80 THE QUEST OF THE HOLY GRAAL
THE ADVENTURE OF SIR PERCIVALE
All this while Sir Percivale had pursued adventures of his own, and came nigh unto losing his life, but he was saved from his enemies by the good Knight, Sir Galahad, whom he did not know, although he was seeking him, for Sir Galahad now bore a red shield, and not a white one. And at last the foes fled deep into the forest, and Sir Galahad followed; but Sir Percivale had no horse and was forced to stay behind. Then his eyes were opened, and he knew it was Sir Galahad who had come to his help, and he sat down under a tree and grieved sore.
While he was sitting there a Knight passed by riding a black horse, and when he was out of sight a yeoman came pricking after as fast as he might, and, seeing Sir Percivale, asked if he had seen a Knight mounted on a black horse. ' Yes, Sir, forsooth,' answered Sir Percivale, ' why do you want to know ? ' ' Ah, Sir, that is my steed which he has taken from me, and wherever my lord shall find me, he is sure to slay me.' ' Well,' said Sir Percivale, ' thou seest that I am on foot, but had I a good horse I would soon come up with him.' ' Take my hackney,' said the yeoman, ' and do the best you can, and I shall follow you on foot to watch how you speed.' So Sir Percivale rode as fast as he might, and at last he saw that Knight, and he hailed him. The Knight turned and set his spear against Sir Percivale, and smote the hackney in the breast, so that he fell dead to the earth, and Sir Percivale fell with him ; then the Knight rode away. But Sir Percivale was mad with wrath, and cried to the Knight to return and fight with him on foot,