Data sources for Arthurian dwarves

Completed 26 December 2002.
Last modified.
© Text Copyright 2002 Michael Wild

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The first encounter of Erec and Yder son of Nut from Chrétien de Troyes

Vv. 67-114. __ ......The morrow, as soon as it is day, the King gets up and dresses, and dons a shirt jacket for his forest ride. He commands the knights to be aroused and the horses to be made ready. Already they are ahorse, and off they go, with bows and arrows. After them the Queen mounts her horse, taking a damsel with her. A maid she was, the daughter of a king, and she rode a white palfrey. After them swiftly followed a knight, named Erec, who belonged to the Round Table, and had great fame at court. Of all the knights that ever were there, never one received such praise; and he was so fair that nowhere in the world need one seek a fairer knight than he. He was very fair, brave, and courteous, though not yet twenty-five years old. Never was there a man of his age of greater knighthood. And what shall I say of his virtues? Mounted on his horse, and clad in an ermine mantle, he came galloping down the road, wearing a coat of splendid flowered silk which was made in Constantinople. He had put on hose of brocade, well made and cut, and when his golden spurs were well attached, he sat securely in his stirrups. He carried no arm with him but his sword. As he galloped along, at the corner of the street he came up with the Queen, and said: "My lady, if it please you, I should gladly accompany you along this road, having come for no other purpose than to bear you company." And the Queen thanks him: "Fair friend, I like your company well, in truth; for better I could not have."

Vv.115-124. __ Then they ride along at full speed until they come into the forest, where the party who had gone before them had already started the stag. Some wind the horns and others shout; the bowmen shoot amain. and before them all rode the King on a Spanish hunter.

Vv. 125-154. __ Queen Guinevere was in the wood listening for the dogs; beside her were Erec and the damsel, who was very courteous and fair. But those who had pursued the stag were so far from them that, however intently they might listen to catch the sound of horn or baying of hound, they no longer could hear either horse, huntsman, or hound. So all three of them drew rein in a clearing beside the road. They had been there but a short time when they saw an armed knight coming along on his steed, with shield slung around his neck, and his lance in hand. The Queen espied him from a distance. By his right side rode a damsel of noble bearing, and before them, on a hack, came a dwarf carrying in his hand a knotted scourge. When Queen Guinevere saw the comely and graceful knight, she desired to know who he and his damsel were. So she bid her damsel go quickly and speak to him.

Vv. 155-274. __ "Damsel," says the Queen, "go and bid yonder knight come to me and bring his damsel with him." The maiden goes on an amble straight toward the knight. But the spiteful dwarf sallies forth to meet her with his scourge in hand, crying: "Halt, maiden, what do you want here? You shall advance no farther." "Dwarf," says she, "let me pass. I wish to speak with yonder knight; for the Queen sends me hither." The dwarf, who was rude and mean, took his stand in the middle of the road, and said: "You have no business here. Go back. It is not meet that you should speak with so excellent a knight." The damsel advanced and tried to pass him by force, holding the dwarf in slight esteem when she saw that he was so small. Then the dwarf raised raised his whip, when he saw her coming toward him and tried to strike her in the face. She raised her arm to protect herself, but he lifted his hand again and struck her all unprotected on her bare hand; and so hard did he strike her on the back of her hand that it turned all black and blue. When the maiden could do nothing else, in spite of herself she must needs return. So weeping she turned back. The tears came to her eyes and ran down her cheeks. When the Queen sees her damsel wounded, she is sorely geieved and angered and knows not what to do. "Ah, Erec, fair friend," she says, "I am in great sorrow for my damsel who the dwarf has wounded. The knight must be discourteous, indeed, to allow such a monster to strike so a beautiful a creature. Erec, fair friend, do you go to the knight and bid him come come to me without delay. I wish to know him and his lady." Erec starts off thither, giving spurs to his steed, and rides straight toward the knight. The ignoble dwarf sees him coming and goes to meet him. "Vassal," says he, "stand back! For I know not what business you have here. I advise you to withdraw." "Avaunt," says Erec, "provoking dwarf! Though art vile and troublesome. Let me pass." "You shall not." "That I will." "You shall not." Erec thrusts the dwarf aside. The dwarf had no equal for villainy: he gave him a great blow with his lash right on his neck, so that Erec's neck and face are scarred with the blow of the scourge; from top to bottom appear the lines which the thongs have raised on him. He knew well that he could not have the satisfaction of striking the dwarf; for he saw that the knight was armed, arrogant, and of evil intent, and he was afraid he would soon kill him, should he strike the dwarf in his presence. Rashness is not bravery, So Erec acted wisely in retreating without more ado.

Chrétien de Troyes , Arthurian Romances, trans. Comfort W. W., Dent: London, 1975 (1914), pp. 2-4.

Gereint meets Edern son of Nudd in the Mabinogion

And when the day came on the morrow they awoke. And Arthur called on the chamberlains who guarded his bed, none other than four squires. These were they: Cadyreith son of the porter Gandwy, and Amhren son of Bedwyr, and Amhar son of Arthur, and Goreu son of Custennin. And those men came to Arthur and greeted him and arrayed him. And Arthur marvelled that Gwenhwyfar had not awoke, and had not turned in her bed. And the men desired to wake her. 'Wake her not,' said Arthur, 'since she had rather sleep than go to see the hunting.'

And then Arthur went on his way, and he could hear two horns sounding, one near the lodging of the head huntsman and the other near the lodging of the head groom. And a full muster of all the hosts came to Arthur, and they set out towards the forest. And through Usk they came to the forest, and they left the high road and travelled land high and lofty till they came to the forest.

And after Arthur had gone from the court, Gwenhwyfar awoke and called her maidens and was apparelled. 'Maidens,' said she, 'I had leave last night to go and see the hunting; and let one of you go to the stable, and let her have brought what horses are there that are suitable for women to ride.' And one of them went, and there were found in the stable two horses only. And Gwenhwyfar and one of the maidens set off on the two horses. And they came through Usk, and followed the trail of the men and horses and their tracks. And as they were travelling in this wise they could hear a great commotion. And they looked back and could see a horseman on a young willow-grey charger of immense size, and a young auburn-haired bare-legged knight of princely mien upon it, and a gold-hilted sword on his thigh, and a tunic and surcoat of brocaded silk about him, and two low boots of cordwain upon his feet, and over that a mantle of blue-purple, and an apple of gold at each of its corners And the horse stepped out high-mettles, brisk and lively, with short even tread. And he overtook Gwenhwyfar. and he greeted her. 'God prosper thee, Gereint, she made answer, 'and I knew thee when first I saw thee now, and God's welcome to thee. And why didst thou not go to hunt with thy lord?' 'Because I knew not when he went,' said he. 'I too marvelled,' said she, 'how he might go without letting me know.' 'Aye, lady,' he daid, 'for my part I slept so that I knew not when he went.' 'And thou art the very best companion for me,' said she, 'of a young man, to have my companionship, in the whole dominion. And there could be much pleasure form the hunting for us as for them, for we shall hear the horns when they are sounded, and we shall hear the dogs when they are loosed and when they start to bay.'

