Tales from Chaucer, by Charles Cowden Clarke, , at sacred-texts.com
LISTEN to me, lords, and you shall hear tell of a doughty knight whose name was Sir John of Bounds. He owned a very large store of game, with three sons. The eldest was of an evil disposition, and early began to give proof of it. His brothers loved their father, and stood in awe of him; but the eldest deserved his curse, and, at the last, he received it. Although this good old knight had lived to a great age, death overtook and sorely handled him. While he lay in his last sickness he was much perplexed to think how his children should fare when he was gone.
All the land he possessed was his own by purchase, and earnestly he wished that it should be equally divided among the three. He therefore sent, by word of letter, to skilful knights in the country desiring them to help him parcel out his lands and apportion them fairly; adding, moreover, that if they would see him alive they must set forth quickly.
As soon as the knights heard of his sickness, they rested neither night nor day till they came where he lay quietly abiding the will of God.
"My lords," said the good old knight, "I may no longer remain here, for by the will of God death is drawing me down to the ground."
They all pitied him in his helpless plight, telling him
not to be cast down, for that he might still see the end of his suffering.
"An end of my suffering God may send," said he, "but I shall not see it; for the love you bear me, therefore, lords, divide my lands among my three sons; and deal them not amiss, my friends, and forget not Gamelin, my youngest: regard him equally with his elders, for it is seldom that you see an heir who will help his brother as he ought."
The knights left the sick man and went in to counsel upon the division of his land, which they portioned out to the two eldest, and to Gamelin they awarded nothing, saying that his brothers could give him his due when he came of age. Having so dealt out the property, they returned and told the knight how they had decided, who liked not their judgment, but said angrily, "By Saint Martin! I swear, for all that you have done the land is still mine, and I shall deal it according to my own will. John, my eldest son, shall have my father's inheritance, amounting to five ploughs of land; my second shall also have five ploughs, which I myself acquired by the labour of my own right hand; and all my other purchases of ground, with my good steeds, I bequeath to Gamelin; and I beseech you, who know the law regarding landed property, that for the love of Gamelin this my bequest may stand." Soon after this he lay as still as a stone, and when his hour came he died.
No sooner was the old knight laid beneath the grass than the eldest brother beguiled the young one, and took into his hands the management of all his inheritance, and Gamelin himself to clothe and feed. Barbarous and
savage was his fare; his lands and houses, parks and woods, were let away, and nothing that belonged to him went on well.
So long did young Gamelin dwell in his brother's hall that he had reached the age of manhood, when the strongest in the place began to fear his prowess. Neither young nor old, however courageous, cared to anger him. One day as he was standing in his brother's premises, thoughtfully handling his beard, he remembered how all his lands lay waste and desolate, and his fair large oaks were hewn down; his parks broken in and deer all rived; and how, of all his good steeds, not one was left to him; his houses too were going to ruin; and young Gamelin thought to himself, "All this cannot be right."
At this moment his brother came walking in with a proud and stately air, and said to him, "Is the dinner ready?" Then poor Gamelin's wrath arose, and he swore a bitter oath, "You shall go and bake your meats yourself," said he, "for I will not be your cook." "What! brother Gamelin," said the other, "do you answer me so? why, you never spoke such a word as this before!"
"By my faith," said Gamelin, "I find the need to do so. I have never yet heeded all the injuries I have received; my parks are broken up and my deer taken away; none of my good horses with their furniture is left, all that my father bequeathed to me is gone to rack and ruin; a curse, therefore, light upon you, brother John!"
"Stand still and hold your peace, you gadling," * answered John, "you shall be glad enough to have your food and clothing; what have you to do with lands?"
"Evil befall him," said Gamelin, "who calls me gad- ling. Brother John, I am no worse gadling than yourself, and am no worse man; I was born of a lady, and my father was a knight."
John dared not stir one foot nearer to him, but he called his men, and desired them to "go and beat that boy, and teach him to answer better another time."
