Four Arthurian Romances, by Chretien DeTroyes

Part 2 out of 9

laces about his head a helmet fluted with a band of gold, shining
brighter than a mirror. Then he takes the sword and girds it on,
and orders them to bring him saddled his bay steed of Gascony.
Then he calls a valet to him, and says: "Valet, go quickly, run
to the chamber beside the tower where my wife is, and tell her
that she is keeping me waiting here too long. She has spent too
much time on her attire. Tell her to come and mount at once, for
I am awaiting her." And the fellow goes and finds her all ready,
weeping and making moan: and he straightway addressed her thus:
"Lady, why do you so delay? My lord is awaiting you outside
yonder, already fully armed. He would have mounted some time
ago, had you been ready." Enide wondered greatly what her lord's
intention was; but she very wisely showed herself with as
cheerful a countenance as possible, when she appeared before him.
In the middle of the courtyard she found him, and King Lac comes
running out. Knights come running, too, striving with each other
to reach there first. There is neither young nor old but goes to
learn and ask if he will take any of them with him. So each
offers and presents himself. But he states definitely and
affirms that he will take no companion except his wife, asserting
that he will go alone. Then the King is in great distress.
"Fair son," says he, "what dost thou intend to do? Thou shouldst
tell me thy business and keep nothing back. Tell me whither thou
will go; for thou art unwilling on any account to be accompanied
by an escort of squires or knights. If thou hast undertaken to
fight some knight in single combat, yet shouldst thou not for
that reason fail to take a part of thy knights with thee to
betoken thy wealth and lordship. A king's son ought not to fare
alone. Fair son, have thy sumpters loaded now, and take thirty
or forty or more of thy knights, and see that silver and gold is
taken, and whatever a gentleman needs." Finally Erec makes reply
and tells him all in detail how he has planned his journey.
"Sire," says he, "it must be so. I shall take no extra horse,
nor have I any use for gold or silver, squire or sergeant; nor do
I ask for any company save that of my wife alone. But I pray
you, whatever may happen, should I die and she come back, to love
her and hold her dear for love of me and for my prayer, and give
her so long as she live, without contention or any strife, the
half of your land to be her own." Upon hearing his son's
request, the King said: "Fair son, I promise it. But I grieve
much to see thee thus go off without escort, and if I had my way,
thou shouldst not thus depart." "Sire, it cannot be otherwise.
I go now, and to God commend you. But keep in mind my
companions, and give them horses and arms and all that knight may
need." The King cannot keep back the tears when he is parted
from his son. The people round about weep too; the ladies and
knights shed tears and make great moan for him. There is not one
who does not mourn, and many a one in the courtyard swoons.
Weeping, they kiss and embrace him, and are almost beside
themselves with grief. I think they would not have been more sad
if they had seen him dead or wounded. Then Erec said to comfort
them: "My lords, why do you weep so sore? I am neither in prison
nor wounded. You gain nothing by this display of grief. If I go
away, I shall come again when it please God and when I can. To
God I commend you one and all; so now let me go; too long you
keep me here. I am sorry and grieved to see you weep." To God
he commends them and they him.

(Vv. 2765-2924.) So they departed, leaving sorrow behind them.
Erec starts, and leads his wife he knows not whither, as chance
dictates. "Ride fast," he says, "and take good care not to be so
rash as to speak to me of anything you may see. Take care never
to speak to me, unless I address you first. Ride on now fast and
with confidence." "Sire," says she, "it shall be done." She
rode ahead and held her peace. Neither one nor the other spoke a
word. But Enide's heart is very sad, and within herself she thus
laments, soft and low that he may not hear: "Alas," she says,
"God had raised and exalted me to such great joy; but now He has
suddenly cast me down. Fortune who had beckoned me has quickly
now withdrawn her hand. I should not mind that so much, alas, if
only I dared to address my lord. But I am mortified and
distressed because my lord has turned against me, I see it
clearly, since he will not speak to me. And I am not so bold as
to dare to look at him." While she thus laments, a knight who
lived by robbery issued forth from the woods. He had two
companions with him, and all three were armed. They covet the
palfrey which Enide rides. "My lords, do you know the news I
bring?" says he to his two companions. "If we do not now make a
haul, we are good-for-nothing cowards and are playing in bad
luck. Here comes a lady wondrous fair, whether married or not I
do not know, but she is very richly dressed. The palfrey and
saddle, with the breast-strap and reins, are worth a thousand
livres of Chartres. I will take the palfrey for mine, and the
rest of the booty you may have. I don't want any more for my
share. The knight shall not lead away the lady, so help me God.
For I intend to give him such a thrust as he will dearly pay. I
it was who saw him first, and so it is my right to go the first
and offer battle." They give him leave and he rides off,
crouching well beneath his shield, while the other two remain
aloof. In those days it was the custom and practice that in an
attack two knights should not join against one; thus if they too
had assailed him, it would seem that they had acted
treacherously. Enide saw the robbers, and was seized with great
fear. "God," says she, "what can I say? Now my lord will be
either killed or made a prisoner; for there are three of them and
he is alone. The contest is not fair between one knight and
three. That fellow will strike him now at a disadvantage; for my
lord is off his guard. God, shall I be then such a craven as not
to dare to raise my voice? Such a coward I will not be: I will
not fail to speak to him." On the spot she turns about and calls
to him: "Fair sire, of what are you thinking? There come riding
after you three knights who press you hard. I greatly fear they
will do you harm." "What?" says Erec, "what's that you say? You
have surely been very bold to disdain my command and prohibition.
This time you shall be pardoned; but if it should happen another
time, you would not be forgiven." Then turning his shield and
lance, he rushes at the knight. The latter sees him coming and
challenges him. When Erec hears him, he defies him. Both give
spur and clash together, holding their lances at full extent.
But he missed Erec, while Erec used him hard; for he knew well
the right attack. He strikes him on the shield so fiercely that
he cracks it from top to bottom. Nor is his hauberk any
protection: Erec pierces and crushes it in the middle of his
breast, and thrusts a foot and a half of his lance into his body.
When he drew back, he pulled out the shaft. And the other fell
to earth. He must needs die, for the blade had drunk of his
life's blood. Then one of the other two rushes forward, leaving
his companion behind, and spurs toward Erec, threatening him.
Erec firmly grasps his shield, and attacks him with a stout
heart. The other holds his shield before his breast. Then they
strike upon the emblazoned shields. The knight's lance flies
into two bits, while Erec drives a quarter of lance's length
through the other's breast. He will give him no more trouble.
Erec unhorses him and leaves him in a faint, while he spurs at an
angle toward the third robber. When the latter saw him coming on
he began to make his escape. He was afraid, and did not dare to
face him; so he hastened to take refuge in the woods. But his
flight is of small avail, for Erec follows him close and cries
aloud: "Vassal, vassal, turn about now, and prepare to defend
yourself, so that I may not slay you in act of flight. It is
useless to try to escape." But the fellow has no desire to turn
about, and continues to flee with might and main. Following and
overtaking him, Erec hits him squarely on his painted shield, and
throws him over on the other side. To these three robbers he
gives no further heed: one he has killed, another wounded, and of
the third he got rid by throwing him to earth from his steed. He
took the horses of all three and tied them together by the
bridles. In colour they were not alike: the first was white as
milk, the second black and not at all bad looking, while the
third was dappled all over. He came back to the road where Enide
was awaiting him. He bade her lead and drive the three horses in
front of her, warning her harshly never again to be so bold as to
speak a single word unless he give her leave. She makes answer:
"I will never do so, fair sire, if it be your will." Then they
ride on, and she holds her peace.

(Vv. 2925-3085.) They had not yet gone a league when before them
in a valley there came five other knights, with lances in rest,
shields held close in to the neck, and their shining helmets
laced up tight; they, too, were on plunder bent. All at once
they saw the lady approach in charge of the three horses, and
Erec who followed after. As soon as they saw them, they divided
their equipment among themselves, just as if they had already
taken possession of it. Covetousness is a bad thing. But it did
not turn out as they expected; for vigorous defence was made.
Much that a fool plans is not executed, and many a man misses
what he thinks to obtain. So it befell them in this attack. One
said that he would take the maid or lose his life in the attempt;
and another said that the dappled steed shall be his, and that he
will be satisfied with that. The third said that he would take
the black horse. "And the white one for me," said the fourth.
The fifth was not at all backward, and vowed that he would have
the horse and arms of the knight himself. He wished to win them
by himself, and would fain attack him first, if they would give
him leave: and they willingly gave consent. Then he leaves them
and rides ahead on a good and nimble steed. Erec saw him, but
made pretence that he did not yet notice him. When Enide saw
them, her heart jumped with fear and great dismay. "Alas!" said
she, "I know not what to say or do; for my lord severely
threatens me, and says that he will punish me, if I speak a word
to him. But if my lord were dead now, there would be no comfort
for me. I should be killed and roughly treated. God! my lord
does not see them! Why, then, do I hesitate, crazed as I am? I
am indeed too chary of my words, when I have not already spoken
to him. I know well enough that those who are coming yonder are
intent upon some wicked deed. And God! how shall I speak to
him? He will kill me. Well, let him kill me! Yet I will not
fail to speak to him." Then she softly calls him: "Sire!"
"What?" says he, "what do you want?" "Your pardon, sire. I want
to tell you that five knights have emerged from yonder thicket,
of whom I am in mortal fear. Having noticed them, I am of the
opinion that they intend to fight with you. Four of them have
stayed behind, and the other comes toward you as fast as his
steed can carry him. I am afraid every moment lest he will
strike you. 'Tis true, the four have stayed behind; but still
they are not far away, and will quickly aid him, if need arise."
Erec replies: "You had an evil thought, when you transgressed my
command--a thing which I had forbidden you. And yet I knew all
the time that you did not hold me in esteem. Your service has
been ill employed; for it has not awakened my gratitude, but
rather kindled the more my ire. I have told you that once, and I
say it again. This once again I will pardon you; but another
time restrain yourself, and do not again turn around to watch me:
for in doing so you would be very foolish. I do not relish your
words." Then he spurs across the field toward his adversary, and
they come together. Each seeks out and assails the other. Erec
strikes him with such force that his shield flies from his neck,
and thus he breaks his collar-bone. His stirrups break, and he
falls without the strength to rise again, for he was badly
bruised and wounded. One of the others then appeared, and they
attack each other fiercely. Without difficulty Erec thrusts the
sharp and well forged steel into his neck beneath the chin,
severing thus the bones and nerves. At the back of his neck the
blade protrudes, and the hot red blood flows down on both sides
from the wound. He yields his spirit, and his heart is still.
The third sallies forth from his hiding-place on the other side
of a ford. Straight through the water, on he comes. Erec spurs
forward and meets him before he came out of the water, striking
him so hard that he beats down flat both rider and horse. The
steed lay upon the body long enough to drown him in the stream,
and then struggled until with difficulty he got upon his feet.
Thus he conquered three of them, when the other two thought it
wise to quit the conflict and not to strive with him. In flight
they follow the stream, and Erec after them in hot pursuit, until
he strikes one upon the spine so hard that he throws him forward
upon the saddle-bow. He put all his strength into the blow, and
breaks his lance upon his body, so that the fellow fell head
foremost. Erec makes him pay dearly for the lance which he has
broken on him, and drew his sword from the scabbard. The fellow
unwisely straightened up; for Erec gave him three such strokes
that he slaked his sword's thirst in his blood. He severs the
shoulder from his body, so that it fell down on the ground.
Then, with sword drawn, he attacked the other, as he sought to
escape without company or escort. When he sees Erec pursuing
him, he is so afraid that he knows not what to do: he does not
dare to face him, and cannot turn aside; he has to leave his
horse, for he has no more trust in him. He throws away his
shield and lance, and slips from his horse to earth. When he saw
him on his feet, Erec no longer cared to pursue him, but he
stooped over for the lance, not wishing to leave that, because of
his own which had been broken. He carries off his lance and goes
away, not leaving the horses behind: he catches all five of them
and leads them off. Enide had hard work to lead them all; for he
hands over all five of them to her with the other three, and
commands her to go along smartly, and to keep from addressing him
in order that no evil or harm may come to her. So not a word
does she reply, but rather keeps silence; and thus they go,
leading with them all the eight horses.

