| 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 |
THE STORY OF SIR GARETH AND LYNETTE
ARETH served in the kitchen of the king only one
month, for his mother became sorry for the promise she
had asked of him, and sent armor for him to Arthur's
Court, with a letter to the king telling who the youth
was. With great joy Gareth then went to Arthur and
"My lord, I can fight as well as my brother Gawain. At
home we have proved it. Then make me a knight,—in
secret, for I do not want the other knights to know my
name. Make me a knight, and give me permission to right
the first wrong that we hear of."
The king said gravely:
"You know all that my knights promise?"
 "Yes, my lord Arthur. I am willing to promise all."
"I will make you my knight in secret, since you wish
it," Arthur said, "except that I must tell Sir
Lancelot. He is my dearest knight, and I keep no
secrets from him."
Gareth said that he should be glad to have Sir Lancelot
know. Accordingly the king spoke to Sir Lancelot about
"I have promised him that he may right the first wrong
we hear of," said Arthur, "but as he has not yet proved
what he can do, I want you to take a horse and follow
him when he sets forth. Cover up the great lions on
your shield so that he will not know who you are." Sir
Lancelot agreed. Then Gareth was secretly made a
That same day a beautiful young damsel came into
Arthur's hall. She had cheeks as pink as apple
blossoms, and very sharp eyes.
"Who are you, damsel?" asked he king, "and what do you
"My name is Lynette," she said, "and I am of noble
blood. I need a knight to
 fight for my sister Lyonors, a lady, also noble, rich,
and most beautiful."
"Why must she have a knight?" questioned Arthur.
"My lord King, she lives in Castle Perilous. Around
this castle a river circles three times, and there are
three passing-places, one over each circle of the
river. Three knights, who are brothers, keep a constant
guard over these passing-places, a fourth knight, also
a brother, clad in black armor, stands guard in front
of my sister's castle. We have never seen this
knight's face or heard his voice, but his brothers tell
us he is the most powerful and daring knight in the
world. All these four keep my sister a prisoner."
"Because they want her to marry one of them so that
they can have her great wealth. She refuses, but they
say that they will have their way. In the meantime,
they demand that you send Sir Lancelot to fight with
them. They hope to overthrow Sir Lancelot, thus
proving themselves the greatest warriors in the land.
But I believe that Sir Lancelot
 Could overthrow them; therefore, I have come for him."
Arthur remembered his promise to Sir Gareth, and did
not speak of Sir Lancelot, but asked:
"Tell me what these four knights, your enemies, are
"The three I have talked to are vain and foolish
knights, my lord," answered the damsel. "They have no
law, and they acknowledge no king. Yet they are very
strong, and therefore am I come for Sir Lancelot."
Then Sir Gareth rose up, crying:
"Sir King, give me this adventure."
At this, Sir Kay started up in anger, but Gareth
"My King, you know that I am but your kitchen boy, yet
I have grown so strong on your meat and drink that I
can overthrow an hundred such knights."
The king looked at him a moment, and said:
At this all the knights were amazed. The damsel's face
flushed with anger.
"Shame, King!" she cried. "I asked
 you for your chief knight, and you give me a kitchen
Then, before any one could prevent, she ran from the
hall, mounted her horse, and rode out of the city gate.
Gareth followed, and at the doorway found a noble war
horse which the king had ordered to be given him. Near
by were the two faithful servants who had followed him
from his mother's home. They held his armor. Gareth
put it on, seized his lance and shield, jumped upon his
horse, and rode off joyfully.
Sir Kay, who was watching, said to Sir Lancelot:
"Why does the king send my kitchen lad to fight? I
will go after the boy and put him to his pots and pans
"Sir Kay, do not attempt to do that," said Sir
Lancelot. "Remember that the king commanded him to
But Sir Kay leaped on his horse and followed Gareth.
Meanwhile, Sir Gareth overtook the damsel and said:
"Lady, I am to right your wrong. Lead and I follow."
 But she cried:
"Go back! I smell kitchen grease when you are near. Go
back! your master has come for you."
Gareth looked behind and saw that Sir Kay was riding up
to him. When Sir Kay was within hearing distance, he
"Come back with me to the kitchen."
"I will not," said Gareth.
Then Sir Kay rode fiercely at the youth. Gareth,
however, struck him from his horse, and then turned to
the damsel, saying:
"Lead on; I follow."
She rode for a long time in silence, with Gareth a few
paces behind her. At last she stopped and said:
"You have overthrown your master, you kitchen boy, but
I do not like you any better for it. I still smell the
Sir Gareth said, very gently:
"You may speak to me as you will, but I shall not leave
you till I have righted your wrong."
"Ah!" she said, scornfully, "you talk
 like a noble knight, but you are not one," and she
again galloped in front of him.
Presently, as they passed a thick wood, a man broke out
of it and spoke to them:
"Help! Help! they are drowning my lord!"
"Follow! I lead!" shouted Gareth to the damsel, and
rushed into the wood. There he found six men trying to
drown a seventh. Gareth attacked them with such vigor
that they fled. When the rescued man had recovered, he
thanked Gareth warmly.
"I am the lord of the castle yonder," he said, "and
these are my enemies. You came in time."
