Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK IX CHAPTER III
Legends and Sagas
How La Cote Male Taile overthrew Sir Dagonet the king's
fool, and of the rebuke that he had of the damosel.
THEN Sir Kay ordained Sir Dagonet, King Arthur's fool, to follow
after La Cote Male Taile; and there Sir Kay ordained that Sir
Dagonet was horsed and armed, and bade him follow La Cote Male
Taile and proffer him to joust, and so he did; and when he saw La
Cote Male Taile, he cried and bade him make him ready to joust.
So Sir La Cote Male Taile smote Sir Dagonet over his horse's
croup. Then the damosel mocked La Cote Male Taile, and said:
<355>Fie for shame! now art thou shamed in Arthur's court, when
they send a fool to have ado with thee, and specially at thy
first jousts; thus she rode long, and chid. And within a while
there came Sir Bleoberis, the good knight, and there he jousted
with La Cote Male Taile, and there Sir Bleoberis smote him so
sore, that horse and all fell to the earth. Then La Cote Male
Taile arose up lightly, and dressed his shield, and drew his
sword, and would have done battle to the utterance, for he was
wood wroth. Not so, said Sir Bleoberis de Ganis, as at this time
I will not fight upon foot. Then the damosel Maledisant rebuked
him in the foulest manner, and bade him: Turn again, coward.
Ah, damosel, he said, I pray you of mercy to missay me no more,
my grief is enough though ye give me no more; I call myself never
the worse knight when a mare's son faileth me, and also I count
me never the worse knight for a fall of Sir Bleoberis.
So thus he rode with her two days; and by fortune there came Sir
Palomides and encountered with him, and he in the same wise
served him as did Bleoberis to-forehand. What dost thou here in
my fellowship? said the damosel Maledisant, thou canst not sit no
knight, nor withstand him one buffet, but if it were Sir Dagonet.
Ah, fair damosel, I am not the worse to take a fall of Sir
Palomides, and yet great disworship have I none, for neither
Bleoberis nor yet Palomides would not fight with me on foot. As
for that, said the damosel, wit thou well they have disdain and
scorn to light off their horses to fight with such a lewd knight
as thou art. So in the meanwhile there came Sir Mordred, Sir
Gawaine's brother, and so he fell in the fellowship with the
damosel Maledisant. And then they came afore the Castle
Orgulous, and there was such a custom that there might no knight
come by that castle but either he must joust or be prisoner, or
at the least to lose his horse and his harness. And there came
out two knights against them, and Sir Mordred jousted with the
foremost, and that knight of the castle smote Sir Mordred down
off his horse. And then La Cote Male Taile jousted with that
other, and either of them <356>smote other down, horse and all,
to the earth. And when they avoided their horses, then either of
them took other's horses. And then La Cote Male Taile rode unto
that knight that smote down Sir Mordred, and jousted with him.
And there Sir La Cote Male Taile hurt and wounded him passing
sore, and put him from his horse as he had been dead. So he
turned unto him that met him afore, and he took the flight
towards the castle, and Sir La Cote Male Taile rode after him
into the Castle Orgulous, and there La Cote Male Taile slew him.