THE FAIR MAID OF ASTOLAT 119
upon his helmet, and Sir Lancelot has never borne the token of any lady.'
' Let him be,' said Sir Arthur, ' you will find out his name, and see him do greater deeds yet, before he departs.' And the Knights that were fighting against the King's party took heart again, for before they feared they would be beaten. But when Sir Bors saw this, he called unto him the Knights that were of kin to Sir Lancelot, and they banded together to make a great charge, and threw Sir Lancelot's horse to the ground, and by misfortune the spear of Sir Bors broke, and its head was left in Sir Lancelot's side. When Sir Lavaine saw that, he unhorsed the King of Scots, and brought his horse to Sir Lancelot, and helped him mount thereon and gave him a spear, with which Sir Lancelot smote Sir Bors to the earth and Sir Ector de Maris, the foster-father of King Arthur, and buffeted sorely the Knights that were with them. Afterward he hurled himself into the thick melee of them all, and did the most wonderful deeds that ever were heard of. And Sir Lavaine likewise did well that day, for he smote down full two Knights of the Round Table. ' Mercy,' again cried Sir Gawaine to Arthur, ' I marvel what Knight that is with the red sleeve.'
'That you shall know soon,' said King Arthur, and commanded that the trumpets should be blown, and declared that the prize belonged to the Knight with the white shield, who bare the red sleeve, for he had unhorsed more than thirty Knights. And the Kings and Lords who were of his party came round him and thanked him for the help he had given them, by which means the honours of the day had been theirs.
' Fair Lords,' said Sir Lancelot, ' if I have deserved thanks, I have paid for them sorely, for I shall hardly escape with my life, therefore I pray you let me depart, for my hurt is grievous.' Then he groaned piteously, and galloped from them to a wood's side, followed by Sir Lavaine, ' Oh help me, Sir Lavaine,' said he, ' to get