50 WHAT BEAUMAINS ASKED OF THE KING
day slain the two Knights of the passage.' 'I wonder much,' said the Black Knight, 'that any man who is well born should consent to fight with him.' ' They do not know him,' replied the damsel, ' and they think he must be a famous Knight because he rides with me.' ' That may be,' said the Black Knight, 'but he is well made, and looks likely to be a strong man; still I promise you I will just throw him to the ground, and take away his horse and armour, for it would be a shame to me to do more.' When Sir Beaumains heard him talk thus he looked up and said, ' Sir Knight, you are lightly disposing of my horse and armour, but I would have you know that I will pass this lawn, against your will or not, and you will only get my horse and armour if you win them in fair fight. Therefore let me see what you can do.' ' Say you so ? ' answered the Knight, ' now give up the lady at once, for it ill becomes a kitchen page to ride with a lady of high degree.' 'It is a lie,' said Beaumains, 'I am a gentleman born, and my birth is better than yours, as I will prove upon your body.'
With that they drew back their horses so as to charge each other hotly, and for the space of an hour and a half they fought fiercely and well, but in the end a blow from Beaumains threw the Knight from his horse, and he swooned and died. Then Beaumains jumped down, and seeing that the Knight's horse and armour were better than his own, he took them for himself, and rode after the damsel. While they were thus riding together, and the damsel was chiding him as ever she did, they saw a Knight coming towards them dressed all in green. ' Is that my brother the Black Knight who is with you ?' asked he of the damsel. ' No, indeed,' she replied, 'this unhappy kitchen knave has slain your brother, to my great sorrow.' ' Alas !' sighed the Green Knight, ' that my brother should die so meanly at the hand of a kitchen knave. Traitor !' he added, turning to Beaumains, ' thou shalt die for slaying my brother, for he