"If I must needs be beaten," said Gamelin, "you shall be the one to do it." Yet his brother in furious passion ordered his men to bring their staves. Gamelin was aware of their coming, and, looking about him, saw a stake under a wall; and, being nimble, he leaped towards them, and drove all his brother's men in a heap. He looked like a wild lion, and laid on in good earnest; which, when his brother saw, he ran away and locked himself in a garret: so Gamelin with his staff made them all aghast. Then he sought his brother where he had fled, and saw him looking out of the window. "Come down, brother," said he, "and I will teach you to play at buckler." But while he held that staff he would not come near him. "Throw away your weapon," said he, "and I will make peace with you and never anger you more." "I must needs be wroth," said Gamelin, "seeing that you would make your men break my bones. If it had not been for the strength of my own arm to drive them before me, they would have done me a mischief." "I meant you no harm," said John, "but only to try your strength who are so young; do not, therefore, be angry, for I were loth to see you hurt."
"Come down, then," said Gamelin, "and grant me my boon; but one thing will I demand, and we shall be
quickly agreed." So down came the fickle and treacherous brother, but he stood in awe of Gamelin's trusty staff. "Ask me now your boon," said John, "and blame me if it be not quickly granted."
"Brother of mine," answered Gamelin, "if we are to be one, you must restore all that my father bequeathed to me; you must do this if we are to have no more strife."
"That you shall have, Gamelin, I pledge you my oath, all and more than your father's bequest if you desire it. Your land, that now lies fallow, shall be well cropped, and your houses raised again." So spoke the knight, but only with his mouth; he thought only of falsehood, as was his nature, but Gamelin had no guile. His brother kissed him, and they were friends.
Alas for young Gamelin! he little knew of the treason that his brother was plotting against him with that kiss.
There happened to be in that quarter a wrestling match for a prize ram and a ring, and Gamelin had a mind to go to it and prove his strength. "Brother," said he, "you must lend me a horse to-night, fresh at the spurs; I must go on an errand here beside."
"Choose the best horse in my stall, brother; but tell me where you are going." Gamelin told him his intent, adding, "How much worship will it be to us if I could bring home to the hall the prize rain and ring."
A fleet horse was saddled, and Gamelin, having buckled on his spurs, bestrode him and hied away to the wrestling. When he had gone, his false brother locked the gate and prayed heaven that he might break his neck at the match.
As soon as he arrived at the wrestling place, he alighted
and stood upon the grass. And there he heard a Franklin lamenting and bitterly wringing his hands. Gamelin asked the cause of his grief, and if any one could help him out of his care.
"Alas!" said the Franklin, "that ever I was born, for I have lost two brave sons. The champion here has slain them. I would give ten pounds, and more, could I meet with a man to handle him in kind."
"My good man," said Gamelin, "will you have this well done? Hold my horse while my man draws off my shoes; and do you help him to keep my clothes and my horse, and I will go into the place and look how I may speed."
"So be it," replied the Franklin, "and I will be your man to draw off your shoes; and take no thought of your clothes or your horse: go forth, and heaven speed you."
Barefoot and ungirt, Gamelin came into the ring, and all wondered, that knew him, how he dared adventure against so doughty a champion; who, starting up, advanced quickly towards him and said, "Who is your father, youngster? forsooth, you are a great fool to come here."
"You knew my father full well; his name was Sir John of Bounds, and I am Gamelin."
"Right well I knew your father," answered the champion, "and yourself, while you were a young boy, for a turbulent fellow."
"Now, then, that I am older, you shall find me more." "Welcome," said the champion; "come once within my gripe and you shall not escape."
It was night, and the bright moon was shining, when
the two wrestlers came together. The champion cast about to throw his fellow, but he stood still, and bade him do his best. "Now that I have proved many of your turns," * said Gamelin, "you must prove one or two of mine." With that he went briskly in to his antagonist, and of all the turns he was master of he showed him but one. He threw him on his left side and broke three of his ribs: his left arm too gave a great crack. "Shall it hold for a cast or not?" said the youth gaily. "Whatever it be," replied the other, "he that comes under your hand shall not escape."
