ADVENTURES OF WILLIAM SHORT NOSE 287
brought him opposite Desrame the King. ' Who are you ? ' asked Desrame, struck by his face, for there was nothing royal in his dress or his arms.
' I am Rainouart, vassal of "William whom I love, and if you do hurt to him I will do hurt to you also.'
' Rainouart, I am your father,' cried Desrame, and he besought him to forswear Christianity and to become a follower of Mahomet; but Rainouart turned a deaf ear, and challenged him to continue the combat. Desrame was no match for his son, and was soon struck from his horse. ' Oh, wretch that I am,' said Rainouart to himself, ' I have slain my brothers and wounded my father—it is my staff which has done all this evil,' and he flung it far from him.
He would have been wiser to have kept it, for in a moment three giants surrounded him, and he had only his fists with which to beat them back. Suddenly his hand touched the sword buckled on him by Gibourc, which he had forgotten, and he drew it from its scabbard, and with three blows clove the heads of the giants in twain. Meanwhile King Desrame took refuge in the only ship that had not been sunk by the Christians, and spread its sails. ' Come back whenever you like, fair father,' called Rainouart after him.
The fight was over ; the Saracens acknowledged that they were beaten, and the booty they had left behind them was immense. The army, wearied with the day's toil, lay down to sleep, but before midnight Rainouart was awake and trumpets called to arms. ' Vivian must be buried,' said he, ' and then the march to Orange will begin.'
Rainouart rode at the head, his sword drawn, prouder than a lion; and as he went along a poor peasant threw himself before him, asking for vengeance on some wretches who had torn up a field of beans which was all he had with which to feed his family. Rainouart ordered the robbers to be brought before him and had them executed.