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How Sir Launcelot met with the damosel named Male
disant, and named her the Damosel Bienpensant.

SO then they took their horses and rode forth a pace after Sir
Launcelot.  And within two mile they overtook him, and saluted
him, and thanked him, and the damosel cried Sir Launcelot mercy
of her evil deed and saying:  For now I know the flower of all
knighthood is departed even between Sir Tristram and you.  For
God knoweth, said the damosel, that I have sought you my lord,
Sir Launcelot, and Sir Tristram long, and now I thank God I have
met with you; and once at Camelot I met with Sir Tristram, and
there he rescued this black shield with the white hand holding a
naked sword that Sir Breuse Saunce Pite had taken from me.  Now,
fair damosel, said Sir Launcelot, who told you my name?  Sir,
said she, there came a damosel from a knight that ye fought
withal at the bridge, and she told me your name was Sir Launcelot
du Lake.  Blame have she then, said Sir Launcelot, but her lord,
Sir Nerovens, hath told her.  But, damosel, said Sir Launcelot,
upon this covenant I will ride with you, so that ye will not
rebuke this knight Sir La Cote Male Taile no more; for he is a
good knight, and I doubt not he shall prove a noble knight, and
for his sake and pity that he should not be destroyed I followed
him to succour him in this great need.  Ah, Jesu thank you, said
the damosel, for now I will say unto you and to him both, I
rebuked him never for no hate that I hated him, but for great
<363>love that I had to him.  For ever I supposed that he had
been too young and too tender to take upon him these adventures. 
And therefore by my will I would have driven him away for
jealousy that I had of his life, for it may be no young knight's
deed that shall enchieve this adventure to the end.  Pardieu,
said Sir Launcelot, it is well said, and where ye are called the
Damosel Maledisant I will call you the Damosel Bienpensant.

And so they rode forth a great while unto they came to the border
of the country of Surluse, and there they found a fair village
with a strong bridge like a fortress.  And when Sir Launcelot and
they were at the bridge there stert forth afore them of gentlemen
and yeomen many, that said:  Fair lords, ye may not pass this
bridge and this fortress because of that black shield that I see
one of you bear, and therefore there shall not pass but one of
you at once; therefore choose you which of you shall enter within
this bridge first.  Then Sir Launcelot proffered himself first to
enter within this bridge.  Sir, said La Cote Male Taile, I
beseech you let me enter within this fortress, and if I may speed
well I will send for you, and if it happened that I be slain,
there it goeth.  And if so be that I am a prisoner taken, then
may ye rescue me.  I am loath, said Sir Launcelot, to let you
pass this passage.  Sir, said La Cote Male Taile, I pray you let
me put my body in this adventure.  Now go your way, said Sir
Launcelot, and Jesu be your speed.

So he entered, and anon there met with him two brethren, the one
hight Sir Plaine de Force, and the other hight Sir Plaine de
Amours.  And anon they met with Sir La Cote Male Taile; and first
La Cote Male Taile smote down Plaine de Force, and after he smote
down Plaine de Amours; and then they dressed them to their
shields and swords, and bade La Cote Male Taile alight, and so he
did; and there was dashing and foining with swords, and so they
began to assail full hard La Cote Male Taile, and many great
wounds they gave him upon his head, and upon his breast, and upon
his shoulders.  And as he might ever among he gave sad strokes
again.  <364>And then the two brethren traced and traversed for
to be of both hands of Sir La Cote Male Taile, but he by fine
force and knightly prowess gat them afore him.  And then when he
felt himself so wounded, then he doubled his strokes, and gave
them so many wounds that he felled them to the earth, and would
have slain them had they not yielded them.  And right so Sir La
Cote Male Taile took the best horse that there was of them three,
and so rode forth his way to the other fortress and bridge; and
there he met with the third brother whose name was Sir Plenorius,
a full noble knight, and there they jousted together, and either
smote other down, horse and man, to the earth.  And then they
avoided their horses, and dressed their shields, and drew their
swords, and gave many sad strokes, and one while the one knight
was afore on the bridge, and another while the other.  And thus
they fought two hours and more, and never rested.  And ever Sir
Launcelot and the damosel beheld them.  Alas, said the damosel,
my knight fighteth passing sore and over long.  Now may ye see,
said Sir Launcelot, that he is a noble knight, for to consider
his first battle, and his grievous wounds; and even forthwithal
so wounded as he is, it is marvel that he may endure this long
battle with that good knight.