ST. DAVID OF WALES
THE ENCHANTED GARDEN
T. DAVID took a road which, when he had crossed the
sea, led him farther afield than the other champions;
for he wandered, after many adventures, as far as
Tartary, where he found in the capital city signs of
great rejoicing, and all the people seemed to be
hastening in one direction.
"Why does the city make holiday?" he asked a
"From what distant part of Asia do you come," answered
the man scornfully, that you do not know this is the
birthday of our Emperor? A great tournament is to be
held in honour of it. Thither are all the folk going,
and knights from all the world have come to it. But I
know who will be the best of them all, for I saw him
riding out and practising tilting yesterday, and that
is the Emperor's own son, the Count Palentine. Beware
of him, Sir Knight, if you are one of
 those who will risk their lives in the tourney. He
is a man of might and prowess."
"It may be that I shall test him," said St. David. "Tell
me, my friend, when is the tournament to begin?"
"This very day,"said the man. "They are even now
choosing those who shall take part in the last mellay,
when those whom the King picks out shall do battle
against the Count Palentine and his friends. The
tourney ground lies yonder."
St. David asked no more questions, but hastened to the
lists, and entered himself to take part in the contests
which were about to begin. Such was his prowess that he
overthrew all comers in that day's encounter, and was
chosen to lead the King's party in the great mellay on
the morrow, when the Count Palentine would himself do
In due time the hour of the mellay arrived, and St.
David led out his band of knights, and they fell to
fighting. It was agreed that if a man were unhorsed or
disarmed or at the mercy of an opponent, he should
retire from the contest; the battles were not to be
pressed to the bitter end of death, for there was no
reason to lose so many gallant knights.
Count Palentine singled out St. David for his own foe
especially, and they charged one
 another with a
shock that seemed to shake the very earth. Fair true
their lances struck. St. David reeled in his saddle and
almost fell, but the Count sat as firm as a rock. They
separated and drew apart, and charged again. This time
the Emperor's son received St. David's lance full on
his helmet. He swayed in his saddle, dropped his lance,
and fell from his horse.
St. David sprang to earth to renew the combat on foot,
drawing his sword; but Count Palentine lay where he had
fallen, still and motionless. St. David ran to him, and
knelt at his side as some squires ran up and loosened
his armour, and opened the vizor of his helmet. The
Count was dead; St. David had killed the Emperor's son.
A silence fell upon the onlookers, for the Count was
greatly beloved. St. David went across the lists to the
Emperor's pavilion, and made obeisance sadly. "Sire,"
he said gravely, "I have slain your son. It was in fair
combat, according to the laws of chivalry.
Nevertheless, I place my life in your hands; do with me
as you will. I pray that you will take my sword in
token of my submission."
He offered his sword to the Emperor, hilt foremost. But
the Emperor refused it, saying: "Keep your sword, Sir
Knight; your word is
 enough. I know that my son is
dead in fair fight. Nevertheless, he was so beloved of
my people that I must needs punish you in some way; how
that shall be I will devise hereafter. I will exact
some service from you. Abide at my court until my son
The other knights were still fighting in the mellay.
But now the marshal of the lists threw down his staff,
and they ceased at that sign. It was proclaimed that
the tournament was stopped because Count Palentine was
slain, and all men went sorrowfully to their homes.
A few days later the funeral of the Count was
celebrated with great pomp, amid the lamentations of
the whole people, and then the Emperor sent for St.
David and gave him audience.
"I would desire to make amends, Sire," said St.
David, "for this deed that I did, though I did it
without design. It was an accident; nevertheless, I owe
"I would not ask you to make amends, good Sir Knight,"
answered the Emperor, "if it were not that my people
are enraged against you out of their love for my son,
and they will surely kill you if it is not known that
you are offering redress. I will ask of you, as a sign
to them of your sorrow, not as
 a punishment, for
that you do not deserve, that you shall perform a great
service for me. It is no light task that I shall lay
upon you. Will you do as I ask you?"
