Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK X CHAPTER II

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CHAPTER II

How Sir Tristram saved Sir Palomides' life, and how they
promised to fight together within a fortnight.


So Sir Tristram alighted off his horse because they were
on foot, that they should not slay his horse, and then
dressed his shield, with his sword in his hand, and he
smote on the right hand and on the left hand passing
sore, that well-nigh at every stroke he struck down a
knight.  And when they espied his strokes they fled all
with Breuse Saunce Pit unto the tower, and Sir Tristram
followed fast after with his sword in his hand, but they
escaped into the tower, and shut Sir Tristram without the
gate.  And when Sir Tristram saw this he returned aback
unto Sir Palomides, and found him sitting under a tree
sore wounded.  Ah, fair knight, said Sir Tristram, well
be ye found.  Gramercy, said Sir Palomides, of your great
goodness, for ye have rescued me of my life, and saved
me from my death.  What is your name? said Sir
Tristram.  He said:  My name is Sir Palomides.  O
Jesu, said Sir Tristram, thou hast a fair grace of me this
day that I should rescue thee, and thou art the man in
the world that I most hate; but now make thee ready,
for I will do battle with thee.  What is your name?
said Sir Palomides.  My name is Sir Tristram, your
mortal enemy.  It may be so, said Sir Palomides; but ye
have done over much for me this day that I should fight
with you; for inasmuch as ye have saved my life it will
be no worship for you to have ado with me, for ye are
fresh and I am wounded sore, and therefore, an ye will
needs have ado with me, assign me a day and then I
shall meet with you without fail.  Ye say well, said Sir
Tristram, now I assign you to meet me in the meadow
by the river of Camelot, where Merlin set the peron.
So they were agreed.

Then Sir Tristram asked Sir Palomides why the ten
knights did battle with him.  For this cause, said Sir
Palomides; as I rode upon mine adventures in a forest
here beside I espied where lay a dead knight, and a lady
weeping beside him.  And when I saw her making such
dole, I asked her who slew her lord.  Sir, she said, the
falsest knight of the world now living, and he is the most
villain that ever man heard speak of and his name is Sir
Breuse Saunce Pit.  Then for pity I made the damosel
to leap on her palfrey, and I promised her to be her
warrant, and to help her to inter her lord.  And so,
suddenly, as I came riding by this tower, there came out
Sir Breuse Saunce Pit, and suddenly he struck me from
my horse.  And then or I might recover my horse this
Sir Breuse slew the damosel.  And so I took my horse
again, and I was sore ashamed, and so began the medley
betwixt us: and this is the cause wherefore we did this
battle.  Well, said Sir Tristram, now I understand the
manner of your battle, but in any wise have remembrance
of your promise that ye have made with me to do battle
with me this day fortnight.  I shall not fail you, said Sir
Palomides.  Well, said Sir Tristram, as at this time I will
not fail you till that ye be out of the danger of your
enemies.

So they mounted upon their horses, and rode together
unto that forest, and there they found a fair well, with
clear water bubbling.  Fair sir, said Sir Tristram, to drink
of that water have I courage; and then they alighted off
their horses.  And then were they ware by them where
stood a great horse tied to a tree, and ever he neighed.
And then were they ware of a fair knight armed, under
a tree, lacking no piece of harness, save his helm lay
under his head.  By the good lord, said Sir Tristram,
yonder lieth a well-faring knight; what is best to do?
Awake him, said Sir Palomides.  So Sir Tristram awaked
him with the butt of his spear.  And so the knight rose
up hastily and put his helm upon his head, and gat a great
spear in his hand; and without any more words he hurled
unto Sir Tristram, and smote him clean from his saddle to
the earth, and hurt him on the left side, that Sir Tristram
lay in great peril.  Then he walloped farther, and fetched
his course, and came hurling upon Sir Palomides, and there
he struck him a part through the body, that he fell from
his horse to the earth.  And then this strange knight left
them there, and took his way through the forest.  With
this Sir Palomides and Sir Tristram were on foot, and gat
their horses again, and either asked counsel of other, what
was best to do.  By my head, said Sir Tristram, I will
follow this strong knight that thus hath shamed us.
Well, said Sir Palomides, and I will repose me hereby with
a friend of mine.  Beware, said Sir Tristram unto Palomides,
that ye fail not that day that ye have set with me
to do battle, for, as I deem, ye will not hold your day,
for I am much bigger than ye.  As for that, said Sir
Palomides, be it as it be may, for I fear you not, for an I
be not sick nor prisoner, I will not fail you; but I have
cause to have more doubt of you that ye will not meet
with me, for ye ride after yonder strong knight.  And if
ye meet with him it is an hard adventure an ever ye escape
his hands.  Right so Sir Tristram and Sir Palomides
departed, and either took their ways diverse.