And they came to the edge of the forest and there they halted. 'We shall hear from hence,' said she, 'when the dogs are loosed.' and with that they heard a commotion. And they looked back towards the commotion, and they could see a dwarf riding a big sturdy horse, wide-nostrilled, ground-devouring, strong-mettled. And in the dwarf's hand hand there was a whip; and near the dwarf they could see a lady on a pale handsome horse, of proud even pace, and a royal robe of brocaded silk about her, and near to her a knight on a great mud-stained charger, and heavy shining armour on him and his horse. And certain were they that they had never seen man and armour more remarkable for size than they; and each one of them near to the other1.

'Gereint,' said Gwenhwyfar, 'dost know yonder big knight?' 'Not I,' he answered; 'yonder huge outlandish armour permits neither his face nor his expresssion to be seen.' Go, maiden, said Gwenhwyfar, 'and ask the dwarf who the knight is.' The maiden went to meet the dwarf. the dwarf waited for her, when he saw her coming towards him. And the maiden asked the dwarf, 'Who is the knight?'said she. 'I will not tell thee, said he. since thy manners are so bad,' said she, 'that thou wilt not tell me me that, I will ask him in person.' 'Thou wilt not by my faith,' replied he. 'Why?' said she. 'Because thine is not the dignity of a person for whom it is fitting to speak with my lord.' Then the maiden turned her horse's head towards the knight. With that the dwarf struck her with a whip that was in his hand, across her face and eyes, till the blood streamed forth. The maiden, for pain of the blow, returned to Gwenhwyfar, bemoaning her pain. 'Most churlishly,' said Gereint, 'did the dwarf deal with thee. I will go,' said Gereint, 'to find out who the knight is.' 'Go thou,' said Gwenhwyfar.

Gereint came to the dwarf. Said he,' Who is the knight?' 'I will not tell thee,' said the dwarf,' 'I will ask it of the knight in person,' he answered. 'thou wilt not, by my faith,' said the dwarf. 'Thou art not of dignity enough to have a right to speak with my lord.' 'I have spoken with a man who is as good as thy lord,' said Gereint, and he turned his horse's head towards the knight. The dwarf overtook him and struck him in the same place as he had struck the maiden, till the blood stained the mantle that was on Gereint. Gereint set his hand to the hilt of his sword, and debated in his mind, but considered how it was no vengeance for him to slay the dwarf and the armed knight take him cheaply and without armour. and he came back to the place where Gwenhwyfar was.

1 A more modern translation has 'and all three rode close together.' The Mabinogion, trans., Gantz, J., Penguin: Harmondsworth, 1976, P. 262.

The Mabinogion, trans. Jones, G., Jones, T., Dent: London, 1960 (1949), pp. 231-3.

The battle between Erec and Yder son of Nut

Vv. 747-862. __ Erec rides with lance ersct and with the comely damsel by his side. All the people, great and small, gaze at them with wondering eyes as they pass throught the streets, and thus they question each other: "Who is yonder knight? He must be doughty and brave, indeed, to act as escort for this fair maid. His efforts will be well employed in proving that this damsel is the fairest of them all." One man to another says: "In very truth, she ought to have the sparrow-hawk." Some praised the maid, while many said: "God! who can this knight be, with the fair damsel be his side?" "I know not." "Nor I." Thus spake each one. "But his gleaming helmet becomes him well, and the hauberk, and shield, and his sharp steel sword. He sits well upon his steed and has the bearing of a valiant vassal, well-shapen in arm, in limb and foot." While all thus stand and gaze at them, they for their part made no delay to take their stand by the sparrow-hawk, where to one side they awaited the knight. And now behold! They see him come, attended by his dwarf and his damsel. He had heard the report that a knight had come who wished to obtain the sparrow-hawk, but he not believe there could be in the world a knight so bold as to dare to fight with him. He would quickly defeat him and lay him low. All the people knew him well, and all welcome him and escort him in a noisy crowd: knights, squires, ladies, and damsels make haste to run after him. Leading them all the knight rides proudly on, with this damsel and his dwarf at his side, and he makes his way quickly to the sparrow-hawk. But all about there was such a press of the rough and vulgar crowd that it was impossible to touch the hawk or to come near to where it was. Then the Count arrived on the scene, and threatened the populace with a switch which he held in his hand. The crowd drew back, and the knight advanced and said quietly to his lady:"My lady, this bird, which is so perfectly moulted and so fair, should be yours as your just portion; for as you are wondrous fair and full of charm. Yours it shall surely be so long as I live. Step forward, my dear, and lift the hawk from the perch." The damsel was on the point of stretching forth her hand when Erec hastened to challenge her, little heeding the other's arrogance. "Damsel," he cries, "stand back! Go dally with some other bird, for to this one you have no right. In spite of all, I say this hawk shall never be yours. For a better one than you claims it __ aye, much more fair and more courteous." The other knight is very wroth; but Erec does not mind him, and bids his own maiden (Enide) step forward. "Fair one," he cries, "come forth. Lift the bird from the perch, for it is right that you should have it. Damsel, come forth! For I will make boast to defend it if anyone is so bold as to intervene. For no woman ecels you in beauty or worth, in grace or honour any more than the moon outshines the sun." The other could suffer it no longer, when he hears him so manfully offer himself to do battle. "Vassal," he cries, "who art thou who dost thus dispute with me the hawk?" Erec boldly answers him: "A knight I am from another land. This hawk I have come to obtain; for it is right, I say it in spite of all, that this damsel of mine should have it." "Away" cries the other, it shall never be. Madness has brought thee here. If thou dost wish to have the hawk, thou shalt pay right dearly for it," "Pay, vassal; and how?" "Thou must fight with me, if thou dost not resign it to me."You talk madness," cries Erec; "for me these are idle threats; for little enough do I fear you." "Then I defy thee here and now. The battle is inevitable." Erec replies: "God help me now; for never did I wish for aught so much." Now soon you will hear the noise of battle.

Vv. 863-1090. __ The large place was cleared, with the people gqthered all around. They draw off from each other the space of an acre, then drive their horses together; they reach for each other with the tips of their lances, and strike each other so hard that the shields are pierced and broken; the lances split and crack; the saddle-bows are knocked to bits behind. They needs must lose their stirrups, so that they both fall to the ground, and the horses run off across the field. Though smitten with lances, they are quickly on their feet again, and draw their swords from the scabbards. With great fierceness they attack each other, and exchange great sword blows, so that the helmets are crushed and made to ring. Fierce is the clash of swords, as they rain great blows upon neck and shoulders. For this is no mere sport: they break whatever they touch, cutting the shields and shattering the hauberks. The swords are red with crimson blood. Long the battle lasts; but they fight so lustily that they become weary and listless. Both damsels are in tears, and each knight sees his lady weep and raise her hands to God and pray that He may give the honours of the battle to the one who strives for her. "Ha! vassal, "quoth the knight to Erec, "let us withdraw and rest a little; for too weak are these blows we deal. We must deal better blows than these; for now it draws near evening. It is shameful and highly discreditable that this battle should last so long. See yonder that gentle maid who weeps for thee and calls on God. Full sweetly she prays for thee, as does also mine for me. surely we should do our best with our blades of steel for the sake of our lady-loves." Erec replies: "You have spoken well." Then they take a little rest, Erec looking toward his lady as she softly prays for him. While he sat and looked on her, great strength was recruited within him. Her love and beauty inspired him with great boldness. He remembered the Queen, to whom he pledged his word that he would avenge the insult done him, or would make it greater yet. "Ah! wretch," says he, "why do I wait? I have not yet taken vengeance for the injury which this vassal permitted when his dwarf struck me in the wood." His anger is reveived within him as he summons the knight: "Vassal," quoth he, "I call thee to battle anew. Too long have we rested; let us renew our strife." And he replies: "That is no hardship to me." Whereupon they again fall upon each other. They were both expert fencers. At his first lunge the knight would have wounded Erec had he not skilfully parried. Even so, he smote him so hard over the shield beside his temple that he struck a piece from his helmet. Closely shaving his white coif, the sword descends, cleaving the shield through to the buckle, and cutting more than a span from the side of his hauberk. then he must have been well stunned as the cold steel penetrated to the flesh of his thigh. May God protect him now! If the blow had not glanced off, it would have cut right through his body. But Erec is in no wise dismayed: he pays him back what is owing to him, and, attacking him boldly, smites him on the shoulder so violent a blow that the shield cannot withstand it, nor is the hauberk of any use to prevent the sword from penetrating to the bone. He made the crimson blood to flow down to his waist-band. Both the vassals are hard fighters: they fight with honours even, for one cannot gain from the other a single foot of ground. Their hauberks ar so torn and their shields so hacked, that there is actually not enough of them left to serve as protection. So they fight all exposed. Each loses a deal of blood, and both grow weak. He strikes Erec and Erec strikes him. Erec deals him a tremendous blow upon upon the helmet that he quite stuns him. Then he lets him have it again and again, giving him three blows in quick succession, which entirely split the helmet and cut the coif beneath it. The sword even reaches the skull and cuts a bone of his head, but without penetrating the brain. He stumbles and totters, and while he staggers, Erec pushes him over, so that he falls upon his right side. Erec grabs him by the helmet and forcibly drags it from his head, and unlaces the ventail, so that his head and face are completlely exposed. When Erec thinks of the insult done him by the dwarf in the wood, he would have cut of his head, had he not cried for mercy. "Ah! vassal," says he, "thou hast defeated me. Mercy now, and do not kill me, after having overcome me and taken me prisoner: that would never bring the praise or glory. If thou shouldst touch me more, thou wouldst do great villainy. Take here my sword; I yield it thee." Erec, however, does not take it, but says in reply: "I am within an ace of killing thee." " Ah! gentle knight, mercy! For what crime, indeed or for what wrong shouldst thou hate me with mortal hatred? I never saw thee before that I am aware, and never have I been engaged in doing thee any shame or wrong." Erec replies: "Indeed you have." "Ah, sire, tell me when! For I never saw you, that I can remember, an if I have done you any wrong, I place mayself at your mercy." Then Erec said: "Vassal, I am he who was in the forest yesterday with Queen Guinevere, when thou didst allow thy ill-bred dwarf to strike my lady's damsel. It is disgraceful to strike a woman. And afterwards he struck me, taking me for some common fellow. Thou wast guilty of too great insolence when thou sawest such an outrage and didst complacently permit such a monster of a lout to strike the damsel and myself. For such a crime I may well hate thee; for thou hast committed a grave offence. Thou shalt now constitute thyself my prisoner, and without delay go straight to my lady whom you wilt surely find at Cardigan, if thither thou takest thy way. Thou wilt reach there this very night, for it is not seven leagues from here, I think. Thou shalt hand over to herself, thy damsel and thy dwarf, to do as she may dictate; and tell her that I send her word that to-morrow I shall come contented, bringing with me a damsel so fair and wise and fine that in all the world she has not her match. So much thou mayst tell her truthfully. And now I wish to know your name." Then he must say in spite of himself: "Sire, my name is Yder, son of Nut. this morning I had not thought that any single man by force of arms could conquer me. Now I have found by experience a man who is better than I. You are a very valiant knight, and I pledge you my faith here and now that I will go without delay and put myself in the Queen's hands. But tell me without reserve what your name may be. Who shall I say it is that sends me? For I am ready to start." And he replies: "My name I will tell thee without disguise: it is Erec. go, and tell her that it is I who have sent thee to her." "Now I'll go, and I promise you that I will put my dwarf, my damsel and myself altogether at her disposal (you need have no fear), and I will give her news of you and of your damsel." Then Erec received his plighted word, and the Count and all the people round about __ the ladies and the gentlemen __ were present at the agreement. Some were joyous, and some downcast; some were sorry, and others glad. The most rejoiced for the sake of the damsel with the white raiment, the daughter of the poor vavasor __ she of the gentle and open heart; but his damsel and those who were devoted to him were sorry for Yder.

