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The Project Gutenberg eBook, King Arthur's Knights, by Henry Gilbert, IllustratedbyWalterCrane ThiseBookisfortheuseofanyoneanywhereatnocostandwith almostnorestrictionswhatsoever Youmaycopyit,giveitawayor re-useitunderthetermsoftheProjectGutenbergLicenseincluded withthiseBookoronlineatwww.gutenberg.org Title:KingArthur'sKnights TheTalesRe-toldforBoys&Girls Author:HenryGilbert ReleaseDate:August25,2007[eBook#22396] Language:English Charactersetencoding:ISO-8859-1 ***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK KING ARTHUR'S KNIGHTS*** E-textpreparedbyK Nordquist,SigalAlon, andtheProjectGutenbergOnlineDistributedProofreadingTeam (http://www.pgdp.net) KINGARTHUR'SKNIGHTS: THETALESRE-TOLDFORBOYS&GIRLS By HENRYGILBERT WITHILLUSTRATIONSINCOLOR By WALTERCRANE Helmet,shieldandsword THOMASNELSONANDSONS NEWYORK,EDINBURGH,LONDON TORONTO,ANDPARIS IntholdèdayèsoftheKingArthour, OfwhichthatBritonsspekengreathonour, Allwasthislandfulfilledoffaery TheCanterburyTales PRINTEDINTHEUNITEDSTATESOFAMERICA PREFACE This book is an attempt to tell some of the stories of King Arthur and his Knights in a way which will be interesting to every boy and girl who loves adventures Although tales of these old British heroes have been published before in a formintendedforyoungpeople,itisbelievedthattheyhaveneverbeenrelated quiteinthesamespiritnorfromthesamepointofview;anditishopedthatthe bookwillfillaplacehithertovacantintheheartsofallboysandgirls Nodoubtmanyofyou,myyoungreaders,haveatsometimeoranothertaken downtheMorteD'Arthurfromyourfather'sbookshelvesandreadafewpages of it here and there But I doubt if any of you have ever gone very far in the volume You found generally, I think, that it was written in a puzzling, oldfashionedlanguage,thatthoughitspokeofmanyinterestingthings,andseemed thatitoughttobewellworthreading,yetsomehowitwastediousanddry InthetalesasIhaveretoldthemforyou,Ihopeyouwillnotfindanyofthese faults Besides writing them in simple language, I have chosen only those episodes which I know would appeal to you I have added or altered here and there, for in places it struck me that there was just wanting a word or two to makeyoufeelthemagicthatwaseverywhereabroadinthosedays Itseemedto me that some mysterious adventure might easily be waiting in the ruined and desertedRomantownonthedesolatemoor,orevenjustroundthemossytrunk ofthenextoakintheforest-drive,throughwhichtheknightwasriding;orthat anyfairladyorquestingdogwhichhemightmeetcouldturnouttobeawizard seeking to work woe upon him Nevertheless, I was always sure that in those bright days when the world was young, whatever evil power might get the mastery for a little while, the knight's courage, humility, and faith would win througheveryperilattheend Inthisbook,besidesreadingofwonderfuladventuresandbravefighting,you will learn just what sort of man a perfect knight was required to be in the chivalrous times when men wore armour and rode on errantry The duties of a 'good and faithful knight' were quite simple, but they were often very hard to perform They were—to protect the distressed, to speak the truth, to keep his wordtoall,tobecourteousandgentletowomen,todefendrightagainstmight, andtodoorsaynothingthatshouldsullythefairnameofChristianknighthood Although,therefore,thesestoriesofKingArthurandhismentreatofknights and their ladies, of magical trolls and wonder-working wizards, and it might seemforthatreasonthattheycanhavelittleornothingincommonwithlifeof the present day, it will be seen that the spirit in which they are told conveys somethingwhicheveryboycanlearn Indeed,thegreatandsimplelessonofchivalrywhichthetalesofKingArthur