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saw.” “Sir, my name is Sir Launcelot du Lac, that ought to help you of right for King Arthur's sake, and in especial for Sir Gawain's sake, your own dear brother. Now I pray you, that ye go into yonder castle, and set free all the prisoners ye find there, for I am sure ye shall find there many knights of the Table Round, and especially my brother Sir Lionel. I pray you greet them all from me, and tell them I bid them take there such stuff as they find; and tell my brother to go unto the court and abide me there, for by the feast of Pentecost I think to be there; but at this time I may not stop, for I have adventures on hand.” So he departed, and Sir Gaheris rode into the castle, and took the keys from the porter, and hastily opened the prison door and let out all the prisoners. There was Sir Kay, Sir Brandeles, and Sir Galynde, Sir Bryan, and Sir Alyduke, Sir Hector de Marys, and Sir Lionel, and many more. And when they saw Sir Gaheris, they all thanked him, for they thought, because he was wounded, that he had slain Sir Turquine. “Not so,” said Sir Gaheris; “it was Sir Launcelot that slew him, right worshipfully; I saw it with mine eyes.”
Sir Launcelot rode till at nightfall he came to a fair castle, and therein he found an old gentlewoman, who lodged him with good-will, and there he had good cheer for him and his horse. And when time was, his host brought him to a fair chamber over the gate to his bed. Then Sir Launcelot unarmed him, and set his harness by him, and went to bed, and anon he fell asleep. And soon after, there came one on horseback and knocked at the gate in great haste; and when Sir Launcelot heard this, he arose and looked out of the window, and saw by the moonlight three knights riding after that one man, and all three lashed on him with their swords, and that one knight turned on them knightly again and defended himself. “Truly," said Sir Launcelot, “yonder one knight will I help, for it is shame to see three knights on one." Then he took his harness and went out at the window by a sheet down to the four knights; and he said aloud, 66 Turn you knights unto me, and leave your fighting with that knight." Then the knights left Sir Kay, for it was he they were upon, and turned unto Sir Launcelot, and struck many great strokes at Sir Launcelot, and assailed him on every side. Then Sir Kay addressed him to help Sir Launcelot, but he said, “Nay, sir, I will none of your help; let me alone with them.” So Sir Kay suffered him to do his will, and stood one side. And within six strokes, Sir Launcelot had stricken them down.
Then they all cried, “Sir knight, we yield us unto you.” “As to that,” said Sir Launcelot, “I will not take your yielding unto me. If so be ye will yield you unto Sir Kay the Seneschal, I will save your lives, but else not.” “Fair knight,” then they said, “we will do as thou commandest
“ Then shall ye,” said Sir Launcelot, “ on Whitsunday next, go unto the court of King Arthur, and there shall ye yield you unto Queen Guenever, and say that Sir Kay sent you thither to be her prisoners.” “Sir," they said, “it shall be done, by the faith of our bodies"; and then they swore, every knight upon his sword. And so Sir Launcelot suffered them to depart.
On the morn Sir Launcelot rose early and left Sir Kay sleeping; and Sir Launcelot took Sir Kay's armor, and his shield, and armed him, and went to the stable and took his horse, and so he departed. Then soon after arose Sir Kay, and missed Sir Launcelot. And then he espied that he had taken his armor and his horse. “Now, by my faith, I know well,” said Sir Kay, “that he will grieve some of King Arthur's knights, for they will deem that it is I, and will be bold to meet him. But by cause of his armor I am sure I shall ride in peace.” Then Sir Kay thanked his host and departed.
Sir Launcelot rode in a deep forest, and there he saw four knights, under an oak, and they were of Arthur's court. There was Sir Sagramour le Desirus, and Hector de Marys, and Sir Gawain, and Sir Uwaine. As they spied Sir Launcelot, they judged by his arms it had been Sir Kay. “Now, by my faith,” said Sir Sagramour, “I will prove Sir Kay's might”; and got his spear in his hand, and came towards Sir Launcelot. Therewith Sir Launcelot couched his spear against him, and smote Sir Sagramour so sore that horse and man fell both to
the earth. Then said Sir Hector, “ Now shall ye see what I may do with him.' But he fared worse than Sir Sagramour, for Sir Launcelot's spear went through his shoulder and bare him from his horse to the ground. “By my faith,” said Sir Uwaine, “yonder is a strong knight, and I fear he hath slain Sir Kay, and taken his armor." And therewith Sir Uwaine took his spear in hand, and rode toward Sir Launcelot; and Sir Launcelot met him on the plain and gave him such a buffet that he was staggered, and wist not where he was. • Now see I well,” said Sir Gawain, “that I must encounter with that knight.” Then he adjusted his shield, and took a good spear in his hand, and Sir Launcelot knew him well. Then they let run their horses with all their mights, and each knight smote the other in the middle of his shield. But Sir Gawain's spear broke, and Sir Launcelot charged so sore upon him that his horse fell over backward. Then Sir Launcelot passed by smiling with himself, and he said, “Good luck be with him that made this spear, for never came a better into my hand.' Then the four knights went each to the other and comforted one another. “What say ye to this adventure," said Sir Gawain, “that one spear hath felled us all four?” “I dare lay my head it is Sir Launcelot, said Sir Hector; “I know it by his riding."
And Sir Launcelot rode through many strange countries, till by fortune he came to a fair castle; and as he passed beyond the castle, he thought he heard two bells ring. And then he perceived how a falcon came flying over his head, toward a high elm; and she had long lunys* about her feet, and she flew unto the elm to take her perch, and the lunys got entangled in a bough; and when she would have taken her flight, she hung by the legs fast, and Sir Launcelot saw how she hung, and beheld the fair falcon entangled, and he was sorry for her. Then came a lady out of the castle and cried aloud, “O Launcelot, Launcelot, as thou art the flower of all knights, help me to get my hawk; for if my hawk be lost, my lord will slay me, he is so hasty.” “ What is your lord's name? said Sir Launcelot. “His name is Sir Phelot, a knight that belongeth to the king of North Wales."
“ Well, fair lady, since ye know my name, and require me of knighthood to help you, I will do what I may to get your hawk; and yet in truth I am an ill climber, and the tree is passing high, and few boughs to help me.” And therewith Sir Launcelot alighted and tied his horse to the tree, and prayed the lady to unarm him. And when he was unarmed, he put off his jerkin, and with might and force he clomb up to the falcon, and tied the lunys to a rotten bough, and threw the hawk down with it; and the lady got the hawk in her hand. Then suddenly there came out of the castle her husband all armed, and with his naked sword in his hand, and said, “O
* Lunys, the string with which the falcon is held.