The Canterbury Pilgrims eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 138 pages of information about The Canterbury Pilgrims.

Meanwhile the false knight, his brother, was made sheriff of the county, in spite of his injured back, and immediately he set a price on his young brother’s head, and declared him outlawed.  He sent out all his men to search for Gamelyn and to bring him to trial; but, though they would have been glad to earn the reward, they were sorry for Gamelyn’s sake.  At last some of them were lucky enough to meet Gamelyn in the woods, but, instead of arresting him, they fell on their knees and told him of his brother’s treachery.  “I ought to have broken his neck outright,” he said.  “Go back to your master.  I will see him again if I die for it.”

So one day, when the sheriff was sitting among his council in the great moot-hall, in stalked Gamelyn, and, throwing back his hood, showed his face to them all.  “God be with you all,” he said, “except with you, hunch-backed sheriff!  Why have you shamed me and our father’s house by declaring me outlawed?” The false knight did not reply but called in his men, and in spite of his struggles Gamelyn was overwhelmed and cast into prison.

Now Gamelyn had another brother, the second son of their father, named Sir Ote, as good a knight as ever wore spurs.  When he heard all the disgrace that had fallen on Gamelyn for no cause, he was wroth, and taking his horse he rode to the town.  “Brother,” he said to the sheriff, “there are only three of us, and you have imprisoned the best of us all.  Evil befall such brothers as you!  Let Gamelyn out of prison till the justices come to try him, and I will be his security.”

“Take him, but if he fails to appear on the day of trial, you shall bear the sentence for him,” answered the eldest brother.

“Be it so,” said Sir Ote.  “Bring him to me.”  So Gamelyn was delivered to his brother, and stayed with him that night, but, in the morning, announced that he must go to the woods to see how his men fared.  “That will be evil for me,” said Sir Ote.  “Unless you return in time for the trial I shall be made prisoner instead of you.”  “Brother,” replied Gamelyn, “do not be afraid.  If God spares my life and wits I will come back.”  “God shield you,” said the other.  “Go, and return when you think fit.”

The outlaws were right glad to see their leader again and had many tales of adventure to tell him.  Once more he led them on their expeditions against rich abbots and priors and such haughty men.  But the poor loved him, for he never touched their goods.  While Gamelyn and his men made merry in the forest, the false knight, his brother, was busy riding through the country to collect the jury for the trial.  He took care to have only those men who, for money, would promise to have Gamelyn hanged, and, sad to say, it did not take long to find a sufficient number of rascals who would do what he wanted.  When the time for the trial drew nigh, Gamelyn prepared to appear before the magistrate.  “Make ready,” he said to his men.  “When the justice holds his court, we must all be there.  For I am bound to go, or my brother will be sent to prison instead of me.”  The outlaws were not unwilling, and they set out in a body, with their weapons ready for any emergency.

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The Canterbury Pilgrims from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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