120 THE FAIR MAID OF ASTOLAT
this spear's head out of my side, for it is killing me.' But Sir Lavaine feared to touch it, lest Sir Lancelot should bleed to death. ' I charge you,' said Sir Lancelot,' if you love me draw out the head,' so Sir Lavaine drew it out. And Sir Lancelot gave a great shriek, and a marvellous grisly groan, and his blood flowed out so fast, that he fell into a swoon. ' Oh what shall I do ?' cried Sir Lavaine, and he loosed Sir Lancelot's helm and coat of mail, and turned him so that the wind might blow on him, but for full half an hour he lay as if he had been dead. And at last Sir Lancelot opened his eyes, and said, ' 0 Lavaine, help me on my horse, for two miles from this place there lives a hermit who once was a Knight of the Round Table, and he can heal my wounds.' Then Sir Lavaine, with much ado, helped him on his horse, and brought him bleeding to the hermit. The hermit looked at him as he rode up, leaning piteously on his saddle-bow, and he thought that he should know him, but could not tell who he was for the paleness of his face, till he saw by a wound on his cheek that it was Sir Lancelot.
' You cannot hide your name from me,' said the hermit, ' for you are the noblest Knight in the world, and well I know you to be Sir Lancelot.'
' Since you know me, Sir,' said he, 'help me for God's sake, and for death or life put me out of this pain.'
' Fear nothing,' answered the hermit, ' your pain will soon be gone,' and he called his servants to take the armour off the Knight, and laid him in bed. After that he dressed the wound, and gave him good wine to drink, and Sir Lancelot slept and awoke free of his pain. So we will leave him to be healed of his wound, under the care of the hermit, and go back to King Arthur.
Now it was the custom in those days that after a tourney was finished, a great feast should be held at which both parties were assembled, so King Arthur sent to ask the King of Northgalis, where was the Knight with the red sleeve, who had fought on his side. ' Bring