42 WHAT BEAUMAINS ASKED OF THE KING
him through the side, till Sir Kay fell down as if he had been dead, and Beaumains took his shield and spear for himself. Then he sprang on his own horse, bidding first his dwarf take Sir Kay's horse, and rode away. All this was seen by Sir Lancelot, who had followed him, and also by the damsel. In a little while Beaumains stopped, and asked Sir Lancelot if he would tilt with him, and they came together with such a shock that both the horses and their riders fell to the earth and were bruised sorely. Sir Lancelot was the first to rise, and he helped Beaumains from his horse, and Beaumains threw his shield from him, and offered to fight on foot. And they rushed together like wild boars, turning and thrusting and parrying for the space of an hour, and Sir Lancelot marvelled at the young man's strength, and thought he was more like a giant than a Knight, and dreading lest he himself should be put to shame, he said: ' Beaumains, do not fight so hard, we have no quarrel that forbids us to leave off.' ' That is true,' answered Beaumains, laying down his arms, ' but it does me good, my lord, to feel your might.' ' Well, said Sir Lancelot, ' I promise you I had much ado to save myself from you unshamed, therefore have no fear of any other Knight.' ' Do you think I could really stand against a proved Knight ? ' asked Beaumains. ' Yes,' said Lancelot, ' if you fight as you have fought to-day I will be your warrant against anyone.' ' Then I pray you,' cried Beaumains, ' give me the order of knighthood.' 'You must first tell me your name,' replied Lancelot, ' and who are your kindred.' ' You will not betray me if I do?' asked Beaumains. 'No, that I will never do, till it is openly known,' said Lancelot. ' Then, Sir, my name is Gareth, and Sir Gawaine is my brother.' ' Ah, Sir,' cried Lancelot, ' I am gladder of you than ever I was, for I was sure you came of good blood, and that you did not come to the Court for meat and drink only.' And he bade him kneel, and gave him the order of knighthood.