(Vv. 3086-3208.) They rode till nightfall without coming to any
town or shelter. When night came on, they took refuge beneath a
tree in an open field. Erec bids his lady sleep, and he will
watch. She replies that she will not, for it is not right, and
she does not wish to do so. It is for him to sleep who is more
weary. Well pleased at this, Erec accedes. Beneath his head he
placed his shield, and the lady took her cloak, and stretched it
over him from head to foot. Thus, he slept and she kept watch,
never dozing the whole night, but holding tight in her hand by
the bridle the horses until the morning broke; and much she
blamed and reproached herself for the words which she had
uttered, and said that she acted badly, and was not half so ill-
treated as she deserved to be. "Alas," said she, "in what an evil
hour have I witnessed my pride and presumption! I might have
known without doubt that there was no knight better than, or so
good as, my lord. I knew it well enough before, but now I know
it better. For I have seen with my own eyes how he has not
quailed before three or even five armed men. A plague for ever
upon my tongue for having uttered such pride and insult as now
compel me to suffer shame!" All night long she thus lamented
until the morning dawned. Erec rises early, and again they take
the road, she in front and he behind. At noon a squire met them
in a little valley, accompanied by two fellows who were carrying
cakes and wine and some rich autumn cheeses to those who were
mowing the hay in the meadows belonging to Count Galoain. The
squire was a clever fellow, and when he saw Erec and Enide, who
were coming from the direction of the woods, he perceived that
they must have spent the night in the forest and had had nothing
to eat or drink; for within a radius of a day's journey there was
no town, city or tower, no strong place or abbey, hospice or
place of refuge. So he formed an honest purpose and turned his
steps toward them, saluting them politely and saving: "Sire, I
presume that you have had a hard experience last night. I am
sure you have had no sleep and have spent the night in these
woods. I offer you some of this white cake, if it please you to
partake of it. I say it not in hope of reward: for I ask and
demand nothing of you. The cakes are made of good wheat; I have
good wine and rich cheeses, too, a white cloth and fine jugs. If
you feel like taking lunch, you need not seek any farther.
Beneath these white beeches, here on the greensward, you might
lay off your arms and rest yourself a while. My advice is that
you dismount." Erec got down from his horse and said: "Fair
gentle friend, I thank you kindly: I will eat something, without
going farther." The young man knew well what to do: he helped
the lady from her horse, and the boys who had come with the
squire held the steeds. Then they go and sit down in the shade.
The squire relieves Erec of his helmet, unlaces the mouth-piece
from before his face; then he spreads out the cloth before them
on the thick tuff. He passes them the cake and wine, and
prepares and cuts a cheese. Hungry as they were, they helped
themselves, and gladly drank of the wine. The squire serves them
and omits no attention. When they had eaten and drunk their
fill, Erec was courteous and generous. "Friend," says he, "as a
reward, I wish to present you with one of my horses. Take the
one you like the best. And I pray it may be no hardship for you
to return to the town and make ready there a goodly lodging."
And he replies that he will gladly do whatever is his will. Then
he goes up to the horses and, untying them, chooses the dapple,
and speaks his thanks; for this one seems to be the best. Up he
springs by the left stirrup, and leaving them both there, he rode
off to the town at top speed, where he engaged suitable quarters.
Now behold! he is back again: "Now mount, sire, quickly," says
he, "for you have a good fine lodging ready." Erec mounted, and
then his lady, and, as the town was hard by, they soon had
reached their lodging-place. There they were received with joy.
The host with kindness welcomed them, and with joy and gladness
made generous provision for their needs.

(Vv. 3209-3458.) When the squire had done for them all the
honour that he could do, he came and mounted his horse again,
leading it off in front of the Count's bower to the stable. The
Count and three of his vassals were leaning out of the bower,
when the Count, seeing his squire mounted on the dappled steed,
asked him whose it was. And he replied that it was his. The
Count, greatly astonished, says: "How is that? Where didst thou
get him?" "A knight whom I esteem highly gave him to me, sire,"
says he. "I have conducted him within this town, and he is lodged
at a burgher's house. He is a very courteous knight and the
handsomest man I ever saw. Even if I had given you my word and
oath, I could not half tell you how handsome he is." The Count
replies: "I suppose and presume that he is not more handsome than
I am." "Upon my word, sire," the sergeant says, "you are very
handsome and a gentleman. There is not a knight in this country,
a native of this land, whom you do not excel in favour. But I
dare maintain concerning this one that he is fairer than you, if
he were not beaten black and blue beneath his hauberk, and
bruised. In the forest he has been fighting single-handed with
eight knights, and leads away their eight horses. And there
comes with him a lady so fair that never lady was half so fair as
she." (28) When the Count hears this news, the desire takes him
to go and see if this is true or false. "I never heard such a
thing," says he; "take me now to his lodging-place, for certainly
I wish to know if thou dost lie or speak the truth." He replies:
"Right gladly, sire. This is the way and the path to follow, for
it is not far from here." "I am anxious to see them," says the
Count. Then he comes down, and the squire gets off his horse,
and makes the Count mount in his place. Then he ran ahead to
tell Erec that the Count was coming to visit him. Erec's lodging
was rich indeed--the kind to which he was accustomed. There
were many tapers and candles lighted all about. The Count came
attended by only three companions. Erec, who was of gracious
manners, rose to meet him, and exclaimed: "Welcome, sire!" And
the Count returned his salutation. They both sat down side by
side upon a soft white couch, where they chat with each other.
The Count makes him an offer and urges him to consent to accept
from him a guarantee for the payment of his expenses in the town.
But Erec does not deign to accept, saying he is well supplied
with money, and has no need to accept aught from him. They speak
long of many things, but the Count constantly glances about in
the other direction, where he caught sight of the lady. Because
of her manifest beauty, he fixed all his thought on her. He
looked at her as much as he could; he coveted her, and she
pleased him so that her beauty filled him with love. Very
craftily he asked Erec for permission to speak with her. "Sire,"
he says "I ask a favour of you, and may it not displease you. As
an act of courtesy and as a pleasure, I would fain sit by yonder
lady's side. With good intent I came to see you both, and you
should see no harm in that. I wish to present to the lady my
service in all respects. Know well that for love of you I would
do whatever may please her." Erec was not in the least jealous
and suspected no evil or treachery. "Sire," says he, "I have no
objection. You may sit down and talk with her. Don't think that
I have any objection. I give you permission willingly." The
lady was seated about two spear-lengths away from him. And the
Count took his seat close beside her on a low stool. Prudent and
courteous, the lady turned toward him. "Alas," quoth he, "how
grieved I am to see you in such humble state! I am sorry and
feel great distress. But if you would believe my word, you could
have honour and great advantage, and much wealth would accrue to
you. Such beauty as yours is entitled to great honour and
distinction. I would make you my mistress, if it should please
you and be your will; you would be my mistress dear and lady over
all my land. When I deign to woo you thus, you ought not to
disdain my suit. I know and perceive that your lord does not
love and esteem you. If you will remain with me, you would be
mated with a worthy lord." "Sire," says Enide, "your proposal is
vain. It cannot be. Ah! better that I were yet unborn, or
burnt upon a fire of thorns and my ashes scattered abroad than
that I should ever in any wise be false to my lord, or conceive
any felony or treachery toward him. You have made a great
mistake in making such a proposal to me. I shall not agree to it
in any wise." The Count's ire began to rise. "You disdain to
love me, lady?" says he; "upon my word, you are too proud.
Neither for flattery nor for prayer you will do my will? It is
surely true that a woman's pride mounts the more one prays and
flatters her; but whoever insults and dishonours her will often
find her more tractable. I give you my word that if you do not
do my will there soon will be some sword-play here. Rightly or
wrongly, I will have your lord slain right here before your
eyes." "Ah, sire," says Enide, "there is a better way than that
you say. You would commit a wicked and treacherous deed if you
killed him thus. Calm yourself again, I pray; for I will do your
pleasure. You may regard me as all your own, for I am yours and
wish to be. I did not speak as I did from pride, but to learn
and prove if I could find in you the true love of a sincere
heart. But I would not at any price have you commit an act of
treason. My lord is not on his guard; and if you should kill him
thus, you would do a very ugly deed, and I should have the blame
for it. Every one in the land would say that it had been done
with my consent. Go and rest until the morrow, when my lord
shall be about to rise. Then you can better do him harm without
blame and without reproach." With her heart's thoughts her words
do not agree. "Sire," says she, "believe me now! Have no
anxiety; but send here to-morrow your knights and squires and
have me carried away by force. My lord will rush to my defence,
for he is proud and bold enough. Either in earnest or in jest,
have him seized and treated ill, or strike his head off, if you
will. I have led this life now long enough; to tell the truth.
I like not the company of this my lord. Rather would I feel your
body lying beside me in a bed. And since we have reached this
point, of my love you may rest assured." The Count replies: "It
is well, my lady! God bless the hour that you were born; in
great estate you shall be held." "Sire," says she, "indeed, I
believe it. And yet I would fain have your word that you will
always hold me dear; I could not believe you otherwise." Glad
and merry, the Count replies: "See here, my faith I will pledge
to you loyally as a Count, Madame, that I shall do all your
behests. Have no further fear of that. All you want you shall
always have." Then she took his plighted word; but little she
valued or cared for it, except therewith to save her lord. Well
she knows how to deceive a fool, when she puts her mind upon it.
Better it were to lie to him than that her lord should be cut
off. The Count now rose from her side, and commends her to God a
hundred times. But of little use to him will be the faith which
she has pledged to him. Erec knew nothing at all of this that
they were plotting to work his death; but God will be able to
lend him aid, and I think He will do so. Now Erec is in great
peril, and does not know that he must be on his guard. The
Count's intentions are very base in planning to steal away his
wife and kill him when he is without defence. In treacherous
guise he takes his leave: "To God I commend you," says he, and
Erec replies: "And so do I you, sire." Thus they separated.
Already a good part of the night was passed. Out of the way, in
one of the rooms, two beds were made upon the floor. In one of
them Erec lays him down, in the other Enide went to rest. Full
of grief and anxiety, she never closed her eyes that night, but
remained on watch for her lord's sake; for from what she had seen
of the Count, she knew him to be full of wickedness. She knows
full well that if he once gets possession of her lord, he will
not fail to do him harm. He may be sure of being killed: so for
his sake she is in distress. All night she must needs keep her
vigil; but before the dawn, if she can bring it about, and if her
lord will take her word, they will be ready to depart.

(Vv. 3459-3662.) Erec slept all night long securely until
daylight. Then Enide realised and suspected that she might
hesitate too long. Her heart was tender toward her lord, like a
good and loyal lady. Her heart was neither deceitful nor false.
So she rises and makes ready, and drew near to her lord to wake
him up. "Ah, sire," says she, "I crave your pardon. Rise
quickly now, for you are betrayed beyond all doubt, though
guiltless and free from any crime. The Count is a proven
traitor, and if he can but catch you here, you will never get
away without his having cut you in pieces. He hates you because
he desires me. But if it please God, who knows all things, you
shall be neither slain nor caught. Last evening he would have
killed you had I not assured him that I would be his mistress and
his wife. You will see him return here soon: he wants to seize
me and keep me here and kill you if he can find you." Now Erec
learns how loyal his wife is to him. "Lady," says he, "have our
horses quickly saddled; then run and call our host, and tell him
quickly to come here. Treason has been long abroad." Now the
horses are saddled, and the lady summoned the host. Erec has
armed and dressed himself, and into his presence came the host.
"Sire," said he, "what haste is this, that you are risen at such
an hour, before the day and the sun appear?" Erec replies that
he has a long road and a full day before him, and therefore he
has made ready to set out, having it much upon his mind; and he
added: "Sire, you have nor yet handed me any statement of my
expenses. You have received me with honour and kindness, and
therein great merit redounds to you. Cancel my indebtedness with
these seven horses that I brought here with me. Do not disdain
them, but keep them for your own. I cannot increase my gift to
you by so much as the value of a halter." The burgher was
delighted with this gift and bowed low, expressing his thanks and
gratitude. Then Erec mounts and takes his leave, and they set
out upon their way. As they ride, he frequently warns Enide that
if she sees anything she should not be so bold as to speak to him
about it. Meanwhile, there entered the house a hundred knights
well armed, and very much dismayed they were to find Erec no
longer there. Then the Count learned that the lady had deceived
him. He discovered the footsteps of the horses, and they all
followed the trail, the Count threatening Erec and vowing that,
if he can come up with him, nothing can keep him from having his
head on the spot. "A curse on him who now hangs back, and does
not spur on fast!" quoth he; "he who presents me with the head of
the knight whom I hate so bitterly, will have served me to my
taste." Then they plunge on at topmost speed, filled with
hostility toward him who had never laid eyes on them and had
never harmed them by deed or word. They ride ahead until they
made him out; at the edge of a forest they catch sight of him
before he was hid by the forest trees. Not one of them halted
then, but all rushed on in rivalry. Enide hears the clang and
noise of their arms and horses, and sees that the valley is full
of them. As soon as she saw them, she could not restrain her
tongue. "Ah, sire," she cries. "alas, how this Count has
attacked you, when he leads against you such a host! Sire, ride
faster now, until we be within this wood. I think we can easily
distance them, for they are still a long way behind. If you go
on at this pace, you can never escape from death, for you are no
match for them." Erec replies: "Little esteem you have for me,
and lightly you hold my words. It seems I cannot correct you by
fair request. But as the Lord have mercy upon me until I escape
from here, I swear that you shall pay dearly for this speech of
yours; that is, unless my mind should change." Then he
straightway turns about, and sees the seneschal drawing near upon
a horse both strong and fleet. Before them all he takes his
stand at the distance of four cross-bow shots. He had not
disposed of his arms, but was thoroughly well equipped. Erec
reckons up his opponents' strength, and sees there are fully a
hundred of them. Then he who thus is pressing him thinks he had
better call a hair. Then they ride to meet each other, and
strike upon each other's shield great blows with their sharp and
trenchant swords. Erec caused his stout steel sword to pierce
his body through and through, so that his shield and hauberk
protected him no more than a shred of dark-blue silk. And next
the Count comes spurring on, who, as the story tells, was a
strong and doughty knight. But the Count in this was ill advised
when he came with only shield and lance. He placed such trust in
his own prowess that he thought that he needed no other arms. He
showed his exceeding boldness by rushing on ahead of all his men
more than the space of nine acres. When Erec saw him stand
alone, he turned toward him; the Count is not afraid of him, and
they come together with clash of arms. First the Count strikes
him with such violence upon the breast that he would have lost
his stirrups if he had not been well set. He makes the wood of
his shield to split so that the iron of his lance protrudes on
the other side. But Erec's hauberk was very solid and protected
him from death without the tear of a single mesh. The Count was
strong and breaks his lance; then Erec strikes him with such
force on his yellow painted shield that he ran more than a yard
of his lance through his abdomen, knocking him senseless from his
steed. Then he turned and rode away without further tarrying on
the spot. Straight into the forest he spurs at full speed. Now
Erec is in the woods, and the others paused a while over those
who lay in the middle of the field. Loudly they swear and vow
that they will rather follow after him for two or three days than
fail to capture and slaughter him. The Count, though grievously
wounded in the abdomen, hears what they say. He draws himself up
a little and opens his eyes a tiny bit. Now he realises what an
evil deed he had begun to execute. He makes the knights step
back, and says: "My lords, I bid you all, both strong and weak,
high and low, that none of you be so bold as to dare to advance a
single step. All of you return now quickly! I have done a
villainous deed, and I repent me of my foul design. The lady who
outwitted me is very honourable, prudent, and courteous. Her
beauty fired me with love for her; because I desired her, I
wished to kill her lord and keep her back with me by force. I
well deserved this woe, and now it has come upon me. How
abominably disloyal and treacherous I was in my madness! Never
was there a better knight born of mother than he. Never shall he
receive harm through me if I can in any way prevent it. I
command you all to retrace your steps." Back they go
disconsolate, carrying the lifeless seneschal on the shield
reversed. The Count, whose wound was not mortal, lived on for
some time after. Thus was Erec delivered.

