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How Sir Tor overcame the knight, and how he lost his head
at the request of a lady.

WITH that came a damosel riding on a palfrey as fast as she might
drive, and cried with a loud voice unto Sir Tor.  What will ye
with me? said Sir Tor.  I beseech thee, said the damosel, for
King Arthur's love, give me a gift; I require thee, gentle
knight, as thou art a gentleman.  Now, said Tor, ask a gift and I
will give it you.  Gramercy, said the damosel; now I ask the head
of the false knight Abelleus, for he is the most outrageous
knight that liveth, and the greatest murderer.  I am loath, said
Sir Tor, of that gift I have given you; let him make amends in
that he hath trespassed unto you.  Now, said the damosel, he may
not, for he slew mine own brother before mine own eyes, that was
a better knight than he, an he had had grace; and I kneeled half
an hour afore him in the mire for to save my brother's life, that
had done him no damage, but fought with him by adventure of arms,
and so for all that I could do he struck off his head; wherefore
I require thee, <94>as thou art a true knight, to give me my
gift, or else I shall shame thee in all the court of King Arthur;
for he is the falsest knight living, and a great destroyer of
good knights.  Then when Abelleus heard this, he was more afeard,
and yielded him and asked mercy.  I may not now, said Sir Tor,
but if I should be found false of my promise; for while I would
have taken you to mercy ye would none ask, but if ye had the
brachet again, that was my quest.  And therewith he took off his
helm, and he arose and fled, and Sir Tor after him, and smote off
his head quite.

Now sir, said the damosel, it is near night; I pray you come and
lodge with me here at my place, it is here fast by.  I will well,
said Sir Tor, for his horse and he had fared evil since they
departed from Camelot, and so he rode with her, and had passing
good cheer with her; and she had a passing fair old knight to her
husband that made him passing good cheer, and well eased both his
horse and him.  And on the morn he heard his mass, and brake his
fast, and took his leave of the knight and of the lady, that
besought him to tell them his name.  Truly, he said, my name is
Sir Tor that was late made knight, and this was the first quest
of arms that ever I did, to bring again that this knight Abelleus
took away from King Arthur's court.  O fair knight, said the lady
and her husband, an ye come here in our marches, come and see our
poor lodging, and it shall be always at your commandment.  So Sir
Tor departed and came to Camelot on the third day by noon, and
the king and the queen and all the court was passing fain of his
coming, and made great joy that he was come again; for he went
from the court with little succour, but as King Pellinore his
father gave him an old courser, and King Arthur gave him armour
and a sword, and else had he none other succour, but rode so
forth himself alone.  And then the king and the queen by Merlin's
advice made him to swear to tell of his adventures, and so he
told and made proofs of his deeds as it is afore rehearsed,
wherefore the king and the queen made great joy.  Nay, nay, said
Merlin, these be but japes to that he shall do; for he shall
prove a noble knight of prowess, as good as any is living,
<95>and gentle and courteous, and of good tatches, and passing
true of his promise, and never shall outrage.  Wherethrough
Merlin's words King Arthur gave him an earldom of lands that fell
unto him.  And here endeth the quest of Sir Tor, King Pellinore's