Chapter 28:

How Bandemagus fought with his cousin Anchises

As they were speaking, the knight of the tent shouted out, saying this, "You, knight, are you of King Arthur's household?"

"Yes, without doubt. But why do you ask?" said Bandemagus.

"Because I want to know," said he of the tent; "and since you are of that household, I wish to join battle with you."

"For what reason?" said Bandemagus.

"Certes," said the knight, "I have no great reason; but I would take pleasure in breaking the pride and arrogance there is in King Arthur's household, more there than in all the world."

"And what pride is there?" said Bandemagus, "and what arrogance?"

And the knight said, "And where could there be more arrogance in the world than in the household of King Arthur, since its knights must joust with all the good knighthood in the world? And all the good knights of this land have sworn to break that pride, and I am one of them; and because they travel so throughout the world, I have therefore had this tent set up, so that if one of them should come by here, he would not depart without battle, and since you have come by here, you have a battle with me."

Bandemagus said, "Can I do anything else?"

"No," said the knight, "save that if you can do more than I, you will be quit of me in good venture; and if not, you will go by some other road, for I will defend this one from you."

And Bandemagus said, "Certes, I take no pleasure in this battle, for I must go forward; but since matters are thus, let us begin, and let him to whom God gives honor take it."

Then they charged each other as fast as their horses could carry them, and charged in such manner that the horses fell down, in such falls that the knights were so stunned that they did not know whether it was night or day. And so the battle of the two knights began. The knight of the tent ran at Bandemagus and struck him a great blow on the helmet; and Bandemagus, when he saw himself treated so, quickly gave him a fit reward, for he was very valiant and hardy, for one of his age. And so the battle began for both, and they spared each other nothing, but showed themselves to be mortal enemies, and so they held their battle very bravely, and the resounding of the swords on helmets and shields was so great that those in the castle heard it and went there to see the battle, and they watched it willingly because they had never seen one like it there. For without fail in that season jousts and battles began among knights errant, which lasted a long time, just as the history of the Holy Grail and other histories recount.

This Bandemagus was the first of those who began the adventures and marvels of the kingdom of Londres, and he maintained that life the best of his time. Both knights, just as I am telling you, fought before the tent, and they progressed so that they became tired, so that they could do no more,  and, willing or not, each had to distance himself from the other, and they sat down to rest, and Bandemagus happily was wounded only a little; but the knight of the tent had two great wounds, from which he had lost much blood, and this made him feel great fear of receiving shame there. And after they rested, when Bandemagus saw that the knight was badly wounded and saw all the earth around him tinted with blood, he said to the knight, "We have fought enough, and it would be well, if it please you, that I went on; and you see that you will not hold the road against me. And, God help me, I tell you this for your benefit; for it would be better if you let me go than if we returned to the battle; for from today on you and I would take harm from it; and therefore I beg you to let me go, and I pardon you all my ill-will, and I wish to do you such honor as to have peace between us, and I grant that you are a better knight than I."

When the knight heard this, he looked at Bandemagus and said, "Knight, you are more courteous than I thought, and your courtesy is very valuable to me now, for I tell you well that I have had the worst of the battle; since you through your courtesy beg me for what I ought to beg you, I thank you as much as I can for it, and may you go with good fortune."

"Many thanks," Bandemagus said.

Then he put his sword in its scabbard, and went to look for his horse; and when he wished to ride, the knight came to him and begged him to tell him his name. And he said, "Sir, my name is Bandemagus."

And the knight said to him, "Sir, you are welcome. I am pleased to see you, for you are my cousin."

And Bandemagus said to him, "And you, what is your name?"

And the knight said that his name was Anchises. And Bandemagus then took off his helmet in his honor, and to embrace him and show him pleasure. And Anchises did so as well, and both felt great pleasure between them, and Anchises said to Bandemagus, "Friend, I beg you to stay with me all day today."

"Today I will stay with you," he said, "but staying longer I would not do for anything in the world, for I have much to do."

Then they entered the tent, and Anchises did not forget his own wounds, and had himself disarmed and cured of them, and a very rich meal was then made, and Bandemagus told him how he had departed from the court, and how he was imprisoned, and how that damsel had released him when he was doomed to have his head cut off, and how he had come to that forest to seek Merlin. And Anchises said, "He passed by here not six days ago, and I made him grieve greatly."

And Bandemagus said, "And how could you make him grieve?"

