Dulcinea."


Retold by Judge Parry

When they had finished their dinner, they saddled and went to horse once more, and travelled all that day and the next without any adventure of note, until they arrived at the inn, which was the dread and terror of Sancho Panza, and though he would rather not have entered it, yet he could not avoid doing so. The innkeeper, the hostess, her daughter, and Maritornes, seeing Don Quixote and Sancho return, went out to meet them with tokens of great love and joy. The knight returned their compliments with grave courtesy, and bade them prepare a better bed than they gave him the last time.

"Sir," said the hostess, "if you would pay us better than the last time, we would give you one fit for a prince."

Don Quixote answered that he would, and they prepared a reasonable good bed for him in the same room where he lay before. Then he went off to bed at once, because he was tired and weary, both in body and mind.

Don Quixote was still asleep when the dinner was served, and during dinner—the innkeeper, his wife, his daughter, and Maritornes being there, as well as all the travellers—they talked of Don Quixote's strange craze, and of the state in which they had found him. The hostess told them of what had happened between him and the carrier, and glancing round to see if Sancho were present, and not seeing him, she told them the story of his being tossed in the blanket, to the no small entertainment of all the company.

The curate told him it was the books of knighthood that Don Quixote had read that had turned his head.

"I know not how that can be," said the innkeeper, "for to my thinking, there is no finer reading in the world; and when it is harvest-time, the reapers here often collect during the midday heat, and one who can read takes one of these books in hand, while some thirty of us get round him, and sit listening with so much delight that I could find it in my heart to be hearing such stories day and night."

"And I think well of them, too," said the hostess, "for when the reading is going on, you are so full of it that you forget to scold me, and I have a good time of it."

"Ah," said her daughter, "I too listen, and though I like not the fights which please my father, yet the lamentations which the knights make when they are away from their ladies make me weep for pity, and I enjoy that."

"We have need here," said the curate, "of our friends, the old woman and the niece. Beware, my good host, of these books, and take care that they carry you not on the road they have taken Don Quixote."

"Not so," said the innkeeper, "I shall not be such a fool as to turn knight-errant; for I see well enough that it is not the fashion now to do as they used to do in the times when these famous knights roamed about the world. All that is of no use nowadays."

Sancho came in in the midst of this, and was amazed to hear them say that knights-errant now were of no use, and that books of knighthood were full of follies and lies, and he made up his mind to see the end of this voyage of his master, and if that did not turn out as happily as he expected, to return home to his wife and children and to his former labours.

At this moment a noise came from the room where Don Quixote was lying, and Sancho went hastily to see if his master wanted anything.

In a few moments he returned, rushing wildly back, and shouting at the top of his voice: "Come, good sirs, quickly, and help my master, who is engaged in one of the most terrible battles my eyes have ever seen. I swear he has given the giant, the enemy of my lady, the Princess Micomicona, such a cut, that he has sliced his head clean off like a turnip."

"What sayest thou, friend?" said the curate. "Art thou in thy wits, Sancho? How can it be as you say, when the giant is at least two thousand leagues from here?"

By this time they heard a marvellous great noise within the chamber, and Don Quixote shouting out: "Hold, thief, scoundrel, rogue! now I have thee, and thy scimitar shall not avail thee!"

And it seemed as if he were striking a number of mighty blows on the walls.

"Do not stand there listening," cried Sancho, "but go in and part the fray, or aid my master. Though I think it will not now be necessary, for doubtless the giant is dead by now, and giving an account of the ill life he led; for I saw his blood was all about the house and his head cut off, which is as big as a great wine-bag."

"May I be hewed in pieces," cried the innkeeper on hearing this, "if Don Quixote has not been slashing at one of the skins of red wine that are standing filled at his bed head, and the wine that is spilt must be what this fellow takes for blood."