Chrétien de Troyes: Arthurian Romances, trans., Comfort, W. W., Dent: London, 1975 (1914), pp. 10-15.

The battle between Gereint and Edern son of Nudd

And the Knight of the Sparrowhawk was then making proclamation and asking his lady-love to fetch the sparowhawk. 'Fetch it not,' said Gereint. 'There is a maiden here who is fairer and more comely and of nobler lineage than thou and has a better claim to it.' 'If thou maintain the sparrohawk as her due, come forward to joust with me.' Gereint came forward to the meadow's end, furnished with a horse and heavy rusted mean outlandish armour upon him and his horse; and they bore down upon each other. And they broke a set of spears, and broke the second, and broke the third set, and that every other, and they broke them even as they were brought them. And when the earl and his troop could see the Knight of the Sparrowhawk with the upper hand, then there would be a shout of exaltation and joy from him and his troop; and when the hoary-headed man (Earl Ynywl) and his wife and daughter (Enid) would be sad. And the hoary-headed man served Gereint with spears even as he broke them, and the dwarf served the Knight of the Sparrowhawk. And then the hoary-headed man came to Gereint. 'Chieftain,' said he, 'see here the spear that was in my hand the day I was ordained an ordained knight; and from that day till this I ave not broken it; and there is a right good point to it. For not one spear of thine avails thee.' Gereint took the spear, with thanks to the hoary-headed man therefor. Thereupon, lo, the dwarf coming to his lord, and with him too a lance. 'See thou too here a spear that is not worse,' said the dwarf, 'and bear in mind that no knight ever withstood thee as long as this has stood.' 'Between me and God,' said Gereint, 'unless sudden death take me, he will be none the better for thy help.' And far off from him Gereint spurred his horse and bore down upon him, with a warning to him, and struck him a keen-piercing, cruel-hard blow in the strong part of his shield, so that his shield was split and his armour broken fronting the blow, and so that his girths broke and he too and his saddle were over his horse's crupper to the ground. And Gereint quickly dismounted, and was fired with rage, and drew his sword, and fell upon him with impetuous might. The knight too arose and drew another sword against Gereint, and they fought on foot with swords until either's armour was shivered by the other, and the sweat and blood were taking away the light from their eyes. And when Gereint would have the upper hand, the hoary-headed man and his wife and daughter would rejoice; and when the knight would have the upper hand the earl and his party would rejoice. And when the hoary-headed man saw that Gereint had received a mighty painful blow he quickly drew nigh to him and said to him, 'Chieftain,' said he, 'remember the injury thou didst receive from the dwarf. And was it not to seek to avenge thine injury thou camest here, and the injury done to Gwenhwyfar, Arthur's wife?' And there came came to Gereint remembrance of of the dwarf's words to him, and he summoned up his strength and raised his sword and smote the knight on the crown of his head so that all his head armour was broken, and all the flesh and skin broken, and into his pate, and so that it gave a wound to the bone and the knight fell on his knees and threw his sword from his hand and asked quarter of Gereint. 'And too late,' said he, 'have my false presumption and my pride permitted me to ask quarter. And if I do not gain respite to make my peace with God for my sins, and to talk with apriest, I shall be none the better for quarter.' 'I will grant thee quarter on this condition,' said he, 'that thou go to Gwenhwyfar, Arthur's wife, to make make her amends for the injury done to her maiden by thy dwarf. sufficient for me, however, is that which I have done to thee for what injury I received of thee and thy dwarf. And thou art not to dismount from the time thou goest hence into the presence of Gwenhwyfar to make amends to her even as will be appointed in Arthur's court.' 'And I will do that gladly. And who art thou?' asked he. 'I am Gereint son of Erbin. and thou to say who thou art.' 'I am Edern son of Nudd.' And he was thrown on to hsi horse, and he came straight to Arthur's court and the lady he loved best before him, and his dwarf, and a great lamentation with them. (His story so far as that.)

The Mabinogion, trans, Jones, G., Jones, T., Dent: London, 1970 (1949), pp. 237-239.

Erec encounters Guivret the Little

Vv. 3663-3930. __ Erec goes at full speed down a road between two hedgerows __ he and his wife with him. Both putting spurs to their horses, they rode until they came to a meadow which had been mown. After emerging form the hedged enclosure they came upon a drawbridge before a high tower, which was all closed about with a wall and a broad deep moat. They quickly pass over the bridge, but had not gone far before the lord of the place espied them from up in his tower. About this man I can tell you the truth: that he was very small of stature, but very courageous of heart. When he sees Erec cross the bridge, he comes down quickly from his tower, and on a great sorrel steed of his he causes a saddle to be placed, which showed portrayed a golden lion. Then he orders to be brought his shield, his stiff straight lance, a sharp polished sword, his bright gleaming helmet, his gleaming hauberk, and triple woven greaves; for he has seen an armed knight pass before his list against whom he wishes to strive in arms, or else this stranger will strive against him until he shall confess defeat. His command was quickly done: behold the horse now led forth; a squire brought him around already bridled and with saddle on. Another fellow brings the arms. The knight passed out through the gate, as quickly as possible, all alone, without companion. Erec is riding along a hill-side, when behold the knight comes tearing down over the top of the hill, mounted upon a powerful steed which tore along at such a pace that he crushed the stones beneath his hoofs finer than a millstone grinds the corn; and bright gleaming sparks flew off in all directions, so that it seemed as if his four feet were all ablaze with fire. Enide heard the noise and commotion, and almost fell from hier palfrey, helpless and in a faint. There was no vein in her body in which the blood did not turn, and her face became all pale and white as if she were a corpse. Great was her despair and dismay, for she did not dare to address her lord, who often threatens and chides at her and charges her to hold her peace. She is distracted between two courses to pursue, whether to speak or to hold her peace. She takes counsel with herself, and oftern she prepares to speak, so that her tounge already moves, but the voice cannot issue forth; for her teeth are clenched with fear, and thus shut up her speech within. Thus she admonishes and reproaches herself, but she closes her mouth and grits her teeth so that her speech cannot issue forth. At strife with herself, she said: "I am sure and certain that I shall incur a grievous loss, if I lose my lord. Shall I tell him all, then, openly? Not I. Why not? I would not dare, for thus I should enrage my lord. And if my lord's ire is once aroused, he will leave me in this wild place alone, wrethched and forlorn. Then I shall be worse off than now. Worse off? What care I? May grief and sorrow always be mine as long as I live, if my lord does not promptly escape from here without being delivered to a violent death. But if I do not qickly inform him, this knight who is spurring hither will have killed him before he is aware; for he seems of very evil intent. I think I have waited too long from fear of his vigorous prohibition. But I will no longer hesitate because of his restraint. I see plainly that my lord is so deep in thought that he forgets himself; so it is right that I should address him." She spoke to him. He threatens her, but has no desire to do her harm, for he realises and knows full well that she loves him above all else, and he loves her, too, to the utmost. He rides towards the knight, who challenges him to battle, and they meet at the foot of the hill, where they attack and defy each other. Both smite each other with their iron-tipped lances with all their strength. The shields that hang about their necks are not worth two coats of bark: the leather tears, and they split the wood, and they shatter the meshes of the hauberks. Both are pierced to the vitals by the lances, and the horses fall to earth. Now, both the warriors were doughty. Grievously, but not mortally wounded, they quickly got upon their feet and grasped afresh their lances, which were not broken nor the worse for wear. But they cast them away on the ground, and drawing their swords from the scabbard, they attack each other with great fury. Each wounds and injures the other, for there is no mercy on either side. They deal such blows upon the helmets that gleaming sparks fly out when their swords recoil. They split and splinter the shields; they batter and crush the hauberks. In four places the swords are brought down to the bare flesh, so that they are greatly weakened and exhausted. And if both their swords had lasted long without breaking, they would have never retreated, nor would the battle have come to an end before one of them perforce had died. Enide, who was watching them, was almost beside herself with grief. Whoever could have seen her then, as she showed her great woe by wringing her hands, tearing her hair and shedding tears, could have seen a loyal lady. And any man would have been a vulgar wretch who saw and did not pity her. And the knights still fight, knocking the jewels from the helmets and dealing each other fearful blows. From the third hour till the ninth hour the battle confinued so fierce that no one could in any wise make out which was to have the better of it. Erec exerts hiself and strives: he brought his sword down upon his enemy's helmet, cleaving it to the inner lining of mail and making him stagger; but he stood firmly and did not fall. Then he attacked Erec in turn, and dealt him such a blow upon the covering of his shield that his strong and precious sword broke when he tried to pull it out. When he saw that his sword was broken, in a spite he threw as far away as he could the part that remained in his hand. Now he was afraid and must needs draw back; for any knight that lacks his sword cannot do much execution in battle or assault. Erec pursues him until he begs him, for God's sake, not to kill him. "Mercy, noble knight," he cries, "be not so cruel and harsh toward me. Now that I am left without my sword, you have the strength and the power to take my life or make me your prisoner, for I have no means of defence." Erec replies: "When thou thus dost petition me I fain would hear thee admit outright whether thou art defeated and overcome. Thou shalt not be touched by me if thou dost surrender at my discretion." The knight was slow to make reply. So, when Erec saw him hesitate, in order to further dismay him, he again attacked him, rushing at him with drawn sword; whereupon, thoroughly terrified, he cried: "Mercy, sire! Regard me as your captive since it cannot be otherwise." Erec answers: "More than that is necessary. You shall not get off so easily as that. Tell me your station and your name, and I in turn will tell you mine." "Sire," says he, " you are right. I am king of this country. My liegemen are Irishmen, and there is none who does not have to pay me rent. My name is Guivret the Little. I am very rich and powerful; for there is no landholder whose lands touch mine in any direction who ever transgresses my command and who does not do my pleasure. I have no neighbour who does not fear me, however proud and bold he may be. But I greatly desire to be your confidant and friend from this time on." Erec replies: "I, too, can boast that I am a noble man. My name is Erec, son of King Lac. My father is king of Farther Wales, and has many a rich city, fine hall, and strong town; no king or emperor has more than he, save only King Arthur. Him, of course, I except; for with him none can compare." Guivret is greatly astonished at this, and says: "Sire, a great marvel is this I hear. I was never so glad of anything as of your acquaintance. You may put full trust in me! And should it please you to abide in my country within my estaes, I shall have you treated with great honour. So long as you care to remain here, you shal be recognised as my lord. We both have need of a physician, and I have a castle of mine near here, not eight leagues away, nor even seven. I wish to take you thither with me, and there we shall have our wounds tended." Erec replies: "I thank you for what I have heard you say. However, I will not go, thank you. But only so much I request of you, that if I should be in need, and you should hear that I had need of aid, you would not then forget me." "Sire," says he, "I promise you that never, so long as I am alive, shall you have need of my help but that I shall go at once to aid you with all the assistance I can command." "I have nothing more to ask of you," says Erec; "you have promised me much. You are now my lord and friend, if your deed is as good as your word." Then each kisses and embraces the other. Never was there such an affectionate parting after such a fierce battle; for from very affection and generosity each cut of long, wide strips from the bottom of his shirt and bound up the other's wounds. When they had thus bandaged each other, they commended each other to God.

Chrétien de Troyes: Arthurian Romances, trans., Comfort, W. W., Dent: London, 1975 (1914), pp. 48-51.

Gereint encouters Y Brenhin Bychan (the Little King)

And Gereint went his way on the high road he was on, and the maiden kept her distance. and near them they could see the fairest valley that any one had ever seen, and a great river along the valley. And they see a bridge over the river and the high road coming to the bridge, and above the bridge on the other side of the river they could see a walled town, the fairest they had ever seen. And as he was making for the bridge he saw a man coming towards him through a small thick copse, on a huge tall even-paced horse, mettled but tractable. 'Knight,' said Gereint, 'whence comest thou?' 'I come,' he replied, 'from the valley below.' 'Why, sir,' said Gereint, 'wilt thou tell me who owns this fair valley and the walled town yonder?' 'I will, gladly,' he replied. 'Gwiffred Petit the French and the English call him, and the Welsh call him Y Brenhin Bychan (the Little King).' 'And I am going', said Gereint, 'to the bridge yonder, and to the lower high road below the town.' 'Go not,' said the knight, 'on his land past the bridge unless though wouldst encounter him, for it his way that there comes no knight on to his land whom he does not seek to encounter.' 'Between me and God,' said Gereint, 'I shall go my way despite him.' 'I hold it most likely,' said the knight, 'if thou do so, that thou wilt come by shame and humiliation.'