(Vv. 3663-3930.) Erec goes off at full speed down a road between
two hedgerows--he and his wife with him. Both putting spurs to
their horses, they rode until they came to a meadow which had
been mown. After emerging from the hedged enclosure they came
upon a drawbridge before a high tower, which was all closed about
with a wall and a broad and deep moat. They quickly pass over
the bridge, but had not gone far before the lord of the place
espied them from up in his tower. About this man I can tell you
the truth: that he was very small oś stature, but very courageous
of heart. When he sees Erec cross the bridge, he comes down
quickly from his tower, and on a great sorrel steed of his he
causes a saddle to be placed, which showed portrayed a golden
lion. Then he orders to be brought his shield, his stiff,
straight lance, a sharp polished sword, his bright shining
helmet, his gleaming hauberk, and triple-woven greaves; for he
has seen an armed knight pass before his list against whom he
wishes to strive in arms, or else this stranger will strive
against him until he shall confess defeat. His command was
quickly done: behold the horse now led forth; a squire brought
him around already bridled and with saddle on. Another fellow
brings the arms. The knight passed out through the gate, as
quickly as possible, all alone, without companion. Erec is
riding along a hill-side, when behold the knight comes tearing
down over the top of the hill, mounted upon a powerful steed
which tore along at such a pace that he crushed the stones
beneath his hoofs finer than a millstone grinds the corn; and
bright gleaming sparks flew off in all directions, so that it
seemed as if his four feet were all ablaze with fire. Enide
heard the noise and commotion, and almost fell from her palfrey,
helpless and in a faint. There was no vein in her body in which
the blood did not turn, and her face became all pale and white as
if she were a corpse. Great is her despair and dismay, for she
does not dare to address her lord, who often threatens and chides
at her and charges her to hold her peace. She is distracted
between two courses to pursue, whether to speak or to hold her
peace. She takes counsel with herself, and often she prepares to
speak, so that her tongue already moves, but the voice cannot
issue forth; for her teeth are clenched with fear, and thus shut
up her speech within. Thus she admonishes and reproaches
herself, but she closes her mouth and grits her teeth so that her
speech cannot issue forth. At strife with herself, she said: "I
am sure and certain that I shall incur a grievous loss, if here I
lose my lord. Shall I tell him all, then, openly? Not I. Why
not? I would not dare, for thus I should enrage my lord. And if
my lord's ire is once aroused, he will leave me in this wild
place alone, wretched and forlorn. Then I shall be worse off
than now. Worse off? What care I? May grief and sorrow always
be mine as long as I live, if my lord does not promptly escape
from here without being delivered to a violent death. But if I
do not quickly inform him, this knight who is spurring hither
will have killed him before he is aware; for he seems of very
evil intent. I think I have waited too long from fear of his
vigorous prohibition. But I will no longer hesitate because of
his restraint. I see plainly that my lord is so deep in thought
that he forgets himself; so it is fight that I should address
him." She spoke to him. He threatens her, but has no desire to
do her harm, for he realises and knows full well that she loves
him above all else, and he loves her, too, to the utmost. He
rides toward the knight, who challenges him to battle, and they
meet at the foot of the hill, where they attack and defy each
other. Both smite each other with their iron-tipped lances with
all their strength. The shields that hang about their necks are
not worth two coats of bark: the leather tears, and they split
the wood, and they shatter the meshes of the hauberks. Both are
pierced to the vitals by the lances, and the horses fall to
earth. Now, both the warriors were doughty. Grievously, but not
mortally, wounded, they quickly got upon their feet and grasped
afresh their lances, which were not broken nor the worse for
wear. But they cast them away on the ground, and drawing their
swords from the scabbard, they attack each other with great fury.
Each wounds and injures the other, for there is no mercy on
either side. They deal such blows upon the helmets that gleaming
sparks fly out when their swords recoil. They split and splinter
the shields; they batter and crush the hauberks. In four places
the swords are brought down to the bare flesh, so that they are
greatly weakened and exhausted. And if both their swords had
lasted long without breaking, they would never have retreated,
nor would the battle have come to an end before one of them
perforce had died. Enide, who was watching them, was almost
beside herself with grief. Whoever could have seen her then, as
she showed her great woe by wringing her hands, tearing her hair
and shedding tears, could have seen a loyal lady. And any man
would have been a vulgar wretch who saw and did not pity her.
And the knights still fight, knocking the jewels from the helmets
and dealing at each other fearful blows. From the third to the
ninth hour the battle continued so fierce that no one could in
any wise make out which was to have the better of it. Erec
exerts himself and strives; he brought his sword down upon his
enemy's helmet, cleaving it to the inner lining of mail and
making him stagger; but he stood firmly and did not fall. Then
he attacked Erec in turn, and dealt him such a blow upon the
covering of his shield that his strong and precious sword broke
when he tried to pull it out. When he saw that his sword was
broken, in a spite he threw as far away as he could the part that
remained in his hand. Now he was afraid and must needs draw
back; for any knight that lacks his sword cannot do much
execution in battle or assault. Erec pursues him until he begs
him, for God's sake, not to kill him. "Mercy, noble knight," he
cries, "be not so cruel and harsh toward me. Now that I am left
without my sword, you have the strength and the power to take my
life or make me your prisoner, for I have no means of defence."
Erec replies: "When thou thus dost petition me I fain would hear
thee admit outright whether thou art defeated and overcome. Thou
shalt not again be touched by me if thou dost surrender at my
discretion." The knight was slow to make reply. So, when Erec
saw him hesitate, in order to further dismay him, he again
attacked him, rushing at him with drawn sword; whereupon,
thoroughly terrified, he cried: "Mercy, sire! Regard me as your
captive, since it cannot be otherwise." Erec answers: "More than
that is necessary. You shall not get off so easily as that.
Tell me your station and your name, and I in turn will tell
you mine." "Sire," says he, "you are right. I am king of this
country. My liegemen are Irishmen, and there is none who does
not have to pay me rent. (29) My name is Guivret the Little. I
am very rich and powerful; for there is no landholder whose lands
touch mine in any direction who ever transgresses my command and
who does not do my pleasure. I have no neighbour who does not
fear me, however proud and bold he may be. But I greatly desire
to be your confidant and friend from this time on." Erec
replies: "I, too, can boast that I am a noble man. My name is
Erec, son of King Lac. My father is king of Farther Wales, and
has many a rich city, fine hall, and strong town; no king or
emperor has more than he, save only King Arthur. Him, of course,
I except; for with him none can compare." Guivret is greatly
astonished at this, and says: "Sire, a great marvel is this I
hear. I was never so glad of anything as of your acquaintance.
You may put full trust in me! And should it please you to abide
in my country within my estates, I shall have you treated with
great honour. So long as you care to remain here, you shall be
recognised as my lord. We both have need of a physician, and I
have a castle of mine near here, not eight leagues away, nor even
seven. I wish to take you thither with me, and there we shall
have our wounds tended." Erec replies: "I thank you for what I
have heard you say. However, I will not go, thank you. But only
so much I request of you, that if I should be in need, and you
should hear that I had need of aid, you would not then forget
me." "Sire" says he, "I promise you that never, so long as I am
alive, shall you have need of my help but that I shall go at once
to aid you with all the assistance I can command." "I have
nothing more to ask of you," says Erec; "you have promised me
much. You are now my lord and friend, if your deed is as good as
your word." Then each kisses and embraces the other. Never was
there such an affectionate parting after such a fierce battle;
for from very affection and generosity each one cut off long,
wide strips from the bottom of his shirt and bound up the other's
wounds. When they had thus bandaged each other, they commended
each other to God.

