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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206 THE BATTLE OF RONCEVAILES
would dare to attack Roland ? No one. March on, sire ; why make halt ? France is still distant.'
Count Roland suffered grievous pain and a great wound was across his forehead. He sounded his horn for the third time, and Charles and his Franks heard it. ' That horn carries far,' said he, and Kaimes answered, ' It is Roland who is calling for help. A battle is going on; some one has betrayed him. Quick, sire, he has called often enough. Sound your war-cry and hasten to his help.' Then the Emperor ordered his trumpets to be sounded, and his army gathered itself together and girded on their armour with what speed they might, and each man said to the other, ' If only we are in time to save Roland from death, what blows we will strike for him.' Alas, they are too late, too late !
But before the march back there was something for the Emperor to do. He sent for his head cook to appear in his presence, and he delivered the traitor Ganelon into his custody, and told him to treat his prisoner as he liked, for he had shown himself unworthy to mix with warriors. So the head cook did as he pleased with him, and beat him with sticks and put a heavy chain about his neck. And thus he guarded him till Charles came back.
How tall the mountains seemed to the returning army! how deep the valleys, and how swift the streams! but all the while the trumpets were sounded, that Roland might hear them and take heart. And as he rode, Charles had only one thought, ' If Roland is slain, shall I find one man alive ?'
Roland stood looking at the mountains and at the plains, and wherever his eyes fell his dead comrades lay before him. Loudly he mourned their loss, and then he turned to Oliver, saying, ' Brother, we must die here with the rest of the Franks.' He spurred his horse and blew his horn, and dashed into the ranks of the foe, shout­ing 'Montjoie! Montjoie !' The remnant that was left closed eagerly round him, and the battle-cries were fierce
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