Right wroth and hot-hearted Gereint proceede along the road as was his intention before. and it was not the road that made for the town from the bridge that Gereint travelled, but a road that made for the ridge of the rough land, lofy, exceeding high, with a wide prospect. And as he was journeying thus, he could see a knight following him upon a powerful stout charger, strong-paced, wide-hoofed and broad-chested. And he had never seen a man smaller than him he saw on the horse; and armour a-plenty upon him and his horse. And when he came up with Gereint he said to him, 'Say chieftain,' said he, 'was it of discourtesy or in presumption that thou wouldest have me lose my privilege and break my custom?' 'Not so,' said Gereint, 'I did not know the road was forbidden to any.' 'Since thou didst not know,' said he, 'come with me and make amends.' 'I will not, by my faith,' he replied. 'I would not go to thy lord's court unless Arthur be thy lord.' 'Now by Arthur's hand,' said he, ' I will have redress of thee, or shall get exceeding great hurt from thee.' And without more ado they set upon each other, and a squire of his came to serve him with spears as they broke. And each of them gave the other heavy painful strokes till the shields lost all their coloour. And it was very ugly for Gereint to do battle with him, so very small was he, and so very difficult it was to mark him, and so exceding hard were the strokes that he dealt. And they did not weary of it before their horses were brought to their knees, and at long last Gereint threw him headlong to the ground. And then they set them to fight on foot, and each of them gave the other blows grievous-swift, painful-heavy, bitter-strong, and they pierced the helms and broke the mailcaps and battered the armour until their eyes were losing their light for sweat and blood. And at last Gereint was fired with rage, and summoned up his strength, and felon-hearted, bravely-swift, cruelly and mightily, he raised his sword and struck him on the crown of his head a blow mortal-keen, venomous-sharp, grievous-bitter, until all the head armour was broken, and the skin and the flesh, and there was a wound to the bone, and so that his sword was out of the Little King's hand to the verge of the field, away from him. And then in God's name he begged for Gereint's quarter and mercy. 'Thou shalt have quarter,' said Gereint, 'but thy manners were not good, nor wert thou just __ on condition that thou hold with me and go not against me a second time, and if thou hear of distress upon me, that thou relieve it.' 'Thou shalt have that, lord, gladly.' And he took his word thereon. 'And, lord,' said he, 'thou shalt come with me to my court yonder, to rid thee of thy weariness and fatigue.' 'I will not, between me and god,' he answered.

And then Gwiffred Petit looked on Enid where she was, and it grieved him to see such a press of afflictions on a woman of such noble presence as she. And with that he said to Gereint, 'Lord,' said he, 'thou dost wrong not to refresh thyself and take thine ease. And if hardship meet thee in that condition it will not be easy for thee to get the better of it.' Gereint wished for nothing save to go on his way, and he mounted his horse, bllodstained and uneasy And the maiden kept her distance ahead

The Mabinogion, trans, Jones, G., Jones, T., Dent: London, 1970 (1949), pp. 261-263.

Fergus of Galloway and the dwarf of the spring

A year and more had already passed when Fergus was riding through the most beautiful and leafy woodland seen by any man since the first was created by God. In those woods was a spring whose water flowed to the east. I am sure there is none more lovely this side of Christ's birthplace. And it had been given a property possessed by no other spring; for there will be no man so sick or failing that, if he drinks of it, he will not be fit again. Fergus came to that spring, which ran very clear and pure, not because he was looking for it, but because Fortune sent him there, wishing to cure him of the ills she had made him endure. For a long while she had been hostile to him, but now treats him gently and kindly. fortune wishes to lift him up as high as she can raise him

Fergus gazes at the beautiful water, which flows up onto an elevated strand composed of precious stones: they were very attractive and of great worth and beauty in their many different ways; and there was no precious stone on earth that was not found beside that small spring. On the bank was a chapel built in days gone by. It was guarded night and day by a dwarf who, without a word of a lie, foretold the future to those who passed by and drank of the spring. but should anyone travel that way without drinking or tasting the water flowing from the spring, he would not tell him a single thing, however much he might question him. Fergus watches the water washing and swirling to and fro. Because of its beauty he had the desire to drink just a little of it. Alighting from his steed, he came to the water and drank from his hand as much of it as he wished. The moment he tasted it he regained all his spiritual and mental force, his strength and his boldness. Now he was glad, happy and full of joy, lighter and more nimble than a merlin and fiercer than a lion. He completely forgot his care, loudly asserting and swearing instead that there was no knight in the world to whom he would not give a hard fight, should he take it upon his head to set upon him.

Thereupon the dwarf came out of the chapel and, recognising him, said; 'Noble knight, son of the peasant of Pelannde, may things go well with you! Joy and gladness and great honour await you, that I declare. I know you better than you me, and well aware that you are in quest of the admirable Galiene, to whom you refused your love. You will have suffered and endured many a trial and many troubles, much rain and many storms and have taken many a blow before you may have her back again. But of this you may be sure: you will learn from me the way in which you will obtain her. If you are gallant and clever enough and have sufficient valour to be prepared to go to Dunnottar to obtain the shining shield guarded by the hairy hag, then you may still have your beloved. If you are unwilling to undertake this onerous task, then expend no more of your efforts on her account!' When Fergus heard what the dwarf said, he was beside himself with joy. He supposes and concludes that the dwarf is a supernatural creature, so he is very happy to listen to what this dwarf has to tell him about recovering his sweetheart. Had anyone given him the whole of Pavia, he would not ahve increased his joy.

However, wanting to know how best to get her back and whereabouts he could find her, he said to the dwarf: 'Little fellow, by the faith you owe the Holy Spirit, since you say, and I believe you, that you know me better than I know you and have addressed me by name, if you are willing tell me here and now the place where I can find her; for there's nothing I long for so much. If the Lord God were pleased to take me to Himself and pardon all the misdeeds I ever committed against Him, and if the bright-faced Galiene were in the darkness of Hell, then I should go there: for love of her I'd leave Paradise above to join her down below andsuffer pain, hardship and torment until the great Judgement Day. You'll do well to give me that information. As you know my decision, and I don't ask for anything else, you really should tell me, and then I'lll be your liegeman for all my living days!'