(Vv. 3931-4280.) So thus they parted. Guivret takes his way
back alone, while Erec resumed his road, in dire need of plaster
wherewith to heal his wounds. He did not cease to travel until
he came to a plain beside a lofty forest all full of stags,
hinds, deer, does, and other beasts, and all sorts of game. Now
King Arthur and the Queen and the best of his barons had come
there that very day. The King wished to spend three or four days
in the forest for pleasure and sport, and had commanded tents,
pavilions, and canopies to be brought. My lord Gawain had
stepped into the King's tent, all tired out by a long ride. In
front of the tent a white beech stood, and there he had left a
shield of his, together with his ashen lance. He left his steed,
all saddled and bridled, fastened to a branch by the rein. There
the horse stood until Kay the seneschal came by. (30) He came up
quickly and, as if to beguile the time, took the steed and
mounted, without the interference of any one. He took the lance
and the shield, too, which were close by under the tree.
Galloping along on the steed, Kay rode along a valley until it
came about by chance that Erec met him. Now Erec recognised the
seneschal, and he knew the arms and the horse, but Kay did not
recognise him, for he could not be distinguished by his arms. So
many blows of sword and lance had he received upon his shield
that all the painted design had disappeared from it. And the
lady, who did not wish to be seen or recognised by him, shrewdly
held her veil before her face, as if she were doing it because of
the sun's glare and the dust. Kay approached rapidly and
straightway seized Erec's rein, without so much as saluting him.
Before he let him move, he presumptuously asked him: "Knight,"
says he, "I wish to know who you are and whence you come." "You
must be mad to stop me thus," says Erec; "you shall not know that
just now." And the other replies: "Be not angry; I only ask it
for your good. I can see and make out clearly that you are
wounded and hurt. If you will come along with me you shall have
a good lodging this night; I shall see that you are well cared
for, honoured and made comfortable: for you are in need of rest.
King Arthur and the Queen are close by here in a wood, lodged in
pavilions and tents. In all good faith, I advise you to come
with me to see the Queen and King, who will take much pleasure in
you and will show you great honour." Erec replies: "You say
well; yet will I not go thither for anything. You know not what
my business is: I must yet farther pursue my way. Now let me go;
too long I stay. There is still some daylight left." Kay makes
answer: "You speak madness when you decline to come. I trow you
will repent of it. And however much it may be against your will,
you shall both go, as the priest goes to the council, willy-
nilly. To-night you will be badly served, if, unmindful of my
advice, you go there as strangers. Come now quickly, for I will
take you." At this word Erec's ire was roused. "Vassal," says
he, "you are mad to drag me thus after you by force. You have
taken me quite off my guard. I tell you you have committed an
offence. For I thought to be quite safe, and was not on my guard
against you." Then he lays his hand upon his sword and cries:
"Hands off my bridle, vassal! Step aside. I consider you proud
and impudent. I shall strike you, be sure of that, if you drag
me longer after you. Leave me alone now." Then he lets him go,
and draws off across the field more than an acre's width; then
turns about and, as a man with evil intent, issues his challenge.
Each rushed at the other. But, because Kay was without armour,
Erec acted courteously and turned the point of his lance about
and presented the butt-end instead. Even so, he gave him such a
blow high up on the broad expanse of his shield that he caused it
to wound him on the temple, pinning his arm to his breast: all
prone he throws him to the earth. Then he went to catch the
horse and hands him over by the bridle to Enide. He was about to
lead it away, when the wounded man with his wonted flattery begs
him to restore it courteously to him. With fair words he
flatters and wheedles him. "Vassal," says he, "so help me God,
that horse is not mine. Rather does it belong to that knight in
whom dwells the greatest prowess in the world, my lord Gawain the
Bold. I tell you so much on his behalf, in order that you may
send it back to him and thus win honour. So shall you be
courteous and wise, and I shall be your messenger." Erec makes
answer: "Take the horse, vassal, and lead it away. Since it
belongs to my lord Gawain it is not meet that I should
appropriate it." Kay takes the horse, remounts, and coming to
the royal tent, tells the King the whole truth, keeping nothing
back. And the King summoned Gawain, saying: "Fair nephew Gawain,
if ever you were true and courteous, go quickly after him and ask
him in winsome wise who he is and what his business. And if you
can influence him and bring him along with you to us, take care
not to fail to do so." Then Gawain mounts his steed, two squires
following after him. They soon made Erec out, but did not
recognise him. Gawain salutes him, and he Gawain: their
greetings were mutual. Then said my lord Gawain with his wonted
openness: "Sire," says he, "King Arthur sends me along this way
to encounter you. The Queen and King send you their greeting,
and beg you urgently to come and spend some time with them (it
may benefit you and cannot harm), as they are close by." Erec
replies: "I am greatly obliged to the King and Queen and to you
who are, it seems, both kind of heart and of gentle mien. I am
not in a vigorous state; rather do I bear wounds within my body:
yet will I not turn aside from my way to seek a lodging-place.
So you need not longer wait: I thank you, but you may be gone.
Now Gawain was a man of sense. He draws back and whispers in the
ear of one of the squires, bidding him go quickly and tell the
King to take measures at once to take down and lower his tents
and come and set them up in the middle of the road three or four
leagues in advance of where they now are. There the King must
lodge to-night, if he wishes to meet and extend hospitality to
the best knight in truth whom he can ever hope to see; but who
will not go out of his way for a lodging at the bidding of any
one. The fellow went and gave his message. The King without
delay causes his tents to be taken down. Now they are lowered,
the sumpters loaded, and off they set. The King mounted Aubagu,
and the Queen afterwards mounted a white Norse palfrey. All this
while, my lord Gawain did not cease to detain Erec, until the
latter said to him: "Yesterday I covered more ground than I shall
do to-day. Sire, you annoy me; let me go. You have already
disturbed a good part of my day." And my lord Gawain answers
him: "I should like to accompany you a little way, if you do not
object; for it is yet a long while until night. They spent so
much time in talking that all the tents were set up before them,
and Erec sees them, and perceives that his lodging is arranged
for him. "Ah! Gawain," he says, "your shrewdness has outwitted
me. By your great cunning you have kept me here. Since it has
turned out thus, I shall tell you my name at once. Further
concealment would be useless. I am Erec, who was formerly your
companion and friend." Gawain hears him and straightway embraces
him. He raised up his helmet and unlaced his mouthpiece.
Joyfully he clasps him in his embrace, while Erec embraces him in
turn. Then Gawain leaves him, saying, "Sire, this news will give
great pleasure to my lord; he and my lady will both be glad, and
I must go before to tell them of it. But first I must embrace
and welcome and speak comfortably to my lady Enide, your wife.
My lady the Queen has a great desire to see her. I heard her
speak of her only yesterday." Then he steps up to Enide and asks
her how she is, if she is well and in good case. She makes
answer courteously: "Sire, I should have no cause for grief, were
I not in great distress for my lord; but as it is, I am in
dismay, for he has hardly a limb without a wound." Gawain
replies: "This grieves me much. It is perfectly evident from his
face, which is all pale and colourless. I could have wept myself
when I saw him so pale and wan, but my joy effaced my grief, for
at sight of him I felt so glad that I forgot all other pain. Now
start and ride along slowly. I shall ride ahead at top-speed to
tell the Queen and the King that you are following after me. I
am sure that they will both be delighted when they hear it."
Then he goes, and comes to the King's tent. "Sire," he cries,
"now you and my lady must be glad, for here come Erec and his
wife." The King leaps to his feet with joy. "Upon my word!" he
says, "right glad I am. I could hear no news which could give me
so much happiness." The Queen and all the rest rejoice, and come
out from the tents as fast as they may. Even the King comes
forth from his pavilion, and they met Erec near at band. When
Erec sees the King coming, he quickly dismounts, and Enide too.
The King embraces and meets them, and the Queen likewise tenderly
kisses and embraces them: there is no one that does not show his
joy. Right there, upon the spot, they took off Erec's armour;
and when they saw his wounds, their joy turned to sadness. The
King draws a deep sigh at the sight of them, and has a plaster
brought which Morgan, his sister, had made. This piaster, which
Morgan had given to Arthur, was of such sovereign virtue that no
wound, whether on nerve or joint, provided it were treated with
the piaster once a day, could fail to be completely cured and
healed within a week. They brought to the King the piaster which
gave Erec great relief. When they had bathed, dried, and bound
up his wounds, the King leads him and Enide into his own royal
tent, saying that he intends, out of love for Erec, to tarry in
the forest a full fortnight, until he be completely restored to
health. For this Erec thanks the King, saying: "Fair sire, my
wounds are not so painful that I should desire to abandon my
journey. No one could detain me; to-morrow, without delay, I
shall wish to get off in the morning, as soon as I see the dawn."
At this the King shook his head and said: "This is a great
mistake for you not to remain with us. I know that you are far
from well. Stay here, and you will do the right thing. It will
be a great pity and cause for grief if you die in this forest.
Fair gentle friend, stay here now until you are quite yourself
again." Erec replies: "Enough of this. I have undertaken this
journey, and shall not tarry in any wise." The King hears that
he would by no means stay for prayer of his; so he says no more
about it, and commands the supper to be prepared at once and the
tables to be spread. The servants go to make their preparations.
It was a Saturday night; so they ate fish and fruit, pike and
perch, salmon and trout, and then pears both raw and cooked. (31)
Soon after supper they ordered the beds to be made ready. The
King, who held Erec dear, had him laid in a bed alone; for he did
not wish that any one should lie with him who might touch his
wounds. That night he was well lodged. In another bed close by
lay Enide with the Queen under a cover of ermine, and they all
slept in great repose until the day broke next morning.

(Vv. 4281-4307.) Next day, as soon as it is dawn. Erec arises,
dresses, commands his horses to be saddled, and orders his arms
to be brought to him. The valets run and bring them to him.
Again the King and all the knights urge him to remain; but
entreaty is of no avail, for he will not stay for anything. Then
you might have seen them all weep and show such grief as if they
already saw him dead. He puts on his arms, and Enide arises.
All the knights are sore distressed, for they think they will
never see them more. They follow them out from the tents, and
send for their own horses, that they may escort and accompany
them. Erec said to them: "Be not angry! but you shall not
accompany me a single step. I'll thank you if you'll stay
behind!" His horse was brought to him, and he mounts without
delay. Taking his shield and lance, he commends them all to God,
and they in turn wish Erec well. Then Enide mounts, and they
ride away.

(Vv. 4308-4380.) Entering a forest, they rode on without halting
till hour of prime. While they thus traversed the wood, they
heard in the distance the cry of a damsel in great distress.
When Erec heard the cry, he felt sure from the sound that it was
the voice of one in trouble and in need of help. Straightway
calling Enide, he says: "Lady, there is some maiden who goes
through the wood calling aloud. I take it that she is in need of
aid and succour. I am going to hasten in that direction and see
what her trouble is. Do you dismount and await me here, while I
go yonder." "Gladly, sire," she says. Leaving her alone, he
makes his way until he found the damsel, who was going through
the wood, lamenting her lover whom two giants had taken and were
leading away with very cruel treatment. The maiden was rending
her garments, and tearing her hair and her tender crimson face.
Erec sees her and, wondering greatly, begs her to tell him why
she cries and weeps so sore. The maiden cries and sighs again,
then sobbing, says: "Fair sire, it is no wonder if I grieve, for
I wish I were dead. I neither love nor prize my life, for my
lover has been led away prisoner by two wicked and cruel giants
who are his mortal enemies. God! what shall I do? Woe is me!
deprived of the best knight alive, the most noble and the most
courteous. And now he is in great peril of death. This very
day, and without cause, they will bring him to some vile death.
Noble knight, for God's sake, I beg you to succour my lover, if
now you can lend him any aid. You will not have to run far, for
they must still be close by." "Damsel," says Erec, "I will
follow them, since you request it, and rest assured that I shall
do all within my power: either I shall be taken prisoner along
with him, or I shall restore him to you safe and sound. If the
giants let him live until I can find him, I intend to measure my
strength with theirs." "Noble knight," the maiden said, "I shall
always be your servant if you restore to me my lover. Now go in
God's name, and make haste, I beseech you." "Which way lies
their path?" "This way, my lord. Here is the path with the
footprints. Then Erec started at a gallop, and told her ro await
him there. The maid commends him to the Lord, and prays God very
fervently that He should give him force by His command to
discomfit those who intend evil toward her lover.

(Vv. 4381-4579.) Erec went off along the trail, spurring his
horse in pursuit of the giants. He followed in pursuit of them
until he caught sight of them before they emerged from the wood;
he saw the knight with bare limbs mounted naked on a nag, his
hands and feet bound as if he were arrested for highway robbery.
The giants had no lances, shields or whetted swords; but they
both had clubs and scourges, with which they were beating him so
cruelly that already they had cut the skin on his back to the
bone. Down his sides and flanks the blood ran, so that the nag
was all covered with blood down to the belly. (32) Erec came
along alone after them. He was very sad and distressed about the
knight whom he saw them treat so spitefully. Between two woods
in an open field he came up with them, and asks: "My lords," says
he, "for what crime do you treat this man so ill and lead him
along like a common thief? You are treating him too cruelly.
You are driving him just as if he had been caught stealing. It
is a monstrous insult to strip a knight naked, and then bind him
and beat him so shamefully. Hand him over to me, I beg of you
with all good-will and courtesy. I have no wish to demand him of
you forcibly." "Vassal," they say, "what business is this of
yours? You must be mad to make any demand of us. If you do not
like it, try and improve matters." Erec replies: "Indeed, I like
it not, and you shall not lead him away so easily. Since you
have left the matter in my hands, I say whoever can get
possession of him let him keep him. Take your positions. I
challenge you. You shall not take him any farther before some
blows have been dealt." "Vassal," they reply, "you are mad,
indeed, to wish to measure your strength with us. If you were
four instead of one, you would have no more strength against us
than one lamb against two wolves." "I do not know how it will
turn out," Erec replies; "if the sky fails and the earth melts,
then many a lark will be caught. Many a man boasts loudly who is
of little worth. On guard now, for I am going to attack you."
The giants were strong and fierce, and held in their clenched
hands their big clubs tipped with iron. Erec went at them lance
in rest. He fears neither of them, in spite of their menace and
their pride, and strikes the foremost of them through the eye so
deep into the brain that the blood and brains spurt out at the
back of his neck; that one lies dead and his heart stops beating.
When the other saw him dead, he had reason to be sorely grieved.
Furious, he went to avenge him: with both hands he raised his
club on high and thought to strike him squarely upon his
unprotected head: but Erec watched the blow, and received it on
his shield. Even so, the giant landed such a blow that it quite
stunned him, and almost made him fall to earth from his steed.
Erec covers himself with his shield and the giant, recovering
himself, thinks to strike again quickly upon his head. But Erec
had drawn his sword, and attacked him with such fierceness that
the giant was severely handled: he strikes him so hard upon the
neck that he splits him down to the saddle-bow. He scatters his
bowels upon the earth, and the body falls full length, split in
two halves. The knight weeps with joy and, worshipping, praises
God who has sent him this aid. Then Erec unbound him, made him
dress and arm himself, and mount one of the horses; the other he
made him lead with his right hand, and asks him who he is. And
he replied: "Noble knight, thou art my liege lord. I wish to
regard thee as my lord, as by right I ought to do, for thou hast
saved my life, which but now would have been cut off from my body
with great torment and cruelty. What chance, fair gentle sire,
in God's name, guided thee hither to me, to free me by thy
courage from the hands of my enemies? Sire, I wish to do thee
homage. Henceforth, I shall always accompany thee and serve thee
as my lord." Erec sees that he is disposed to serve him gladly,
if he may, and says: "Friend, for your service I have no desire;
but you must know that I came hither to succour you at the
instance of your lady, whom I found sorrowing in this wood.
Because of you, she grieves and moans; for full of sorrow is her
heart. I wish to present you to her now. As soon as I have
reunited you with her, I shall continue my way alone; for you
have no call to go with me. I have no need cf your company; but
I fain would know your name." "Sire," says he, "as you wish.
Since you desire to know my name, it must not be kept from you.
My name is Cadoc of Tabriol: know that thus I am called. But
since I must part from you. I should like to know, if it may be,
who you are and of what land, where I may sometime find and
search for you, when I shall go a way from here." Erec replies:
"Friend, that I will never confide to you. Never speak of it
again; but if you wish to find it out and do me honour in any
wise go quickly now without delay to my lord, King Arthur, who
with might and main is hunting the stag in yonder wood, as I take
it, not five short leagues from here. Go thither quickly and
take him word that you are sent to him as a gift by him whom
yesterday within his tent he joyfully received and lodged. And
be careful not to conceal from him from what peril I set free
both your life and body. I am dearly cherished at the court, and
if you present yourself in my name you will do me a service and
honour. There you shall ask who I am; but you cannot know it
otherwise." "Sire," says Cadoc, "I will follow your bidding in
all respects. You need never have any fear that I do not go with
a glad heart. I shall tell the King the full truth regarding the
battle which you have fought on my behalf." Thus speaking, they
continued their way until they came to the maiden where Erec had
left her. The damsel's joy knew no bounds when she saw coming
her lover whom she never thought to see again. Taking him by the
hand, Erec presents him to her with the words: "Grieve no longer,
demoiselle! Behold your lover glad and joyous." And she with
prudence makes reply: "Sire, by right you have won us both.
Yours we should be, to serve and honour. But who could ever
repay half the debt we owe you?" Erec makes answer: "My gentle
lady, no recompense do I ask of you. To God I now commend you
both, for too long, methinks, I have tarried here." Then he
turns his horse about, and rides away as fast as he can. Cadoc
of Tabriol with his damsel rides off in another direction; and
soon he told the news to King Arthur and the Queen.

