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"The man
that met you, though, was a strong and well-trained knight, Sir Selises
by name, so you have no dishonor. Rest here and get yourself in
condition for to-morrow's work."

"I shall not fail you if I can bestride my horse," said Gareth.

"What party is it best for us to join to-morrow?" asked Tristram.

"Against King Arthur, is my advice," said Palamides. "Lancelot and many
other good men will be on his side, and the more men of prowess we meet
the more honor we will win."

"Well and knightly spoken," said Tristram. "Hard blows is what we court.
Your counsel is well given."

"So think we all," said the others.

On the morrow, when day had broken, they arrayed themselves in green
trappings, with shields and spears of green, while Isolde and her three
damsels wore dresses of the same color. For the ladies Tristram found
seats in a bay window of a priory which overlooked the field, and from
which they could see all that took place. This done, they rode straight
to the party of the king of Scots.

When Arthur saw this he asked Lancelot who were these knights and the
queenly lady who came with them.

"That I cannot say for certain. Yet if Tristram and Palamides be in this
country then it is they and La Belle Isolde."

Then Arthur turned to Kay and said,--

"Go to the hall and see how many Knights of the Round Table are missing,
and bring me word."

Kay did so, and found by the roll of knights that ten were
wanting,--Tristram, Dinadan, and eight others.

"Then I dare say," remarked Arthur, "that some of these are here to-day
against us."

The tournament began with a combat in which two knights, cousins to
Gawaine, named Sir Edward and Sir Sadok, rode against the king of Scots
and the king of North Wales and overthrew them both. This Palamides saw,
and in return he spurred upon these victorious knights and hurled both
of them from their saddles.

"What knight is that in green?" asked Arthur. "He is a mighty jouster."

"You will see him do better yet," said Gawaine. "It was he that unhorsed
me and seven others two days ago."

As they stood talking Tristram rode into the lists on a black horse, and
within a few minutes he smote down four knights of Orkney, while Gareth
and Dinadan each unhorsed a good knight.

"Yonder is another fellow of marvellous arm," said Arthur; "that green
knight on the black horse."

"He has not begun his work yet," said Gawaine. "It is plain that he is
no common man."

And so it proved, for Sir Tristram pushed fiercely into the press,
rescued the two kings who had been unhorsed, and did such mighty work
among the opposing party that all who saw him marvelled to behold one
man do so many valiant deeds. Nor was the career of Palamides less
marvellous to the spectators.

King Arthur, who watched them both with admiring eyes, likened Tristram
to a furious lion, and Palamides to a maddened leopard, and Gareth and
Dinadan, who seconded them strongly, to eager wolves. So fiercely did
Tristram rage, indeed, among the knights of Orkney that at length they
withdrew from the field, as no longer able to face him.

Then loud went up the cry of the heralds and the common people,--

"The green knight has beaten all Orkney!" And the heralds took account
that not less than fifty knights had been smitten down by the four
champions in green.

"This will not do," said Arthur. "Our party will be overmatched if these
fellows rage on at such a rate. Come, Lancelot, you and Hector and
Bleoberis must try your hands, and I will make a fourth."

"Let it be so," answered Lancelot. "Let me take him on the black horse,
and Bleoberis him on the white. Hector shall match him on the gray
horse" (Sir Gareth).

"And I," said Arthur, "will face the knight on the grizzled steed" (Sir
Dinadan).

With this conversation they armed and rode to the lists. Here Lancelot
rode against Tristram and smote him so hard a blow that horse and man
went to the earth, while his three companions met with the same ill
fortune from their new antagonists.

This disaster raised a cry throughout the lists: "The green knights are
down! Rescue the green knights! Let them not be held prisoners!" For the
understanding was that any unhorsed knight not rescued by his own
strength or by his fellows should be held as prisoner.

Then the king of North Wales rode straight to Tristram, and sprang from
his horse, crying,--

"Noble knight, I know not of what country you are, but beg you to take
my horse, for you have proved yourself worthier to bestride it than I
am."

"Many thanks," said Tristram. "I shall try and do you as welcome a turn.
Keep near us, and I may soon win you another horse."

Then he sprang to the saddle, and meeting with King Arthur struck him so
fierce a sword-blow on the helm that he had no power to keep his saddle.

"Here is the horse promised you," cried Tristram to the king of North
Wales, who was quickly remounted on King Arthur's horse.