teachis,inafewwords,tomerit'thefineoldnameofgentleman.' The history of King Arthur and his Knights is contained in two books, one being the MorteD'Arthur, written by Sir Thomas Malory, the other being the Mabinogion,acollectionofoldWelshstories,firsttranslatedbyLadyCharlotte Guest in 1838 I have selected thirteen tales from the number which these two bookscontain;buttherearemanymore,equallyasinteresting,whichremain LittleisknownaboutSirThomasMalory,wholivedinthefifteenthcentury We only learn that he was a Welshman, a man of heroic mind who, as an old writer relates, 'from his youth, greatly shone in the gifts of mind and body.' Thoughmuchbusiedwithcaresofstate,hisfavouriterecreationwassaidtobe the reading of history, and in this pursuit 'he made selections from various authors concerning the valour and the victories of the most renowned King Arthur of the Britons.' We know, further, that these selections or tales were translated mostly from poems about Arthur written by old French poets in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, and that Sir Thomas Malory finished his translationintheninthyearofKingEdwardtheFourth(1469) This,ofcourse, was before printing was introduced into England, but no doubt many written copiesweremadeofthebook,soastoenablethestoriestobereadtothelords and ladies and other rich people who would desire to hear about the flower of kings and chivalry, the great King Arthur When, in 1477, Caxton set up his printingpress atWestminster,theMorteD'Arthurwasoneofthebookswhich thensawthelightofday TheMabinogion,whichcontainsothertalesaboutKingArthur,isacollection ofoldWelshromances Thoughourearliestcollectionofthemistobefoundina manuscript written in the thirteenth or fourteenth century, some of them are probablyasoldasthetimewhenWelshmenclothedthemselvesintheskinsof thebeaverandthebear,andusedstonefortheirtoolsandweapons Itmaybethat,whenyougetolder,youwillgobacktothetwobooksIhave mentioned,andyouwillfindthemsofascinatingthatyouwillbeimpatientof any other book which pretends to tell you the same tales But until that time arrives,IhopeyouwillfindthestoriesasIhavetoldthemquiteinterestingand exciting HENRYGILBERT June1911 CONTENTS CHAP HOW ARTHUR WAS MADE KING AND WON HIS KINGDOM II SIRBALINANDTHESTROKEDOLOROUS HOWLANCELOTWASMADEAKNIGHT THEFOUR III WITCH QUEENS, AND THE ADVENTURES AT THE CHAPELPERILOUS IV THEKNIGHTOFTHEKITCHEN V HOWSIRTRISTRAMKEPTHISWORD VI THEDEEDSOFSIRGERAINT HOWSIRPERCEVALWASTAUGHTCHIVALRY,AND VII ENDED THE EVIL WROUGHT BY SIR BALIN'S DOLOROUSSTROKE HOW SIR OWEN WON THE EARLDOM OF THE VIII FOUNTAIN OF SIR LANCELOT AND THE FAIR MAID OF IX ASTOLAT HOW THE THREE GOOD KNIGHTS ACHIEVED THE X HOLYGRAAL OF THE PLOTS OF SIR MORDRED; AND HOW SIR XI LANCELOTSAVEDTHEQUEEN OF SIR GAWAINE'S HATRED, AND THE WAR WITH XII SIRLANCELOT I PAGE 32 52 72 101 131 164 194 229 250 278 307 XIII OFTHEREBELLIONOFMORDREDANDTHEDEATH 333 OFKINGARTHUR KINGARTHUR'SKNIGHTS I HOWARTHURWASMADEKINGANDWONHISKINGDOM In the hall of his Roman palace at London, King Uther, Pendragon of the IslandofBritain,laydying Hehadbeenlongsickwithawastingdisease,and forcedtolieinhisbed,gnawinghisbeardwithwrathathisweakness,whilethe paganSaxonsravenedupanddownthefairbroadlands,leavingintheirtracks the smoking ruin of broken towns and desolated villages, where mothers lay dead beside their children on the hearths, fair churches stood pillaged and desecrated,andpriestsandnunswanderedinthewilds Atlength,whenthepagans,boldandinsolent,hadventurednearLondon,the kinghadbeenabletobearhisshameandanguishnolonger Hehadputhimself, in a litter, at the head of his army, and meeting the fierce, brave pagans at Verulam (now called St Albans) he had, in a battle