(Vv. 4580-4778.) Erec continues to ride at great speed to the
place where Enide was awaiting him in great concern, thinking
that surely he had completely deserted her. And he, too, was in
great fear lest some one, finding her alone, might have carried
her off. So he made all haste to return. But the heat of the
day was such, and his arms caused him such distress, that his
wounds broke open and burst the bandages. His wounds never
stopped bleeding before he came directly to the spot where Enide
was waiting for him. She espied him and rejoiced: but she did
not realise or know the pain from which he was suffering; for all
his body was bathed in blood, and his heart hardly had strength
to beat. As he was descending a hill he fell suddenly over upon
his horse's neck. As he tried to straighten up, he lost his
saddle and stirrups, falling, as if lifeless, in a faint. Then
began such heavy grief, when Enide saw him fall to earth. Full
of fear at the sight of him, she runs toward him like one who
makes no concealment of her grief. Aloud she cries, and wrings
her hands: not a shred of her robe remains untorn across her
breast. She begins to tear her hair and lacerate her tender
face. (33) "Ah God!" she cries, "fair gentle Lord, why dost Thou
let me thus live on? Come Death, and kill me hastily!" With
these words she faints upon his body. When she recovered, she
said to herself reproachfully: "Woe is me, wretched Enide; I am
the murderer of my lord, in having killed him by my speech. My
lord would still be now alive, if I in my mad presumption had not
spoken the word which engaged him in this adventure. Silence
never harmed any one, but speech often worketh woe. The truth of
this I have tried and proved in more ways than one." Beside her
lord she took her seat, holding his head upon her lap. Then she
begins her dole anew. "Alas," she says, "my lord, unhappy thou,
thou who never hadst a peer; for in thee was beauty seen and
prowess was made manifest; wisdom had given thee its heart, and
largess set a crown upon thee, without which no one is esteemed.
But what did I say? A grievous mistake I made in uttering the
word which has killed my lord--that fatal poisoned word for
which I must justly be reproached; and I recognise and admit that
no one is guilty but myself; I alone must be blamed for this."
Then fainting she falls upon the ground, and when she later sat
up again, she only moans again the more: "God, what shall I do,
and why live on? Why does Death delay and hesitate to come and
seize me without respite? Truly, Death holds me in great
contempt! Since Death does not deign to take my life, I must
myself perforce achieve the vengeance for my sinful deed. Thus
shall I die in spite of Death, who will not heed my call for aid.
Yet, I cannot die through mere desire, nor would complaining
avail me aught. The sword, which my lord had gilded on, ought by
right to avenge his death. I will not longer consume myself in
distress, in prayer, and vain desire." She draws the sword forth
from its sheath and begins to consider it. God, who is full of
mercy, caused her to delay a little; and while she passes in
review her sorrow and her misfortune, behold there comes riding
apace a Count with numerous suite, who from afar had heard the
lady's loud outcry. God did not wish to desert her; for now she
would have killed herself, had she not been surprised by those
who took away from her the sword and thrust it back into its
sheath. The Count then dismounted from his horse and began to
inquire of her concerning the knight, and whether she was his
wife or his lady-love. "Both one and the other, sire," she says,
"my sorrow is such as I cannot tell. Woe is me that I am not
dead." And the Count begins to comfort her: "Lady," he says, "by
the Lord, I pray you, to take some pity on yourself! It is meet
that you should mourn, but it is no use to be disconsolate; for
you may yet rise to high estate. Do not sink into apathy, but
comfort yourself; that will be wise, and God will give you joy
again. Your wondrous beauty holds good fortune in store for you;
for I will take you as my wife, and make you a countess and dame
of rank: this ought to bring you much consolation. And I shall
have the body removed and laid away with great honour. Leave off
now this grief of yours which in your frenzy you display." And
she replies: "Sire, begone! For God's sake, let me be! You can
accomplish nothing here. Nothing that one could say or do could
ever make me glad again." At this the Count drew back and said:
"Let us make a bier, whereon to carry away this body with the
lady to the town of Limors. There the body shall be interred.
Then will I espouse the lady, whether or not she give consent:
for never did I see any one so fair, nor desire any as I do her.
Happy I am to have met with her. Now make quickly and without
delay a proper bier for this dead knight. Halt not for the
trouble, nor from sloth." Then some of his men draw out their
swords and soon cut two saplings, upon which they laid branches
cross-wise. Upon this litter they laid Erec down; then hitched
two horses to it. Enide rides alongside, not ceasing to make
lament, and often fainting and falling back; but the horsemen
hold her tight, and try to support her with their arms, and raise
her up and comfort her. All the way to Limors they escort the
body, until they come to the palace of the Count. All the people
follow up after them--ladies, knights, and townspeople. In the
middle off the hall upon a dais they stretched the body out full
length, with his lance and shield alongside. The hall is full,
the crowd is dense. Each one is anxious to inquire what is this
trouble, what marvel here. Meanwhile the Count takes counsel
with his barons privily. "My lords," he says, "upon the spot I
wish to espouse this lady here. We can plainly judge by her
beauty and prudent mien that she is of very gentle rank. Her
beauty and noble bearing show that the honour of a kingdom or
empire might well be bestowed upon her. I shall never suffer
disgrace through her; rather I think to win more honour. Have my
chaplain summoned now, and do you go and fetch the lady. The
half of all my land I will give her as her dower if she will
comply with my desire." Then they bade the chaplain come, in
accordance with the Count's command, and the dame they brought
there, too, and made her marry him perforce; for she flatly
refused to give consent. But in spite of all, the Count married
her in accordance with his wish. And when he had married her,
the constable at once had the tables set in the palace, and had
the food prepared; for already it was time for the evening meal.

(Vv. 4779-4852.) After vespers, that day in May, Enide was in
sore distress, nor did her grief cease to trouble her. And the
Count urged her mildly by prayer and threat to make her peace and
be consoled, and he made her sit down upon a chair, though it was
against her will. In spite of her, they made her take a seat and
placed the table in front of her. The Count takes his place on
the other side, almost beside himself with rage to find that he
cannot comfort her. "Lady," he says, "you must now leave off
this grief and banish it. You can have full trust in me, that
honour and riches will be yours. You must surely realise that
mourning will not revive the dead; for no one ever saw such a
thing come about. Remember now, though poor you were, that great
riches are within your reach. Once you were poor; rich now you
will be. Fortune has not been stingy toward you, in bestowing
upon you the honour of being henceforth hailed as Countess. It
is true that your lord is dead. If you grieve and lament because
of this, do you think that I am surprised? Nay. But I am giving
you the best advice I know how to give. In that I have married
you, you ought to be content. Take care you do not anger me!
Eat now, as I bid you do." And she replies: "Not I, my lord. In
faith, as long as I live I will neither eat nor drink unless I
first see my lord eat who is lying on yonder dais" "Lady, that
can never be. People will think that you are mad when you talk
such great nonsense. You will receive a poor reward if you give
occasion to-day for further reproof." To this she vouchsafed no
reply, holding his threats in slight esteem, and the Count
strikes her upon the face. At this she shrieks, and the barons
present blame the Count. "Hold. sire!" they cry to the Count;
"you ought to be ashamed of having struck this lady because she
will not eat. You have done a very ugly deed. If this lady is
distressed because of her lord whom she now sees dead, no one
should say that she is wrong." "Keep silence, all." the Count
replies; "the dame is mine and I am hers, and I will do with her
as I please." At this she could not hold her peace, but swears
she will never be his. And the Count springs up and strikes her
again, and she cries out aloud. "Ha! wretch," she says, "I care
not what thou say to me, or what thou do! I fear not thy blows,
nor yet thy threats. Beat me and strike me, as thou wilt. I
shall never heed thy power so much as to do thy bidding more or
less, even were thou with thy hands fight now to snatch out my
eyes or flay me alive."

(Vv. 4853-4938.) In the midst of these words and disputes Erec
recovered from his swoon, like a man who awakes from sleep. No
wonder that he was amazed at the crowd of people he saw around.
But great was his grief and great his woe when he heard the voice
of his wife. He stepped to the floor from off the dais and
quickly drew his sword. Wrath and the love he bore his wife gave
him courage. He runs thither where he sees her, and strikes the
Count squarely upon the head, so that he beats out his brains
and, knocking in his forehead, leaves him senseless and
speechless; his blood and brains flow out. The knights spring
from the tables, persuaded that it is the devil who had made his
way among them there. Of young or old there none remains, for
all were thrown in great dismay. Each one tries to outrun the
other in beating a hasty retreat. Soon they were all clear of
the palace, and cry aloud, both weak and strong: "Flee, flee,
here comes the corpse!" At the door the press is great: each one
strives to make his escape, and pushes and shoves as best he may.
He who is last in the surging throng would fain get into the
foremost line. Thus they make good their escape in flight, for
one dares not stand upon another's going. Erec ran to seize his
shield, hanging it about his neck by the strap, while Enide lays
hands upon the lance. Then they step out into the courtyard.
There is no one so bold as to offer resistance; for they did not
believe it could be a man who had thus expelled them, but a devil
or some enemy who had entered the dead body. Erec pursues them
as they flee, and finds outside in the castle-yard a stable-boy
in the act of leading his steed to the watering-place, all
equipped with bridle and saddle. This chance encounter pleased
Erec well: as he steps up quickly to the horse, the boy in fear
straightway yields him up. Erec takes his seat between the
saddle-bows, while Enide, seizing the stirrup, springs up on to
the horse's neck, as Erec, who bade her mount, commanded and
instructed her to do. The horse bears them both away; and
finding open the town gate, they make their escape without
detention. In the town there was great anxiety about the Count
who had been killed; but there is no one, however brave, who
follows Erec to take revenge. At his table the Count was slain;
while Erec, who bears his wife away, embraces and kisses and
gives her cheer. In his arms he clasps her against his heart,
and says: "Sweet sister mine, my proof of you has been complete!
Be no more concerned in any wise, for I love you now more than
ever I did before; and I am certain and rest assured that you
love me with a perfect love. From this time on for evermore, I
offer myself to do your will just as I used to do before. And if
you have spoken ill of me, I pardon you and call you quit of both
the offence and the word you spoke." Then he kisses her again
and clasps her tight. Now Enide is not ill at ease when her lord
clasps and kisses her and tells her again that he loves her
still. Rapidly through the night they ride, and they are very
glad that the moon shines bright.