So saying he ran into the room, and the rest followed him, and found Don Quixote in the strangest guise imaginable. He was in his shirt, which did not reach to his knees. His legs were very long and lean. On his head he wore a greasy red nightcap which belonged to the inkeeper. Round his left arm he had folded the blanket from off his bed, at which Sancho gazed angrily, for he owed that blanket a grudge. In his right hand he gripped his naked sword, with which he laid round about him with many a thwack, shouting out as if indeed he was at battle with some terrible giant. The best sport of all was that his eyes were not open, for he was indeed asleep, and dreaming that he was fighting a giant. For his imagination was so full of the adventure in front of him that he dreamed that he had already arrived at Micomicon, and was there in combat with his enemy; and he had given so many blows to the wine-bags, supposing them to be the giant, that the whole chamber flowed with wine.

When the innkeeper saw this, he flew into such a rage that he set upon Don Quixote with his clenched fist, and began to pummel him, so that if Cardenio and the curate had not pulled him off, he would have finished the battle of the giant altogether. In spite of this, the poor knight did not awake until the barber got a great kettleful of cold water from the well, and threw it right over him, when Don Quixote woke up, but even then did not understand where he was.

As for Sancho, he went up and down the floor, searching for the giant's head, and seeing he could not find it, said: "Now I know that everything I see in this house is enchanted, for this head is not to be seen here, though I myself saw it cut off with my own eyes, and the blood running from the body as from a fountain."

"What blood or what fountain dost thou cackle of here?" cried the innkeeper. "Thou thief! dost thou not see that the blood and the fountain is no other thing but the wine-bags which are ripped open, and the red wine which swims up and down the room?"

"I know nothing but this," replied Sancho, "that if I cannot find the giant's head, my earldom will dissolve like salt cast into water." For indeed Sancho awake was worse than his master asleep, so greatly had his master's promises turned his brain.

The innkeeper was at his wits' end at seeing the stupidity of the squire and the mischief done by his master, but he determined that they should not as before go away without paying; that knighthood should be no excuse for this, and he would make them pay for the very patches in the wine-skins that had been ruined.

All this time the curate was holding Don Quixote's hands, who, believing that he had finished the adventure and was in the presence of the Princess Micomicona herself, fell on his knees before the curate, and said: "Your highness, exalted and beautiful lady, may live from henceforth secure from any danger that this wretched giant might have done to you; and I am also freed this day from the promise I made to you, seeing that I have with the assistance of her through whose favour I live and breathe, so happily completed my labour."

"Did I not say so?" cried Sancho, hearing his master. "I was not drunk. My master has salted the giant down this time, and my earldom is secure."

Who could help laughing at the follies of the two, master and man? All of them laughed except the innkeeper, who burst out into fits of anger ten times worse than before.

At length the barber, Cardenio, and the curate managed, not without much ado, to get Don Quixote to bed again, and presently left him sleeping, with every sign of being worn out. They let him sleep, and went out to comfort Sancho Panza, whose grief was great at not finding the giant's head. But they had more to do to pacify the innkeeper, who was almost out of his wits at the sudden death of his wine-skins.

His wife, too, was running up and down, scolding and crying out: "Alas, the unlucky hour when this knight-errant came to my house! Would that mine eyes had never seen him, for he has cost me dear. The last time he was here he went away scot free for his supper, bed, straw, and barley for himself, his man, his horse, and his ass, because he said he was a knight-errant. Then for his sake the other gentlemen came and took away my good tail, and have returned it damaged, and now he breaks my wine-skins and spills the wine. I wish I may see as much of his blood spilt." And backed up by Maritornes, the good innkeeper's wife continued her lamentations with great fury.

At length the curate quelled the storm, promising to satisfy them for the wine and the skins, and also for the damage to the tail, about which there was so much fuss. Dorothea comforted Sancho, telling him that as soon as ever it was made certain that his master had slain the giant, and placed her safely in her kingdom, she would give him the best earldom she had.

With this he was consoled, and told her that he himself had seen the giant's head cut off, and that it had a beard which reached down to his girdle, and that if the beard could not now be found it was because the affairs of this house were all guided by enchantment, as he knew to his cost by what had happened to himself in his last visit.

Dorothea replied that she was of the same opinion, and bade him be of good cheer, since all would be well ended to his heart's desire.


Retold by Judge Parry

Later in the day the innkeeper, who was standing at the door, cried out: "Here is a fine troop of guests coming. If they stop here, we may sing and rejoice."

