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How Sir Launcelot rode to Astolat, and received a sleeve to
wear upon his helm at the request of a maid.

MADAM, said Sir Launcelot, I allow your wit, it is of late
come since ye were wise.  And therefore, madam, at this
time I will be ruled by your counsel, and this night I will
take my rest, and to-morrow by time I will take my way
toward Winchester.  But wit you well, said Sir Launcelot
to the queen, that at that jousts I will be against the king,
and against all his fellowship.  Ye may there do as ye
list, said the queen, but by my counsel ye shall not be
against your king and your fellowship.  For therein
be full many hard knights of your blood, as ye wot well
enough, it needeth not to rehearse them.  Madam, said
Sir Launcelot, I pray you that ye be not displeased with
me, for I will take the adventure that God will send me.

And so upon the morn early Sir Launcelot heard mass
and brake his fast, and so took his leave of the queen and
departed.  And then he rode so much until he came to
Astolat, that is Guildford; and there it happed him in the
eventide he came to an old baron's place that hight Sir
Bernard of Astolat.  And as Sir Launcelot entered into
his lodging, King Arthur espied him as he did walk in a
garden beside the castle, how he took his lodging, and
knew him full well.  It is well, said King Arthur unto the
knights that were with him in that garden beside the
castle, I have now espied one knight that will play his play
at the jousts to the which we be gone toward; I undertake
he will do marvels.  Who is that, we pray you tell
us? said many knights that were there at that time.  Ye
shall not wit for me, said the king, as at this time.  And
so the king smiled, and went to his lodging.

So when Sir Launcelot was in his lodging, and unarmed
him in his chamber, the old baron and hermit came
to him making his reverence, and welcomed him in the
best manner; but the old knight knew not Sir Launcelot.
Fair sir, said Sir Launcelot to his host, I would pray you
to lend me a shield that were not openly known, for mine
is well known.  Sir, said his host, ye shall have your
desire, for meseemeth ye be one of the likeliest knights of
the world, and therefore I shall shew you friendship.  Sir,
wit you well I have two sons that were but late made
knights, and the eldest hight Sir Tirre, and he was hurt
that same day he was made knight, that he may not ride,
and his shield ye shall have; for that is not known I dare
say but here, and in no place else.  And my youngest son
hight Lavaine, and if it please you, he shall ride with you
unto that jousts; and he is of his age strong and wight,
for much my heart giveth unto you that ye should be a
noble knight, therefore I pray you, tell me your name,
said Sir Bernard.  As for that, said Sir Launcelot, ye
must hold me excused as at this time, and if God give me
grace to speed well at the jousts I shall come again and
tell you.  But I pray you, said Sir Launcelot, in any wise
let me have your son, Sir Lavaine, with me, and that I
may have his brother's shield.  All this shall be done,
said Sir Bernard.

This old baron had a daughter that was called that
time the Fair Maiden of Astolat.  And ever she beheld
Sir Launcelot wonderfully; and as the book saith, she
cast such a love unto Sir Launcelot that she could never
withdraw her love, wherefore she died, and her name was
Elaine le Blank.  So thus as she came to and fro she was
so hot in her love that she besought Sir Launcelot to wear
upon him at the jousts a token of hers.  Fair damosel,
said Sir Launcelot, an if I grant you that, ye may say I
do more for your love than ever I did for lady or damosel.
Then he remembered him he would go to the jousts
disguised.  And because he had never fore that time
borne no manner of token of no damosel, then he bethought
him that he would bear one of her, that none of
his blood thereby might know him, and then he said:
Fair maiden, I will grant you to wear a token of yours
upon mine helmet, and therefore what it is, shew it me.
Sir, she said, it is a red sleeve of mine, of scarlet, well
embroidered with great pearls: and so she brought it
him.  So Sir Launcelot received it, and said:  Never did
I erst so much for no damosel.  And then Sir Launcelot
betook the fair maiden his shield in keeping, and prayed
her to keep that until that he came again; and so that night
he had merry rest and great cheer, for ever the damosel
Elaine was about Sir Launcelot all the while she might be