Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK IX CHAPTER XL

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How after that Sir Tristram, Sir Palomides, and Sir
Dinadan had been long in prison they were delivered.

NOW leave we off this tale, and speak we of sir Dinas that had
within the castle a paramour, and she loved <425>another knight
better than him.  And so when sir Dinas went out a-hunting she
slipped down by a towel, and took with her two brachets, and so
she yede to the knight that she loved, and he her again.  And
when sir Dinas came home and missed his paramour and his
brachets, then was he the more wrother for his brachets than for
the lady.  So then he rode after the knight that had his
paramour, and bade him turn and joust.  So sir Dinas smote him
down, that with the fall he brake his leg and his arm.  And then
his lady and paramour cried sir Dinas mercy, and said she would
love him better than ever she did.  Nay, said sir Dinas, I shall
never trust them that once betrayed me, and therefore, as ye have
begun, so end, for I will never meddle with you.  And so sir
Dinas departed, and took his brachets with him, and so rode to
his castle.

Now will we turn unto sir Launcelot, that was right heavy that he
could never hear no tidings of sir Tristram, for all this while
he was in prison with sir Darras, Palomides, and Dinadan.  Then
Dame Bragwaine took her leave to go into Cornwall, and sir
Launcelot, sir Kay, and sir Gaheris rode to seek sir Tristram in
the country of Surluse.

Now speaketh this tale of sir Tristram and of his two fellows,
for every day sir Palomides brawled and said language against sir
Tristram.  I marvel, said sir Dinadan, of thee, sir Palomides, an
thou haddest sir Tristram here thou wouldst do him no harm; for
an a wolf and a sheep were together in a prison the wolf would
suffer the sheep to be in peace.  And wit thou well, said sir
Dinadan, this same is sir Tristram at a word, and now must thou
do thy best with him, and let see now if ye can skift it with
your hands.  Then was sir Palomides abashed and said little.  Sir
Palomides, then said sir Tristram, I have heard much of your
maugre against me, but I will not meddle with you as at this time
by my will, because I dread the lord of this place that hath us
in governance; for an I dread him not more than I do thee, soon
it should be skift: so they peaced themself.  Right so came in a
damosel and
said:  Knights, be of good cheer, for ye are sure of your
<426>lives, and that I heard say my lord, Sir Darras.  Then were
they glad all three, for daily they weened they should have died.

Then soon after this Sir Tristram fell sick that he weened to
have died; then Sir Dinadan wept, and so did Sir Palomides under
them both making great sorrow.  So a damosel came in to them and
found them mourning.  Then she went unto Sir Darras, and told him
how that mighty knight that bare the black shield was likely to
die.  That shall not be, said Sir Darras, for God defend when
knights come to me for succour that I should suffer them to die
within my prison.  Therefore, said Sir Darras to the damosel,
fetch that knight and his fellows afore me.  And then anon Sir
Darras saw Sir Tristram brought afore him.  He said:  Sir knight,
me repenteth of thy sickness for thou art called a full noble
knight, and so it seemeth by thee; and wit ye well it shall never
be said that Sir Darras shall destroy such a noble knight as thou
art in prison, howbeit that thou hast slain three of my sons
whereby I was greatly aggrieved.  But now shalt thou go and thy
fellows, and your harness and horses have been fair and clean
kept, and ye shall go where it liketh you, upon this covenant,
that thou, knight, wilt promise me to be good friend to my sons
two that be now alive, and also that thou tell me thy name.  Sir,
said he, as for me my name is Sir Tristram de Liones, and in
Cornwall was I born, and nephew I am unto King Mark.  And as for
the death of your sons I might not do withal, for an they had
been the next kin that I have I might have done none otherwise. 
And if I had slain them by treason or treachery I had been worthy
to have died.  All this I consider, said Sir Darras, that all
that ye did was by force of knighthood, and that was the cause I
would not put you to death.  But sith ye be Sir Tristram, the
good knight, I pray you heartily to be my good friend and to my
sons.  Sir, said Sir Tristram, I promise you by the faith of my
body, ever while I live I will do you service, for ye have done
to us but as a natural knight ought to do.  Then Sir Tristram
reposed him there till that he was <427>amended of his sickness;
and when he was big and strong they took their leave, and every
knight took their horses, and so departed and rode together till
they came to a cross way.  Now fellows, said Sir Tristram, here
will we depart in sundry ways.  And because Sir Dinadan had the
first adventure of him I will begin.