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Pwyll, son of Dyved

part 4

And he took a horse and went forward. And he came to an open level plain, and put spurs to his horse; and the more he urged his horse, the further was she from him. Yet she held the same pace as at first. And his horse began to fail; and when his horse's feet failed him, he returned to the place where Pwyll was.
  "Lord," said he, "it will avail nothing for any one to follow yonder lady. I know of no horse in these realms swifter than this, and it availed me not to pursue her."
  "Of a truth," said Pwyll, "there must be some illusion here. Let us go towards the palace."
So to the palace they went, and they spent that day. And the next day they arose, and that also they spent until it was time to go to meat. And after the first meal, "Verily," said Pwyll, "we will go the same party as yesterday to the top of the mound. And do thou," said he to one of his young men, "take the swiftest horse thatthou knowest in the field."
And thus did the young man. And they went towards the mound, taking the horse with them. And as they were sitting down they beheld the lady on the same horse, and in the same apparel, coming along the same road.
  "Behold," said Pwyll, "here is the lady of yesterday. Make ready, youth, to learn who she is."
  "My Lord," said he, "that will I gladly do."
And thereupon the lady came opposite to them. So the youth mounted his horse; and before he had settled himself in his saddle, she passed by, and there was a clear space between them. But her speed was no greater than it had been the day before. Then he put his horse into an amble, and thought that notwithstanding the gentle pace at which his horse went, he should soon overtake her. But this availed him not; so he gave his horse the reins. And still he came no nearer to her than when he went at a foot's pace. And the more he urged his horse, the further was she from him. Yet she rode not faster than before. When he saw that it availed not to follow her, he returned to the place where Pwyll was.
  "Lord," said he, "the horse can no more than thou hast seen."
  "I see indeed that it avails not that any one should follow her. And by Heaven," said he, "she must needs have an errand to some one in this plain, if her haste would allow her to declare it. Let us go back to the palace."
And to the palace they went, and they spent that night in songs and feasting, as it pleased them.

And the next day they amused themselves until it was time to go to meat. And when meat was ended, Pwyll said, "Where are the hosts that went yesterday and the day before to the top of the mound?"
  "Behold, Lord, we are here," said they.
  "Let us go," said he, "to the mound, to sit there. And do thou," said he to the page who tended his horse, saddle my horse well, and hasten with him to the road, and bring also my spurs with thee."
And the youth did thus. And they went and sat upon the mound; and ere they had been there but a short time, they beheld the lady coming by the same road, and in the same manner, and at the same pace.
  "Young man," said Pwyll, "I see the lady coming; give me my horse."
And no sooner had he mounted his horse than she passed him. And he turned after her and followed her. And he let his horse go bounding playfully, and thought that at the second step or the third he should come up with her. But he came no nearer to her than at first. Then he urged his horse to his utmost speed, yet he found that it availed nothing to follow her.
Then said Pwyll, "0 maiden, for the sake of him whom thou best lovest, stay for me."
  "I will stay gladly," said she, "and it were better for thy horse hadst thou asked it long since."
So the maiden stopped, and she threw back that part of her head dress which covered her face. And she fixed her eyes upon him, and began to talk with him.
  "Lady," asked he, "whence comest thou, and whereunto dost thou journey?"
  "I journey on mine own errand," said she, "and right glad am I to see thee."
  "My greeting be unto thee," said he.
Then he thought that the beauty of all the maidens, and all the ladies that he had ever seen, was as nothing compared to her beauty.
  "Lady," he said, "wilt thou tell me aught concerning thy purpose?"
  "I will tell thee," said she. "My chief quest was to seek thee."
  "Behold," said Pwyll, "this is to me the most pleasing quest on which thou couldst have come; and wilt thou tell me who thou art?"
  "I will tell thee, Lord," said she, "I am Rhiannon, the daughter of Heveydd Hen, and they sought to give me to a husband against my will. But no husband would I have, and that because of my love for thee, neither will I yet have one unless thou reject me. And hither have I come to hear thy answer."
  "By Heaven," said Pwyll, "behold this is my answer. If I might choose among all the ladies and damsels in the world, thee would I choose."
  "Verily," said she, "if thou art thus minded, make a pledge to meet me ere I am given to another."
  "The sooner I may do so, the more pleasing will it be unto me," said Pwyll, "and wheresoever thou wilt, there will I meet with thee."
  "I will that thou meet me this day twelvemonth at the palace of Heveydd. And I will cause a feast to be prepared, so that it be ready against thou come."
  "Gladly," said he, "will I keep this tryst."
  "Lord," said she, "remain in health, and be mindful that thou keep thy promise; and now will I go hence."
So they parted, and be went back to his hosts and to them of his household. And whatsoever questions they asked him respecting the damsel, he always turned the discourse upon other matters.

And when a year from that time was gone, he caused a hundred knights to equip themselves and to go with him to the palace of Heveydd Hen. And he came to the palace, and there was great joy concerning him, with much concourse of people and great rejoicing, and vast preparations for his coming. And the whole Court was placed under his orders.

To part 5

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