292 THE LADY OF THE FOUNTAIN
After this every one of the knights gave battle, but none came out victor, and at length there only remained Arthur himself and Gwalchmai.
' Oh, let me fight him, my lord,' cried Gwalchmai, as he saw Arthur taking up his arms.
' Well, fight then,' answered Arthur, and Gwalchmai threw a robe over himself and his horse, so that none knew him. All that day they fought, and neither was able to throw the other, and so it was on the next day. On the third day the combat was so fierce that they fell both to the ground at once, and fought on their feet, and at last the black knight gave his foe such a blow on his head that his helmet fell from his face.
' I did not know it was thee, Gwalchmai,' said the black knight. ' Take my sword and my arms.'
' No,' answered Gwalchmai, ' it is thou, Owen, who art the victor, take thou my sword': but Owen would not.
' Give me your swords,' said Arthur from behind them, ' for neither of you has vanquished the other,' and Owen turned and put his arms round Arthur's neck.
The next day Arthur would have given orders to his men to make ready to go back whence they came, but Owen stopped him.
' My lord,' he said, ' during the three years that I have been absent from thee I have been preparing a banquet for thee, knowing full well that thou wouldst come to seek me. Tarry with me, therefore, for a while, thou and thy men.'
So they rode to the castle of the countess of the fountain, and spent three months in resting and feasting. And when it was time for them to depart Arthur besought the countess that she would allow Owen to go with him to Britain for the space of three months. With a sore heart she granted permission, and so content was Owen to be once more with his old companions that