Then he begged Gareth and the lady to stay all night in
his castle. They agreed, and he led the way. He took
them into his large hall and was about to seat them
side by side at a dining table. But the damsel said in
"This is a kitchen boy, and I will not sit by him."
The lord looked surprised. He took Gareth to another
table and sat beside him. After they had eaten, he
 "You may be a kitchen boy, or the damsel may be out of
her mind, but whichever is the case, you are a good
fighter and you have saved my life."
The next morning Gareth and the damsel set forth. They
rode for a while in silence, and then she said:
"Sir Kitchen Boy, although you are so low, I should
like to save your life. Soon we ar4e coming to one who
will overthrow you; so turn back."
But Gareth refused. In a little while they came to the
first circle of the river. The
passing-place was spanned by a bridge. On the farther
side of the bridge was a beautiful pavilion, draped in
silk of gold and crimson colors. In front of it passed
a warrior without armor.
"Damsel," he cried, "is this the knight you have
brought from Arthur's Court to fight with me?"
"Ah!" she said, "the king scorns you so much that he
has sent a kitchen boy to fight with you. Take care
that he does not fall on you before you are armed, for
his is a knave."
The warrior went inside his tent for
 his armor, and the damsel said to Gareth:
"Are you afraid?"
"Damsel," he said, "I am not afraid. I would rather
fight twenty times than hear you speak so unkindly of
me. Yet your cruel words have put strength into my arm.
I shall fight well."
Then the knight came forth all in armor, and he said:
"Youth, you are a kitchen boy. Go back to your king;
you are not fit to fight with me."
Gareth rode at him fiercely, saying:
"I am of nobler blood than you."
GARETH RODE AT HIM FIERCELY
He fought so well that soon his enemy was overcome.
Then Gareth said:
"Go to Arthur's Court and say that his kitchen boy sent
When the knight had departed, Gareth rode on, with the
damsel in advance. After a little while she stopped her
horse, and when he had caught up with her, she said:
"Youth, I do not smell the kitchen grease so much as I
Then she galloped off, laughing over
 her shoulder, while Gareth followed her, a little more
When they reached the second circle of the river, the
"Here is the brother of the knight you overthrew. He
is stronger than the first. You had better go home,
Gareth answered nothing. Out of the tent by the bridge
which crossed the second circle of water, came a
knight, clad in armor which glowed like the sun.
Lynette shouted to him:
"I bring a kitchen boy who has overthrown your
"Ah!" shouted the knight, and rode fiercely at Sir
The two fought for a long time. The warrior was
strong, but Sir Gareth was stronger, and at last
overthrew him, and sent him back to Arthur's Court.
The damsel Lynette had ridden far ahead of him. When he
came near her, she said:
"The knight's horse slipped, and that is why you
overcame him. And now are you ready to fight with the
third knight, for there he stands?"
 At the third and innermost circle of the river stood
the third knight, clad not in armor, but in hardened
skins. Sir Gareth saw that he was more powerful than
his brothers. The two at once began to fight on the
bridge, but Sir Gareth's sword could not pierce the
hard skins. Again and again he tried and failed. He
grew tired, and began to fear that he should be
conquered. But all at once, when his strokes were
becoming feeble, Lynette cried out to him:
"Well done, good knight! You are no kitchen boy, but a
brave lord. Strike for me! Do not lose. You are worthy
to be a Knight of the Round Table."
When Sir Gareth heard this, he was so encouraged that
he made a final great effort and threw his enemy over
the bridge into the water. Then he turned to Lynette
"Lead; I follow."
But Lynette, proud now of her valiant escort, and
humbled and ashamed at her misjudging of him, said:
"No, we shall ride side by side. I am very sorry I
called you a kitchen
 boy, for I know that you are a noble knight."
They rode happily side by side till dusk, when they
came in sight of Castle Perilous. Just as they were
about to cross the moat, a knight overtook them. It was
Sir Lancelot, who had been delayed because he had
stopped to help Sir Kay after Sir Gareth had thrown him
from his horse.
The great knight, as he rode up to the two in the
twilight, seeing only the shields which Sir Gareth had
taken from the three knights, thought the young man was
an enemy, and attacked him. Sir Lancelot was so strong
that he soon overcame the youth.
As he fell, Lynette cried out in shame and sorrow, and
Sir Gareth said:
"Oh, I am thrown."
Sir Lancelot knew Sir Gareth's voice, and raised him
"I am Lancelot, and I am sorry to have overthrown you,
Sir Gareth said that it was no dishonor to be beaten by
Sir Lancelot. Then the three rode into the castle, and
 met the fourth knight, who was all covered with black
Sir Lancelot wished to fight with him, but Sir Gareth
would not permit it.
"This must be my adventure," he said.
Sir Gareth rode at the knight, expecting to meet a very
strong man, but he easily unhorsed him. His enemy
"O spare my life; I am not a knight."
Then he took off his helmet and showed the face of a
"My three brothers made me pretend to be a fierce
knight," he explained. "They thought it would make
people more afraid if they believed we were four strong
Sir Lancelot and Sir Gareth laughed heartily, and so
did Lynette. They took the boy into the castle, where
Lynette's sister, Lyonors, who was now freed from her
money-loving captors, greeted them with much joy. She
put before them a great feast, and this time Sir Gareth
and Lynette sat side by side. Afterwards a marriage
was made between theme, and they went to live with King
Arthur in Camelot.
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