Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK XV CHAPTER I

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How Sir Launcelot came to a chapel, where he found dead,
in a white shirt, a man of religion, of an hundred
winter old.

WHEN the hermit had kept Sir Launcelot three days, the
hermit gat him an horse, an helm, and a sword.  And then
he departed about the hour of noon.  And then he saw a
little house.  And when he came near he saw a chapel, and
there beside he saw an old man that was clothed all in
white full richly; and then Sir Launcelot said:  God save
you.  God keep you, said the good man, and make you a
good knight.  Then Sir Launcelot alighted and entered
into the chapel, and there he saw an old man dead, in a
white shirt of passing fine cloth.

Sir, said the good man, this man that is dead ought not
to be in such clothing as ye see him in, for in that he
brake the oath of his order, for he hath been more than an
hundred winter a man of a religion.  And then the good
man and Sir Launcelot went into the chapel; and the
good man took a stole about his neck, and a book, and
then he conjured on that book; and with that they saw in
an hideous figure and horrible, that there was no man so
hard-hearted nor so hard but he should have been afeard.
Then said the fiend:  Thou hast travailed me greatly;
now tell me what thou wilt with me.  I will, said the good
man, that thou tell me how my fellow became dead, and
whether he be saved or damned.  Then he said with an
horrible voice:  He is not lost but saved.  How may that
be? said the good man; it seemed to me that he lived
not well, for he brake his order for to wear a shirt where
he ought to wear none, and who that trespasseth against
our order doth not well.  Not so, said the fiend, this man
that lieth here dead was come of a great lineage.  And
there was a lord that hight the Earl de Vale, that held
great war against this man's nephew, the which hight
Aguarus.  And so this Aguarus saw the earl was bigger
than he.  Then he went for to take counsel of his uncle,
the which lieth here dead as ye may see.  And then he
asked leave, and went out of his hermitage for to maintain
his nephew against the mighty earl; and so it happed
that this man that lieth here dead did so much by his
wisdom and hardiness that the earl was taken, and three of
his lords, by force of this dead man.