Sacred Texts  Legends and Sagas  Index  BOOK XVIII  Previous  Next 

 How Sir Mador appeached the queen of treason, and there
 was no knight would fight for her at the first time.
 AND ever Sir Mador stood still afore the king, and ever
 he appealed the queen of treason; for the custom was
 such that time that all manner of shameful death was
 called treason.  Fair lords, said King Arthur, me repenteth
 of this trouble, but the case is so I may not have
 ado in this matter, for I must be a rightful judge; and
 that repenteth me that I may not do battle for my wife,
 for as I deem this deed came never by her.  And therefore
 I suppose she shall not be all distained, but that some
 good knight shall put his body in jeopardy for my queen
 rather than she shall be brent in a wrong quarrel.  And
 therefore, Sir Mador, be not so hasty, for it may happen
 she shall not be all friendless; and therefore desire
 thou thy day of battle, and she shall purvey her of some
 good knight that shall answer you, or else it were to me
 great shame, and to all my court.
 My gracious lord, said Sir Mador, ye must hold me
 excused, for though ye be our king in that degree, ye are
 but a knight as we are, and ye are sworn unto knighthood
 as well as we; and therefore I beseech you that ye be not
 displeased, for there is none of the four-and-twenty knights
 that were bidden to this dinner but all they have great
 suspicion unto the queen.  What say ye all, my lords?
 said Sir Mador.  Then they answered by and by that they
 could not excuse the queen; for why she made the dinner,
 and either it must come by her or by her servants.  Alas,
 said the queen, I made this dinner for a good intent, and
 never for none evil, so Almighty God me help in my
 right, as I was never purposed to do such evil deeds, and
 that I report me unto God.
 My lord, the king, said Sir Mador, I require you as
 ye be a righteous king give me a day that I may have
 justice.  Well, said the king, I give the day this day
 fifteen days that thou be ready armed on horseback in the
 meadow beside Westminster.  And if it so fall that there
 be any knight to encounter with you, there mayst thou
 do the best, and God speed the right.  And if it so fall
 that there be no knight at that day, then must my queen
 be burnt, and there she shall be ready to have her judgment.
 I am answered, said Sir Mador.  And every
 knight went where it liked them.
 So when the king and the queen were together the
 king asked the queen how this case befell.  The queen
 answered:  So God me help, I wot not how or in what
 manner.  Where is Sir Launcelot? said King Arthur; an
 he were here he would not grudge to do battle for you.
 Sir, said the queen, I wot not where he is, but his brother
 and his kinsmen deem that he be not within this realm.
 That me repenteth, said King Arthur, for an he were here
 he would soon stint this strife.  Then I will counsel you,
 said the king, and unto Sir Bors:  That ye will do battle
 for her for Sir Launcelot's sake, and upon my life he will
 not refuse you.  For well I see, said the king, that none
 of these four-and-twenty knights that were with you at
 your dinner where Sir Patrise was slain, that will do battle
 for you, nor none of them will say well of you, and that
 shall be a great slander for you in this court.  Alas, said
 the queen, and I may not do withal, but now I miss Sir
 Launcelot, for an he were here he would put me soon
 to my heart's ease.  What aileth you, said the king, ye
 cannot keep Sir Launcelot upon your side? For wit ye
 well, said the king, who that hath Sir Launcelot upon his
 part hath the most man of worship in the world upon his
 side.  Now go your way, said the king unto the queen,
 and require Sir Bors to do battle for you for Sir Launcelot's