Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK VII CHAPTER I

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How Beaumains came to King Arthur's Court and
demanded three petitions of King Arthur.

WHEN Arthur held his Round Table most plenour, it fortuned that
he commanded that the high feast of Pentecost should be holden at
a city and a castle, the which in those days was called Kynke
Kenadonne, upon the sands that marched nigh Wales.  So ever the
king had a custom that at the feast of Pentecost in especial,
afore other feasts in the year, he would not go that day to meat
until he had heard or seen of a great marvel.  And for that
custom all manner of strange adventures came before Arthur as at
that feast before all other feasts.  And so Sir Gawaine, a little
to-fore noon of the day of Pentecost, espied at a window three
men upon horseback, and a dwarf on foot, and so the three men
alighted, and the dwarf kept their horses, and one of the three
men was higher than the other twain by a foot and an half.  Then
Sir Gawaine went unto the king and said, Sir, go to your meat,
for here at the hand come strange adventures.  So Arthur went
unto his meat with many other kings.  And there were all the
knights of the Round Table, [save] only those that were prisoners
or slain at a recounter.  Then at the high feast evermore they
should be fulfilled the whole number of an hundred and fifty, for
then was the Round Table fully complished.

Right so came into the hall two men well beseen and <210>richly,
and upon their shoulders there leaned the goodliest young man and
the fairest that ever they all saw, and he was large and long,
and broad in the shoulders, and well visaged, and the fairest and
the largest handed that ever man saw, but he fared as though he
might not go nor bear himself but if he leaned upon their
shoulders.  Anon as Arthur saw him there was made peace and room,
and right so they yede with him unto the high dais, without
saying of any words.  Then this much young man pulled him aback,
and easily stretched up straight, saying, King Arthur, God you
bless and all your fair fellowship, and in especial the
fellowship of the Table Round.  And for this cause I am come
hither, to pray you and require you to give me three gifts, and
they shall not be unreasonably asked, but that ye may
worshipfully and honourably grant them me, and to you no great
hurt nor loss.  And the first don and gift I will ask now, and
the other two gifts I will ask this day twelvemonth, wheresomever
ye hold your high feast.  Now ask, said Arthur, and ye shall have
your asking.

Now, sir, this is my petition for this feast, that ye will give
me meat and drink sufficiently for this twelvemonth, and at that
day I will ask mine other two gifts.

My fair son, said Arthur, ask better, I counsel thee, for this is
but a simple asking; for my heart giveth me to thee greatly, that
thou art come of men of worship, and greatly my conceit faileth
me but thou shalt prove a man of right great worship.  Sir, he
said, thereof be as it be may, I have asked that I will ask. 
Well, said the king, ye shall have meat and drink enough; I never
defended that none, neither my friend nor my foe.  But what is
thy name I would wit?  I cannot tell you, said he.  That is
marvel, said the king, that thou knowest not thy name, and thou
art the goodliest young man that ever I saw.  Then the king
betook him to Sir Kay the steward, and charged him that he should
give him of all manner of meats and drinks of the best, and also
that he had all manner of finding as though he were a lord's son. 
That shall little need, said Sir Kay, to do such cost upon him;
<211>for I dare undertake he is a villain born, and never will
make man, for an he had come of gentlemen he would have asked of
you horse and armour, but such as he is, so he asketh.  And
sithen he hath no name, I shall give him a name that shall be
Beaumains, that is Fair-hands, and into the kitchen I shall bring
him, and there he shall have fat brose every day, that he shall
be as fat by the twelvemonths' end as a pork hog.  Right so the
two men departed and beleft him to Sir Kay, that scorned him and
mocked him.