The Well at the World's End: a tale eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 801 pages of information about The Well at the World's End.
four there were with them who were still a-horseback; so that when Bull Nosy (for that was his name) strove to flee away with me, it was of no avail; for the said horsemen took us, and brought us before an evil-looking man, who, to speak shortly, was he whom thou hast seen, to wit, the Lord of Utterbol:  he took no heed of Bull Nosy, but looked on me closely, and handled me as a man doth with a horse at a cheaping, so that I went nigh to smiting him, whereas I had a knife in my bosom, but the chaplet refrained me.  To make a short tale of it, he bade Bull sell me to him, which Bull utterly naysaid, standing stiff and stark before the Lord, and scowling on him.  But the Lord laughed in his face and said:  ’So be it, for I will take her without a price, and thank thee for sparing my gold.’  Then said Bull:  ’If thou take her as a thrall, thou wert best take me also; else shall I follow thee as a free man and slay thee when I may.  Many are the days of the year, and on some one of them will betide the occasion for the knife.’

“Thereat the Lord waxed very pale, and spake not, but looked at that man of his who stood by Bull with a great sword in his fist, and lifted up his hand twice, and let it fall twice, whereat that man stepped back one pace, and swung his sword, and smote Bull, and clave his skull.

“Then the colour came into the Lord’s face again, and he said:  ’Now, vassals, let us dine and be merry, for at least we have found something in the mountains.’  So they fell to and ate and drank, and victual was given to me also, but I had no will to eat, for my soul was sick and my heart was heavy, foreboding the uttermost evil.  Withal I was sorry for Bull Nosy, for he was no ill man and had become my friend.

“So they abode there that night, leaving Bull lying like a dog unburied in the wilderness; and on the morrow they took the road to Utterbol, and went swiftly, having no baggage, and staying but for victual, and for rest every night.  The Lord had me brought to him on that first evening of our journey, and he saw me privily and spake to me, bidding me do shameful things, and I would not; wherefore he threatened me grievously; and, I being alone with him, bade him beware lest I should slay him or myself.  Thereat he turned pale, as he had done before Bull Nosy, yet sent for none to slay me, but only bade me back to my keepers.  And so I came to Utterbol unscathed.”

“And at Utterbol,” said Ralph, “what befell thee there?” Ursula smiled on him, and held up her finger; yet she answered:  “Utterbol is a very great house in a fair land, and there are sundry roofs and many fair chambers.  There was I brought to a goodly chamber amidst a garden; and women servants were given me who led me to the bath and clad me in dainty raiment, and gave me to eat and to drink, and all that I needed.  That is all my tale for this time.”


They Come on the Sage of Swevenham

Project Gutenberg
The Well at the World's End: a tale from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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