Arthur was accustomed to hold his Court at Caerlleon upon Usk. And there he held it seven Easters and five Christmases. And once upon a time he held his Court there at Whitsuntide. For Caerlleon was the place most easy of access in his dominions, both by sea and by land. And there were assembled nine crowned kings, who were his tributaries, and likewise earls and barons. For they were his invited guests at all the high festivals, unless they were prevented by any great hindrance. And when he was at Caerlleon, holding his Court, thirteen churches were set apart for mass. And thus were they appointed: one church for Arthur, and his kings, and his guests; and the second for Gwenhwyvar and her ladies; and the third for the Steward of the Household and the suitors; and the fourth for the Franks and the other officers; and the other nine churches were for the nine Masters of the Household and chiefly for Cwalchmai; for he, from the eminence of his warlike fame, and from the nobleness of his birth, was the most exalted of the nine. And there was no other arrangement respecting the churches than that which we have mentioned above.
Glewlwyd Gavaelvawr was the chief porter; but he did not himself perform
the office, except at one of the three high festivals, for he had seven
men to serve him, and they divided the year amongst them. They were Grynn,
and Pen Pighon, and Llaes Cymyn, and Gogyfwlch, and Gwrdnei with cat's
eyes, who could see as well by night as by day, and Drem the son of Dremhitid,
and Clust the son of Clustveinyd; and these were Arthur's guards. And
on Whit-Tuesday, as the King sat at the banquet, lo! there entered a tall,
fair-headed youth, clad in a coat and a surcoat of diapered satin, and
a golden-hilted sword about his neck, and low shoes of leather upon his
feet. And he came, and stood before Arthur. "Hail to thee, Lord!"
said he. "Heaven prosper thee," he answered, "and be thou
welcome. Dost thou bring any new tidings?" "I do, Lord,"
he said. "I know thee not," said Arthur. "It is a marvel
to me that thou dost not know me. I am one of thy foresters, Lord, in
the Forest of Dean, and my name is Madawc, the son of Twrgadarn."
"Tell me thine errand," said Arthur. "I will do so, Lord,"
said he. "In the Forest I saw a stag, the like of which beheld I
never yet." "What is there about him," asked Arthur, "that
thou never yet didst see his like?" "He is of pure white, Lord,
and he does not herd with any other animal through stateliness and pride,
so royal is his bearing. And I come to seek thy counsel, Lord, and to
know thy will concerning him." "It seems best to me," said
Arthur, "to go and hunt him to-morrow at break of day; and to cause
general notice thereof to be given to-night in all quarters of the Court."
And Arryfuerys was Arthur's chief huntsman, and Arelivri was his chief
page. And all received notice; and thus it was arranged. And they sent
the youth before them. Then Gwenhwyvar said to Arthur, "Wilt thou
permit me, Lord," said she, "to go to-morrow to see and hear
the hunt of the stag of which the young man spoke?" "I will
gladly," said Arthur. "Then will I go," said she. And Gwalchmai
said to Arthur, "Lord, if it seem well to thee, permit that into
whose hunt soever the stag shall come, that one, be he a knight, or one
on foot, may cut off his head, and give it to whom he pleases, whether
to his own lady-love, or to the lady of his friend." "I grant
it gladly," said Arthur, "and let the Steward of the Household
be chastised, if all are not ready to-morrow for the chase."
And they passed the night with songs, and diversions, and discourse, and
ample entertainment. And when it was time for them all to go to sleep,
they went. And when the next day came, they arose; and Arthur called the
attendants, who guarded his couch. And these were four pages, whose names
were Cadyrnerth the son of Porthawr Gandwy, and Ambreu the son of Bedwor,
and Amhar the son of Arthur, and Goreu the son of Custennin. And these
men came to Arthur and saluted him, and arrayed him in his garments. And
Arthur wondered that Gwenhwyvar did not awake, and did not move in her
bed; and the attendants wished to awaken her. "Disturb her not,"
said Arthur, "for she had rather sleep than go to see the hunting."
Then Arthur went forth, and he heard two horns sounding, one from near
the lodging of the chief huntsman, and the other from near that of the
chief page. And the whole assembly of the multitudes came to Arthur, and
they took the road to the Forest.
And after Arthur had gone forth from the palace, Gwenhwyvar awoke, and
called to her maidens, and apparelled herself. "Maidens," said
she, "I had leave last night to go and see the hunt. Go one of you
to the stable, and order hither a horse such as a woman may ride."
And one of them went, and she found but two horses in the stable, and
Gwenhwyvar and one of her maidens mounted them, and went through the Usk,
and followed the track of the men and the horses. And as they rode thus,
they heard a loud and rushing sound; and they looked behind them, and
beheld a knight upon a hunter foal of mighty size; and the rider was a
fair-haired youth, bare-legged, and of princely mien, and a golden-hilted
sword was at his side, and a robe and a surcoat of satin were upon him,
and two low shoes of leather upon his feet; and around him was a scarf
of blue purple, at each corner of which was a golden apple. And his horse
stepped stately, and swift, and proud; and he overtook Gwenhwyvar, and
saluted her. "Heaven prosper thee, Geraint," said she, "I
knew thee when first I saw thee just now. And the welcome of Heaven be
unto thee. And why didst thou not go with thy lord to hunt?" "Because
I knew not when he went," said he. "I marvel, too," said
she, "how he could go unknown to me." "Indeed, lady,"
said he. "I was asleep, and knew not when he went; but thou, O young
man, art the most agreeable companion I could have in the whole kingdom;
and it may be, that I shall be more amused with the hunting than they;
for we shall hear the horns when they sound, and we shall hear the dogs
when they are let loose, and begin to cry." So they went to the edge
of the Forest, and there they stood. "From this place," said
she, "we shall hear when the dogs are let loose." And thereupon,
they heard a loud noise, and they looked towards the spot whence it came,
and they beheld a dwarf riding upon a horse, stately, and foaming, and
prancing, and strong, and spirited. And in the hand of the dwarf was a
whip. And near the dwarf they saw a lady upon a beautiful white horse,
of steady and stately pace; and she was clothed in a garment of gold brocade.
And near her was a knight upon a warhorse of large size, with heavy and
bright armour both upon himself and upon his horse. And truly they never
before saw a knight, or a horse, or armour, of such remarkable size. And
they were all near to each other.
"Geraint," said Gwenhwyvar, "knowest thou the name of that
tall knight yonder?" "I know him not," said he, "and
the strange armour that he wears prevents my either seeing his face or
his features." "Go, maiden," said Gwenhwyvar, "and
ask the dwarf who that knight is." Then the maiden went up to the
dwarf; and the dwarf waited for the maiden, when he saw her coming towards
him. And the maiden inquired of the dwarf who the knight was. "I
will not tell thee," he answered. "Since thou art so churlish
as not to tell me," said she, "I will ask him himself."
"Thou shalt not ask him, by my faith," said he. "Wherefore?"
said she. "Because thou art not of honour sufficient to befit thee
to speak to my Lord." Then the maiden turned her horse's head towards
the knight, upon which the dwarf struck her with the whip that was in
his hand across the face and the eyes, until the blood flowed forth. And
the maiden, through the hurt she received from the blow, returned to Gwenhwyvar,
complaining of the pain. "Very rudely has the dwarf treated thee,"
said Geraint. "I will go myself to know who the knight is."
"Go," said Gwenhwyvar. And Geraint went up to the dwarf. "Who
is yonder knight?" said Geraint. "I will not tell thee,"
said the dwarf. "Then will I ask him himself," said he. "That
wilt thou not, by my faith," said the dwarf, "thou art not honourable
enough to speak with my Lord." Said Geraint, "I have spoken
with men of equal rank with him." And he turned his horse's head
towards the knight; but the dwarf overtook him, and struck him as he had
done the maiden, so that the blood coloured the scarf that Geraint wore.
Then Geraint put his hand upon the hilt of his sword, but he took counsel
with himself, and considered that it would be no vengeance for him to
slay the dwarf, and to be attacked unarmed by the armed knight, so he
returned to where Gwenhwyvar was.
"Thou hast acted wisely and discreetly," said she. "Lady,"
said he, "I will follow him yet, with thy permission; and at last
he will come to some inhabited place, where I may have arms either as
a loan or for a pledge, so that I may encounter the knight." "Go,"
said she, "and do not attack him until thou hast good arms, and I
shall be very anxious concerning thee, until I hear tidings of thee."
"If I am alive," said he, "thou shalt hear tidings of me
by to-morrow afternoon;" and with that he departed.
And the road they took was below the palace of Caerlleon, and across the
ford of the Usk; and they went along a fair, and even, and lofty ridge
of ground, until they came to a town, and at the extremity of the town
they saw a Fortress and a Castle. And they came to the extremity of the
town. And as the knight passed through it, all the people arose, and saluted
him, and bade him welcome. And when Geraint came into the town, he looked
at every house, to see if he knew any of those whom he saw. But he knew
none, and none knew him to do him the kindness to let him have arms either
as a loan or for a pledge. And every house he saw was full of men, and
arms, and horses. And they were polishing shields, and burnishing swords,
and washing armour, and shoeing horses. And the knight, and the lady,
and the dwarf rode up to the Castle that was in the town, and every one
was glad in the Castle. And from the battlements and the gates they risked
their necks, through their eagerness to greet them, and to show their
Geraint stood there to see whether the knight would remain in the Castle;
and when he was certain that he would do so, he looked around him; and
at a little distance from the town he saw an old palace in ruins, wherein
was a hall that was falling to decay. And as he knew not any one in the
town, he went towards the old palace; and when he came near to the palace,
he saw but one chamber, and a bridge of marble-stone leading to it. And
upon the bridge he saw sitting a hoary-headed man, upon whom were tattered
garments. And Geraint gazed steadfastly upon him for a long time. Then
the hoary-headed man spoke to him. "Young man," he said, "wherefore
art thou thoughtful?" "I am thoughtful," said he, "because
I know not where to go to-night." "Wilt thou come forward this
way, chieftain?" said he, "and thou shalt have of the best that
can be procured for thee." So Geraint went forward. And the hoary-headed
man preceded him into the hall. And in the hall he dismounted, and he
left there his horse. Then he went on to the upper chamber with the hoary-headed
man. And in the chamber he beheld an old decrepit woman, sitting on a
cushion, with old, tattered garments of satin upon her; and it seemed
to him that he had never seen a woman fairer than she must have been,
when in the fulness of youth. And beside her was a maiden, upon whom were
a vest and a veil, that were old, and beginning to be worn out. And truly,
he never saw a maiden more full of comeliness, and grace, and beauty than
she. And the hoary-headed man said to the maiden, "There is no attendant
for the horse of this youth but thyself." "I will render the
best service I am able," said she, "both to him and to his horse."
