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The Book Of Sir Balin Le Savage - XV

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

THEN Merlin came thither and took up Balin, and gat him a good horse, for his horse was dead, and bade him ride out of that country. "I would have my damsel," said Balin. "Lo," said Merlin, "where she lieth dead." And King Pellam lay so many years sore wounded, and might never be whole till Gala-had, the haughty prince, healed him in the quest of the Sancgreal ; for in that place was part of the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, that Joseph, or Arimathy, brought into this land, and there himself lay in that rich bed. And that was the same spear that Longius smote our Lord to the heart; and King Pellam was nigh of Joseph's kin, and that was the most worshipful man that lived in those days ; and great pity it was of his hurt, for the stroke turned him to great dole, vexation, and grief. Then departed Balin from Merlin, and said, "In this world we shall never meet more." So he rode forth through the fair countries and cities, and found the people dead on every side. And all that were alive, cried, "O Balin ! thou hast caused great damage in these countries, for the dolorous stroke that thou gayest unto King Pellam, three countries are destroyed; and doubt not but the vengeance will fall on thee at last." When Balin was past the countries he was passing faint ; so he rode eight days ere he met with adventures, and at last he came into a fair forest, in a valley, and was aware of a tower, and there beside he saw a great horse of war tied to a tree, and there beside sat a fair knight on the ground, and made great mourning; and he was a likely man, and well made. Balin said, "God save you, why be ye so heavy? tell me, and I will amend it, and I may to my power." "Sir knight," said he, "again thou doest me great grief ; for I was in merry thoughts, and now thou puttest me to more pain." Balin went a little from him, and looked on his horse. Then Balin heard him say thus : "Ah! fair lady, why have ye broken my promise ; for ye promised me to meet me here by noon, and I may curse you that ever ye gave me this sword; for with this sword I will slay myself." And he pulled it out, and therewith Balin started to him, and took him by the hand. "Let go my hand," said the knight, "or else I shall slay thee." "That shall not need," said Balin, "for I shall promise you my help to get you your lady, if you will tell me where she is ?" "What is your name ?" said the knight. "My name is Balin le Savage." "Ah! sir, I know you well enough ; you are the knight with the two swords, and the man of most prowess of your hands living." "What is your name?" said Balin. "My name is Garnish of the Mount, a poor man's son ; but, by my prowess and hardiness, a duke hath made me a knight, and gave me lands ; his name is Duke Hermel, and his daughter is she that I love, and she me, as I deemed." "How far is she hence?" said Balin. "But five miles," said the knight. "Now, ride we hence," said the two knights. So they rode more than a pace till that they came unto a fair castle, well walled and ditched. "I will into the castle," said Balin, "and look if she be there." So he went in and searched from chamber to chamber, and found her bed, but she was not there ; then Balin looked into a fair little garden, and, under a laurel-tree, he saw her lie upon a quilt of green samite, and a knight in her arms, and under their heads grass and herbs. When Balin saw her lie so with the foulest knight that ever he. saw, and she a fair lady, then Balin went through all the chambers again, and told the knight how he had found her as she had slept fast, and so he brought him to the place where she lay fast sleeping.

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