Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK III CHAPTER V

Sacred Texts  Legends and Sagas  Index  BOOK III  Previous  Next 


How at feast of the wedding of King Arthur to Guenever,
a white hart came into the hall, and thirty couple
hounds, and how a brachet pinched the hart which
was taken away.

THEN was the high feast made ready, and the king was wedded at
Camelot unto Dame Guenever in the church of Saint Stephen's, with
great solemnity.  And as every man was set after his degree,
Merlin went to all the knights of the Round Table, and bade them
sit still, that none of them remove.  For ye shall see a strange
and a marvellous adventure.  Right so as they sat there came
running in a white hart into the hall, and a white brachet next
him, and thirty couple of black running hounds came after with a
great cry, and the hart went about the Table Round as he went by
other boards.  The white brachet bit him by the buttock and
pulled out a piece, wherethrough the hart leapt a great leap and
overthrew a knight that sat at the <85>board side; and therewith
the knight arose and took up the brachet, and so went forth out
of the hall, and took his horse and rode his way with the
brachet.  Right so anon came in a lady on a white palfrey, and
cried aloud to King Arthur, Sir, suffer me not to have this
despite, for the brachet was mine that the knight led away.  I
may not do therewith, said the king.

With this there came a knight riding all armed on a great horse,
and took the lady away with him with force, and ever she cried
and made great dole.  When she was gone the king was glad, for
she made such a noise.  Nay, said Merlin, ye may not leave these
adventures so lightly; for these adventures must be brought again
or else it would be disworship to you and to your feast.  I will,
said the king, that all be done by your advice.  Then, said
Merlin, let call Sir Gawaine, for he must bring again the white
hart.  Also, sir, ye must let call Sir Tor, for he must bring
again the brachet and the knight, or else slay him.  Also let
call King Pellinore, for he must bring again the lady and the
knight, or else slay him.  And these three knights shall do
marvellous adventures or they come again.  Then were they called
all three as it rehearseth afore, and each of them took his
charge, and armed them surely.  But Sir Gawaine had the first
request, and therefore we will begin at him.