Then came a hot contest around the king, one party seeking to mount him
again and the other to hold him prisoner. Palamides thrust himself, on
foot, into the press, striking such mighty blows to the right and left
that the whole throng were borne back before him. At the same time
Tristram rode into the thickest of the throng of knights and cut a way
through them, hurling many of them to the earth.

This done, he left the lists and rode to his pavilion, where he changed
his horse and armor; he who had gone forth as a green knight coming back
to the fray as a red one.

When Queen Isolde saw that Tristram was unhorsed, and lost sight of him
in the press, she wept greatly, fearing that some harm had come to him.
But when he rode back she knew him in an instant, despite his red
disguise, and her heart swelled anew with joy as she saw him with one
spear smite down five knights. Lancelot, too, now knew him, and withdrew
from the lists lest he should encounter him again.

All this time Tristram's three friends had not been able to regain their
saddles, but now he drove back the press and helped them again to horse,
and, though they knew him not in his new array, they aided him with all
their knightly prowess.

When Isolde, at her window, saw what havoc her chosen knight was making,
she leaned eagerly forth and laughed and smiled in delight. This
Palamides saw, and the vision of her lovely and smiling countenance
filled his soul so deeply with love's rejoicing that there seemed to
flow into him the strength and spirit of ten men, and, with a shout of
knightly challenge, he pressed forward, smiting down with spear and
sword every man he encountered. For his heart was so enamoured by the
vision of that charming face that Tristram or Lancelot would then have
had much ado to stand before him.

"Truly Palamides is a noble warrior," said Tristram, when he beheld
this. "I never saw him do such deeds as he has done this day, nor heard
of his showing such prowess."

"It is his day," said Dinadan, simply. But to himself he said, "If you
knew for whose love he does these valorous deeds, you would soon be in
the field against him."

"It is a crying pity that so brave a knight should be a pagan," said
Tristram.

"It is my fancy," said Dinadan to himself, "that you may thank Queen
Isolde for what you have seen; if she had not been here to-day that
shouting throng would not be giving Palamides the palm of the tourney."

At this juncture Lancelot came again into the field, and hearing the
outcry in favor of Palamides he set his spear in rest and spurred upon
him. Palamides, seeing this, and having no spear, coolly awaited
Lancelot, and as he came up smote his spear in two with a sword-stroke.
Then he rushed upon him and struck his horse so hard a blow in the neck
that the animal fell, bearing his rider to the ground.

Loud and fierce was the outcry then: "Palamides the Saracen has smitten
Sir Lancelot's horse! It is an unknightly deed!"

And Hector de Maris, seeing his brother Lancelot thus unfairly
dismounted, rushed upon Palamides in a rage, and bore him from his horse
with a mighty spear-thrust.

"Take heed to yourself, sirrah," cried Lancelot, springing towards him
sword in hand. "You have done me a sorry deed, and by my knightly honor
I will repay you for it."

"I humbly beg your pardon, noble sir," answered Palamides. "I have done
so much this day that I have no power or strength left to withstand you.
Forgive me my hasty and uncourteous deed, and I promise to be your
knight while I live."

"You have done marvellously well indeed," said Lancelot. "I understand
well what power moves you. Love is a mighty mistress, and if she I love
were here to-day you should not bear away the honor of the field, though
you have nobly won it. Beware that Tristram discovers not your love, or
you may repent it. But I have no quarrel with you, and will not seek to
take from you the honor of the day."

So Lancelot suffered Palamides to depart, and mounted his own horse
again, despite twenty knights who sought to hinder him. Lancelot,
Tristram, and Palamides did many more noble deeds before that day's end,
and so great became the medley at length that the field seemed a dense
mass of rearing and plunging horses and struggling knights.

At length Arthur bade the heralds to blow to lodging and the fray ended.
And since Palamides had been in the field from first to last, without
once withdrawing, and had done so many, noble and valiant deeds, the
honor and the prize for the day were unanimously voted him, a judgment
which Arthur and the kings of his counsel unanimously confirmed.

But when Palamides came to understand that the red knight who had
rescued him was Sir Tristram his heart was glad, for all but Dinadan
fancied he had been taken prisoner. Much was the talk upon the events of
the day, and great the wonder of king and knights at the remarkable
valor of the Saracen knight.

"And yet I well know," said Lancelot, "that there was a better knight
there than he. And take my word for it, this will be proved before the
tournament ends."

This also thought Dinadan, and he rallied his friend Tristram with
satirical tongue.

"What the fiend has ailed you to-day?" he asked.



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