(Vv. 4939-5058.) Meanwhile, the news has travelled fast, and
there is nothing else so quick. The news had reached Guivret the
Little that a knight wounded with arms had been found dead in the
forest, and that with him was a lady making moan, and so wondrous
fair that Iseut would have seemed her waiting-maid. Count
Oringle of Limors had found them both, and had caused the corpse
to be borne away, and wished himself to espouse the lady; but she
refused him. When Guivret heard this news, he was by no means
pleased; for at once the thought of Erec occurred to him. It
came into his heart and mind to go and seek out the lady, and to
have the body honourably interred. if it should turn out to be
he. He assembled a thousand men-at-arms and knights to take the
town. If the Count would not surrender of his own accord the
body and the lady, he would put all to fire and flame. In the
moonlight shining clear he led his men on toward Limors, with
helmets laced, in hauberks clad, and from their necks the shields
were hung. Thus, under arms, they all advanced until nearly
midnight, when Erec espied them. Now he expects to be ensnared
or killed or captured inevitably. He makes Enide dismount beside
a thicket-hedge. No wonder if he is dismayed. "Lady, do you
stay here," he says, "beside this thicket-hedge a while, until
these people shall have passed. I do not wish them to catch
sight of you, for I do not know what manner of people they are,
nor of what they go in search. I trust we may not attract their
attention. But I see nowhere any place where we could take
refuge, should they wish to injure us. I know not if any harm
may come to me, but not from fear shall I fail to sally out
against them. And if any one assails me, I shall not fail to
joust with him. Yet, I am so sore and weary that it is no wonder
if I grieve. Now to meet them I must go, and do you stay quiet
here. Take care that no one see you, until they shall have left
you far behind." Behold now Guivret, with lance outstretched,
who espied him from afar. They did not recognise each other, for
the moon had gone behind the shadow of a dark cloud. Erec was
weak and exhausted, and his antagonist was quite recovered from
his wounds and blows. Now Erec will be far from wise if he does
not promptly make himself known. He steps out from the hedge.
And Guivret spurs toward him without speaking to him at all, nor
does Erec utter a word to him: he thought he could do more than
he could. Whoever tries to run farther than he is able must
perforce give up or take a rest. They clash against each other;
but the fight was unequal, for one was weak and the other strong.
Guivret strikes him with such force that he carries him down to
earth from his horse's back. Enide, who was in hiding, when she
sees her lord on the ground, expects to be killed and badly used.
Springing forth from the hedge, she runs to help her lord. If
she grieved before, now her anguish is greater. Coming up to
Guivret, she seized his horse's rein, and then said: "Cursed be
thou, knight! For thou hast attacked a weak and exhausted man,
who is in pain and mortally wounded, with such injustice that
thou canst not find reason for thy deed. If thou hadst been
alone and helpless, thou wouldst have rued this attack, provided
my lord had been in health. Now be generous and courteous, and
kindly let cease this battle which thou hast begun. For thy
reputation would be no better for having killed or captured a
knight who has not the strength to rise, as thou canst see. For
he has suffered so many blows of arms that he is all covered with
wounds" And he replies: "Fear not, lady! I see that loyally you
love your lord, and I commend you for it. Have no fear
whatsoever of me or of my company. But tell me now without
concealment what is the name of your lord; for only advantage
will you get from telling me. Whoever he be, tell me his name;
then he shall go safe and unmolested. Neither he nor you have
aught to fear, for you are both in safe hands."

(Vv. 5059-5172.) Then Enide learns that she is safe, she answers
him briefly in a word: "His name is Erec; I ought not to lie, for
I see you are honest and of good intent." Guivret, in his
delight, dismounts and goes to fall at Erec's feet, where he was
lying on the ground. "My lord," he says, "I was going to seek
for you, and was on my way to Limors, where I expected to find
you dead. It was told and recounted to me as true that Count
Oringle had carried off to Limors a knight who was mortally
wounded, and that he wickedly intended to marry a lady whom he
had found in his company; but that she would have nothing to do
with him. And I was coming urgently to aid and deliver her. If
he refused to hand over to me both the lady and you without
resistance, I should esteem myself of little worth if I left him
a foot of earth to stand upon. Be sure that had I not loved you
dearly I should never have taken this upon myself. I am Guivret,
your friend; but if I have done you any hurt through my failure
to recognise you, you surely ought to pardon me." At this Erec
sat up, for he could do no more, and said: "Rise up, my friend.
Be absolved of the harm you have done me, since you did not
recognise me." Guivret gets up, and Erec tells him how he has
killed the Count while he sat at meat, and how he had gained
possession again of his steed in front of the stable, and how the
sergeants and the squires had fled across the yard, crying:
"Flee, flee, the corpse is chasing us;" then, how he came near
being caught, and how he escaped through the town and down the
hill, carrying his wife on his horse's neck: all this adventure
of his he told him. Then Guivret said, "Sire, I have a castle
here close by, which is well placed in a healthful site. For
your comfort and benefit I wish to take you there to-morrow and
have your wounds cared for. I have two charming and sprightly
sisters who are skilful in the care of wounds: they will soon
completely cure you. (34) To-night we shall let our company
lodge here in the fields until morning; for I think a little rest
to-night will do you much good. My advice is that we spend the
night here." Erec replies: "I am in favour of doing so." So
there they stayed and spent the night. They were not reluctant
to prepare a lodging-place, but they found few accommodations,
for the company was quite numerous. They lodge as best they may
among the bushes: Guivret had his tent set up, and ordered tinder
to be kindled, that they might have light and cheer. He has
tapers taken out from the boxes, and they light them within the
tent. Now Enide no longer grieves, for all has turned out well.
She strips her lord of his arms and clothes, and having washed
his wounds, she dried them and bound them up again; for she would
let no one else touch him. Now Erec knows no further reason to
reproach her, for he has tried her well and found that she bears
great love to him. And Guivret, who treats them kindly, had a
high, long bed constructed of quilted coverlids, laid upon grass
and reed, which they found in abundance. There they laid Erec
and covered him up. Then Guivret opened a box and took out two
patties. "Friend," says he, "now try a little of these cold
patties, and drink some wine mixed with water. I have as much as
six barrels of it, but undiluted it is not good for you; for you
are injured and covered with wounds. Fair sweet friend, now try
to eat; for it will do you good. And my lady will eat some too
-- your wife who has been to-day in sore distress on your
account. But you have received full satisfaction for all that,
and have escaped. So eat now, and I will eat too, fair friend."
Then Guivret sat down by Erec's side, and so did Enide who was
much pleased by all that Guivret did. Both of them urge him to
eat, giving him wine mixed with water'; for unmixed it is too
strong and heating. Erec ate as a sick man eats, and drank a
little--all he dared. But he rested comfortably and slept all
night; for on his account no noise or disturbance was made.

(Vv. 5173-5366.) In the early morning they awoke, and prepared
again to mount and ride. Erec was so devoted to his own horse
that he would ride no other. They gave to Enide a mule, for she
had lost her palfrey. But she was not concerned; to judge by her
looks, she gave the matter no thought. She had a good mule with
an easy gait that bore her very comfortably. And it gave her
great satisfaction that Erec was not cast down, but rather
assured them that he would recover completely. Before the third
hour they reached Penevric, a strong castle, well and handsomely
situated. There dwelt the two sisters of Guivret; for the place
was agreeable enough. Guivret escorted Erec to a delightful,
airy room in a remote part of the castle. His sisters, at his
request, exerted themselves to cure Erec; and Erec placed himself
in their hands, for they inspired him with perfect confidence.
First, they removed the dead flesh, then applied plaster and
lint, devoting to his care all their skill, like women who knew
their business well. Again and again they washed his wounds and
applied the plaster. Four times or more each day they made him
eat and drink, allowing him, however, no garlic or pepper. But
whoever might go in or out Enide was always with him, being more
than any one else concerned. Guivret often came in to ask and
inquire if he wanted anything. He was well kept and well served,
and everything that he wished was willingly done. But the
damsels cheerfully and gladly showed such devotion in caring for
him that by the end of a fortnight he felt no hurt or pain.
Then, to bring his colour back, they began to give him baths.
There was no need to instruct the damsels, for they understood
the treatment well. When he was able to walk about. Guivret had
two loose gowns made of two different kinds of silk, one trimmed
with ermine, the other with vair. One was of a dark purple
colour, and the other striped, sent to him as a present by a
cousin of his from Scotland. Enide had the purple gown trimmed
with ermine, which was very precious, while Erec had the striped
stuff with the fur, which was no less valuable. Now Erec was
strong and well, cured and recovered. Now that Enide was very
happy and had everything she desired, her great beauty returned
to her; for her great distress had affected her so much that she
was very pale and wan. Now she was embraced and kissed, now she
was blessed with all good things, now she had her joy and
pleasures; for unadorned they lie in bed and each enfolds and
kisses the other; nothing gives them so much joy. They have had
so much pain and sorrow, he for her, and she for him, that now
they have their satisfaction. Each vies in seeking to please the
other. Of their further sport I must not speak. Now they have
so welded their love and forgotten their grief that they scarcely
remember it any more. But now they must go on their way; so they
asked his leave to depart from Guivret, in whom they had found a
friend indeed; for he had honoured and served them in every way.
When he came to take leave, Erec said: "Sire, I do not wish to
delay longer my departure for my own land. Order everything to
be prepared and collected, in order that I may have all I need.
I shall wish to start to-morrow morning, as soon as it is day. I
have stayed so long with you that I feel strong and vigorous.
God grant, if it please Him, that I may live to meet you again
somewhere, when I may be able in my turn to serve and honour you.
Unless I am captured or detained, I do not expect to tarry
anywhere until I reach the court of King Arthur, whom I hope to
find either at Robais or Carduel." To which Guivret makes prompt
reply, "Sire, you shall not go off alone! For I myself shall go
with you and shall take companions with us, if it be your
pleasure." Erec accedes to this advice, and says that, in
accordance with his plans, he wishes the journey to be begun.
That night they make preparations for their journey, not wishing
to delay there longer. They all make ready and prepare. In the
early morning, when they awake, the saddles are placed upon the
steeds. Before he leaves, Erec goes to bid farewell to the
damsels in their rooms; and Enide (who was glad and full of joy)
thither follows him. When their preparations for departure were
made, they took their leave of the damsels. Erec, who was very
courteous, in taking leave of them, thanks them for his health
and life, and pledges to them his service. Then he took one of
them by the hand she who was the nearer to him and Enide took the
other's hand: hand in hand they came up from the bedroom into the
castle hall. Guivret urges them to mount at once without delay.
Enide thinks the time will never come for them to mount. They
bring around to the block for her a good-tempered palfrey, a soft
stepper, handsome and well shaped. The palfrey was of fine
appearance and a good mount: it was no less valuable than her own
which had stayed behind at Limors. That other one was dappled,
this one was sorrel; but the head was of another colour: it was
marked in such a way that one cheek was all white, while the
other was raven black. Between the two colours there was a line,
greener than a grape-vine leaf, which separated the white from
the black. Of the bridle, breast-strap, and saddle I can surely
say that the workmanship was rich and handsome. All the breast-
strap and bridle was of gold set with emeralds. The saddle was
decorated in another style, covered with a precious purple cloth.
The saddle-bows were of ivory, on which was carved the story of
how Aeneas came from Troy, how at Carthage with great joy Dido
received him to her bed, how Aeneas deceived her, and how for him
she killed herself, how Aeneas conquered Laurentum and all
Lombardy, of which he was king all his life. (35) Cunning was
the workmanship and well carved, all decorated with fine gold. A
skilful craftsman, who made it spent more than seven years in
carving it, without touching any other piece of work. I do not
know whether he sold it; but he ought to have obtained a good
price for it. Now that Enide was presented with this palfrey,
she was well compensated for the loss of her own. The palfrey,
thus richly apparelled, was given to her and she mounted it
gladly; then the gentlemen and squires quickly mounted too. For
their pleasure and sport Guivret caused to be taken with them
rich falcons, both young and moulted, many a tercel and
sparrow-hawk, and many a setter and greyhound.