"I will do whatever you ask, Sire," answered St. David,
"save only that I will do nothing that is against my
"That is the answer I looked for from so gallant a
knight," said the Emperor. "Now, the task I charge you
with is this: My kingdom has in past years and is
to-day mightily oppressed by a certain notorious
wizard, the foul enchanter Ormandine. This magician is
the foe of all chivalry and honour, and many a wrong
has he done by his arts to me and to my subjects. His
home lies on the borders of my kingdom, very far to the
west of this city; he dwells in an enchanted garden,
weaving his spells and pondering his evil designs. I
charge you to go thither and seek him out, and cut off
"That is a task I will gladly do, Sire," said St. David,
"if it be within my power. It is the aim of all
Christian knights to slay magicians and evil-doers
wherever they may be found. I have heard of the might
and wickedness of this Ormandine; the world would be
well rid of him. I thank you, Sire, for laying on me
such an honourable quest."
 "It is honourable, Sir David," answered the
Emperor, "but it is difficult as well. Many have
journeyed to Ormandine's enchanted garden, but none
have returned. I would not have asked such a thing of
you if I had not known how eagerly Christian knights
war against enchanters and such other evil beings. If
you return in safety, bringing me Ormandine's head, not
only will I forgive you the death of my son, but I will
make you heir to my kingdom in his place, so hard do I
deem the task. Now make your preparations and go
speedily, and I pray that you will fare well."
So St. David set forth upon this great quest in high
hopes, and little doubting that a Christian knight
would easily overcome a magician.
It was many days before he came to the western border
of Tartary, and knew that he was near the enchanted
garden of Ormandine. No man dwelt within many miles of
that place of evil; the very air round it seemed full
of ghostly powers that dulled the senses of travellers.
The garden, when St. David at length found himself
approaching it, proved to be surrounded by a thick,
high hedge of thorns and briars, which seemed to flame
like fire, and
 whose sharp spines burnt and stung
if they pierced the flesh. But St. David, in his
shining armour, did not heed them. He saw at first no
way through the thorns, and began to hew a path through
them with his sword; but as fast as he cut them down
others grew in their place, and the hedge remained as
thick as ever. Then he sought once more for a gate, and
presently found one, deep in the hedge. He had to cut
away the thorns once more to reach it, but here they
did not grow again when he cut them, and soon he was
standing close to the gate. He saw now that it was of
pure beaten gold, set with rubies and diamonds. On
either side it was fitted into a wall of rock that
stretched away in the midst of the thorn hedge for a
St. David beat at the gate with his sword, and waited,
but no answer came. He tried to force it open, but in
vain. He looked about him for some means of opening it
or speaking to those within the garden, and then he
saw, in the rock hard by, the handle of a sword
standing out as though the rest of it were buried in
the rock. He looked at it more closely, and perceived
that there were letters cut on the hilt in silver. They
formed this rhyme:
"By magic art I'm firmly bound
Until a valiant knight be found
To break my spell and set me free.
Victorious knight, behold and see!"
When he read these words St. David thought that he was
the knight destined to free the sword, and he seized
the hilt and pulled it with all his might. But no
sooner had he clutched it than a shock ran all through
him, and he fell backwards to the ground, and lay in a
deep trance. The sword was enchanted, and none but the
destined knight could seize it unhurt.
The wizard Ormandine knew by his arts whenever the
sword was touched. He sent four evil spirits to the
gate to bring before him whoever might be lying there.
They found St. David, and carried him to Ormandine, who
looked narrowly upon him, and saw that he was a
Christian knight. He knew that he must one day meet his
death at the hands of a Christian knight, and therefore
he rejoiced that St. David had fallen into his power.
He set upon him a yet stronger spell, and bade his
servants bind him and leave him in a cave in the magic
garden, where lay many other unhappy prisoners.
THE ESCAPE OF ST. GEORGE
No less a person than St. George himself was to deliver
St. David from Ormandine's spell and overcome the
enchanter. When he was cast back into his dungeon after
killing the lions the English champion fell into deep
despair. The wild frenzy that had given him strength
had died away, and he was weak and weary. In that dark
and noisome cell no thoughts of hope could come to a
prisoner. Never did he see so much as a ray of
daylight; even when his gaolers thrust his food daily
through the shutter in the wall there was but a
greyness in the opening, not the bright glow of
sunlight. Loathsome reptiles splashed in the pools on
the floor of the dungeon, rats squeaked and scuffled,
and when he slept ran over him and gnawed at his
raiment. He had no refuge but his own thoughts, and
they were not cheering; he remembered Sabra, and he
recalled that great fight with the dragon in the
blazing sun. Ah, how far off the sun seemed now! He
thought of his dear companions, and how he had
delivered them from Kalyb; and the memory of England
drove him almost to madness, so that he rushed
 against the damp, cold walls of the cell, and beat
upon them with his fetters.
