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How Galahad gat him a shield, and how they sped that
presumed to take down the said shield.

NOW rideth Sir Galahad yet without shield, and so he
rode four days without any adventure.  And at the
fourth day after evensong he came to a White Abbey, and
there he was received with great reverence, and led unto
a chamber, and there was he unarmed; and then was he
ware of two[1] knights of the Table Round, one was Sir
Bagdemagus, and[1] that[1] other[1] was Sir Uwaine.  And when
they saw him they went unto Galahad and made of him
great solace, and so they went unto supper.  Sirs, said Sir
Galahad, what adventure brought you hither?  Sir, said
they, it is told us that within this place is a shield that
no man may bear about his neck but he be mischieved
outher dead within three days, or maimed for ever.  Ah
sir, said King Bagdemagus, I shall it bear to-morrow for
to assay this adventure.  In the name of God, said Sir
Galahad.  Sir, said Bagdemagus, an I may not enchieve
the adventure of this shield ye shall take it upon you,
for I am sure ye shall not fail.  Sir, said Galahad, I right
well agree me thereto, for I have no shield.  So on the
morn they arose and heard mass.  Then Bagdemagus
asked where the adventurous shield was.  Anon a monk
led him behind an altar where the shield hung as white as
any snow, but in the midst was a red cross.  Sir, said the
monk, this shield ought not to be hanged about no
knight's neck but he be the worthiest knight of the world;

[1] Omitted by Caxton, supplied from W. de Worde.

therefore I counsel you knights to be well advised.  Well,
said Bagdemagus, I wot well that I am not the best knight
of the world, but yet I shall assay to bear it, and so bare
it out of the minster.  And then he said unto Galahad:
An it please you abide here still, till ye wit how that I
speed.  I shall abide you, said Galahad.  Then King
Bagdemagus took with him a good squire, to bring tidings
unto Sir Galahad how he sped.

Then when they had ridden a two mile and came
to a fair valley afore an hermitage, then they saw a
knight come from that part in white armour, horse and
all; and he came as fast as his horse might run, and his
spear in his rest, and Bagdemagus dressed his spear
against him and brake it upon the white knight.  But the
other struck him so hard that he brast the mails, and
sheef him through the right shoulder, for the shield
covered him not as at that time; and so he bare him from
his horse.  And therewith he alighted and took the white
shield from him, saying:  Knight, thou hast done thyself
great folly, for this shield ought not to be borne but by
him that shall have no peer that liveth.  And then he
came to Bagdemagus' squire and said:  Bear this shield
unto the good knight Sir Galahad, that thou left in the
abbey, and greet him well by me.  Sir, said the squire,
what is your name?  Take thou no heed of my name,
said the knight, for it is not for thee to know nor
for none earthly man.  Now, fair sir, said the squire, at
the reverence of Jesu Christ, tell me for what cause this
shield may not be borne but if the bearer thereof be
mischieved.  Now sith thou hast conjured me so, said the
knight, this shield behoveth unto no man but unto Galahad.
And the squire went unto Bagdemagus and asked whether
he were sore wounded or not.  Yea forsooth, said he, I
shall escape hard from the death.  Then he fetched his
horse, and brought him with great pain unto an abbey.
Then was he taken down softly and unarmed, and laid in a
bed, and there was looked to his wounds.  And as the book
telleth, he lay there long, and escaped hard with the life.