Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK VII CHAPTER V

Sacred Texts  Legends and Sagas  Index  BOOK VII  Previous  Next 


How Beaumains told to Sir Launcelot his name, and how he
was dubbed knight of Sir Launcelot, and after overtook
the damosel.

IN God's name, said Sir Launcelot, for I promise you, by the
faith of my body, I had as much to do as I might to save myself
from you unshamed, and therefore have ye no doubt of none earthly
knight.  Hope ye so that I may any while stand a proved knight?
said Beaumains.  Yea, said Launcelot, do as ye have done, and I
shall be your warrant.  Then, I pray you, said Beaumains, give me
the order of knighthood.  Then must ye tell me your name, said
Launcelot, and of what kin ye be born.  Sir, so that ye will not
discover me I shall, said Beaumains.  Nay, said Sir Launcelot,
and that I promise you by the faith of my body, until it be
openly known.  Then, sir, he said, my name is Gareth, and brother
unto Sir Gawaine of father and mother.  Ah, sir, said Sir
Launcelot, I am more gladder of you than I was; for ever me
thought ye should be of great blood, and that ye came not to the
court neither for meat nor for drink.  And then Sir Launcelot
gave him the order of knighthood, and then Sir Gareth prayed him
for to depart and let him go.

So Sir Launcelot departed from him and came to Sir Kay, and made
him to be borne home upon his shield, and so he was healed hard
with the life; and all men scorned <216>Sir Kay, and in especial
Sir Gawaine and Sir Launcelot said it was not his part to rebuke
no young man, for full little knew he of what birth he is come,
and for what cause he came to this court; and so we leave Sir Kay
and turn we unto Beaumains.

When he had overtaken the damosel, anon she said, What dost thou
here? thou stinkest all of the kitchen, thy clothes be bawdy of
the grease and tallow that thou gainest in King Arthur's kitchen;
weenest thou, said she, that I allow thee, for yonder knight that
thou killest.  Nay truly, for thou slewest him unhappily and
cowardly; therefore turn again, bawdy kitchen page, I know thee
well, for Sir Kay named thee Beaumains.  What art thou but a lusk
and a turner of broaches and a ladle-washer?  Damosel, said
Beaumains, say to me what ye will, I will not go from you
whatsomever ye say, for I have undertaken to King Arthur for to
achieve your adventure, and so shall I finish it to the end,
either I shall die therefore.  Fie on thee, kitchen knave, wilt
thou finish mine adventure? thou shalt anon be met withal, that
thou wouldest not for all the broth that ever thou suppest once
look him in the face.  I shall assay, said Beaumains.

So thus as they rode in the wood, there came a man flying all
that ever he might.  Whither wilt thou? said Beaumains.  O lord,
he said, help me, for here by in a slade are six thieves that
have taken my lord and bound him, so I am afeard lest they will
slay him.  Bring me thither, said Beaumains.  And so they rode
together until they came thereas was the knight bounden; and then
he rode unto them, and struck one unto the death, and then
another, and at the third stroke he slew the third thief, and
then the other three fled.  And he rode after them, and he
overtook them; and then those three thieves turned again and
assailed Beaumains hard, but at the last he slew them, and
returned and unbound the knight.  And the knight thanked him, and
prayed him to ride with him to his castle there a little beside,
and he should worshipfully reward him for his good deeds.  Sir,
said Beaumains, I will no reward have: I was this day made knight
of noble Sir <217>Launcelot, and therefore I will no reward have,
but God reward me.  And also I must follow this damosel.

And when he came nigh her she bade him ride from her, For thou
smellest all of the kitchen: weenest thou that I have joy of
thee, for all this deed that thou hast done is but mishapped
thee: but thou shalt see a sight shall make thee turn again, and
that lightly.  Then the same knight which was rescued of the
thieves rode after that damosel, and prayed her to lodge with him
all that night.  And because it was near night the damosel rode
with him to his castle, and there they had great cheer, and at
supper the knight sat Sir Beaumains afore the damosel.  Fie, fie,
said she, Sir knight, ye are uncourteous to set a kitchen page
afore me; him beseemeth better to stick a swine than to sit afore
a damosel of high parage.  Then the knight was ashamed at her
words, and took him up, and set him at a sideboard, and set
himself afore him, and so all that night they had good cheer and
merry rest.