But this mood of rage and hopelessness did not endure
for ever. After a long time he began to grow accustomed
to the darkness. He would think of the hour when they
brought him food as if it were sunrise, and it pleased
him to make in his mind, as it were, a map of his
dungeon. Day by day he crept about it, pacing distances
and feeling the hard walls, until he knew all the shape
and parts of it. It was a great underground cave, it
seemed, rather than a prison cell. The form of it was
irregular, with uneven lines and patches in the walls,
which were hewn out of the solid rock. He knew before
long exactly where the barred-up door lay, and where
the shutter was through which his food came, and in
which direction lay the horrible pools of water.
Presently he had gained such a knowledge of the cave
that he could by the mere feel of the ground under his
feet tell to which part of the wall he was turning.
But it was not till he had been there many weary months
that he came upon the crowbar. How such a thing had
been left in the dungeon he did not know. Perhaps they
had needed it to prize off the fetters of some
miserable captive in former days; perhaps, even,
 craftsmen who hollowed out the cave had
forgotten to take it away. Be that as it may, St.
George found it one day (if day it was—day and night
were alike to him) as he paced the dungeon in his weary
explorations. It was in a corner that he seldom
visited, where the roof sloped down to the wall, so
that it was not possible to stand quite upright, and he
came upon it by stumbling over it where it lay in a
pool of water.
No sooner had he got possession of this weapon than he
began to plan his escape from the dungeon. He found the
bar still strong in spite of rust, and after he had
examined the door of his cell as carefully as he could
in the darkness, he determined to break out that way.
But he must first be sure that he did so at an hour of
the day or night when the watch upon him could be least
He had no knowledge of the hours or of how many days
had passed since he slew the lions. He had not counted
the times when food was given him, nor did he know
whether the shutter was opened once a day or more
When next he heard the shutter being opened he sprang
across to it, and spoke to the guard outside. "Tell
me, good gaoler, what day this is, and what hour in the
"I must not speak with you," answered
 the man; and
St. George heard another man laugh, so that he knew at
least two men were stationed there.
"Have pity!" cried St. George miserably. "I cannot tell
day from night in this accursed place."
"I must not answer," replied the man. But he was
merciful, and he thought of a device for answering
without disobeying his orders. "This Christian dog," he
said to his comrade, "does not know whether it is night
or day. He would not forget these things if he were
like us, with a great feast to come to-night in honour
of the Soldan's birthday. It is thirty years since the
Soldan came to the throne, and never has there been
such a festival as we shall have this night at eight of
the clock. It wants but three hours of the time now. We
shall not forget it. Ho! ho! A dungeon is the place for
a man's memory!"
St. George dared not thank him, for fear that he might
arouse suspicion. But immediately the shutter was
closed he set himself to count beneath his breath, so
that he might gauge the flight of time as nearly as
possible. He kept his food untouched, hungry though he
was; he meant to eat it a little before he started on
his enterprise, so that he should have his full
 Sitting there in the darkness St. George counted
steadily second after second, straining his mind to
check the minutes as they succeeded one another.
Seconds became minutes, minutes became hours. Three
hours went by; the feast must be beginning. He counted
on; now it must be ten o'clock, now eleven, now
midnight. He had counted for seven hours. Yet he
continued for two more.
When he felt sure that it was past two o'clock in the
morning he stopped. He felt his clothes all over to see
that there was nothing loose or untied that might delay
him unexpectedly. He ate his food slowly. Then he took
up his crowbar and began his enterprise.
The crowbar was a stout one, or it would not have done
its work. The door of the cell was thick and heavy. Yet
he contrived to get the point of the bar into a crack
at the opening, and slowly, slowly pressed upon it till
the latch was free. It swung open inwards with a click;
beyond were iron bars across and across, but there was
space for his body to squeeze between them.