day-long and stubborn, forcedthematlengthtoflywithheavyslaughter Thatwasthreedaysago,andsincethenhehadlaininhisbedasstillasifhe weredead;andbesidehimsatthewisewizardMerlin,whitewithgreatage,and inhiseyesthecalmnessofdeeplearning It was the third night when the king suddenly awoke from his stupor and clutchedthehandofMerlin 'I have dreamed!' he said in a low shaken voice 'I have seen two dragons fighting—one white, the other red First the white dragon got the mastery, and clawedwithirontalonstheredone'screst,anddrovehimhitherandthitherinto holesandcranniesoftherocks Andthentheredonetookheart,andwithafury thatwasmarvelloustosee,hedroveandtorethewhitedragonfullterribly,and anonthewhiteonecrawledawaysorewounded Andthereddragonwalkedup and down in the place of his triumph, and grew proud, and fought smaller red dragons and conquered Thus for a long time he stayed, and was secure and bitehisfootwherethelowleathernshoeleftitnaked Helookeddownandsaw that he was treading on a viper, which had struck him and was about to strike again Withacrytheknightsteppedaside,drewhissword,andcutthereptilein two Asthebladeflashed,silverybrightinthesunlight,agreathoarsecryroselike thunder from the two masses of men watching them on either side; trumpets blaredandhornssquealed,andshoutsofcommandrosesharpandkeen InstantlythemenstandingwithArthurandMordredlookedaboutthem,saw wheretheyoungchieftainstoodwithdrawnsword,andknewthatnownothing couldavertthebattle 'Thegodswillhaveitso!'sneeredMordred Alreadytheearthtrembledandshookwiththebeatoftenthousandfeetofthe armiesrushingtogether AknightofMordred's,drawinghissword,thrustitinto thebreastofoneofArthur'schieftains,withthecry: 'Thisforthyland,SirDigon,thatmarcheswithmine!' Instantlyothersfelltofightinghand-to-hand,strikingontargeandhelm;but SirOwen,SirKayandSirBedeveresurroundedtheking,andallhurriedbackto thearmyapproachingthem SolikewisedidSirMordred Thencamethecrashofbattle,aslineonline,withflashingswordsheldhigh, the ranks of war closed Blades rose again, stained red, fierce strangled cries camefrommeninthedeath-grips,helmswerecracked,shieldsriven,dirkssank home, and men who once had drunk and jested with laughing looks over the samemead-board,nowmetfierceeyetoeye,andneverparteduntiloneorboth fellintheswathsofthedeath-harvest All day the stubborn battle raged, and ever the king sought out the rebel Mordred,butneverreachedhim Manyvaliantdeedshedid,wieldinghissword Excalibur;andbyhissidewereOwenandKay,LucanandBedevere Sospent weretheyatthelastthathardlycouldtheylifttheirswords,andsosickofthe slaying were they that gladly would they have ceased But ever some vicious bandofMordred'sknightswouldcomeuponthem,andthentheyquittedthem likemen,andceasednottilltheirenemieshadfledorwereslain Suddenlythekingcametohimself,and,standingstill,lookeduponthefield Inthemorningithadbeenbutabarehillsideofhungry,stuntedgrass,through which the stones showed grey and sallow, like ancient bones Now, in the low lightofthesinkingorb,itwasred—red,withthepallidfacesofthedeadstained a lighter red in the rays of the sun Here and there bands still fought together, criesoffuryrose,andthegroansofthedyingmingledwiththem 'Alas!' cried the king, and looked behind him, 'where are all my noble knights?' Therewerebuttwowithhimnow,LucanandhisbrotherBedevere 'WhereisOwen,andKay?'heasked 'Alas,lord,'saidBedevere,'SirOwengothisdeath-woundbythethornwhere wefoughtthosefiveknightsbutnow,andSirKaysuddenlyfellashewalked AndwhenIknelttospeaktohim,Ifoundhimdead.' 