. ..... .. ...
DY- E -EDWARDJON
ILIYvTRiTJD) Y RBBERT HOPE
T NEISON -JONS
As treasures that men seek,
Deep-buried in sea-sands,
Vanish if they but speak,
And elude their eager hands,
So ye escape and slip,
O songs, and fade away,
When the word is on my lip
To interpret what ye say.......
I have but marked the place,
But half the secret told,
That, following this slight trace,
Others may find the gold.
H. W. LONGFELLOW.
(Prelude to Translations.)
THE additions, alterations, and omissions that I have
ventured, or found myself obliged, to make are per-
haps too numerous to render it quite justifiable to
describe these stories as adaptations. Readers of
Spenser and Sir Thomas Malory will, however, readily
recognize the sources of my borrowings. For The
Courteous Knight, I have utilized parts of Books VI.
and VII. of "The Faery Queen;" Books II. and
IV. supplied matter for The Treasure- House of
Mammon and The Wooing of Canace; "Proso-
popoia," or "Mother Hubbard's Tale," for The
Sham King. For the other stories I am indebted
to the "Morte d'Arthur." Malory's La Cote Male
Taile I have renamed Sir Crooked Coat, and the
Blatant Beast the Beast of the Thousand Tongues.
My reason for making such changes is recollection
of my preference as a child for stories into which
only "easy" names were introduced.
THE COURTEOUS KNIGHT-
I. How Sir Calidore Undertook a Great Adven-
ture, ...... ...
i. How Sir Calidore Overthrew an Evil Custom,
III. How Sir Calidore Met a King's Son and
Granted Him His Request,
Iv. How Sir Calidore Came Upon the Beast He
v. How Sir Calidore Turned Shepherd, ...
vi. How Sir Calidore Rescued the Maiden He
Loved from very Grievous Danger,
vii. How Sir Calidore Accomplished His Task, ...
vin. How Pastorella Learned Who Were Her Pa-
rents, ... ... ... ... 49
ix. How Sir Tristram Saw a Vision, ... ... 53
THE SHAM KING, ... ... ... ... 56
THE WOOING OF CANACE, ... ... ... 84
How KING ARTHUR CONQUERED ROME, ... ... 96
KING HERMANCE'S AVENGER, ... ... ... 126
THE TREASURE-HOUSE OF MAMMON, ... ... 139
SIR CROOKED COAT, ... ... ... ... 157
TH E* COVRTEOV5 I I G HT
OW- SIR CALIDORE.VNDER-
-TOOKr A (iREATADVENTVPRE'
There is a virtue men call courtesy, and none who
lack it can hope to prosper in their dealings. This
virtue is called courtesy because it has its home in the
courts of wise kings and noble queens. Never was there
a court in which courtesyflourished more than in that of
Queen Gloriana in Fairyland, and of all the knights and ladies that were
there the most courteous was Sir Calidore, of whom this story treats.
SIR CALIDORE was so gracious in his speech,
and so comely in his appearance, that every heart
was open to him; and though he was gentle in both
thought and deed, he had, in many fights, of which the
fame was spread far and wide, proved himself a daunt-
less and stout-hearted knight. So he found favour in
the eyes of all. Yet he did not, as others do, use un-
wisely or for base ends the favour he won, but he strove
TH E* COVRTEOV5 I I G HT
OW- SIR CALIDORE.VNDER-
-TOOKr A (iREATADVENTVPRE'
There is a virtue men call courtesy, and none who
lack it can hope to prosper in their dealings. This
virtue is called courtesy because it has its home in the
courts of wise kings and noble queens. Never was there
a court in which courtesyflourished more than in that of
Queen Gloriana in Fairyland, and of all the knights and ladies that were
there the most courteous was Sir Calidore, of whom this story treats.
SIR CALIDORE was so gracious in his speech,
and so comely in his appearance, that every heart
was open to him; and though he was gentle in both
thought and deed, he had, in many fights, of which the
fame was spread far and wide, proved himself a daunt-
less and stout-hearted knight. So he found favour in
the eyes of all. Yet he did not, as others do, use un-
wisely or for base ends the favour he won, but he strove
Sir Calidore's Task.
always to give pleasure to good men, and to overthrow
that which was evil. Liars and flatterers he hated;
true speaking and honest dealing he loved.
It pleased Queen Gloriana to lay twelve great tasks
upon the twelve most noble knights that were at her
court, and of whom Sir Calidore was one and Sir
Artegall another. So these twelve knights set out
upon their tasks, each in his turn; and as Sir Calidore
rode forth, he met Sir Artegall returning to the queen's
"Hail, most noble knight!" said Sir Calidore.
"Gladly would I hear how you have fared."
Then Sir Artegall told him all that he had done,
commencing at the beginning and going on to the
end of the story of his gallant exploits.
"A happy knight," cried Sir Calidore--"a happy
knight indeed is he who can recount such deeds as
these, for sure I am that they will make your name
famous as long as the world endures. And a happy
knight are you whose task is over, while I, alas, am
but now beginning mine. Strange and unknown perils
lie before me, and the oath I have taken to the queen
binds me to go upon my way alone."
Then Sir Artegall asked what this task might be,
and Sir Calidore answered that he was sent against a
monster called the Beast of the Thousand Tongues-
the father of all slanders, calumnies, and evil rumours.
Where or how he was to find this monster he did
not know, for it ranged up and down very swiftly
and very stealthily; but he had vowed, and was
ready, to travel through the whole world in search
The Beast of the Thousand Tongues. 1
of it, and he would not rest till he had found and
"Now, what manner of beast is this?" asked good
"A vile, misshapen monster," said Sir Calidore.
"Its father is Cerberus, the three-headed dog that
guards the gate of Hades; its mother, that filthy
beast, part goat, part snake, part lion, the Chimera,
that haunts the Stygian fen. There the Beast of the
Thousand Tongues-for it has a thousand tongues-
was bred; and thence, when it had attained its full
strength, it came forth, to be the scourge and plague
of the world. Many a good knight and many a true
lady have been attacked by it, and countless folk have
been cruelly tormented and done to death by its ven-
"In truth this is passing strange," Sir Artegall
replied. "I myself, when I was leaving an island
they call the Savage Island, saw just such a monster.
It had a thousand tongues and a thousand voices,
though all those voices were at one in their malignity
and rancour. It cried out against me, and made as
though it would devour me. Knowing myself to be
proof against all danger from so evil a beast, I rode
on my way; and the less I heeded it, the more vile
poison it spat out against me."
I doubt not that the beast you saw is the beast I
seek," answered Sir Calidore; "and I thank you right
heartily for these tidings, the first I have had of it
since I set out upon my adventure. Now indeed
I dare hope I shall accomplish my task."
12 The Squire's Marvellous Tale.
I wish you good speed," said Sir Artegall, and I
pray you may come safe out of the great danger that
lies before you."
So they bade each other farewell, and each went
his own way.
Sir Calidore had not ridden far before he saw a
squire who was bound hand and foot to a tree, and
who cried piteously for help. Sir Calidore straight-
way set him free, and asked what misdeed or mishap
had brought him into so wretched a plight.
Then the squire told a marvellous tale. He had
done nothing worthy of punishment, but had fallen
upon strange misfortune. Near at hand the road ran
through a narrow valley guarded by a strong castle,
and the men who kept the castle shaved off the beard
of every knight and the locks of every lady that came
into the valley.
Now," said Sir Calidore, this is indeed a shameful
custom, and I will overthrow it. Would that I knew
who keeps this castle, and why these men dare take
this strange toll."
Then the squire told him that the castle belonged to
a lady whose name was Briana, the proudest lady that
ever lived. She had fallen in love with a knight called
Sir Crudor, and he, being full of fantastic insolence,
just as the lady was filled with evil pride, had bidden
her buy his love with a gift. The price of his love was
a mantle lined with knights' beards and ladies' locks.
So Briana built this strong castle by the pass, placed in
it a seneschal whose name was Maleffort, and entrusted
to him the task of providing the mantle Sir Crudor
Sir Calidore's Resolve. 13
demanded. The squire was journeying with the dam-
sel he loved, when Maleffort fell upon them, bound him
to a tree, and carried the lady off to the castle.
'By my knighthood," said Sir Calidore, "though I
am bound upon the greatest adventure I ever under-
took, or shall ever undertake, it were shame to me not
to turn aside and rescue this damsel."
No vices dishonour a knight more than
pride and cruelty; nor can there be any
folly greater than the folly of those cruel
and proud men who show no mercy, for-
getting that life is full of strange chances
and vicissitudes, and that they themselves
may some day fall into slavery and un-
speakable misery, as has happened to many
great kings and mighty lords: which things,
as this story shows, Sir Calidore made
plain to certain miscreants.
S Sir Calidore spoke,
doleful shrieks were
heard, and looking
up he saw Maleffort
dragging the damsel
to the castle. Dash-
ing forward, Sir Calidore bade
the ruffian defend himself. Maleffort, thinking it was
only the squire whom he had made prisoner, did not
look round, but jeered at him, and asked if he thought
his beard would ransom the damsel's locks. Then he
turned, and seeing who his assailant was, he drew his
sword and flew at the knight.
Maleffort was a sturdy villain, and many furious
blows he dealt; but Sir Calidore was a skilful swords-
man, and guarded himself well, biding his time till the
seneschal's strength began to ebb. Then with a rush,
like the rush of a mill-stream when its bank gives way,
the knight bore down upon the churl. Maleffort could
not withstand the onslaught, but turned and fled to-
wards the castle. Swiftly after him sped Sir Calidore,
and so close was the pursuit that, as the porter opened
the gate to give Maleffort shelter, the knight smote off
the miscreant's head, and his body fell upon the very
threshold. Leaping in over it, Sir Calidore cut the
porter down, and sweeping aside the other knaves
who strove to bar the way, he came into the hall, where
stood the lady of the castle, Briana herself.
Sorely dismayed was Briana, yet foully did she rail
at Sir Calidore. She said he was no knight, but a
murderer, and a robber, and a shameless villain; and
she declared that had a knight and not a helpless
woman kept the castle, Sir Calidore would sorely have
rued the day he slew the seneschal.
Then Sir Calidore replied that he was no villain, but
a knight of the court of Queen Gloriana, and that he
had done nothing to bring upon the name of a true
knight such disgrace as the evil custom she had set up
brought upon her name. And truly," said he, a good
name is worth more to a lady than the love you seek
Then Briana reviled him in outrageous terms, calling
him a false, smooth-tongued courtier, and defied him
to battle in Sir Crudor's name. To which Sir Calidore
answered that Sir Crudor, had he been there to make
good this defiance with his sword, would have paid
dearly for it.
"Brave words, but only words," cried Briana. "Ah,
how the coward who utters them would fly if I called
Sir Crudor to my aid !"
As I am a true knight," said Sir Calidore, I would
give you leave to call me coward, and murderer, and
all else you misname me, did I not, in such case, await
Sir Crudor's coming."
Then Briana summoned a dwarf, and giving him the
ring she used as her privy token, bade him bear it
with all speed to Sir Crudor, and entreat him to rescue
her from one who had slain her seneschal, murdered
her guard, and held her in his power. So the dwarf
set off, and Sir Calidore stayed in the castle to await
Sir Crudor's coming; nor could Briana, though she
assailed him with such fell insults as no other knight
could have endured, provoke Sir Calidore into making
any unseemly reply.
At daybreak the dwarf returned. Sir Crudor had
vowed he would not taste bread till he had rescued
Briana and delivered her enemy, alive or dead, into her
hands. As a pledge that he would be true to his vow,
he sent her a steel cap he wore. Seeing this token, the
A Fearful Fight. 17
lady hurled bitterer and viler taunts than ever at Sir
Calidore; but he was not a whit dismayed, and having
armed himself, went out to meet his foe.
