Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK VIII CHAPTER XL
Legends and Sagas
How Sir Lamorak departed from Sir Tristram, and how
he met with Sir Frol, and after with Sir Launcelot.
SO turn we unto Sir Lamorak, that rode toward Arthur's court, and
Sir Tristram's wife and Kehydius took a vessel and sailed into
Brittany, unto King Howel, where he was welcome. And when he
heard of these adventures they marvelled of his noble deeds. Now
turn we unto Sir Lamorak, that when he was departed from Sir
Tristram he rode out of the forest, till he came to an hermitage.
When the hermit saw him, he asked him from whence he came. Sir,
said Sir Lamorak, I come from this valley. Sir, said the hermit:
thereof I marvel. For this twenty winter I saw never no knight
pass this country but he was either slain or villainously
wounded, or pass as a poor prisoner. Those ill customs, said Sir
Lamorak, are fordone, for Sir Tristram slew your lord, Sir Nabon,
and his son. Then was the hermit glad, and all his brethren, for
he said there was never such a tyrant among Christian men. And
therefore, said the hermit, this valley and franchise we will
hold of Sir Tristram.
So on the morrow Sir Lamorak departed; and as he rode he saw four
knights fight against one, and that one knight defended him well,
but at the last the four knights had him down. And then Sir
Lamorak went betwixt them, and asked them why they would slay
that one <347>knight, and said it was shame, four against one.
Thou shalt well wit, said the four knights, that he is false.
That is your tale, said Sir Lamorak, and when I hear him also
speak, I will say as ye say. Then said Lamorak: Ah, knight, can
ye not excuse you, but that ye are a false knight. Sir, said he,
yet can I excuse me both with my word and with my hands, that I
will make good upon one of the best of them, my body to his body.
Then spake they all at once: We will not jeopardy our bodies as
for thee. But wit thou well, they said, an King Arthur were here
himself, it should not lie in his power to save his life. That
is too much said, said Sir Lamorak, but many speak behind a man
more than they will say to his face; and because of your words ye
shall understand that I am one of the simplest of King Arthur's
court; in the worship of my lord now do your best, and in despite
of you I shall rescue him. And then they lashed all at once to
Sir Lamorak, but anon at two strokes Sir Lamorak had slain two of
them, and then the other two fled. So then Sir Lamorak turned
again to that knight, and asked him his name. Sir, he said, my
name is Sir Frol of the Out Isles. Then he rode with Sir Lamorak
and bare him company.
And as they rode by the way they saw a seemly knight riding
against them, and all in white. Ah, said Frol, yonder knight
jousted late with me and smote me down, therefore I will joust
with him. Ye shall not do so, said Sir Lamorak, by my counsel,
an ye will tell me your quarrel, whether ye jousted at his
request, or he at yours. Nay, said Sir Frol, I jousted with him
at my request. Sir, said Lamorak, then will I counsel you deal
no more with him, for meseemeth by his countenance he should be a
noble knight, and no japer; for methinketh he should be of the
Table Round. Therefore I will not spare, said Sir Frol. And
then he cried and said: Sir knight, make thee ready to joust.
That needeth not, said the White Knight, for I have no lust to
joust with thee; but yet they feutred their spears, and the White
Knight overthrew Sir Frol, and then he rode his way a <348>soft
pace. Then Sir Lamorak rode after him, and prayed him to tell
him his name: For meseemeth ye should be of the fellowship of
the Round Table. Upon a covenant, said he, I will tell you my
name, so that ye will not discover my name, and also that ye will
tell me yours. Then, said he, my name is Sir Lamorak de Galis.
And my name is Sir Launcelot du Lake. Then they put up their
swords, and kissed heartily together, and either made great joy
of other. Sir, said Sir Lamorak, an it please you I will do you
service. God defend, said Launcelot, that any of so noble a
blood as ye be should do me service. Then he said: More, I am
in a quest that I must do myself alone. Now God speed you, said
Sir Lamorak, and so they departed. Then Sir Lamorak came to Sir
Frol and horsed him again. What knight is that? said Sir Frol.
Sir, he said, it is not for you to know, nor it is no point of my
charge. Ye are the more uncourteous, said Sir Frol, and
therefore I will depart from you. Ye may do as ye list, said Sir
Lamorak, and yet by my company ye have saved the fairest flower
of your garland; so they departed.