Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK I CHAPTER XIX

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CHAPTER XIX

How King Arthur rode to Carlion, and of his dream,
and how he saw the questing beast.

THEN after the departing of King Ban and of King Bors, King
Arthur rode into Carlion.  And thither came to him, King Lot's
wife, of Orkney, in manner of a message, but she was sent thither
to espy the court of King Arthur; and she came richly beseen,
with her four sons, Gawaine, Gaheris, Agravine, and Gareth, with
many other knights and ladies.  For she was a passing fair lady,
therefore the king cast great love unto her, and desired to lie
by her; so they were agreed, and he begat upon her Mordred, and
she was his sister, on his mother's side, Igraine.  So there she
rested her a month, and at the last departed.  Then the king
dreamed a marvellous dream whereof he was sore adread.  But all
this time King Arthur knew not that King Lot's wife was his
sister.  Thus was the dream of Arthur:  Him thought there was
come into this land griffins and serpents, and him thought they
burnt and slew all the people in the land, and then him thought
he fought with them, and they did him passing great harm, and
wounded him full sore, but at the last he slew them.  When the
king awaked, he was passing heavy of his dream, and so to put it
out of thoughts, he made him ready with many knights to ride a-
hunting.  As soon as he was in the forest the king saw a great
hart afore him.  This hart will I chase, said King Arthur, and so
he spurred the horse, and rode after long, and so by fine force
oft he <36>was like to have smitten the hart; whereas the king
had chased the hart so long, that his horse lost his breath, and
fell down dead.  Then a yeoman fetched the king another horse.

So the king saw the hart enbushed, and his horse dead, he set him
down by a fountain, and there he fell in great thoughts.  And as
he sat so, him thought he heard a noise of hounds, to the sum of
thirty.  And with that the king saw coming toward him the
strangest beast that ever he saw or heard of; so the beast went
to the well and drank, and the noise was in the beast's belly
like unto the questing of thirty couple hounds; but all the while
the beast drank there was no noise in the beast's belly: and
there.with the beast departed with a great noise, whereof the
king had great marvel.  And so he was in a great thought, and
therewith he fell asleep.  Right so there came a knight afoot
unto Arthur and said, Knight full of thought and sleepy, tell me
if thou sawest a strange beast pass this way.  Such one saw I,
said King Arthur, that is past two mile; what would ye with the
beast? said Arthur.  Sir, I have followed that beast long time,
and killed mine horse, so would God I had another to follow my
quest.  Right so came one with the king's horse, and when the
knight saw the horse, he prayed the king to give him the horse:
for I have followed this quest this twelvemonth, and either I
shall achieve him, or bleed of the best blood of my body. 
Pellinore, that time king, followed the Questing Beast, and after
his death Sir Palamides followed it.