Then he knew not if he awoke, or if it were a change in his dream; but the chamber became dark about him, and he lay there thinking of her, till, as it seemed, day began to dawn, and there was some little stir in the world without, and the new wind moved the casement. And again the door opened, and someone entered as before; and this also was a woman: green-clad she was and barefoot, yet he knew at once that it was not his love that was dead, but the damsel of the ale-house of Bourton, whom he had last seen by the wantways of the Wood Perilous, and he thought her wondrous fair, fairer than he had deemed. And the word came from her: “I am a sending of the woman whom thou hast loved, and I should not have been here save she had sent me.” Then the words ended, while he looked at her and wondered if she also had died on the way to the Well at the World’s End. And it came into his mind that he had never known her name upon the earth. Then again came the word: “So it is that I am not dead but alive in the world, though I am far away from this land; and it is good that thou shouldst go seek the Well at the World’s End not all alone: and the seeker may find me: and whereas thou wouldst know my name, I hight Dorothea.”
So fell the words again: and this image stood awhile as the other had done, and as the other had done, departed, and once more the chamber became dark, so that Ralph could not so much as see where was the window, and he knew no more till he woke in the early morn, and there was stir in the street and the voice of men, and the scent of fresh herbs and worts, and fruits; for it was market-day, and the country folk were early afoot, that they might array their wares timely in the market-place.
Of the Tales of Swevenham
Old Richard was no worse than his word, and failed not to find old acquaintance of Swevenham in the Saturday’s market: and Ralph saw naught of him till midweek afterwards. And he was sitting in the chamber of the hostel when Richard came in to him. Forsooth Blaise had bidden him come dwell in his fair house, but Ralph would not, deeming that he might be hindered in his quest and be less free to go whereso he would, if he were dwelling with one who was so great with the magnates as was Blaise.
Now Ralph was reading in a book when Richard came in, but he stood up and greeted him; and Richard said smiling: “What have ye found in the book, lord?” Said Ralph: “It telleth of the deeds of Alexander.” “Is there aught concerning the Well at the World’s End therein?” said Richard. “I have not found aught thereof as yet,” said Ralph; “but the book tells concerning the Dry Tree, and of kings sitting in their chairs in the mountains nearby.”
“Well then,” said Richard, “maybe thou wilt think me the better tale-teller.” “Tell on then,” quoth Richard. So they went and sat them down in a window, and Richard said: