THE GREEN KNIGHT 157
suit of green armour, and wras feeding the goldfish which swam in the clear water.
• This must be the Green Knight,' thought the king ; and going up to the young man he said courteously :
' I have come, sir, to give you my daughter's greeting. But I have wandered far, and lost my way in your forest.'
The knight looked at him for a moment as though puzzled.
' I have never met either you or your daughter,' he said at last; ' but you are very welcome all the same.' And he waved his hand towards the castle. However, the king took no notice, and told him that his daughter had sent a message to the Green Knight, and as he was the only Green Knight in the kingdom this message must be for him.
' You must pass the night with me here,' said the knight; and as the sun was already set, the king was thankful to accept the invitation. They sat down in the castle hall to a magnificent banquet, and although he had travelled much and visited many monarchs in their palaces, the king had never fared better than at the table of the Green Knight, whilst his host himself was so clever and agreeable, that he was delighted, and thought ' what a charming son-in-law this knight would make !'
Next morning, when he was about to set forth on his journey home, the Green Knight put into his hand a jewelled casket, saying:
' Will your highness graciously condescend to carry this gift to the princess, your daughter ? It contains my portrait, that when I come she may know me ; for I feel certain that she is the lady I have seen night after night in a dream, and I must win her for my bride.'
The king gave the knight his blessing, and promised to take the gift to his daughter. With that he set off, and ere long reached his own country.
The princess was awaiting him anxiously when he