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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LANCELOT AND GUENEVERE 145
on his white horse. ' Hold and abide !' commanded the King, and Sir Lancelot rode up before him, and told before them all how Sir Meliagraunce had treated him. When the King and Queen and all the Lords heard Sir Lancelot's tale, their hearts stirred within them with anger, and the Queen took her seat by the King, in great trust of her champion. Sir Lancelot and Sir Meliagraunce pre­pared themselves for battle, and took their spears, and came together as thunder, and Sir Lancelot bore Sir Melia­graunce right over his horse. Then Sir Lancelot jumped down, and they fought on foot, till in the end Sir Melia­graunce was smitten to the ground by a blow on his head from his enemy. ' Most noble Knight, save my life,' cried he, ' for I yield myself unto you, and put myself into the King's hands and yours.' Sir Lancelot did not know what to answer, for he longed above anything in the world to have revenge upon him; so he looked at the Queen to see whether she would give him any sign of what she would have done. The Queen wagged her head in answer, and Sir Lancelot knew bv that token that she would have him dead, and he understood, and bade Sir Meliagraunce get up, and continue the fight. ' Nay,' said Sir Meliagraunce, ' I will never rise till you accept my surrender.' 'Listen,' answered Sir Lancelot. 'I will leave my head and left side bare, and my left arm shall be bound behind me, and in this guise I will fight with you.' At this Sir Meliagraunce started to his feet, and cried, ' My lord Arthur, take heed to this offer, for I will take it, therefore let him be bound and unarmed as he has said.' So the Knights disarmed Sir Lancelot, first his head and then his side, and his left hand was bound behind his back, in such a manner that he could not use his shield, and full many a Knight and lady marvelled that Sir Lancelot would risk himself so. And Sir Meliagraunce lifted his sword on high and would have smitten Sir Lancelot on his bare head, had he not leapt lightly to one side, and, before Sir Meliagraunce could right himself, 10
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