"Who are they?" asked Cardenio.

"Four men on horseback," answered the innkeeper, "with lances and targets, and all with black masks on their faces. With them comes a woman dressed in white, on a side-saddle, and her face also masked, and two lackeys that run with them on foot."

"Are they near?" asked the curate.

"So near," replied the innkeeper, "that they are now arriving." Hearing this, Dorothea veiled her face, and Cardenio went into Don Quixote's room; and they had hardly time to do this when the whole party, of whom the innkeeper had spoken, entered the inn. The four who were on horseback were of comely and gallant bearing, and, having dismounted, went to help down the lady on the side-saddle; and one of them, taking her in his arms, placed her upon a chair that stood at the door of the room into which Cardenio had entered. All this while neither she nor they took off their masks, or said a word, only the lady, as she sank into the chair, breathed a deep sigh, and let fall her arms as one who was sick and faint. The lackeys led away the horses to the stable.

The curate, seeing and noting all this, and curious to know who they were that came to the inn in such strange attire and keeping so close a silence, went after one of the lackeys, and asked of him what he wanted to learn.

"Faith, sir, I cannot tell you who these are, but they seem to be persons of good quality, especially he who went to help the lady dismount. The rest obey him in all things."

"And the lady—who is she?" asked the curate.

"I cannot tell you that neither," replied the lackey, "for I have not once seen her face during all the journey, though I have often heard her groan and utter deep sighs."

"And have you heard the name of any of them?" asked the curate.

"Not I, indeed," replied the man; "they travel in silence, and nothing is heard but the sighs and sobs of the poor lady, and it is our firm belief that, wherever she is going, she is going against her."

"May be it is so," said the curate, and he returned to the inn.

Dorothea, who heard the disguised lady sigh so mournfully, moved by pity, drew near to her and asked: "What ails you, good madam, for I offer you my service and good-will, and would help you as much as lies in my power?"

To this the unhappy lady made no reply; and though Dorothea again spoke kindly to her, yet she sat silent and spoke not a word.

At length the masked gentleman came across and said to Dorothea: "Lady, do not trouble yourself to offer anything to that woman; she is of a most ungrateful nature, and not wont to return any courtesy."

"I have never spoken," said the silent lady, "since I am too unhappy to do so, and am almost drowned in my misfortunes."

Cardenio overheard these words very clearly and distinctly, for he was close to her who uttered them, the door of Don Quixote's room being the only thing that separated them, and he cried aloud: "What is this I hear? What voice is this that hath touched mine ear?"

The lady, moved with a sudden passion, turned her head at these cries, and as she could not see who uttered them, she rose to her feet and would have entered the room, but the gentleman stopped her and would not let her move a step.

This sudden movement loosened the mask, which fell from her face, discovering her marvellous beauty.

But her countenance was wan and pale, and she turned her eyes from place to place as one distracted, which caused Dorothea and the rest to behold her with a vast pity.

The gentleman held her fast by the shoulders, and was so busied that he could not hold up his own mask, which fell from his face, and, as it did so, Dorothea looked up and discovered that it was her lover, Don Fernando.

Scarce had she known him than, breathing out a long and most pitiful "Alas!" from the bottom of her heart, she fell backward in a swoon. And if the barber had not been by good chance at hand, she would have fallen on the ground with all the weight of her body.

The curate removed the veil from her face, and cast water thereon, and Don Fernando, as soon as he looked upon her, turned as pale as death. Cardenio, who had heard the moan which Dorothea uttered, as she fell fainting on the floor, came out of the room, and saw Don Fernando holding his beloved Lucinda.

All of them held their peace and beheld one another; Dorothea looking on Don Fernando, Don Fernando on Cardenio, Cardenio on Lucinda, and Lucinda on Cardenio, all stood dumb and amazed, as folk that knew not what had befallen them.

Lucinda was the first to break the silence. "Leave me, Don Fernando," she cried, "for the sake of what is due to yourself. Let me cleave to the wall whose ivy I am, to his support from whom neither your threats nor your promises could part me."