(Vv. 5367-5446.) (36) They rode straight on from morn till eve
more than thirty Welsh leagues, and then came to the towers of a
stronghold, rich and fair, girt all about with a new wall. And
all around, beneath this wall, ran a very deep stream, roaring
rushing like a storm. Erec stops to look at it, and ask and find
out if any one could truly tell him who was the lord of this
town. "Friend," said he to his kind companion, "could you tell
me the name of this town, and whose it is? Tell me if it belongs
to a count or a king. Since you have brought me here, tell me,
if you know." "Sire," he says, "I know very well, and will tell
you the truth about it. The name of the town is Brandigant, and
it is so strong and fine that it fears neither king nor emperor.
If France, and all of England, and all who live from here to
Liege were ranged about to lay a siege, they would never take it
in their lives; for the isle on which the town stands stretches
away four leagues or more, and within the enclosure grows all
that a rich town needs: fruit and wheat and wine are found; and
of wood and water there is no lack. It fears no assault on any
side, nor could anything reduce it to starvation. King Evrain
had it fortified, and he has possessed it all his days
unmolested, and will possess it all his life. But not because he
feared any one did he thus fortify it; but the town is more
pleasing so. For if it had no wall or tower, but only the stream
that encircles it, it would still be so secure and strong that it
would have no fear of the whole world." "God!" said Erec, "what
great wealth! Let us go and see the fortress, and we shall take
lodging in the town, for I wish to stop here." "Sire," said the
other in great distress, "were it not to disappoint you, we
should not stop here. In the town there is a dangerous passage."
"Dangerous?" says Erec; "do you know about it? Whatever it be,
tell us about it; for very gladly would I know." "Sire," says
he, "I should fear that you might suffer some harm there. I know
there is so much boldness and excellence in your heart that, were
I to tell you what I know of the perilous and hard adventure, you
would wish to enter in. I have often heard the story, and more
than seven years have passed since any one that went in quest of
the adventure has come back from the town; yet, proud, bold
knights have come hither from many a land. Sire, do not treat
this as a jest: for you will never learn the secret from me until
you shall have promised me, by the love you have sworn to me,
that never by you will be undertaken this adventure, from which
no one escapes without receiving shame or death."

(Vv. 5447-5492.) Now Erec hears what pleases him, and begs
Guivret not to be grieved, saying: "Ah, fair sweet friend, permit
that our lodging be made in the town, and do not be disturbed.
It is time to halt for the night, and so I trust that it will not
displease you; for if any honour comes to us here you ought to be
very glad. I appeal to you conceding the adventure that you tell
me just the name of it, and I'll not insist upon the rest."
"Sire." he says, "I cannot be silent and refuse the information
you desire. The name is very fair to say, but the execution is
very hard: for no one can come from it alive. The adventure,
upon my word, is called `the Joy of the Court.'" "God! there
can be nothing but good in joy," says Erec; "I go to seek it.
Don't go now and discourage me about this or anything else, fair
gentle friend; but let us have our lodgings taken, for great good
may come to us of this. Nothing could restrain me from going to
seek the Joy." "Sire," says he, "God grant your prayer, that you
may find joy and return without mishap. I clearly see that we
must go in. Since otherwise it may not be, let us go in. Our
lodging is secured; for no knight of high degree, as I have heard
it said and told, can enter this castle with intent to lodge here
but that King Evrain offers to shelter him. So gentle and
courteous is the King that he has given notice to all his
townsmen, appealing to their love for him, that any gentleman
from afar should not find lodging in their houses, so that he
himself may do honour to all gentlemen who may wish to tarry

(Vv. 5493-5668.) (37) Thus they proceed toward the castle,
passing the list and the drawbridge; and when they passed the
listing-place, the people who were gathered in the streets in
crowds see Erec in all his beauty, and apparently they think and
believe that all the others are in his train. Marvelling much,
they stare at him; the whole town was stirred and moved, as they
take counsel and discuss about him. Even the maidens at their
song leave off their singing and desist, as all together they
look at him; and because of his great beauty they cross
themselves, and marvellously they pity him. One to another
whispers low: "Alas! This knight, who is passing, is on his way
to the `Joy of the Court.' He will be sorry before he returns;
no one ever came from another land to claim the `Joy of the
Court' who did not receive shame and harm, and leave his head
there as a forfeit." Then, that he may hear their words, they
cry-aloud: "God defend thee, knight, from harm; for thou art
wondrously handsome, and thy beauty is greatly to be pitied, for
to-morrow we shall see it quenched. Tomorrow thy death is come;
to-morrow thou shalt surely die if God does not guard and defend
thee." Erec hears and understands that they are speaking of him
through the lower town: more than two thousand pitied him; but
nothing causes him dismay. He passes on without delay, bowing
gaily to men and women alike. And they all salute him too; and
most of them swear with anxiety, fearing more than he does
himself, for his shame and for his hurt. The mere sight of his
countenance, his great beauty and his bearing, has so won to him
the hearts of all, that knights, ladies, and maids alike fear his
harm. King Evrain hears the news that men were arriving at his
court who brought with them a numerous train, and by his harness
it appeared that their leader was a count or king. King Evrain
comes down the street to meet them, and saluting them he cries:
"Welcome to this company, both to the master and all his suite.
Welcome, gentlemen! Dismount." They dismounted, and there were
plenty to receive and take their horses. Nor was King Evrain
backward when he saw Enide coming; but he straightway saluted her
and ran to help her to dismount. Taking her white and tender
hand, he led her up into the palace, as was required by courtesy,
and honoured her in every way he could, for he knew right well
what he ought to do, without nonsense and without malice. He
ordered a chamber to be scented with incense, myrrh, and aloes.
When they entered, they all complimented King Evrain on its fine
appearance. Hand in hand they enter the room, the King escorting
them and taking great pleasure in them. But why should I
describe to you the paintings and the silken draperies with which
the room was decorated? I should only waste time in folly, and I
do not wish to waste it, but rather to hasten on a little; for he
who travels the straight road passes him who turns aside;
therefore I do not wish to tarry. When the time and hour
arrived, the King orders supper to be prepared; but I do not wish
to stop over that if I can find some more direct way. That night
they had in abundance all that heart desires and craves: birds,
venison, and fruit, and wines of different sorts. But better
than all is a happy cheer! For of all dishes the sweetest is a
joyful countenance and a happy face. They were very richly
served until Erec suddenly left off eating and drinking, and
began speaking of what rested most upon his heart: he remembered
`the Joy', and began a conversation about it in which King Evrain
joined. "Sire" says he, "it is time now to tell you what I
intend, and why I have come here. Too long I have refrained from
speech, and now can no longer conceal my object. I ask you for
`the Joy' of the Court, for I covet nothing else so much. Grant
it to me, whatever it be, if you are in control of it." "In
truth, fair friend." the King replies, "I hear you speak great
nonsense. This is a very parlous thing, which has caused sorrow
to many a worthy man; you yourself will eventually be killed and
undone if you will not heed my counsel. But if you were willing
to take my word, I should advise you to desist from soliciting so
grievous a thing in which you would never succeed. Speak of it
no more! Hold your peace! It would be imprudent on your part
not to follow my advice. I am not at all surprised that you
desire honour and fame; but if I should see you harmed or injured
in your body I should be distressed at heart. And know well that
I have seen many a man ruined who solicited this joy. They were
never any the better for it, but rather did they all die and
perish. Before to-morrow's evening come you may expect a like
reward. If you wish to strive for the Joy, you shall do so,
though it grieve me sore. It is something from which you are
free to retreat and draw back if you wish to work your welfare.
Therefore I tell you, for I should commit treachery and do you
wrong were I not to tell you all the truth." Erec hears him and
admits that the King with reason counsels him. But the greater
the wonder and the more perilous the adventure, the more he
covets it and yearns for it, saying: "Sire, I can tell you that I
find you a worthy and a loyal man, and I can put no blame on you.
I wish to undertake {his boon, however it may fall out with me.
The die is cast, for I shall never draw back from anything I have
undertaken without exerting all my strength before I quit the
field." "I know that well," the King replied; "you are acting
against my will. You shall have the Joy which you desire. But I
am in great despair; for I greatly fear you will be undone. But
now be assured that you shall have what you desire. If you come
out of it happily, you will have won such great honour that never
did man win greater; and may God, as I desire, grant you a joyous

(Vv. 5669-5738.) All that night they talked of it, until the
beds were prepared and they went to rest. In the morning, when
it was daylight, Erec, who was on the watch, saw the clear dawn
and the sun, and quickly rising, clothed himself. Enide again is
in distress, very sad and ill at ease; all night she is greatly
disquieted with the solicitude and fear which she felt for her
lord, who is about to expose himself to great peril. But
nevertheless he equips himself, for no one can make him change
his mind. For his equipment the King sent him, when he arose,
arms which he put to good use. Erec did not refuse them, for his
own were worn and impaired and in bad state. He gladly accepted
the arms and had himself equipped with them in the hall. When he
was armed, he descends the steps and finds his horse saddled and
the King who had mounted. Every one in the castle and in the
houses of the town hastened to mount. In all the town there
remained neither man nor woman, erect or deformed, great or
small, weak or strong, who is able to go and does not do so.
When they start, there is a great noise and clamour in all the
streets; for those of high and low degree alike cry out: "Alas,
alas! oh knight, the Joy that thou wishest to win has betrayed
thee, and thou goest to win but grief and death." And there is
not one but says: "God curse this joy! which has been the death
of so many gentlemen. To-day it will wreak the worst woe that it
has ever yet wrought." Erec hears well and notes that up and
down they said of him: "Alas, alas, ill-starred wert thou, fair,
gentle, skilful knight! Surely it would not be just that thy
life should end so soon, or that harm should come to wound and
injure thee." He hears clearly the words and what they said; but
notwithstanding, he passes on without lowering his head, and
without the bearing of a craven. Whoever may speak, he longs to
see and know and understand why they are all in such distress,
anxiety, and woe. The King leads him without the town into a
garden that stood near by; and all the people follow after,
praying that from this trial God may grant him a happy issue.
But it is not meet that I should pass on, from weariness and
exhaustion of tongue, without telling you the whole truth about
the garden, according as the story runs.

(Vv. 5739-5826.) (38) The garden had around it no wall or fence
except of air: yet, by a spell, the garden was on all sides so
shut in by the air that nothing could enter there any more than
if the garden were enclosed in iron, unless it flew in over the
top. And all through the summer and the winter, too, there were
flowers and ripe fruits there; and the fruit was of such a nature
that it could be eaten inside; the danger consisted in carrying
it out; for whoever should wish to carry out a little would never
be able to find the gate, and never could issue from the garden
until he had restored the fruit to its place. And there is no
flying bird under heaven, pleasing to man, but it sings there to
delight and to gladden him, and can be heard there in numbers of
every kind. And the earth, however far it stretch, bears no
spice or root of use in making medicine, but it had been planted
there, and was to be found in abundance. Through a narrow
entrance the people entered--King Evrain and all the rest.
Erec went riding, lance in rest, into the middle of the garden,
greatly delighting in the song of the birds which were singing
there; they put him in mind of his Joy the thing he most was
longing for. But he saw a wondrous thing, which might arouse
fear in the bravest warrior of all whom we know, be it Thiebaut
the Esclavon, (39) or Ospinel, or Fernagu. For before them, on
sharpened stakes, there stood bright and shining helmets, and
each one had beneath the rim a man's head. But at the end there
stood a stake where as yet there was nothing but a horn. (40) He
knows not what this signifies, yet draws not back a step for
that; rather does he ask the King, who was beside him at the
right, what this can be. The King speaks and explains to him:
"Friend," he says, "do you know the meaning of this thing that
you see here? You must be in great terror of it, if you care at
all for your own body; for this single stake which stands apart,
where you see this horn hung up, has been waiting a very long
time, but we know not for whom, whether for you or someone else.
Take care lest thy head be set up there; for such is the purpose
of the stake. I had warned you well of that before you came
here. I do not expect that you will escape hence, but that you
will be killed and rent apart. For this much we know, that the
stake awaits your head. And if it turns out that it be placed
there, as the matter stands agreed, as soon as thy head is fixed
upon it another stake will be set up beside it which will await
the arrival of some one else--I know not when or whom. I will
tell you nothing of the horn; but never has any one been able to
blow it. (41) However, he who shall succeed in blowing it his
fame and honour will grow until it distance all those of his
country, and he shall find such renown that all will come to do
him honour, and will hold him to be the best of them all. Now
there is no more of this matter. Have your men withdraw; for
`the Joy' will soon arrive, and will make you sorry, I suspect."