Now was the moment of danger. Would there be guards
outside? Would they have heard the faint grinding of
the crowbar and the click as the door opened? He waited
 several minutes; he heard deep, regular
breathing. Were they really asleep, or only feigning in
order to entrap him? He must take his chance.
There was a dim light outside as though from a small
lantern. He could see that a passage ran both ways. He
forced himself noiselessly through the bars, and
stepped into the passage, crowbar in hand.
On the left side the passage ended a few feet away in
the solid rock; on the right it ran for some distance,
farther than he could see by the light of the lantern
which hung on the wall just outside his cell door.
Across the passage lay two guards motionless. They were
fast asleep. They had had no share in the revelry, but
a comrade had seen to it that food and wine in plenty
were conveyed to them at their post, and now they were
heavy with sleep.
St. George stepped lightly over them, and crept swiftly
along the passage. He did not know whither it would
lead him, except that it was away from his dungeon.
After a little while the passage turned to the right,
and then to the left. And now there were doors on
either side at intervals—heavy iron doors, as though
other dungeons lay behind them. He did not seek to open
 At last the passage itself ended in a door. St.
George lifted the latch silently, and pulled gently; it
did not open. A feeling of despair came over him. He
tried it again and again; it would not open. Suddenly
he laughed silently, and pressed against the door
instead of pulling at it. It opened at once—the other
He went through and shut it quietly. The passage ran a
few yards, and ended in steps; it was lit up faintly by
a lantern. He walked on stealthily and up the steps; at
the top was another door, which he opened easily. He
was in a long, large room with great windows, through
which moonlight entered. It was the chief hall of the
palace. All about it lay men-at-arms asleep on the
rushes, the greater part of them overcome by wine as
much as by weariness.
St. George picked his way among them down to the far
end of the hall; the little door by which he had
entered was at the side of the dais. He went into the
darkness under the minstrels' gallery; he began to
remember the way from the time when he came there as
the King of Egypt's envoy. He turned to the left; there
should be a great door there, he recollected.
Everything was in his favour. The guards
 in their
feasting had forgotten to bolt and bar this door. It
swung heavily upon its well-oiled hinges. St. George
went through and shut it noiselessly. He was in a broad
passage which led on the one hand to the stables, on
the other to the Soldan's apartments. No one was in
sight. He turned towards the stables, and strode
quickly along the passage.
His footsteps, light though they were, seemed to echo
in the silence. He turned a corner, and almost ran into
a man coming from the opposite direction carrying a
lantern. He knew then why there was an echo; it was no
echo, but the sound of this man. Quick as thought he
swung up his crowbar, and brought it down upon the
man's head. He fell stunned and silent; there was a
jingle of keys as he fell.
St. George stooped over him, picked up the lantern, and
looked narrowly at him. He did not know the man's face,
but by his garb he was one in office. In truth he was
the chief warder of the palace, who was going round the
guards unexpectedly. At his belt was a bunch of keys.
St. George took the keys, bound the warder with his own
girdle, thrust a handkerchief into his mouth, and tied
round it a strip of linen torn from the man's robe. Now
 came to his senses the warder would make no
The champion hastened on his way. The keys opened doors
and gates and bars for him. Everywhere he found guards
asleep, for the warder had but just started on his
rounds when St. George met him, and had not yet roused
the sleeping men. He came before long to the stables.
He wished to find his good steed Bucephalus.
The horses in the stables paid little heed to him; he
understood them, and they were not afraid. He left the
stable-door open before he searched. At last he found
Bucephalus; the good beast knew him at once, and turned
round and nuzzled against him with his nose. Above the
manger, to the champion's joy, hung his sword Ascalon,
and a great part of his armour, which the Persians had
taken from him when they cast him into the dungeon.
He put on the armour hastily, and tore some strips from
his clothing, and bound them round the hoofs of
Bucephalus. With his sword drawn in his hand he led the
horse silently out, and locked the stable-door, as he
had locked all other doors after he obtained the keys.
He was in the courtyard of the palace with no more
barriers between him and the city.
 There was a well in the courtyard; he dropped the
bunch of keys down it. Then he mounted Bucephalus and
rode out. Already he began to feel sure of escape.
