Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK X CHAPTER XII

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How the six knights sent Sir Dagonet to joust with King
Mark, and how King Mark refused him.

AND then they asked him of his adventures, and whether
he had seen Sir Tristram or Sir Launcelot.  So God me
help, said Sir Dinadan, I saw none of them sithen I
departed from Camelot.  What knight is that, said Sir
Brandiles, that so suddenly departed from you, and rode
over yonder field?  Sir, said he, it was a knight of
Cornwall, and the most horrible coward that ever bestrode
horse.  What is his name? said all these knights.  I wot
not, said Sir Dinadan.  So when they had reposed them,
and spoken together, they took their horses and rode to a
castle where dwelt an old knight that made all knights-errant
good cheer.  Then in the meanwhile that they were
talking came into the castle Sir Griflet le Fise de Dieu,
and there was he welcome; and they all asked him whether
he had seen Sir Launcelot or Sir Tristram.  Sirs, he
answered, I saw him not sithen he departed from Camelot.
So as Sir Dinadan walked and beheld the castle, thereby in
a chamber he espied King Mark, and then he rebuked
him, and asked him why he departed so.  Sir, said he, for
I durst not abide because they were so many.  But how
escaped ye? said King Mark.  Sir, said Sir Dinadan, they
were better friends than I weened they had been.  Who
is captain of that fellowship? said the king.  Then for to
fear him Sir Dinadan said that it was Sir Launcelot.  O
Jesu, said the king, might I know Sir Launcelot by his
shield? Yea, said Dinadan, for he beareth a shield of
silver and black bends.  All this he said to fear the king,
for Sir Launcelot was not in his fellowship.  Now I pray
you, said King Mark, that ye will ride in my fellowship.
That is me loath to do, said Sir Dinadan, because ye forsook
my fellowship.

Right so Sir Dinadan went from King Mark, and went
to his own fellowship; and so they mounted upon their
horses, and rode on their ways, and talked of the Cornish
knight, for Dinadan told them that he was in the castle
where they were lodged.  It is well said, said Sir Griflet,
for here have I brought Sir Dagonet, King Arthur's fool,
that is the best fellow and the merriest in the world.  Will
ye do well? said Sir Dinadan:  I have told the Cornish
knight that here is Sir Launcelot, and the Cornish knight
asked me what shield he bare.  Truly, I told him that he
bare the same shield that Sir Mordred beareth.  Will ye
do well? said Sir Mordred; I am hurt and may not well
bear my shield nor harness, and therefore put my shield
and my harness upon Sir Dagonet, and let him set upon
the Cornish knight.  That shall be done, said Sir Dagonet,
by my faith.  Then anon was Dagonet armed him in
Mordred's harness and his shield, and he was set on a
great horse, and a spear in his hand.  Now, said Dagonet,
shew me the knight, and I trow I shall bear him down.
So all these knights rode to a woodside, and abode till
King Mark came by the way.  Then they put forth Sir
Dagonet, and he came on all the while his horse might
run, straight upon King Mark.  And when he came nigh
King Mark, he cried as he were wood, and said:  Keep
thee, knight of Cornwall, for I will slay thee.  Anon, as
King Mark beheld his shield, he said to himself:  Yonder
is Sir Launcelot; alas, now am I destroyed; and therewithal
he made his horse to run as fast as it might through
thick and thin.  And ever Sir Dagonet followed after King
Mark, crying and rating him as a wood man, through a
great forest.  When Sir Uwaine and Sir Brandiles saw
Dagonet so chase King Mark, they laughed all as they
were wood.  And then they took their horses, and rode
after to see how Sir Dagonet sped, for they would not for
no good that Sir Dagonet were shent, for King Arthur
loved him passing well, and made him knight with his own
hands.  And at every tournament he began to make King
Arthur to laugh.  Then the knights rode here and there,
crying and chasing after King Mark, that all the forest
rang of the noise.