(Vv. 5827-6410.) Meanwhile King Evrain leaves his side, and Erec
stoops over before Enide, whose heart was in great distress,
although she held her peace; for grief on lips is of no account
unless it also touch the heart. And he who well knew her heart,
said to her: "Fair sister dear, gentle, loyal, and prudent lady,
I am acquainted with your thoughts. You are in fear, I see that
well, and yet you do not know for what; but there is no reason
for your dismay until you shall see that my shield is shattered
and that my body is wounded, and until you see the meshes of my
bright hauberk covered with blood, and my helmet broken and
smashed, and me defeated and weary, so that I can no longer
defend myself, but must beg and sue for mercy against my will;
then you may lament, but now you have begun too soon. Gentle
lady, as yet you know not what this is to be; no more do I. You
are troubled without cause. But know this truly: if there were
in me only so much courage as your love inspires, truly I should
not fear to face any man alive. But I am foolish to vaunt
myself; yet I say it not from any pride, but because I wish to
comfort you. So comfort yourself, and let it be! I cannot
longer tarry here, nor can you go along with me; for, as the King
has ordered, I must not take you beyond this point." Then he
kisses her and commends her to God, and she him. But she is much
chagrined that she cannot follow and escort him, until she may
learn and see what this adventure is to be, and how he will
conduct himself. But since she must stay behind and cannot
follow him, she remains sorrowful and grieving. And he went off
alone down a path, without companion of any sort, until he came
to a silver couch with a cover of gold-embroidered cloth, beneath
the shade of a sycamore; and on the bed a maiden of comely body
and lovely face, completely endowed with all beauty, was seated
all alone. I intended to say no more of her; but whoever could
consider well all her attire and her beauty might well say that
never did Lavinia of Laurentum, who was so fair and comely,
possess the quarter of her beauty. Erec draws near to her,
wishing to see her more closely, and the onlookers go and sit
down under the trees in the orchard. Then behold, there comes a
knight armed with vermilion arms, and he was wondrous tall; and
if he were not so immeasurably tall, under the heavens there
would be none fairer than he; but, as every one averred, he was a
foot taller than any knight he knew. Before Erec caught sight of
him, he cried out: "Vassal, vassal! You are mad, upon my life,
thus to approach my damsel. I should say you are not worthy to
draw near her. You will pay dearly for your presumption, by my
head! Stand back!" And Erec stops and looks at him, and the
other, too, stood still. Neither made advance until Erec had
replied all that he wished to say to him. "Friend," he says,
"one can speak folly as well as good sense. Threaten as much as
you please, and I will keep silence; for in threatening there is
no sense. Do you know why? A man sometimes thinks he has won
the game who afterward loses it. So he is manifestly a fool who
is too presumptuous and who threatens too much. If there are
some who flee there are plenty who chase, but I do not fear you
so much that I am going to run away yet. I am ready to make such
defence, if there is any who wishes to offer me battle, that he
will have to do his uttermost, or otherwise he cannot escape."
"Nay," quoth he, "so help me God! know that you shall have the
battle, for I defy and challenge you." And you may know, upon my
word, that then the reins were not held in. The lances they had
were not light, but were big and square; nor were they planed
smooth, but were rough and strong. Upon the shields with mighty
strength they smote each other with their sharp weapons, so that
a fathom of each lance passes through the gleaming shields. But
neither touches the other's flesh, nor was either lance cracked;
each one, as quickly as he could, draws back his lance, and both
rushing together, return to the fray. One against the other
rides, and so fiercely they smite each other that both lances
break and the horses fall beneath them. But they, being seated
on their steeds, sustain no harm; so they quickly rise, for they
were strong and lithe. They stand on foot in the middle of the
garden, and straightway attack each other with their green swords
of German steel, and deal great wicked blows upon their bright
and gleaming helmets, so that they hew them into bits, and their
eyes shoot out flame. No greater efforts can be made than those
they make in striving and toiling to injure and wound each other.
Both fiercely smite with the gilded pommel and the cutting edge.
Such havoc did they inflict upon each other's teeth, cheeks,
nose, hands, arms, and the rest, upon temples, neck, and throat
that their bones all ache. They are very sore and very tired;
yet they do not desist, but rather only strive the more. Sweat,
and the blood which flows down with it, dim their eves, so that
they can hardly see a thing; and very often they missed their
blows, like men who did not see to wield their swords upon each
other. They can scarcely harm each other now; yet, they do not
desist at all from exercising all their strength. Because their
eyes are so blinded that they completely lose their sight, they
let their shields fall to the ground, and seize each other
angrily. Each pulls and drags the other, so that they fall upon
their knees. Thus, long they fight until the hour of noon is
past, and the big knight is so exhausted that his breath quite
fails him. Erec has him at his mercy, and pulls and drags so
that he breaks all the lacing of his helmet, and forces him over
at his feet. He falls over upon his face against Erec's breast,
and has not strength to rise again. Though it distresses him, he
has to say and own: "I cannot deny it, you have beaten me; but
much it goes against my will. And yet you may be of such degree
and fame that only credit will redound to me; and insistently I
would request, if it may be in any way, that I might know your
name, and he thereby somewhat comforted. If a better man has
defeated me, I shall be glad, I promise you; but if it has so
fallen out that a baser man than I has worsted me, then I must
feel great grief indeed." "Friend, dost thou wish to know my
name?" says Erec; "Well, I shall tell thee ere I leave here; but
it will be upon condition that thou tell me now why thou art in
this garden. Concerning that I will know all what is thy name
and what the Joy; for I am very anxious to hear the truth from
beginning to end of it." "Sire," says he, "fearlessly I will
tell you all you wish to know." Erec no more withholds his name,
but says: "Didst thou ever hear of King Lac and of his son Erec?"
"Yea, sire, I knew him well; for I was at his father's court for
many a day before I was knighted, and, if he had had his will, I
should never have left him for anything." "Then thou oughtest to
know me well, if thou weft ever with me at the court of my
father, the King." "Then, upon my faith, it has turned out well.
Now hear who has detained me so long in this garden. I will tell
the truth in accordance with your injunction, whatever it may
cost me. That damsel who yonder sits, loved me from childhood
and I loved her. It pleased us both, and our love grew and
increased, until she asked a boon of me, but did not tell me what
it was. Who would deny his mistress aught? There is no lover
but would surely do all his sweet-heart's pleasure without
default or guile, whenever he can in any way. I agreed to her
desire; but when I had agreed, she would have it, too, that I
should swear. I would have done more than that for her, but she
took me at my word. I made her a promise, without knowing what.
Time passed until I was made a knight. King Evrain, whose nephew
I am, dubbed me a knight in the presence of many honourable men
in this very garden where we are. My lady, who is sitting there,
at once recalled to me my word, and said that I had promised her
that I would never go forth from here until there should come
some knight who should conquer me by trial of arms. It was right
that I should remain, for rather than break my word, I should
never have pledged it. Since I knew the good there was in her, I
could nor reveal or show to the one whom I hold most dear that in
all this I was displeased; for if she had noticed it, she would
have withdrawn her heart, and I would not have had it so for
anything that might happen. Thus my lady thought to detain me
here for a long stay; she did not think that there would ever
enter this garden any vassal who could conquer me. In this way
she intended to keep me absolutely shut up with her all the days
of my life. And I should have committed an offence if I had had
resort to guile and not defeated all those against whom I could
prevail; such escape would have been a shame. And I dare to
assure you that I have no friend so dear that I would have
feigned at all in fighting with him. Never did I weary of arms,
nor did I ever refuse to fight. You have surely seen the helmets
of those whom I have defeated and put to death; but the guilt of
it is not mine, when one considers it aright. I could not help
myself, unless I were willing to be false and recreant and
disloyal. Now I have told you the truth, and be assured that it
is no small honour which you have gained. You have given great
joy to the court of my uncle and my friends; for now I shall be
released from here; and because all those who are at the court
will have joy of it, therefore those who awaited the joy called
it `Joy of the Court'. They have awaited it so long that now it
will be granted them by you who have won it by your fight. You
have defeated and bewitched my prowess and my chivalry. Now it
is right that I tell you my name, if you would know it. I am
called Mabonagrain; but I am not remembered by that name in any
land where I have been, save only in this region; for never, when
I was a squire, did I tell or make known my name. Sire, you knew
the truth concerning all that you asked me. But I must still
tell you that there is in this garden a horn which I doubt not
you have seen. I cannot issue forth from here until you have
blown the horn; but then you will have released me, and then the
Joy will begin. Whoever shall hear and give it heed no hindrance
will detain him, when he shall hear the sound of the horn, from
coming straight-way to the court. Rise up, sire! Go quickly
now! Go take the horn right joyfully; for you have no further
cause to wait; so do that which you must do." Now Erec rose, and
the other rises with him, and both approach the horn. Erec takes
it and blows it, putting into it all his strength, so that the
sound of it reaches far. Greatly did Enide rejoice when she
heard the note, and Guivret was greatly delighted too. The King
is glad, and so are his people; there is not one who is not well
suited and pleased at this. No one ceases or leaves off from
making merry and from song. Erec could boast that day, for never
was such rejoicing made; it could not be described or related by
mouth of man, but I will tell you the sum of it briefly and with
few words. The news spreads through the country that thus the
affair has turned out. Then there was no holding back from
coming to the court. All the people hasten thither in confusion,
some on foot and some on horse, without waiting for each other.
And those who were in the garden hastened to remove Erec's arms,
and in emulation they all sang a song about the Joy; and the
ladies made up a lay which they called `the Lay of Joy', (42) but
the lay is not well known. Erec was well sated with joy and well
served to his heart's desire; but she who sat on the silver couch
was not a bit pleased. The joy which she saw was not at all to
her taste. But many people have to keep still and look on at
what gives them pain. Enide acted graciously; because she saw
her sitting pensive, alone on the couch, she felt moved to go and
speak with her and tell her about her affairs and about herself,
and to strive, if possible, to make her tell in return about
herself, if it did not cause her too great distress. Enide
thought to go alone, wishing to take no one with her, but some of
the most noble and fairest dames and damsels followed her out of
affection to bear her company, and also to comfort her to whom
the joy brings great chagrin; for she assumed that now her lover
would be no longer with her so much as he had been, inasmuch as
he desired to leave the garden. However disappointing it may be,
no one can prevent his going away, for the hour and the time have
come. Therefore the tears ran down her face from her eyes. Much
more than I can say was she grieving and distressed; nevertheless
she sat up straight. But she does not care so much for any of
those who try to comfort her that she ceases her moan. Enide
salutes her kindly; but for a while the other could not reply a
word, being prevented by the sighs and sobs which torment and
distress her. Some time it was before the damsel returned her
salutation, and when she had looked at her and examined her for a
while, it seemed that she had seen and known her before. But not
being very certain of it, she was not slow to inquire from whence
she was, of what country, and where her lord was born; she
inquires who they both are. Enide replies briefly and tells her
the truth, saying: "I am the niece of the Count who holds sway
over Lalut, the daughter of his own sister; at Lalut I was born
and brought up." The other cannot help smiling, without hearing
more, for she is so delighted that she forgets her sorrow. Her
heart leaps with joy which she cannot conceal. She runs and
embraces Enide, saying: "I am your cousin! This is the very
truth, and you are my father's niece; for he and your father are
brothers. But I suspect that you do not know and have never
heard how I came into this country. The Count, your uncle, was
at war, and to him there came to fight for pay knights of many
lands. Thus, fair cousin, it came about, that with these
hireling knights there came one who was the nephew of the king of
Brandigan. He was with my father almost a year. That was, I
think, twelve years ago, and I was still but a little child. He
was very handsome and attractive. There we had an understanding
between us that pleased us both. I never had any wish but his,
until at last he began to love me and promised and swore to me
that he would always be my lover, and that he would bring me
here; that pleased us both alike. He could not wait, and I was
longing to come hither with him; so we both came away, and no one
knew of it but ourselves. In those days you and I were both
young and little girls. I have told you the truth; so now tell
me in turn, as I have told you, all about your lover, and by what
adventure he won you." "Fair cousin, he married me in such a way
that my father knew all about it, and my mother was greatly
pleased. All our relatives knew it and rejoiced over it, as they
should do. Even the Count was glad. For he is so good a knight
that better cannot be found, and he does not need to prove his
honour and knighthood, and he is of very gentle birth: I do not
think that any can be his equal. He loves me much, and I love
him more, and our love cannot be greater. Never yet could I
withhold my love from him, nor should I do so. For is not my
lord the son of a king? For did he not take me when I was poor
and naked? Through him has such honour come to me that never was
any such vouchsafed to a poor helpless girl. And if it please
you, I will tell you without lying how I came to be thus raised
up; for never will I be slow to tell the story." Then she told
and related to her how Erec came to Lalut; for she had no desire
to conceal it. She told her the adventure word for word, without
omission. But I pass over it now, because he who tells a story
twice makes his tale now tiresome. While they were thus
conversing, one lady slipped away alone, who sent and told it all
to the gentlemen, in order to increase and heighten their
pleasure too. All those who heard it rejoiced at this news. And
when Mabonagrain knew it he was delighted for his sweetheart
because now she was comforted. And she who bore them quickly the
news made them all happy in a short space. Even the King was
glad for it; although he was very happy before, yet now he is
still happier, and shows Erec great honour. Enide leads away her
fair cousin, fairer than Helen, more graceful and charming. Now
Erec and Mabonagrain, Guivret and King Evrain, and all the others
run to meet them and salute them and do them honour, for no one
is grudging or holds back. Mabonagrain makes much of Enide, and
she of him. Erec and Guivret, for their part, rejoice over the


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