THE PHANTOM KNIGHT OF THE VANDAL CAMP
FROM GESTA ROMANORUM (ADAPTED)
THERE was once in Great Britain, a knight named
Albert, strong in arms and adorned with every virtue. One
day as he was seeking for adventure,
 he chanced to wander into a castle where he was hospitably
At night, after supper, as was usual in great families
during the winter, the household gathered about the hearth
and occupied the time in relating divers tales.
At last they told how in the near-by plain of Wandlesbury
there was a haunted mound. There in old days the Vandals,
who laid waste the land and slaughtered Christians, had
pitched their camp and built about it a great rampart. And
it was further related that in the hush of the night, if any
one crossed the plain, ascended the mound, and called out in
a loud voice, "Let my adversary appear!" there immediately
started up from the ruined ramparts a huge, ghostly figure,
armed and mounted for battle. This phantom then attacked the
knight who had cried out and speedily overcame him.
Now, when Albert heard this marvelous tale, he greatly
doubted its truth, and was determined to put the matter to a
test. As the moon was shining brightly, and the night was
quiet, he armed, mounted, and immediately hastened to the
plain of Wandlesbury, accompanied by a squire of noble
He ascended the mound, dismissed his attendant, and shouted:—
"Let my adversary appear!"
 Instantly there sprang from the ruins a huge, ghostly knight
completely armed and mounted on an enormous steed.
This phantom rushed upon Albert, who spurred his horse,
extended his shield, and drove at his antagonist with his
lance. Both knights were shaken by the encounter. Albert,
however, so resolutely and with so strong an arm pressed his
adversary that the latter was thrown violently to the
ground. Seeing this Albert hastily seized the steed of the
fallen knight, and started to leave the mound.
But the phantom, rising to his feet, and seeing his horse
led away, flung his lance and cruelly wounded Albert in the
thigh. This done he vanished as suddenly as he had appeared.
Our knight, overjoyed at his victory, returned in triumph to
the castle, where the household crowded around him and
praised his bravery. But when he put off his armor he found
the cuish from his right thigh filled with clots of blood
from an angry wound in his side. The family, alarmed,
hastened to apply healing herbs and bandages.
The captured horse was then brought forward. He was
prodigiously large, and black as jet. His eyes were fierce
and flashing, his neck proudly arched, and he wore a
glittering war-saddle upon his back.
 As the first streaks of dawn began to appear, the animal
reared wildly, snorted as if with pain and anger, and struck
the ground so furiously with his hoofs that the sparks flew.
The black cock of the castle crew and the horse, uttering a
terrible cry, instantly disappeared.
And every year, on the selfsame night, at the selfsame hour,
the wounds of the knight Albert broke out afresh, and
tormented him with agony. Thus till his dying day he bore in
his body a yearly reminder of his encounter with the Phantom
Knight of the Vandal Camp.
Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics