CHAPTER XVI How the Damosel of the Lake saved King Arthur from mantle that should have burnt him.
Reading time: 3 minutes. Word count: 500 words.
WITH that came the Damosel of the Lake unto the king, and said, Sir, I must speak with you in privity.
Say on, said the king, what ye will.
Sir, said the damosel, put not on you this mantle till ye have seen more, and in no wise let it not come on you, nor on no knight of yours, till ye command the bringer thereof to put it upon her.
Well, said King Arthur, it shall be done as ye counsel me.
And then he said unto the damosel that came from his sister, Damosel, this mantle that ye have brought me, I will see it upon you.
Sir, she said, It will not beseem me to wear a king's garment.
By my head, said Arthur, ye shall wear it or it come on my back, or any man's that here is. And so the king made it to be put upon her, and forth withal she fell down dead, and never more spake word after and burnt to coals.
Then was the king wonderly wroth, more than he was to-forehand, and said unto King Uriens, My sister, your wife, is alway about to betray me, and well I wot either ye, or my nephew, your son, is of counsel with her to have me destroyed; but as for you, said the king to King Uriens, I deem not greatly that ye be of her counsel, for Accolon confessed to me by his own mouth, that she would have destroyed you as well as me, therefore I hold you excused; but as for your son, Sir Uwaine, I hold him suspect, therefore I charge you put him out of my court. So Sir Uwaine was discharged.
And when Sir Gawaine wist that, he made him ready to go with him; and said, Whoso banisheth my cousin-germain shall banish me.
So they two departed, and rode into a great forest, and so they came to an abbey of monks, and there were well lodged. But when the king wist that Sir Gawaine was departed from the court, there was made great sorrow among all the estates.
Now, said Gaheris, Gawaine's brother, we have lost two good knights for the love of one.
So on the morn they heard their masses in the abbey, and so they rode forth till that they came to a great forest. Then was Sir Gawaine ware in a valley by a turret [of] twelve fair damosels, and two knights armed on great horses, and the damosels went to and fro by a tree.
And then was Sir Gawaine ware how there hung a white shield on that tree, and ever as the damosels came by it they spit upon it, and some threw mire upon the shield.
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Languages / Anthropology 3043: Folklore & Mythology.
Laura Gibbs, Ph.D.
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