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blood; you shall be better, by the grace of God, to-morrow.” “My fair lords," said Sir Launcelot, “wit you well my careworn body will go into the earth. I have warning more than I will now say, therefore give me my rights.” So when he had had all that a Christian man ought to have, he prayed the bishop that his fellows might bear his body to Joyous Gard. Some men say it was Alnwick, and some men say it was Bomborow. Howbeit,” said Sir Launcelot, “ I repent me sore, but I made a vow that in Joyous Gard I would be buried; and because I would not break my vow, I pray you all lead me thither.” Then was there weeping and wringing of hands among his fellows. So at the season of night they went all to their beds, for they all lay in one chamber. And so after midnight, the bishop that was hermit, as he lay in his bed asleep, fell into great laughter; and therewith all the fellowship awoke, and came to the bishop, and asked him what he ailed. Alas," said the bishop, "why did ye wake me? I was never in all my life so merry and so well at
"Wherefore?” said Sir Bors. “Truly,” said the bishop, “here was Sir Launcelot with more angels than ever I saw men upon one day ; and I saw the angels heave Sir Launcelot unto heaven, and the gates of heaven opened for him.” “ It is but the vexing of dreams,” said Sir Bors, "for I doubt not Sir Launcelot aileth nothing but good.” “It may well be," said the bishop; "go ye to his bed, and then shall ye prove the dream.” So when Sir Bors and his fellows came to his bed they found him stark dead; and he lay as if he had smiled, and the sweetest savour was about him that ever they smelt. Then was there weeping and wringing of hands, and the greatest dole they made that ever made men. And they took the corpse of Sir Launcelot and carried it till they came to Joyous Gard, and ever they had a hundred torches burning about him. So within fifteen days they came to Joyous Gard ; and there they laid his corpse in the body of the quire, and sang and read many psalters and prayers over him, and ever his visage was laid open and naked, that all folk might behold him, for such was the custom in those days. And just as they were at the service, there came Sir Ector de Maris, that had been seven years searching England, Scotland, and Wales to find his brother Sir Launcelot. Then went Sir Bors unto Sir Ector, and told him how that there lay his brother
Sir Launcelot, dead! Then Sir Ector threw his shield and sword from him, and when he beheld Sir Launcelot's visage, he fell down in a swoon. And when he awoke, it were hard for any tongue to tell the doleful complaints that he made for his brother. “Ah, Launcelot !” he said, “thou wert head of all Christian knights, and now there thou liest that wert never matched of earthly knight's hand; and thou wert the courtliest knight that ever bare shield; and thou wert the truest friend to thy lover that ever bestrode horse; and thou wert the truest lover of a sinful man that ever loved woman; and thou wert the kindest man that ever strake with sword; and thou wert the goodliest person that ever came among press of knights ; and thou wert the meekest man and the gentlest that ever ate in hall among ladies; and thou wert the sternest knight to thy mortal foe that ever put spear in rest.” Then was there weeping and dolour out of measure. Thus they kept Sir Launcelot's corpse fifteen days, and then they buried it with great devotion.
THE CROWS AND THE SOLDIER.
WORTHY soldier had saved a good deal of money
way. Comrade," said they to him one day, “why should we stay here shut up in this town like prisoners, when you at any rate have earned enough to live upon for the rest of your days in peace and plenty at home by your own fireside ?" They talked so often to him in this manner, that he at last said he would go and try his luck with them; but they all the time thought of nothing but how they should manage to steal his money from him.
When they had gone a little way, the two rogues said: “We must go by the right-hand road, for that will take us quickest into another country where we shall be safe.” Now they knew all the while that what they were saying was untrue; and as soon as the soldier said, “No, that will take us straight back into the town we came from; we must keep to the left hand,” they picked a quarrel with him, and said, “What do you give yourself airs for ? you know nothing about it:” and then they fell upon him, and knocked him down, and beat him over the head till he was blind. Then they took all the money out of his pockets, and dragged him to a gallows-tree that stood hard by, bound him fast down at the foot of it, and went back into the town with the money; but the poor blind man did not know where he
He felt all around him, and finding that he was bound to a large beam of wood, he thought it was a cross, and said to himself : “ After all they have done kindly in leaving me under a cross; now Heaven will guard me:" so he raised himself and began to pray.