'Alas,'saidtheking,'thateverIshouldseethisdolefulday,fornowismyend come ButwouldtoHeaventhatIwistwhereisthattraitorMordred,thathath causedallthissorrowandruin.' Then, as he spoke, he looked towards the east, and saw where, by a tall standing-stone,amanleanedasifspentwithawound Andhewasawarethat thiswasMordred 'Nowgivememyspear,'saidthekingtoSirLucan,'foryonderisthetraitor, andheshallnotescapeme.' 'Lord,' said Sir Lucan in a weak voice, 'let him bide, for he hath none with him,whilewethreearestillalive.' 'Now, betide me death, betide me life,' said the king, 'now that I see him yonderIwillslaytheserpent,lesthelivetoworkmorehavoconthismypoor kingdom.' 'Godspeedyouwell,'saidSirBedevere,andgavethekinghisspear ThenthekingrantowardsSirMordred,crying: 'Traitor,prepare,nowisthydeath-daycome!' WhenSirMordredheardKingArthurheraisedhishead,thencametowards thekingwithhisswordinhishand Andthere,intheshadowofthegreatstone,KingArthursmoteSirMordred undertheshield,withsokeenastrokeofhisspearthatitwentthroughthebody and out beyond Sir Mordred, feeling that death was upon him, thrust himself alongthespearalmosttothebuttthereof,nighwhereKingArthurheldit,and graspinghisswordinbothhishands,hestruckhisuncleonthesideofthehead, withsokeenandfierceablowthattheswordpiercedthehelmandtheskull WiththatstrokeSirMordredfellstarkdeadtotheearth,andthekingsankina swoonuponhisbody ThenSirBedevereandSirLucan,whowerebothsorewoundedandweakly, cameup,andbetweenthem,withmanyrestsupontheway,tookthekingtoa littlecombebesidethewaters,andtheretheytookoffhishelmandbathedhis woundandboundit Afterwhichthekingfelteasier 'Wemaydonaughtelsewiththeehere,lord,'saidSirLucan,'anditwerebest thatwegottheetosometown.' 'Itwouldbebetterso,'saidtheking,'butIfearmeIhavemydeath-wound.' WhentheyhadrestedSirLucantriedtorise,soastotakeuptheking 'Imaynotrise,'hecried,hishandsuponhishead,'mybrainworksso.' Nevertheless,theknightstaggeredtohisfeetandliftedupthefeetoftheking But the effort was too much for him, and with a deathly groan he fell to the ground,andwhenhehadtwitchedandstruggledalittlehelaydead 'Alas,'saidtheking,'thisistomeafullheavysight,toseethisnobleknightso dieformysake Hewouldnotcomplain,sosetwashetohelpme,andnowhis hearthasbroken.' ThenSirBedeverewenttohisbrotherandkissedhim,andclosedhiseyes 'Now,'saidtheking,'comehithertome,Bedevere,formytimegoethfastand I remember me of a promise Therefore,' he bade Sir Bedevere, 'do thou take Excalibur,mygoodsword,andgowithitbeyondthecombesidetherewherea lowthorngrows,andwhenthoucomestthere,Ichargethee,throwmyswordin thatwater,andcomeagainandtellmewhatthouseest.' So Sir Bedevere departed with the sword, and on the way he looked at the sword,andsawhownoblewasthebladeandhowshining,andhowthepommel andhaftwerefullofpreciousstones 'IfIthrowthisswordintothewater,'saidSirBedeveretohimself,'howgreata sin'twouldbetowastesonobleaweapon.' Thereforehehiditinthebranchesofthethornandreturnedtotheking 'Whatsawestthou?'askedthekingwhenBedeverereturned 'Sir,'hesaid,'Isawthewindbeatonthewaves.' 'Ye have not done as I bid thee,' said the king 'Now, therefore, thou go againanddoasIbidthee;andasthouartdeartome,spareitnot,butthrowit in.' Then Sir Bedevere went back and took the sword in his hand; but again he could not bring himself to throw away that noble sword, so again he hid the swordandwentbacktotheking 'Whatsawestthouthistime?'saidtheking 'Lord,' said Bedevere, 'I saw the waters ebb and flow and the sedges trembling.' 