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The Blue Flower and Other Stories

The Mill
I
How the Young Martimor would Become a Knight and Assay Great Adventure
When Sir Lancelot was come out of the Red Launds where he did many deeds of arms,
he rested him long with play and game in a land that is, called Beausejour. For in that
land there are neither castles nor enchantments, but many fair manors, with orchards and
fields lying about them; and the people that dwell therein have good cheer continually.
Of the wars and of the strange quests that are ever afoot in Northgalis and Lionesse and
the Out Isles, they hear nothing; but are well content to till the earth in summer when the
world is green; and when the autumn changes green to gold they pitch pavilions among
the fruit-trees and the vineyards, making merry with song and dance while they gather
harvest of corn and apples and grapes; and in the white days of winter for pastime they
have music of divers instruments and the playing of pleasant games.
But of the telling of tales in that land there is little skill, neither do men rightly understand
the singing of ballads and romaunts. For one year there is like another, and so their life
runs away, and they leave the world to God.
Then Sir Lancelot had great ease for a time in this quiet land, and often he lay under the
apple-trees sleeping, and again he taught the people new games and feats of skill. For into
what place soever he came he was welcome, though the inhabitants knew not his name
and great renown, nor the famous deeds that he had done in tournament and battle. Yet
for his own sake, because he was a very gentle knight, fair-spoken and full of courtesy
and a good man of his hands withal, they doted upon him.
So he began to tell them tales of many things that have been done in the world by clean
knights and faithful squires. Of the wars against the Saracens and misbelieving men; of
the discomfiture of the Romans when they came to take truage of King Arthur; of the
strife with the eleven kings and the battle that was ended but never finished; of the
Questing Beast and how King Pellinore and then Sir Palamides followed it; of Balin that
gave the dolourous stroke unto King Pellam; of Sir Tor that sought the lady's brachet and
by the way overcame two knights and smote off the head of the outrageous caitiff
Abelleus,--of these and many like matters of pith and moment, full of blood and honour,
told Sir Lancelot, and the people had marvel of his words.
Now, among them that listened to him gladly, was a youth of good blood and breeding,
very fair in the face and of great stature. His name was Martimor. Strong of arm was he,
and his neck was like a pillar. His legs were as tough as beams of ash-wood, and in his
heart was the hunger of noble tatches and deeds. So when he heard of Sir Lancelot these
redoubtable histories he was taken with desire to assay his strength. And he besought the
knight that they might joust together.
 
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