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How Arthur took upon him to fight to be delivered out of
prison, and also for to deliver twenty knights that were
in prison.

WHAT are ye that so complain? said King Arthur.  We be here
twenty knights, prisoners, said they, and some of us have lain
here seven year, and some more and some less.  For what cause?
said Arthur.  We shall tell you, said the knights; this lord of
this castle, his name is Sir Damas, and he is the falsest knight
that liveth, and full of treason, and a very coward as any
liveth, and he hath a younger brother, a good knight of prowess,
his name is Sir Ontzlake; and this traitor Damas, the elder
brother will give him no part of his livelihood, but as Sir
Ontzlake keepeth thorough prowess of his hands, and so he keepeth
from him a full fair manor and a rich, and therein Sir Ontzlake
dwelleth worshipfully, and is well beloved of all people.  And
this Sir Damas, our master is as evil beloved, <112>for he is
without mercy, and he is a coward, and great war hath been
betwixt them both, but Ontzlake hath ever the better, and ever he
proffereth Sir Damas to fight for the livelihood, body for body,
but he will not do; other-else to find a knight to fight for him. 
Unto that Sir Damas had granted to find a knight, but he is so
evil beloved and hated, that there is never a knight will fight
for him.  And when Damas saw this, that there was never a knight
would fight for him, he hath daily lain await with many knights
with him, and taken all the knights in this country to see and
espy their adventures, he hath taken them by force and brought
them to his prison.  And so he took us separately as we rode on
our adventures, and many good knights have died in this prison
for hunger, to the number of eighteen knights; and if any of us
all that here is, or hath been, would have foughten with his
brother Ontzlake, he would have delivered us, but for because
this Damas is so false and so full of treason we would never
fight for him to die for it.  And we be so lean for hunger that
unnethe we may stand on our feet.  God deliver you, for his
mercy, said Arthur.

Anon, therewithal there came a damosel unto Arthur, and asked
him, What cheer? I cannot say, said he.  Sir, said she, an ye
will fight for my lord, ye shall be delivered out of prison, and
else ye escape never the life.  Now, said Arthur, that is hard,
yet had I liefer to fight with a knight than to die in prison;
with this, said Arthur, I may be delivered and all these
prisoners, I will do the battle.  Yes, said the damosel.  I am
ready, said Arthur, an I had horse and armour.  Ye shall lack
none, said the damosel.  Meseemeth, damosel, I should have seen
you in the court of Arthur.  Nay said the damosel, I came never
there, I am the lord's daughter of this castle.  Yet was she
false, for she was one of the damosels of Morgan le Fay.

Anon she went unto Sir Damas, and told him how he would do battle
for him, and so he sent for Arthur.  And when he came he was well
coloured, and well made of his limbs, that all knights that saw
him said it were pity that such a knight should die in prison. 
So Sir Damas and he <113>were agreed that he should fight for him
upon this covenant, that all other knights should be delivered;
and unto that was Sir Damas sworn unto Arthur, and also to do the
battle to the uttermost.  And with that all the twenty knights
were brought out of the dark prison into the hall, and delivered,
and so they all abode to see the battle.