And the maiden disarrayed the youth, and then she furnished his horse
with straw and with corn. And she went to the hall as before, and then
she returned to the chamber. And the hoary-headed man said to the maiden,
"Go to the town," said he, "and bring hither the best that
thou canst find both of food and of liquor." "I will, gladly,
Lord," said she. And to the town went the maiden. And they conversed
together while the maiden was at the town. And, behold! the maiden came
back, and a youth with her, bearing on his back a costrel full of good
purchased mead, and a quarter of a young bullock. And in the hands of
the maiden was a quantity of white bread, and she had some manchet bread
in her veil, and she came into the chamber. "I could not obtain better
than this," said she, "nor with better should I have been trusted."
"It is good enough," said Geraint. And they caused the meat
to be boiled; and when their food was ready, they sat down. And it was
on this wise; Geraint sat between the hoary-headed man and his wife, and
the maiden served them. And they ate and drank.
And when they had finished eating, Geraint talked with the hoary-headed
man, and he asked him in the first place, to whom belonged the palace
that he was in. "Truly," said he, "it was I that built
it, and to me also belonged the city and the castle which thou sawest."
"Alas!" said Geraint, "how is it that thou hast lost them
now?" "I lost a great Earldom as well as these," said he;
"and this is how I lost them. I had a nephew, the son of my brother,
and I took his possessions to myself; and when he came to his strength,
he demanded of me his property, but I withheld it from him. So he made
war upon me, and wrested from me all that I possessed." "Good
Sir," said Geraint, "wilt thou tell me wherefore came the knight,
and the lady, and the dwarf, just now into the town, and what is the preparation
which I saw, and the putting of arms in order?" "I will do so,"
said he. "The preparations are for the game that is to be held to-morrow
by the young Earl, which will be on this wise. In the midst of a meadow
which is here, two forks will be set up, and upon the two forks a silver
rod, and upon the silver rod a Sparrow-Hawk, and for the Sparrow-Hawk
there will be a tournament. And to the tournament will go all the array
thou didst see in the city, of men, and of horses, and of arms. And with
each man will go the lady he loves best; and no man can joust for the
Sparrow-Hawk, except the lady he loves best be with him. And the knight
that thou sawest has gained the Sparrow-Hawk these two years; and if he
gains it the third year, they will, from that time, send it every year
to him, and he himself will come here no more. And he will be called the
Knight of the Sparrow-Hawk from that time forth." "Sir,"
said Geraint, "what is thy counsel to me concerning this knight,
on account of the insult which I received from the dwarf, and that which
was received by the maiden of Gwenhwyvar, the wife of Arthur?" And
Geraint told the hoary-headed man what the insult was that he had received.
"It is not easy to counsel thee, inasmuch as thou hast neither dame
nor maiden belonging to thee, for whom thou canst joust. Yet, I have arms
here, which thou couldest have; and there is my horse also, if he seem
to thee better than thine own." "Ah! Sir," said he, "Heaven
reward thee. But my own horse, to which I am accustomed, together with
thy arms, will suffice me. And if, when the appointed time shall come
to-morrow, thou wilt permit me, Sir, to challenge for yonder maiden that
is thy daughter, I will engage, if I escape from the tournament, to love
the maiden as long as I live; and if I do not escape, she will remain
unsullied as before." "Gladly will I permit thee," said
the hoary-headed man, "and since thou dost thus resolve, it is necessary
that thy horse and arms should be ready to-morrow at break of day. For
then the Knight of the Sparrow-Hawk will make proclamation, and ask the
lady he loves best to take the Sparrow-Hawk. ‘For,' will he say
to her, ‘thou art the fairest of women, and thou didst possess it
last year, and the year previous; and if any deny it thee to-day, by force
will I defend it for thee.' And therefore," said the hoary-headed
man, "it is needful for thee to be there at daybreak; and we three
will be with thee." And thus was it settled.
And at night, lo! they went to sleep; and before the dawn they arose,
and arrayed themselves; and by the time that it was day, they were all
four in the meadow. And there was the Knight of the Sparrow-Hawk making
the proclamation, and asking his lady-love to fetch the Sparrow-Hawk.
"Fetch it not," said Geraint, "for there is here a maiden,
who is fairer, and more noble, and more comely, and who has a better claim
to it than thou." "If thou maintainest the Sparrow-Hawk to be
due to her, come forward, and do battle with me." And Geraint went
forward to the top of the meadow, having upon himself and upon his horse
armour which was heavy, and rusty, and worthless, and of uncouth shape.
Then they encountered each other, and they broke a set of lances, and
they broke a second set, and a third. And thus they did at every onset,
and they broke as many lances as were brought to them. And when the Earl
and his company saw the Knight of the Sparrow-Hawk gaining the mastery,
there was shouting, and joy, and mirth amongst them. And the hoary-headed
man, and his wife, and his daughter were sorrowful. And the hoary-headed
man served Geraint lances as often as he broke them, and the dwarf served
the Knight of the Sparrow-Hawk. Then the hoary-headed man came to Geraint.
"Oh! chieftain," said he, "since no other will hold with
thee, behold, here is the lance which was in my hand on the day when I
received the honour of knighthood; and from that time to this I never
broke it. And it has an excellent point." Then Geraint took the lance,
thanking the hoary-headed man. And thereupon the dwarf also brought a
lance to his lord. "Behold, here is a lance for thee, not less good
than his," said the dwarf. "And bethink thee, that no knight
ever withstood thee before so long as this one has done." "I
declare to Heaven," said Geraint, "that unless death takes me
quickly hence, he shall fare never the better for thy service." And
Geraint pricked his horse towards him from afar, and warning him, he rushed
upon him, and gave him a blow so severe, and furious, and fierce, upon
the face of his shield, that he cleft it in two, and broke his armour,
and burst his girths, so that both he and his saddle were borne to the
ground over the horse's crupper. And Geraint dismounted quickly. And he
was wroth, and he drew his sword, and rushed fiercely upon him. Then the
knight also arose, and drew his sword against Geraint. And they fought
on foot with their swords until their arms struck sparks of fire like
stars from one another; and thus they continued fighting until the blood
and sweat obscured the light from their eyes. And when Geraint prevailed,
the hoary-headed man, and his wife, and his daughter were glad; and when
the knight prevailed, it rejoiced the Earl and his party. Then the hoary-headed
man saw Geraint receive a severe stroke, and he went up to him quickly,
and said to him, "Oh, chieftain, remember the treatment which thou
hadst from the dwarf; and wilt thou not seek vengeance for the insult
to thyself, and for the insult to Gwenhwyvar the wife of Arthur!"
And Geraint was roused by what he said to him, and he called to him all
his strength, and lifted up his sword, and struck the knight upon the
crown of his head, so that he broke all his head-armour, and cut through
all the flesh and the skin, even to the skull, until he wounded the bone.
Then the knight fell upon his knees, and cast his sword from his hand,
and besought mercy of Geraint. "Of a truth," said he, "I
relinquish my overdaring and my pride in craving thy mercy; and unless
I have time to commit myself to Heaven for my sins, and to talk with a
priest, thy mercy will avail me little." "I will grant thee
grace upon this condition," said Geraint, "that thou wilt go
to Gwenhwyvar the wife of Arthur, to do her satisfaction for the insult
which her maiden received from thy dwarf. As to myself, for the insult
which I received from thee and thy dwarf, I am content with that which
I have done unto thee. Dismount not from the time thou goest hence until
thou comest into the presence of Gwenhwyvar, to make her what atonement
shall be adjudged at the Court of Arthur." "This will I do gladly.
And who art thou?" said he. "I am Geraint the son of Erbin.
And declare thou also who thou art." "I am Edeyrn the son of
Nudd." Then he threw himself upon his horse, and went forward to
Arthur's Court, and the lady he loved best went before him and the dwarf,
with much lamentation. And thus far this story up to that time.
Then came the little Earl and his hosts to Geraint, and saluted him, and
bade him to his castle. "I may not go," said Geraint, "but
where I was last night, there will I be to-night also." "Since
thou wilt none of my inviting, thou shalt have abundance of all that I
can command for thee, in the place thou wast last night. And I will order
ointment for thee, to recover thee from thy fatigues, and from the weariness
that is upon thee." "Heaven reward thee," said Geraint,
"and I will go to my lodging." And thus went Geraint, and Earl
Ynywl, and his wife, and his daughter. And when they reached the chamber,
the household servants and attendants of the young Earl had arrived at
the Court, and they arranged all the houses, dressing them with straw
and with fire; and in a short time the ointment was ready, and Geraint
came there, and they washed his head. Then came the young Earl, with forty
honourable knights from among his attendants, and those who were bidden
to the tournament. And Geraint came from the anointing. And the Earl asked
him to go to the hall to eat. "Where is the Earl Ynywl," said
Geraint, "and his wife, and his daughter?" "They are in
the chamber yonder," said the Earl's chamberlain, "arraying
themselves in garments which the Earl has caused to be brought for them."
"Let not the damsel array herself," said he, "except in
her vest and her veil, until she come to the Court of Arthur, to be clad
by Gwenhwyvar in such garments as she may choose." So the maiden
did not array herself.
