Sacred Texts  Legends and Sagas  Index  BOOK XVII  Previous  Next 

 How they were desired of a strange custom, the which they
 would not obey; wherefore they fought and slew many
 THIS gentlewoman that ye lead with you is a maid?
 Sir, said she, a maid I am.  Then he took her by the
 bridle and said:  By the Holy Cross, ye shall not escape
 me to-fore ye have yolden the custom of this castle.  Let
 her go, said Percivale, ye be not wise, for a maid in what
 place she cometh is free.  So in the meanwhile there came
 out a ten or twelve knights armed, out of the castle, and
 with them came gentlewomen which held a dish of silver.
 And then they said:  This gentlewoman must yield us
 the custom of this castle.  Sir, said a knight, what maid
 passeth hereby shall give this dish full of blood of her
 right arm.  Blame have ye, said Galahad, that brought
 up such customs, and so God me save, I ensure you of
 this gentlewoman ye shall fail while that I live.  So God
 me help, said Percivale, I had liefer be slain.  And I also,
 said Sir Bors.  By my troth, said the knight, then shall
 ye die, for ye may not endure against us though ye were
 the best knights of the world.
 Then let they run each to other, and the three fellows
 beat the ten knights, and then set their hands to their
 swords and beat them down and slew them.  Then there
 came out of the castle a three score knights armed.  Fair
 lords, said the three fellows, have mercy on yourself and
 have not ado with us.  Nay, fair lords, said the knights
 of the castle, we counsel you to withdraw you, for ye be
 the best knights of the world, and therefore do no more,
 for ye have done enough.  We will let you go with this
 harm, but we must needs have the custom.  Certes, said
 Galahad, for nought speak ye.  Well, said they, will ye die?
 We be not yet come thereto, said Galahad.  Then began
 they to meddle together, and Galahad, with the strange
 girdles, drew his sword, and smote on the right hand and
 on the left hand, and slew what that ever abode him, and
 did such marvels that there was none that saw him but
 weened he had been none earthly man, but a monster.
 And his two fellows halp him passing well, and so they
 held the journey everych in like hard till it was night:
 then must they needs depart.
 So came in a good knight, and said to the three
 fellows:  If ye will come in to-night and take such harbour
 as here is ye shall be right welcome, and we shall ensure
 you by the faith of our bodies, and as we be true knights,
 to leave you in such estate to-morrow as we find you,
 without any falsehood.  And as soon as ye know of the
 custom we dare say ye will accord therefore.  For God's
 love, said the gentlewoman, go thither and spare not for
 me.  Go we, said Galahad; and so they entered into the
 chapel.  And when they were alighted they made great
 joy of them.  So within a while the three knights asked
 the custom of the castle and wherefore it was.  What it
 is, said they, we will say you sooth.