Then the Franklin, who had lost his two sons, blessed the conqueror, and jeeringly told the champion he had been taught how to play; who, liking nothing at that time passing well, pronounced Gamelin to be the master of them all and his play to be fatal. "Since first I wrestled (now yore ago) I never was so handled as to-day."
The young champion now stood alone in the place, fearless, and cried, "If there be any more, let them come to work; for my fellow here, judging by his countenance, does not seem desirous to go on." But not one answered the challenge when they beheld his rough handling. Two gentlemen, owners of the place, then came forward, and told him to put on his hose and shoes for that the fair was over. Yet Gamelin wished to continue, "For," said he, "I have not half sold my ware." "He is a fool who buys of you," replied the conquered champion, "for you sell your ware so dear." "Why do you want so much of his goods?" said the Franklin, "by St. James, you have bought them a great deal too cheap." Then the wardens came forth
and brought Gamelin the prize ram and the ring; and in the morning he set forwards to his home with joy and triumph.
His brother saw him coming with all the crowd, and ordered the porter to shut the gate and keep him outside. So when he arrived and found the door fastened, he told the fellow to open it and let in many a good man's son. The hireling, however, insolently refused, and swore he should not enter the yard. "You lie!" said Gamelin, and with that word he smote the wicket with his foot and broke away the bolt. When the porter saw it might be no better, he set foot to earth and fled away as fast as he could. But Gamelin was as light of foot as he, and having overtaken him, he girt him full upon the neck and broke the bone. Then with the same arm he took up the carcass and threw it into a deep well. The other servants in the yard made off, dreading his vengeance and the company he had brought with him.
Afterwards he threw wide open the gates and welcomed his attendants, saying, "We will be masters here, and ask no man's leave. It was but yesterday that I left in my brother's cellars five tuns of right good wine, and we will not part company while a sup remains. And if my brother grudge, or make us a foul cheer, I am the caterer, and for his grudging he shall have our holy lady's curse. He is but a niggard, and we will spend largely what he has hoarded. And whoever else here dares gainsay our will shall keep company with the porter." Seven days and seven nights Gamelin held his feast, and all the while his brother lay close in a little turret, seeing him waste his goods, and feared to speak.
Early on the morning of the eighth day the guests prepared to depart from their host, who grieved that they should go before the wine was spent; but they bade him farewell and went their way. All the while he was in possession of the store his brother thought how he could wreak upon him his treachery. So when the guests had left Gamelin stood alone and without a friend, and, shortly after, he was taken by surprise and bound. Then came the false knight from his hiding-place, and, drawing near to his brother, asked who made him so bold as to waste and destroy his store? "Brother," answered Gamelin, "spare your wrath, for many a day since the whole was purchased with my money. Fifteen ploughs of land have you had for full sixteen years; and of all the beasts you have bred, that my father bequeathed to me, I give you the profit for the meat and drink that we have now spent."
"Hearken, then, brother Gamelin," said the false knight, "what I will give you. Since I have no heir, I will make you the heir of my whole possession." The guileless youth, not suspecting his brother, yielded to his terms.
"One thing, then I must needs tell you," said he; "when you threw my porter into the well, I vowed in my wrath that you should be bound both hand and foot. Let me not, therefore, I beseech you, brother Gamelin, be forsworn, but consent to be confined only for the maintenance of my oath."
"You shall not be forsworn for me," replied the youth: so they bound him hand and foot, and the knight, knowing and fearing his strength, added great fetters to the bonds. They fastened him to a post in the hall, and the
knight told those who came in and looked upon him that he was mad.
"Now, by my head, brother," said Gamelin, "I see that you are a false one." And when he had remained there two days and two nights without food, he said at last to Adam le Dispenser, * "Adam, I have fasted over long; I beseech you, therefore, of the great love which my father bore you, if you can come by the keys, that you will release me from bondage, and I will divide my inheritance with you."
