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How Beaumains fought with the Knight of the Black Launds,
and fought with him till he fell down and died.

THERE sat a knight all armed in black harness, and his name was
the Knight of the Black Laund.  Then the damosel, when she saw
that knight, she bade him flee down that valley, for his horse
was not saddled.  Gramercy, said Beaumains, for always ye would
have me a coward.  With that the Black Knight, when she came nigh
him, spake and said, Damosel, have ye brought this knight of King
Arthur to be your champion?  Nay, fair knight, said she, this is
but a kitchen knave that was fed in King Arthur's kitchen for
alms.  Why cometh he, said the knight, in such array? it is shame
that he beareth you company.  Sir, I cannot be delivered of him,
said she, for with me he rideth maugre mine head:  God would that
ye should put him from me, other to slay him an ye may, for he is
an unhappy knave, and unhappily he hath done this day: through
mishap I saw him slay two knights at the passage of the water;
and other deeds he did before right marvellous and through
unhappiness.  That marvelleth me, said the Black Knight, that any
man that is of worship will have ado with him.  They know him
not, said the damosel, and for because he rideth with me, they
ween that he be some man of worship born.  That may be, said the
Black Knight; howbeit as ye say that he be no man of worship, he
is a full likely person, and full like to be a strong man: but
thus much shall I grant you, said the Black Knight; I shall put
him down upon one foot, and his horse and his harness he shall
leave with me, for it were shame to me to do him any more harm.

When Sir Beaumains heard him say thus, he said, Sir knight, thou
art full large of my horse and my harness; I let thee wit it cost
thee nought, and whether it liketh thee or not, this laund will I
pass maugre thine head.  <220>And horse nor harness gettest thou
none of mine, but if thou win them with thy hands; and therefore
let see what thou canst do.  Sayest thou that? said the Black
Knight, now yield thy lady from thee, for it beseemeth never a
kitchen page to ride with such a lady.  Thou liest, said
Beaumains, I am a gentleman born, and of more high lineage than
thou, and that will I prove on thy body.

Then in great wrath they departed with their horses, and came
together as it had been the thunder, and the Black Knight's spear
brake, and Beaumains thrust him through both his sides, and
therewith his spear brake, and the truncheon left still in his
side.  But nevertheless the Black Knight drew his sword, and
smote many eager strokes, and of great might, and hurt Beaumains
full sore.  But at the last the Black Knight, within an hour and
an half, he fell down off his horse in swoon, and there he died. 
And when Beaumains saw him so well horsed and armed, then he
alighted down and armed him in his armour, and so took his horse
and rode after the damosel.

When she saw him come nigh, she said, Away, kitchen knave, out of
the wind, for the smell of thy bawdy clothes grieveth me.  Alas,
she said, that ever such a knave should by mishap slay so good a
knight as thou hast done, but all this is thine unhappiness.  But
here by is one shall pay thee all thy payment, and therefore yet
I counsel thee, flee.  It may happen me, said Beaumains, to be
beaten or slain, but I warn you, fair damosel, I will not flee
away, a nor leave your company, for all that ye can say; for ever
ye say that they will kill me or beat me, but howsomever it
happeneth I escape, and they lie on the ground.  And therefore it
were as good for you to hold you still thus all day rebuking me,
for away will I not till I see the uttermost of this journey, or
else I will be slain, other truly beaten; therefore ride on your
way, for follow you I will whatsomever happen.