"Will you fight for me?" Sir Damas asked.
King Arthur said, "I'll joust for you if you give me those three knights. After I have fought for you, we shall all go back to our homes."
"Yes," answered Sir Damas. "You can have the three knights if you fight for me."
Then a man came into the hall and said, "Queen Morgan le Fay sends King Arthur his sword, Excalibur."
King Arthur was very glad to have his sword. Now he was ready to joust.
King Arthur Fights Sir Accolon and Comes Against Sir Damas
When Arthur came out to the field, he saw another knight waiting there. His face was hidden so that Arthur could not see it.
The fight began. King Arthur was unhappy: his sword did not help4 him, it broke and he knew that this sword was not Excalibur.
The other knight said, "Say that you have lost the fight, and I will not kill you."
"No!" shouted Arthur. He hit the knight on the helmet with his broken sword - so hard that the knight fell down and his sword fell from his hand. Arthur quickly took the knight's sword. It was Excalibur!
Arthur said, "Tell me who you are. What is your name?" The knight answered, "I am Sir Accolon, Knight of the Round Table."
"Why have you fought against me, your king?" He answered: "I didn't know that you were King Arthur. I thought that you were Sir Damas. Queen Morgan le Fay said to me, 'King
Arthur is in the castle of Sir Damas. You must go and fight Sir Damas and save your king.' And she said, 'Here is King Arthur's sword, Excalibur. Take it for the fight so that you may save your king.'"
King Arthur rode with Sir Accolon and the three knights against Sir Damas. There was a great fight, which King Arthur won.
Sir Damas was brought before the king. "Why did you do this thing?" said King Arthur.
"Queen Morgan le Fay told me to do it," answered Sir Damas.
Then the king said, "You are not knight. You will not have a sword. I take from you your castle and all that you have and give them to your younger brother, he is much better than you."
Morgan le Fay was at Camelot (the beautiful city built by King Arthur with Merlin's help) while Arthur was away. She heard that King Arthur was alive. She went to Queen Guinevere, King Arthur's wife, and said, "I must go back to my own country. My people want me to go back to them."
Queen Guinevere answered, "Don't go. The king will soon be here. He will be glad to see you." (Queen Guinevere did not know what Morgan le Fay had done!)
"No! No!" said Queen Morgan le Fay. "I must go. I must go now." And she rode away alone on her black horse.
King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table
P a r t IV
Gareth Comes to King Arthur
One day King Arthur was sitting with Queen Guinevere and all his knights at the Round Table, and a big, strong young man came into the hall.
"Who are you, and what do you want?" asked King Arthur.
"My name is Gareth. I have come to ask you for a thing," he said. "I ask that I may eat and drink here every day for one year."
The king said, "Yes, you may do that. You'll be with Sir Kay and do what he says."
Sir Kay, who was now a knight of the Round Table, looked at the young man and said, "That man is not a knight. If he is a knight or the son of a knight, why doesn't he ask for a horse and armour. He is some farm boy. He will have food and work with my men."
"Well," said the young man; "I must do what Sir Kay says. I'll work and eat with his men."
Linet Comes to Ask King Arthur's Help
After one year the young man, Gareth, came again into the great hall where King Arthur sat with his knights. There was a beautiful lady standing in front of the king. She said: "O King, my name is Linet. I have come to ask your help. My sister has been taken away by four knights to their castle. They call themselves Morning, Noon, Evening and Night. Send one of your knights to save her."
Gareth cried out, "O King, may I go?"
"Yes, Gareth," said King Arthur, "you may go."
The king gave Gareth armour, and he rode away with Linet.
Soon they came to a river. Near it there was a red tent, and in front of the tent there was a man in blue armour. This was the knight who called himself "Morning".
Gareth and the knight fought on their horses with spears. Then they took their swords. At last Morning lay on the grass at Gareth's feet.
"Don't kill me!" he cried.
The sun was hot when Gareth and Linet came to a river. There Gareth saw Noon.
"Who are you?" cried Noon.
"King Arthur has sent him to fight you," said Lady Linet. "He has fought your brother, and now he has come against you."
Noon rode his horse into the river, and they fought there with swords, in the water.
Gareth wounded Noon with his sword four times, and he fell from his horse into the water. Gareth took Noon's shield, and they rode away.
It was now afternoon. They came to a hill, and from the top of the hill Gareth looked down on a great river.
They rode down the hill. Then Gareth saw a man standing by the river. His Armour was red, and on his shield there was a red evening , sun. They came up to the man and Linet said to him, "This is a boy " whom King Arthur has sent. He has fought your two brothers, and now he has come against you."
Evening rode at Gareth, but Gareth's spear caught him and threw him from his horse.
They fought with swords. Evening came at Gareth. He tried to hit Gareth on the helmet. But the sword hit Gareth's sword, and Evening's sword broke in his hand. Then Gareth took Evening in his arms and threw him down into the river.
The Black Knight
When the sun went down, Gareth and Linet saw a castle standing up against the sky. In front of the door of the castle there was a black tent. Gareth called, "Ho, there! Come out!"
A light was seen in the tent, and lights came into the windows of the castle. Then out from the tent there came a knight in black armour, riding on black horse. On his shield was the picture of a dead man's head. Linet was afraid: she shut her eyes.
Gareth rode at the knight and attacked him with his spear. When Linet opened her eyes, she saw Gareth standing over the black knight. Gareth opened the black knight's helmet, and there he saw the face of a young boy.
"O knight," cried the boy, "do not kill me! My brothers made me do it. They wanted to make men afraid to come to the castle."
Gareth helped him to stand up, and then they went into the castle, and Linet found her sister. Gareth brought the two sisters to Camelot.
Then Gareth asked the third thing of King Arthur, and Arthur gladly gave it to him: he made Gareth a knight of the Round Table.