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The High History of the Holy Graal: Branch XXIX


Therewithal the story is silent of Lancelot, and saith that Briant of the Isles is repaired to Cardoil. Of the forty knights that he took with him, but fifteen doth he bring back again. Thereof is King Arthur right sorrowful, and saith that he hath the fewer friends. They of the land of Albanie have sent to King Arthur and told him that and he would not lose the land for evermore he must send them Lancelot, for never saw they knight that better knew how to avenge him on his enemies and to do them hurt than was he. The King asketh Briant of the Isles how it is that his knights are dead in such sort?

"Sir," saith Briant, "Madeglant hath great force of people, and what force of men soever may run upon them, they make a castle of their navy in such sort that none may endure against them, and never did no folk know so much of war as do they. The land lieth far away from you, and more will it cost you to hold it than it is worth; and, if you will believe my counsel, you will trouble yourself no more about it, and they of the country would be well counselled and they did the same."

"Briant," saith the King, "This would be great blame to myself. No worshipful man ought to be idle in guarding and holding that which is his own. The worshipful man ought not to hold of things so much for their value as for their honour, and if I should leave the land disgarnished of my aid and my counsel, they will take mine, and will say that I have not heart to protect my land; and even now is it great shame to myself that they have settled themselves there and would fain draw away them of the land to their evil law. And I would fain that Lancelot had achieved that he hath undertaken, and I would have sent him there, for none would protect the land better than he, and, were he now there along with forty knights and with them of the country, Madeglant would make but short stay there."

"Sir," saith Briant, "They of the country reckon nought of you nor any other but Lancelot only, and they say that and you send him there they will make him King."

"It may well be that they say so," saith the King, "But never would Lancelot do aught that should be against my will."

"Sir," saith Briant, "Sith that you are not minded to believe me, I will say no more in this matter, but in the end his knighthood will harm you rather than help you and you take no better heed thereof than up to this time you have done."

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