The Story of the Champions of the Round Table eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 443 pages of information about The Story of the Champions of the Round Table.

[Illustration:  Sir Tristram leaps into ye Sea]

Chapter Third

How Sir Tristram was discovered at Tintagel and of what befell thereby.

Now during the time that Sir Tristram abode thus unknown at the court of Tintagel, he was allowed to wander thereabouts whithersoever he chose, and no one hindered him either in going or in coming.  For none in all that place suspected who he was, but everyone thought that he was only a poor gentle madman of the forest; so he was allowed to wander at will as his fancy led him.

[Sidenote:  How Sir Tristram dwelt at Tintagel] And Sir Tristram’s memory never awoke; but though it awoke not, yet it stirred within him.  For though he could not remember what this place was whereunto he had come, yet it was very strangely familiar to him, so that whithersoever he went, he felt that those places were not altogether strange to him.  And in some of those places he felt great pleasure and in other places somewhat of pain, yet he knew not why he should have the one feeling or the other.

Now of all those places whereunto he wandered, Sir Tristram found most pleasure in the pleasance of the castle where was a fair garden and fruit trees; for it was there that he and the Lady Belle Isoult had walked together aforetime ere his affliction had befallen him, and he remembered this place better than any other, and took more pleasure in it.  Now one day Sir Tristram came wandering thus into that pleasance and, the day being warm, he sat under the shade of an appletree beside a marble fountain of water; and the appletree above his head was all full of red and golden fruit.  So Sir Tristram sat there, striving to remember how it was that he had once aforetime beheld that fountain and that garden and that appletree beneath which he sat.

So whilst he sat there pondering in that wise, there came the Lady Belle Isoult into the garden of that pleasance and her lady, the dame Bragwaine, was with her, and the hound, hight Houdaine, which Sir Tristram had sent to her by Gouvernail, walked beside her on the other side.  Then Belle Isoult perceived that there was a man sitting under the appletree, and she said to dame Bragwaine:  “Who is yonder man who hath dared to come hither into our privy garden?” Unto this, dame Bragwaine replied:  “That, lady, is the gentle madman of the forest whom Sir Launcelot brought hither two days ago.”

Then the Lady Belle Isoult said, “Let us go nearer and see what manner of man he is”; and so they went forward toward where Sir Tristram sat, and the dog Houdaine went with them.

Then Sir Tristram was aware that someone was nigh; and therewith he turned his face and beheld the Lady Isoult for the first time since he had gone mad in the forest; and the lady was looking at him, but knew him not.

Then of a sudden, because of his great love for Belle Isoult, the memory of Sir Tristram came all back to him in the instant, and upon that instant he knew who he was and all that had befallen him, and how he had been brought there as a madman out of the forest.  But though he knew her in that wise, yet, as has been said, she knew not him.

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The Story of the Champions of the Round Table from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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