He had not waited long before he saw a knight
spurring in hot haste towards the castle, and never
doubting that this was the lady's champion, he set his
spear in rest and charged. They met with such force
and fury that both were thrown, horses and men. Sir
Calidore was the first to get upon his feet. There lay
his enemy, and easily could he have slain him, had he
not held it shameful to strike a man who was in a
swoon. In the meantime, Briana, who stood upon the
castle wall to see the fight, made most piteous lamenta-
tions, for she never doubted Sir Crudor was slain, and
she made as though she were ready to die with him.
At last Sir Crudor began to rise awkwardly and
unwillingly, like a tired man disturbed in his sleep.
Then he sank back on the ground again, for he was
shaken and hurt in every limb. At last he caught
sight of Sir Calidore. Anger rekindled his courage
and gave him fresh strength. So they began their
battle again on foot.
It was a fearful fight to see. Both were tried
swordsmen and expert; both were mad with rage, and
their fury waxed hotter and hotter, and their blows
heavier and heavier. Neither weariness nor thought
of mercy stayed their hands, but they struck and
warded and struck again, till their armour and their
helmets were flying in splinters, and the blood that
alone could slake their vengeance was flowing profusely.
At last it happened that each heaved his sword on
18 Sir Crudor sues for Mercy.
high for a mighty stroke that should win the day, and
Sir Calidore, being quicker of eye and nimbler than
his foe, was the first to strike. Down on Sir Crudor's
helmet crashed the sword, and down upon his knees
staggered Sir Crudor. Down, down again, blow upon
blow, came Sir Calidore's sword, till Sir Crudor was
beaten to the ground. Then the victorious knight
leapt upon his foe, and would have unlaced his helmet
and cut off his head, had not the wretch cried so
piteously for mercy that Sir Calidore's rage abated.
Staying his hand, he rebuked Sir Crudor for all the
unknightly deeds which he had done and made the
lady that kept the castle do.
"Yet," said Sir Calidore, "the mercy you sue for
shall be shown you, and I will spare your life, when
you have sworn to treat knights in knightly fashion
and to aid all ladies in distress."
The luckless Sir Crudor vowed he would do all this
and whatever else Sir Calidore required of him. Then
Sir Calidore allowed him to rise, and made him also
swear by the hilt of his sword that he would marry the
Lady Briana, releasing her from the vile condition he
had made, that she must buy his love with a mantle
lined with the beards of knights and the locks of ladies.
Sir Crudor having taken the oath, went to Briana
and told her what terms Sir Calidore had imposed on
him; and she, overcome with joy, came and flung her-
self at the feet of the courteous knight, and declared
herself his debtor both for her love and for her life.
Then the lady entertained the two knights with such
feasting and merry-making as could best show her
Sir Calidore refuses a Reward. 19
thankfulness, and in token of her gratitude she would
have made a free gift to Sir Calidore of the castle in
which they were. The courteous knight would take
no reward for such achievements as these, so the castle
was given to the squire and his damsel, as a recom-
pense for all they had suffered at Maleffort's hands;
and there Sir Calidore abode with them till his wounds
HOW-SIR- CALIDORE-NET'A- KING'S
SON- AND-R'ANTED-HIM- HIS
REOU EST -*&
No virtue so well befits a gallant knight or a lady worthy of a knight's
love as courtesy; for they that are courteous know how to bear themselves
to men of every degree, and by gracious words and gracious deeds they lay
upon the hearts of all a spell stronger than any spell an enchanter can lay:
of which things this story hath already given proof, and hath otherproofs
SIR CALIDORE, as soon as his wounds were
healed, went again upon his way in search of the
Beast of the Thousand Tongues. As he rode through
a forest he saw a tall lad on foot fighting with a knight
fully armed and mounted on a gallant steed. Beside
A Strange Encounter. 21
them stood a lady in dishevelled attire. As Sir
Calidore hastened up to ask why so ill-matched a pair
were fighting, with great amazement he saw the knight
fall from his saddle and lie dead upon the ground.
Looking at the lad, Sir Calidore saw that he was
scarcely seventeen years old. Yet he was tall, and
from his countenance Sir Calidore judged him to be
of noble race. His woodman's jacket was of Lincoln
green adorned with silver. He wore buskins of Span-
ish leather, with golden eyelets. A hunter's horn hung
by his side. He carried in his left hand a boar-spear,
and in his right a light dart, fellow to the dart with
which he had slain the knight.
How comes it, gentle youth," asked Sir Calidore,
"that you have dared to dye your hands in the blood
of a knight ? That you yourself are no knight your
array shows plainly."
I would never willingly break the laws of arms,"
answered the lad, "but I would break them again
rather than let any man strike me. I did not begin
this quarrel; it was not likely I should. As this lady
can bear witness, the knight struck me first."
Sir Calidore declared it was a shameful thing for
an armed knight to strike an unarmed man, and bade
the lad tell him how the quarrel began. He replied
that, as he was hunting in the forest, he met the pair.
The knight was riding, while the lady walked by the
side of his horse; and he beat her with his spear
whenever she lagged.
"I cried shame on his cruelty. He threatened to
whip me like the child I was. I answered no less
22 The Prince's Story.
angrily. Then he struck me with his spear, and I
hurled one of my darts at him. I think it must have
struck him near the heart-he died very quickly."
Sir Calidore wondered at the frankness with which
the lad told his story, but he wondered still more at
the strength with which the dart had been hurled so as
to pierce a coat of mail. Then, turning to the lady, he
asked if the lad's tale was true, and why the knight
had treated her so dishonourably.
She answered that all had happened just as the lad
had said, and that the knight had once loved her well;
but while they rode through the forest he had seen
another lady more beautiful than she was, and ever
after he had treated her with great scorn and cruelty.
"Now, surely," said Sir Calidore, all that befell this
dead knight befell him by his own fault. Often and
justly does it happen that men find themselves over-
thrown because they have wronged the weak."
Then addressing the lad, he declared that never be-
fore had he seen a youth who gave such sure promise
of becoming a noble knight, and he prayed him to say
what was his name and who were his parents.
"These are matters I would not have others know,"
answered the lad; "but I will speak freely to you, for
I know well you are a courteous and noble knight.
My name is Tristram. I am heir to that good king
Meliogras, who was my father, and reigned in Corn-
wall. When he died I was but a child, so my uncle
reigned in my stead. He sent me wherever he pleased,
to be taught all a prince should learn. But my mother,
Emmeline the Fair, feared my life might not be safe in
A Bold Request.
a kingdom where an uncle ruled on my behalf. A
wise man, of whom she took counsel, advised her to
send me away into another land, where no one would
know who I was or do me any hurt. This my mother
did, and here, in the country of Queen Gloriana, have I
been since I was ten years old, living with other noble
youths and learning all they learn. I know all the
terms of hunting and hawking, and I love nothing so
dearly as hunting in the greenwood. But the joy of
bearing arms I have never tasted, and I desire above
all things to taste it, as befits one who is of noble
birth and nearing manhood. Unworthy as I am of
such an honour, I pray you make me your squire, that
henceforth I may bear arms and learn their use. My
request is bold, but yet, I think, not unseemly, thanks
to the chance of battle which has given me the spoils
of this knight I killed."
"Fair youth," answered Sir Calidore, I should in-
deed be justly blamed if I thwarted your ambition to
bear arms, but I would I could bestow on you some
reward greater than that you ask."
Then, at his bidding, the lad knelt down and swore
that he would be faithful to his knight and true to all
ladies, and that he would never break faith or turn
back whatever danger might await him. Then Sir
Calidore dubbed him squire; and just as buds swell
and unfold their leaves and break into flowers, so
Childe Tristram's heart swelled with joy now that his
desire was granted.
Then Sir Calidore, after they had talked for a while
of noble knights and gallant deeds, made ready to go
24 A Brave-hearted Youth.
on his way, and Childe Tristram prayed to be allowed
to go with him, vowing that no danger should turn him
back, but that wherever the knight went he would
follow and do his duty as squire. Sir Calidore could
not rejoice enough at having found so brave-hearted a
youth; but he answered that his vow to his queen
bound him to achieve his task alone and without aid
from any one, and he assigned to Childe Tristram, as
fitting service, the care of the lady whose knight was
killed, for she was now left desolate in the forest, with
none to guard her.
So they bade each other farewell. Childe Tristram
lifted the lady on to the steed the dead knight had
ridden, and escorted her on her way, while Sir Cali-
dore rode on through the forest in search of the Beast
of the Thousand Tongues.
I OW-1,IR- CALIDORE- CAME-UPON
THE- BEAST-H -5 OVGHT H
The good poet long ago said, The gentle mind by gentle deeds is
known;" and all who inherit gentle blood should count gentle manners
as part of their inheritance, and be even as was Sir Calidore, of whose
courteous deeds this story has already related some, and will relate more,
as well as the proofs of his shining valour.
ASSING by a wood, Sir Calidore saw a
lodge made of green boughs, and seated
in it a gallant knight, Sir Calepine,
and his fair and noble lady, whose name
S was Serena. They bade Sir Calidore
dismount, and joining them, he told Sir
Calepine on what adventure he was bound, and what
adventures he had already met with. And so the two
knights sat and discoursed of feats of arms, while the
fair Serena wandered away into the meadows, and
fell to plucking flowers to make herself a garland.
Little was she thinking of the hidden dangers and
unforeseen misfortunes that beset mortals, when sud-
26 Sir Calidore comes upon the Beast.
denly out of the forest hard by rushed the Beast of the
Thousand Tongues, and snatching her up in its great
mouth, carried her off; but she cried so loudly for help
that the two knights heard her, and ran to the rescue.
The Beast, finding itself pursued, sped faster and
faster towards the forest, but it could not outrun Sir
Calidore. So nimble and light of foot was he that he
overtook the monster, and charging it with his drawn
sword, forced it to drop the fair Serena, and think no
more of prey, but only of safety. Small wonder was it
that the Beast of the Thousand Tongues had no heart
to turn and face so valiant a knight; but it was in vain
that it hoped he would stay by the fair Serena and
succour her. Seeing that Sir Calepine was close at
hand to help, Sir Calidore did not cease from the
pursuit, but pressed on after the monster through
woods and over hills, till they passed out of sight
of Sir Calepine and the fair Serena, for whom this
was but the beginning of many long toils and great
perils; for the lady was grievously wounded by the
teeth of the venomous monster, and they wandered far
and wide before they could find a leech to heal her.
At last she was healed by a good hermit who had
once been a gallant knight.
In the meantime the Beast that wrought them so
great harm fled fast away over hill and dale, through
great forests and across vast deserts, and Sir Calidore
still followed in its track. Grievous was the task
laid upon him; but great was the glory to be reaped
by achieving it. So on he went, and but little he
rested or allowed the monster to rest by day or by
In Hot Pursuit.
night; for he feared no danger that could lie before
him so much as he feared the disgrace that would fall
upon a knight who, for faintness of heart or for sloth-
fulness, should abandon such an adventure.
The Beast fled before Sir Calidore to the precincts
of the court, and thence to the great cities of the land;
but it could find no hiding-place in them, nor was there
any shelter for it in village or in farm, so hot was the
pursuit. At last it escaped into the open fields, where
in those days the shepherds dwelt, and there Sir Cali-
dore, while seeking for it, came upon a band of merry
shepherds piping and singing beside their flocks.
The knight asked these shepherds if they had seen
the Beast of the Thousand Tongues, and described the
monster to them. Not one of them had ever seen such
a beast, and they all hoped they never might see it.
Then one of the band, seeing that Sir Calidore was
worn and weary with his long chase, offered him what
rustic fare they had with them. So Sir Calidore sat
down and shared their simple meal.
Let all who read this story note what great mischances fall upon men
when they are least upon their guard; for just as the fair Serena, while
she busied herself with nothing but gathering flowers for a garland, was
carried off by the Beast of the Thousand Tongues, so while Sir Calidore
thought but to rest himself a while in the company of merry shepherds,
he was lured away from the task in which no dangers had availed to
HEN Sir Calidore had finished eating
he looked up, and suddenly he espied a
shepherdess sitting upon a little mound.
With her sat other shepherdesses, and
round them sat shepherd lads piping
and singing songs in honour of this
maiden, whose name was Pastorella.
Of all fair shepherdesses she was the fairest, and as
modest as she was fair. Every shepherd praised her;
many shepherds loved her, and none loved her so
ardently as Coridon; but all alike loved her in vain.
Seeing the beauty of this maid-for she was indeed
comely, and demure as a dove-Sir Calidore straight-
Among the Merry Shepherds. 29
way forgot all else in the world. He forgot his vow,
he forgot the task that had been laid upon him.
Never was a bird in a cage more helpless than love
made Sir Calidore. There he sat talking to the shep-
herds, but meaning every word for Pastorella's ear, till
the dew began to fall, and warn all that it was time to
drive home their flocks.
Nor was the dew the only warning that night was
near. A venerable old man in shepherd's guise came
to bid Pastorella take home her sheep. This she did,
and the other shepherds followed, leaving Sir Calidore
alone with the old man. Meliboeus was his name,
and it was the custom to call him Pastorella's father.
Pastorella herself supposed she was his daughter; but
she was not, as the older folk knew. Melibceus had
found her, an infant, lying alone and abandoned in the
open fields, and had taken her to his wife. They had
brought her up and cherished her as their own child.
Seeing Sir Calidore left thus alone, Melibceus invited
him to rest the night in his cottage, saying any lodg-
ing, however mean, was better than none. No offer of
stately hospitality could have pleased the knight better,
and so he went to the cottage, where Melibceus and
his wife made him very welcome. Thither, too, as the
knight foresaw, came Pastorella, after she had taken
her sheep to their fold.
When they had supped, and Sir Calidore had court-
eously thanked his hosts for their kindness, he fell to
praising the life shepherds lead, and declaring that he
envied the happy lot of all who lived like Melibceus,
sheltered from the storms of the world.
30 In Praise of a Shepherd's Life.
Melibceus answered that his lot was happy because
his possessions were scanty, and his wants only such as
the fields and his flocks supplied. Living as he did,
he neither harboured nor excited envy. "Cares and
riches grow side by side," he said; "but as my flocks
increase and multiply, my only care is to thank the
Almighty more and more for His bounty. There was
a time when I thought it a paltry and contemptible
thing to be a shepherd. For ten years I took hire and
worked in the garden of a mighty prince. There I
found out that the sweets of a peaceful life were worth
more than the glittering vanities of the world, and I
returned to my sheep and the homely calling I had
inherited and learned to love."
"And wisely done!" cried Sir Calidore. "I have
lived all my life amongst the great; I have beheld
their glory; but never till to-day did I know where
true happiness is to be found. I now loathe what I
used to admire most. I wish it had been, I wish it
might be, my fate to live as you live."
Melibceus answered that he wondered why men were
always railing at fate, since if the saying, "Wisdom is
most riches," be true, every man can make his own choice
between riches and poverty, happiness and misery.
If it be as you say," answered Sir Calidore, if we
are really free to shape our lives for ourselves, surely
you will grant me leave to rest here with you a little
while, till I can determine whether or not I will again
face such storms of misfortune and seas of trouble as
have beaten against me of late. I will be no burden-
some guest. Nay, I will reward you well."
TAE -FAIQ -
Sir Calidore turns Shepherd.
Then drawing forth his purse, he was about to show
the shepherd the great store of gold it held; but Meli-
bceus turned his eyes away, and declared he would not
so much as look at the vile dross that brought a curse
on all who handled it, and that might destroy the peace
in which he lived. But he told Sir Calidore that if he
did indeed desire to make trial of a shepherd's life, he
was welcome to take up his abode with them.
So Sir Calidore had his desire, which was to lead a
shepherd's life, that he might both find a refuge from
the cares of the world and be near the fair Pastorella,
whom he loved unspeakably. Day after day he went
with her to the fields, and he wooed her with all the
stately compliments that noble ladies look for from
their lovers. But Pastorella, since she was but a simple
country lass, understood neither his sighs nor his
sonnets, and she cared more for such merry ballads
as her neighbour, Colin Clout, was wont to sing, than
for anything Sir Calidore devised to give her pleasure.
This her lover quickly perceived, and laying aside his
knightly attire, he put on shepherd's clothes and carried
a shepherd's crook instead of a spear. Thus attired he
went into the fields every day, and diligently watched
Pastorella's sheep. Love even made a milkmaid of
him, though his hands were better fitted to wield
weapons than to milk ewes.
That Pastorella never loved poor Coridon, who loved
her so hotly, has been said already. Yet Coridon,
when he saw all Sir Calidore did, complained loudly to
his fellow-shepherds that Pastorella preferred a stranger
to him, her own true lover. Nor, if the truth be told,
did she any longer prize his rustic gifts-the young
sparrows he stole for her from their nests, the squirrels
he caught for her in the woods. So true is it, as the
Old love is little worth when new is more preferred."
But Sir Calidore was so far from bearing any malice
against the luckless Coridon, that he did all he could to
recommend his rival to Pastorella's good graces. He
even gave way and allowed Coridon to lead the dance
when Colin Clout piped, and to bear away the prize at
the shepherds' wrestling matches. Yet Sir Calidore, as
became a knight of the court of Queen Gloriana, was
better skilled than the shepherd lad both in wrestling
and in dancing.
At last it happened one day that the maid and her
two lovers were gathering nuts in the wood, when a
wild boar darted out of a thicket and rushed at Pas-
torella. Coridon's heart failed him, and he fled in fear
of his life. But Sir Calidore, though his only weapon
was a shepherd's crook, boldly faced the savage beast,
and so beat and battered its head that at last he dashed
out its brains.
And ever afterwards Pastorella's love for the knight
who delivered her from the wild boar grew greater
and greater; but she despised Coridon, saying he
had shown himself a coward, more fit to tend sheep
than to woo a maiden.
nOW -512-CALIDOREIRESCUED -THE
AI DEN- 1E- LOVED- fFROM-VERY
Some have thought that fortune, whom they picture as both blind and
malicious, envies lovers their happiness; but one thing at least is sure,
" The course of true love never did run smooth," and this story will now
show what heavy troubles fell ufon Sir Calidore and the fair Pastorella.
R CALIDORE one day had gone a-hunting,
and while he was far away in the forest a
band of brigands entered and laid waste
the country in which the shepherds dwelt.
Some of the folk they slew, but they carried many
away into captivity. Amongst the latter were Coridon,
Melibceus, and the fair Pastorella.
These brigands had their stronghold in a place
overgrown with woods and thickets through which
no pathway was to be found. The entrance to it ran
underground through dark and dreadful caves. In
one of these caves they had shut up their captives,
36 In the Hands of Brigands.
to await the coming of the slave merchants who
would buy them.
Grievous was the lot of these prisoners, and grievous
above all was the lot of the fair Pastorella. The hein-
ous miscreant who was captain of the band would fain
have married the sweet maid; but the more he pressed
his love upon her, the truer was her heart to Sir
Calidore. She used every device a woman's wit could
frame to guard herself against this new and terrible
danger. Indeed, she feigned sickness, and lay all day
and all night in the cave groaning piteously.
At last the slave merchants came to the island, and
were taken into the cave where Pastorella and the
other prisoners were. But the captain of the brigands
had thrown a great coverlet over Pastorella to hide
One of his lieutenants asked where the maiden was,
and said she must be sold with the rest, and the price
divided amongst the band, according to their mon-
To this the captain answered that, in the first place,
she was his prize, and he would not sell her; and, in the
second place, she was so weak and ill no one would care
to buy her as a slave. Then he lifted up the coverlet,
and there lay the maid, very pale and very weak. Yet
her beauty shone through all, just as a diamond shines
even in the dark, and the slave merchants one and all
declared she was the most beautiful damsel they had
ever seen. They refused to buy any of her compan-
ions unless she also was put up for sale.
The captain firmly declared that, come what might,
Pastorella should stay with him. His fellow-villains as
stoutly asserted that Pastorella should be either sold
or put to death.
Then the captain drew his sword, and there began
a great fight and a great confusion, for all the torches
that lighted the cave were soon dashed to the ground,
and the brigands fought in the dim darkness. And
some of the villains, fearing that their prisoners would
break loose, fell upon them mercilessly. They mur-
dered all they could lay hands upon. Coridon alone,
creeping craftily on his hands and knees, found his
way along the passage through the caves, and so
escaped into his own country. There he met that
noble knight, Sir Calidore, roaming up and down, dis-
tracted with grief; for when he returned from his
hunting, he found the country laid waste, the cottages
burned, and many dead bodies lying in the fields.
But he could find no one to tell him who had done
this dreadful deed. Seeing Coridon, he straightway
"Where is Pastorella ?"
"Alas, alas !" moaned Coridon. Woe is me that
I have lived to see this dreary day! Oh would that I
had died before I saw Pastorella die!"
"She is not dead !" shouted the knight. "Death
never would dare to harm so fair and virtuous a maid!"
Then Coridon told Sir Calidore how the brigands
had carried off Pastorella, and himself, and many
others, and would have sold them into slavery had
not a fight arisen; and how he alone escaped, while
all the other prisoners were murdered.
38 Szr Calidore to the Rescue.
Hearing this dreadful tale, Sir Calidore fell into a
frenzy of grief and rage, and was wellnigh ready to
kill himself now that Pastorella was lost to him. At
last, vowing he would either avenge her.wrongs or die
where she had died, he ordered Coridon to lead the
way back to the brigands' den.
Coridon was most unwilling to return to the dangers
he had left behind; but Sir Calidore pleaded so pit-
eously, and offered such rich rewards, that at last the
shepherd consented to be his guide. So off they set,
both alike dressed as shepherds, and carrying shep-
herds' crooks; but Sir Calidore wore his arms under-
neath his shepherd's frock.
When they were drawing near the cave, they saw a
flock of sheep on a hillside, and going up to them,
found that these were the very sheep that once had
belonged to Melibceus and his neighbours, and that
the brigands who were set to watch them were asleep
in the shade. Coridon begged Sir Calidore to kill
the keepers and carry off the sheep; but the knight
had a wiser plan. Gently waking the brigands, he
entered into conversation with them, pretending that
he and his comrade were two shepherds who had
run away from their old masters and were seeking
for new ones. The brigands at once and very gladly
offered to take them into their service, for, said they,
"We are no shepherds, we are fighting men; and
never yet did pillaging a town or harrying a country-
side give us the trouble these sheep have given."
So Sir Calidore and Coridon, having made their bar-
gain about wages and so forth, entered into the service
At Pastorella's Dungeon.
of the brigands, and drove the sheep home for them.
That night Sir Calidore plied his new masters with
such cunning questions that they told him all they
had been doing of late, and, to his unspeakable joy,
he learned that Pastorella was not dead.
When the fray began, the captain had held his
shield over the maiden, and thus guarded her till at
last he was cut down and fell holding her in his arms.
When the fight was over, and the brigands that survived
had lighted fresh torches and were carrying away the
dead bodies, Pastorella was found grievously wounded
and in a swoon, but still alive. So she remained with
them, a prisoner; and most cruelly was this unhappy
shepherdess treated by her keepers, for they blamed
her for all that had taken place.
At dead of night, when all the brigands were asleep,
Sir Calidore rose, and stripping off his shepherd's
frock, went sword in hand to the dungeon where
Pastorella was, and began to break down the door.
The brigand who guarded her was awakened by the
noise. Him Sir Calidore easily overcame and slew,
and taking the keys from the dead man's girdle, he
unlocked the door, crying, 0 Pastorella, Pastorella, I
When she first heard the clash of weapons outside
her dungeon, Pastorella had wellnigh swooned with
fear, thinking a fresh tumult was on foot amongst the
brigands; but she knew the knight's voice, and when
she heard him calling to her, it straightway seemed as
if she had come back out of the jaws of death to the
joys of life, and as if sorrow could never approach her
A Fierce Fight.
any more. So Pastorella came out of her dungeon,
and Sir Calidore embraced her and kissed her a thou-
sand times; for he had fallen into a
frenzy of joy, just as he had before
fallen into a frenzy of grief.
