The White Tournament
After Guy had said good-bye to Phyllis he rode gaily away. He rode right across England until he came to the sea. There he went on board a ship and sailed over to Germany.
As soon as he arrived in Germany, Guy heard that there was to be a great Tournament. Whoever fought best was to marry the daughter of the Emperor. Her name was Blanche, which means white. Besides marrying the Princess, the bravest knight was to receive a pure white horse, two white hounds, and a white falcon. So it was called the White Tournament.
When Guy heard about this Tournament he rode as fast as he could to the place where it was to be held. He arrived just in time.
It was a gay scene. Kings, princes, dukes, and earls came riding from all parts of Europe to try for the prize, for it was known far and wide that the Emperor's daughter was very beautiful.
Nearly all who came to this Tournament were great and famous men. They wore shining steel armour, inlaid with gold and silver; feathers, or crests as they were called, waved on their helmets; their shields were painted with curious figures and strange beasts in bright colours. For in those days, whenever any one did a great deed or brave act, something was painted upon his shield to remind him of it, and to show all the world what a brave man he was.
But Guy wore only plain black armour, and he had nothing at all painted upon his shield because he had not yet done anything famous enough.
The place where the knights were gathered together to fight for the prize was called the lists. It was like a large field, all round which were placed raised seats, for the lovely ladies and gay lords who came to look on. The common folk stood about, or sat upon the grass.
In the very best seats of all sat the Emperor and his daughter. The Princess watched the combat earnestly, for she knew the victor was to be her husband.
When Guy came to the gate of the lists he was stopped by a very fine person with feathers in his cap, and a red ribbon round his neck, from which hung a golden trumpet. He was called a herald.
"What is thy name?" asked the herald.
"I am Guy of Warwick, son of Lord Gorian of Northumbria," said Guy.
Then the herald allowed Guy to ride into the lists.
All the lords and ladies looked at him scornfully because he wore such plain armour and had nothing painted upon his shield.
But Guy could a horse and use a sword and lance as well as ny one of them there, although he was not yet a knight, and had not won his spurs.
When any one was made a knight he was given a pair of golden spurs. So it was called winning his spurs.
Soon the trumpets sounded and the Tournament began. Guy chose one of the grandest and the proudest of the knights, and riding up to him struck his shield with his lance.
This man was a Prince called Philaner who was a very fierce and terrible fighter. He immediately began to fight with Guy, but Guy gave him such a tremendous blow that he reeled in his saddle and fell with a crash to the ground. There he lay senseless. He had to be carried away, and could not fight no more that day.
Every one was very much surprised, for Prince Philaner was one of the strongest and bravest of the knights there.
Next a proud Earl came galloping up to Guy. Their shields and lances crashed together and the next minute he too lay senseless upon the ground.
Then the Emperor's own son, who was also taking part in the Tournament, lowered his lance, and, with a shout, rushed upon Guy. So fiercely did he ride down upon him, that it seemed as if Guy would certainly be beaten this time. His horse reared upon his hind legs and pawed the air. But, quick as lightning, Guy leant forward and dealt the Prince such a blow on the right arm that it dropped by his side useless, and his lance fell to the ground.
At that moment the Emperor threw down a white handkerchief and the heralds blew their trumpets. The knights stopped fighting, and rode back to the end of the lists to rest for a few minutes.
"Who is the stranger in the black armour who fights so well, and conquers all the bravest knights?" asked every one.
"Whoever he is, I mean to beat him," said Duke Otto.
Duke Otto was a very splendid soldier. He was as tall as Guy and much broader and stronger. His magnificent black horse pranced and curveted till his armour of gold and steel glittered and flashed in the sunlight.
As soon as the heralds sounded the trumpets again, Duke Otto dashed at Guy. But Guy was prepared for him. They met with such a shock that both their lances were shivered to atoms.
Each drew back for a moment and unsheathed his sword. Then on they came again. A fearful fight followed. Blow after blow fellk their horses leaping and bounding, twisting and turning, with marvellous quickness.
Their swords rattled and rang against each other, their armour clattered and jingled. Sparks, splinters, and dust flew about; blood flowed from their wounds, but still they fought on.
Then Duke Otto, rising in his stirrups, gathered his strength for a might blow. Guy met it with all his force. Both their swords were shattered to pieces, and, at the same instant, Duke Otto fell to the ground.
With a cry of rage Duke Ranier, Duke Otto's cousin, struck spurs to his horse and dashed at full speed upon Guy.
"Base stranger!" he cried, "know that Duke Ranier will avenge his kinsman."
"Ha!" laughed Guy scornfully, as they met, "we say in England, "The weak must go to the wall." Had I not been the stronger I would surely lie where Duke Otto lies now."
