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Peredur, son of Efrawc

part 4

  "Verily," said Owain the son of Urien to Kai, "thou wert ill advised, when thou didst send that madman after the knight. For one of two things must befall him. He must either be overthrown, or slain. If he is overthrown by the knight, he will be counted by him to be an honourable person of the Court, and an eternal disgrace will it be to Arthur and his warriors. And if he is slain, the disgrace will be the same, and moreover, his sin will be upon him; therefore will I go to see what has befallen him."

So Owain went to the meadow and he found Peredur dragging the man about.
  "What art thou doing thus?" said Owain.
  "This iron coat," said Peredur, "will never come from off him; not by my efforts, at any rate."
And Owain unfastened his armour and his clothes.
  "Here, my good soul," said he, "is a horse and armour better than thine. Take them joyfully, and come with me to Arthur, to receive the order of knighthood, for thou dost merit it."
  "May I never shew my face again, if I go," said Peredur, "but take thou the goblet to Gwenhwyvar, and tell Arthur, that wherever I am, I will be his vassal, and will do him what profit and service I am able. And say that I will not come to his Court, until I have encountered the tall man that is there, to avenge the injury he did to the dwarf and dwarfess."
And Owain went back to the Court, and related all these things to Arthur and Gwenhwyvar, and to all the household.

And Peredur rode forward. And as he proceeded, behold a knight met him.
  "Whence comest thou?" said the knight. "I come from Arthur's Court," said Peredur.
  "Art thou one of his men?" asked he.
  "Yes, by my faith," he answered.
  "A good service, truly, is that of Arthur."
  "Wherefore sayest thou so?" said Peredur.
  "I will tell thee," said he, "I have always been Arthur's enemy, and all such of his men as I have ever encountered, I have slain."
And without further parlance, they fought, and it was not long before Peredur brought him to the ground, over his horse's crupper. Then the knight besought his mercy.
  "Mercy thou shalt have," said Peredur, "if thou wilt make an oath to me, that thou wilt go to Arthur's Court, and tell him that it was I that overthrew thee, for the honour of his service; and say that I will never come to the Court, until I have avenged the insult offered to the dwarf and dwarfess."
The knight pledged him the faith of this, and proceeded to the Court of Arthur, and said as he had promised, and conveyed the threat to Kai.
And Peredur rode forward. And within that week he encountered sixteen knights, and overthrew them all shamefully. And they all went to Arthur's Court, taking with them the same message which the first knight had conveyed from Peredur, and the same threat which he had sent to Kai. And thereupon Kai was reproved by Arthur; and Kai was greatly grieved thereat.

And Peredur rode forward. And he came to a vast and desert wood, on the confines of which was a lake. And on the other side was a fair castle. And on the border of the lake he saw a venerable hoary-headed man sitting upon a velvet cushion, and having a garment of velvet upon him. And his attendants were fishing in the lake. When the hoary-headed man beheld Peredur approaching, he arose, and went towards the castle. And the old man was lame. Peredur rode to the palace, and the door was open, and he entered the hall.
And there was the hoary-headed man sitting on a cushion, and a large blazing fire burning before him. And the household and the company arose to meet Peredur, and disarrayed him. And the man asked the youth to sit on the cushion; and they sat down, and conversed together. When it was time, the tables were laid, and they went to meat. And when they had finished their meal, the man enquired of Peredur, if he knew well how to fight with the sword.
  "I know not," said Peredur, "but were I to be taught, doubtless I should."
  "Whoever can play well with the cudgel and shield, will also be able to fight with a sword."
And the man had two sons; the one had yellow hair, and the other auburn.
  "Arise, youth," said he, "and play with the cudgel and the shield."
And so did they.

To part 5

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