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The Mill
by [?]


How the Young Martimor would Become a Knight and Assay Great Adventure

When Sir Lancelot was come out of the Red Launds where he did many deeds of arms, he rested him long with play and game in a land that is, called Beausejour. For in that land there are neither castles nor enchantments, but many fair manors, with orchards and fields lying about them; and the people that dwell therein have good cheer continually.

Of the wars and of the strange quests that are ever afoot in Northgalis and Lionesse and the Out Isles, they hear nothing; but are well content to till the earth in summer when the world is green; and when the autumn changes green to gold they pitch pavilions among the fruit-trees and the vineyards, making merry with song and dance while they gather harvest of corn and apples and grapes; and in the white days of winter for pastime they have music of divers instruments and the playing of pleasant games.

But of the telling of tales in that land there is little skill, neither do men rightly understand the singing of ballads and romaunts. For one year there is like another, and so their life runs away, and they leave the world to God.

Then Sir Lancelot had great ease for a time in this quiet land, and often he lay under the apple-trees sleeping, and again he taught the people new games and feats of skill. For into what place soever he came he was welcome, though the inhabitants knew not his name and great renown, nor the famous deeds that he had done in tournament and battle. Yet for his own sake, because he was a very gentle knight, fair-spoken and full of courtesy and a good man of his hands withal, they doted upon him.

So he began to tell them tales of many things that have been done in the world by clean knights and faithful squires. Of the wars against the Saracens and misbelieving men; of the discomfiture of the Romans when they came to take truage of King Arthur; of the strife with the eleven kings and the battle that was ended but never finished; of the Questing Beast and how King Pellinore and then Sir Palamides followed it; of Balin that gave the dolourous stroke unto King Pellam; of Sir Tor that sought the lady’s brachet and by the way overcame two knights and smote off the head of the outrageous caitiff Abelleus,–of these and many like matters of pith and moment, full of blood and honour, told Sir Lancelot, and the people had marvel of his words.

Now, among them that listened to him gladly, was a youth of good blood and breeding, very fair in the face and of great stature. His name was Martimor. Strong of arm was he, and his neck was like a pillar. His legs were as tough as beams of ash-wood, and in his heart was the hunger of noble tatches and deeds. So when he heard of Sir Lancelot these redoubtable histories he was taken with desire to assay his strength. And he besought the knight that they might joust together.

But in the land of Beausejour there were no arms of war save such as Sir Lancelot had brought with him. Wherefore they made shift to fashion a harness out of kitchen gear, with a brazen platter for a breast-plate, and the cover of the greatest of all kettles for a shield, and for a helmet a round pot of iron, whereof the handle stuck down at Martimor’s back like a tail. And for spear he got him a stout young fir-tree, the point hardened in the fire, and Sir Lancelot lent to him the sword that he had taken from the false knight that distressed all ladies.