| King Arthur and His Knights|
|by Maude Radford Warren|
|Twenty-one stories from the Arthurian legends specially selected and adapted for children and told in simple well-written prose. The stirring tales of these chivalrous knights awaken the readerís admiration for courage and gentleness and high sense of honor essential in all ages. Ages 9-12 |
SIR GERAINT AND ENID
NE of the bravest knights in King Arthur's Court was
Sir Geraint. Once he was in the forest with Queen
Guinevere and one of her maidens, when a lady, a
knight, and a dwarf rode by. The queen told the maiden
to go to the dwarf and ask who his master was.
As the maiden approached them, she saw that the knight
had a very proud face. She asked the dwarf his master's
name, but he said, roughly:
"I do not know."
"If you do not know," answered the maiden, "I will ask
She started to ride up to the knight, but the dwarf
struck at her with his whip. Upon this, she went back
and told the
 queen and Sir Geraint what had passed. Sir Geraint was
very angry, and he said to the queen:
"Fair queen, I will ride after this knight and his
dwarf and avenge the insult done to your maiden. If I
succeed, I shall return in three days."
"Do so," said the queen, "and I trust you will succeed,
not only in this, but in all things you attempt. Some
day you will love some fair lady. Before you marry her,
bring her to me, and no matter how poor or how rich she
may be, I will clothe her for her wedding in the most
beautiful garments in the world. They shall shine like
So off rode Sir Geraint, keeping at some distance
behind the lady, the knight, and the dwarf. At last,
after passing through many woods, he lost sight of them
as they disappeared beyond the top of a hill. Sir
Geraint rode up, and saw below him, in a valley, the
one street of a little town. On one side was a
fortress, so new that the stone of which it was built
was still white; while on the other side stood a gray
old castle, fast falling
 into decay. He saw the three people he was following
enter the fortress.
In the little town there was a great deal of noise and
bustle. At first Sir Geraint could not find any place
to stay, for the houses were all full. He stopped
before a servant who was scouring his master's armor,
and asked what all the noise meant. The servant said:
"The Sparrow-hawk," and went on working.
Then he met an old man carrying a sack of corn, and
asked him the same question. The old man made the same
reply. Next Sir Geraint approached one who was making
armor, and questioned him. Without looking up the man
"Friend, he who works for the Sparrow-hawk has little
time for answering questions."
Sir Geraint was vexed, and said:
"I am weary of hearing of your Sparrow-hawk. I do not
understand what you mean. Will you not tell me where I
can find a place to stay for to-night? And will you not
sell me some armor? I have but my sword."
 Then the man looked up, and said:
"Your pardon, sir. We are all very busy here, for
to-morrow we hold a tournament, and our work is not
half done. I cannot give you armor, for we need all
that we have in the town. As to lodging, all the room
is taken. However, perhaps Earl Iniol in the castle
will receive you."
"Sir Geraint rode over to the gray old castle, and as
the gate was open, entered the ruined courtyard.
Dismounting, he went into the hall. Here he found the
earl, an elderly man dressed in clothes which had once
been handsome, but were now old and worn. To him Sir
"Good sir, I seek lodging for the night."
The old Earl Iniol answered:
"Sir, I was once rich and am now poor; nevertheless, I
will gladly give you the best I have."
As he spoke, some one in the castle began to sing. The
voice was very sweet. Sir Geraint thought he had never
heard any one sing so wonderfully.
"That is my daughter Enid," said the earl.
 Then he took Sir Geraint into a room in which sat an
old lady in a faded velvet gown. She was the earl's
wife. By her side stood Enid in a faded silk gown. She
was as beautiful as her voice was sweet, and after
watching her, Sir Geraint said to himself:
"I already love this maiden."
He said nothing out loud, only looked at her. Earl
Iniol spoke to her:
"Enid, this good knight will stay with us. His horse is
in the courtyard; take it to the stall and give it
corn. Then go into the town and buy us some food."
Sir Geraint wished to put away his horse himself, but
the old earl said:
"Sir, we are very poor, but we cannot permit our guest
to do any work. I pray you, stay here."
So Enid took the horse to the stall. After that, she
went into the town and soon returned with meat and
sweet cakes. Then, because most of the rooms in the old
castle were in ruins, she cooked the meat in the same
hall in which they were to eat. When the meal was
ready, she waited on her father and her mother and Sir
 The knight watched her and loved her more and more.
When they had risen from the table, he said to the
"My lord, pray tell me what the people of this town
mean when they speak of the Sparrow-hawk."
The earl's face grew sad, as he said:
"That is the name given to the young knight who rules
in this town."
