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The Book Of Sir Balin Le Savage - XII

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

So Balin and the damsel rode into the forest, and there met with a knight that had been on hunting; and that knight asked Balin for what cause he made so great sorrow. "Me list not to tell you," said Balin. "Now," said the knight, "and I were armed as ye be I would fight with you." "That should little need," said Balin ; "for I am not afraid to tell it you ;" and he told him all the cause how it was. "Ah !" said the knight, "is this all? here I ensure you, by the faith of my body, never to depart from you as long as my life lasteth." And so they went to the hostel and armed him, and so he rode forth with Balin ; and as they came by a hermitage, fast by a churchyard, there came the knight Garlon invisible, and smote this good knight, Perin de Mountbelyard, with a spear through the body. "Alas !" said the knight," "I am slain by this traitor knight that rideth invisible." "Alas !" said Balin, "it is not the first despite that he hath done to me." And there the hermit and Balin buried the knight under a rich stone and a tomb royal ; and, on the morrow, they found letters of gold written, how Sir Gawaine shall revenge King Lot's death, his father, upon King Pellinore. And anon, after this, Balin and the damsel rode till they came to a castle; and there Balin alighted, and he and the damsel weened to have gone into the castle. And anon, as Balin came within the gate, the porticullis fell down at his back; and there came many men about the damsel, and would have slain her. And, when Balin saw that, he was so grieved, because he might not help the damsel; and then he went upon the walls, and leaped over into the ditch, and hurt him not. And anon he pulled out his sword, and would have foughten with them. And they all said "that they would not fight with him ; for they did nothing but the old custom of the castle." And told him how the lady was sick, and had lain many years, and she might not be whole, but if she had a silver dish full of blood, of a clean maid, and a king's daughter; and, therefore, the custom of the castle is, that there shall none pass this way but she shall bleed of her blood a silver dish full. "Well," said Balin, "she shall bleed as much as she may bleed ; but I will not that she lose her life, while my life lasteth." And so Balin made her to bleed by her good will; but her blood helped not the lady. And so he and she rested there all that night, and had their right good cheer; and, on the morrow, they passed on their way. And as it telleth afterwards, in the Sancgreal, that Sir Percivale's sister helped that lady with her blood, whereof she died.

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