'Ah,traitoruntrue!'saidtheking,deepsorrowinhisvoice,'whowouldhave weened that thou who hast been so true and dear to me, and who hast been namedanobleknight,wouldbetraymeforthejewelsonasword?Nowgoye again,Ichargethee,andasthoushaltanswerforthysinsatthelastday,throw yetheswordfarintothewaters.' Then in heavy mood Sir Bedevere went the third time, and took the sword fromitshiding-place,andlookingawayfromtheweaponlestitsbeautyshould softenhim,heboundthegirdleaboutthehilt,andthenhethrewtheswordwith allhismightfaroutoverthewater Ashelooked,inwardlylamenting,hesawthejewelsflashinthelowlightas the sword passed through the air Then suddenly, when it neared the water, he marvelled to see a great arm and hand come up through the waves The hand caught the weapon by the haft, shook it and brandished it thrice, and then vanishedwiththeswordunderthewaves WithsomefearinhisheartSirBedeverewentbacktothekingandtoldhim allthathehadseen 'Itiswell,'saidtheking 'NowhaveIperformedmypromise Helpmehence tosomevillage,forIamcoldandwoulddiebeneatharoof,ifImay.' ThenSirBedeveretookthekinguponhisback,thinkingthathewouldfind someroadinalittlewhilewhichshouldleadthemtoahamlet Andashewent along,hepassedbythewaterside,nearthelowthornwhencehehadthrownthe swordintothewater There,inthesedges,hemarvelledtoseeabargedrapedallinblackcloth,and initsatmanyfairladies,allwithblackhoodson WhentheysawSirBedevere withthekinguponhisback,theyshriekedandwept Andonethatlookedaqueen,sofairandstately,yetsosadwasshe,heldout herarmstowardstheking,andcrieduntohiminavoicewondroussweet,'Come tome,brother!' 'Putmeintothebarge,'saidthekingtoBedevere,'forthereIshallhaverest.' SoftlydidSirBedeverelayhiminthebarge,andthefairladiesweptoverthe kingwithmuchmourning,andonelaidhisheadinherlapandcaresseditwith softhands Then, without sails or oars, the barge went from the shore, and fear and sorrowshookthesoulofSirBedeveretoseethemgofromhim 'Alas,mylordArthur,'hecried,'whatshallbecomeofmeifyeareleavingme lonely?' 'Comfortthyself,'saidthekinginafaintvoice,'anddoaswellasthoumayest, forinmeyemaynolongertrust ForIwillgointothevaleofAvalontohealme ofmygrievouswound,andifthouhearnevermoreofme,prayformysoul.' SirBedeverestoodwatchingtillthebargewentfromhissightinthemistsof evening, and then he wept a little, and so fared forward through the night, weeping as he thought how all the glory that was Arthur's was now past, and howhehimselfwasveryoldandverylonely Whenmorningbrokehewasawareofalittlechapelandahermitagebetween two hoar woods upon a knoll beside the marshes, and entering therein he got cheeroftheholyhermitandrested Now, when King Arthur had gone westwards to collect his host, Sir Owen, marvelling that Sir Lancelot had sent no word in reply to the letter of Sir Gawaine,hadchargedatrustysquireofhistogoacrosstoBrittany,totellSir LancelotofallthathadpassedandhowKingArthurlongedforhisaidandhis love NighmadwithgriefwasSirLancelotwhenhehadlearnedall,andsodeep washissorrowandsowildwashisregret,thathardlycouldhewaittilltheships werereadytotakehimandhisknightsandarmyacrosstoBritain WhentheyarrivedatDover,SirLancelotsoughtoutthetombofSirGawaine, andtherewithmuchweepingheprayedlongandearnestlyforthereposeofthe soul of that dead warrior, his once dear friend All the other knights prayed likewiseforthesoulofGawaine,andSirLancelotgaveonehundredpoundsfor massestobesaid,andtheothersgaveaccordingtotheirmeans Then word was brought him of the daylong dreadful battle in the west, and howKingArthurwasgone,mortallywounded,noneknewwhither,andhowall theknightsoftheRoundTableweredead Silent was Sir Lancelot at this news, but men saw how his stern face paled; andforatimehewalkedapartandwouldsuffernonetospeaktohim Thenhe came to his knights, and all could see how his looks had changed Grief was deeplylineduponhisface,andhehadtheairofanagedandwearyman 'Myfairlords,'hesaid,'Ithankyouallforyourcomingwithme,butwecame toolate ButnowIgoalonetofindthebodyofmydearlord,andifImay,Iwill see my lady, Queen Gwenevere And ye all go back into your country, for nowwehavenoplaceinthis.' ThusSirLancelotfaredforth,andwouldsuffernonetogowithhim Firsthe