But by this time the other brigands
were roused and coming to the dun-
S geon. They beset Sir Calidore sorely.
He, standing in the doorway, de-
fended himself so bravely and so
manfully that very soon the passage
was choked with dead bodies, and his
enemies could no longer approach the
knight. So the brigands withdrew,
and Sir Calidore sheathed his sword
S and rested till it was day.
When the day dawned, Sir Calidore
took from one of the dead men a
fresh, sharp sword-for his own, he
feared, was blunted-and with this
sword he went to face the brigands, who were awaiting
him at the mouth of the cave. They fell upon him
pell-mell, like a pack of wolves; but he was so nimble
they could not even wound him, while he hewed down
and slew all that came within his reach, till at last
but a handful were left, and these, not daring to await
the vengeance of the knight, fled, and betook them-
selves to such hiding-places as they could find.
Then Sir Calidore went back into the cave, and
fetching Pastorella out, consoled and comforted her
with cheerful speeches such as no tongue was better
Vast Spoils and Great Treasures. 41
skilled to frame than his. When all thought of her
sorrows and captivity was banished from her mind, he
again left her for a little, while he fetched out of the
brigands' stronghold all the vast spoils and great treas-
ures they had stored there. Of these spoils he gave
the choicest-the diamonds, the pearls, the emeralds,
and the rubies-to Pastorella; the flocks and all else
that remained he bade Coridon take as his reward.
So they went away from that evil place right joyfully,
and Sir Calidore escorted Pastorella to the castle of
Belgard, the lord of which was his true friend, the good
It is not by steering a straight course, but by making such use as they can
of whatever winds may blow, and of the tides and currents of the sea, that
sailors reach the harbours for which they are bound. And so is it with
this story of Sir Calidore. For of the adventures which befell that brave and
courteous knight, andfor a while withheld him from his task, he made use
to display the shining virtues of which the fruit and the reward was that
he brought his perilous undertaking to a safe end.
IR BELLAMOUR, the lord of the
castle of Belgard, had in his youth
been as mighty a knight as ever put
spear in rest; and his lady, Claribell,
was as noble a lady as ever lived. Sir
Calidore was very dear to them, and,
both for his sake and in pity for her
misfortunes, they cherished Pastorella
as though she had been their own
child ; nor did they ever cease to marvel at the excel-
lent qualities they found in this virtuous young shep-
herdess. So for a while Sir Calidore abode at the
Sir Calidore's Strange Vision.
castle of Belgard in great contentment, till one night
he saw a strange vision.
He saw a most stately queen sitting in a pavilion.
To her came running in haste a lady, who said her
name was Inconstancy, and that all the world was hers
by right, in proof whereof she showed a most marvel-
lous pageant. At the head of it rode March, mounted
on a ram, carrying a spade, and scattering seeds as he
went. April followed, riding on a bull whose horns
were gilt and decked with fresh buds. Next came
May, a fair maiden with her lap full of flowers, borne
on high on the shoulders of two goodly youths. Then
came the other months, each in its turn, and each bear-
ing its proper emblems-July, with a raging lion as his
steed; August, arrayed in cloth-of-gold, and leading a
maiden crowned with ears of wheat; October, fresh
from treading the winepress; December, mounted on
a goat, and carrying a wassail-bowl; January, shiver-
ing with cold, though wrapped in furs, and with a
woodman's axe in his hand; and, last of all, February,
in a wagon drawn by two fishes.
Then Inconstancy showed other pageants-a pageant
of Day and Night, a pageant of the Hours, and, last of
all, a pageant of Life and Death. And she bade the
queen mark these pageants, and declared that no other
proof was needed to show that the world was hers by
To this the queen made no answer for a little while,
and then she said,-
Many think the world is full of nothing but changes,
and many therefore believe that you, Inconstancy, are
44 Once more in Qu2est of the Beast.
its ruler; but the wise know that months and seasons,
day and night, all have their times to come and depart,
and to return again, and so the world is governed by
Order and not by Inconstancy. You," said the queen,
"have but the shadow of power for a time, and though
you may pull down, others will build up again."
Then Inconstancy fled away, weeping sorely.
This vision Sir Calidore related to Sir Bellamour,
and he little doubted what the meaning of it was.
Sir Calidore himself
knew that he was
warned thereby to be
no longer inconstant
to his vow, but to
go about the task his
Fairy Queen had laid
So he bade fare-
well to Sir Bellamour
and the Lady Clari-
bell, and leaving Pas-
torella in their charge,
set out once more in
search of the Beast
L- of the Thousand
Wherever he went
he found traces of the ruin the monster had wrought,
and at last there came to him news that the Beast
was near at hand, despoiling a noble abbey. It had
broken into the cloisters and chased the monks from
A Fearful Monster.
their cells, and when Sir Calidore came to the abbey,
it was searching for plunder in the church. At sight
of Sir Calidore the Beast fled out of the church; but
the knight followed fast, and soon overtook his enemy,
and so, amongst the rocks on a mountain-side, he
brought it to bay at last in a narrow place from which
there was no way of escape.
Truly none but a stout-hearted knight would have
dared to withstand the fearful monster that now ran
open-mouthed at Sir Calidore. In each jaw it had two
rows of iron teeth, and behind those iron teeth a thou-
sand tongues. Some of them were the tongues of
dogs, others the tongues of cats, others of bears, and
others of tigers; and with them it barked, and growled,
and snarled by day and by night. Other tongues it
had were the forked tongues of serpents, and it spat
venom with them unceasingly; but most of those
thousand tongues were tongues of men and women,
with which the Beast spoke continually such evil and
hateful words that it was shameful even to hear them.
Yet Sir Calidore was not dismayed, although he well
knew what hurt the Beast could inflict, and often had
inflicted, both with its teeth and with its tongues. He
bravely stood his ground, and, thrusting his shield into
the Beast's jaws, drove it back. Then it reared it-
self on its hind legs, striving to reach the knight with
its cruel claws; but he again smote it with his shield
-smote it so mighty a blow that it tottered and fell.
Then, as it rolled on the ground, Sir Calidore very
deftly dashed his shield down on its head. With
one hand he held down the monster's head, with the
48 Sir Calidore accomplishes his Task.
other he grasped its throat, so that it could not rise to
its feet again. Mad with anger, the Beast writhed and
struggled, gnashing its teeth, tearing at the shield with
its claws, and spitting out venom in streams; but the
more fiercely it raged, the more firmly the knight
held it down. Then the Beast fell to reviling Sir Cali-
dore with such lies and villanous accusations as never
before were heard or spoken; but it prevailed as little
against him with its tongues as it had prevailed with
its teeth and claws. He pressed upon the monster so
sternly with his shield that he nearly smothered it.
At last, when the Beast was so worn out with its
struggles and its rage that it had no strength to resist
him any longer, Sir Calidore fastened on it a muzzle,
strong and cunningly contrived, and to this muzzle
he fastened a long iron chain, and so he led the Beast
of the Thousand Tongues away, just as its father, the
terrible three-headed dog Cerberus, was led captive
by the mighty hero Hercules. Greatly did the Beast
chafe and rage to find itself chained and muzzled. Yet
it did not venture to rebel against the knight, but fol-
lowed him cowering like a beaten hound.
Sir Calidore led the Beast prisoner up and down
through Fairy Land, and everywhere the folk thronged
round the pair, rejoicing and wondering; for they were
amazed at the strength and vastness of the Beast from
which they had been delivered, and yet more amazed
at the valour of the knight who had delivered them.
Thus Sir Calidore overcame the Beast of the Thou-
sand Tongues, and valorously performed the great and
difficult task Queen Gloriana had laid upon him.
The great poet has well said, When
sorrows come, they come not single spies,
but in battalions." So too with one
joy often come other joys, as happened
to Sir Calidore, who by fulfiling his
vow won both glory and a lady of most
noble lineage and disposition, whom he
loved veiy dearly, and who was well
worthy to be wedded to a gallant and
HE Lady Claribell, to
whom Sir Calidore had
entrusted Pastorella, was
the daughter of the Lord
of Many Isles, who had planned
to marry her to his neighbour,
the Prince of Pictland. But
Claribell loved Sir Bellamour.
This gallant youth loved
her very dearly in return, and fearing there was no other
way by which she might escape marrying the suitor
The Imprisoned Lovers.
her father had chosen, he wedded her secretly. When
this became known to the Lord of Many Isles, he fell
into a frenzy of rage, and flung his daughter into one
dungeon and Sir Bellamour into another, for he had
no compassion on them. But the keepers of the prison
were more merciful, and from time to time they allowed
Sir Bellamour to go to the dungeon where Claribell
was, else her heart had surely broken, so dearly did
she love Sir Bellamour, and so gloomy was the prison
into which they had been cast.
To Claribell in her captivity was born a daughter,
whom the mother (knowing the Lord of Many Isles,
could he lay hands upon the child, would put it to
death) gave to Melissa, a trusty handmaid that waited
on her in the prison. Melissa conveyed the child away
into another country, and having laid it in the open
fields, hid herself in a thicket to see what fate might
befall it. Presently there passed by a shepherd with
his flock. He heard the child's wailing, went and
picked it up, and carried it home to his wife. Melissa
did not venture to follow him, but returned to her
mistress, who remained a prisoner till the Lord of
Many Isles died. Then Sir Bellamour and the Lady
Claribell were set free, and they lived together ever
afterwards in great love and happiness. With them
in their castle of Belgard dwelt the faithful Melissa,
and the fair Pastorella was given into her charge.
It happened one morning that Melissa, as she was
helping Pastorella to dress, spied on her bosom a tiny
mark, a little purple rose. Then she remembered how
the child she carried out of the prison had borne that
very mark, and how for that reason the mother called
it Rosalind. So running in hot haste to the Lady
Claribell, she cried, "'Tis Rosalind! 'tis Rosalind !"
The Lady Claribell in great astonishment asked
what this strange saying meant.
Then Melissa answered, "The maiden Sir Calidore
rescued from the brigands is no other than your child
which I carried out of the prison."
The Lady Claribell did not dare at once to believe
that such good news could be true, and she prayed
Melissa to say by what tokens she had recognized the
maiden. Melissa answered that she had seen the little
purple rose on Pastorella's bosom. Then she bade her
mistress note how like Pastorella was both in face and
figure to what she herself had been when Sir Bellamour
wedded her; and also how well Pastorella's age agreed
-with that of the child the shepherd carried away.
Then the Lady Claribell did not now dare to doubt
what she heard, but ran, and clasping Pastorella in her
arms, cried, weeping, "You are-my daughter in very
truth, my daughter that we mourned as lost."
Small wonder was it that Pastorella in her turn was
no less amazed than her mother had been; but each
having asked the other many questions, it was made
plain that the maiden whom Melibceus had brought up
was indeed the Rosalind that Melissa conveyed away
out of the country of the Lord of Many Isles.
So they embraced each other, weeping for very joy;
and then leading Pastorella by the hand to good Sir
Bellamour, the Lady Claribell bade him know that this
was none other than his daughter Rosalind. And Sir
Bellamour shared the great joy of his wife, and declared
that never had mother or father greater cause for glad-
ness than fell to their lot, both because they had found
again the child that they had lost, and because they
had as their daughter one so fair and so gracious as
Pastorella was, and who had as her lover that most
noble knight, the courteous Sir Calidore.
Thus, after many strange and perilous adventures,
the fair Pastorella learned who her parents were. Sir
Bellamour gave her in marriage to Sir Calidore, whom
she loved as dearly as he loved her, and of whom, of
all the knights that were then alive or ever lived, the
good Sir Bellamour and the noble Lady Claribell would
most willingly have made choice to be her husband,
both because he was brave, and gentle, and courteous
above all others, and because he had won undying
fame by freeing the world of that monstrous pest, the
Beast of the Thousand Tongues.