By this time Dorothea had come to herself, and seeing that Don Fernando did not release Lucinda, she arose, and casting herself at his feet, shed a flood of crystal tears as she thus addressed him: "If the sun of Lucinda's beauty hath not blinded thine eyes, know that she who is kneeling at thy feet is the hapless and miserable Dorothea. I am that lowly country girl to whom thou didst promise marriage. Know, my dear lord, that the matchless love I bear thee may make amends for the beauty and nobility of her for whom thou dost abandon me. Thou canst not be the beautiful Lucinda's, because thou art mine; nor she thine, for she belongs to Cardenio. And all this being so, as in truth it is, and seeing that thou art as good as thou art noble, wherefore put off making me once more happy again? Do not vex the declining years of my parents, who have ever been loyal vassals to thine. For remember, whether thou wilt or no, thou must ever remain my promised husband."

These and many other reasons did the grieved Dorothea use, with so much feeling and so many tears, that all who were present, even those who had come with Don Fernando, could not help from giving her their sympathy.

As for Don Fernando, he stood gazing fixedly at Dorothea for some time, and at last, overwhelmed with remorse and admiration, he took her to his arms, saying: "Thou hast vanquished, O beautiful Dorothea. Thou hast vanquished!"

At the same moment, Cardenio, who had stood close to Don Fernando, started forward to catch the fainting Lucinda, who threw both her arms around his neck, crying: "Thou, and thou only, art my lord and master."

Thus were the true lovers all united, and the good curate, the barber, and even Sancho Panza joined in their tears, delighted that so much joy had taken the place of so much misery. As for Sancho, he excused himself afterwards for his tears, saying he wept only because he saw that Dorothea was not the Queen of Micomicona as he had imagined, from whom he hoped to have received such mighty gifts and favours.

Each in turn told his or her story, and Don Fernando gave an account of all that had befallen him in the city, after he had found the scroll that Lucinda had written in which she declared her love for Cardenio.

And it appeared that, the day after the interruption of the wedding, Lucinda had secretly departed from her father's house, and had fled no one knew whither; but within a few months Don Fernando had learned that she was in a certain convent, intending to remain there all the days of her life, if she could not pass them with Cardenio. As soon as he had learned that, choosing three gentlemen to aid him, he went to the place where she was. One day he surprised her walking with one of the nuns in the cloisters, and carried her off without giving her a chance to resist. From there they brought her to a certain village, where they disguised themselves, and so rode on until they came to the inn. But Lucinda, after she was in his power, did nothing but weep and sigh without speaking a word.

Thus in silence and tears had they reached this inn, which to him and all of them would always remain the most beautiful place in the world, since it had seen the end of so many troubles, and brought him back to his own true love.


Retold by Judge Parry

Sancho gave ear to what he heard with no small grief of mind, seeing that all hopes of his earldom vanished away like smoke, and the fair Princess Micomicona was turned into Dorothea, whilst his master was sound asleep, careless of all that happened. Dorothea could not believe that the happiness she enjoyed was not a dream. Cardenio and Lucinda were of a similar mind, and Don Fernando was truly thankful that he was free from the dangerous path he had taken, which must have ended in loss of all honour and credit.

In a word, all were contented and happy. The curate, like a man of sense, congratulated every one on his good fortune; but she that kept greatest jubilee and joy was the hostess, because Cardenio and the curate had promised to pay all the damages done by Don Quixote.

Only Sancho, as has been said, was unhappy and sorrowful. And thus he went with a melancholy face to his master, who was then just awaking, and said: "Your worship, Sir Knight of the Rueful Countenance, may well sleep on as long as you please, without troubling yourself to kill any giant, or restore to the princess her kingdom, for all that is done and finished already."

"That I well believe," replied Don Quixote, "for I have had the most monstrous and terrible battle with that giant that ever I had all the days of my life; and yet with one back stroke, swish, I tumbled his head to the ground, and his blood gushed forth, so that streams of it ran along the earth as if it had been water."

"As if it had been red wine, your worship might have said," replied Sancho, "for I would have you know, if you do not know already, that the dead giant is no other than a ruined wine-bag, and the blood six-and-twenty gallons of red wine."