"Does he live in the fortress?" asked Sir Geraint. "And
do a lady and a dwarf ride with him?"
"Yes," said the earl.
"Ah, then he is the man I am in search of," said Sir
Geraint. "I must fight with him before three days are
over. I am Geraint of King Arthur's Court."
"I know your name well," said the earl. "We often hear
of your great deeds at Camelot. Many times have I
related to my Enid the story of your brave deeds."
"I am bound to do my duty with the other knights,"
answered Sir Geraint. "And now tell me more of this
 "Alas! He is my nephew," said the earl. "At one time I
ruled this town. My nephew, the Sparrow-hawk, was
powerful, too, and he asked to unite our power by
marrying Enid, but neither she nor I wished it. Then he
collected a body of men and attacked me, and took all
my wealth, leaving me nothing but this old castle."
"Tomorrow," said Sir Geraint, "I will fight in the
tournament with this Sparrow-hawk, and conquer him, and
give you back your lands. But I lack armor."
"I can give you armor, although it is old and rusty,"
said the earl. "But no one is allowed to fight in this
tournament unless there is some lady he loves best in
all the world. Then he fights for the sake of this
lady, and if he wins, receives the prize, which he in
turn gives to her."
"What is the prize?" asked Sir Geraint.
"A hawk, a sparrow-hawk made of gold. This nephew of
mine is very strong and has always overcome every
knight who has opposed him in these tournaments, which
are held yearly. It is because he has won the prize so
often that he is called
 the Sparrow-hawk. But tell me, is there some lady whom
Then Sir Geraint said:
"I love this child of yours, my lord, and will gladly
make her my wife if you will permit it."
The earl was very glad, but Enid was afraid, for she
thought she was not worthy of such a great knight. Yet,
she knew she loved him, and said so, and soon promised
to go with him to Arthur's Court within three days.
The next morning, the earl and Sir Geraint and Enid
went to the field where the tournament was to take
place. Many knights and ladies were there. The ladies
sat under a pavilion which was draped in purple velvet
ornamented with gold, while the knights were on
horseback. A herald blew a trumpet, and the knight who
was called the Sparrow-hawk galloped into the field.
He rode around it three times, and then went up to the
pavilion and said to his lady:
"I give you the gold sparrow-hawk again, because no one
dares to fight with me for it."
 Then Sir Geraint rode forward in his rusty armor and
"I will fight with you."
The knight looked upon him, and gave a very scornful
laugh as he rode at Sir Geraint. The two clashed
together and began to fight fiercely, while all the
people watched. Twice they had to stop and rest. For a
long time they seemed evenly matched, and no one could
decide which would win. But when Sir Geraint looked to
where Enid sat in her faded silk gown among the richly
dressed ladies in the pavilion, he grew very strong and
struck his enemy such a blow that he fell to the earth.
"Now, Sparrow-hawk," said Sir Geraint, "I have
overthrown you. You must do two things: you must ride
with your lady and your dwarf to Arthur's Court and ask
pardon of Queen Guinevere because your dwarf struck her
maiden; and you must restore all the riches you have
taken from your good uncle, Earl Iniol."
This the knight promised to do. And afterwards, in
Arthur's Court, he grew very sorry for his evil deeds,
and became a good man.
 Meanwhile, Enid was making ready to go to Arthur's
Court with Sir Geraint. She was sorry that she had only
her robe of faded silk. She remembered a robe her
mother had given her before the Sparrow-hawk took their
riches. It was of velvet, the color of
mother-of-pearl, with gold leaves and flowers and birds
embroidered upon it.
While she was thinking of this beautiful robe, her
mother entered the room, carrying it. Enid gave a cry
of joy, and her mother told her that the Sparrow-hawk
had just given it back, together with other robes and
gold and jewels. "Put it on, Enid," she said, and
helped her daughter to array herself in the handsome
gown exclaiming: "How beautiful you look, my dear
child! Sir Geraint may well be proud to fetch such a
fair lady to King Arthur's Court."
Just then the earl entered to tell them that the knight
wanted Enid to ride with him to Camelot in the faded
silk dress in which he had first seen her.
Enid, although she was deeply disappointed, at once put
on again her faded
 gown. When Sir Geraint came in he saw that the earl's
wife was also disappointed, so he told them that the
queen had promised to dress his bride in the most
beautiful robes in the world for her wedding. At this
both the ladies were much pleased.
So after bidding farewell to her parents, Enid rode
with Sir Geraint to Camelot, where the queen welcomed
her, and gave her a robe that was as bright as the sun.
Then the good Archbishop of Canterbury married Sir
Geraint and Enid amid great rejoicings.
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