Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK IX CHAPTER XLIV
Legends and Sagas
How Sir Tristram at a tournament bare the shield that
Morgan le Fay delivered to him.
THEN the King of Scots and the King of Ireland held against King
Arthur's knights, and there began a great medley. So came in Sir
Tristram and did marvellous deeds of arms, for there he smote
down many knights. And ever he was afore King Arthur with that
shield. And when King Arthur saw that shield he marvelled
greatly in what intent it was made; but Queen Guenever deemed as
it was, wherefore she was heavy. Then was there a damosel of
Queen Morgan in a chamber by King Arthur, and when she heard King
Arthur speak of that shield, then she spake openly unto King
Arthur. Sir King, wit ye well this shield was ordained for you,
to warn you of your shame and dishonour, and that longeth to you
and your queen. And then anon that damosel picked her away
privily, that no man wist where she was become. Then was King
Arthur sad and wroth, and asked from whence came that damosel.
There was not one that knew her nor wist where she was become.
Then Queen Guenever called to her Sir Ector de Maris, and there
she made her complaint to him, and said: I wot well this
<432>shield was made by Morgan le Fay in despite of me and of Sir
Launcelot, wherefore I dread me sore lest I should be destroyed.
And ever the king beheld Sir Tristram, that did so marvellous
deeds of arms that he wondered sore what knight he might be, and
well he wist it was not Sir Launcelot. And it was told him that
Sir Tristram was in Petit Britain with Isoud la Blanche Mains,
for he deemed, an he had been in the realm of Logris, Sir
Launcelot or some of his fellows that were in the quest of Sir
Tristram that they should have found him or that time. So King
Arthur had marvel what knight he might be. And ever Sir Arthur's
eye was on that shield. All that espied the queen, and that made
her sore afeard.
Then ever Sir Tristram smote down knights wonderly to behold,
what upon the right hand and upon the left hand, that unnethe no
knight might withstand him. And the King of Scots and the King
of Ireland began to withdraw them. When Arthur espied that, he
thought that that knight with the strange shield should not
escape him. Then he called unto him Sir Uwaine le Blanche Mains,
and bade him arm him and make him ready. So anon King Arthur and
Sir Uwaine dressed them before Sir Tristram, and required him to
tell them where he had that shield. Sir, he said, I had it of
Queen Morgan le Fay, sister unto King Arthur.
So here endeth this history of this book, for it is the first
book of Sir Tristram de Liones and the second book
of Sir Tristram followeth.