"What sayest thou, madman?" cried Don Quixote. "Art thou in thy right wits?"

"Get up, sir," said Sancho, "and you shall see yourself the fine piece of work you have done, and what we have to pay. You shall behold the queen turned into a private lady, called Dorothea, with many other things that may well astonish you."

"I should marvel at nothing," replied Don Quixote, "for if thou rememberest right, I told thee, the other time that we were here, how all that happened here was done by enchantment, and it would be no wonder if it were the same now."

"I should believe it all," replied Sancho, "if my tossing in the blanket had been a thing of that sort. Only it was not so, but very real and certain. And I saw the innkeeper, who is here to this day, hold one end of the blanket and toss me up to the sky with very good grace and strength, and as much mirth as muscle. And where it comes to knowing persons, I hold, though I may be a simpleton and a sinner, that there is no enchantment, but only bruising and bad luck."

"Well," cried Don Quixote, "time will show; but give me my clothes, for I would see these wonders that thou speakest of for myself."

Sancho gave him his clothes, and, whilst he was making him ready, the curate told Don Fernando and the rest, of Don Quixote's mad pranks, and the plan he had used to get him away from the Brown Mountains, where he imagined he was exiled through the disdain of his lady.

The curate told them further, that since the good fortune of the Lady Dorothea prevented them carrying out their scheme, they must invent some other way of taking him home to his village.

Cardenio offered to continue the adventure, and let Luanda take
Dorothea's part.

"No," cried Don Fernando. "It shall not be so, for I will have Dorothea herself carry out her plan, and if the good knight's home is not far from here, I shall be very glad to help in his cure."

"It is not more than two days' journey," said the curate.

"Even if it were more," replied Don Fernando, "I should be happy to make the journey in so good a cause."

At this moment Don Quixote sallied out, completely armed with Mambrino's helmet, which had a great hole in it, on his head, his shield on his arm, and leaning on his lance. His grotesque appearance amazed Don Fernando and his companions very much, who wondered at his gaunt face so withered and yellow, the strangeness of his arms, and his grave manner of proceeding.

All stood silent to see what he would do, whilst the knight, casting his eyes on the beautiful Dorothea, with great gravity and calmness spoke as follows: "I am informed, beautiful lady, by this my squire, that your greatness has come to an end, and your condition is destroyed. For, instead of being a queen and a mighty princess, you are now become a private damsel. If this has been done by the special order of that sage magician, the king your father, because he dreaded that I could not give you all necessary help, I say that he does not know half his art, and has never understood the histories of knightly adventures. For if he had read them with the attention that I have, he would have found how many knights of less fame than myself have ended far more desperate adventures than this, for it is no great matter to kill a giant, be he ever so proud. For in truth it is not so many hours since I myself fought with one; but I will be silent, lest they tell me I lie. Time, the detecter of all things, will disclose it when we least expect."

"Thou foughtest with two wine-bags, not with a giant," cried the innkeeper.

Don Fernando told him to be silent and not to interrupt Don Quixote, who continued his speech thus: "In fine, I say, high and disinherited lady, do not trouble if your father has made this change in you, for there is no peril so great on earth but my sword shall open a way through it, and by overthrowing your enemies' head to the ground I shall set your crown on your own head within a few days."

Don Quixote said no more, but waited for the princess's answer. She knowing Don Fernando's wish that she should continue to carry out their plan, answered with a good grace and pleasant manner, saying: "Whosoever informed you, valorous Knight of the Rueful Countenance, that I have altered and transformed my being, hath not told you the truth, for I am the very same to-day as I was yesterday. True it is that my fortunes have somewhat changed, and given me more than I hoped for or could wish for, but for all that I have not ceased to be what I was before, and I still hope to have the aid of your valorous and invincible arm. Therefore, good my lord, restore to my father his honour, and believe him to be both wise and sagacious, for by his magic he has found me a remedy for all my misfortunes. For I believe that had it not been for you, I should never have attained the happiness I now enjoy, and that I speak the truth these good gentlemen will bear witness. All that is now wanted is that to-morrow morning we set out on our journey. As for the conclusion of the good success I hourly expect, that I leave to the valour of your invincible arm."

Thus spoke the witty Dorothea, and Don Quixote, having heard her, turned to Sancho with an air of great indignation, and said: "Now, I say unto thee, Sancho, thou art the veriest little rascal in all Spain. Tell me, thief and vagabond, didst thou not tell me that this princess was turned into a damsel, and that she was called Dorothea? And that the head that I slashed from a giant's shoulders, was a wine-skin, with a thousand other follies, that threw me into the greatest confusion I was ever in in my life? I vow," he continued, looking up to the heavens and crashing his teeth together, "I vow that I am about to make such a havoc of thee, as shall beat some wit into the pates of all the lying squires that shall hereafter ever serve knights-errant in this world.

"I pray you have patience, good my lord," answered Sancho, "for it may well befall me to be deceived touching the change of the lady and Princess Micomicona. But in what touches the giant's head, or at least the cutting of the winebags, and that the blood was but red wine, I am not deceived, I swear. For the bags lie wounded there at your own bed-head, and the red wine hath made a lake in your room: and all this you will know, when his honour the landlord asks you to pay the damages."

"I tell thee, Sancho, thou art a blockhead," said Don Quixote. "Pardon me, we have had enough of it."

"Enough, indeed," said Don Fernando, "and let me entreat you to say no more of it. Seeing my lady the princess says she will go away to-morrow, as it is too late to depart to-day, let us agree to spend this evening in pleasant discourse."

It was now time for supper, and they all sat down at a long table, for there was not a square or round one in the whole house. And they gave the principal end to Don Quixote, though he did all he could to refuse it; but when he had taken it, he commanded that the Lady Micomicona should sit at his elbow, as he was her champion. The others being placed in due order, they all enjoyed a pleasant supper, listening to the wise, strange discourse that Don Quixote held upon his favourite subject of knightly adventures.


Retold by Judge Parry

Don Quixote, as soon as he found himself free from all the quarrels by which he had been surrounded, held it high time to begin his voyage and bring to an end the great adventure unto which he was called and chosen.

Therefore, having made up his mind to depart, he went and cast himself upon his knees before Dorothea and said: "I cannot but think, high and worthy lady, that our abode in this castle is nothing profitable, and may turn out to our disadvantage. For who knows but that your enemy the giant hath learned by spies or other secret means how I intend to come and destroy him, and he may by now have fortified himself in some impregnable castle or fortress, against the strength of which even the force of mine invincible arm will be of little use. Therefore, dear lady, let us by our diligence hinder his plans, and let us depart to the place where fortune calls us."

Don Quixote said no more but awaited the answer of the beautiful princess, who, with a lordly air and in a style not unworthy of Don Quixote himself, replied as follows:

"I thank you, sir knight, for the desire you show to assist me in this my great need, and I trust your desires and mine may succeed, that I may show you that there are some thankful women on earth. As for my departure, let it be as you wish." * * *

Two days passed, when it seemed to all the noble company at the inn that it was time to depart, and they considered how, without putting Dorothea and Don Fernando to the pain of turning back with Don Quixote to his village, the curate and the barber could carry him home as they desired, and leave him cured of his folly in his own home.

This was the plan they decided on. They made a bargain with a wagoner, who chanced to pass by that way with a team of oxen, to carry him in the following manner:—

They made a thing like a cage of timber, so big that Don Quixote might sit or lie in it at his ease, and presently Don Fernando, Cardemo, their companions, and the innkeeper did all, by master curate's directions, cover their faces and disguise themselves as well as they could, so that they might seem to Don Quixote to be different persons to any he had seen in the castle. This being done, they entered silently into the place where he slept, reposing after his recent battles. They went up to him as he was sleeping peacefully, not fearing any such accident, and, laying hold of him forcibly, they tied his hands and feet very strongly, so that when he started out of his sleep he could not move, nor do anything else but stare and wonder at the strange faces that he saw before him.

And immediately he fell into the idea, which his wild imagination had at once suggested to him, that all these strange figures were spirits and phantoms of that enchanted castle, and he believed that he himself was without doubt enchanted, seeing that he could neither move nor defend himself.

