Primary Sources, Le Morte D’Arthur, Book VII Chapter III
A year later, the next Pentecost, Arthur is once again pacing around, waiting for the annual strange adventure. Finally a page comes in, tells him it’s cool, there’s a girl here with a strange adventure. Now this girl’s name is Linet, but Malory can’t be bothered to reveal that until Chapter XIII, so, consider yourself lucky that you’ve got me. Arthur comes out, meets her.
“I hear you’ve got a strange adventure,” Arthur says. “Spill.”
“Oh, sire,” she says. “I know a lady, whose castle is under siege by a great villain, and I have come here to Camelot or possibly Careleon, to beg you and your knights, renowned as the greatest in the world, to save her.”
“Hmm. All right. This lady, what’s her name?”
“It’s a secret to everybody,” says Linet.
“But I can tell you, she’s a lady of great renown! And rich! And she’s under attack by the Red Knight of the Red Lands!”
“Never heard of him,” says Arthur. “Anyone? Anyone know about this Red Knight?”
Sir Gawaine raises his hand. “I know him, Uncle. He’s as strong as seven men and nearly killed me. I was lucky to get away.”
“Fair enough. So, damosel,” Arthur says, turning back to Linet, “where is your mystery lady? I’ll send some knights after her.”
“That’s a secret also,” says Linet.
“I can’t tell you!”
“Okay, so, what you’re saying to me is, just so I understand, you came here hoping to recruit aid for a woman with a secret name who is under attack in a secret place.”
“That is correct, yes, sire.”
“I’m thinking no.”
“But I could escort a knight there…”
“Yeah, no. No.”
“I’m not taking no for an answer! I can’t!” cries Linet.
At this point in the conversation Beaumains/Prettyboy/Gareth decides to make his move. “Sire!” he cries.
“What? Oh, it’s Prettyboy.”
“Aye, sire. For a year I have been Prettyboy, serving in your kitchen, which was the first of my three humble demands. Now I make my other two requests for presents.”
“Now is not a great time, Prettyboy.”
“I ask only that you allow me to accompany this damosel on her extremely nebulously-defined strange adventure, and also that you lend me Sir Launcelot.”
Arthur laughs. “Let me get this straight. You want me to send you off with this girl, and also Launcelot?”
“He won’t be participating in my strange adventure,” explains Beaumains. “He’ll just knight me, when the time is right.”
“This is borderline stupid,” says Arthur. “I’m glad it’s not my strange adventure. Of course, I say that about every strange adventure. Fine, go. Have fun.”
“Wait, no, hold on!” Linet protests. “I didn’t come here to get King Arthur’s kitchen-boy! I came to get a knight! If I can’t get a knight, I’m leaving!” She storms off, straight out of Camelot.
“And so ends this year’s strange adventure,” says Arthur, as he watches her ride away. “Nice short one. I’m glad I came up with this system for offloading strange adventures onto other knights and condensing them down to one day a year.”
“Not so fast!” cries Peter the dwarf, who pops up from nowhere.
“Peter! Where have you been for the last year?” asks Gawaine.
“It’s not addressed! But, I have Prettyboy’s armor and golden cloak and horse, all his knight kit, here in this box!”
This causes a stir in the court; everyone is amazed by this unexpected turn of events. A golden cloak for the seven-foot-tall kitchen boy? It’s a strange adventure, all right.
Prettyboy puts on the armor and mounts up. He takes his leave of King Arthur and Sir Gawaine and Sir Launcelot (and reminds Launcelot to come along after him so as to knight him at the appropriate time). Then, boom, Prettyboy rides on after Linet.
Looks like Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal is into King Arthur too: http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=2814
I saw that! Or rather, someone emailed me the link.
I didn’t know until I embarked on this project that Arthur straight-up sent hundreds of infants to their deaths, so if I’d read that cartoon a year ago, I’d be confused, is all I’m saying.