Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK VI CHAPTER XI

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How Sir Launcelot slew two giants, and made a castle free.

ANON withal came there upon him two great giants, well armed all
save the heads, with two horrible clubs in their hands.  Sir
Launcelot put his shield afore him and put the stroke away of the
one giant, and with his sword he clave <193>his head asunder. 
When his fellow saw that, he ran away as he were wood, for fear
of the horrible strokes, and Launcelot after him with all his
might, and smote him on the shoulder, and clave him to the navel. 
Then Sir Launcelot went into the hall, and there came afore him
three score ladies and damosels, and all kneeled unto him, and
thanked God and him of their deliverance; For sir, said they, the
most party of us have been here this seven year their prisoners,
and we have worked all manner of silk works for our meat, and we
are all great gentlewomen born; and blessed be the time, knight,
that ever thou be born, for thou hast done the most worship that
ever did knight in this world, that will we bear record, and we
all pray you to tell us your name, that we may tell our friends
who delivered us out of prison.  Fair damosel, he said, my name
is Sir Launcelot du Lake.  Ah, sir, said they all, well mayest
thou be he, for else save yourself, as we deemed, there might
never knight have the better of these two giants; for many fair
knights have assayed it, and here have ended, and many times have
we wished after you, and these two giants dread never knight but
you.  Now may ye say, said Sir Launcelot, unto your friends how
and who hath delivered you, and greet them all from me, and if
that I come in any of your marches, show me such cheer as ye have
cause, and what treasure that there in this castle is I give it
you for a reward for your grievance, and the lord that is owner
of this castle I would he received it as is right.  Fair sir,
said they, the name of this castle is Tintagil, and a duke ought
it sometime that had wedded fair Igraine, and after wedded her
Uther Pendragon, and gat on her Arthur.  Well, said Sir
Launcelot, I understand to whom this castle longeth; and so he
departed from them, and betaught them unto God.

And then he mounted upon his horse, and rode into many strange
and wild countries, and through many waters and valleys, and evil
was he lodged.  And at the last by fortune him happened, against
a night, to come to a fair courtelage, and therein he found an
old gentlewoman that lodged him with good will, and there he had
good cheer <194>for him and his horse.  And when time was, his
host brought him into a fair garret, over the gate, to his bed. 
There Sir Launcelot unarmed him, and set his harness by him, and
went to bed, and anon he fell asleep.  So, soon after, there came
one on horseback, and knocked at the gate in great haste, and
when Sir Launcelot heard this, he arose up and looked out at the
window, and saw by the moonlight three knights came riding after
that one man, and all three lashed on him at once with swords,
and that one knight turned on them knightly again, and defended
him.  Truly, said Sir Launcelot, yonder one knight shall I help,
for it were shame for me to see three knights on one, and if he
be slain I am partner of his death; and therewith he took his
harness, and went out at a window by a sheet down to the four
knights, and then Sir Launcelot said on high, Turn you knights
unto me, and leave your fighting with that knight.  And then they
all three left Sir Kay, and turned unto Sir Launcelot, and there
began great battle, for they alighted all three, and struck many
great strokes at Sir Launcelot, and assailed him on every side. 
Then Sir Kay dressed him for to have holpen Sir Launcelot.  Nay,
sir, said he, I will none of your help; therefore as ye will have
my help, let me alone with them.  Sir Kay, for the pleasure of
the knight, suffered him for to do his will, and so stood aside. 
And then anon within six strokes, Sir Launcelot had stricken them
to the earth.

And then they all three cried:  Sir knight, we yield us unto you
as a man of might makeless.  As to that, said Sir Launcelot, I
will not take your yielding unto me.  But so that ye will yield
you unto Sir Kay the Seneschal, on that covenant I will save your
lives, and else not.  Fair knight, said they, that were we loath
to do; for as for Sir Kay, we chased him hither, and had overcome
him had not ye been, therefore to yield us unto him it were no
reason.  Well, as to that, said Launcelot, advise you well, for
ye may choose whether ye will die or live, for an ye be yolden it
shall be unto Sir Kay.  Fair knight, then they said, in saving of
our lives we will do as thou commandest <195>us.  Then shall ye,
said Sir Launcelot, on Whitsunday next coming, go unto the court
of King Arthur, and there shall ye yield you unto Queen Guenever,
and put you all three in her grace and mercy, and say that Sir
Kay sent you thither to be her prisoners.  Sir, they said, it
shall be done by the faith of our bodies, an we be living, and
there they swore every knight upon his sword.  And so Sir
Launcelot suffered them so to depart.  And then Sir Launcelot
knocked at the gate with the pommel of his sword, and with that
came his host, and in they entered Sir Kay and he.  Sir, said his
host, I weened ye had been in your bed.  So I was, said Sir
Launcelot, but I rose and leapt out at my window for to help an
old fellow of mine.  And so when they came nigh the light, Sir
Kay knew well that it was Sir Launcelot, and therewith he kneeled
down and thanked him of all his kindness that he had holpen him
twice from the death.  Sir, he said, I have nothing done but that
me ought for to do, and ye are welcome, and here shall ye repose
you and take your rest.

So when Sir Kay was unarmed, he asked after meat; so there was
meat fetched him, and he ate strongly.  And when he had supped
they went to their beds and were lodged together in one bed.  On
the morn Sir Launcelot arose early, and left Sir Kay sleeping,
and Sir Launcelot took Sir Kay's armour and his shield, and armed
him, and so he went to the stable, and took his horse, and took
his leave of his host, and so he departed.  Then soon after arose
Sir Kay and missed Sir Launcelot.  And then he espied that he had
his armour and his horse.  Now by my faith I know well that he
will grieve some of the court of King Arthur; for on him knights
will be bold, and deem that it is I, and that will beguile them. 
And because of his armour and shield I am sure I shall ride in
peace.  And then soon after departed Sir Kay and thanked his