The fight only lasted a few minutes. Duke Ranier was so blind with rage that he struck out wildly. Guy was calm and cool, and soon gave him such a blow upon the shoulder that the Duke cried out for mercy and owned himself beaten.
Once more the heralds sounded the retreat, and there was a pause in the fighting.
The wonder at the feats of the stranger was greater than ever. But now no more knights could be found to fight against him.
"It is magic," said one.
"He fights like a very demon," said another.
"I could have sworn that I saw two swords, his blows fell so thick and fast."
"He has the strength of ten."
"And yet, for the honour of my country," said Duke Louvain, "I should dearly like to try my strength with him."
Immediately a cry arose, "Hurah! hurrah! A champion! a champion!"
Again the heralds sounded the trumpets, and Duke Louvain rode forth.
He was more splendid than any of the knights with whom Guy had fought. The white plumes of his helmet waved in the breeze, his armour glittered, his stately warhorse arched his neck, and pawed the ground, as Duke Louvain stepped into the lists.
Guy was hot and tired, his horse was nearly exhausted, and his plain black armour was bent and battered.
"Sir Stranger," said the Duke, "I would not take thee at a mean advantage. Let us put off the challenge until thou art rested and refreshed."
"Nay," replied Guy, "I will not rest until I have conquered all who are ready to fight me."
"So be it," replied the Duke, and lowering his lance he sprang forward.
The fight was long. Duke Louvain was the bravest and most skilful of the knights. But at last he too was conquered. With a sudden blow and quick turn of the wrist, Guy knocked the sword from his hand. Another blow would have sent him senseless to the ground. But Guy would not take him at a disadvantage. He drew back and waited for Duke Louvain to arm himself again. The Duke, however, held up his hand. "Enough," he said, "enough, Sir Stranger. Ledgwin of Louvain may think it no dishonour to own himself defeated by so brave a warrior."
"Fortune favoured me," replied Guy modestly, "or thou hadst easily conquered. Scarce ever have I been so nearly beaten."
"I would not part in unfriendly manner from a foe so gallant," said the Duke.
So like brave men they shook hands, and felt no jealousy the one of the other.
All the rest of the knights, however, were envious of Guy. If looks and wishes could have killed, he would not have lived long. But not one among them would fight with him again. "It is useless," they said. "He wears some charm which protects him."
Then the heralds blew the trumpets and proclaimed that the stranger, Guy of Warwick, had won the prize.
All the people who had been looking on cheered loudly. The Princess felt glad and happy, for she had seen how brave the man who wore the plain black armour was, and she hoped he would win. She said to herself that she would like to marry so brave a man.
The Emperor, who loved brave men, was pleased too, although Guy had defeated so many of his own knight, and even his own son. He now sent one of his nobles to bring Guy to him.
"Welcome, Sir Guy of Warwick," he said, as Guy knelt before him, "welcome to my court and kingdom. The English are a great and powerful race, but thou art the very Flower and Pride of thy country. In all Europe there is no man to compare with thee. I am glad that one so brave has won my daughter's hand in marriage."
The Princess sat beside her father, rosy and happy. Guy had taken off his helmet, and now that she could see how handsome he was, she felt more than ever that she would like to marry him.
But as soon as the Emperor stopped speaking, Guy rose and answered, "Sire, I have fought this Tournament, not for the prize, but for the honour alone. I cannot marry the Princess, although she is beautiful and worthy of all love. My heart is in England with my own dear lady. To her 31 I will return, when I am famous and worthy to take her hand. Her only will I marry."
Poor Princess Blanche! All the pretty colour went out of her cheeks, and the happiness from her heart. Tears came into her eyes, and she felt miserable indeed.
"Princess," said Guy, turning to her and kneeling again, "humbly I bend before thee. Accept me as they loyal English knight. I will serve thee in everything. Shouldst thou need, at any time, a knight to fight for thee, thou hast but to command me. But for my fair Lady Phyllis alone, I keep my love."
"Go," said the Princess, bending down to hide her tears, go back to the Lady Phyllis. Tell her the Princess Blanche of Germany wishes her all happiness."
"I cannot go yet," said Guy. "First I must do great deeds, and go back to her only when I am famous."
"Ah," thought the Princess, "if only he loved me I would not care whether he were famous or not. I should not send him away. I should keep him always near me." But aloud she said, "Art thou not famous enough? Hast thou not conquered all the bravest knights in Europe? Go back to thy lady, and tell her that I sent thee to her."
And because Guy longed very much to see Phyllis again, he took the white horse, the two white hounds, and the white falcon which he had won, and sailed back again to England.
For a long time after he went Princess Blanche was very sad. She thought often of the brave and handsome knight, Guy of Warwick, and when she thought of him tears came into her eyes.
But many years later she married a great lord, and lived happily ever afterwards.