Le Morte Darthur Book 3
King Arthur (KA) wants to get married and asks Merlin for advice. He wants to marry Gwenever, the daughter of Londgrean, King of Cumberland. Merlin respondes that this is a bad idea, because she is / will fall in love with Sir Launcelot. KA however sticks to his choice and asks Merlin to get her for him. Londgrean is so pleased to hear that KA wants to marry his daughter that he offers KA the Table Round - that Utherpendragon gave him - including 100 knights.
When Merlin returnes with Gwenever and the 100 knights, KA wants him to search for another 50 knights to fill up the Table Round. [funny, I always thought that only 12 knights belong to the table round rather then 150] He finds 20 + 13 knights, before the archebishop of Caunterbury gives him another 8 + 20. [ to me that makes 51... ] The names of the knights are engraved in the seats of the Tableround, but 2 of them remain blank. Gawayn comes to KA and asks him to make him a knight at his marriage. Since Gawayn his KA's nephew it will be done.
- [As I read it, the 28 blessed by the archbishop are the same 28 Merlion found: "Thenne the Bisshop of Caunterbury was sette and he belssed the syeges with grete Roylte[...]"; interestngly Maerteu reads "xx & xiii" (33?!?) and "viii and xx" whle Norton reads ""twenty and eyght" and "the eyght and twenty". N.B. that this text uses WM as base source. --Nico Zorn 20:40, 15 November 2007 (CET)]
- needs to be checked - my own edition must offer Caxton's text on EEBO (and a footnote if Caxton made a mistake)
A poor man comes to KA, beging him to makes his son a knight. Merlin tells him that this son "Tor" is not the poor mans son but the son of Sire Pellinore. KA of course makes him knight and promises him a seat in the Tableround.
Pellinore is happy to hear that his son is part of the Tableround. KA asks Merlin why the 2 seats of the Tableround are blank, but Merlin just answers they should be left empty. But in the "peryllous seat" [(c) in Arthurian lore: sege ~, the seat at the Round Table reserved for the knight who should achieve the quest of the Grail ] Pellinore should be seated. Gawayn envys Pellinore for this and plans to kill him once Gawayns brother Gaherys is made knight.
The marriage is running when something strange (of course before anounced by Merlin) happens: [now it gets funny] into the Tableround runns a white 'herte' (deer?) next to a white brachet (female hound). They are chased by a couple of black hounds. The brachet bites (?) the 'herte' so it jumpes right into a knight, who gets up and takes off with the brachet [hehe]. A lady showes up, claiming that this brachet was hers, but all of a sudden another knight on a horse appeares and takes the lady with him by force. KA is amused, but Merlin tell him that the herte [what happened to it?), the brachet and the lady have to be brought back. These quests have to be accomplished by Gawayn (white herte), Tor (brachet + knight) and Pellinore (lady + knight).
Gawayne (G) followes the white herte together with his brother Gaherys. They meet 2 knights (brothers) that are fighting against each other. The winner wants to follow the herte and receive great glory by KA. G tells them to stop and sends them off to KA. The herte crosses a river where another knight is waiting and who without further ado is slayn by G. [almost like some videogame....]
G chaces the hert into a castle with the help of 3 greyhounds, that kill the herte. A knight slays 2 greyhounds because this herte was his, given to him by his wife. G challanges and defeates the knight. The knight is laying on the ground an begs for mercy but G wanst to kill him anyway. Then all of a sudden the knights wife throws herself over her husband, right when G hits the final stroke. So by accident he kills the wife of the knight. G leaves the knight his life and sends him to KA to tell him what happened.
4 knights come to the castle and fight G and his brother because they have heard of the evil deeds of G. Just befor G and his brother are slayn 4 women appear and stop the fight. The two are held prisoners untill it is known that G is the nephew of KA. G is send back to Camelot with the slayn herte and the dead wife. G admitts his deeds to KA and is punished. [how, I don't really understand]
Tor (T), on the quest for the brachet, is chalanged by 2 knights. Their dwarf asks him to do him service thoughout his quest.
He finds the brachet, held by some ladys that want to keep it. he takes it however, and rests in a hermitage. next morning the knight that stole the brachet fights T and looses.
A lady begs T to kill him, because he has slayn her brother and many other good knights. T kills him, takes his head(?!), and rides back to camelot.
When Pelinore (P) comes to a well a lady, holding a dying knight in his hends, begs to help him. But he is so occupied by his quest that he doesn't help her. As the knight dies she kills herself with his sword. He comes to a place where the lady he´s looking for is kept by the servicemen of a knight, whos the cousin of the lady - Nimve (N) - and fighting against the knight that stole N. T fights the 'bad' knight and winns.
The cousin offers him to rest at his place and the next morning P departes towards camelot with N. N injures her arm, why they have to delay their trip.
They meet 2 knights that tell P that Arthur should be poisened. When they pass the well, the 2 corpses are being eaten by lions and P is very sad. N tells him to bury the knight in a hermitage and take the head of the lady to Camelot.
Merlin tells P that the dead lady was his daughter and the knight her lover. As all 3 quests now are over all 3 knight have to swear various oaths.