-OW-SIR~- TISTR\AM SAW -AVISION
The saying, The evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft
interred with their bones," is both true and untrue; for though an evil
custom may spring up again when the good knight that overthrew it is
dead, yet he has left an example that shall never die, showing how all good
knights may in their turn and in their time fight such fights as Sir Cali-
dore fought against the Beast of the Thousand Tongues; and this story
shows that those who would win such fame as Sir Calidore won, must
make themselves in all things as worthy offame as was Sir Calidore.
IR TRISTRAM was one day in the forest,
seeking for adventures, when he saw seated
by a well an old hermit, who laughed,
and wept, and laughed again. Marvelling
greatly, the knight asked why he laughed and why
Then said the hermit, I wept because I saw the
Beast of the Thousand Tongues ranging again through
The Oid Hermit.
the world, as it used to range long ago. And I laughed
because I saw many false knights and foolish ladies
seeking aid and assistance from the Beast; and right
willingly it helped them against their enemies, but in
the end it turned and devoured them."
Then Sir Tristram answered, Surely this is matter
both for laughing and for weeping; but for me, above
all men, it is cause for weeping, since sure I am that
were Sir Calidore alive the Beast had not broken loose."
Then Sir Tristram mourned most lamentably for Sir
Calidore, saying he was the courtliest and most noble
knight that ever bare shield. "All this was Sir Cali-
dore, as all good knights know well," said Sir Tristram,
to those that rode beside him. "And I-whom, when
I was but a lad, he made his squire-know also that he
was the best counsellor that ever gave noble counsel to
young knights. Nor was there ever achieved a greater
adventure than Sir Calidore achieved when he over-
came the Beast of the Thousand Tongues. And now
that Sir Calidore is dead, I doubt whether there will be
found any knight on earth to bind that Beast in chains,
as he bound it; and least of all men am I worthy to
undertake this task, for many things have I done that
no true knight should have done."
Then Sir Tristram turned to speak again to the
hermit, but he was gone; and though they sought for
him far and wide, he was not seen again, either on that
day or ever after, by Sir Tristram or any other knight.
And some say that he was no hermit, but Sir Calidore
himself; and true it is that on the day Sir Tristram
talked with the hermit, Sir Calidore departed out of
A Knight of Great Worship. 55
this mortal life, and true it is that on that day the
Beast of the Thousand Tongues burst its chains and
escaped out of captivity. And though right gallant
knights made all haste to go in chase of it, not one of
them could bring it to bay; and the Beast is still at
large, rending with its teeth and defaming with its
tongues whom it will, and at large it must be till
there come another knight as noble and as courteous
as was Sir Calidore.
Now, this Sir Tristram that Sir Calidore made squire
in the forest, and that saw the hermit the day Sir Cali-
dore died, was, some think, the knight of great worship
of whom old chronicles say that of all manner of hunting
he bore the prize, and was the noblest blower of a horn
that ever lived, and was the beginner of all the terms
of hunting and hawking that hunters use, for which
things his name will always be held in remembrance.
And though Sir Tristram was not worthy to overcome
the Beast of the Thousand Tongues, yet he never was
of the number of those that sought the aid of its venom ;
and as long as he lived there was no knight whom he
praised or for whom he mourned as he praised and as
he mourned for that courteous knight Sir Calidore.
Therefore, though Sir Tristram was not worthy to over-
come the Beast of the Thousand Tongues, he proved
himself a nobler knight than those that sought the aid
of its venom; and there have been many that sought
that aid, and there will be many that shall seek it in
the times to come, to their own destruction.
THE- SHAM- KINCO
ONG, long ago, when the world
was still young, Sir Reynard
the Fox and Sir Martin the
Ape began to complain that
life was hard, and full of noth-
ing but trouble and vexation.
They declared that laws and
Customs quite different from
those they were living under would suit them much
better; and at this you will not wonder when you
know what kind of creatures they were, and see what
customs and laws would have suited their desires.
At last, so discontented with life were Sir Reynard
and Sir Martin, that they resolved to go and travel in
search of better fortune; and they agreed it would be
wise to travel together, for they were a well-matched
pair, cunning, and crafty, and sly. A better-matched
couple could not possibly have been found.
Sir Reynard's Feelings and Intentions. 57
It was the Fox who first made up his mind that his
lot was absolutely not to be endured any longer, and
this is something like the conversation in which he
explained his feelings and intentions.
Martin," he said to the Ape, you are my nearest
neighbour, and I have always been very, very fond
of chatting with you. We have become close friends,
as neighbours who are fond of chatting with one
another always must become. I assure you there is
nobody to whom I entrust my secret thoughts as
freely as I entrust them to you-nobody I consider
myself likely to find as helpful as you."
I am indeed proud to hear it," answered Sir Mar-
tin. I will always gladly give you any help I can."
I knew that. Now, the help I require is advice.
You know how for many years I have been working
away and working away. I venture to think no one
has shown industry greater than mine. Of course I
have always hoped that my good qualities would be
recognized-that even if I was not made king of the
beasts, I would be given some place of honour. As
yet no favourable notice has been taken of me, no
favourable notice of any sort or kind."
I fear that is too true," murmured the Ape.
Much too true," answered Sir Reynard. Well, I
am tired of this state of things. The time has come
to turn over a new leaf. I must make a fresh start,
and find a fresh place to make it in. Before making
the plunge and burning my boats, I wished, dear
Martin, to talk matters over with you."
It is a wish I understand," said the Ape, "and,
58 Two Heads are better than One."
indeed, your story goes straight to my heart. It
appeals to my feelings. It is so very sad, and it is
so very like my own. What is my story? I have
devoted to my business more time and more trouble
than I care to think about. What has been my re-
ward? Whenever a comfortable little post falls vacant
some one else slips in, and I am left out in the cold.
There you see how my industry has been rewarded,
and you will not wonder at my being as desperate as
yourself. Like you, I am anxious to go and look for
better luck elsewhere. Now tell me, my trusty friend,
what are your plans at present. Two heads, you
know, are better than one."
Of course they are," answered the Fox; "and I
meant to tell you exactly what I propose doing. My
idea is to disguise myself, and to wander and wander
away till, if needs be, I come to the very end of the
world. I am not likely anywhere to meet with worse
luck than I meet with here; and I imagine, the world
being as wide as it is, whichever way I go, sooner or
later I shall find strange chances and adventures and
changes of fortune awaiting me. Now tell me frankly,
Martin, does mine strike you as a good plan, or does
it not ? "
"I think it excellent, simply excellent-nothing
could possibly be better," replied the Ape; "and, what
is more, unless you have some objection to my com-
pany, I should like to go with you. No good can
come of staying at home and growing old like an
oyster in its shell. That I see plainly. Out in the
world there is plenty of bustle and change, and I
A Few Prudent Questions.
cannot see why something should not turn up to our
The Fox was delighted with the turn their conversa-
tion had taken, and he assured the Ape his company
would be most welcome. Then they agreed that, as
there was never anything to be gained by losing time,
they would make their start next day at dawn, and
would spend the night in getting together what they
needed for their journey, and in paying off a few old
scores they would like to see settled before they left
the neighbourhood. Nevertheless, Sir Martin, feeling
that they were about to embark on a remarkably bold
adventure, thought it prudent to ask a few questions.
Reynard," he said, I know what an uncommonly
shrewd head there is on those shoulders of yours, and
I want you to use it a little. First of all, how are
we to manage about earning our livelihood ? Shall
we pretend to belong to a profession-to be doctors,
lawyers, architects, or something of that sort ? Or shall
we say we have some business at home ? I might be
a corn merchant, and you might be a cotton-spinner.
Or would a trade be better? There are plenty to
chose from-tailors, bakers, plumbers, coppersmiths,
chimney-sweeps-hundreds of trades, in fact. Another
thing to be considered is this: shall we try to get
work under a master or not? And again, shall we
settle down in one particular place for any time, or
had we better keep always moving? It appears to
me that it would distinctly be wise to make up our
minds upon big questions like these before we have
finished packing and are off."
Sir Reynard's Proposal.
I am much obliged to you for raising these points
now," answered the Fox. Depend upon it, Martin,
it is as certain that a good scheme well thought out
will succeed, as that people who leave everything to
chance will come to grief. As a matter of fact, how-
ever, I have already considered all these points. In
my opinion, we should keep quite clear of trades,
businesses, and professions. We should not try to
get work under a master, nor should we at first settle
down in any particular place. Remember that the
whole world lies open before us. To whom does the
world belong? To me and to you, I suppose, as
much as to anybody else. We only want to get the
share in it that belongs to us by right."
"I shall be content with that," interrupted Sir
Martin, "if I am allowed to settle for myself what
belongs to me by right."
Of course, of course," continued the Fox. Well,
this being so, let us set out like two free men and
wander where we will. Nobody is as free as a beggar.
So beggars we shall be; and it will be very strange if,
amongst all the people there are alive, we don't meet
somebody to bring us better luck."
The Ape liked this proposal very much, but after
giving it a few minutes' grave and careful considera-
tion, he asked whether, although a beggar's life was
certainly the freest and best for their purpose, it
would not on the whole be wise to settle carefully
beforehand on some suitable reason for begging. If
they were not armed with some plausible excuse, he
feared they might be treated as idle rogues. Sir
A Pair of Disguised Rogues.
Martin added he had heard there were many districts
in which beggars were disliked, but had never inquired
at all carefully into the matter, not having considered
it one ever likely to concern him personally.
The Fox again applauded the Ape's forethought,
and gave it as his opinion that no beggar was likely
to be so generally welcomed and well-treated as an
old soldier who had come back wounded from the
wars. As the Ape was by nature more like a man
than the Fox with all his cunning could make him-
self, the best plan obviously was for Sir Martin to
pretend to be an old soldier, and Sir Reynard either
his servant or his dog, as occasion required.
Off then they set next day at dawn. The Ape
wore a blue coat with a red collar, all ragged and
torn, as if it had been well slashed in battle. His
shoes and stockings were full of holes, and his trousers
patched and mended with odds and ends of cloth of
every kind and colour. On his head he wore a dis-
reputable old Scotch cap, with a broken feather stuck
in it. He let his right arm hang down loose, as if it
had been broken in a fight; and instead of a sword he
carried a thick stick, on which he leaned, as if he was
old and weary, and could scarcely put one foot in front
of the other to drag himself along. By his side the Fox
trotted gaily, cracking jokes, and drawing wonderful
pictures of the things they would do when their luck
changed for the better; and that it would very soon
change for the better he did not doubt.
Yet they travelled many a long mile before they
62 Sir Martin plays his Part.
met any one on whom they dared attempt to play
their wicked tricks. At last, one afternoon, while they
were resting by the roadside, Sir Reynard saw a
farmer approaching, and noticing what a simple face
the man had, he bade the Ape get up and make ready
to play his part, for it did really seem as if the chance
for which they were waiting had arrived. Of the
infamous wickedness of their schemes I say nothing.
You can see for yourselves how villanous they were.
Just fancy an Ape pretending to be an old soldier,
and bringing disgrace upon all unhappy old soldiers,
of whom there are far too many in distress!
So Sir Martin jumped up, took his stick in his
hand, pulled himself together, and began marching
along with a military step; while the Fox ran along
at his heels, looking as if butter would not melt in
his mouth, so innocent and charming was the smile
he wore, so guileless and good-humoured the expres-
sion he threw into his face. The farmer, when he
came up to them, wondered who this queerly-dressed
stranger could be. He never remembered seeing any
one at all like him before, so he said, Good-day, my
man; you are a stranger in these parts, I think. May
I ask what your business is ?"
Ah, kind gentleman," replied Sir Martin, I am
nothing now, but I was a soldier. I have fought for
my country, and shed my blood for my country.
