Sacred Texts  Legends and Sagas  Index  BOOK X  Previous  Next 


How Sir Tristram was unhorsed and smitten down by Sir
Launcelot, and after that Sir Tristram smote down
King Arthur.

THEN was the cry of heralds and all manner of common
people:  The Green Knight hath done marvellously, and
beaten all them of Orkney.  And there the heralds
numbered that Sir Tristram that sat upon the black horse
had smitten down with spears and swords thirty knights;
and Sir Palomides had smitten down twenty knights, and
the most part of these fifty knights were of the house of
King Arthur, and proved knights.  So God me help, said
Arthur unto Sir Launcelot, this is a great shame to us
to see four knights beat so many knights of mine; and
therefore make you ready, for we will have ado with them.
Sir, said Launcelot, wit ye well that there are two passing
good knights, and great worship were it not to us now to
have ado with them, for they have this day sore travailed.
As for that, said Arthur, I will be avenged; and therefore
take with you Sir Bleoberis and Sir Ector, and I will be
the fourth, said Arthur.  Sir, said Launcelot, ye shall find
me ready, and my brother Sir Ector, and my cousin Sir
Bleoberis.  And so when they were ready and on horseback:
Now choose, said Sir Arthur unto Sir Launcelot,
with whom that ye will encounter withal.  Sir, said
Launcelot, I will meet with the green knight upon the
black horse, that was Sir Tristram; and my cousin Sir
Bleoberis shall match the green knight upon the white
horse, that was Sir Palomides; and my brother Sir Ector
shall match with the green knight upon the white horse,
that was Sir Gareth.  Then must I, said Sir Arthur, have
ado with the green knight upon the grisled horse, and that
was Sir Dinadan.  Now every man take heed to his fellow,
said Sir Launcelot.  And so they trotted on together, and
there encountered Sir Launcelot against Sir Tristram.  So
Sir Launcelot smote Sir Tristram so sore upon the shield
that he bare horse and man to the earth; but Sir Launcelot
weened that it had been Sir Palomides, and so he passed
forth.  And then Sir Bleoberis encountered with Sir
Palomides, and he smote him so hard upon the shield that
Sir Palomides and his white horse rustled to the earth.
Then Sir Ector de Maris smote Sir Gareth so hard that
down he fell off his horse.  And the noble King Arthur
encountered with Sir Dinadan, and he smote him quite
from his saddle.  And then the noise turned awhile how
the green knights were slain down.

When the King of Northgalis saw that Sir Tristram
had a fall, then he remembered him how great deeds of
arms Sir Tristram had done.  Then he made ready many
knights, for the custom and cry was such, that what
knight were smitten down, and might not be horsed
again by his fellows, outher by his own strength, that as
that day he should be prisoner unto the party that had
smitten him down.  So came in the King of Northgalis,
and he rode straight unto Sir Tristram; and when he
came nigh him he alighted down suddenly and betook
Sir Tristram his horse, and said thus:  Noble knight, I
know thee not of what country that thou art, but for the
noble deeds that thou hast done this day take there my
horse, and let me do as well I may; for, as Jesu me
help, thou art better worthy to have mine horse than I
myself.  Gramercy, said Sir Tristram, and if I may I
shall quite you: look that ye go not far from us, and as
I suppose, I shall win you another horse.  And therewith
Sir Tristram mounted upon his horse, and there he met
with King Arthur, and he gave him such a buffet upon
the helm with his sword that King Arthur had no power
to keep his saddle.  And then Sir Tristram gave the
King of Northgalis King Arthur's horse: then was there
great press about King Arthur for to horse him again;
but Sir Palomides would not suffer King Arthur to be
horsed again, but ever Sir Palomides smote on the right
hand and on the left hand mightily as a noble knight.
And this meanwhile Sir Tristram rode through the
thickest of the press, and smote down knights on the
right hand and on the left hand, and raced off helms, and
so passed forth unto his pavilions, and left Sir Palomides
on foot; and Sir Tristram changed his horse and disguised
himself all in red, horse and harness.