Le Morte D'Arthur (Book IV)

Week 9: Medieval Heroes - Assignments - Reading - Resources - Images


CHAPTER XXVI How Sir Uwaine rode with the damosel of sixty year of age, and how he gat the prize at tourneying.

Reading time: 2 minutes. Word count: 500 words.

On his adventure (accompanied by the oldest of the damsels), Uwaine befriends a woman, the Lady of the Rock, who has had her land stolen by Sir Edward of Red Castle and his brother Sir Hue of Red Castle - and Uwaine decides he will win back her lands for her.

NOW turn we unto Sir Uwaine, that rode westward with his damosel of three score winter of age, and she brought him thereas was a tournament nigh the march of Wales. And at that tournament Sir Uwaine smote down thirty knights, therefore was given him the prize, and that was a gerfalcon, and a white steed trapped with cloth of gold.

So then Sir Uwaine did many strange adventures by the means of the old damosel, and so she brought him to a lady that was called the Lady of the Rock, the which was much courteous. So there were in the country two knights that were brethren, and they were called two perilous knights, the one knight hight Sir Edward of the Red Castle, and the other Sir Hue of the Red Castle; and these two brethren had disherited the Lady of the Rock of a barony of lands by their extortion. And as this knight was lodged with this lady she made her complaint to him of these two knights.

Madam, said Sir Uwaine, they are to blame, for they do against the high order of knighthood, and the oath that they made; and if it like you I will speak with them, because I am a knight of King Arthur's, and I will entreat them with fairness; and if they will not, I shall do battle with them, and in the defence of your right.

Gramercy said the lady, and thereas I may not acquit you, God shall.

So on the morn the two knights were sent for, that they should come thither to speak with the Lady of the Rock, and wit ye well they failed not, for they came with an hundred horse. But when this lady saw them in this manner so big, she would not suffer Sir Uwaine to go out to them upon no surety nor for no fair language, but she made him speak with them over a tower, but finally these two brethren would not be entreated, and answered that they would keep that they had.

Well, said Sir Uwaine, then will I fight with one of you, and prove that ye do this lady wrong.

That will we not, said they, for an we do battle, we two will fight with one knight at once, and therefore if ye will fight so, we will be ready at what hour ye will assign. And if ye win us in battle the lady shall have her lands again.

Ye say well, said Sir Uwaine, therefore make you ready so that ye be here to-morn in the defence of the lady's right.


Questions. Make sure you can answer these questions about what you just read:

  • what did Uwaine win in the tournament in Wales?
  • what wrong had the two brother knights done to the Lady of the Rock?
  • what kind of battle did the brothers propose to Uwaine?

Source: Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, published by William Caxton (1485), with spelling modernized. Weblink. The original Caxton text is also available online: weblink.


Modern Languages / Anthropology 3043: Folklore & Mythology. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. You must give the original author credit. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one.
Page last updated: October 9, 2004 12:52 PM