Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book XIX Chapters 4 and 5
The second teamster is way into being alive! He begs for mercy so pitifully that Launcelot probably feels bad. Then he promises to take Launcelot into the castle, and to tell no one.
So Launcelot rides in the cart, right up to the castle, and then Malory remembers that Launcelot needs his horse to escape later on, and darn it, not only has Launcelot ditched his horse, but the horse got killed by the archers! What’s a man with a shaky grasp of narrative integrity to do?
Answer: And Sir Launcelot’s horse followed the cart, with more than forty arrows broad and rough in him. Because that makes sense.
We cut to up in a tower in the castle, where Guenever and all her ladies in waiting stand, patiently staring out the windows waiting for Launcelot to come rescue them.
“I see somebody!” says one of the ladies, pointing down to the cart below. “He can’t be Launcelot, though. Probably he’s in the cart because they’re taking him to be hanged.”
Guenever peers down at the cart and spots Launcelot, recognizing him by his distinctive shield. “Ha! I knew it! I knew he’d come for me! Oh, I’ll have to tease him about how he must have fallen on hard times and had to pawn his horse and ride in a lumber cart!” Then she turns sober. “Also, whoever it was that theorized he was going to be hung? You’re an idiot. This is Launcelot we’re talking about!”
Down in front of the castle, Launcelot climbs out of the cart and starts shouting for Sir Meliagrance to come out and face him. The castle’s gate-guard makes the mistake of trying to engage with Launcelot! Launcelot punches him in the throat so hard his head comes clean off!
“Crap,” says Meliagrance. “Crap crap crap.”
Thinking quickly, he dashes up to Guenever’s cell and there kneels before her. “Mercy, madam, now I put me wholly into your grace.“
“What? What’s the matter with you?” She’s naturally perplexed.
“I very humbly apologize, and I surrender, and as your prisoner I respectfully request you not let Launcelot murder me.”
Guenever groans. “Fine. Ye say well and better is peace than ever war. Let’s just get all this over with. Take me down from this cell into the nicer part of my new castle.”
Meliagrance leads Guenever down to the nice part of the castle, where Sir Launcelot fumes, waiting for Meliagrance to come out and get murdered. “Thou traitor knight come forth!” he bellows, all wroth out of measure.
Guenever comes out, instead of Meliagrance, and tells Launcelot to calm down, because it’s all been taken care of. “Quit bawling about your dead horse!”
Launcelot, understandably, is not immediately satisfied with this. “My hurt is but little for the killing of a mare’s son, but he did more than kill my horse! He abducted you!”
“And then he surrendered, so it’s all right now. Thank you so much for coming out, but you really can’t go any further with your murder-Meliagrance plan.”
Launcelot complains that he really wants to murder Meliagrance, and says that maybe he will anyway, and then Guenever reminds him that she’s his queen and she’s giving him a direct order, and does he really want to commit treason?
So Meliagrance gets pardoned. Guenever returns to Camelot (she gives Meliagrance his castle back because what’s she going to do with it?). Launcelot is ever after called “the Knight of the Cart” in memory of this particular misadventure.
The last thing that happens: as they’re leaving the castle, Sir Lavaine comes running up, all out of breath. “Launcelot! I got your message! I have found your horse that was slain with arrows! I’m sorry to have to be the one to tell you, boss, but someone killed your horse!”
Wah wah waaaah. The end! No moral.
Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book XIX Chapters 4 and 5 — No Comments
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