I know thee well, for Sir Kay named thee Fair-hands. What art thou but a lubber and a turner of spits, and a ladle washer?" "Damsel," said Fair-hands, "say to me what ye will, I will not go from you, for I have undertaken, in King Arthur's presence, to achieve your adventure, and so shall I finish it, or I shall die therefore."
So all that night they had good cheer and merry rest. On the morn the damsel and Fair-hands thanked the knight and took their leave, and rode on their way until they came to a great forest. Therein was a great river with but one passage, and there were ready two knights on the farther side, to prevent their crossing.
"Brother," said the queen, "all that ye say I believe, for ever since he was grown he was marvellously witted, and ever he was faithful and true to his promise. But I marvel that Sir Kay did mock him and scorn him, and give him the name Fair-hands. Yet Sir Kay named him more justly than he knew, for I dare say, if he be alive, he is as fair-handed a man and as well disposed as any living."
With this Sir Persant of Inde, the fourth of the brethren that stood in Fair-hands' way to the siege, espied them as they came upon the fair meadow where his pavilion was. Sir Persant was the most lordly knight that ever thou lookedst on. His pavilion and all manner of thing that there is about, men and women, and horses' trappings, shields and spears were all of dark blue colour.
And sithen he hath no name, I shall give him a name that shall be Beaumains, that is Fair-hands, and into the kitchen I shall bring him, and there he shall have fat brose every day, that he shall be as fat by the twelvemonths' end as a pork hog. Right so the two men departed and beleft him to Sir Kay, that scorned him and mocked him.
"The more he is of honour," said Fair-hands, "the more shall be my honour to have ado with him. Have no doubt, damsel, by the grace of God I shall so deal with this knight that within two hours after noon I shall overcome him, and then shall we come to the siege of your lady's castle seven miles hence by daylight."
And so he put away his spear with his sword, and with a foin thrust him through the side, so that Sir Kay fell down as if he were dead. Then Fair-hands alighted down and took Sir Kay's shield and his spear, had his dwarf mount upon Sir Kay's horse, and started upon his own horse and rode his way. All this Sir Launcelot saw, and so did the damsel.
When Sir Fair-hands heard him say thus, he said, "Sir knight, thou art full generous with my horse and my harness; I let thee know it cost thee naught, and whether thou like it or not, this lawn will I pass, and neither horse nor harness gettest thou of me, except as thou win them with thy hands.
And an earl buckled his helm upon his head, and then they brought him a red steed, and so he rode into a little vale under the castle, that all that were in the castle and at the siege might behold the battle. Sir Fair-hands looked up at a window of the castle, and there he saw the Lady Liones, the fairest lady, it seemed to him, that ever he looked upon.
And when they came near the siege Sir Fair-hands espied upon great trees, as he rode, how there hung goodly armed knights by the necks, nigh forty of them, their shields about their necks with their swords. These were knights that had come to the siege to rescue Dame Liones, and had been overcome and put to this shameful death by the Red Knight of the Red Lawns.
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