Sacred Texts  Legends and Sagas  Index  BOOK III  Previous  Next 


How Sir Gawaine rode for to fetch again the hart, and how
two brethren fought each against other for the hart.

SIR GAWAINE rode more than a pace, and Gaheris his brother that
rode with him instead of a squire to do him service.  So as they
rode they saw two knights fight on horseback passing sore, so Sir
Gawaine and his brother rode betwixt them, and asked them for
what cause they fought so.  The one knight answered and said, We
fight <86>for a simple matter, for we two be two brethren born
and begotten of one man and of one woman.  Alas, said Sir
Gawaine, why do ye so?  Sir, said the elder, there came a white
hart this way this day, and many hounds chased him, and a white
brachet was alway next him, and we understood it was adventure
made for the high feast of King Arthur, and therefore I would
have gone after to have won me worship; and here my younger
brother said he would go after the hart, for he was better knight
than I: and for this cause we fell at debate, and so we thought
to prove which of us both was better knight.  This is a simple
cause, said Sir Gawaine; uncouth men ye should
debate withal, and not brother with brother; therefore but if you
will do by my counsel I will have ado with you, that is ye shall
yield you unto me, and that ye go unto King Arthur and yield you
unto his grace.  Sir knight, said the two brethren, we are
forfoughten and much blood have we lost through our wilfulness,
and therefore we would be loath to have ado with you.  Then do as
I will have you, said Sir Gawaine.  We will agree to fulfil your
will; but by whom shall we say that we be thither sent?  Ye may
say, By the knight that followeth the quest of the hart that was
white.  Now what is your name? said Gawaine.  Sorlouse of the
Forest, said the elder.  And my name is, said the younger, Brian
of the Forest.  And so they departed and went to the king's
court, and Sir Gawaine on his quest.

And as Gawaine followed the hart by the cry of the hounds, even
afore him there was a great river, and the hart swam over; and as
Sir Gawaine would follow after, there stood a knight over the
other side, and said, Sir knight, come not over after this hart
but if thou wilt joust with me.  I will not fail as for that,
said Sir Gawaine, to follow the quest that I am in, and so made
his horse to swim over the water.  And anon they gat their spears
and ran together full hard; but Sir Gawaine smote him off his
horse, and then he turned his horse and bade him yield him.  Nay,
said the knight, not so, though thou have the better of me on
horseback.  I pray thee, valiant <87>knight, alight afoot, and
match we together with swords.  What is your name? said Sir
Gawaine.  Allardin of the Isles, said the other.  Then either
dressed their shields and smote together, but Sir Gawaine smote
him so hard through the helm that it went to the brains, and the
knight fell down dead.  Ah! said Gaheris, that was a mighty
stroke of a young knight.