Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK IX CHAPTER I

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 How a young man came into the court of King Arthur, and
 how Sir Kay called him in scorn La Cote Male Taile.
 AT the court of King Arthur there came a young man and bigly
 made, and he was richly beseen: and he desired to be made knight
 of the king, but his over-garment sat over-thwartly, howbeit it
 was rich cloth of gold.  What is your name? said King Arthur. 
 Sir, said he, my name is Breunor le Noire, and within short space
 ye shall know that I am of good kin.  It may well be, said Sir
 Kay, the Seneschal, but in mockage ye shall be called La Cote
 Male Taile, that is as much to say, the evil-shapen coat  It is a
 great thing that thou askest, said the king; and for what cause
 wearest thou that rich coat? tell me, for I can well think for
 some cause it is.  Sir, he answered, I had a father, a noble
 knight, and as he rode a-hunting, upon a day it happed him to lay
 him down to sleep; and there came a knight that had been long his
 enemy, and when he saw he was fast asleep he all to-hew him; and
 this same coat had my father on the same time; and that maketh
 this coat to sit so evil upon me, for the strokes be on it as I
 found it, and never shall be amended for me. Thus to have my
 father's death in remembrance I wear this coat till I be
 revenged; and because ye are called the most noblest king of the
 world I come to you that ye should make me knight.  Sir, said Sir
 Lamorak and Sir Gaheris, it were well done to make him knight;
 for him <352>beseemeth well of person and of countenance, that he
 shall prove a good man, and a good knight, and a mighty; for,
 Sir, an ye be remembered, even such one was Sir Launcelot du Lake
 when he came first into this court, and full few of us knew from
 whence he came; and now is he proved the man of most worship in
 the world; and all your court and all your Round Table is by Sir
 Launcelot worshipped and amended more than by any knight now
 living.  That is truth, said the king, and to-morrow at your
 request I shall make him knight.
 So on the morrow there was an hart found, and thither rode King
 Arthur with a company of his knights to slay the hart.  And this
 young man that Sir Kay named La Cote Male Taile was there left
 behind with Queen Guenever; and by sudden adventure there was an
 horrible lion kept in a strong tower of stone, and it happened
 that he at that time brake loose, and came hurling afore the
 queen and her knights.  And when the queen saw the lion she cried
 and fled, and prayed her knights to rescue her.  And there was
 none of them all but twelve that abode, and all the other fled. 
 Then said La Cote Male Taile:  Now I see well that all coward
 knights be not dead; and therewithal he drew his sword and
 dressed him afore the lion.  And that lion gaped wide and came
 upon him ramping to have slain him.  And he then smote him in the
 midst of the head such a mighty stroke that it clave his head in
 sunder, and dashed to the earth.  Then was it told the queen how
 the young man that Sir Kay named by scorn La Cote Male Taile had
 slain the lion.  With that the king came home.  And when the
 queen told him of that adventure, he was well pleased, and said: 
 Upon pain of mine head he shall prove a noble man and a faithful
 knight, and true of his promise: then the king forthwithal made
 him knight.  Now Sir, said this young knight, I require you and
 all the knights of your court, that ye call me by none other name
 but La Cote Male Taile: in so much as Sir Kay hath so named me so
 will I be called.  I assent me well thereto, said the king.