The dwarf answers him: 'Knight, I could very easily direct you as you ask me to; but you may be sure you will not have her as easily as you think. There will be piercing of shields carried out in situations of mortal peril before you can have the comfort, joy and delight of the one who is the object of your concern. I tell you for certain, without evasion, that whoever wants to achieve success must pay for it. And befire you have it, you will truly pay a very high price for it, and not in gold or silver but, you understand, with your own person. Yet whatever wound you may receive, you will never lose a drop of your blood: fight in safety, if you can find the occasion. You will need to show great prowess if you ever wish to have her. You will obtain her through deeds of valour. You cannot indeed achieve her by payments or gifts, nor by courage nor by force unless you have the splendid shield that hangs inside Dunnottar's tower: you will not have her otherwise through any advice of mine.' When he hears he will not have his sweetheart back unless he has that shield, he tells the dwarf that he will get it if it is ever to be had by any man. But he wants to know further what the power of that shield is and where it is to be found.

The dwarf at once replied: 'The shield has such power that whoever has it in his possession will never lose his life in armed conflict nor be unhorsed by any mortal man alive. It has another property too: that the night will never be so dark that the tower where the shield is being kept is not surrounded by a bright radiance, as much by night as by day. I can tell you that if the whole of the English army were gathered and had sworn your death, but you had the sole advantage of being in that tower having raised the drawbridge, you would be in no fear of them all, provided you had a supply of food. That tower is perched on a rock, round which beats the sea. One goes in by a gate, there being only one entrance; but that has a serious encumbrance, for an old woman (may a demon burn her!) guards the gate and turret so that no one dares approach. She holds a steel scythe a foot and a half across. There is under heaven no man so well armoured and no knight so bold that, if the hag caught him a blow, she would not slice him through the trunk. That is the guardian the shield has.

'If you definitely want to have it, there will be a fight between the two of you which you will find very hard, never in your life having been through one like it; and you will never have experience such great fear as you will feel that day when you two meet in combat. I can assure you it will be no sport like the quintain or a tournament: the hag is extremely aggressive. By the end of the contest, the splendid shield will certainly be yours. Now do the best you can, for you'll have no other news of your lovely sweetheart from me!' With that he goes into the chapel. Fergus follows on his heels; but an iron door shut in his face, entirely by itself. He knocked and beat on it for a long time, calling on the dwarf to let him in, for he has something more to say to him. He is very distressed to be refused. then, seeing he will get no further, he mounts his horse, which was tethered at the bridge.

Guillaume Le Clerc: The romance of Fergus, trans., Owen, D. D. R., Arthurian Literature VIII, D. S. Brewer: Cambridge, 1989, pp. 133-6.

Gawain decides a contest between a knight and a dwarf

...they (Gawain and the damsel who is leading him) saw a knight on the other side of the launde all armed save the head. And on the other side came a dwarf on horseback all armed save the head, with a great mouth and a short nose; and when the dwarf came nigh he said, Where is the lady should meet us here? and therewithal she came forth out of the wood. And then they began to strive for the lady; for the knight said he would have her, and the dwarf said he would have her. Will we do well? said the dwarf; yonder is a knight at the cross, let us put it both upon him, and as he deemeth so shall it be. I will well, said the knight, and so they went all three unto Sir Gawaine and told him wherefore they strove. Well, sirs said he, will ye put the matter in my hand? Yea, they said both. Now damosel, said Sir Gawaine, ye shall stand betwixt them both, and whether ye list better to go to he shall have you. And when she was set between them both, she left the knight and went to the dwarf, and the dwarf took her and went his way singing, and the knight went his way with great mourning.

Sir Thomas Malory: Le Morte D'Arthur, Dent: London, 1953 (1906), P. 117.

Gareth's dwarf acts as a messenger



.....Dwarf, said the lady (Dame Liones), I am glad of these tidings, therefore go thou in an hermitage of mine hereby, and there shalt thou bear with thee of my wine in two flagons of silver, they are of two gallons, and also two cast of bread with fat venison baked, and dainty fowls; and a cup of gold here I deliver thee, that is rich and precious; and bear all this to mine hermitage, and put it in the hermit's hands. And sythen go thou unto my sister and greet her well, and commend me unto that gentle knight, and pray him to eat and to drink and make his strong, and say ye him I thank him of his courtesy and goodness, that he would take such labour for me that never did him bounte nor courtesy

Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte D'Arthur, Dent: London, 1953 (1906), P. 201.

Gareth's dwarf is captured



......And on the morrow he (Gareth) took his horse and rode until underne, and then he came to a broad water, and thereby was a great lodge, and there he alit to sleep and laid his head upon the shield, and betook his horse to the dwarf, and commanded him to watch all night. Now turn we to the lady (Liones)of the same castle (Castle Perilous), that thought much upon Beaumains, and then she called unto her Sir Gringamore her brother, and prayed him in all manner, as he loved her heartily, that he would ride after Sir Beaumains: And ever have ye wayte upon him till ye may find him sleeping, for I am sure in his heaviness he will alight down in some place, and lie him down to sleep; and therefore have ye your wayte upon him, and in the priviest manner ye can, take his dwarf, and go ye your way with him as fast as ever ye may or Sir Beaumains awake. For my sister Linet telleth me that he can tell of what kindred he is come, and what is his right name. And the meanwhile I and my sister will ride unto your castle (on the Isle of Avilion, Chapter XXVI) to await when ye bring with you the dwarf. And then when ye have brought him unto your castle, I will have him in examination myself: unto the time that I know what is his right name, and of what kindred he is come, shall I never be merry in my heart. Sister, said Sir Gringamore, all this shall be done after your intent. And so he rode all the other day and night till that he found Sir Beaumains lying by a water, and his head upon his shield, for to sleep. And then when he saw Sir Beaumains fast on sleep, he came stilly stalking behind the dwarf, and plucked him fast under his arm, and so he rode away with him as fat as ever he might unto his own castle. And this Sir Gringamore's arms were all black, and that to him longeth. But ever as he rode with the dwarf toward his castle, he cried unto his lord znd prayed him of help. And therewith awoke Sir Beaumains, and up he leapt lightly, and saw where Sir Gringamore rode his way with the dwarf, and so Sir Gringamore rode out of his sight.



