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Una and the Woodland Knight

We left Una in a piteous plight, in the hands of a cruel enemy, the pagan knight Lawless.

Paying no heed to her tears and entreaties, he placed her on his horse, and rode off with her till he came to a great forest.

Una was almost in despair, for there seemed no hope of any rescue. But suddenly there came a wonderful way of deliverance.

In the midst of the thick wood Lawless halted to rest. This forest was inhabited by numbers of strange wild creatures, quite untaught, almost savages. Hearing Una's cries for help, they came flocking up to see what was the matter. Their fierce, rough appearance so frightened Lawless that he jumped on to his horse and rode away as fast as he could.

When the wild wood-folk came up they found Una sitting desolate and alone. They were amazed at such a strange sight, and pitied her sad condition,

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[paragraph continues] They all stood astonished at her loveliness, and could not imagine how she had come there.

Una, for her part, was greatly terrified, not knowing whether some fresh danger awaited her. Half in fear, half in hope, she sat still in amazement. Seeing that she looked so sorrowful, the savages tried to show that they meant to be friendly. They smiled, and came forward gently, and kissed her feet. Then she guessed that their hearts were kind, and she arose fearlessly and went with them, no longer afraid of any evil.

Full of gladness, they led her along, shouting and singing and dancing round her, and strewing all the ground with green branches, as if she had been a queen. Thus they brought her to their chief, old Sylvanus.

When Sylvanus saw her., like the rest he was astonished at her beauty, for he had never seen anything so fair. Her fame spread through the forest, and all the other dwellers in it came to look at her. The Hamadryads, who live in the trees, and the Naiades, who live in the flowing fountains, all came flocking to see her lovely face. As for the woodlanders, henceforth they thought no one on earth fair but Una.

Glad at such good fortune, Una was quite contented to please the simple folk. She stayed a long while with them, to gather strength after her many troubles. During this time she did her best to teach them, but the poor things were so ignorant, it was almost impossible to make them understand the difference between right and wrong.

It chanced one day that a noble knight came to

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the forest to seek his kindred who dwelt there. He had won much glory in wars abroad, and distant lands were filled with his fame. He was honest, faithful, and true, though not very polished in manner, nor accustomed to a courtly life. His name was Sir Satyrane. He had been born and brought up in the forest, and his father had taught him nothing but to be utterly fearless. When he grew up, and could master everything in the forest, he went abroad to fight foreign foes, and his fame was soon carried through all lands. It was always his custom, after some time spent in labour and adventure, to return for a while to his native woods, and so it happened on this occasion that he came across Una.

The first time he saw her she was surrounded by the savages, whom she was trying to teach good and holy things. Sir Satyrane wondered at the wisdom which fell from her sweet lips, and when, later on, he saw her gentle and kindly deeds, he began to admire and love her. Although noble at heart, he had never had any one to teach him, but now he began to learn from Una faith and true religion.

Next: The False Pilgrim