But when he was in the city streets, as he soon was, he
was not yet free. He rode along them some little
distance before he could think of a plan to get through
the city gates. Suddenly he thought of one which might
succeed by its very daring. He dismounted and took the
rags from the horse's hoofs, mounted again, and set
Bucephalus to a gallop. Straight to the main gates he
thundered, and beat upon them with his
sword. "Gate! Gate! Ho, within!" he cried.
A sleepy watchman came out from the gatehouse in a few
minutes very angry at being disturbed, for, like the
men in the palace, he had been up late feasting that
"Wake, man!" roared St. George in anger. Open the gates!
The Christian knight, St. George, has escaped, and has
come this way. He has broken out of his dungeon by some
means. Let me go! I am hard upon his heels!"
The man was too dazed to wonder or to ask questions. He
fumbled at the gates, muttering angrily against the
Christian prisoner escaping at such a time, and at last
opened them. In a moment St George was
 outside. He
was tempted to fly without another word. But he
stopped, and spoke to the watchman first, with an air
"Other guards will be here in a moment. They were all
as sleepy as you. I seem to be the only man to do his
duty this night. When they come tell them to separate
and spread out; let some go by the other gates, for we
do not know whither this Christian dog went after he
left the city. He climbed the wall a little way hence
by the aid of a tree. And for yourself, look that if he
comes this way again he does not do you a mischief. Our
whole land is in peril while he is free."
The man saluted drowsily. St. George turned, and was
off like the wind. He was free.
THE TWO RESCUES
St. George rode swiftly across the desert, not sparing
Bucephalus; delay meant death. As soon as it was day,
and the Persians woke from their deep sleep—sooner,
perhaps, if one of them chanced to be wakeful and to
see anything suspicious—they would discover that he was
gone. But he had, it was likely, two or three hours'
 Day dawned before long, and with every stride of
the good horse he rode into safety. No one pursued; he
met no one. And so at last he came to the frontiers of
Persia, and passed them, and was indeed free.
He was not sure whither he should go. He desired to
return to the King of Egypt, and claim the Princess
Sabra for wife; but he was uncertain exactly in which
direction Egypt might lie, except that it must be
somewhere in the west. All day he rode, following the
sun as nearly as he could. As night drew on he found
himself near a castle standing upon a hill, and he
became aware that he was very hungry. He resolved to go
to the castle, and ask hospitality for the night.
It seemed to be a huge place. All the doors were of a
great height; the walls towered as if they were
climbing to the sky, and the windows in them were large
beyond wont. Everything about it was vast; the very
horn at the gate for strangers to sound to ask
admittance was so heavy and hung so high on the
gate-post that St. George could hardly make use of it.
But he reached it by an effort, and by blowing as if he
would crack his lungs sounded a faint blast upon it.
A warder presently came and unbarred the gates. "Who
are you and what is your
 errand?" he asked through a spyhole in the solid
oak of the gates before he opened them. This hole
seemed to be set higher up than was customary.
"I am a knight-errant, and I would pay my respects to
the lord of this castle, and seek a little refreshment
and hospitality from him."
He thought he heard the man laugh, but he could not be
sure. The gates were opened, and he rode in. The warder
was a huge man, nearer seven than six feet in height.
"You may enter," he said gruffly. Yet he seemed to be
smiling secretly in his heart. "My master has always
room for such as you."
He blew a whistle, and attendants came; they were all
taller than common men. They took Bucephalus and led
him to a stable. Others showed St. George a chamber
where he might set his raiment in order. When he was
ready they took him to a richly decked room in which
sat a beautiful lady of more than human stature. She
towered above his head as she rose to greet him.
"What do you seek, Sir Knight?" she asked. She looked
upon St. George favourably, and it seemed to him that
there was fear and pity in her eyes also.
"I crave refreshment and a place to rest
 for the
night," answered St. George courteously. "I have come a
long journey, and I ask the hospitality of one knight
"Our hospitality is strange and cold," she answered. "You
will do well not to seek it."
St. George was surprised. "I am very weary, and I have
not broken my fast all this day," he said. "I do but ask
what chivalry enjoins a knight to give."
