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The cavalcade came near where St. James stood, and began to pass him. He spoke to a man who was close by him. "What does this gay expedition mean?" he asked.
"You must come from a very far land, Sir Knight," said the man, "if you do not know that."
"I do not know so much as who that King and the fair lady by his side are," answered St. James.
"That is the King of Judah, our good monarch," said the man, "and the lady is his daughter, the Princess Celestine. This is the great hunting festival, when all the court goes a-hunting in honour of Adonai, whom we revere, and who was slain by a boar. Every year proclamation is made, and great  prizes are given by the King. See, here is a herald about to make the proclamation."
As he spoke a herald halted near them. He was clad in cloth of gold, and bore a silver trumpet with a purple streamer hanging from it. He blew three blasts upon the trumpet, and cried in a loud voice: "In the name of the King and in honour of Adonai! To all men I cry. The King is pleased to offer a corselet of fine steel worth a thousand shekels of silver to any man soever who shall slay the first boar this day. Now set on, knights and squires. The hunt is up."
He blew three blasts again on his trumpet, and passed on.
St. James heard him out. As he listened his glance fell on the Princess Celestine, and he saw how fair she was. And she, too, saw him as he stood there, and thought him a knight of gallant looks and noble bearing.
"I will win the Princess," thought St. James to himself. "No other shall be my bride. For her I will dare anything."
With that he set spurs to his horse, and, making a little curve to avoid the more slowly moving cavalcade, he rode ahead over the plains to the forest to which he saw the hunt was going. He dismounted for greater  ease of movement among the trees, and tethered his horse; then he entered the forest.
Hardly was he in the shade of the trees than he saw a huge boar in front of him, goring with its sharp tusks the body of some poor traveller it had overcome. The beast paid him no heed, so intent was it upon its task. He sounded his silver horn loudly, and the boar turned quickly. In a moment it saw the new enemy, and charged furiously. St. James awaited the attack with his lance in rest, meaning to leap aside himself at the last minute. The boar came on more swiftly than he had expected of so unwieldy a brute, and his lance did not strike it fair and full. It grazed its shoulder merely, and glanced off, and St. James had to leap very nimbly to avoid its tusks as it lunged sideways at him in passing.
The rush of its speed carried the boar some little way past the champion, who had time to throw aside his lance and loosen his battle-axe for use. The boar charged again as soon as it could turn. This time St. James was more wary, for he had gauged the speed of the monster's rush. He stepped aside again as it reached him, and swung the battle-axe down, across his body, on to the back of the boar's skull, with all his force behind the  blow. The keen edge crashed through flesh and bone, and killed the beast instantly.
The champion cut off the boar's head, well pleased at his victory. He heard a noise of trampling and music close at hand, and looked round. The King and the Princess and their train had reached the forest.
St. James took his boar's head, and carried it to the King. Falling on one knee, he held it out before him. "Here is the first boar of the hunt, O King," he said. Unless any man has slain another before me, I claim the reward your herald cried publicly but a little while ago."
"You are the first, Sir Knight," answered the King, perceiving that St. James was a man of rank and honourable position. Yours is the reward. Let my armourer bring the corselet."
The armourer came forward with the corselet of fine steel. So wonderfully was it wrought that it fitted St. James instantly. Keen indeed must an edge have been to pierce it, and yet when the champion had it upon his body he felt no more weight from it than if it had been a shirt of fine linen.
"It beseems you well," said the King graciously. "Does it not, Celestine?"
"Indeed it is a finely wrought corselet,"  answered the Princess; and she looked upon St. James with such admiration that he fell more deeply in love with her than ever.
"I am much beholden to Your Majesty for your gracious gift," said St. James courteously. "I came hither in search of knightly adventure, not thinking to win so worthy a prize as this."
"Whence do you come, Sir Knight?" asked the King; "and what is your name and lineage?"
"I am called James,and I am a Christian knight of Spain."
"What!" cried the King, all his graciousness gone from him in a moment. "A Christian! Then you die here and now, for I have vowed to put to death every Christian who comes into my realm. Ho there! Seize this dog and stone him to death!"
His attendants rushed forward in a body, and seized the champion, who, indeed, was too greatly surprised at this sudden change in the King to resist, even if resistance had been of use. And when they had bound him he regained his wits.
"Stop, O King," he cried boldly. "You may kill me if you will, though I have done no wrong to any man for which I deserve death. But remember that I slew this great  boar, and give me some respite for that deed. Let me at least have a time to pray and to prepare my soul for death, and grant me also that I may choose the manner of my death."
"I will never show mercy to a dog of a Christian," answered the King. "But such slight delay as you ask shall be granted you. And I will grant your other boon also. When you have had an hour for prayer you shall say in what way you choose to die. But let not this be a pretext to gain some means of escape; you shall surely die."