Then they all entered the hall, and they washed, and went, and sat down
to meat. And thus were they seated. On one side of Geraint sat the young
Earl, and Earl Ynywl beyond him; and on the other side of Geraint were
the maiden and her mother. And after these all sat according to their
precedence in honour. And they ate. And they were served abundantly, and
they received a profusion of divers kind of gifts. Then they conversed
together. And the young Earl invited Geraint to visit him next day. "I
will not, by Heaven," said Geraint. "To the Court of Arthur
will I go with this maiden to-morrow. And it is enough for me, as long
as Earl Ynywl is in poverty and trouble; and I go chiefly to seek to add
to his maintenance." "Ah, chieftain," said the young Earl,
"it is not by my fault that Earl Ynywl is without his possessions."
"By my faith," said Geraint, "he shall not remain without
them, unless death quickly takes me hence." "Oh, chieftain,"
said he, "with regard to the disagreement between me and Ynywl, I
will gladly abide by thy counsel, and agree to what thou mayest judge
right between us." "I but ask thee," said Geraint, "to
restore to him what is his, and what he should have received from the
time he lost his possessions, even until this day." "That I
will do gladly, for thee," answered he. "Then," said Geraint,
"whosoever is here who owes homage to Ynywl, let him come forward,
and perform it on the spot." And all the men did so. And by that
treaty they abided. And his castle, and his town, and all his possessions
were restored to Ynywl. And he received back all that he had lost, even
to the smallest jewel.
Then spoke Earl Ynywl to Geraint. "Chieftain," said he, "behold
the maiden for whom thou didst challenge at the tournament, I bestow her
upon thee." "She shall go with me," said Geraint, "to
the Court of Arthur; and Arthur and Gwenhwyvar they shall dispose of her
as they will." And the next day they proceeded to Arthur's Court.
So far concerning Geraint.
Now, this is how Arthur hunted the stag. The men and the dogs were divided
into hunting parties, and the dogs were let loose upon the stag. And the
last dog that was let loose was the favourite dog of Arthur. Cavall was
his name. And he left all the other dogs behind him, and turned the stag.
And at the second turn, the stag came towards the hunting party of Arthur.
And Arthur set upon him. And before he could be slain by any other, Arthur
cut off his head. Then they sounded the death horn for slaying, and they
all gathered round.
Then came Kadyrieith to Arthur, and spoke to him. "Lord," said
he, "behold, yonder is Gwenhwyvar, and none with her save only one
maiden." "Command Gildas the son of Caw, and all the scholars
of the Court," said Arthur, "to attend Gwenhwyvar to the palace."
And they did so.
Then they all set forth, holding converse together concerning the head
of the stag, to whom it should be given. One wished that it should be
given to the lady best beloved by him, and another to the lady whom he
loved best. And all they of the household, and the knights, disputed sharply
concerning the head. And with that they came to the palace. And when Arthur
and Gwenhwyvar heard them disputing about the head of the stag, Gwenhwyvar
said to Arthur, "My lord, this is my counsel concerning the stag's
head; let it not be given away until Geraint the son of Erbin shall return
from the errand he is upon." And Gwenhwyvar told Arthur what that
errand was. "Right gladly shall it be so," said Arthur. And
thus it was settled. And the next day Gwenhwyvar caused a watch to be
set upon the ramparts for Geraint's coming. And after mid-day they beheld
an unshapely little man upon a horse, and after him, as they supposed,
a dame or a damsel, also on horseback, and after her a knight of large
stature, bowed down, and hanging his head low and sorrowfully, and clad
in broken and worthless armour.
And before they came near to the gate, one of the watch went to Gwenhwyvar,
and told her what kind of people they saw, and what aspect they bore.
"I know not who they are," said he. "But I know,"
said Gwenhwyvar; "this is the knight whom Geraint pursued, and methinks
that he comes not here by his own free will. But Geraint has overtaken
him, and avenged the insult to the maiden to the uttermost." And
thereupon, behold a porter came to the spot where Gwenhwyvar was. "Lady,"
said he, "at the gate there is a knight, and I saw never a man of
so pitiful an aspect to look upon as he. Miserable and broken is the armour
that he wears, and the hue of blood is more conspicuous upon it than its
own colour." "Knowest thou his name?" said she. "I
do," said he; "he tells me that he is Edeyrn the son of Nudd."
Then she replied, "I know him not."
So Gwenhwyvar went to the gate to meet him, and he entered. And Gwenhwyvar
was sorry when she saw the condition he was in, even though he was accompanied
by the churlish dwarf. Then Edeyrn saluted Gwenhwyvar. "Heaven protect
thee," said she. "Lady," said he, "Geraint the son
of Erbin, thy best and most valiant servant, greets thee." "Did
he meet thee?" she asked. "Yes," said he, "and it
was not to my advantage; and that was not his fault, but mine, Lady. And
Geraint greets thee well; and in greeting thee he compelled me to come
hither to do thy pleasure for the insult which thy maiden received from
the dwarf. He forgives the insult to himself, in consideration of his
having put me in peril of my life. And he imposed on me a condition, manly,
and honourable, and warrior-like, which was to do thee justice, Lady."
"Now, where did he overtake thee?" "At the place where
we were jousting, and contending for the Sparrow-Hawk, in the town which
is now called Cardiff. And there were none with him save three persons,
of a mean and tattered condition. And these were an aged, hoary-headed
man, and a woman advanced in years, and a fair young maiden, clad in worn-out
garments. And it was for the avouchment of the love of that maiden that
Geraint jousted for the Sparrow-Hawk at the tournament, for he said that
that maiden was better entitled to the Sparrow-Hawk than this maiden who
was with me. And thereupon we encountered each other, and he left me,
Lady, as thou seest." "Sir," said she, "when thinkest
thou that Geraint will be here?" "To-morrow, Lady, I think he
will be here with the maiden."
Then Arthur came to him, and he saluted Arthur; and Arthur gazed a long
time upon him, and was amazed to see him thus. And thinking that he knew
him, he inquired of him, "Art thou Edeyrn the son of Nudd?"
"I am, Lord," said he, "and I have met with much trouble,
and received wounds unsupportable." Then he told Arthur all his adventure.
"Well," said Arthur, "from what I hear, it behoves Gwenhwyvar
to be merciful towards thee." "The mercy which thou desirest,
Lord," said she, "will I grant to him, since it is as insulting
to thee that an insult should be offered to me as to thyself." "Thus
will it be best to do," said Arthur; "let this man have medical
care until it be known whether he may live. And if he live, he shall do
such satisfaction as shall be judged best by the men of the Court; and
take thou sureties to that effect. And if he die, too much will be the
death of such a youth as Edeyrn for an insult to a maiden." "This
pleases me," said Gwenhwyvar. And Arthur became surety for Edeyrn,
and Caradawc the son of Llyr, Gwallawg the son of Llenawg, and Owain the
son of Nudd, and Gwalchmai, and many others with them. And Arthur caused
Morgan Tud to be called to him. He was the chief physician. "Take
with thee Edeyrn the son of Nudd, and cause a chamber to be prepared for
him, and let him have the aid of medicine as thou wouldst do unto myself,
if I were wounded, and let none into his chamber to molest him, but thyself
and thy disciples, to administer to him remedies." "I will do
so gladly, Lord," said Morgan Tud. Then said the steward of the household,
"Whither is it right, Lord, to order the maiden?" "To Gwenhwyvar
and her handmaidens," said he. And the steward of the household so
ordered her. Thus far concerning them.
The next day came Geraint towards the Court; and there was a watch set
on the ramparts by Gwenhwyvar, lest he should arrive unawares. And one
of the watch came to the place where Gwenhwyvar was. "Lady,"
said he, "methinks that I see Geraint, and the maiden with him. He
is on horseback, but he has his walking gear upon him, and the maiden
appears to be in white, seeming to be clad in a garment of linen."
"Assemble all the women," said Gwenhwyvar, "and come to
meet Geraint, to welcome him, and wish him joy." And Gwenhwyvar went
to meet Geraint and the maiden. And when Geraint came to the place where
Gwenhwyvar was, he saluted her. "Heaven prosper thee," said
she, "and welcome to thee. And thy career has been successful, and
fortunate, and resistless, and glorious. And Heaven reward thee, that
thou hast so proudly caused me to have retribution." "Lady,"
said he, "I earnestly desired to obtain thee satisfaction according
to thy will; and, behold, here is the maiden through whom thou hadst thy
revenge." "Verily," said Gwenhwyvar, "the welcome
of Heaven be unto her; and it is fitting that we should receive her joyfully."
Then they went in, and dismounted. And Geraint came to where Arthur was,
and saluted him. "Heaven protect thee," said Arthur, "and
the welcome of Heaven be unto thee. And since Edeyrn the son of Nudd has
received his overthrow and wounds from thy hands, thou hast had a prosperous
career." "Not upon me be the blame," said Geraint, "it
was through the arrogance of Edeyrn the son of Nudd himself that we were
not friends. I would not quit him until I knew who he was, and until the
one had vanquished the other." "Now," said Arthur, "where
is the maiden for whom I heard thou didst give challenge?" "She
is gone with Gwenhwyvar to her chamber."
Then went Arthur to see the maiden. And Arthur, and all his companions,
and his whole Court, were glad concerning the maiden. And certain were
they all, that had her array been suitable to her beauty, they had never
seen a maid fairer than she. And Arthur gave away the maiden to Geraint.
And the usual bond made between two persons was made between Geraint and
the maiden, and the choicest of all Gwenhwyvar's apparel was given to
the maiden; and thus arrayed, she appeared comely and graceful to all
who beheld her. And that day and that night were spent in abundance of
minstrelsy, and ample gifts of liquor, and a multitude of games. And when
it was time for them to go to sleep, they went. And in the chamber where
the couch of Arthur and Gwenhwyvar was, the couch of Geraint and Enid
was prepared. And from that time she became his bride. And the next day
Arthur satisfied all the claimants upon Geraint with bountiful gifts.