Look at the holes in my coat. Swords and bullets
made those holes. Look at my arm, broken in battle,
so that I can fight no more. I have been turned out
of the army because of that broken arm, and now I
The Misfortunes of an Old Soldier. 63
have to beg my bread along the roads till I can find
some fresh way of earning my livelihood."
That's a bad business," the farmer answered.
kind gentleman," the Ape went on, "cannot
you help me? If only you would help me, I would
work for you night and day. I would be faithful
to you in all I did and in all I thought. I would
think of you, sir, always-of you only, and never of
Then Sir Martin fell to weeping and sobbing, and
he beat his breast, and exclaimed that the *world
was harder than a millstone, and that however bold
and brave and proud a man's heart may be while
he is young and strong and well, misery and sick-
ness and want will drag him down till he is glad to
do things of which he would once have despised the
The farmer was deeply shocked. He could hardly
have taken misfortunes of his own more to heart than
he took those this infamous and wicked impostor
pretended he had suffered. So he began to inquire
of Sir Martin whether he could make himself useful
on a farm-whether he knew how to plough, or reap,
or sow, or thrash, or mow, or thatch a rick, or mend
a hedge, or dig a ditch.
It seemed to the Ape that the jobs the farmer had
in his mind's eye were all jobs that meant hard work,
and as hard work was the very last thing he wanted,
he tried to slip out of the difficulty by explaining that
his wound had left him much too weak to mow, or
reap, or thatch, or thrash, but he declared that if there
64 Sir Martin turns Shepherd.
was any light job on the farm, such as paying the
men's wages or keeping the farmer's accounts, a job
for which a really honest man was wanted, the farmer
might give that job to him, and might be sure that he
had found the right man to trust.
The farmer stopped and thought a little. Then he
asked the Ape if he would like a place as bailiff, or
would prefer to look after the cows, or to take charge
of a flock of sheep. He was just now himself going
to take a look at a flock, of sheep he kept at a separate
farm, where there was an empty house the shepherd
could have to live in.
The sheep, the sheep," muttered the Fox in a deep
whisper-" take the sheep. I tell you, you are to take
Sir," said the Ape, who had been coughing to pre-
vent his companion's advice being overheard, what-
ever work you find for me, provided it is work I can
undertake, I 'will do to the best of my ability. What
I should like best would be to take charge of the
sheep you mentioned. Before I turned soldier I was
shepherd to my father, and you will find few shepherds
understand their business better than I understand it."
Then he pointed to Sir Reynard, and added, "You see
I still have my old sheep-dog. A capital dog he is.
I could not want a better one."
So the farmer took Sir Martin to the farm where
the sheep were, and he gave Sir Martin the house to
live in and the flock to take care of. For six months
everything was to be left in the shepherd's hands.
Then there was to be a settling-day, when Sir Martin
A Nice Pair.
would account for the sheep and the lambs and the
wool. The farmer now said good-bye, and told them
he hoped everything would be found comfortable. So
he went back to his own home, and the Ape and the
Fox sat down and laughed till the tears ran down
their cheeks, so glad were they and so amused at
having at last found the sort of man they went out
Thus Sir Martin turned shepherd, and Sir Reynard
turned sheep-dog; and a nice pair they were. But
though the time went by quickly and merrily, they
could not forget that a day of reckoning lay ahead.
As the six months drew nearer and nearer to their
close, the Ape began to tremble in his shoes, and to
wonder more and more what account he could give
his master, and how he could escape the punishment
he richly deserved; for, of course, he had not what he
ought to have had to show. Every lamb that was
born they had killed and eaten as soon as it was big
enough to be worth eating; and when there were no
lambs left, they had killed the sheep and eaten them.
It was the cruel, bloodthirsty Sir Reynard who had
prompted all this wickedness, and had persuaded Sir
Martin to join in it. Yet such was the cunning
of the Fox that he never doubted or despaired of
getting safe out of the trouble that was coming, and,
indeed, he did manage to get safely out of it. He
made Sir Martin go and tell the farmer that the sheep
had done so well, and there were so many lambs, he
had been obliged to send some of the flock away to
a distance, and now, before they settled accounts, he
asked for one day over and above the six months, to
give him time to bring back those lambs and sheep.
To this his master agreed, and Sir Martin hurried
back, skipping with delight. All day long Sir Rey-
nard had been worrying the sheep, and that night,
after this model shepherd and his model sheep-dog
had fallen on what was left of the flock, and killed
the poor creatures out of mere cruelty, and eaten as
much as they could cram down their throats, they
set the house on fire, and ran off into the dark, to
start life as beggars once more.
For a long time they were as unlucky as they could
be, or as they deserved to be, which comes to much
the same thing in this case. Everybody suspected
them, and disliked their looks. Hardly anybody would
help them, and the two or three who did soon found
out and regretted the frightful mistake they had made.
At last, one day, as the pair were limping along a
The Sleeping Lion. 67
path through the forest, lame with their long travel-
ling, and half starved, for it was weeks since they had
tasted anything but berries and ditch-water, whom
should they spy but the king of all the beasts, the
Lion himself, fast asleep under the shade of an oak
tree. There by his side lay his crown and his sceptre,
and as it was a very hot afternoon, he had taken off
his grand mane and his robe of state, and hung them
up to give him some shade and to keep the sun out of
his eyes. His own mane, you understand, he wore
At the sight of the sleeping Lion, the Ape was so
terrified that he turned round, and would have run
away had the Fox not caught him by the collar and
told him not to be such a coward, for their chance had
come at last, such a chance as they could never have
hoped for, and such a chance as would never come
"How? Why ? What chance ?" gasped the Ape,
his teeth chattering with fear. "What chance? 0 do
let go of me, Reynard dear. Oh that dreadful Lion !
The sight of him is enough to kill one! Do let go
Idiot!" the Fox hissed through his teeth. "Cannot
you see that if we steal the crown and sceptre and
robe while he's asleep, all the beasts will think we are
the king, and will obey us, and we shall be able to do
whatever we like. The whole forest will be ours."
"Very likely," said the Ape; "but who is going
to venture to steal them? That terrible beast might
wake up, and if the thief is caught, think of his fate-
Sir Reynard's Advice.
certain death. O Reynard, Reynard! let us escape
while we can."
Martin," said the Fox, "you are a coward, a mere
coward. I ought never to have allowed a coward to
travel with me. Do you know what honour is? do
you understand what it means? Would you not rather
risk your life on the chance of getting a kingdom than
live on for ever as we have been living? Obey me, take
my advice; don't be a coward. If this Lion did wake
up and catch you, why need you be put to death?
Surely there are ways of explaining things. When
did you know me caught without my excuse ready?
Nonsense! Besides, we could escape. Look at that
hole in the rock, look at that tree. I'd be down the
hole, you'd be up the tree, before he could wink his eye.
Oh, yes, even if the worst comes to the worst, it will
be our fault if we don't save our skins. So just make
up your mind to take my advice. Do what you are
told, and don't play the coward any longer."
This speech put a little more courage into the Ape,
though he was still shivering with terror. He had
unbounded faith in the cunning of Sir -Reynard; and
being himself a vain and covetous beast, he was vastly
tickled by the idea of having a kingdom to govern.
So he put on a bold face, and asked how the Fox
meant to steal the Lion's royal ornaments.
"Oh, you must be the thief," answered Sir Reynard.
"Of course you must. There can be no doubt about
that. Fancy your even asking such a question! Why,
you are so clever and so nimble, that no other beast
alive is half so well fitted for the task. Pluck up your
LI KF -TIMTASK 1-
Sir Martin's Disagreeable Task.
courage, noble Sir Martin-pluck up your courage, and
go in and win, my dear old friend. There they are,
the crown, the sceptre, and the rest of the royal apparel,
ready for you to take them. Remember, it is a king-
dom that is waiting; and don't waste time, for that
kingdom will not wait for ever."
In spite of this artful flattery, the Ape did not at all
like the task assigned to him. Every leaf that stirred
on the oak brought his heart into his mouth; every
little stick that crackled under his feet made his teeth
chatter with fright. He stole along on tiptoe, first
going forward a little, then stopping at some sound,
then turning round and creeping back, then crawling
forward again as he caught sight of Sir Reynard shak-
ing his fist at him in a frantic passion. Still, in spite
of his fears, such was his adroitness, and such was his
caution, that, without disturbing the Lion, he brought
away first the crown, then the sceptre, and last of
all the royal robe. With the Fox's aid, he carried
his booty off to a secret corner in the forest, and
climbed with it into a hollow tree, where no eye could
follow the pair.
Then in that hollow tree began a great dispute.
They had the crown, but who should wear it-Sir
Martin or Sir Reynard ? Which was most worthy
to be king-the ambitious Ape or the crafty Fox?
Neither of them was willing to share the kingdom
with the other. Each wished to reign, but not to
reign with a brother king seated at his side.
I deserve the crown," shrieked the Ape; I risked
my life to steal it, while you stood by in safety. Be-
Who shall be King?
sides, have I not the face and figure of a man, and is
not man the lord of all creatures ? a clear sign that I
was intended and born to be a king."
Not so quickly, my dear fellow," laughed the Fox-
"not quite so quickly, if you please; you really talk
too fast. You fetched the crown, I admit that, but
whose idea was the robbery? Mine, I think; which
settles the whole question. I certainly showed myself
much fitter to rule than you. What a ruler wants
is wisdom. As for your man's face and your man's
figure, what good are they? Brains and wits, not face
and figure, make a man a man. I'm sure I have much
more of the brains and wits of a man than you dare
pretend to have. Yes, I ought to be king. You know
how deep, and sly, and wily I can be. Confess you do!"
I know you are very hard on me," whined the Ape.
"All our trouble with the farmer was your fault entirely.
But for you I might still be a shepherd-a happy,
simple, contented shepherd."
"So I should suppose," answered the Fox. "But
after all," he continued, changing his tone, "we must
not quarrel. We have travelled too far, and been
through too much together, to part company now.
You shall be king, if you like; and, to make it fair
to me, you shall be king on my terms. Will you
make me your prime minister? Will you settle
everything as I think it ought to be settled ? Will
you never on any account permit any one to poison
your mind against me? Swear to these conditions,
and you may wear the crown that is mine by rights.
Swear to them, and I will be satisfied."
Sir Martin in the Lion's Robes. 73
The Ape took the oath the Fox proposed; indeed,
he would have sworn to anything that enabled him to
get the kingdom. Then the Fox helped him to don
the royal apparel, and they started off to parade through
the forest, so that the wild beasts might see their king
in all his splendour.
The first beasts the pair came across were a Sheep
and an Ass, grazing peacefully side by side in an open
glade. At the sight of Sir Martin in the Lion's robes
they ran off as fast as they could put legs to the
"Stop !" shouted the Fox. In the king's name, I
command you to stop! Stop, and come hither!"
They halted just at the edge of the wood, but did
not dare to approach, till the Fox went up, and, speak-
ing very softly and smoothly and sweetly, assured them
they really had no cause whatever to be alarmed. His
majesty the king was far from meaning them any
harm. So markedly did they enjoy his royal favour
that the Fox was actually bidden to invite them to
the court. There no living creature would venture to
annoy or molest them, and his majesty would shower
on them the benefits he was wont to bestow on such
of his subjects as he knew to be true and loyal to
his cause. So the Ass and the Sheep drew near, and
knelt very humbly before Sir Martin, who received
them with a very gracious smile. After a few kind
speeches he went again upon his way, while they fol-
lowed humbly and obediently, as good subjects should
follow their prince.
The King of the Beasts.
Before long there was heard a fearful roaring and a
trampling and crashing of broken branches. Out of
the thicket leaped a Camel. After it came rushing a
Tiger and a Wild Boar in hot pursuit. At the sight
of him whom they imagined to be their king, all three
stood still with terror; and the Ape, wishing to see
if his commands would again be obeyed, sent the Fox
forward to order the Tiger and the Wild Boar to cease
from their chase, and to warn them that if the worthy
Camel suffered any hurt, the wrongdoer would have
to answer for his deeds at the king's court. In the
meantime they were commanded to join the king's
escort, and humbly follow in his train.