"If it were I alone to answer you," said the lady, "I
would receive you with all due courtesy, for I see that
you are a noble knight, and that you are indeed weary,
as you say. But it is for your own sake that I bid you
leave this castle, and hasten on your journey yet
farther before you dare seek rest."
"What mean you, lady?" asked St. George. "You speak in
riddles. Who is the lord of this mighty castle?"
"My husband is its lord, and it is against his will
that I warn you. I would not have so gallant a knight
come to so sorry a death as you must meet if you abide
"I do not understand you, fair lady. Who is your lord?
Why should I fear death?"
"I will tell you. My husband is a giant and an eater of
men. This day he has gone a-hunting, but in a little
while he will return, and he will slay you and
afterwards eat you."
 "I do not fear a giant," said St. George. He saw
now what the warden of the gate had meant by his
strange greeting. "I will not stir from here till I have
had food and drink. If I must die, better to die
fighting than of starvation. But your giant will not
"Alas, he will!" said the giantess. "I am weary of his
cruelties, but I cannot prevent them. Go, Sir Knight, I
"No," answered St. George, "that may not be. A knight
may not refuse to encounter one who is the enemy of the
human race. If you so pity me, give me meat, that I may
have all my strength for this combat that I must
The lady tried no more to dissuade him, but bade her
servants bring him meat and drink, and he feasted right
well, so that his strength came back to him and his
weariness fell from him.
Hardly had he finished his meal when he heard a great
voice shouting rough commands. The giant had returned.
In a few moments he entered the room.
"Hola! A Christian knight, they tell me!" he shouted.
He was a creature as tall as two tall men, very fat and
unwieldy, but nevertheless active and strong. His hair
 and he had a long red beard. You are
welcome, fair sir. I have had poor hunting to-day, and
you will reward me for my vain chase. It is not often a
man sets a snare and catches nothing, and comes home
and finds the game all ready for him in the pot. Come
hither, and I will cut your head off very gently; you
will not know it is off, so gentle will I be."
St. George looked at him with contempt. "You are not
worthy of this castle, fellow," he said. "None but a
boor would offer such insults to a knight who claims
"Knight!" said the giant with a brutal laugh. "I care
nothing for knighthood. I enjoy myself, and have my own
way. But no more words. You must die, and it may as
well be done quietly. Come, I will not hurt you. Here
is my little knife; see how sharp it is."
And he pulled a long red hair out of his beard, and
threw it into the air. While it was still in the air he
snatched a huge curved scimitar, with broad blade, from
where it hung on the wall, and with two quick sweeps
cut the hair in half, and then each half in two again.
"I have a sword as sharp as that,and I can cut as
quickly; but I will cut something
 more than a
hair," said St. George, rising and drawing his good
"What!" roared the giant. "You will fight me, you
wretched little creature? Well, have your own way. A
little sword-play will give me an appetite for you."
He rushed at St. George, and so swift was he, despite
his bulk, that St. George was forced to spring aside,
and put the table between them. He could not hope to
live if that great scimitar touched him. His plan was
to wear the giant out by movement, and seize any chance
to get in a blow himself.
He had not long to wait for his chance. The giant made
a furious stroke at him, and missed; the scimitar
struck instead a stout oaken chair, and for a moment
clove to the hard wood. He tugged at it, leaving
himself unguarded. In a flash St. George wounded him
deeply in the thigh, and then, as he tottered and fell,
used Ascalon so well that he cut off the huge head from
the shoulders in two blows.
The giantess had fled in terror from the sight of their
conflict. But St. George sought her out, and told her
the issue of it. If she were displeased, he said, he
would go away from the castle at once; but if he had
rid her of a cruel monster, he begged leave to rest
there that night.
 "You have saved me from great suffering, fair
knight," she answered graciously. "This man whom you
have slain used me very ill; I am well rid of him.
Remain here this night, or as long as you please; nay,
so grateful am I, and so comely do I find you, that I
will take you for my husband, if you will, and you
shall have all the wealth of this castle, which is
great, for the dungeons are full of treasures that the
giant took from his unhappy prisoners."
"I may not have you for wife," replied St. George
courteously. "I am betrothed to a Princess, and I am on
my way to her now. I will rest here this night, and I
pray that in the morning you will set me upon the road
to Egypt, for there I shall find my peerless Sabra."
