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Book Of Merlin, And The Coming Of Arthur - XVII

( Originally Published 1907 )

THE meanwhile came a messenger hastily from King Rience, of North Wales, and he was king of all Ireland, and many isles, and this was his message, greeting well King Arthur in this manner wise, saying, that King Rience had discomfited and overcome eleven kings, and every each of them did him homage; and that was this: they gave him their beards dean cut off as much as there was., wherefore the messenger came for King Arthur's beard. For King Rience had hemmed a mantle with kings' beards, and there lacked for one place of the mantle, wherefore he sent for his beard, "Or else," said the messenger, "he will enter into thy lands, and burn and slay, and never leave till he have thy head and beard." "Well," said King Arthur, "thou hast said thy message, which is the most villainous and lewdest message that ever man heard sent to a king. Also thou mayest see my beard full young yet for to make a hem of, but tell thou the king this: I owe him no homage, nor none of mine elders, but or it be long, he shall do to me homage on both his knees, or else he shall lose his head, by the faith of my body ; for this is the most shamefullest message that ever I heard speak of. I see well the king met never yet with a worshipful man; but tell him I will have his head without he do homage unto me." Then the messenger departed. "Now is there any here," said King Arthur, "that knoweth King Rience ?" Then answered a knight, that bight Naram, "Sir, I know him well ; he is a passing good man of his body, as few be living, and a passing proud man ; and, sir, doubt ye not, he will make war on you with a mighty puissance." "Well," said King Arthur to the knight, "I shall ordain for him, and that shall he find."

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