40 WHAT BEAUMAINS ASKED OF THE KING
Knights played at tourney he would steal out and watch them. And Sir Lancelot gave him gold to spend, and clothes to wear, and so did Gawaine. Also, if there were any games held whereat he might be, none could throw a bar nor cast a stone as far as he by two good yards.
Thus the year passed by till the feast of Whitsuntide came again, and this time the King held it at Carlion. But King Arthur would eat no meat at Whitsuntide till some adventures were told him, and glad was he when a squire came and said to him, ' Sir, you may go to your food, for here is a damsel with some strange tales.' At this the damsel was led into the hall, and bowed low before the King, and begged he would give her help. 'For whom?' asked the King, 'and what is the adventure ? ' ' Sir,' answered she, ' my sister is a noble lady of great fame, who is besieged by a tyrant, and may not get out of her castle. And it is because your Knights are said to be the noblest in all the world that I came to you for aid.' ' What is your sister's name, and where does she dwell ? And who is the man that besieges her, and where does he come from ? ' ' Sir King,' answered she, ' as for my sister's name, I cannot tell it you now, but she is a lady of great beauty and goodness, and of many lands. As for the tyrant who besieges her, he is called the Red Knight of the Red Lawns.' ' I know nothing of him,' said the King. ' But I know him,' cried Sir Gawaine, ' and he is one of the most dangerous Knights in the world. Men say he has the strength of seven, and once when we had crossed swords I hardly escaped from him with my life.' 'Fair damsel,' then said the King, 'there are many Knights here who would go gladly to the rescue of your lady, but none of them shall do so with my consent unless you will tell us her name, and the place of her castle.' ' Then I must speak further,' said the damsel. But before she had made answer to the King up came Beaumains, and spoke to Arthur, saying, ' Sir King, I thank you that for this whole year I have lived in your