Now it remaineth to say of Sir Marhaus that those who were with him brought him back to Ireland and that there in a little while he died of the wound that Sir Tristram had given him upon the head. But ere he died, and whilst they were dressing that hurt, the Queen of Ireland, who was sister to Sir Marhaus, discovered the broken piece of the blade still in that grim wound. This she drew forth and set aside, and hid very carefully, saying to herself: “If ever I meet that knight to whose sword this piece of blade fitteth, then it will be an evil day for him.”
Thus I have told you all the circumstances of that great battle betwixt Sir Tristram of Lyonesse and Sir Marhaus of Ireland. And now you shall hear how it befell Sir Tristram thereafter; so harken to what followeth.
[Illustration: The Lady Belle Isoult]
How Sir Tristram went to Ireland to be healed of his wound by the King’s daughter of Ireland, and of how he came to love the Lady Belle Isoult. Also concerning Sir Palamydes and the Lady Belle Isoult.
Now that grievous hurt which Sir Tristram had received at the hands of Sir Marhaus did not heal, but instead grew even more rankled and sore, so that there were many who thought that there had been treachery practised and that the spearhead had been poisoned to cause such a malignant disease as that with which the wounded man suffered. So by and by Sir Tristram grew so grievously sick of his hurt that all those who were near him thought that he must certainly die.
Then King Mark sent everywhere and into all parts for the most wise and learned leeches and chirurgeons to come to Cornwall and search the wounds of Sir Tristram, but of all these no one could bring him any ease.
[Sidenote: How Sir Tristram lieth sick in Cornwall] Now one day there came to the court of King Mark a very wise lady, who had travelled much in the world and had great knowledge of wounds of all sorts. At the bidding of the King, she went to where Sir Tristram lay, and searched the wound as so many had already done. And when she had done that she came out of Sir Tristram’s chamber and unto King Mark, where he was waiting for her. Then King Mark said to her: “Well, how will it be with yonder knight?” “Lord,” quoth she, “it is thus; I can do nothing to save his life, nor do I know of any one who may save it unless it be the King’s daughter of Ireland, who is known as the Belle Isoult because of her wonderful beauty. She is the most skilful leech in all of the world, and she alone may hope to bring Sir Tristram back to life and health again, for I believe that if she fail no one else can save him.”
Then after the aforesaid lady had gone, King Mark went to where Sir Tristram lay, and he told him all that she had said concerning his condition; and King Mark said: “Tristram, wilt thou go to the King’s daughter of Ireland and let her search thy wound?”