And the maiden took up her abode in the palace; and she had many companions,
both men and women, and there was no maiden more esteemed than she in
the Island of Britain.
Then spake Gwenhwyvar. "Rightly did I judge," said she, "concerning
the head of the stag, that it should not be given to any until Geraint's
return; and, behold, here is a fit occasion for bestowing it. Let it be
given to Enid the daughter of Ynywl, the most illustrious maiden. And
I do not believe that any will begrudge it her, for between her and every
one here there exists nothing but love and friendship." Much applauded
was this by them all, and by Arthur also. And the head of the stag was
given to Enid. And thereupon her fame increased, and her friends thenceforward
became more in number than before. And Geraint from that time forth loved
the stag, and the tournament, and hard encounters; and he came victorious
from them all. And a year, and a second, and a third, he proceeded thus,
until his fame had flown over the face of the kingdom.
And once upon a time Arthur was holding his Court at Caerlleon upon Usk,
at Whitsuntide. And, behold, there came to him ambassadors, wise and prudent,
full of knowledge, and eloquent of speech, and they saluted Arthur. "Heaven
prosper you," said Arthur, "and the welcome of Heaven be unto
you. And whence do you come?" "We come, Lord," said they,
"from Cornwall; and we are ambassadors from Erbin the son of Custennin,
thy uncle, and our mission is unto thee. And he greets thee well, as an
uncle should greet his nephew, and as a vassal should greet his lord.
And he represents unto thee that he waxes heavy and feeble, and is advancing
in years. And the neighbouring chiefs, knowing this, grow insolent towards
him, and covet his land and possessions. And he earnestly beseeches thee,
Lord, to permit Geraint his son to return to him, to protect his possessions,
and to become acquainted with his boundaries. And unto him he represents
that it were better for him to spend the flower of his youth and the prime
of his age in preserving his own boundaries, than in tournaments, which
are productive of no profit, although he obtains glory in them."
"Well," said Arthur, "go, and divest yourselves of your
accoutrements, and take food, and refresh yourselves after your fatigues;
and before you go forth hence you shall have an answer." And they
went to eat. And Arthur considered that it would go hard with him to let
Geraint depart from him and from his Court; neither did he think it fair
that his cousin should be restrained from going to protect his dominions
and his boundaries, seeing that his father was unable to do so. No less
was the grief and regret of Gwenhwyvar, and all her women, and all her
damsels, through fear that the maiden would leave them. And that day and
that night were spent in abundance of feasting. And Arthur showed Geraint
the cause of the mission, and of the coming of the ambassadors to him
out of Cornwall. "Truly," said Geraint, "be it to my advantage
or disadvantage, Lord, I will do according to thy will concerning this
embassy." "Behold," said Arthur, "though it grieves
me to part with thee, it is my counsel that thou go to dwell in thine
own dominions, and to defend thy boundaries, and to take with thee to
accompany thee as many as thou wilt of those thou lovest best among my
faithful ones, and among thy friends, and among thy companions in arms."
"Heaven reward thee; and this will I do," said Geraint. "What
discourse," said Gwenhwyvar, "do I hear between you? Is it of
those who are to conduct Geraint to his country?" "It is,"
said Arthur. "Then it is needful for me to consider," said she,
"concerning companions and a provision for the lady that is with
me?" "Thou wilt do well," said Arthur.
And that night they went to sleep. And the next day the ambassadors were
permitted to depart, and they were told that Geraint should follow them.
And on the third day Geraint set forth, and many went with him. Gwalchmai
the son of Gwyar, and Riogonedd the son of the king of Ireland, and Ondyaw
the son of the duke of Burgundy, Gwilim the son of the ruler of the Franks,
Howel the son of Emyr of Brittany, Elivry, and Nawkyrd, Gwynn the son
of Tringad, Goreu the son of Custennin, Gweir Gwrhyd Vawr, Garannaw the
son of Golithmer, Peredur the son of Evrawc, Gwynnllogell, Gwyr a judge
in the Court of Arthur, Dyvyr the son of Alun of Dyved, Gwrei Gwalstawd
Ieithoedd, Bedwyr the son of Bedrawd, Hadwry the son of Gwryon, Kai the
son of Kynyr, Odyar the Frank, the Steward of Arthur's Court, and Edeyrn
the son of Nudd. Said Geraint, "I think that I shall have enough
of knighthood with me." "Yes," said Arthur, "but it
will not be fitting for thee to take Edeyrn with thee, although he is
well, until peace shall be made between him and Gwenhwyvar." "Gwenhwyvar
can permit him to go with me, if he give sureties." "If she
please, she can let him go without sureties, for enough of pain and affliction
has he suffered for the insult which the maiden received from the dwarf."
"Truly," said Gwenhwyvar, "since it seems well to thee
and to Geraint, I will do this gladly, Lord." Then she permitted
Edeyrn freely to depart. And many there were who accompanied Geraint,
and they set forth; and never was there seen a fairer host journeying
towards the Severn. And on the other side of the Severn were the nobles
of Erbin the son of Custennin, and his foster-father at their head, to
welcome Geraint with gladness; and many of the women of the Court, with
his mother, came to receive Enid the daughter of Ynywl, his wife. And
there was great rejoicing and gladness throughout the whole Court, and
throughout all the country, concerning Geraint, because of the greatness
of their love towards him, and of the greatness of the fame which he had
gained since he went from amongst them, and because he was come to take
possession of his dominions and to preserve his boundaries. And they came
to the Court. And in the Court they had ample entertainment, and a multitude
of gifts and abundance of liquor, and a sufficiency of service, and a
variety of minstrelsy and of games. And to do honour to Geraint, all the
chief men of the country were invited that night to visit him. And they
passed that day and that night in the utmost enjoyment. And at dawn next
day Erbin arose, and summoned to him Geraint, and the noble persons who
had borne him company. And he said to Geraint, "I am a feeble and
aged man, and whilst I was able to maintain the dominion for thee and
for myself, I did so. But thou art young, and in the flower of thy vigour
and of thy youth; henceforth do thou preserve thy possessions." "Truly,"
said Geraint, "with my consent thou shalt not give the power over
thy dominions at this time into my hands, and thou shalt not take me from
Arthur's Court." "Into thy hands will I give them," said
Erbin, "and this day also shalt thou receive the homage of thy subjects."
Then said Gwalchmai, "It were better for thee to satisfy those who
have boons to ask, to-day, and to-morrow thou canst receive the homage
of thy dominions." So all that had boons to ask were summoned into
one place. And Kadyrieith came to them, to know what were their requests.
And every one asked that which he desired. And the followers of Arthur
began to make gifts, and immediately the men of Cornwall came, and gave
also. And they were not long in giving, so eager was every one to bestow
gifts. And of those who came to ask gifts, none departed unsatisfied.
And that day and that night were spent in the utmost enjoyment.
And the next day, at dawn, Erbin desired Geraint to send messengers to
the men, to ask them whether it was displeasing to them that he should
come to receive their homage, and whether they had anything to object
to him. Then Geraint sent ambassadors to the men of Cornwall, to ask them
this. And they all said that it would be the fulness of joy and honour
to them for Geraint to come and receive their homage. So he received the
homage of such as were there. And they remained with him till the third
night. And the day after the followers of Arthur intended to go away.
"It is too soon for you to go away yet," said he, "stay
with me until I have finished receiving the homage of my chief men, who
have agreed to come to me." And they remained with him until he had
done so. Then they set forth towards the Court of Arthur; and Geraint
went to bear them company, and Enid also, as far as Diganhwy: there they
parted. Then Ondyaw the son of the duke of Burgundy said to Geraint, "Go
first of all and visit the uppermost parts of thy dominions, and see well
to the boundaries of thy territories; and if thou hast any trouble respecting
them, send unto thy companions." "Heaven reward thee,"
said Geraint, "and this will I do." And Geraint journeyed to
the uttermost part of his dominions. And experienced guides, and the chief
men of his country, went with him. And the furthermost point that they
showed him he kept possession of.
And, as he had been used to do when he was at Arthur's Court, he frequented
tournaments. And he became acquainted with valiant and mighty men, until
he had gained as much fame there as he had formerly done elsewhere. And
he enriched his Court, and his companions, and his nobles, with the best
horses and the best arms, and with the best and most valuable jewels,
and he ceased not until his fame had flown over the face of the whole
kingdom. And when he knew that it was thus, he began to love ease and
pleasure, for there was no one who was worth his opposing. And he loved
his wife, and liked to continue in the palace, with minstrelsy and diversions.
And for a long time he abode at home. And after that he began to shut
himself up in the chamber of his wife, and he took no delight in anything
besides, insomuch that he gave up the friendship of his nobles, together
with his hunting and his amusements, and lost the hearts of all the host
in his Court; and there was murmuring and scoffing concerning him among
the inhabitants of the palace, on account of his relinquishing so completely
their companionship for the love of his wife. And these tidings came to
Erbin. And when Erbin had heard these things, he spoke unto Enid, and
inquired of her whether it was she that had caused Geraint to act thus,
and to forsake his people and his hosts. "Not I, by my confession
unto Heaven," said she, "there is nothing more hateful to me
than this." And she knew not what she should do, for, although it
was hard for her to own this to Geraint, yet was it not more easy for
her to listen to what she heard, without warning Geraint concerning it.
And she was very sorrowful.
And one morning in the summer time, they were upon their couch, and Geraint
lay upon the edge of it. And Enid was without sleep in the apartment,
which had windows of glass. And the sun shone upon the couch. And the
clothes had slipped from off his arms and his breast, and he was asleep.
Then she gazed upon the marvellous beauty of his appearance, and she said,
"Alas, and am I the cause that these arms and this breast have lost
their glory and the warlike fame which they once so richly enjoyed!"