"I will tell you," said Anchises. "He brought a very lovely damsel with him, who they say is the Damsel of the Lake, and so they told me afterwards, and many ladies and damsels came in her company, and a good twelve knights. And when I saw the damsel, I pretended to show her knightly courtesy to give her honor and price, and I then went to her, and took her by her horse's rein, and said to her that I would take her, by the custom that is in the Kingdom of Londres and that those of the Round Table began; and that the custom was such that if the damsel went in the guard of whatever knight and another could conquer him, he should have her by right. And for this I put myself to the adventure of the twelve knights; but not because I thought that such good would come to me as did come, but I did it to gain price and praise, and not through any other intention. And when the knights saw this, one among them came out to defend her from me, and so we began our jousting, and my fate chose for me to unhorse all twelve, one after the other. And after I had unseated all of them, I took the damsel by the rein, and said to her that I would take her to the castle, since I had conquered her. And Merlin came out against my anger and said to me, "Sir knight, leave the damsel, since you cannot take her.

"And I, who did not know who he was, said to him that I would take her. And he told me again to leave her, and I was silent. And he saw that I was taking her and he then made his enchantment, and it seemed to me that the damsel I was taking was a lion, and that the lion was stronger and fiercer than any man had ever seen; and I was so frightened when I saw that marvel that I dropped the rein, and began to flee through this country as fast as my horse could carry me, so frightened, that I believed I would soon be dead. And when Merlin saw this, he took his damsel and his road, and went on with her and her company, and this befell me with Merlin and his damsel."

And Bandemagus said, "Much good came to you in parting from him thus."

So they remained speaking of Merlin and other things in comfort. And after it was the hour to go to bed, they went to sleep. And the next morning, Bandemagus and his damsel went on their way, and he said that he would not stop traveling until he had found Merlin, and so they traveled at a slow pace until the hour of midday. Then they found a knight, armed cap-a-pie who went much adorned, so that he seemed by his riding a good knight at arms. And the knight was great and well made, and when he saw the damsel, he said that he wanted her, and came to her and greeted her, but he did not greet Bandemagus. And he took her by the rein and said, "I will take her."

And Bandemagus said, "You will not take her, for I will defend her, if I can."

"What?" said the knight. "Would you take such great pleasure in fighting me, to defend this damsel?"

And Bandemagus said, "You take pleasure in fighting. And how can you be so foolish to think that I would leave her to you thus? This not even the most cowardly knight in the world should do. And now leave the damsel, for you will find greater resistance in me than you thought."

So began the hatred between the two knights. Then they went apart from each other, and let their horses charge, and struck each other the greatest strokes they could; but Bandemagus was wounded in such manner that he could not stay in the saddle, and was so ill-treated by the fall, that he was as one dead. And the knight did not wait a moment longer, and went to the damsel and said to her, "Damsel, you are mine by the custom of this land, since your knight cannot defend you."

And the damsel began to weep with trouble and did not know what to do. And the knight said to her, "Mount and come with me."

And the damsel began to tremble with fear and the knight said to her again, "Mount, damsel."

And she said, weeping, "Was any damsel as unfortunate as I?"

And the squires took her by the hand upon the command of their lord, and put her on her palfrey, and she began to weep and curse the day she was born. And the knight said to her, "Who was he who had you in guard?"And she responded, "Sir, he is a knight of the household of King Arthur, and he is a new knight, and he is King Urian's cousin, and his name is Bandemagus."

"By God," he said, "I know Bandemagus well, and if I had known him before, I would not have fought with him; for his relatives and friends did me much honor not long ago, and therefore it grieves me that I unseated him."

And when the damsel heard this, she endeavored in some way to find out who was the knight who had won her, and she said to him, "By God, sir, tell me what your name is."

He said to her, "Know that my name is Morlot of Ireland."

When the damsel heard this, she was very troubled, and she could hardly stay on her palfrey. And it was no marvel that she was very frightened of Morlot of Ireland, because she had heard it said that he was very fierce against ladies and damsels; but he was a good knight at arms, and he was less beloved of ladies and damsels than was Brius without Pity, he who did them such ill, as many books and histories recount. When Brius took them, he killed them all with his own hands; and Morlot sent all those he took to Ireland, and had them put in a castle, where they could not leave afterwards. He did this for his father and his two brothers, who were killed in a tourney by the judgment that ladies and damsels gave in the kingdom of Londres, so that he had all the ladies and damsels he could put in prison in Ireland, and they took this for the greatest cruelty in the world. And he was a companion of the Round Table, and Merlin made him a companion, because he was a good knight at arms. And without fail, in that time, there was no knight at the Round Table as good as he; and I will tell you even more, that only by a miracle could one be found in all the world. And know that of all the ladies and damsels he put in prison, never did one come out alive, until that time that Tristan, the good knight, went to Ireland and liberated those who were still alive. But here it will not be recounted how he liberated them nor in what manner.

