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How Sir Launcelot and his kinsmen rescued the queen from
the fire, and how he slew many knights

THEN said the noble King Arthur to Sir Gawaine:  Dear
nephew, I pray you make you ready in your best armour,
with your brethren, Sir Gaheris and Sir Gareth, to bring
my queen to the fire, there to have her judgment and
receive the death.  Nay, my most noble lord, said Sir
Gawaine, that will I never do; for wit you well I will
never be in that place where so noble a queen as is my
lady, Dame Guenever, shall take a shameful end.  For
wit you well, said Sir Gawaine, my heart will never serve
me to see her die; and it shall never be said that ever
I was of your counsel of her death.

Then said the king to Sir Gawaine:  Suffer your
brothers Sir Gaheris and Sir Gareth to be there.  My
lord, said Sir Gawaine, wit you well they will be loath
to be there present, because of many adventures the which
be like there to fall, but they are young and full unable
to say you nay.  Then spake Sir Gaheris, and the good
knight Sir Gareth, unto Sir Arthur: Sir, ye may well
command us to be there, but wit you well it shall be sore
against our will; but an we be there by your strait
commandment ye shall plainly hold us there excused: we
will be there in peaceable wise, and bear none harness of
war upon us.  In the name of God, said the king, then
make you ready, for she shall soon have her judgment
anon.  Alas, said Sir Gawaine, that ever I should endure
to see this woful day.  So Sir Gawaine turned him and
wept heartily, and so he went into his chamber; and then
the queen was led forth without Carlisle, and there she
was despoiled into her smock.  And so then her ghostly
father was brought to her, to be shriven of her misdeeds.
Then was there weeping, and wailing, and wringing of
hands, of many lords and ladies, but there were but few
in comparison that would bear any armour for to strength
the death of the queen.

Then was there one that Sir Launcelot had sent unto
that place for to espy what time the queen should go unto
her death; and anon as he saw the queen despoiled into
her smock, and so shriven, then he gave Sir Launcelot
warning.  Then was there but spurring and plucking up
of horses, and right so they came to the fire.  And who
that stood against them, there were they slain; there might
none withstand Sir Launcelot, so all that bare arms and
withstood them, there were they slain, full many a noble
knight.  For there was slain Sir Belliance le Orgulous,
Sir Segwarides, Sir Griflet, Sir Brandiles, Sir Aglovale,
Sir Tor; Sir Gauter, Sir Gillimer, Sir Reynolds' three
brethren; Sir Damas, Sir Priamus, Sir Kay the Stranger,
Sir Driant, Sir Lambegus, Sir Herminde; Sir Pertilope,
Sir Perimones, two brethren that were called the Green
Knight and the Red Knight.  And so in this rushing and
hurling, as Sir Launcelot thrang here and there, it
mishapped him to slay Gaheris and Sir Gareth, the noble
knight, for they were unarmed and unware.  For as the
French book saith, Sir Launcelot smote Sir Gareth and
Sir Gaheris upon the brain-pans, wherethrough they were
slain in the field; howbeit in very truth Sir Launcelot
saw them not, and so were they found dead among the
thickest of the press.

Then when Sir Launcelot had thus done, and slain and
put to flight all that would withstand him, then he rode
straight unto Dame Guenever, and made a kirtle and a
gown to be cast upon her; and then he made her to be
set behind him, and prayed her to be of good cheer.  Wit
you well the queen was glad that she was escaped from
the death.  And then she thanked God and Sir Launcelot;
and so he rode his way with the queen, as the French book
saith, unto Joyous Gard, and there he kept her as a noble
knight should do; and many great lords and some kings
sent Sir Launcelot many good knights, and many noble
knights drew unto Sir Launcelot.  When this was known
openly, that King Arthur and Sir Launcelot were at
debate, many knights were glad of their debate, and many
were full heavy of their debate.