Adam Spenser answered him, "I have served your brother full sixteen years, and if I were to set you free he would afterwards account me a traitor."
"Adam," said Gamelin, "by my head, you shall prove my brother at the last to be right false. Loosen me, therefore, out of prison, and I will part with you my own free lands."
"Upon so good a promise," said he, "I will do all that in me lies."
"As you hold by me, I will maintain my covenant with you," said Gamelin.
Anon after this, when his lord had gone to bed, Adam took the keys and set him free. He loosed him hand and foot, hoping for the advancement that he had been promised.
"Heaven be praised," said Gamelin, "now am I at liberty. Had I but eaten and drank a meal, there is none in this house that should bind me to-night."
Then Adam took him hastily, and as still as a stone, to the store-room, and set him blithely at his supper. When
he had eaten well, and drunk well too of the red wine, "Adam," said he, "give me now your advice, shall I go and strike off my brother's head?"
"No," said the other, "I will give you counsel worth two of that. On Sunday we are to have a feasting of abbots and priors, and many other holy churchmen. You shall stand up by the post as before, bound hand and foot, and I will leave your fetters unlocked that you may cast them off at will. When they have finished eating, and washed their hands, you shall bespeak them all to release you from your bonds: and if they become your security, so much the better fare; you will be out of prison and I out of blame. But if each of them deny us, then do I swear to do another thing. You shall have a good staff, and I will have one too; and evil befall him who is untrue to the other."
"And if I fail on my side," said Gamelin, "evil attend me. So do you give me warning when to begin, and we will assoil them of their sins."
"When I wink at you," answered Adam, "look to be off; cast away your fetters and come straight to me."
"Bless your bones, Adam, but that is right good advice. Only let them refuse to free me from prison, and I will handsomely pound their loins."
The Sunday came, and all the folks sat down to the feast. As each passed in at the hall door, he cast an eye upon Gamelin; for they had been set against him by the foul slander of his brother, the knight. And when they had been served with two or three messes, the prisoner called aloud, "In what manner have I been provided? Is it well that I should sit here fasting, while others, in my own
home, are taking their fill and making glad?" Then the false knight told them all that he was a mad man. But Gamelin remained still and answered nothing, for he held all Adam's words in his thought. Some time after he dolefully implored the great lords, who were sitting there in hall, to help him out of his bondage, and one of the abbots answered, "Ill betide the man who shall become your pledge and release you from prison, and all worship wait upon him who shall meet you with sorrow." A second wished his head were off, although he were his own brother. A third—a prior—said that it was a great sorrow and care to have him alive.
"On, on!" said young Gamelin: "so is my petition broken; now have I found out that I have no friends in the world. May no good follow him who would bestow any upon abbots or priors."
Adam had now taken away the cloth, and watching his young master saw that his rage was running high; so thinking, at that time, little about the pantry, he brought two good stakes to the hall door, and looked the signal to Gamelin, who threw off his fetters and walked forth. Then Gamelin with Adam Spenser by his side came into the hall, and, looking fiercely round, both set to work. The one sprinkled the holy water with his good oak cudgel, and many a one bowed to the dispensation: some to the ground; others tumbled into the fire: abbot and prior, monk and canon, all that he overtook felt his supremacy; and not one of the hirelings the while, who waited in the hall, wished him anything but good; so they stood by and let the two work on, for none had pity on the churchmen. All who came within reach of Gamelin's
staff he otherthrew, and was quit of his debt. "Pay them good wages," said Adam, "for love of me; I will guard the door, and may I never hear mass again if any go out unassoiled."
"Doubt nothing," said Gamelin, "while we hold together; you keep well the door and I will work here."
