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The Book Of Sir Balin Le Savage - VII

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

THE meanwhile as this was doing, came Merlin unto king Marke, and seeing all his doing, said, "Here in this place shall be the greatest battle between two knights that ever was or ever will be, and the truest lovers, and yet none of them shall slay other ;" and there Merlin wrote their names upon the tomb with letters of gold, that should fight in that place, whose names were Launcelot de Lake, and Tristram de Liones. "Thou art a marvellous man," said King Marke unto Merlin, "that speak-est of such marvels; thou art a boisterous fellow, and an unlikely, to tell of such deeds. What is thy name?" said King Marke. "At this time," said Merlin, "I will not tell ; but at that time, when Sir Tristram shall be taken with his sovereign lady, then ye shall know and hear my name, and at that time ye shall hear tidings that shall not please you. Then," said Merlin to Balin, "thou hast done thyself great hurt, because thou did not save this lady that slew herself, that might have saved her if thou had would." "By the faith of my body," said Balin, "I could not, nor might not save her ; for she slew herself suddenly." "Me repenteth," said Merlin ; "because of the death of that lady, thou shalt strike a stroke the most dolorous that ever man stroke, except the stroke of our Lord ; for thou shalt hurt the truest knight, and the man of the most worship that now liveth, and through that stroke three kingdoms shall be in great poverty, misery, and wretchedness twelve years, and the knight shall not be whole of that wound in many years." And then Merlin took his leave of Balin. "Then," said Balin, "if I wist it were sooth that ye say, I should do such a perilous deed as that I would slay myself to make thee a liar." And therewith anon Merlin suddenly vanished away; then Balin and his brother took their leave of King Marke.

"First," said the king, "tell me your name." "Sir," said Balin, "ye may see he beareth two swords, thereby ye may call him the knight of the two swords." And so departed King Marke, and rode to Camelot to King Arthur; and Balin and his brother took the way to King Rience, and as they rode together they met with Merlin disguised, but they knew him not. "Whither ride ye," said Merlin. "We have little to do," said the two knights, "for to tell thee." "But what is thy name ?" said Balin. "As at this time," said Merlin, "I will not tell thee." "It is full evil seen," said the two knights, "that thou art a true man, when thou wilt not tell thy name." "As for that," said Merlin, "be it as it may; but I can tell you wherefore ye ride this way, for to meet King Rience ; but it will not avail you, without you have my counsel." "Ah !" said Balin, "ye are Merlin ; we will be ruled by your counsel." "Come on," said Merlin, "ye shall have great worship, and look that ye do knightly ; for ye shall have great need." "As for that," said Balin, "dread ye not; we will do what we may."

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