Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK X CHAPTER L

Sacred Texts  Legends and Sagas  Index  BOOK X  Previous  Next 


How by treason Sir Tristram was brought to a tournament
for to have been slain, and how he was put in prison.

NOW turn we from this matter, and speak we of Sir Tristram,
of whom this book is principally of, and leave we
the king and the queen, Sir Launcelot, and Sir Lamorak, and
here beginneth the treason of King Mark, that he ordained
against Sir Tristram.  There was cried by the coasts of
Cornwall a great tournament and jousts, and all was done
by Sir Galahalt the haut prince and King Bagdemagus, to
the intent to slay Launcelot, or else utterly destroy him
and shame him, because Sir Launcelot had always the
higher degree, therefore this prince and this king made
this jousts against Sir Launcelot.  And thus their counsel
was discovered unto King Mark, whereof he was full

Then King Mark bethought him that he would have
Sir Tristram unto that tournament disguised that no man
should know him, to that intent that the haut prince
should ween that Sir Tristram were Sir Launcelot.  So
at these jousts came in Sir Tristram.  And at that time Sir
Launcelot was not there, but when they saw a knight
disguised do such deeds of arms, they weened it had been Sir
Launcelot.  And in especial King Mark said it was Sir
Launcelot plainly.  Then they set upon him, both King
Bagdemagus, and the haut prince, and their knights, that
it was wonder that ever Sir Tristram might endure that
pain.  Notwithstanding for all the pain that he had, Sir
Tristram won the degree at that tournament, and there
he hurt many knights and bruised them, and they hurt
him and bruised him wonderly sore.  So when the jousts
were all done they knew well that it was Sir Tristram de
Liones; and all that were on King Mark's party were glad
that Sir Tristram was hurt, and the remnant were sorry of
his hurt; for Sir Tristram was not so behated as was Sir
Launcelot within the realm of England.

Then came King Mark unto Sir Tristram and said:
Fair nephew, I am sorry of your hurts.  Gramercy my
lord, said Sir Tristram.  Then King Mark made Sir
Tristram to be put in an horse bier in great sign of love,
and said:  Fair cousin, I shall be your leech myself.  And
so he rode forth with Sir Tristram, and brought him to
a castle by daylight.  And then King Mark made Sir
Tristram to eat.  And then after he gave him a drink, the
which as soon as he had drunk he fell asleep.  And when
it was night he made him to be carried to another castle,
and there he put him in a strong prison, and there he
ordained a man and a woman to give him his meat and
drink.  So there he was a great while.

Then was Sir Tristram missed, and no creature wist
where he was become.  When La Beale Isoud heard how
he was missed, privily she went unto Sir Sadok, and prayed
him to espy where was Sir Tristram.  Then when Sadok
wist how Sir Tristram was missed, and anon espied that
he was put in prison by King Mark and the traitors of
Magouns, then Sadok and two of his cousins laid them in
an ambushment, fast by the Castle of Tintagil, in arms.
And as by fortune, there came riding King Mark and four
of his nephews, and a certain of the traitors of Magouns.
When Sir Sadok espied them he brake out of the bushment,
and set there upon them.  And when King Mark
espied Sir Sadok he fled as fast as he might, and there Sir
Sadok slew all the four nephews unto King Mark.  But
these traitors of Magouns slew one of Sadok's cousins with
a great wound in the neck, but Sadok smote the other to
the death.  Then Sir Sadok rode upon his way unto a
castle that was called Liones, and there he espied of the
treason and felony of King Mark.  So they of that castle
rode with Sir Sadok till that they came to a castle that
hight Arbray, and there in the town they found Sir Dinas
the Seneschal, that was a good knight.  But when Sir
Sadok had told Sir Dinas of all the treason of King Mark
he defied such a king, and said he would give up his lands
that he held of him.  And when he said these words all
manner knights said as Sir Dinas said.  Then by his advice
and of Sir Sadok's, he let stuff all the towns and castles
within the country of Liones, and assembled all the people
that they might make.