And as she said this, the tears dropped from her eyes, and they fell upon
his breast. And the tears she shed, and the words she had spoken, awoke
him; and another thing contributed to awaken him, and that was the idea
that it was not in thinking of him that she spoke thus, but that it was
because she loved some other man more than him, and that she wished for
other society, and thereupon Geraint was troubled in his mind, and he
called his squire; and when he came to him, "Go quickly," said
he, "and prepare my horse and my arms, and make them ready. And do
thou arise," said he to Enid, "and apparel thyself; and cause
thy horse to be accoutred, and clothe thee in the worst riding-dress that
thou hast in thy possession. And evil betide me," said he, "if
thou returnest here until thou knowest whether I have lost my strength
so completely as thou didst say. And if it be so, it will then be easy
for thee to seek the society thou didst wish for of him of whom thou wast
thinking." So she arose, and clothed herself in her meanest garments.
"I know nothing, Lord," said she, "of thy meaning."
"Neither wilt thou know at this time," said he.
Then Geraint went to see Erbin. "Sir," said he, "I am going
upon a quest, and I am not certain when I may come back. Take heed, therefore,
unto thy possessions, until my return." "I will do so,"
said he, "but it is strange to me that thou shouldest go so suddenly.
And who will proceed with thee, since thou art not strong enough to traverse
the land of Lloegyr alone?" "But one person only will go with
me." "Heaven counsel thee, my son," said Erbin, "and
may many attach themselves to thee in Lloegyr." Then went Geraint
to the place where his horse was, and it was equipped with foreign armour,
heavy and shining. And he desired Enid to mount her horse, and to ride
forward, and to keep a long way before him. "And whatever thou mayest
see, and whatever thou mayest hear concerning me," said he, "do
thou not turn back. And unless I speak unto thee, say not thou one word
either." And they set forward. And he did not choose the pleasantest
and most frequented road, but that which was the wildest and most beset
by thieves, and robbers, and venomous animals. And they came to a high
road, which they followed till they saw a vast forest, and they went towards
it, and they saw four armed horsemen come forth from the forest. When
the horsemen had beheld them, one of them said to the others, "Behold,
here is a good occasion for us to capture two horses and armour, and a
lady likewise; for this we shall have no difficulty in doing against yonder
single knight, who hangs his head so pensively and heavily." And
Enid heard this discourse, and she knew not what she should do through
fear of Geraint, who had told her to be silent. "The vengeance of
Heaven be upon me," she said, "if I would not rather receive
my death from his hand than from the hand of any other; and though he
should slay me yet will I speak to him, lest I should have the misery
to witness his death." So she waited for Geraint until he came near
to her. "Lord," said she, "didst thou hear the words of
those men concerning thee?" Then he lifted up his eyes, and looked
at her angrily. "Thou hadst only," said he, "to hold thy
peace as I bade thee. I wish but for silence, and not for warning. And
though thou shouldest desire to see my defeat and my death by the hands
of those men, yet do I feel no dread." Then the foremost of them
couched his lance, and rushed upon Geraint. And he received him, and that
not feebly. But he let the thrust go by him, while he struck the horseman
upon the centre of his shield in such a manner that his shield was split,
and his armour broken, and so that a cubit's length of the shaft of Geraint's
lance passed through his body, and sent him to the earth, the length of
the lance over his horse's crupper. Then the second horseman attacked
him furiously, being wroth at the death of his companion. But with one
thrust Geraint overthrew him also, and killed him as he had done the other.
Then the third set upon him, and he killed him in like manner. And thus
also he slew the fourth. Sad and sorrowful was the maiden as she saw all
this. Geraint dismounted from his horse, and took the arms of the men
he had slain, and placed them upon their saddles, and tied together the
reins of their horses, and he mounted his horse again. "Behold what
thou must do," said he; "take the four horses, and drive them
before thee, and proceed forward, as I bade thee just now. And say not
one word unto me, unless I speak first unto thee. And I declare unto Heaven,"
said he, "if thou doest not thus, it will be to thy cost." "I
will do, as far as I can, Lord," said she, "according to thy
desire." Then they went forward through the forest; and when they
left the forest, they came to a vast plain, in the centre of which was
a group of thickly tangled copse-wood; and from out thereof they beheld
three horsemen coming towards them, well equipped with armour, both they
and their horses. Then the maiden looked steadfastly upon them; and when
they had come near, she heard them say one to another, "Behold, here
is a good arrival for us; here are coming for us four horses and four
suits of armour. We shall easily obtain them spite of yonder dolorous
knight, and the maiden also will fall into our power." "This
is but too true," said she to herself, "for my husband is tired
with his former combat. The vengeance of Heaven will be upon me, unless
I warn him of this." So the maiden waited until Geraint came up to
her. "Lord," said she, "dust thou not hear the discourse
of yonder men concerning thee?" "What was it?" asked he.
"They say to one another, that they will easily obtain all this spoil."
"I declare to Heaven," he answered, "that their words are
less grievous to me than that thou wilt not be silent, and abide by my
counsel." "My Lord," said she, "I feared lest they
should surprise thee unawares." "Hold thy peace, then,"
said he, "do not I desire silence?" And thereupon one of the
horsemen couched his lance, and attacked Geraint. And he made a thrust
at him, which he thought would be very effective; but Geraint received
it carelessly, and struck it aside, and then he rushed upon him, and aimed
at the centre of his person, and from the shock of man and horse, the
quantity of his armour did not avail him, and the head of the lance and
part of the shaft passed through him, so that he was carried to the ground
an arm and a spear's length over the crupper of his horse. And both the
other horsemen came forward in their turn, but their onset was not more
successful than that of their companion. And the maiden stood by, looking
at all this; and on the one hand she was in trouble lest Geraint should
be wounded in his encounter with the men, and on the other hand she was
joyful to see him victorious. Then Geraint dismounted, and bound the three
suits of armour upon the three saddles, and he fastened the reins of all
the horses together, so that he had seven horses with him. And he mounted
his own horse, and commanded the maiden to drive forward the others. "It
is no more use for me to speak to thee than to refrain, for thou wilt
not attend to my advice." "I will do so, as far as I am able,
Lord," said she; "but I cannot conceal from thee the fierce
and threatening words which I may hear against thee, Lord, from such strange
people as those that haunt this wilderness." "I declare to Heaven,"
said he, "that I desire nought but silence; therefore, hold thy peace."
"I will, Lord, while I can." And the maiden went on with the
horses before her, and she pursued her way straight onwards. And from
the copse-wood already mentioned, they journeyed over a vast and dreary
open plain. And at a great distance from them they beheld a wood, and
they could see neither end nor boundary to the wood, except on that side
that was nearest to them, and they went towards it. Then there came from
out the wood five horsemen, eager, and bold, and mighty, and strong, mounted
upon chargers that were powerful, and large of bone, and high-mettled,
and proudly snorting, and both the men and the horses were well equipped
with arms. And when they drew near to them, Enid heard them say, "Behold,
here is a fine booty coming to us, which we shall obtain easily and without
labour, for we shall have no trouble in taking all those horses and arms,
and the lady also, from yonder single knight, so doleful and sad."
Sorely grieved was the maiden upon hearing this discourse, so that she
knew not in the world what she should do. At last, however, she determined
to warn Geraint; so she turned her horse's head towards him. "Lord,"
said she, "if thou hadst heard as I did what yonder horsemen said
concerning thee, thy heaviness would be greater than it is." Angrily
and bitterly did Geraint smile upon her, and he said, "Thee do I
hear doing everything that I forbade thee; but it may be that thou will
repent this yet." And immediately, behold, the men met them, and
victoriously and gallantly did Geraint overcome them all five. And he
placed the five suits of armour upon the five saddles, and tied together
the reins of the twelve horses, and gave them in charge to Enid. "I
know not," said he, "what good it is for me to order thee; but
this time I charge thee in an especial manner." So the maiden went
forward towards the wood, keeping in advance of Geraint, as he had desired
her; and it grieved him as much as his wrath would permit, to see a maiden
so illustrious as she having so much trouble with the care of the horses.
Then they reached the wood, and it was both deep and vast; and in the
wood night overtook them. "Ah, maiden," said he, "it is
vain to attempt proceeding forward!" "Well, Lord," said
she, "whatsoever thou wishest, we will do." "It will be
best for us," he answered, "to turn out of the wood, and to
rest, and wait for the day, in order to pursue our journey." "That
will we, gladly," said she. And they did so. Having dismounted himself,
he took her down from her horse. "I cannot, by any means, refrain
from sleep, through weariness," said he. "Do thou, therefore,
watch the horses, and sleep not." "I will, Lord," said
she. Then he went to sleep in his armour, and thus passed the night, which
was not long at that season. And when she saw the dawn of day appear,
she looked around her, to see if he were waking, and thereupon he woke.
"My Lord," she said, "I have desired to awake thee for
some time." But he spake nothing to her about fatigue, as he had
desired her to be silent. Then he arose, and said unto her, "Take
the horses, and ride on; and keep straight on before thee as thou didst
yesterday." And early in the day they left the wood, and they came
to an open country, with meadows on one hand, and mowers mowing the meadows.
And there was a river before them, and the horses bent down, and drank
the water. And they went up out of the river by a lofty steep; and there
they met a slender stripling, with a satchel about his neck, and they
saw that there was something in the satchel, but they knew not what it
was. And he had a small blue pitcher in his hand, and a bowl on the mouth
of the pitcher. And the youth saluted Geraint. "Heaven prosper thee,"
said Geraint, "and whence dost thou come?" "I come,"
said he, "from the city that lies before thee. My Lord," he
added, "will it be displeasing to thee if I ask whence thou comest
also?" "By no means - through yonder wood did I come."
"Thou camest not through the wood to-day." "No," he
replied, "we were in the wood last night." "I warrant,"
said the youth, "that thy condition there last night was not the
most pleasant, and that thou hadst neither meat nor drink." "No,
by my faith," said he. "Wilt thou follow my counsel," said
the youth, "and take thy meal from me?" "What sort of meal?"
he inquired. "The breakfast which is sent for yonder mowers, nothing
less than bread and meat and wine; and if thou wilt, Sir, they shall have
none of it." "I will," said he, "and Heaven reward
thee for it."
