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will always have me a coward," said Sir Fairhands. Then spake the black knight to the damsel, "Fair lady, have you brought this man from King Arthur's court to be your champion?" "Not so," said she, "but he is a 5 knave from the kitchen, where he has been fed for alms." "Why then," said the black knight, "does he ride in your company, and why does he wear a knight's armor?" "Not of my good will," she answered, "but he has overthrown some knights by some mischance." "But," an10 swered the knight, "why did they have to do with such a knave?" "Because, seeing that he rides with me, they hold him to be an honorable man." The black knight answered, "That may well be; but it cannot be denied that he is a man of a fair presence and, as I 15 should judge, of great strength. Yet it is unseemly that he should ride in this fashion. So I will even put him on his feet and suffer him to depart with his life, but his horse and his armor will I keep."

Then spake Sir Fairhands in great anger: "You are 20 right free with my horse and harness, which cost you naught. Verily, you shall not have them, save you win them with your hands. Let me see, then, what you can do." "Say you so?" said the black knight, "now yield, for it is unseemly that a kitchen knave should ride with 25 a lady." Sir Fairhands answered, "I am no kitchen knave, but a gentleman born, and of a better stock than you, and that will I prove upon your body."

Thereupon they went back with their horses, and laid their spears in rest, and charged with a crash as if it had been thunder. The black knight's spear was broken, but Sir Fairhands' spear pierced his adversary's side and stuck fast in it. Nevertheless, he drew his sword and 5 dealt Sir Fairhands many sore strokes, but could not prevail against him, but anon fell from his horse in a swoon, and died within the space of two hours. And Sir Fairhands, seeing that he was well armed and had a right good horse, took these for his own and so rode after 10 the damsel. Nor did she scorn him the less, but said: "Now is this a grievous thing, that such a knave as thou art should by an ill chance slay so good a knight. Nevertheless, I would have you beware, for there will come, and soon, one who shall make you flee." "Damsel," said Sir 15 Fairhands, "it may befall me to be beaten or slain, but your company will I not leave for all that you can say. Now mark you this, that though you say always that some knight shall beat me or slay me, yet ever it falls out that they are cast to the ground and I live. Were 20 it not better that you should hold your peace?"

As they rode together a knight came up whose harness was of green, and the trappings of his horse the same, and he said to the damsel, "Is that my brother, the black knight, whom you have brought with you?" "Nay," 25 said she; "by mishap this kitchen knave has slain your brother." "It is a pity," said the green knight, "that

such a thing should be done, for my brother was a very noble knight." And he turned to Sir Fairhands in great anger, and said: "You shall die for the slaying of my brother." "I defy you," said he; "I slew him in fair 5 battle."

Thereupon the green knight blew three notes upon a horn that hung upon a tree hard by, and when he had blown there came three damsels, and armed him, and all his armor and arms were green. Then the two fought, 10 first with their spears, and afterwards, their spears being broken, with their swords. 'Twas a long battle and a fierce between the two, and neither could gain advantage of the other. But when the damsel cried: "My lord the green knight, for shame! Why stand you fighting so 15 long with this kitchen knave?" the man gathered all his strength, and smote a mighty blow, and clave Sir Fairhands' shield from the top to the bottom.

Sir Fairhands took no little shame to himself when he saw the shield broken, and thought what the damsel 20 would say. But the thing wrought a great wrath in him, and he gave the green knight so hard a buffet on the head that he fell on his knees; and being on his knees, Sir Fairhands caught him by the middle, and threw him on the ground, so that he could not help himself. There25 upon the green knight yielded himself, praying for his life. But he said, ""Tis in vain; you must die, unless this damsel will beg your life of me." So saying, he

unlaced the knight's helmet, as if he would slay him. But the damsel said, "Fie on you, kitchen knave; I will not beg his life of you." "Then must he die," said he.

Then the green knight cried piteously: "Must I die for the lack of one fair word? I will forgive you my 5 brother's death, and swear to serve you, and my thirty knights shall be yours also." Then said Sir Fairhands again, “All this avails nothing if this lady will not speak for you." And so saying, he made pretense to slay him. Then the damsel cried aloud, "Hold thy hand, knave; 10 slay him not." Then said he, "Sir Knight with the green arms, this damsel prays for your life, and because I will not make her angry, but will do all that she puts upon me, I spare you."

Then the green knight rose from the ground, and took 15 them to his castle, which was near by, and treated them courteously. But the damsel was still scornful, and would not suffer Sir Fairhands to sit at table with her, whereat the green knight marveled much, and spake what was in his mind to the damsel. "'Tis passing strange," he 20 said, "that you rebuke this noble knight in so ill a fashion, for a very noble knight he is, and one who may not easily be matched. Be sure, whatsoever he maketh himself, you will find at the last that he is of kingly blood." "Shame on you," cried the damsel in her anger, 25 "that you should say such words of him." "Nay," said he, "it were rather shame if I spake otherwise, for he has

proved himself to be a better knight than I am, and yet I have known many knights in times past, but not one that was his match."

-A. J. CHURCH: Heroes of Chivalry and Romance.

clave, cut open; haw'thorne, a thorny tree or shrub; swoon, faint; buf'fet, a blow with the fist.

1. What is meant by the knight's harness? 2. Of what were the shields of that day made? How were they used? How large were they? By what people besides the knights of the Middle Ages were shields used? How were they ornamented? Why do soldiers of to-day not use them?

37

THE ADVENTURE OF SIR GARETH (Continued)

THE next day they came to another castle, built of fair 5 white stone, with battlements round about it, and over the great gate fifty shields of various colors. The lord of this castle had his armor and horse's trappings all of red, and he was brother to the black knight and to the green. Let it suffice to say that he also fought with Sir Fair10 hands, and was beaten to the ground, and that the damsel was obliged to pray for his life, he promising, for his part, that he and his sixty knights would be Sir Fairhands' men forever. "What I require of you is this," said Sir Fairhands, "that you come, when I shall bid shall bid you, and 5 swear to be the man of my lord King Arthur." will I do," said the other, "with all my

"That

heart."

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