"So be it, King," said St. James. "But I tell you that you are doing ill, and one day you will repent of it."
" 'One day' has yet to come," answered the King. And what I will, I do. Now set about your prayers. We will continue our hunt. Forward, my friends."
And they plunged deep into the forest, their raiment shining, their harness making a merry noise. A hundred guards remained with St. James, who yet felt very lonely when he saw the Princess and all her attendants ride off into the cool, dark forest.
They unbound him and retired to a little distance, forming a circle round about him. For an hour he prayed steadfastly, and made  his peace with God, thinking indeed that the time had come for him to lay down his life.
At the end of the hour the King and his court came back, the Princess with them, her eyes full of sadness.
"Bring that Christian dog before me," said the King. "I have said that I would grant his boon."
They bound St. James again, and set him before the King. "Now, Sir James of Spain, you are to look your last upon the sunlight," said the King cruelly. "Tell me, since I have given you leave, in what way you will close your eyes to it for ever."
A strange fancy had come into the champion's mind. He had a whim to die in a certain way, if die he must. "Let me be bound to a pine-tree, unguarded," he said, "and then let me be shot by an arrow loosed by a beautiful maiden."
"That is a new form of death, Christian," said the King; "but I doubt not it will serve as well as any other. Let it be done as this Spanish knight asks. The maiden to slay him shall be chosen by lot from those who are here."
They brought a helmet, and put in it a bushel of white peas, and among them a single black one. She who drew the black  one (her eyes being blindfolded before the choice) was to kill St. James.
When all was ready they began to draw. And first of all the Princess Celestine was to put her hand into the helmet. She dismounted from her horse. A green scarf was tied round her eyes, and she stretched out her hand, fumbling at the edge of the helmet to be sure of reaching the peas.
There was a rattling sound as she put her hand among the dry, loose peas. Then she drew it forth again, and opened it, tearing off the scarf as she did so. On her white palm lay the black pea.
"Oh, I cannot!" she cried in distress. "I cannot slay an innocent man. My father"—and she fell on her knees before the King—"oh, my father, spare him! What evil has he done? He is a Christian, truly, but he was born and bred in that faith, and knew nought of ours. He knew nought of your vow against all Christians; else he would not have come here and told us his faith and lineage. He has done you a service by killing the boar."
"Bind him to a pine-tree," said the King sternly. "He must die; I have vowed it. Celestine, take your bow, aim truly, and kill him."
 The guards seized the champion, and bound him to a pine-tree hard by. But Celestine did not cease to plead for his life.
"I will never kill him," she said. "I could not aim truly at a just man, who has done no wrong. Let him go, Sire; I dare swear he will leave your kingdom and never return, if you do but let him go. Bethink you that your vow was made because of the war that Christians have made upon us; you might well slay all who fought against you and sought to do you harm. But this knight has made no war. He came honourably in peace. Let him go in peace, even if you do not honour him as at first, before you knew him for a Christian, you seemed to wish. Remember that till he proclaimed his faith out of his own lips, you had not a hard word for him. O spare him, my father, for if you do not I too shall surely die!"
She clasped her father's foot with her hands as she knelt by his stirrup, and bowed her head upon it in tears.
The King hesitated. He knew that he was but killing the knight in order to keep to the letter of his vow, which, indeed, he had taken against his enemies rather than against peaceful strangers. But he hated all Christians bitterly, for they were trying always  to drive him out of the Holy Land and make it part of Christendom. Yet he could not resist his daughter's pleadings.
"Have it as you will, Celestine," he said harshly. "Set him free yourself. But be sure that if ever again he sets foot in this land he shall be put to death, and no prayers shall save him, and it shall be no gentle hands like yours that shall cut him off from life. Tell him this, and bid him begone from Judah in a day's time. If he is found anywhere in my realm at this time on the morrow, he dies."
He turned away. Celestine ran to the pine-tree, and cut St. James's bonds with her hunting-knife.
"You are free, Sir James," she said eagerly. "I have begged your life of my father. But, alas! it is not better to me than if you were dead, for you must leave this land at once, and never return. If ever you come back, you will be slain—ay, and perhaps tortured into the bargain. Go; make what speed you can. Remember me. Take this ring from me, and wear it for my sake, and be sure that never will I forget you. Farewell."
"Farewell, Princess," said St. James; "I shall never forget you. I do not need this ring to keep your memory in my heart to my life's end. But I will treasure your gift, and  if ever we meet again it shall be a sign between us."
He said no more, but mounted his horse and rode away, the ring on his finger; and the Princess went back sadly to her father's court.