So Geraint alighted, and the youth took the maiden from off her horse.
Then they washed, and took their repast. And the youth cut the bread in
slices, and gave them drink, and served them withal. And when they had
finished, the youth arose, and said to Geraint, "My Lord, with thy
permission, I will now go and fetch some food for the mowers." "Go,
first, to the town," said Geraint, "and take a lodging for me
in the best place that thou knowest, and the most commodious one for the
horses, and take thou whichever horse and arms thou choosest in payment
for thy service and thy gift." "Heaven reward thee, Lord,"
said the youth, "and this would be ample to repay services much greater
than those I have rendered unto thee." And to the town went the youth,
and he took the best and the most pleasant lodgings that he knew; and
after that he went to the palace, having the horse and armour with him,
and proceeded to the place where the Earl was, and told him all his adventure.
"I go now, Lord," said he, "to meet the young man, and
to conduct him to his lodging." "Go, gladly," said the
Earl, "and right joyfully shall he be received here, if he so come."
And the youth went to meet Geraint, and told him that he would be received
gladly by the Earl in his own palace; but he would go only to his lodgings.
And he had a goodly chamber, in which was plenty of straw, and drapery,
and a spacious and commodious place he had for the horses; and the youth
prepared for them plenty of provender. And after they had disarrayed themselves,
Geraint spoke thus to Enid: "Go," said he, "to the other
side of the chamber, and come not to this side of the house; and thou
mayest call to thee the woman of the house, if thou wilt." "I
will do, Lord," said she, "as thou sayest." And thereupon
the man of the house came to Geraint, and welcomed him. "Oh, chieftain,"
he said, "hast thou taken thy meal?" "I have," said
he. Then the youth spoke to him, and inquired if he would not drink something
before he met the Earl. "Truly I will," said he. So the youth
went into the town, and brought them drink. And they drank. "I must
needs sleep," said Geraint. "Well," said the youth; "and
whilst thou sleepest, I will go to see the Earl." "Go, gladly,"
he said, "and come here again when I require thee." And Geraint
went to sleep; and so did Enid also.
And the youth came to the place where the Earl was, and the Earl asked
him where the lodgings of the knight were, and he told him. "I must
go," said the youth, "to wait on him in the evening." "Go,"
answered the Earl, "and greet him well from me, and tell him that
in the evening I will go to see him." "This will I do,"
said the youth. So he came when it was time for them to awake. And they
arose, and went forth. And when it was time for them to take their food,
they took it. And the youth served them. And Geraint inquired of the man
of the house, whether there were any of his companions that he wished
to invite to him, and he said that there were. "Bring them hither,
and entertain them at my cost with the best thou canst buy in the town."
And the man of the house brought there those whom he chose, and feasted
them at Geraint's expense. Thereupon, behold, the Earl came to visit Geraint,
and his twelve honourable knights with him. And Geraint rose up, and welcomed
him. "Heaven preserve thee," said the Earl. Then they all sat
down according to their precedence in honour. And the Earl conversed with
Geraint, and inquired of him the object of his journey. "I have none,"
he replied, "but to seek adventures, and to follow my own inclination."
Then the Earl cast his eye upon Enid, and he looked at her steadfastly.
And he thought he had never seen a maiden fairer or more comely than she.
And he set all his thoughts and his affections upon her. Then he asked
of Geraint, "Have I thy permission to go and converse with yonder
maiden, for I see that she is apart from thee?" "Thou hast it
gladly," said he. So the Earl went to the place where the maiden
was, and spake with her. "Ah, maiden," said he, "it cannot
be pleasant to thee to journey thus with yonder man!" "It is
not unpleasant to me," said she, "to journey the same road that
he journeys." "Thou hast neither youths nor maidens to serve
thee," said he. "Truly," she replied, "it is more
pleasant for me to follow yonder man, than to be served by youths and
maidens." "I will give thee good counsel," said he. "All
my Earldom will I place in thy possession, if thou wilt dwell with me."
"That will I not, by Heaven," she said; "yonder man was
the first to whom my faith was ever pledged; and shall I prove inconstant
to him!" "Thou art in the wrong," said the Earl; "if
I slay the man yonder, I can keep thee with me as long as I choose; and
when thou no longer pleasest me I can turn thee away. But if thou goest
with me by thine own good will, I protest that our union shall continue
eternal and undivided as long as I remain alive." Then she pondered
these words of his, and she considered that it was advisable to encourage
him in his request. "Behold, then, chieftain, this is most expedient
for thee to do to save me any needless imputation; come here to-morrow,
and take me away as though I knew nothing thereof." "I will
do so," said he. So he arose, and took his leave, and went forth
with his attendants. And she told not then to Geraint any of the conversation
which she had had with the Earl, lest it should rouse his anger, and cause
him uneasiness and care.
And at the usual hour they went to sleep. And at the beginning of the
night Enid slept a little; and at midnight she arose, and placed all Geraint's
armour together, so that it might be ready to put on. And although fearful
of her errand, she came to the side of Geraint's bed; and she spoke to
him softly and gently, saying, "My Lord, arise, and clothe thyself,
for these were the words of the Earl to me, and his intention concerning
me." So she told Geraint all that had passed. And although he was
wroth with her, he took warning, and clothed himself. And she lighted
a candle, that he might have light to do so. "Leave there the candle,"
said he, "and desire the man of the house to come here." Then
she went, and the man of the house came to him. "Dost thou know how
much I owe thee?" asked Geraint. "I think thou owest but little."
"Take the eleven horses and the eleven suits of armour." "Heaven
reward thee, lord," said he, "but I spent not the value of one
suit of armour upon thee." "For that reason," said he,
"thou wilt be the richer. And now, wilt thou come to guide me out
of the town?" "I will, gladly," said he, "and in which
direction dost thou intend to go?" "I wish to leave the town
by a different way from that by which I entered it." So the man of
the lodgings accompanied him as far as he desired. Then he bade the maiden
to go on before him; and she did so, and went straight forward, and his
host returned home. And he had only just reached his house, when, behold,
the greatest tumult approached that was ever heard. And when he looked
out, he saw fourscore knights in complete armour around the house, with
the Earl Dwnn at their head. "Where is the knight that was here?"
said the Earl. "By thy hand," said he, "he went hence some
time ago." "Wherefore, villain," said he, "didst thou
let him go without informing me?" "My Lord, thou didst not command
me to do so, else would I not have allowed him to depart." "What
way dost thou think that he took?" "I know not, except that
he went along the high road." And they turned their horses' heads
that way, and seeing the tracks of the horses upon the high road, they
followed. And when the maiden beheld the dawning of the day, she looked
behind her, and saw vast clouds of dust coming nearer and nearer to her.
And thereupon she became uneasy, and she thought that it was the Earl
and his host coming after them. And thereupon she beheld a knight appearing
through the mist. "By my faith," said she, "though he should
slay me, it were better for me to receive my death at his hands, than
to see him killed without warning him. My Lord," she said to him,
"seest thou yonder man hastening after thee, and many others with
him?" "I do see him," said he; "and in despite of
all my orders, I see that thou wilt never keep silence." Then he
turned upon the knight, and with the first thrust he threw him down under
his horse's feet. And as long as there remained one of the fourscore knights,
he overthrew every one of them at the first onset. And from the weakest
to the strongest, they all attacked him one after the other, except the
Earl: and last of all the Earl came against him also. And he broke his
lance, and then he broke a second. But Geraint turned upon him, and struck
him with his lance upon the centre of his shield, so that by that single
thrust the shield was split, and all his armour broken, and he himself
was brought over his horse's crupper to the ground, and was in peril of
his life. And Geraint drew near to him; and at the noise of the trampling
of his horse the Earl revived. "Mercy, Lord," said he to Geraint.
And Geraint granted him mercy. But through the hardness of the ground
where they had fallen, and the violence of the stroke which they had received,
there was not a single knight amongst them that escaped without receiving
a fall, mortally severe, and grievously painful, and desperately wounding,
from the hand of Geraint.
And Geraint journeyed along the high road that was before him, and the
maiden went on first; and near them they beheld a valley which was the
fairest ever seen, and which had a large river running through it; and
there was a bridge over the river, and the high road led to the bridge.
And above the bridge upon the opposite side of the river, they beheld
a fortified town, the fairest ever seen. And as they approached the bridge,
Geraint saw coming towards him from a thick copse a man mounted upon a
large and lofty steed, even of pace and spirited though tractable. "Ah,
knight," said Geraint, "whence comest thou?" "I come,"
said he, "from the valley below us." "Canst thou tell me,"
said Geraint, "who is the owner of this fair valley and yonder walled
town?" "I will tell thee, willingly," said he. "Gwiffert
Petit he is called by the Franks, but the Cymry call him the Little King."
"Can I go by yonder bridge," said Geraint, "and by the
lower highway that is beneath the town?" Said the knight, "Thou
canst not go by his tower on the other side of the bridge, unless thou
dost intend to combat him; because it is his custom to encounter every
knight that comes upon his lands." "I declare to Heaven,"
said Geraint, "that I will, nevertheless, pursue my journey that
way." "If thou dost so," said the knight, "thou wilt
probably meet with shame and disgrace in reward for thy daring."
Then Geraint proceeded along the road that led to the town, and the road
brought him to a ground that was hard, and rugged, and high, and ridgy.
And as he journeyed thus, he beheld a knight following him upon a warhorse,
strong, and large, and proudly-stepping, and wide-hoofed, and broad-chested.
And he never saw a man of smaller stature than he who was upon the horse.
And both he and his horse were completely armed. When he had overtaken
Geraint, he said to him, "Tell me, chieftain, whether it is through
ignorance or through presumption that thou seekest to insult my dignity,
and to infringe my rules." "Nay," answered Geraint, "I
knew not this road was forbid to any." "Thou didst know it,"
said the other; "come with me to my Court, to give me satisfaction."
"That will I not, by my faith," said Geraint; "I would
not go even to thy Lord's Court, excepting Arthur were thy Lord."
