Sacred Texts  Legends and Sagas  Index  BOOK II  Previous  Next 


How Balin met with his brother Balan, and how each of
them slew other unknown, till they were wounded to death.

THEN afore him he saw come riding out of a castle a knight, and
his horse trapped all red, and himself in the same colour.  When
this knight in the red beheld Balin, him thought it should be his
brother Balin by cause of his two <75>swords, but by cause he
knew not his shield he deemed it was not he.  And so they
aventryd their spears and came marvellously fast together, and
they smote each other in the shields, but their spears and their
course were so big that it bare down horse and man, that they lay
both in a swoon.  But Balin was bruised sore with the fall of his
horse, for he was weary of travel.  And Balan was the first that
rose on foot and drew his sword, and went toward Balin, and he
arose and went against him; but Balan smote Balin first, and he
put up his shield and smote him through the shield and tamed his
helm.  Then Balin smote him again with that unhappy sword, and
well-nigh had felled his brother Balan, and so they fought there
together till their breaths failed.  Then Balin looked up to the
castle and saw the towers stand full of ladies.  So they went
unto battle again, and wounded everych other dolefully, and then
they breathed ofttimes, and so went unto battle that all the
place there as they fought was blood red.  And at that time there
was none of them both but they had either smitten other seven
great wounds, so that the least of them might have been the death
of the mightiest giant in this world.

Then they went to battle again so marvellously that doubt it was
to hear of that battle for the great blood-shedding, and their
hauberks unnailed that naked they were on every side.  At last
Balan the younger brother withdrew him a little and laid him
down.  Then said Balin le Savage, What knight art thou? for or
now I found never no knight that matched me.  My name is, said
he, Balan, brother unto the good knight, Balin.  Alas, said
Balin, that ever I should see this day, and therewith he fell
backward in a swoon.  Then Balan yede on all four feet and hands,
and put off the helm off his brother, and might not know him by
the visage it was so ful hewn and bled; but when he awoke he
said, O Balan, my brother, thou hast slain me and I thee,
wherefore all the wide world shall speak of us both.  Alas, said
Balan, that ever I saw this day, that through mishap I might not
know you, for I espied well your <76>two swords, but by cause ye
had another shield I deemed ye had been another knight.  Alas,
said Balin, all that made an unhappy knight in the castle, for he
caused me to leave my own shield to our both's destruction, and
if I might live I would destroy that castle for ill customs. 
That were well done, said Balan, for I had never grace to depart
from them since that I came hither, for here it happed me to slay
a knight that kept this island, and since might I never depart,
and no more should ye, brother, an ye might have slain me as ye
have, and escaped yourself with the life.

Right so came the lady of the tower with four knights and six
ladies and six yeomen unto them, and there she heard how they
made their moan either to other, and said, We came both out of
one tomb, that is to say one mother's belly, and so shall we lie
both in one pit.  So Balan prayed the lady of her gentleness, for
his true service, that she would bury them both in that same
place there the battle was done.  And she granted them, with
weeping, it should be done richly in the best manner.  Now, will
ye send for a priest, that we may receive our sacrament, and
receive the blessed body of our Lord Jesus Christ?  Yea, said the
lady, it shall be done; and so she sent for a priest and gave
them their rights.  Now, said Balin, when we are buried in one
tomb, and the mention made over us how two brethren slew each
other, there will never good knight, nor good man, see our tomb
but they will pray for our souls.  And so all the ladies and
gentlewomen wept for pity.  Then anon Balan died, but Balin died
not till the midnight after, and so were they buried both, and
the lady let make a mention of Balan how he was there slain by
his brother's hands, but she knew not Balin's name.