When the damsel saw that she was in the power of Morlot of Ireland and that he was taking her, she was very sad; but Morlot paid little heed to her, and they traveled until they arrived at a lovely shore on which there was a very strong castle, on a great cliff, and its name was Avelon. And near the shore there was a plain, near some trees, and two armed tents, because those of the land were assembled there and did honor and made feasts for their lord, who had newly come from the house of King Arthur, who had then made him knight. And that knight's name was Perfides, who did many great deeds of arms afterwards and was a companion of the Round Table. And Morlot, when he came by the road near the shore, [the story says that Morlot ran away, and Bandemagus arose then, and][1] came out and mounted his horse and went after him as fast as he could, and said that he would not take the damsel away thus if he did not first earn her by the sword. And Morlot, who went ahead, arrived at the tents like a missile from a bow, and took another road and did not want to enter among them, so that they would not make him stay; and a knight who saw him turn aside, came out to him and said to him, "Sir knight, the lord of this castle, who is a new knight, and those who are with him, send to you to beg that you go to see their feast, and they will be grateful to you and do you courtesy."

"Sir," said Morlot, "tell him that I thank him, and that I would go there willingly, but I have so many things to do far away, that I cannot do what he begs me; and give my greetings to that knight and those who are with him, and tell him that it should not grieve him."

The damsel, believing that as soon as the knights of the tent found out that she went prisoner, they would succor her, said to the knight of the tent, "Ah, good knight! I am prisoner in the power of Morlot, and I am a stranger here, and poor, and troubled, and disconsolate, and with a great lack of friends, and my sins brought me to this land. And now this knight has taken me prisoner, who conquered me from another knight with whom I went, and to do mercy to me, tell those knights to have pity on me, and to liberate me from Morlot's prison, who is a man of great cruelty against women, as all of you know."

And when the knight heard this, he said, "Sir knight, I beg you in courtesy that you send this damsel to the lord of the castle."

And Morlot said, "I will not leave the damsel in any guise, while I can defend her."

"Certes," said the knight, "I have not seen a knight with as little courtesy as you in many days, since you do not choose to give up the damsel by prayer; but you will still give her by luck of battle, willing or not."

And then they parted, and the damsel rode along, delaying as much as she could. When Morlot of Ireland arrived at the river which was at the foot of the tower, and saw the water was so deep that he could not pass through it, he said to his squires, "It seems to me that if we do not find other lodging here, we will have to stay here."

And they said, "Sir, you cannot pass any way but by the bridge."

Then he took his shield and his lance, for he saw for certain that he would not be able to depart from there without battle, and he went to the shore against the bridge, and he did not go far before he saw a knight armed cap-a-pie leave the castle, and when he came to Morlot he said to him, "Sir, I beg you on behalf of the knights of the tents to liberate this damsel for love of them and for your courtesy, and send her where she wishes to go, and they will thank you; and if you do not choose to do so, know that you cannot depart from here without damage to yourself."

"Certes," said Morlot, "I will not give her to you nor any other while I can defend her."

And the knight of the tents said, "Then from now on you are forced into battle, and guard yourself from me and all those others, who all still wish for the damsel to be quit of you, since she commended herself to us."

Then he charged as fast as his horse could carry him against the knight, and Morlot against him as well, and struck him so strongly, that he dashed him from the horse to the ground in a very great fall, and did a villainy against him: since he did not hold himself satisfied for unseating him, he rode his horse over him twice, and treated him so badly that the knight fainted away. And great ire arose in the knights of the tents at this, and ten knights armed themselves and said that they would avenge that villainy if they could. And they went to him and said to him, "Knight, certes, your cruelty and ill will are apparent to us. Leave the knight, whom you have treated so discourteously."

When Morlot heard this, he charged at one of them, and wounded him in the throat, and sent him to earth; and he went to the others, and unhorsed six of them, and did very well at arms, until one of them wounded him in the throat very badly, so that he could do no more with arms. And when he saw himself so badly wounded, he returned to one of his squires and gave him his shield and lance, and when the knights saw that he did not wish to joust any longer, one of them said to Morlot, "What, knight, do you not wish to joust more?" Morlot said, "And how? Does it not seem to you that I have done enough in unhorsing six of you? Certes, no amount would have come that I would not have unhorsed, save for that knight who wounded me so badly, so that I think I will never again take up arms."

And the other knights said, "Since it is so, the damsel must stay here with us."

Morlot said, "What you say is not right, for from today on you cannot have her; for I am so badly wounded that I can do no more at arms, and by reason you cannot use force against me, and if you wish to fight me, all the world will take it ill, if you use force against me."

When the knights heard this, they understood that what Morlot said was right and reasonable, and told him to go with his damsel. And when Morlot saw himself free, he said to one of his squires, "Let us mount and seek a place where we may rest."

And then they put the damsel on her palfrey, and all three arrived at a bridge on the shore of the river.

[1] The Burgos text has a hole here; I have supplied text from the Menendez-Pelayo edition of the 1535 Seville Demanda del Sancto Grial.