"By the hand of Arthur himself," said the knight, "I will
have satisfaction of thee, or receive my overthrow at thy hands."
And immediately they charged one another. And a squire of his came to
serve him with lances as he broke them. And they gave each other such
hard and severe strokes that their shields lost all their colour. But
it was very difficult for Geraint to fight with him on account of his
small size, for he was hardly able to get a full aim at him with all the
efforts he could make. And they fought thus until their horses were brought
down upon their knees; and at length Geraint threw the knight headlong
to the ground; and then they fought on foot, and they gave one another
blows so boldly fierce, so frequent, and so severely powerful, that their
helmets were pierced, and their skullcaps were broken, and their arms
were shattered, and the light of their eyes was darkened by sweat and
blood. At the last Geraint became enraged, and he called to him all his
strength; and boldly angry, and swiftly resolute, and furiously determined,
he lifted up his sword, and struck him on the crown of his head a blow
so mortally painful, so violent, so fierce, and so penetrating, that it
cut through all his head armour, and his skin, and his flesh, until it
wounded the very bone, and the sword flew out of the hand of the Little
King to the furthest end of the plain, and he besought Geraint that he
would have mercy and compassion upon him. "Though thou hast been
neither courteous nor just," said Geraint, "thou shalt have
mercy, upon condition that thou wilt become my ally, and engage never
to fight against me again, but to come to my assistance whenever thou
hearest of my being in trouble." "This will I do, gladly, Lord,"
said he. So he pledged him his faith thereof. "And now, Lord, come
with me," said he, "to my Court yonder, to recover from thy
weariness and fatigue." "That will I not, by Heaven," said
Then Gwiffert Petit beheld Enid where she stood, and it grieved him to
see one of her noble mien appear so deeply afflicted. And he said to Geraint,
"My Lord, thou doest wrong not to take repose, and refresh thyself
awhile; for, if thou meetest with any difficulty in thy present condition,
it will not be easy for thee to surmount it." But Geraint would do
no other than proceed on his journey, and he mounted his horse in pain,
and all covered with blood. And the maiden went on first, and they proceeded
towards the wood which they saw before them.
And the heat of the sun was very great, and through the blood and sweat,
Geraint's armour cleaved to his flesh; and when they came into the wood,
he stood under a tree, to avoid the sun's heat; and his wounds pained
him more than they had done at the time when he received them. And the
maiden stood under another tree. And lo! they heard the sound of horns,
and a tumultuous noise; and the occasion of it was, that Arthur and his
company had come down to the wood. And while Geraint was considering which
way he should go to avoid them, behold, he was espied by a foot-page,
who was an attendant on the Steward of the Household; and he went to the
Steward, and told him what kind of man he had seen in the wood. Then the
Steward caused his horse to be saddled, and he took his lance and his
shield, and went to the place where Geraint was. "Ah, knight!"
said he, "what dost thou here?" "I am standing under a
shady tree, to avoid the heat and the rays of the sun." "Wherefore
is thy journey, and who art thou?" "I seek adventures, and go
where I list." "Indeed," said Kai; "then come with
me to see Arthur, who is here hard by." "That will I not, by
Heaven," said Geraint. "Thou must needs come," said Kai.
Then Geraint knew who he was, but Kai did not know Geraint. And Kai attacked
Geraint as best he could. And Geraint became wroth, and he struck him
with the shaft of his lance, so that he rolled headlong to the ground.
But chastisement worse than this would he not inflict on him.
Scared and wildly Kai arose, and he mounted his horse, and went back to
his lodging. And thence he proceeded to Gwalchmai's tent. "Oh, Sir,"
said he to Gwalchmai, "I was told by one of the attendants, that
he saw in the wood above a wounded knight, having on battered armour;
and if thou dost right, thou wilt go and see if this be true." "I
care not if I do so," said Gwalchmai. "Take, then, thy horse,
and some of thy armour," said Kai; "for I hear that he is not
over courteous to those who approach him." So Gwalchmai took his
spear and his shield, and mounted his horse, and came to the spot where
Geraint was. "Sir Knight," said he, "wherefore is thy journey?"
"I journey for my own pleasure, and to seek the adventures of the
world." "Wilt thou tell me who thou art; or wilt thou come and
visit Arthur, who is near at hand?" "I will make no alliance
with thee, nor will I go and visit Arthur," said he. And he knew
that it was Gwalchmai, but Gwalchmai knew him not. "I purpose not
to leave thee," said Gwalchmai, "till I know who thou art."
And he charged him with his lance, and struck him on his shield, so that
the shaft was shivered into splinters, and their horses were front to
front. Then Gwalchmai gazed fixedly upon him, and he knew him. "Ah,
Geraint," said he, "is it thou that art here?" "I
am not Geraint," said he. "Geraint thou art, by Heaven,"
he replied, "and a wretched and insane expedition is this."
Then he looked around, and beheld Enid, and he welcomed her gladly. "Geraint,"
said Gwalchmai, "come thou and see Arthur; he is thy lord and thy
cousin." "I will not," said he, "for I am not in a
fit state to go and see any one." Thereupon, behold, one of the pages
came after Gwalchmai to speak to him. So he sent him to apprise Arthur
that Geraint was there wounded, and that he would not go to visit him,
and that it was pitiable to see the plight that he was in. And this he
did without Geraint's knowledge, inasmuch as he spoke in a whisper to
the page. "Entreat Arthur," said he, "to have his tent
brought near to the road, for he will not meet him willingly, and it is
not easy to compel him in the mood he is in." So the page came to
Arthur, and told him this. And he caused his tent to be removed unto the
side of the road. And the maiden rejoiced in her heart. And Gwalchmai
led Geraint onwards along the road, till they came to the place where
Arthur was encamped, and the pages were pitching his tent by the roadside.
"Lord," said Geraint, "all hail unto thee." "Heaven
prosper thee; and who art thou?" said Arthur. "It is Geraint,"
said Gwalchmai, "and of his own free will would he not come to meet
thee." "Verily," said Arthur, "he is bereft of his
reason." Then came Enid, and saluted Arthur. "Heaven protect
thee," said he. And thereupon he caused one of the pages to take
her from her horse. "Alas! Enid," said Arthur, "what expedition
is this?" "I know not, Lord," said she, "save that
it behoves me to journey by the same road that he journeys." "My
Lord," said Geraint, "with thy permission we will depart."
"Whither wilt thou go?" said Arthur. "Thou canst not proceed
now, unless it be unto thy death." "He will not suffer himself
to be invited by me," said Gwalchmai. "But by me he will,"
said Arthur; "and, moreover, he does not go from here until he is
healed." "I had rather, Lord," said Geraint, "that
thou wouldest let me go forth." "That will I not, I declare
to Heaven," said he. Then he caused a maiden to be sent for to conduct
Enid to the tent where Gwenhwyvar's chamber was. And Gwenhwyvar and all
her women were joyful at her coming; and they took off her riding-dress,
and placed other garments upon her. Arthur also called Kadyrieith, and
ordered him to pitch a tent for Geraint and the physicians; and he enjoined
him to provide him with abundance of all that might be requisite for him.
And Kadyrieith did as he had commanded him. And Morgan Tud and his disciples
were brought to Geraint.
And Arthur and his hosts remained there nearly a month, whilst Geraint
was being healed. And when he was fully recovered, Geraint came to Arthur,
and asked his permission to depart. "I know not if thou art quite
well." "In truth I am, Lord," said Geraint. "I shall
not believe thee concerning that, but the physicians that were with thee."
So Arthur caused the physicians to be summoned to him, and asked them
if it were true. "It is true, Lord," said Morgan Tud. So the
next day Arthur permitted him to go forth, and he pursued his journey.
And on the same day Arthur removed thence. And Geraint desired Enid to
go on, and to keep before him, as she had formerly done. And she went
forward along the high road. And as they journeyed thus, they heard an
exceeding loud wailing near to them. "Stay thou here," said
he, "and I will go and see what is the cause of this wailing."
"I will," said she. Then he went forward unto an open glade
that was near the road. And in the glade he saw two horses, one having
a man's saddle, and the other a woman's saddle upon it. And, behold, there
was a knight lying dead in his armour, and a young damsel in a riding-dress
standing over him, lamenting. "Ah! Lady," said Geraint, "what
hath befallen thee?" "Behold," she answered, "I journeyed
here with my beloved husband, when, lo! three giants came upon us, and
without any cause in the world, they slew him." "Which way went
they hence?" said Geraint. "Yonder by the high road," she
replied. So he returned to Enid. "Go," said he, "to the
lady that is below yonder, and await me there till I come." She was
sad when he ordered her to do thus, but nevertheless she went to the damsel,
whom it was ruth to hear, and she felt certain that Geraint would never
return. Meanwhile Geraint followed the giants, and overtook them. And
each of them was greater of stature than three other men, and a huge club
was on the shoulder of each. Then he rushed upon one of them, and thrust
his lance through his body. And having drawn it forth again, he pierced
another of them through likewise. But the third turned upon him, and struck
him with his club, so that he split his shield, and crushed his shoulder,
and opened his wounds anew, and all his blood began to flow from him.
But Geraint drew his sword, and attacked the giant, and gave him a blow
on the crown of his head so severe, and fierce, and violent, that his
head and his neck were split down to his shoulders, and he fell dead.
So Geraint left him thus, and returned to Enid. And when he saw her, he
fell down lifeless from his horse. Piercing, and loud, and thrilling was
the cry that Enid uttered. And she came and stood over him where he had
fallen. And at the sound of her cries came the Earl of Limours, and the
host that journeyed with him, whom her lamentations brought out of their
road. And the Earl said to Enid, "Alas, Lady, what hath befallen
thee?" "Ah! good Sir," said she, "the only man I have
loved, or ever shall love, is slain." Then he said to the other,
"And what is the cause of thy grief?" "They have slain
my beloved husband also," said she. "And who was it that slew
them?" "Some giants," she answered, "slew my best-beloved,
and the other knight went in pursuit of them, and came back in the state
thou seest, his blood flowing excessively; but it appears to me that he
did not leave the giants without killing some of them, if not all."
