And now it shall be told how Sir Launcelot fared upon that adventure which he had promised the young damsel to undertake.
[Illustration: Sir Launcelot sits with Sir Hilaire and Croisette]
How Sir Launcelot Went Upon an Adventure with the Damsel Croisette as Companion, and How He Overcame Sir Peris of the Forest Sauvage.
Now after Sir Launcelot had finished that battle with Sir Turquine as aforetold, and when he had borrowed the horse of Sir Gaheris, he rode away from that place of combat with the young damsel, with intent to carry out the other adventure which he had promised her to undertake.
[Sidenote: How Sir Launcelot’s wounds pain him] But though he rode with her, yet, for a while, he said very little to her, for his wounds ached him sorely and he was in a great deal of pain. So, because of this, he had small mind to talk, but only to endure what he had to endure with as much patience as he might command. And the damsel upon her part was somewhat aware of what Sir Launcelot was suffering and she was right sorry for him, wherefore she did not trouble him with idle discourse at that moment, but waited for a while before she spake.
Then by and by she said to him: “Messire, I would that thou wouldst rest for some days, and take thine ease, and have thy wounds searched and dressed, and have thy armor looked to and redded. Now there is a castle at some distance from this, and it is my brother’s castle, and thither we may go in a little pass. There thou mayst rest for this night and take thine ease. For I know that my brother will be wonderfully glad to see thee because thou art so famous.”
Then Sir Launcelot turned his eyes upon the damsel: “Fair maiden,” quoth he, “I make confession that I do in sooth ache a very great deal, and that I am somewhat aweary with the battle I have endured this day. Wherefore I am very well content to follow thy commands in this matter. But I prithee, damsel, tell me what is thy name, for I know not yet how thou art called.”
“Sir,” she said, “I am called Croisette of the Dale, and my brother is called Sir Hilaire of the Dale, and it is to his castle that I am about to take thee to rest for this time.”
Then Sir Launcelot said: “I go with thee, damsel, wherever it is thy will to take me.”
[Sidenote: Of how Sir Launcelot and the damsel ride together] So they two rode through that valley at a slow pace and very easily. And toward the waning of the afternoon they left the valley by a narrow side way, and so in a little while came into a shallow dale, very fertile and smiling, but of no great size. For the more part that dale was all spread over with fields and meadow-lands, with here and there a plantation of trees in full blossom and here and there a farm croft. A winding river flowed down through the midst of this valley, very quiet and smooth, and brimming its grassy banks, where were alder and sedge and long rows of pollard willows overreaching the water.