When night came on he heard something fluttering over his head. It turned out to be three crows, which flew round and round, and at last perched upon the tree. By and by they began to talk together, and he heard one of them say: “Sister, what is the best news with you to-day ?” “Oh, if men knew what we know!" said the other: “ the princess is ill, and the king has vowed to marry her to anyone who will cure her; but this none can do, for she will not be well until yonder flower is burnt to ashes and swallowed by her.” “Oh, indeed,” said the other crow, “if men did but know what we know! to-night will fall from heaven a dew of such healing power, that even the blind man who washes his eyes with it will see again.” Then the third crow spoke and said : “Oh, if men knew what we know ! the flower is wanted but for one, the dew is wanted but for few; but there is a great dearth of water in the town; all the wells are dried up; and no one knows that they must take away the large square stone out of the market-place, and dig underneath it, and that then the finest water will spring up."
When the three crows had done talking he heard them fluttering round again, and at last away they few. Greatly
wondering at what he had heard, and overjoyed at the thoughts of getting his sight, he tried with all his strength to break loose from his bonds. At last he found himself free, and plucked some of the grass that grew beneath him, and washed his
with the dew that had fallen upon it. At once his eye-sight came to him again, and he saw by the light of the moon and the stars that he was beneath the gallows-tree, and not the cross, as he had thought. Then he gathered together in a bottle as much of the dew as he could, to take away with him, and looked round till he saw the flower that grew close by; and when he had burned it, he gathered up the ashes, and set out on his way towards the king's court.
When he reached the palace, he told the king he was come to cure the princess; and when she had taken of the ashes and been made well, he claimed her for his wife, as the reward that was to be given. But the king looking upon him, and seeing that his clothes were so shabby, would not keep his word, and thought to get rid of him by saying: “Whoever wants to have the princess for his wife, must find enough water for the use of the town where there is this summer a great dearth.” Then the soldier went out, and told the people to take up the square stone in the market-place, and dig for water underneath; and when they had done so, there came up a fine spring, that gave enough water for the whole town. So the king could no longer get off giving his daughter, and they were married and lived happily together.
Some time after, as he was walking one day through a field, he met his two wretched comrades, who had treated him so basely. Though they did not know him, he knew them at once, and went up to them, and said : “Look upon me; I am your old comrade, whom you beat and robbed, and left blind; Heaven has defeated your wicked wishes, and turned all the mischief that you brought upon me into good luck.”
When they heard this they fell at his feet and begged for pardon ; and as he had a kind and good
2 heart he forgave them, and took them to his palace and gave them food and clothes. And he told them all that happened to him, and how he had reached such honours. After they had heard the whole story, they said to themselves: “Why should not we go and sit some night under the gallows ? we may hear something that will bring us good luck too."
Next night they stole away, and, when they had sat under the tree a little while, they heard a fluttering noise over their heads, and the three crows came and perched upon the gallows. “Sisters," said one of them, “some one must have overheard us; for all the world is talking of the wonderful things that have happened : the princess is well; the flower has been plucked and burned; the blind man's sight has been given him again; and they have dug a fresh well that gives water to the whole town. Let us look about, perhaps we may find some one near; if we do he shall repent of it.”
Then they began to flutter about, and soon found out the two men below, and flew at them in a rage, beating them and pecking them in the face with their wings and beaks till they were quite blind, and lay nearly dead upon the ground under the gallows. The next day passed over, and they did not return to the palace; and their old comrade began to wonder where they were, and went out the following morning in search of them, and at last found them where they lay, dreadfully repaid for all their folly and wickedness.
Young Scholars Compositions.
A DAY AT THE SEA-SIDE. ONE bright summer's day a party of friends set out in a cart for the seaside. They started at nine in the morning, so as to have a good long day; after five miles' ride they arrived there.
Amongst the party were two boys and a girl, who were very great friends. The boys had some boats, which they swam in the sea, the little girl going with them. Before they got to the sea itself, they crossed a small shallow creek, and then came to the tide ; after they had got tired of swimming their boats they sat down and watched the tide coming in, and when it had nearly reached them they jumped up and went a little urther off and sat down again. After they had sat talking a long time they heard a shout, and looking to land they saw their friend beckoning to themyand to their astonishment they saw a large sheet of water, and this water was the little narrow creek they had crossed. What were they to do now, with the creek in front and the sea behind ? They tried to cross the creek, but it was too deep; so their friends told them to run along by the side of the creek, which they did, and coming to a more shallow part they crossed, only getting a little wet. So after having something to eat they went home well pleased with the day's trip.