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How Sir Gareth fought with a knight that held within his
castle thirty ladies, and how he slew him.

SO when they saw that they might not overcome him, they rode from
him, and took their counsel to slay his horse; and so they came
in upon Sir Gareth, and with spears they slew his horse, and then
they assailed him hard.  But when he was on foot, there was none
that he fought but he gave him such a buffet that he did never
recover.  So he slew them by one and one till they were but four,
and there they fled; and Sir Gareth took a good horse that was
one of theirs, and rode his way.

Then he rode a great pace till that he came to a castle, and
there he heard much mourning of ladies and gentlewomen.  So there
came by him a page.  What noise is this, said Sir Gareth, that I
hear within this castle?  Sir knight, said the page, here be
within this castle thirty ladies, and all they be widows; for
here is a knight that waiteth daily upon this castle, and his
name is the Brown Knight without Pity, and he is the periloust
knight that now liveth; and therefore sir, said the page, I rede
you flee.  Nay, said Sir Gareth, I will not flee though thou be
afeard of him.  And then the page saw where came the Brown
Knight:  Lo, said the page, yonder he cometh.  Let me deal with
him, said Sir Gareth.  And when either of other had a sight they
let their horses run, and the Brown Knight brake his spear, and
Sir Gareth smote him throughout the body, that he overthrew him
to the ground stark dead.  So Sir Gareth rode into the castle,
and prayed the ladies that he might repose him.  Alas, said the
ladies, <270>ye may not be lodged here.  Make him good cheer,
said the page, for this knight hath slain your enemy.  Then they
all made him good cheer as lay in their power.  But wit ye well
they made him good cheer, for they might none otherwise do, for
they were but poor.

And so on the morn he went to mass, and there he saw the thirty
ladies kneel, and lay grovelling upon divers tombs, making great
dole and sorrow.  Then Sir Gareth wist well that in the tombs lay
their lords.  Fair ladies, said Sir Gareth, ye must at the next
feast of Pentecost be at the court of King Arthur, and say that
I, Sir Gareth, sent you thither.  We shall do this, said the
ladies.  So he departed, and by fortune he came to a mountain,
and there he found a goodly knight that bade him, Abide sir
knight, and joust with me.  What are ye? said Sir Gareth.  My
name is, said he, the Duke de la Rowse.  Ah sir, ye are the same
knight that I lodged once in your castle; and there I made
promise unto your lady that I should yield me unto you.  Ah, said
the duke, art thou that proud knight that profferest to fight
with my knights; therefore make thee ready, for I will have ado
with you.  So they let their horses run, and there Sir Gareth
smote the duke down from his horse.  But the duke lightly avoided
his horse, and dressed his shield and drew his sword, and bade
Sir Gareth alight and fight with him.  So he did alight, and they
did great battle together more than an hour, and either hurt
other full sore.  At the last Sir Gareth gat the duke to the
earth, and would have slain him, and then he yield him to him. 
Then must ye go, said Sir Gareth, unto Sir Arthur my lord at the
next feast, and say that I, Sir Gareth of Orkney, sent you unto
him.  It shall be done, said the duke, and I will do to you
homage and fealty with an hundred knights with me; and all the
days of my life to do you service where ye will command me.