Peredur, son of Efrawc
"Lady," said they, "Heaven is witness, that there is not so much of food and liquor as this left in yonder Convent this night."
Then they went to meat, and Peredur observed that the maiden wished to give more of the food and of the liquor to him than to any of the others.
"My sister," said Peredur, "I will share out the food and the liquor."
"Not so, my soul," said she. "By my faith, but I will."
So Peredur took the bread, and he gave an equal portion of it to each alike, as well as a cup full of the liquor. And when it was time for them to sleep, a chamber was prepared for Peredur, and he went to rest.
"Behold, sister," said the youths to the fairest and most exalted of the maidens, "we have counsel for thee."
"What may it be?" she enquired.
"Go to the youth that is in the upper chamber, and offer to become his wife, or the lady of his love, if it seem well to him."
"That were indeed unfitting," said she. "Hitherto I have not been the lady love of any knight, and to make him such an offer before I am wooed by him, that, truly can I not do."
"By our confession to Heaven, unless you actest thus, we will leave thee here to thy enemies, to do as they will with thee."
And through fear of this, the maiden went forth; and shedding tears, she proceeded to the chamber. And with the noise of the door opening, Peredur awoke; and the maiden was weeping and lamenting.
"Tell me, my sister," said Peredur, "wherefore dost thou weep?"
"I will tell thee, lord," said she, "my father possessed these dominions as their chief, and this palace was his, and with it he held the best earldom in the kingdom; then the son of another earl sought me of my father, and I was not willing to be given unto him, and my father would not give me against my will, either to him or any earl in the world. And my father had no child except myself. And after my father's death, these dominions came into my own hands, and then was I less willing to accept him than before. So he made war upon me, and conquered all my possessions except this one house. And through the valour of the men whom thou hast seen, who are my foster brothers, and the strength of the house, it can never be taken while food and drink remain. And now our provisions are exhausted; but as thou hast seen, we have been fed by the nuns, to whom the country is free. And at length they also are without supply of food or liquor. And at no later date than tomorrow, the earl will come against this place with all his forces; and if I fall into his power, my fate will be no better than to be given over to the grooms of his horses. Therefore, lord, I am come to offer to place myself in thy hands, that thou mayest succour me, either by taking me hence, or by defending me here, whichever may seem best unto thee."
"Go, my sister," said he, "and sleep; nor will I depart from thee until I do that which thou requirest, or prove whether I can assist thee or not."
The maiden went again to rest; and the next morning she came to Peredur, and saluted him.
"Heaven prosper thee, my soul, and what tidings dost thou bring?"
"None other, than that the earl and all his forces have alighted at the gate, and I never beheld any place so covered with tents, and thronged with knights challenging others to the combat."
"Truly," said Peredur, "let my horse be made ready."
So his horse was accoutred, and he arose, and sallied forth to the meadow. And there was a knight riding proudly along the meadow, having raised the signal for battle. And they encountered, and Peredur threw the knight over his horse's crupper to the ground. And at the close of the day, one of the chief knights came to fight with him, and he overthrew him also, so that he besought his mercy.
"Who art thou?" said Peredur.
"Verily," said he, "I am Master of the Household to the earl."
"And how much of the Countess's possessions is there in thy power?"
"The third part, verily," answered he.
"Then," said Peredur, "restore to her the third of her possessions in full, and all the profit thou hast made by them, and bring meat and drink for a hundred men, with their horses and arms, to her court this night. And thou shalt remain her captive, unless she wish to take thy life."
And this he did forthwith. And that night the maiden was right joyful, and they fared plenteously.
And the next day Peredur rode forth to the meadow; and that day he vanquished a multitude of the host. And at the close of the day, there came a proud and stately knight, and Peredur overthrew him, and he besought his mercy.
"Who art thou?" said Peredur.
"I am Steward of the Palace," said he.
"And how much of the maiden's possessions are under thy control?"
"One third part," answered he.
"Verily," said Peredur, "thou shalt fully restore to the maiden her possessions, and, moreover, thou shalt give her meat and drink for two hundred men, and their horses and their arms. And for thyself, thou shalt be her captive."
And immediately it was so done.