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[*1] Misnumbered xx.  by Caxton.

How Sir Marhaus, Sir Gawaine, and Sir Uwaine met
three damosels, and each of them took one.

NOW shall everych of us choose a damosel.  I shall tell you, said
Sir Uwaine, I am the youngest and most weakest of you both,
therefore I will have the eldest damosel, for <132>she hath seen
much, and can best help me when I have need, for I have most need
of help of you both.  Now, said Sir Marhaus, I will have the
damosel of thirty winter age, for she falleth best to me.  Well,
said Sir Gawaine, I thank you, for ye have left me the youngest
and the fairest, and she is most liefest to me.  Then every
damosel took her knight by the reins of his bridle, and brought
him to the three ways, and there was their oath made to meet at
the fountain that day twelvemonth an they were living, and so
they kissed and departed, and each knight set his lady behind
him.  And Sir Uwaine took the way that lay west, and Sir Marhaus
took the way that lay south, and Sir Gawaine took the way that
lay north.  Now will we begin at Sir Gawaine, that held that way
till that he came unto a fair manor, where dwelled an old knight
and a good householder, and there Sir Gawaine asked the knight if
he knew any adventures in that country.  I shall show you some
to-morn, said the old knight, and that marvellous.  So, on the
morn they rode into the forest of adventures to a laund, and
thereby they found a cross, and as they stood and hoved there
came by them the fairest knight and the seemliest man that ever
they saw, making the greatest dole that ever man made.  And then
he was ware of Sir Gawaine, and saluted him, and prayed God to
send him much worship.  As to that, said Sir Gawaine, gramercy;
also I pray to God that he send you honour and worship.  Ah, said
the knight, I may lay that aside, for sorrow and shame cometh to
me after worship.