"Do them everything but good," rejoined Adam, "for they are churchmen; draw no blood from them—save their crowns, but crack their arms and legs." So Gamelin and Adam played away upon the monks and made them all aghast; and they who had come riding there jollily were carried home again in carts and waggons. "Alas! alas! my lord abbot," said a grey friar, "what did we do here? We had better have been at home with our bread and water."
All this while the knight remained quite still, and made a dismal appearance. Then Gamelin up with his staff and by one blow on his neck upset him; and ended with laying him in the same fetters where he had been before. "Sit you there, my brother John," said he, "and cool your hot blood, as I did mine."
After they had well finished their task with their enemies, they asked for water to wash themselves; and all the servants yielded obedience, some for love and some for fear.
The sheriff, who lived about five miles off, was quickly told how Gamelin and Adam had bound and wounded many persons against the king's peace. Strife awoke at the outrage, and he was casting about to take the author of it when a score of bold young fellows came to the sheriff and gained his leave to bring them away by force.
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[paragraph continues] They started off at full speed, nor once rested till they arrived at the house; and when they knocked at the gate, the porter who served Gamelin with loving faithfulness looked slyly out of a hole at them for a little time and, dreading some treachery, kept the wicket fast and asked their will. One only of the company spoke, desiring that they should be let in. "Before I do that, I must know your errand," said the porter. "Then tell Adam and Gamelin that we would speak two or three words with them." "You stand quietly there, then," said the porter, "and I will go and know his will." He went to his master and warned him that his enemies were without. "The sheriff's men, sir," said he, "are now all at the gate to take you both; you cannot escape!" Gamelin answered him, "My good porter, as I may prosper you, I will allow your words when I see my time for it." Then turning to Adam, "Look to be gone—enemies are at the gate; the sheriff's men have come, and sworn together to take us." "Go forth briskly," said Adam, "and evil follow me if I leave you this day. We will so welcome these sheriff-fellows, that some of them, I guess, will make their beds in the fen."
So the two, with each a good sturdy quarterstaff in hand, went out of the postern gate and began laying about them; Adam felled his two, and Gamelin brought three to the ground; the rest set foot to earth and began to scour off. "Hollo!" said Adam, "stay and take a cup of wine with us." "No, no," said they, "we don't like your drink; it will lay a man's brains in his hood."
Then Gamelin stood still and, looking about him, saw the sheriff coming with a great crowd. "We must stay
here no longer," said he, "unless we would have ugly fare. It is better to be at liberty in the woods than bound in a town." So each took the other's hand, and drank a draught of wine together, and afterwards pursued their course. The sheriff came up and found the nest, but the birds had flown. So he alighted, and went into the hall, where the lord lay fettered, whom he released, and after sent for a surgeon to come and heal his wound. And here we will leave the false knight, lying in trouble, and look after Gamelin to see how he fares.
The outcast wandered, in silence, about the wild wood and Adam little liked the prospect before them, but thought it was a merrier thing to be a dispenser. "Now," said he, "would I much rather be handling my keys than walking up and down these woods and tearing my clothes."
"Do not be cast down, Adam," replied his friend, "many a good man's child is brought into trouble."
While they were talking in an under-breath, they heard voices near to them; and looking below the boughs, perceived full seven score young men, well clad, all seated at meat. "Now, cast aside all your doubts," said Gamelin; "help comes after sorrow, and, if I see right, there is good meat and drink." Adam looked under the bough, and was glad enough when he surely saw the fare, for sorely did he long after a good meal. Just at that moment, the master of the band noticed the two standing under the shaw, * and desired his men to go and bring them to him that he might inquire who they were. And quickly at the word seven started up from their
dinner and, coming near to the wanderers, claimed that they should yield their bows and arrows. "Sorrow be to them," said Gamelin, "who yield to you; though you may fetch five more, and then there will be twelve of you." They thought by his speech that he could trust in the strength of his arm; not one, therefore, came forth to make the trial, but all mildly entreated him to come before their master and tell his will. "Upon your loyalty, young man," said Gamelin to one of the company, "tell me who is your master?" All of them answered him sincerely, "Our master is the crowned king of the outlaws." Then said Gamelin to Adam, "Go we, in heaven's name; he cannot, for shame, refuse us meat and drink; and if he be courteous, and come of gentle blood, we shall fare well." "By St. James," answered Adam, "whatever harm I get I will adventure to the very door for some food."
