Canacee’s pity for the poor deceived falcon was great. She took it home, and in her own room made a nest for it, draped with blue velvet, the symbol of constancy in love. She tended it for many a day——
* * * * *
At this point in the Squire’s tale we came to the door of a wayside inn, where we had our first meal, so the Squire’s tale was interrupted and was never finished in my hearing. I wish I could tell you the end, for it was a good story I am sure. But whether the falcon found her mate again, and how Cambuskan used his horse of brass, and Canacee her mirror, I cannot say. Yet I have heard other men tell that Cambalo fought gallantly for his sister against two knights who came to woo her—and I would fain know the end of that fight.
Thus the Squire’s tale remains half told. Try, reader, if you can finish it!
* * * * *
I have told you that in our company was a wealthy Franklin, an old man with red face and beard as white as a daisy. He was a great man in his own country. He had been a sheriff and a knight of the shire, and he deserved such honour too, for to all and sundry he was ever generous. His table stood in the hall all day, perpetually supplied with the best of meat and drink, and any man was welcome to dine there. Fish, flesh and bread abounded in his house, besides all the special dainties which the varying seasons brought. His mews were stocked with many a fat partridge, and his streams with bream and trout. He was greatly interested in the Squire, and full of admiration for his modest, gentlemanly bearing. “I have a son myself,” he said, “but he does me no credit. All he cares for is to play at dice and gossip with page-boys. I would he were as fine a youth as you, Sir Squire. Do what I will, I cannot teach him gentleness and manners!” “Fie on such talk!” interrupted our Host. “You remember our plan, good Franklin? Come, tell us your story now.” “Well I remember my promise,” the Franklin answered, “and I gladly fulfil it now.
“In the old days the ancient Britons invented and sang to the harp many songs of chivalrous adventure. There is one that I remember which I will tell as well as I can. But at the beginning I ask you to pardon the roughness of my speech. I am a common man and cannot talk as do the nobility. I never learnt rhetoric nor read my classics, and as for the flowers of speech, as they call them, I have none. The only flowers I know are those that grow in the meadows. Still, as I can, I will tell.”