Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK XIV CHAPTER V

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How a yeoman desired him to get again an horse, and how
Sir Percivale's hackney was slain, and how he gat an

AND anon the yeoman came pricking after as fast as ever
he might, and asked Sir Percivale if he saw any knight
riding on his black steed.  Yea, sir, forsooth, said he;
why, sir, ask ye me that?  Ah, sir, that steed he hath
benome me with strength; wherefore my lord will slay
me in what place he findeth me.  Well, said Sir Percivale,
what wouldst thou that I did?  Thou seest well that I am
on foot, but an I had a good horse I should bring him
soon again.  Sir, said the yeoman, take mine hackney and
do the best ye can, and I shall sewe you on foot to wit
how that ye shall speed.  Then Sir Percivale alighted
upon that hackney, and rode as fast as he might, and at
the last he saw that knight.  And then he cried:  Knight,
turn again; and he turned and set his spear against Sir
Percivale, and he smote the hackney in the midst of the
breast that he fell down dead to the earth, and there he
had a great fall, and the other rode his way.  And then
Sir Percivale was wood wroth, and cried:  Abide, wicked
knight; coward and false-hearted knight, turn again and
fight with me on foot.  But he answered not, but passed
on his way.

When Sir Percivale saw he would not turn he cast
away his helm and sword, and said:  Now am I a very
wretch, cursed and most unhappy above all other knights.
So in this sorrow he abode all that day till it was night;
and then he was faint, and laid him down and slept till it
was midnight; and then he awaked and saw afore him a
woman which said unto him right fiercely:  Sir Percivale,
what dost thou here?  He answered, I do neither good
nor great ill.  If thou wilt ensure me, said she, that thou
wilt fulfil my will when I summon thee, I shall lend thee
mine own horse which shall bear thee whither thou wilt.
Sir Percivale was glad of her proffer, and ensured her to
fulfil all her desire.  Then abide me here, and I shall go
and fetch you an horse.  And so she came soon again
and brought an horse with her that was inly black.  When
Percivale beheld that horse he marvelled that it was so
great and so well apparelled; and not for then he was so
hardy, and he leapt upon him, and took none heed of
himself.  And so anon as he was upon him he thrust to
him with his spurs, and so he rode by a forest, and the
moon shone clear.  And within an hour and less he bare
him four days' journey thence, until he came to a rough
water the which roared, and his horse would have borne
him into it.