The Fox played his part so well that the orders he
conveyed were at once obeyed; and so Sir Martin,
with Sir Reynard by his side, went on his way till they
reached the palace. Then turning to the beasts which
had followed him at a respectful distance the sham
King took leave of them, calling them his faithful
subjects, and bidding them return to their own homes,
and live there in peace and quietness till he sent for
them. So they went back into the forest full of
awe and respect for their sovereign, and deeply
impressed by the majestic dignity of his bearing and
Thus Sir Martin, who had been a shepherd and
was an ape, became king of the beasts, and had as
his prime minister Sir Reynard the Fox, that once
was his sheep-dog; and without losing any time, they
set to work to establish themselves firmly and safely
in their new kingdom. First of all, and above all, Sir
Evil Days. 75
Reynard advised that they should choose soldiers to
guard the palace and the person of the king; and,
that he might be guarded in every way, they chose
beasts that could fly and beasts that could swim as
well as live upon dry land. Huge Griffins, and grisly
Crocodiles, and fiery Flying Dragons were the animals
Sir Reynard chose and Sir Martin approved to be
their guards against all enemies, whether they came
by land or by water, or flying through the air. And
when at last Sir Martin felt that he was safe from all
attacks, he and his wicked adviser set to work to
make slaves of their subjects, and to rob them of all
they possessed. None were spared. Justice and mercy
were banished from the forest. Greed and cruelty
came to take their place. Everything was left to Sir
Reynard, and he extorted bribes from everybody, and
ground the poor and the weak to powder beneath his
heel. Nor did any beast dare to complain to Sir
Martin. They knew the king to be no better than his
If I were to describe only a tenth part of the wicked
acts of the pair, my story would never come to an end;
but one deed Sir Reynard did I will relate, that you
may be able to judge for yourselves how the forest
was ruled in those evil days.
It was the poor Sheep who followed in Sir Martin's
train the day he first came to the palace, the poor
Sheep to whom Sir Reynard had promised the king's
favour, that appeared and made complaint. Her
mortal enemy the Wolf had in most cruel and blood-
thirsty fashion slain her only lamb. The mother,
76 Sir Reynard's Injustice.
weeping sorely, hurried to the palace, and prayed for
an audience of the king, that she might beg him to
see justice done.
"Softly, my good old dame," said the Fox, before
whom she was brought, and who heard her petition-
"softly, good Mistress Sheep. You must not suppose
that creatures like you can come bursting in like a
whirlwind upon his majesty. The king has weighty
business in hand. The king is attending to matters
more important than lambs, or lambs' mothers, or the
lives of lambs and lambs' mothers. I will take his
majesty's place; and, understand, I am going to talk
to you somewhat plainly. I am very far from being
satisfied with the look of this business of yours. The
Wolf is my cousin. I don't like these plots you are
hatching and contriving against him. I cannot make
out your coming here with these malicious stories
against him. I know my cousin. I honour his dispo-
sition; it is a noble one. Depend upon it, I know my
cousin well-better, perhaps, than you do. Whatever
my cousin the Wolf does, he has some excellent reason
for doing it. Of that I am satisfied, and when I am
satisfied, the king is satisfied too. If you are wise,
my good dame, you'll go home and let this matter
drop-unless, of course, you have something fresh to
put before me, something which might influence me,
but which you have not mentioned yet. You under-
stand me, I suppose?"
But the simple Sheep did not understand him, and
went home heartbroken, as many others had to go who
came with petitions, and did not guess what the Fox
The Fairies come to the Rescue. 77
meant, or could not pay him the bribe he hinted they
should offer and which he expected from them.
Time went on, and still the Ape sat on the throne,
and all the crimes the Fox told him to commit he
committed, and between them they misgoverned the
beasts so foully that the fairies who lived in the forest
could no longer bear the sight of the suffering that
surrounded them. They knew Sir Martin to be
only an Ape, though he wore the Lion's robes; and
they knew where the real king was hiding, too proud
to show himself till he had recovered the symbols of
royalty which he had lost. In pity for him and for his
subjects, the Fairy Queen set all her workmen to work.
The moles delved for gold, the silkworms spun their
strongest threads at her command, the fairy smiths
and weavers toiled day and night till they had made a
crown and sceptre and royal robe and mane the king
himself could not tell from those which the Ape had
stolen. These the Fairy Queen took and left by
night in the cave where the king of the beasts was
Who then so proud and who so happy as the Lion
when day dawned and he awoke and saw restored the
treasures he was seeking? Quickly did he don them
and start off to the palace, roaring like thunder, so that
all the beasts fled before him in terror.
He came to his palace. The gates were locked, and
barred, and guarded. Round and round the walls
raged and ramped the noble Lion, roaring till the
palace rocked and quivered from the top of the highest
tower to the bottom of the deepest dungeon. Far
78 A Cumning Villain.
away in the innermost chamber of all the Ape heard
the Lion's voice, and springing from his bed in terror
fled from room to room in search of a hiding-place.
The guards-those dreadful animals the Griffins, the
Crocodiles, the Flying Dragons-all fainted at their
posts. The Fox alone had wits enough left to set
about saving himself. In truth he was a cunning
villain, and had every reason to feel that, come what
might, his crafty brain would devise some trick to
ward off the punishment he deserved.
While the Lion stood roaring before the great gate
of his palace, sly Sir Reynard opened an upper window
and put his head out and cried,-
Ah, King Lion, my king, have you indeed returned
at last? Oh happy, happy day! Oh what a happy,
happy day it is that brings you back Ah, King Lion,
all honest people have wanted you back, but not one
of them has desired your return as earnestly as I have
desired it. And now, King Lion, you really have come
to deliver us from this wretched pretender. A cruel
tyrant has he been, a cruel and evil tyrant; and by
cruel and evil ways has he made us all, made even me,
obey him and do his wicked will. 0 King Lion, enter
the palace and utterly destroy the shameless, heartless
thief who crept into your place. 0 King Lion, if I
risk my life by coming down and opening the gate to
you, will you forgive all the shocking deeds they forced
poor Reynard to do against his own wish? Will you
forgive me, most noble king ? Surely you will."
"Open the gate; I forgive you," roared the Lion,
"but only if you open the gate at once."
The Lion's Vengeance.
Down slipped Sir Reynard, laughing in his sleeve,
and unbarred the gate and threw it open. In dashed
the Lion, roaring more fiercely than ever, and as he
burst into the courtyard, he saw all round him, lying on
their backs, with their feet in the air, the terrible beasts
the Ape had chosen to be his body-guard. They had
swooned with fear, as well they might, when they
found out what a fearful mistake they had made, and
that the real king was come to his own again. Every
one of them the Lion tore in pieces, limb from limbl
and bone from bone; and the Fox stood by and squeezed
tears of joy into his eyes, and vowed the sight reminded
him of old times, those happy old times before ever a
wicked pretender came to oppress the kingdom.
Then Sir Reynard led the king through the palace
82 The Ape's Punishment.
in search of Sir Martin, and at last they found him
hidden in an oven. The Fox cried out, Kill him, kill
him! It is much safer to put him out of the way!"
But the Lion fell into a frenzy of rage at the mere idea
of his having anything to fear whether such a pitiful
wretch as Sir Martin was alive or dead. So he bade
Sir Reynard take the miscreant and hurl him into the
deepest dungeon in the palace. This the Fox did,
and there the Ape remained till the Lion had called
together all the beasts to see the impostor punished;
and as there was no beast for which the Lion felt
greater scorn and contempt than he felt for the Rat,
he chose the Rat to be the executioner.
The Fox was ordered to bring the Ape up for judg-
ment. Fearing that his old companion, now that he
was desperate, might confess all, and tell the Lion what
tricks they had played together, and who the scoundrel
was that had devised all their rascally schemes and
wicked rogueries, Sir Reynard brought Sir Martin up
from the dungeon gagged, as well as loaded with
fetters, and so he handed him over to the Rat. The
Rat, at the Lion's bidding, cut off half the Ape's ears,
and trimmed what was left of them to a point. Then
the chains were struck off, and the beasts hunted the
Ape out into the forest, where he and his descendants
have lived ever since. But from that day to this there
has never been an Ape of Sir Martin's family who has
dared to live anywhere except up a tree.
As for the Fox, the Lion spared his life in virtue of
the promise he gave when Sir Reynard opened the
palace gate, but he knew perfectly well that he was
The Fox's Punis/hment.
dealing with a rogue. Therefore, to punish him for his
knavish ways, and for all the wickedness in which he
had taken part, the Lion kicked Sir Reynard out of
doors, and forbade him ever to show his face by day.
For this reason no fox dare venture out till after dark,
nor has any one, either man or beast, ever been found
willing to make a fox his friend or trust him at all.
This is the end of the story which relates how two
knaves found life hard and very full of trouble; how
they set out in search of the share of the world which
they fancied was theirs by right; and how, though for
a time they prospered, in the end they were found out
and punished with the punishment they deserved. So,
after all, the rascals got what they desired-the share
of the world which was properly theirs; and if it
turned out something altogether different from what
they expected, so much the better for all honest
people whoever they may be, and wherever they may
HERE was once a knight called
Cambell, and he had a fair sister
whose name was Canace. This Canace
was the most learned lady of those
times, for her pleasure was to read
whatever books wise men had written,
and she knew the powers and the uses of every herb
that grows, and the voices and the ways of all birds and
beasts. Yet men praised her less for her learning than
for her modesty. Never did there live a lady more
modest, whether in word or deed, than the fair Canace,
and many lords and knights wooed her long and
wooed her in vain.
Now, as Canace would give no sign to show which
of all these suitors found most favour in her eyes,
strife sprang up amongst them, and they made her
hand a prize for which to fight. This grieved Sir
Cambell greatly, for he feared that their enmity
A Bold Challenge. 85
would grow more and more bitter till, in the end,
it brought dishonour both upon himself and upon
his sister. He therefore bade her suitors choose out
of their number three to be their champions. These
three he challenged to single combat, promising that
the one who proved victorious should have Canace
This was a bold challenge, but Sir Cambell was a
knight of great prowess, and he had, moreover, been
given by his sister a ring that had many wonderful
virtues, and amongst them that of healing its wearer,
however grievously he might be wounded. Canace's
suitors knew well both that this ring was worn by Sir
Cambell and that it possessed this marvellous power.
Yet three of them were found ready to accept his chal-
lenge. They were the sons of the fairy Agape, of whom
the eldest was called Priamond, the second Diamond,
and the youngest Triamond.
It happened that, though they themselves did not
know it, these three brothers were not as other mortals
are. When they were nearing manhood, their mother,
seeing how keenly they loved to handle arms, and how
eagerly they sought after dangerous adventures, feared
that their days upon the earth would be but few, and
for love of them she undertook a great and perilous
enterprise. She made her way down to the bottom of
the dreadful abyss where the fates have their dwelling-
place, far away from the habitations of man and from
the kindly light of the sun. There she saw the three
sisters silently plying their endless task-Clotho hold-
ing the distaff, while Lachesis spun the thread of life
The Fairy and the Fates.
for Atropos to cut. There she was shown the slender
and scanty threads that were allotted to her sons, and
of which the measure denoted the measure of their
days; and she prayed in vain that the sisters would
spin anew for them threads longer and less frail than
those she saw.
So bold a prayer could not be granted, but one
favour the fairy did obtain from the fates. It was
decreed that, as each of her sons died, his life should
pass into his next brother. So Agape went back to
her home, -and though she kept secret from her sons
both the favour that had been granted her and the
prayer that she had made in vain, she was never weary
of counselling them to live in unity with one another,
and to guard their lives well. And they obeyed her,
and were knit together in such close affection that
the three seemed to have but one heart in common,
and to be like branches of a tree that draw all their
strength and vigour from one root.
