Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book IV Chapter XX
So Gawaine and Trixie are lurking around this roadside shrine, and there’s this unhappy knight who was way too happy to meet Gawaine, and Gawaine’s kind of sidled backwards away from that dude. So then: craziness! Ten guys come out of nowhere to attack the unhappy knight! The unhappy knight wields a magic spear! Thunk, down go these ten knights, one right after the other! But they’re merely stunned! They’re coming at him again, all at once this time!
Gawaine and Trixie are just watching, maybe eating some popcorn.
The knight with the magic spear is too depressed to fight back! They pull him down from his horse and they tie him up like a pig! They’re carrying him off! Oh, the humanity!
“Man, there’s something you don’t see every day, huh?” Gawaine says to Trixie.
“Good sir knight,” Trixie says, “maybe your strange adventure compels you to assist that unhappy knight.”
“Mmm, I don’t think so.”
“I don’t think I’ll rescue him. You saw how he quit fighting back. I think he wanted to get tied up like that, and who am I to interfere?”
“Are you sure you’re with the Round Table?”
“What’s your point?”
“I’m not calling you a coward, but I’m not not calling you a coward. In fact I’d say I’m thinking it pretty loudly.”
While Gawaine and Trixie bicker, along come more players upon the scene: a knight and… Peter! It’s Peter the dwarf, everybody! Big hand for Peter! Neither Peter nor his knight friend are wearing helmets, though they’re both otherwise fully armed and armored. Peter and his friend are actually completely unrelated to the sad guy with the magic spear and his ten enemies. Instead they’ve shown up to fight a duel over some girl. That is, Peter loves the girl, this other knight loves the girl, and so they all three came out to the old shrine to settle it all with a fight.
However, neither Peter nor his friend are actually eager to fight, so when they see Gawaine standing around they decide to put off jousting and instead put the question to him: who gets the girl?
“Uh…” Gawaine considers. “Which do you prefer?” he asks her.
“Oh!” The girl hadn’t thought about it. “Peter, I guess. Yeah, Peter.”
“So what we do is, we stand you in the middle of the field, and we put Peter and the other guy at opposite ends of the field, and they both call you, and whichever one you like more, that’ll be the one you go to,” says Gawaine.
“That’s how it works for dogs,” Trixie observes. “This girl can speak for herself, though.”
But Gawaine insists, so they go through the motions of setting up the competition, and the girl chooses Peter, and they run off to live happily ever after, and the other knight is like, man, shucks, and goes off kicking at the dust and cursing.
“Well, that was a pointless interlude,” says Trixie.
And then two more knights show up! These guys are armed and armored and they ride right up on Gawaine and Trixie, and demand to joust Gawaine and they don’t take no for an answer! Gawaine at least manages to joust them one at a time, so while he’s fighting the first knight the second one sidles up to Trixie.
“Hey, hot teen girl,” he says. “How about you ditch this guy, Sir Gawaine of the Round Table, yeah, I know who he is and I’m not impressed. How about you ditch him and come be my lady?”
“Hmm, okay,” says Trixie. “Gawaine’s a lousy knight anyway, he refused to rescue that guy who was outnumbered ten to one.”
So Trixie runs off with the second knight, and the first knight and Gawaine do battle for a good long while, and afterwards the knight is like, hey, Gawaine, you’re all right, come back to my place for dinner.
After dinner, Gawaine hasn’t noticed that Trixie ran off, I guess, and he asks the knight about the sad one with the magic spear.
“Ah, you mean Sir Pellas,” says his host, whose name is Sir Carados. “Very good knight. Loves a lady named Ettard.”
“He’s a great knight, the best, he could easily beat ten men if he weren’t so depressed.”
“Now we had a joust out here not too long ago, a big three-day joust? Winner got a circlet of gold and a high-end sword, and of course Pellas won, best of five hundred.”
“So he gets the circlet, and he gives it to Ettard! And he declares she’s the best, he’ll fight anyone who say otherwise.”
“That’s a great story,” says Gawaine. “But we need to get going…”
“I’ve got more story! Stay a while, and listen!”
Vocabulary word of the chapter: “to aventre,” meaning to thrust towards a venture, as with a metaphorical spear.
Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book IV Chapter XX — No Comments
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