"Alas, poor knight!" said the lady of the castle, "is
it the Princess Sabra of Egypt to whom you are
betrothed? You will not find her in Egypt. Almidor the
Moor has carried her off by violence to Morocco, and
there he holds her prisoner till she will marry him.
All the world has heard of this."
St. George gave a great cry, and such was his wrath and
despair that he could scarcely be persuaded not to
start then and there for Morocco, to rescue Sabra and
treach-  erous Prince. But the giantess
told him that he must rest and regain his strength, for
he was very weary with that day's adventures.
So he remained in the giant's castle that night, and
awoke the next morning full of strength and eager for
The giantess told him which way he must travel to reach
Morocco, and before he went she bestowed upon him not
only new armour and a store of food for his journey,
but a great treasure of precious stones as well. Then
she bade him God-speed, and he set out.
Now, the way to Morocco lay directly past the enchanted
garden of Ormandine, and in due time St. George came to
the burning hedge, and saw the gateway of gold, where
St. David had cut the thorns away from it. He perceived
likewise the sword, and since he was never backward in
the hope of adventure, he caught the hilt and pulled
it. It came out of the rock as easily as out of a
scabbard. There was a great clap of thunder, and the
earth trembled and rocked. In a second the hedge and
the golden gate in the garden vanished, with a sound of
groaning and shrieking, and immediately there appeared
on all sides the victims of Ormandine's magic, the
power of which had been broken for ever by St. George
when he seized the enchanted
 sword. Among them was
St. David, who rejoiced exceedingly to see his comrade.
But before they could tell one another half the tale of
their adventures, Ormandine himself appeared, clad in
robes of mourning, and with an air of sorrow and
"Great champion of England, mirror of true knighthood,"
he said in a solemn voice, "this day I foresaw long ago
by my magic arts, though I knew not when it should come
to pass. I learnt that he who slew the dragon of Egypt
was the fated knight who should be able to draw out the
enchanted sword from its rocky sheath, and so break all
my power. By no means, human or magical, could I
prevent it, and now it is fated also that I must die.
But first I must tell you that I was not always a
magician, that you may know that even in vile and evil
things there may be hidden some good. I was once a
knight even as you are. But on a day of ill-fortune I
lost all my possessions, and my wife and daughter were
slain, and in despair I took to the study of magic, and
so gave myself up to the infernal arts that I could not
lay them aside. Now farewell. You shall both of you,
St. George and St. David, come to great glory, and
never shall the honour of your knighthood be stained."
 With that he made certain magical passes in the
air, and vanished from their eyes; never was he seen by
St. George and St. David told each other all that had
befallen them, and St. George gave to his comrade, and
also to the other prisoners who had been set free, part
of the giantess's treasure to aid them in travelling to
their homes. To St. David he gave as well the enchanted
sword, and bade him take it to the Emperor of Tartary
in lieu of Ormandine's head, as a sign that the wizard
was destroyed and his power ended. He agreed with him
to meet, if it were possible, at the tournament in
Greece, of which also the giantess had given him
tidings. Then they set out on their several ways—St.
David to Tartary, and afterwards to Greece, and St.
George to rescue Sabra.
The champion of England reached Morocco without further
adventure, and made his way to the capital city. He
wished to spy out Almidor's doings before he made any
plan, for he was alone among a nation of his fierce
enemies. He did not enter the city, but found a little
way outside the walls the cave of a Christian hermit
whom the Moors suffered to live, because he was old and
thought by the Moors to be mad. No man
 saw St.
George enter the cave; he lay there that night, and
learnt from the hermit how Sabra fared in her peril. He
was told that as yet Almidor had treated her kindly,
hoping to win her love by courteous usage. She was
given royal chambers in his palace, and a host of
servants, and she was suffered to go and come as she
pleased, save that a guard went always with her to
prevent flight. Every morning, the good hermit said,
she passed by his cell, and often she gave him alms,
and she was wont also to give alms to pilgrims who
daily awaited her by the city gate.
