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How Balin and the damosel met with a knight which was
in likewise slain, and how the damosel bled for the
custom of a castle.

So Balin and the damosel rode into a forest, and there met with a
knight that had been a-hunting, and that knight asked Balin for
what cause he made so great sorrow.  Me list not to tell you,
said Balin.  Now, said the knight, an I were armed as ye be I
would fight with you.  That should little need, said Balin, I am
not afeard to tell you, and told him all the cause how it was. 
Ah, said the knight, is this all? here I ensure you by the faith
of my body never to depart from you while my life lasteth.  And
so they went to the hostelry and armed them, and so rode forth
with Balin.  And as they came by an hermitage even by a
churchyard, there came the knight Garlon invisible, and smote
this knight, Perin de Mountbeliard, through the body with a
spear.  Alas, said the knight, I am slain by this traitor knight
that rideth invisible.  Alas, said Balin, it is not the first
despite he hath done me; and there the hermit and Balin buried
the knight under a rich stone and a tomb royal.  And on the morn
they found letters of gold written, how Sir Gawaine shall revenge
his father's death, King Lot, on the King Pellinore.  Anon after
this Balin and the damosel rode till they came to a castle, and
there Balin alighted, and he and the damosel went to go into the
castle, and anon as Balin came within the castle's gate the
portcullis fell down at his back, and there fell many men about
the damosel, and would have slain her.  When Balin saw that, he
was sore aggrieved, for he might not help the damosel.  Then he
went up into the tower, and leapt over walls into the ditch, and
hurt him not; <68>and anon he pulled out his sword and would have
foughten with them.  And they all said nay, they would not fight
with him, for they did nothing but the old custom of the castle;
and told him how their lady was sick, and had lain many years,
and she might not be whole but if she had a dish of silver full
of blood of a clean maid and a king's daughter; and therefore the
custom of this castle is, there shall no damosel pass this way
but she shall bleed of her blood in a silver dish full.  Well,
said Balin, she shall bleed as much as she may bleed, but I will
not lose the life of her whiles my life lasteth.  And so Balin
made her to bleed by her good will, but her blood helped not the
lady.  And so he and she rested there all night, and had there
right good cheer, and on the morn they passed on their ways.  And
as it telleth after in the Sangreal, that Sir Percivale's sister
helped that lady with her blood, whereof she was dead.