So both went forth together and greeted the master of the band, who asked of them what they were seeking under the woody shaves. "He must needs walk the forest," said young Gamelin, "who dare not keep the town. Sir, we design no harm here, unless peradventure to shoot the deer we may meet, as men who are hungry, and have no food, and are hard bestead in the forest wilds." Then the master had pity on him for his words, and told the two to sit down and fare of the best.
While they were eating, it became known to one another that their new guest was young Gamelin. So the master was summoned to council, and the thing was told to him; whereupon the new outlaw was made master of the troop under their king.
Within the third week after this, tidings came to the
head master that he might return home, for that his peace was made; upon which young Gamelin was crowned King of the Outlaws in his place; and for a while he held sway under the woody shaws.
The false knight, his brother, was now created sheriff, and through hatred and revenge he issued out an indictment against him. Then were all the bondmen of the knight sorry that the hue and cry of "Wolf's Head" * should be proclaimed against their young lord, and they sent messengers to seek him in the wilds and inform him of the event; also that all his goods were forfeit and taken away and his hirelings scattered. "Alas!" said Gamelin, "that my hand was so slack as not to have broken his neck. Go, and tell all my friends, that as God shall have my life so will I be present at the next county meeting."
True to his appointment he came boldly into the hall, and courteously putting aside his hood, greeted the lords assembled; "But as for you, broken-back sheriff, evil be your portion! Why have you done that shame and villainy as to send forth against me the wolf's head hue and cry?" The other made no reply, but ordered him to be seized and thrown into prison, where he was heavily fettered.
Gamelin had a brother, named Sir Ote, a courteous and good man. A messenger came and informed him altogether how evilly the youngest of his mother's sons was used. The gentle knight was grieved at the news, and quickly saddling his horse came straight to his two brothers. "Sir," said he to the sheriff, "there be only
three of us, and you have imprisoned the best of all. Evil follow such a brother as you are!"
"Sir Ote," said the false knight, "spare your curses, for he shall only fare the worse for your big words. He has been legally taken to the king's gaol, and there he shall remain till the judge arrives."
"But," said the other, "it were better to bail him; I therefore require that you take my pledge for his deliverance at the next session, and then let Gamelin fairly stand his chance."
"Brother," said the knight, "I take your promise; and, by the soul of my father, if he be not ready to appear when the court is sitting, you shall endure the penalty of the sentence."
The two parties agreed to the terms proposed, when Gamelin was delivered to Sir Ote, and that night both dwelt together.
On the morrow Gamelin desired to go and see how his company fared in the woods. "Nay then," said Sir Ote, "I now see that all the care will fall on my own head, for if you be not found when the judge is sitting I shall be taken and shall suffer in your place." "Brother," said Gamelin, "be not afraid to trust me; for, by St. James, if God do but grant me life and wit, I will be ready in court when the judge arrives." "God shield you from shame, Gamelin, my brother," said the good knight, "come when you see the fit time, and bring us out of reproach." So the young outlaw went his way to the free woods, where he found all his young men, to whom he related how he had been bound; and they in return recounted to him their adventures during his thraldom. All the while that
[paragraph continues] Gamelin was an outlaw no man fared the worse for his deeds; no curse clave to him, except it were that of the abbots, priors, and all the fraternity of monks: with them, indeed, he left nought that could be reft away. So he and his jolly company carried on their game of free booty, and mirth grew rife among them; but at the same time, the false knight was plying every art to gain over the jury, that he might hang his brother.