The next day St. George put on the long robe of a
pilgrim over his armour, and took his stand by the city
gates. Presently there was a trampling of hoofs, and
the Princess's cavalcade came in sight. First rode
negro guards mounted on mules, with long whips to drive
the common people out of their way. Then came a company
of Moorish guards, and after them the ladies of the
Princess's household, riding upon camels with scarlet
harness. In the midst was the Princess herself in a low
litter covered with cloth of gold, borne by four
negroes in robes of green and gold, with emeralds in
their turbans. Beside the litter walked Circassian
slaves waving fans
 of white peacocks' feathers.
After them rode many other guards.
When the Princess saw the pilgrims (for there were many
others besides St. George), she caused her litter to be
halted, and all the guards and attendants halted with
her. She spoke a few words of kindness to each one in
turn, and gave alms. She came presently to St. George,
who held out his little bowl for alms in such a way
that she could not but see on his finger the ring she
had given him when they were betrothed. She started a
little as she saw it, but showed no other sign.
"Whence do you come, pilgrim?" she asked in a calm
voice. "Are you from Palestine like these others with
whom I have spoken? Whither do you go?"
"Nay, Princess, from farther than that. I am newly come
from Persia, and I seek to go by way of Africa to the
Pillars of Hercules, and so across the narrow sea to
the ancient city of Cordova." He said this so that her
guards might not suspect him.
As he spoke the Princess kept her face hidden under the
shade of the litter, but her eyes were fixed on his. He
saw that she was moving her lips and whispering ever so
faintly. He could not guess what she said. He shook his
head slightly, so that none but she
per-  ceived it.
She made a little movement with her fingers. Both her
hands lay idle in her lap; she stirred each finger in
turn gently, and the two fingers on her right hand
again—twelve little movements in all. She spoke to
him words of kindness and encouragement meanwhile as if
he were really a pilgrim.
St. George understood it. He was to do something at
twelve o'clock at night, without doubt, for it was now
close upon noon. But what was he to do? How should he
He leant forward with his alms bowl. "Give me alms,
Princess, to help me on my journey." And he held out the
bowl and rattled it.
Suddenly he put one hand to his eye, as though an
insect had flown into it. As he did so he tilted his
alms bowl so that some coins fell out. Then, as if in
alarm, he tried to catch them, and spilt more. He had
to stoop close to the Princess to pick them up. As he
bent down, she whispered in a voice he just caught;
"Palace garden little gate."
He knew now what he must do. He stood upright, and
expressed his sorrow for his discourtesy in spilling
his alms before the Princess. Then he made obeisance,
and she passed on to the next pilgrim.
 Long after she had gone back to the palace he
stood there among other pilgrims asking alms of
passers-by, lest suspicion should be roused if he went
away. But when the sun began to sink in the sky he
moved, and began to wander in the town, ever and again
asking alms. Through many streets he wandered, striving
to learn his way, that he might not lose it at night.
He found Almidor's palace, and saw the latticed
windows, behind which were the women's apartments; he
wondered if that night he would be able to end his feud
with Almidor in combat. He did not know that the Prince
was absent on a hunting expedition, and would not
return for three days, and that Sabra had feigned
illness in order to avoid being in his company.
The champion walked all round the palace and its
gardens, which stretched for many furlongs and ended in
groves of orange-trees. Far down in one side of the
gardens was a little door of Moorish lattice-work; all
else was blank wall. It would not be hard to climb over
the door. He could see through the lattice into the
garden, in which bloomed all manner of flowers, and
fountains played with a cool sound in marble basins.
He went back to the hermit's cave slowly, and made his
plans. His horse he saddled
 ready for flight, and
he caused the hermit to go into the city, and by a
feigned tale buy another horse, which he tethered with
Bucephalus in a little clump of trees. Midnight drew
nigh, and he went to the palace garden walls, and found
the door again. Cautiously and silently he climbed over
it. In a few moments Sabra was in his arms.
But they did not lose time in embraces, deep though
their longing was. The Princess had stolen a key of the
garden door, and was able to open it. Locking it after
them they stole through the deserted, silent city. The
protection of Heaven was over them. Not a soul did they
meet, but made their way safely to the horses. St.
George stayed to thank the hermit for his kindness, and
to give him by way of alms a great emerald worth a
King's ransom. Then they fled like the wind on and on
over the desert till they reached the coast of New
Barbary; and there they took ship, and came at last
safely to Greece, where they found all the champions
united in readiness for the tournament.
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