Geraint, son of Erbin
"I could not obtain better than this," said she, "nor with better should I have been trusted."
"It is good enough," said Geraint.
And they caused the meat to be boiled; and when their food was ready, they sat down. And it was on this wise; Geraint sat between the hoary-headed man and his wife, and the maiden served them. And they ate and drank.
And when they had finished eating, Geraint talked with the hoary-headed man, and he asked him in the first place, to whom belonged the palace that he was in.
"Truly," said he, "it was I that built it, and to me also belonged the city and the castle which thou sawest."
"Alas!" said Geraint, "how is it that thou hast lost them now?"
"I lost a great Earldom as well as these," said he; "and this is how I lost them. I had a nephew, the son of my brother, and I took his possessions to myself; and when he came to his strength, he
demanded of me his property, but I withheld it from him. So he made war upon me, and wrested from me all that I possessed."
"Good Sir," said Geraint, "wilt thou tell me wherefore came the knight, and the lady, and the dwarf, just now into the town, and what is the preparation which I saw, and the putting of arms in order?"
"I will do so," said he.
"The preparations are for the game that is to be held tomorrow by the young Earl, which will be on this wise. In the midst of a meadow which is here, two forks will be set up, and upon the two forks a silver rod, and upon the silver rod a, Sparrow-Hawk, and for the Sparrow-Hawk there will be a tournament. And to the tournament will go all the array thou didst see in the city, of men, and of horses, and of arms. And with each man will go the lady he loves best; and no man can joust for the Sparrow-Hawk, except the lady be loves best be with him. And the knight that thou sawest has gained the Sparrow-Hawk these two years; and if he gains it the third year, they will, from that time, send it every year to him, and he himself will come here no more. And he will be called the Knight of the Sparrow-Hawk from that time forth."
"Sir," said Geraint, "what is thy counsel to me concerning this knight, on account of the insult which I received from the dwarf, and that which was received by the maiden of Gwenhwyvar, the wife of Arthur ?"
And Geraint told the hoary-headed man what the insult was that he had received.
"It is not easy to counsel thee, inasmuch as thou hast neither dame nor maiden belonging to thee, for whom thou caust joust. Yet, I have arms here, which thou couldest have; and there is my horse also, if he seem to thee better than thine own."
"Ah! Sir," said he, "Heaven reward thee. But my own horse, to which I am accustomed, together with thy arms, will suffice me. And if, when the appointed time shall come to-morrow, thou wilt permit me, Sir, to challenge for yonder maiden that is thy daughter, I will engage, if I escape from the tournament, to love the maiden as long as I live; and if I do not escape, she will remain unsullied
"Gladly will I permit thee," said the hoary-headed man; "and since thou dost thus resolve, it is necessary that thy horse and arms should be ready to-morrow at break of day. For then, the Knight of the Sparrow-Hawk will make proclamation, and ask the lady he loves best, to take the Sparrow-Hawk. 'For,' will he say to her, 'thou art the fairest of women, and thou didst possess it last year, and the year previous ; and if any deny it thee to-day, by force will I defend it for thee.' "
"And therefore," said the hoary-headed man, "it is needful for thee to be there at daybreak; and we three will be with thee."
And thus was it settled.