At length, on a certain day, as Gamelin stood and surveyed the shadowy woods within the wild field, he thought upon Sir Ote, his good brother, how that he had promised him to be ready when the justice was seated, and that he would, without more delay, hold his word, and come up to judgment. He therefore told his young men to be prepared quickly, for that he must needs go, or his brother, who had become bail for him, would be thrown into prison. So he, and all his bold compeers, came away to the town, where they found that the false knight had basely suborned the jury to condemn whichever brother might be brought before them. "The court is seated, Adam," said Gamelin, "do you go in and see what process they make." He went, and soon returned, bringing word that he saw the space filled with great lords and stout, and his brother, Sir Ote, standing in the midst of the court, fettered. "God grant us success in our undertaking," said the young chieftain, "and he shall sorely abide who brought my brother to that pass." "Then," said Adam, "if you will follow my advice, there is not one in that hall who shall bear away his head." "Not so, Adam," answered his lord, "we will slay the guilty only, and let the rest go free. I will myself go into
the hall and hear the cause go on, and woe betide the doers of false judgment. Let none escape at the door, for I will be justice to-day and award the doom. Heaven speed me in this my new work! Adam, you shall come with me and be my clerk of the court." His men all promised to do their best, and be at hand should he need their help: "For we will stand by you so long as we may endure, and if we work not mainly pay us no wages." "As . ye abide by me, so shall you find me a trusty master," said Gamelin. So when the whole court were assembled, in he went, and boldly stood amongst them all.
First he unfettered his brother Sir Ote, who said, "Gamelin, you have stayed away almost too long, for the quest has gone out against me that I should be hanged."
"Brother," said Gamelin, "Heaven grant me success, but this good day they who have been upon your trial shall themselves suffer a felon's death; both they and the judge, together with our brother, for through him all this began."
Then said the youth to that false judge, "Arise, and void your place, your power is at an end: you have given an unjust doom; I, therefore, will take your place and set all right." But the judge kept his seat and would not arise for his words, when Gamelin with his sword clave his cheek bone, and after seizing him in his arms, without any more speech threw him over the bar and broke his worship's arm. No one dared say aught but good to Gamelin, for fear of the great company who stood without the doors. He then sat down in the judgment seat, Sir Ote was at his side, and Adam took his place at his footstool.
First he ordered the judge and his false brother to be
placed side by side at the bar; after which he made inquiry who were upon the quest to doom that his good brother should be hanged; and when they were pointed out he ordered them all to be fettered and placed also at the bar. Then, addressing himself to the unrighteous judge, he told him that he had passed a foul and unlawful sentence: "You and the twelve jurymen," said he, "shall certainly be hanged this day." The sheriff now began piteously to entreat his mercy, and to call to mind that he was his brother. "And, therefore," said Gamelin, "may evil dog your footsteps; had you been master still, I should have fared the worse."
To make short my tale, he ordained a jury of his own strong young fellows; and, at their sentence, the judge and sheriff, together with the twelve jurymen, were all hanged up and left to wave and dry in the wind.
Sir Ote was now the eldest, and Gamelin still young; so with their friends they went to court and made their peace with the king. The king loved Sir Ote well, and made him a justice of assize; and Gamelin he ordained head warden of all his free forests. The act of outlawry passed against his young men was repealed, and all were appointed to good offices about the court.
And so young Gamelin regained all his lands and quitted himself with his enemies. Sir Ote also made him his heir, and afterwards our hero married a good and fair wife, with whom he lived in bliss till he was gathered to mother earth.
HERE ENDS THE COOK'S TALE OF GAMELIN;
AND NEXT BEGINS
150:* Gadling—an idle vagabond. The brother calls him this name on account of its similarity to that of Gamelin, as well as through contempt.
154:* Turn, a sleight in wrestling.
157:* The dispenser was the steward of the store-room.
162:* Shaw: a shade of trees.
164:* This term evidently took its origin from the well-known proclamation of King Edgar, who, to clear the country of wolves, set a price upon every head that should be brought into the hundred or tithing court.