wenttoAmesbury,andintheconventtherehesawQueenGwenevere Fewbut verysadwerethewordstheyspake SirLancelotofferedtogiveherahomein Brittany,awayfromthetroubleandtheruinoftheland,butshewouldnot 'My lord is dead,' she said, weeping, 'and this dear kingdom may not long stand,butwhileIliveIwillstayonitsdearsoil.' Then Sir Lancelot fared far west through the wastelands, and came to the battlefield;andthereheweptsorelytoseethelonglinesofdead Manywerethe dead knights of the Round Table whom he found unburied, and these with his own hands he laid in the grave, and he procured a priest to say prayers over them Further he went beside the shores of the Endless Waters, until one day he foundablackbarge,andsteppingthereinhewastakenwithoutsailoroarsfar over the wide sea, until the twilight Then, raising his sorrowing eyes, he was awareofafairgreenislandwithavalleybetweentwosweethills,andtherewas achapel,andallaboutitweretreesallladenwithblossoms A little bell began to ring just as the barge lightly touched the shore, and stepping therefrom, Sir Lancelot went into the chapel, and heard mass Afterwards a bishop came unto him where he kneeled, and a hermit, and the latter seized his hand; and when he looked up Sir Lancelot knew it for Sir Bedevere Neither could speak for the great tears that rolled down their grim faces, but Sir Bedevere drew him forth and led him to where a great white marbleslabwaslying,freshlycut,inthemidmostpartofthechapel ThereonSirLancelotsawthewords,cutdeepandwide,inblackletters: HICJACET ARTHURUSREX QUONDAMREXQUEFUTURUS Then did Sir Lancelot's heart almost burst with sorrow; and when he had finished praying and weeping, he kneeled unto the bishop and prayed him to shrivehimandassoilhim Afterwardshebesoughthimthathemightlivewith him,andtheholymangrantedhisrequest,andthereeverafterdidSirLancelot, puttingoffallthefameandglorywhichhehadgottenintheworld,passallhis daysandnights,servingGodwithprayersandfastingsandmuchabstinence When, within a year, Queen Gwenevere died in her cell at Amesbury, Sir Lancelot, having been advised in a dream of her death, braved the bands of lawlessmenthatnowravagedthefairlandofBritain,andbroughtherbodyto the isle of Glastonbury He laid it solemnly beside the body of her dear lord Arthur,andthereafterheenduredgreaterpenance 'For,' said he, 'by my stiffnecked pride did all this evil come If I had gone straightwaytomydearlord,andcastmyselfuponhisloveandjustice,mylady the queen would not have been led to the stake, and I should not unwittingly haveslainyoungGareth Iamthecauserofalltheruinandthesorrowthathath comeuponthisland,andneverwhileIlivemayIforgiveme.' Thus evermore he prayed and mourned, day and night, but sometimes he slumbered a broken sleep He ate but little, and neither the bishop nor Sir Bedevere could make him take comfort And if you would know the time and place where Lancelot was happiest, it was when he was lying on the tomb of KingArthurandQueenGwenevere Atlast,onasweetmorninJune,theyfoundhimlyingthere,starkdead,but withagentlesmileuponhiswastedface Andwhentheyhadmadethemassof requiem,theylaidhiminthetombatthefeetofthekingandthequeen,andon theslabthatcoveredhimtheycausedthesewordstobegraven: HERELIETH SIRLANCELOTDULAKE WHOWASCHIEFOFALLCHRISTIANKNIGHTS; THEMOSTCOURTEOUSMANANDTHETRUEST FRIEND,THEMEEKESTDOEROFGREATDEEDS, ANDTHEGENTLESTTOALLLADIESAND WEAKCREATURES R I P ***END OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK KING ARTHUR'S KNIGHTS*** *******Thisfileshouldbenamed22396-h.txtor22396-h.zip******* Thisandallassociatedfilesofvariousformatswillbefoundin: http://www.gutenberg.org/2/2/3/9/22396 Updated editions will replace the previous 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