THE BOOK OF ROMANCE - online children's book

King Arthur, His Court and Knights in the Age of Chivalry, by Andrew Lang

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'I cannot take you at all,' answered the carter, 'for I am come to fetch wood for my lord Sir Meliagraunce.'
' It is with him that I would speak.'
'You shall not go with me,' said the carter, but hardly had he uttered the words when Sir Lancelot leapt up into the cart, and gave him such a buffet that he fell dead on the ground. At this sight the other carter cried that he would take the Knight where he would if he would only spare his life. ' Then I charge you,' said Sir Lancelot, 'that you bring me to the castle gate.' So the carter drove at a great gallop, and Sir Lancelot's horse, who had espied his master, followed the cart, though more than fifty arrows were standing in his body. In an hour and a half they reached the castle gate, and were seen of Guenevere and her ladies, who were standing in a window. ' Look, Madam,' cried one of her ladies, ' in that cart yonder is a goodly armed Knight. I suppose he is going to his hanging.'
' Where ? ' asked the Queen, and as she spoke she es­pied that it was Sir Lancelot, and that his horse was following riderless. ' Well is he that has a trusty friend,' said she, 'for a noble Knight is hard pressed when he rides in a cart,' and she rebuked the lady who had declared he was going to his hanging. ' It was foul talking, to liken the noblest Knight in the world to one going to a shameful death.' By this Sir Lancelot had come to the gate of the castle, and he got down and called till the castle rang with his voice. ' Where is that false traitor Sir Meliagraunce, Knight of the Round Table ? Come forth, you and your company, for I, Sir Lancelot du Lake, am here to do battle with you.' Then he burst the gate open wide, and smote the porter who tried to hold it against him. When Sir Meliagraunce heard Sir Lancelot's voice, he ran into Queen Guenevere's cham­ber, and fell on his knees before her: { Mercy, Madam, mercy! I throw myself upon your grace.'
'■ What ails you now ? ' said she ; ' of a truth I might
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