72 THE QUEST OF THE HOLY GRAAL
seated on a white horse and clad in white armour. And they came together with their spears, and Sir Bagdemagus was borne from his horse, for the shield covered him not at all. Therewith the strange Knight alighted and took the white shield from him, and gave it to the squire, saying, 'Bear this shield to the good Knight Sir Galahad that thou hast left in the Abbey, and greet him well from me.'
' Sir,' said the squire, ' what is your name ? '
'Take thou no heed of my name,' answered the Knight, 'for it is not for thee to know, nor for any earthly man.'
'Now, fair Sir,' said the squire, 'tell me for what cause this shield may not be borne lest ill befalls him who bears it.'
' Since you have asked me,' answered the Knight, 'know that no man shall bear this shield, save Sir Galahad only.'
Then the squire turned to Bagdemagus, and asked him whether he were wounded or not. ' Yes, truly,' said he, ' and I shall hardly escape from death'; and scarcely could he climb on to his horse's back when the squire brought it near him. But the squire led him to a monastery that lay in the valley, and there he was treated of his wounds, and after long lying came back to life. After the squire had given the Knight into the care of the monks, he rode back to the Abbey, bearing with him the shield. ' Sir Galahad,' said he, alighting before him, 'the Knight that wounded Bagdemagus sends you greeting, and bids you bear this shield, which shall bring you manv adventures.'
'Now blessed be God and fortune,' answered Sir Galahad, and called for his arms, and mounted his horse, hanging the shield about his neck. Then, followed by the squire, he set out. They rode straight to the hermitage, where they saw the White Knight who had sent the shield to Sir Galahad. The two Knights saluted