The Earl caused the knight that was dead to be buried, but he thought
that there still remained some life in Geraint; and to see if he yet would
live, he had him carried with him in the hollow of his shield, and upon
a bier. And the two damsels went to the Court; and when they arrived there,
Geraint was placed upon a litter-couch in front of the table that was
in the hall. Then they all took off their travelling gear, and the Earl
besought Enid to do the same, and to clothe herself in other garments.
"I will not, by Heaven," said she. "Ah! Lady," said
he, "be not so sorrowful for this matter." "It were hard
to persuade me to be otherwise," said she. "I will act towards
thee in such wise, that thou needest not be sorrowful, whether yonder
knight live or die. Behold, a good Earldom, together with myself, will
I bestow on thee; be, therefore, happy and joyful." "I declare
to Heaven," said she, "that henceforth I shall never be joyful
while I live." "Come, then," said he, "and eat."
"No, by Heaven, I will not," she answered. "But, by Heaven,
thou shalt," said he. So he took her with him to the table against
her will, and many times desired her to eat. "I call Heaven to witness,"
said she, "that I will not eat until the man that is upon yonder
bier shall eat likewise." "Thou canst not fulfil that,"
said the Earl, "yonder man is dead already." "I will prove
that I can," said she. Then he offered her a goblet of liquor. "Drink
this goblet," he said, "and it will cause thee to change thy
mind." "Evil betide me," she answered, "if I drink
aught until he drink also." "Truly," said the Earl, "it
is of no more avail for me to be gentle with thee than ungentle."
And he gave her a box on the ear. Thereupon she raised a loud and piercing
shriek, and her lamentations were much greater than they had been before,
for she considered in her mind that had Geraint been alive, he durst not
have struck her thus. But, behold, at the sound of her cry, Geraint revived
from his swoon, and he sat up on the bier, and finding his sword in the
hollow of his shield, he rushed to the place where the Earl was, and struck
him a fiercely-wounding, severely-venomous, and sternly-smiting blow upon
the crown of his head, so that he clove him in twain, until his sword
was stayed by the table. Then all left the board, and fled away. And this
was not so much through fear of the living as through the dread they felt
at seeing the dead man rise up to slay them. And Geraint looked upon Enid,
and he was grieved for two causes; one was, to see that Enid had lost
her colour and her wonted aspect, and the other, to know that she was
in the right. "Lady," said he, "knowest thou where our
horses are?" "I know, Lord, where thy horse is," she replied,
"but I know not where is the other. Thy horse is in the house yonder."
So he went to the house, and brought forth his horse, and mounted him,
and took up Enid from the ground, and placed her upon the horse with him.
And he rode forward. And their road lay between two hedges. And the night
was gaining on the day. And lo! they saw behind them the shafts of spears
betwixt them and the sky, and they heard the trampling of horses, and
the noise of a host approaching. "I hear something following us,"
said he, "and I will put thee on the other side of the hedge."
And thus he did. And thereupon, behold, a knight pricked towards him,
and couched his lance. When Enid saw this, she cried out, saying, "Oh!
chieftain, whoever thou art, what renown wilt thou gain by slaying a dead
man?" "Oh! Heaven," said he, "is it Geraint?"
"Yes, in truth," said she. "And who art thou?" "I
am the Little King," he answered, "coming to thy assistance,
for I heard that thou wast in trouble. And if thou hadst followed my advice,
none of these hardships would have befallen thee." "Nothing
can happen," said Geraint, "without the will of Heaven, though
much good results from counsel." "Yes," said the Little
King, "and I know good counsel for thee now. Come with me to the
court of a son-in-law of my sister, which is near here, and thou shalt
have the best medical assistance in the kingdom." "I will do
so gladly," said Geraint. And Enid was placed upon the horse of one
of the Little King's squires, and they went forward to the Baron's palace.
And they were received there with gladness, and they met with hospitality
and attention. And the next morning they went to seek physicians; and
it was not long before they came, and they attended Geraint until he was
perfectly well. And while Geraint was under medical care, the Little King
caused his armour to be repaired, until it was as good as it had ever
been. And they remained there a fortnight and a month.
Then the Little King said to Geraint, "Now will we go towards my
own Court, to take rest, and amuse ourselves." "Not so,"
said Geraint, "we will first journey for one day more, and return
again." "With all my heart," said the Little King, "do
thou go then." And early in the day they set forth. And more gladly
and more joyfully did Enid journey with them that day than she had ever
done. And they came to the main road. And when they reached a place where
the road divided in two, they beheld a man on foot coming towards them
along one of these roads, and Gwiffert asked the man whence he came. "I
come," said he, "from an errand in the country." "Tell
me," said Geraint, "which is the best for me to follow of these
two roads?" "That is the best for thee to follow," answered
he, "for if thou goest by this one, thou wilt never return. Below
us," said he, "there is a hedge of mist, and within it are enchanted
games, and no one who has gone there has ever returned. And the Court
of the Earl Owain is there, and he permits no one to go to lodge in the
town, except he will go to his Court." "I declare to Heaven,"
said Geraint, "that we will take the lower road." And they went
along it until they came to the town. And they took the fairest and pleasantest
place in the town for their lodging. And while they were thus, behold,
a young man came to them, and greeted them. "Heaven be propitious
to thee," said they. "Good Sirs," said he, "what preparations
are you making here?" "We are taking up our lodging," said
they, "to pass the night." "It is not the custom with him
who owns the town," he answered, "to permit any of gentle birth,
unless they come to stay in his Court, to abide here; therefore, come
ye to the Court." "We will come, gladly," said Geraint.
And they went with the page, and they were joyfully received. And the
Earl came to the hall to meet them, and he commanded the tables to be
laid. And they washed, and sat down. And this is the order in which they
sat: Geraint on one side of the Earl, and Enid on the other side, and
next to Enid the Little King, and then the Countess next to Geraint; and
all after that as became their rank. Then Geraint recollected the games,
and thought that he should not go to them; and on that account he did
not eat. Then the Earl looked upon Geraint, and considered, and he bethought
him that his not eating was because of the games, and it grieved him that
he had ever established those games, were it only on account of losing
such a youth as Geraint. And if Geraint had asked him to abolish the games,
he would gladly have done so. Then the Earl said to Geraint, "What
thought occupies thy mind, that thou dost not eat? If thou hesitatest
about going to the games, thou shalt not go, and no other of thy rank
shall ever go either." "Heaven reward thee," said Geraint,
"but I wish nothing better than to go to the games, and to be shown
the way thither." "If that is what thou dost prefer, thou shalt
obtain it willingly." "I do prefer it, indeed," said he.
Then they ate, and they were amply served, and they had a variety of gifts,
and abundance of liquor. And when they had finished eating they arose.
And Geraint called for his horse and his armour, and he accoutred both
himself and his horse. And all the hosts went forth until they came to
the side of the hedge, and the hedge was so lofty, that it reached as
high as they could see in the air, and upon every stake in the hedge,
except two, there was the head of a man, and the number of stakes throughout
the hedge was very great. Then said the Little King, "May no one
go in with the chieftain?" "No one may," said Earl Owain.
"Which way can I enter?" inquired Geraint. "I know not,"
said Owain, "but enter by the way that thou wilt, and that seemeth
easiest to thee."
Then fearlessly and unhesitatingly Geraint dashed forward into the mist.
And on leaving the mist, he came to a large orchard; and in the orchard
he saw an open space, wherein was a tent of red satin; and the door of
the tent was open, and an apple-tree stood in front of the door of the
tent; and on a branch of the apple-tree hung a huge hunting-horn. Then
he dismounted, and went into the tent; and there was no one in the tent
save one maiden sitting in a golden chair, and another chair was opposite
to her, empty. And Geraint went to the empty chair, and sat down therein.
"Ah! chieftain," said the maiden, "I would not counsel
thee to sit in that chair." "Wherefore?" said Geraint.
"The man to whom that chair belongs has never suffered another to
sit in it." "I care not," said Geraint, "though it
displease him that I sit in the chair." And thereupon they heard
a mighty tumult around the tent. And Geraint looked to see what was the
cause of the tumult. And he beheld without a knight mounted upon a warhorse,
proudly snorting, high-mettled, and large of bone; and a robe of honour
in two parts was upon him and upon his horse, and beneath it was plenty
of armour. "Tell me, chieftain," said he to Geraint, "who
it was that bade thee sit there?" "Myself," answered he.
"It was wrong of thee to do me this shame and disgrace. Arise, and
do me satisfaction for thine insolence." Then Geraint arose; and
they encountered immediately; and they broke a set of lances, and a second
set, and a third; and they gave each other fierce and frequent strokes;
and at last Geraint became enraged, and he urged on his horse, and rushed
upon him, and gave him a thrust on the centre of his shield, so that it
was split, and so that the head of his lance went through his armour,
and his girths were broken, and he himself was borne headlong to the ground
the length of Geraint's lance and arm, over his horse's crupper. "Oh,
my Lord!" said he, "thy mercy, and thou shalt have what thou
wilt." "I only desire," said Geraint, "that this game
shall no longer exist here, nor the hedge of mist, nor magic, nor enchantment."
"Thou shalt have this gladly, Lord," he replied. "Cause,
then, the mist to disappear from this place," said Geraint. "Sound
yonder horn," said he, "and when thou soundest it, the mist
will vanish; but it will not go hence unless the horn be blown by the
knight by whom I am vanquished." And sad and sorrowful was Enid where
she remained, through anxiety concerning Geraint. Then Geraint went and
sounded the horn. And at the first blast he gave, the mist vanished. And
all the hosts came together, and they all became reconciled to each other.
And the Earl invited Geraint and the Little King to stay with him that
night. And the next morning they separated. And Geraint went towards his
own dominions; and thenceforth he reigned prosperously, and his warlike
fame and splendour lasted with renown and honour both to him and to Enid
from that time forth.