108 THE FIGHT FOR THE QUEEN
made oath before the King that the Queen had done to death his cousin Sir Patrise, and he would prove it on her Knight's body, let who would say the contrary. Sir Bors likewise made answer that Queen Guenevere had done no wrong, and that he would make good with his two hands. ' Then get you ready,' said Sir Mador. ' Sir Mador,' answered Sir Bors, ' I know you for a good Knight, but I trust to be able to withstand your malice; and I have promised King Arthur and my lady the Queen that I will do battle for her to the uttermost, unless there come forth a better Knight than I am.'
' Is that all ? ' asked Sir Mador; ' but you must either fight now or own that you are beaten.'
' Take your horse,' said Sir Bors, ' for I shall not tarry long,' and Sir Mador forthwith rode into the field with his shield on his shoulder, and his spear in his hand, and he went up and down crying unto King Arthur, ' Bid your champion come forth if he dare.' At that Sir Bors was ashamed, and took his horse, and rode to the end of the lists. But from a wood hard by appeared a Knight riding fast on a white horse, bearing a shield full of strange devices. When he reached Sir Bors he drew rein and said, ' Fair Knight, be not displeased, but this battle must be to a better Knight than you. For I have come a great journey to fight this fight, as I promised when I spoke with you last, and I thank you heartily for your goodwill.' So Sir Bors went to King Arthur and told him that a Knight had come who wished to do battle for the Queen. ' What Knight is he ? ' asked the King.
' That I know not,' said Sir Bors; ' but he made a covenant with me to be here this day, and now I am discharged,' said Sir Bors.
Then the King called to that Knight and asked him if he would fight for the Queen. ' For that purpose I came hither,' replied he, ' and therefore, Sir King, delay me no longer, for as soon as I have ended this battle I