The big knight sighed, and said: “Well, unless I am to kill him over again, there is nothing for it but our abiding with him for the next few hours at least. To-morrow is a new day, and fair is the woodland-hall of summer-tide; neither shall water fail us. But as to victual, I wot not save that we have none.”
The Lady laughed, and said to Ralph; “Who knoweth what thou mayst find if thou go to the black horse and look into the saddle-bags which I saw upon him awhile agone? For indeed we need somewhat, if it were but to keep the life in the body of this wounded man.”
Ralph sprang up and turned to the horse, and found the saddle-bags on him, and took from them bread and flesh, and a flask of good wine, and brought them to the Lady, who laughed and said: “Thou art a good seeker and no ill finder.” Then she gave the wounded man to drink of the wine, so that he stirred somewhat, and the colour came into his face a little. Then she bade gather store of bracken for a bed for the Black Knight, and Ralph bestirred himself therein, but the Knight of the Sun sat looking at the Lady as she busied herself with his friend, and gloom seemed gathering on him again.
But when the bracken was enough, the Lady made a bed deftly and speedily; and between the three they laid the wounded man thereon, who seemed coming to himself somewhat, and spake a few words, but those nothing to the point. Then the Lady took her gay embroidered cloak, which lay at the foot of the oak tree, and cast it over him and, as Ralph deemed, eyed him lovingly, and belike the Knight of the Sun thought in likewise, for he scowled upon her; and for awhile but little was the joyance by the ancient oak, unless it were with the Lady.
Supper and Slumber in the Woodland Hall
But when all was done to make the wounded knight as easy as might be, the Lady turned to the other twain, and said kindly: “Now, lords, it were good to get to table, since here is wherewithal.” And she looked on them both full kindly as she spake the words, but nowise wantonly; even as the lady of a fair house might do by honoured guests. So the hearts of both were cheered, and nothing loth they sat down by her on the grass and fell to meat. Yet was the Knight of the Sun a little moody for a while, but when he had eaten and drunken somewhat, he said: “It were well if someone might come hereby, some hermit or holy man, to whom we might give the care of Walter: then might we home to Sunway, and send folk with a litter to fetch him home softly when the due time were.”
“Yea,” said the Lady, “that might happen forsooth, and perchance it will; and if it were before nightfall it were better.”