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"I know him not," said the King. "But I know him well," said Sir Gawaine; "he is as ill a foe to deal with as there is. 'Tis said that he has the strength of seven men, and I myself barely escaped from him with my life." Then the King said to the damsel, "Fair damsel, 5 there are many knights who will gladly undertake this or any other adventure. But, because you will not tell your lady's name, I cannot suffer that any of them should go."
Thereupon out spake Fairhands, for he stood in the 10 hall while the damsel made her request. "Sir King, I have been now for a full year in your hall and have had my sustenance in meat and drink. Now, therefore, I would ask of you the two gifts that I left unsaid at the first." "Ask them," said the King. "First, I ask that 15 I may have this adventure, for it belongs to me." "Thou shalt have it," said the King. "Second, I ask that Sir Lancelot of the Lake make me a knight, and that when I am departed on this errand he should ride after me and give me knighthood where I shall ask it of him.” "All 20 this shall be as you will," said the King.
But the damsel was very wroth. "I call shame on you, Sir King. Shall I have none to help me but a knave from your kitchen?" So saying, she took horse and departed. But one came and told Fairhands that a 25 dwarf had brought him a horse and rich armor and all that he needed for his adventure. And when he was
mounted and armed, it could be seen that he was as fair a man as could be found. Then, coming into the hall, he took leave of King Arthur and of Lancelot and of Gawaine, and so departed.
After a while Sir Kay said openly in the hall, “I will ride after this kitchen boy," and he made ready and, taking his spear, rode after Fairhands. "Ho! Sir Fairhands," cried Sir Kay, "know you me?" "Yes," said he, "I know that you are a very ungentle knight, and 10 therefore I bid you beware of me." Then Sir Kay put his spear in rest and rode at him. Now Fairhands had never a spear, but he rode at Sir Kay with his sword in his hand, and put away Sir Kay's spear with his sword, and smote him so heavy a blow on his side that he fell 15 from his horse as though he were dead. Then Fairhands lighted from his horse and took Sir Kay's shield and spear, and bade the dwarf mount Sir Kay's horse, and so went on his way.
And now came Sir Lancelot, for he had followed hard 20 on Sir Kay. "Will you joust with me?" said Fairhands, "That I will," answered Sir Lancelot. So these two laid their spears in rest, and ran together so fiercely that they bore down each other to the earth. Then rising, they set to with their swords, and they fought together for an 25 hour. And Sir Lancelot, for all that he was the best knight in all the world, marveled at his adversary's strength, for indeed he fought more as a giant than as a
common man, and Sir Lancelot had much ado to keep himself from being shamed.
Then he said: "Fairhands, be not so fierce. Our quarrel is not so deadly that we must needs fight it to the end. Let us agree." "With all my heart," answered 5 Fairhands. "Nevertheless it was good to feel your might; yet I have not showed my strength to the uttermost." "Well," said Sir Lancelot, "I have had great pains to hold my own with you." "Think you, then," said Fairhands, "that I am proved a knight?" "That 10 you are," answered Lancelot, "and I will give you the order of knighthood willingly, but you must first tell me your name." "That will I do," said Fairhands, "if you will not reveal it to any one. Know then that I am Prince Gareth of Orkney, and that I am own brother to 15 Gawaine." ""Tis well," said Sir Lancelot; "I was ever sure that you were of a good stock, and that you came not to the court for meat and drink." Then he gave him the order of knighthood, and after let him depart on his adventure.
But Sir Lancelot caused Sir Kay to be carried back to the King's hall, where he was healed of his wounds, but had a hard matter to come out with his life.
— A. J. CHURCH: Heroes of Chivalry and Romance.
Pen'te cost, a feast of the church; cu'bit, an ancient measure, the length of the forearm, about a foot and a half; seem'ly, becoming; sen'es chal, the chief officer of the household; churl, of low birth;
gently born, nobly born; pot'tage, thick soup; joust'ing, a contest in which knights in armor rode against each other at full speed, each trying to dismount his opponent with his lance; sus'te nance, that which sustains, food; knave, originally, a servant.
1. What is the feast of Pentecost? 2. What three requests did Sir Fairhands make of Arthur? 3. Tell how Fairhands was knighted. 4. How was the word knave used in those days? Compare its former meaning with our use of it. 5. What does anon mean? What is meant by the jousting of knights? What word could you use in place of ungentle ?
THE ADVENTURE OF SIR GARETH (Continued)
SIR FAIRHANDS rode after the damsel and overtook her. But she scorned him and said: "What do you here? You smell of the kitchen, and your clothes are foul with grease and tallow. As for this knight, you had him at 5 a disadvantage, and overcame him in a cowardly fashion. Away with you, you kitchen page. You are but a lazy lubber and a washer of dishes." Say what you will," answered Sir Fairhands, "I will take no heed thereof, nor will I depart till I have finished the adventure which the 10 King has given me on your behalf."
And as they rode, they came to a great forest, where was a river, and but one place by which it might be crossed, and at this place were two knights ready to hinder any that would pass. "See you yonder knights?" 15 said the damsel. "Will you match yourself with them,
or will you go back?" "Go back I will not," said Sir Fairhands, "no, not though there were six more beside the two." So he spurred his horse into the river, for one of the knights stood in the middle of the ford. They broke their spears on each other, and then betook them 5 to their swords, wherewith they gave and received many strokes. But at the last Sir Fairhands dealt the knight of the ford so fierce a stroke that he fell down in the water and was drowned. This done, Sir Fairhands spurred his horse to the shore, whereon stood the other 10 knight, and fought with him, and in no long space clave his head to the shoulders. Then he rode back to the damsel and said to her, "Fair lady, you can pass this way, for there is no one to hinder." "Alas!" said she, "that a kitchen knave should slay two valiant knights, and that 15 by mischance or treachery, for the horse of the one stumbled in the water so that he was drowned, and as for the other, you came behind and slew him by craft." "Say what you will, damsel," answered the knight, “I will follow you still and do that which I am set to do."
So they rode on together, and about the time of even they came to a black hawthorn; on one side was a black banner, and on the other hung a black shield. Hard by a black spear stood fast in the ground, and there was fastened a great horse with trappings of black, and 25 mounted thereon was a knight, clad all in black. "Now fly, while you may, knave," said the damsel. "You