THEN Sir Beaumains put on his helm anon, and buckled his shield, and took his horse, and rode after him all that ever he might ride through marshes, and fields, and great dales, that many times his horse and he plunged over the head in deep mires, for he knew not the way, but took the gainest way in that woodness, that many times he was like to perish. And at the last him happened to come to a fair green way, and there he met with a poor man of the country, whom he saluted and asked him whether he met not with a knight upon a black horse and all black harness, a little dwarf sitting behind him with heavy cheer. Sir, said the poor man, here by me came Sir Gringamore the knight, with such a dwarf mourning as ye say; and therefore I rede you not follow him, for he is one of the periloust knights of the world, and his castle is nigh hand but two mile; therefore we advise you ride not after Sir Gringamore, but if ye owe him good will. So leave we Sir Beaumains riding toward the castle, and speak we of Sir Gringamore and the dwarf. Anon as the dwarf was come to the castle, Dame Liones and Dame Linet her sister, asked the dwarf where was his master born and of what lineage he was come. And but if thou tell me, said Dame Liones, thou shalt never escape this castle, but ever here to be prisoner. As for that, said the dwarf, I fear not greatly to tell his neme and of what kin he is come. Wit you well he is a king's son and his mother is sister to King Arthur, and he is brother to the good knight Sir Gawaine, and his name is Sir Gareth of Orkney. And now I have told you his right name, I pray you, fair lady, let me go to my lord again, for he will never ride out of this country until that he have me again. And if he be angry he will do much harm or that he be stint, and work you wrack in this country. As for that threatening, said Sir Gringamore, be it as it be may, we will go to dinner. And so they washed and went to meat, and made them merry and well at ease, and because the Lady Liones of the castle was there, they made great joy. Truly, madam, said Linet unto her sister, well may he be a king's son, for he hath many good tatches on him, for he is courteous and mild, and the most suffering man that ever I met withal. For I dare say there was never gentlewoman reviled man in so foul a mannner as I have rebuked him; and at all times he gave me goodly and meek answers again. And as they sat thus talking, there came Sir Gareth in at the gate with an angry countenance, and his sword drawn in his hand, and cried aloud that all the castle might hear it, saying: Thou traitor, Sir Gringamore, deliver me my dwarf again, or by the faith that I owe to the order of knighthood, I shall do thee all the harm that I can. Then Sir Gringamore looked out at a window and said, Sir Gareth of Orkney, leave thy boasting words, for thou gettest not thy dwarf again. Thou coward knight, said Sir Gareth, bring him with thee, and come and do battle with me, and win him and take him. So will I do, said Sir Gringamore, an me list, but for all thy great words thou gettest him not. Ah! fair brother, said Dame Liones, I would he had his dwarf again, for I would he were not wroth, for now he hath told me all my desire I keep no more of the dwarf. And also, brother, he hath done much for me, and delivered me from the red knight of the red laundes, and therefore, brother, I owe him my service afore all knights living. And wit ye well that I love him afore all other, and full fain I would speak with him. But in nowise I would that he wist what I were, but that I were another strange lady. Well, said Sir Gringamore, sythen that I know now your will, I will obey now unto him. And right therewithal he went down unto Sir Gareth, and said: Sir, i cry you mercy, and all that I have misdone I will amend it at your will. And therefore I pray you that ye would alight, and take such cheer as I can make you in this castle. Shall I have my dwarf? said Sir Gareth. Yea, sir, and all the pleasuance that I can make you, for as soon as your dwarf told me what ye were and of what blood ye are come, and what noble deeds ye have done in these marches, then I repented of my deeds. And then Sir Gareth alit, and there came his dwarf and took his horse. O my fellow, said Sir Gareth, I have had many advantures for thy sake. and so Sir Gringamore took him by the hand and led him into the hall where his own wife was.

Sir Thomas Malory: Le Morte D'Arthur, Dent: London, 1953 (1906), pp. 209-212 .

Gareth's dwarf acts as an adviser



.....And then Sir Gareth rode out on the one side to amend his helm; and then said his dwarf: Take me your ring, that you lose it not while that ye drink. And so when he had drunk he gat on his helm, and eagerly took his horse and rode into the field, and left his ring with his dwarf; and the dwarf was glad the ring was from him, for then he wist well he should be known. and then when Sir Gareth was in the field all folk saw him well and plainly that he was in yellow colours; and there he rased off helms and pulled down knighrs, that King Arthur had marvel what knight he was, for the king saw by his hair that it was the same knight.



BUT before he was in so many colours (due to the magic ring given him be Liones), and now he is but in one colour; that is yellow. Now go, said King Arthur unto divers heralds, and ride about him, and espy what manner of knight he is, for I have speryd of many knights this day that be upon his party, and all say they know him not. And so an herald rode nigh Gareth as he could; and there he saw written about his helm in golde, this helm is Sir Gareth of Orkney. Then the herald cried as he were wood, and many heralds with him: __ This is Sir Gareth of Orkney in the yellow arms; that by all kings and knights of Arthur's beheld him and awaited; and then they pressed all to behold him, and ever the heralds cried: This is Sir Gareth of Orkney, King Lot's son. and when Sir Gareth espied that he was discovered, then he doubled his strokes, and smote down Sir Sagramore, and his brother Sir Gawaine. O brother, said Sir Gawaine, I weened ye would not have stricken me. So when he heard him say so he thrang here and there, and so with great pain he gat out of the press, and there he met with his dwarf. O boy, said Sir Gareth, thou hast beguiled me foul this day that thou kept my ring; give it me anon again, that I may hide my body withal; and so he took it him. And then they wist not where he was become; and Sir Gawaine had in manner espied where Sir Gareth rode, and then he rode after with all his might. That espied Sir Gareth, and rode lightly into the forest, that Sir Gawaine wist not where he was become. And when Sir Gareth wist that Sir Gawaine was passed, he asked the dwarf of best counsel. Sir, said the dwarf, meseemeth it were best, now that ye are escaped from spying, that ye send my lady Dame Liones her ring. It is well advised, said Sir Gareth; now have it here and bear it to her, and say that I recommend me unto her good grace, and say her I will come when I may, and I pray her to be true and faithful to me as I will be to her, Sir, said the dwarf, it shall be done as ye command: and so he rode his way, and did his errand unto the lady. Then she said, Where is my knight Sir Gareth? Madam, said the dwarf, he bad me say that he would not be long from you. And so lightly the dwarf came again to Sir Gareth, that would full fain have had a lodging, for he had need to be reposed. And then there fell a thunder and a rain, as heaven and earth should go together. And Sir Gareth was not a little weary, for all that day he had but little rest, neither his horse nor he. So this Sir Gareth rode so long in that forest until the night came. And ever it lightened and thundered, as it had been wood. And the last by fortune he came to a castle, and there he heard the waits upon the walls

Sir Thomas Malory: Le Morte D'Arthur, Dent: London, 1953 (1906), pp. 228-9.

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