“Where shall I seek thee?” says Sir Gawayne; “tell me thy name and thy abode and I will find thee.”

“When thou hast smitten me,” says the Green Knight, “then tell I thee of my home and name; if I speak not at all, so much the better for thee. Take now thy grim weapon and let us see how thou strikest?”

“Gladly, sir, forsooth,” quoth Sir Gawayne.

And now the Green Knight puts his long, green locks aside, and lays bare his neck, and Sir Gawayne strikes hard with the axe, and at one blow severs the head from the body. The head falls to the earth, and many treat it roughly, but the Green Knight never falters; he starts up, seizes his head, steps into the saddle, holding the while the head in his hand by the hair, and turns his horse about. Then lo! the head lifts up its eyelids, and addresses Sir Gawayne:

“Look thou, be ready to go as thou hast promised, and seek till thou findest me. Get thee to the Green Chapel, there to receive a blow on New Year’s morn; fail thou never; come, or recreant be called.” So saying, the Green Knight rides out of the hall, his head in his hand.

And now Arthur addresses the queen: “Dear dame, be not dismayed; such marvels well become the Christmas festival; I may now go to meat. Sir Gawayne, hang up thine axe.” The king and his knights sit feasting at the board, with all manner of meat and minstrelsy, till day is ended.

“But beware, Sir Gawayne!” said the king at its end, “lest thou fail to seek the adventure which thou hast taken in hand!”


Like other years, the months and seasons of this year pass away full quickly and never return. After Christmas comes Lent, and spring sets in, and warm showers descend. Then the groves become green; and birds build and sing for joy of the summer that follows; blossoms begin to bloom, and noble notes are heard in the woods. With the soft winds of summer, more beautiful grow the flowers, wet with dew-drops. But then harvest approaches, and drives the dust about, and the leaves drop off the trees, the grass becomes grey, and all ripens and rots. At last, when the winter winds come round again, Sir Gawayne thinks of his dread journey, and his vow to the Green Knight.

On All-Hallow’s Day, Arthur makes a feast for his nephew’s sake. After meat, Sir Gawayne thus speaks to his uncle: “Now, liege lord, I ask leave of you, for I am bound on the morrow to seek the Green Knight.”

Many noble knights, the best of the Court, counsel and comfort him, and much sorrow prevails in the hall, but Gawayne declares that he has nothing to fear. On the morn he asks for his arms; a carpet is spread on the floor, and he steps thereon. He is dubbed in a doublet of Tarsic silk, and a well-made hood; they set steel shoes to his feet, lap his legs in steel greaves; put on the steel habergeon, the well- burnished braces, elbow pieces, and gloves of plate: while over all is placed the coat armour. His spurs are then fixed, and his sword is attached to his side by a silken girdle. Thus attired the knight hears mass, and afterwards takes leave of Arthur and his Court. By that time his horse Gringolet was ready, the harness of which glittered like the gleam of the sun. Then Sir Gawayne sets his helmet upon his head, and the circle around it was decked with diamonds; and they give him his shield with the “pentangle” of pure gold, devised by King Solomon as a token of truth; for it is called the endless knot, and well becomes the good Sir Gawayne, a knight the truest of speech and the fairest of form. He was found faultless in his five wits; the image of the Virgin was depicted upon his shield; in courtesy he was never found wanting, and therefore was the endless knot fastened on his shield.

And now Sir Gawayne seizes his lance and bids all “Good-day”; he spurs his horse and goes on his way. All that saw him go, mourned in their hearts, and declared that his equal was not to be found upon earth. It would have been better for him to have been a leader of men, than to die by the hands of an elvish man.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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