The day fixed for the combat had no sooner dawned
than Sir Cambell strode into the lists. Behind the
barriers which had been erected to keep the field clear,
spectators were already assembled in throngs. On one
side were stationed six knights, appointed judges of
the feats of arms that should be performed that day.
Opposite them sat Canace. A lofty platform had been
built for her, so that she might both see how the fray
went, and be seen by the champions who ventured
their lives to win her favour.
Closely following Sir Cambell the three brothers
entered the field, and advancing while trumpets and
A Fierce Combat.
clarions sounded their shrill notes, did obeisance to the
noble damsel whom they loved. Then Sir Cambell
came forward to make good his challenge, and Sir
Priamond stepped out to meet him. A trumpet was
blown, and the knights rushed furiously at each other.
No thought of danger crossed their minds. They
could not have been more reckless had they been two
men condemned to death, not caring to guard the
lives they soon must forfeit.
Sir Priamond was well practised and skilful in the
use of shield and spear, but he had met with a foe no
less practised and no less skilful than himself. Many
a mighty blow did each aim at the other, and many
a mighty blow did each evade, till at last one Sir
Priamond dealt lighted on Sir Cambell's shoulder and
forced him to drop his shield. It was a grievous
wound, yet, thanks to the magic ring, not a drop of
blood flowed. The pain that would have daunted
other men only kindled Sir Cambell's wrath, and, burn-
ing to revenge himself, he fought more fiercely than
before. He couched his spear, and, charging Sir
Priamond, drove it through his armour into his thigh.
Then, while the knight, faint with anguish, was forced,
in spite of all his strength, to stagger to and fro like
an old oak tree when it is shaken by the tempest, Sir
Cambell charged him again, and drove the spear into
his side; and as the wounded man strove to pluck
it out, the shaft broke in his hands, leaving the head
buried deep in his flesh.
Villain," said Sir Priamond, grasping his spear with
fresh fury, "now you shall reap the reward of your
Sir Priamond slain.
challenge. So far I have spared your life for love of
your sister. Now, traitor, learn that though I showed
you mercy I had not forgiven you."
His spear, so furious was the thrust, sped on through
Sir Cambell's helmet, and, piercing his brow, broke,
leaving only a truncheon in Sir Priamond's hand. Sir
Cambell for a second fell back stunned, then tearing
the lance-head out of the wound, hurled it with such
force that he drove it through Sir Priamond's gorget
into his throat. Forth welled the blood in streams,
and with the blood out flowed Sir Priamond's life.
So Sir Priamond was slain; but the fates had not
forgotten the promise they had made his mother, the
fairy Agape, and straightway the life he lost passed
into his second brother, Sir Diamond.
Sir Diamond, when he saw his brother laid low upon
the earth, though sorely grieved, would not suffer his
sorrow to overcome him, but rushed forth to renew the
combat, while the trumpets sounded again, as a signal
that the second champion had taken up the challenge.
Never did two hungry tigers wage a fiercer battle over
their prey than the one these two knights waged.
They wielded their battle-axes with such fury that
armour and shields were shattered like rotten wood.
And they fought warily as well as furiously, warding
off or leaping from under strokes that would have
felled knights less skilled in the use of arms.
For a long time it seemed as if their contest would
never end, so evenly did fortune hold the balance. At
last Sir Diamond resolved to stake all on one blow
that should either win or lose the day. Truly, good
The Second Champion vanquished. 89
luck was on Sir Cambell's side, or that blow would
have proved mortal to him; but he was on his guard,
and slipped aside out of the way of the axe, which fell
with such force that it nearly dragged Sir Diamond
to the ground. Hither and thither he stumbled, as
helpless as an eagle which has swooped down with
all its might on a heron, and, missing its mark, is
carried headlong on and nearly dashed upon the
earth beneath. Before he could recover himself Sir
Cambell smote Sir Diamond on the neck and struck
off his head.
Horror fell on all who stood by as they watched the
headless knight keep his footing for a while; then,
leaving the dismembered body, the two lives that
had been his passed into Sir Triamond.
Sir Triamond at once leaped into the field, and
there was Sir Cambell ready to meet him, for the
magic ring he wore had healed his wounds and given
him new strength. Well might Sir Triamond have
despaired of overcoming a knight who seemed to shake
off the fatigue of two such combats as easily as a snake
casts off its ragged skin when winter is past and over.
Yet he did not flinch, but boldly assailed Sir Cambell,
and hacked, and hewed, and thrust, and lashed away
till the sparks leaped off his sword just like the spray
flying off rocks at the foot of a great waterfall. So
thickly fell the blows that Sir Cambell was forced to
fall back and wait till Sir Triamond had expended
his strength. Then he in turn advanced, and Sir
Triamond retreated; and as the salt-water, while the
tide is flowing, runs up a river and holds the stream
The Fiercest FigJt of all.
back, but when the ebb begins is forced out to sea
again, so was it with these two knights-first one, then
the other had the upper hand, but neither of them
doubted that in the end he would win the day.
And well might Sir Cambell be full of hope, for
the magic ring he had on healed all his wounds and
put new strength into his limbs. The weaker Sir
Triamond grew, the more hotly he pressed him, till
at last he drove his sword through his hauberk into
his throat. Then fell Sir Triamond, killed, as all could
see; yet not dead, as all thought, for he had more than
one life to lose, and in an instant he sprang up again
upon his feet. Sir Cambell stood amazed ; he thought
he was fighting a ghost. He did not dare to aim a
blow at it. Seeing how warily his enemy fought,
striving only to protect himself, Sir Triamond believed
his strength was ebbing and victory near at last. So,
heaving up his mighty sword, he was hoping to deal
the blow that should end the fray, when Sir Cambell,
once more on the alert, ran him through the side
with such force that the sword passed right through
his body. Yet Sir Triamond's sword meanwhile was
descending with such might that it struck the crest off
Sir Cambell's helmet, and had not his shield broken
the blow, his skull would have been split in two.
No one who was watching the combat doubted that
it was over and the two knights slain, when up they
sprang once more. It seemed as if they were weary
alike of life and of fighting, and had but one desire-to
bring their duel to an honourable end. The fate of it
still hung in the balance, when suddenly in the dis-
Arrival of Cambina.
tance there arose a tumultuous noise, the cries of
women mixed with shouts of boys. The two cham-
pions turned to see what this might signify, and lo,
driving toward them at whirlwind speed, a chariot
all decked with gold and costly ornaments, and
fashioned like the chariots the Persian emperors used
in times of old. It was drawn by two lions, savage
and grim to look upon, but very docile and obedient
to the rein. Their driver was a lady, more fair than
any one of earthly race. In her right hand she bore
a rod of peace, like the one with which Mercury, the
messenger of the gods, puts evil spirits to flight.
Round it twined two serpents, their tails wound to-
gether, their heads crowned with a garland of olive
branches. In her left she carried a cup. It was filled
to the brim with nepenthe, the celestial drink which
drives away grief and sorrow, and brings peace and
unending happiness to those happy mortals whom the
gods hold worthy to drink of it.
This lady was Cambina, the sister of Sir Priamond,
Sir Diamond, and Sir Triamond. She was as good as
she was beautiful, and passing wise. The fairy Agape
had taught her whatever things subtle wits had dis-
covered, and made her the most learned magician
alive. Her magic art had shown her the evil plight
of her dear brother Sir Triamond, and she had has-
tened to take his part and stay the strife. So she
came driving through the crowd; and as the people
pressed round to see, her lions in their wrath overthrew
all who stood in their way. Loud were their shrieks
and howls, while others laughed and shouted merrily
A Magic Stroke,
at their discomfiture, and others stood in silent aston-
ishment, waiting to see what would happen. But
Cambina took no heed of their shouts or their laughter.
Driving straight on, she came to the lists, and smote
the barriers with her rod.
Straightway the barriers flew open, and she, dis-
mounting, passed through, and coming to the spot
where her brother stood, greeted him right sorrowfully,
for her heart quailed at the sight of his wounds. Then
turning, she greeted Sir Cambell, and as she greeted
him her cheeks grew pale, so strong was the love for
the noble knight that fell upon her. They in return
had scarce a word to say, so eager were they to renew
their combat. Seeing this, Cambina flung herself
down upon the earth, weeping, and praying them to be
enemies no longer. Then, when she saw her prayers
were in vain, she was fain to reason with them; but
her reasoning availed as little as her prayers, so,
leaping up, she smote them with her magic rod.
Strange and mighty was its power. Their swords at
once fell from their hands. They stood like men be-
wildered; for invisible spirits had bound them in
fetters that could not be seen but were too strong to
be broken. Then Cambina offered the two knights
the cup she carried. They drank from it very gladly,
for they were both weary and thirsty. Then another
marvel came to pass. No sooner had Sir Cambell
and Sir Triamond tasted of the enchanted drink ne-
penthe than their furious anger was at an end. Each
thought the other the dearest friend he had alive, and
fell to embracing him right lovingly.
and its Happy Ending.
When Canace saw this strange sight, she rose in
haste, and coming down from her lofty chair into the
lists, she welcomed with all joy and courtesy the lady
who had healed their dreadful strife. She had, Canace
vowed, earned thereby friendship and affection that
should last for ever. Then trumpets were blown to
signify that the combat was over, and all that were
there set off homewards gladly and gleefully. And,
indeed, if ever there was a sight to wonder and to
glory at it was this sight-Sir Cambell and Sir Tria-
mond going back together, and as friends, from the
field they had entered as foes, while after them drove
Cambina, seated by whose side in the great and
stately chariot was Canace, as fresh to look upon as
the dawn of day.
Thus they went back from the lists and feasted joy-
ously together. And this feast was the beginning of
marvellous good fortune; for Sir Triamond married
Canace, and they lived long and happily together, and
Sir Cambell married Cambina, and each of them was
as dear to the other as life itself. Never did man love
his wife more dearly than Sir Cambell loved Cambina,
or Sir Triamond Canace, and never were there wives
more true and loving than Canace and Cambina.
n1W-KINO ARTHUR- CONgUERD
ING ARTHUR had just brought a great
war to an end, and in honour of his vic-
tory he was holding a royal feast with
the kings and princes that were his vas-
sals and all the knights of the Round
Table, when twelve grave and ancient
men entered the banqueting hall where he sat at table.
They bore each an olive branch in his hand, to signify
that they were ambassadors from Lucius the Emperor
of Rome, and after they had reverently made obeis-
ance to King Arthur, they delivered their message as
"The high and mighty Emperor Lucius sends you
Arrival of Ambassadors from Rome. 97
greeting, O King of Britain, and he commands you to
acknowledge him as your lord, and to pay the tribute
which is due from this realm, and which, it is recorded,
was paid by your father and others who came before
him. Yet you rebelliously withhold it and keep it
back, in defiance of the statutes and decrees made by
the first Emperor of Rome, the noble Julius Caesar, who
conquered this country. And be assured that if you
disobey this command, the Emperor Lucius will come
in his might and make war against you and your king-
dom, and will inflict upon you a chastisement that
shall serve for ever as a warning to all kings and
princes not to withhold the tribute due to that noble
empire to which belongs dominion over the whole
Thus they spoke, and King Arthur having heard
their request, bade them withdraw, saying that he
would take the advice of his counsellors before giving
them his answer; but some of the younger knights that
were in the hall declared that it was a disgrace to all
who were at the feast that such language should be
used to the king in their hearing, and they would fain
have fallen upon the ambassadors and slain them.
But King Arthur, hearing their murmurs, declared that
any insult or wrong suffered by the ambassadors should
be punished with death. Then he sent them to their
quarters, escorted by one of his knights, who was
ordered to provide them with whatever they wanted.
"Let nothing be grudged these men of Rome," said
the king, "though the demand they make is an affront
alike to me and to you who are of my court. I should