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The Book Of Sir Balin Le Savage - XIII

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

THEN they rode three or four days, and never met with adventure ; and by hap they were lodged with a gentleman that was a rich man, and well at ease. And, as they sat at their supper, Balin heard one complain grievously by him in a chair. "What noise is that?" said Balin. "Forsooth," said his host, "I will tell you: I was but late at a jousting, and there I j ousted with a knight, that is brother unto King Pellam, and twice I smote him down ; and then he promised to quit me on my best friend, and so he wounded my son that cannot be whole till I have of that knight's blood ; and he rideth always invisible, but I know not his name." "Ah !" said Balin, "I know that knight, his name is Garlon ; he hath slain two knights of mine in the same manner, therefore I had rather meet with that knight than all the gold in this realm, for the despite that he bath done me." "Well," said the host, "I shall tell you ; King Pellam, of Listenise, bath made a cry, in all this country, of a great feast that shall be within twenty days, and no knight may come there but if he bring his wife with him, or his paramour; and that knight, your enemy and mine, ye shall see that day." "Then I behove you," said Balin, "part of his blood to heal your son withal." "We will be forward to-morrow," said his host. So, on the morrow, they rode all three towards Pellam, and had fifteen days' journey or they came thither; and that same day began the great feast, and they alighted and stabled their horses, and went into the castle; but Balin's host might not be let in, because he had no lady. Then was Balin well received, and brought to a chamber, and unarmed him; and there were brought him robes to his pleasure, and would have had him leave his sword behind him. "Nay," said Balin, "that will I not do; for it is the custom of my country for a knight always to keep his weapon with him, and that custom will I keep, or else I will depart as I came." They they gave him leave to wear his sword. And so he went to the castle, and was set among knights of worship, and his lady afore him. Soon Balin asked a knight, "Is there not a knight in this court whose name is Garlon?" "Yonder he goeth," said the knight, "he with the black face ; he is the marvailest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible." "Ah! well," said Balin, "is that he?" Then Balin advised him long, "If I slay him here I shall not escape, and if I leave him now, peradventure I shall never meet with him again at such a good time, and much harm he will do, and he live." Therewith this Garlon espied that this Balin beheld him, and then he came and smote Balin on the face with the back of his hand, and said, "Knight, why beholdest thou me so? for shame ; therefore eat thy meat, and do that thou came for." "Thou sayest sooth," said Balin; "this is not the first despite that thou hast done me ; and, therefore, I will do that I came for." And rose up so fiercely, and cleaved his head to the shoulders. "Give me the truncheon," said Balin to his lady, "wherewith he slew your knight." Anon she gave it him, for always she bear that truncheon with her. And therewith Balin smote him through the body; and said openly, "With that truncheon thou hast slain a good knight, and now it sticketh in thy body." And then Balin called to him his host, saying, "Now may ye fetch blood enough for to heal your son withal."

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