All happened as the curate who plotted the jest expected; and after they had brought him to the cage, they shut him within, and afterwards nailed the bars thereof so well that they could not easily be broken.

Sancho all this time looked on in wonder to see what would happen to his master.

Then the phantoms mounted him upon their shoulders, and as he was carried out of his chamber door the barber called out in as terrible a voice as he could muster: "O Knight of the Rueful Countenance, be not grieved at thine imprisonment, for so it must be that thine adventures be more speedily ended. And thou, O most noble and obedient squire that ever had sword at girdle, beard on a face, or dent in a nose, let it not dismay thee to see carried away thus the flower of all knighthood. For I assure thee that all thy wages shall be paid to thee, if thou wilt follow in the steps of this valorous and enchanted knight. And as I am not allowed to say more, farewell!"

Don Quixote listened attentively to all this prophecy, and said: "O thou, whatsoever thou beest, I desire thee to request in my name that I may not perish in this prison before my work is ended. And as concerns my squire Sancho Panza, I trust in his goodness that he will not abandon me in good or bad fortune. For, though it should fall out through his or my hard lot that I shall not be able to bestow on him an island, as I have promised, his wages cannot be lost to him, for in my will, which is made already, I have set down what he is to have for his many good services."

Sancho Panza bowed his head with great reverence when he heard this, and kissed both his master's hands, which were bound tightly together. Then the phantoms lifted up the cage and hoisted it on to the wagon that was drawn by the team of oxen.

After bidding farewell to all their friends, the procession started. First went the cart guided by the carter, then the troopers, then followed Sancho upon his ass leading Rozinante by the bridle, and last of all the curate and the barber, riding their mighty mules, with masks on their faces.

Don Quixote sat with his hands tied and his legs stretched out, leaning against a bar of the cage, with such a silence and such patience that he seemed rather to be a statue than a man. And thus at an alderman-like pace, such as suited the slow steps of the heavy oxen, they journeyed home.

At the end of two days they arrived at Don Quixote's village, into which they entered about noon. This was on a Sunday, when all the people were in the market-place, through the midst of which Don Quixote's cart passed. All drew near to see what was in it, and when they knew their neighbour they were greatly astounded. A little boy ran home before, to tell the old woman and the niece that their lord and uncle was returned. It would have moved one to pity to have heard the cries and lamentations the two good women made, and the curses they poured out against all books of knighthood, when they saw Don Quixote enter the gates of his own house again in so strange a carriage.

Sancho Panza's wife, when she heard of his return, ran forward to meet her husband, and the first question she asked was whether the ass were in health or no.

Sancho answered that he was come in better health than his master.

"Tell me, then," cried his wife, "what profit hast thou reaped by this squireship? What petticoat hast thou brought me home? What shoes for the little boys?"

"I bring none of these things, good wife," replied Sancho, "though I bring things better thought of and of greater moment."

"I am glad of that," said his wife, "for I should like to see them, to the end that my heart may be cheered, which hath been swollen and sorrowful for so long, all the time of thine absence."

"Thou shalt see them at home," said Sancho, "therefore rest satisfied. For when we travel once again to seek adventures, thou shalt see me shortly afterwards an earl or governor of an island, one of the best in the world."

"I pray that it may be so," replied his wife; "but what means that island, for I understand not the word?"

"Honey is not made for the ass's mouth," said Sancho, "but thou shalt know all in good time. Do not busy thyself, Joan, to know all things in a sudden. It is enough that I will tell thee all the truth, and therefore close thy mouth. I will only say this much unto thee as yet, that there is nothing in the world so pleasant as for an honest man to be the squire of a knight that seeks adventures."

Now, if I were to tell you that Don Quixote got quite well and lived quietly at home after all these adventures, and never went abroad again, I should tell you what is not true. For some day, and I hope at no great distance of time, you may read all that the great Cervantes has written, not only of the adventures of which I have told you the story, but of others. You will then learn how Sancho Panza became at last governor of an island for a short space, and may read of the great wisdom and shrewdness with which he ruled.

End of Project Gutenberg's The Junior Classics, V4, by Willam Patten (Editor)