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The Mill Henry van Dyke

How Martimor Bled for a Lady and Lived for a Maid, and how His Great Adventure Ended and Began at the Mill

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Then the courage came into his body, and with a great might he abraid upon his feet, and smote the black and yellow knight upon the helm by an overstroke so fierce that the sword sheared away the third part of his head, as it had been a rotten cheese. So he lay upon the bridge, and the blood ran out of him. And Martimor smote off the rest of his head quite, and cast it into the river. Likewise did he with the other twain that lay dead beyond the bridge. And he cried to Flumen, "Hide me these black eggs that hatched evil thoughts." So the river bore them away.

Then Martimor came into the Mill, all for-bled; "Now are ye free, lady," he cried, and fell down in a swoon. Then the Lady and the Maid wept full sore and made great dole and unlaced his helm; and Lirette cherished him tenderly to recover his life.

So while they were thus busied and distressed, came Sir Lancelot with a great company of knights and squires riding for to rescue the princess. When he came to the bridge all bedashed with blood, and the bodies of the knights headless, "Now, by my lady's name," said he, "here has been good fighting, and those three caitiffs are slain! By whose hand I wonder?"

So he came into the Mill, and there he found Martimor recovered of his swoon, and had marvellous joy of him, when he heard how he had wrought.

"Now are thou proven worthy of the noble order of knighthood," said Lancelot, and forthwith he dubbed him knight.

Then he said that Sir Martimor should ride with him to the court of King Pellinore, to receive a castle and a fair lady to wife, for doubtless the King would deny him nothing to reward the rescue of his daughter.

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But Martimor stood in a muse; then said he, "May a knight have his free will and choice of castles, where he will abide?"

"Within the law," said Lancelot, "and by the King's word he may."

"Then choose I the Mill," said Martimor, "for here will I dwell."

"Freely spoken," said Lancelot, laughing, "so art thou Sir Martimor of the Mill; no doubt the King will confirm it. And now what sayest thou of ladies?"

"May a knight have his free will and choice here also?" said he.

"According to his fortune," said Lancelot, "and by the lady's favour, he may."

"Well, then," said Sir Martimor, taking Lirette by the hand, "this Maid is to me liefer to have and to wield as my wife than any dame or princess that is christened."

"What, brother," said Sir Lancelot, "is the wind in that quarter? And will the Maid have thee?"

"I will well," said Lirette.

"Now are you well provided," said Sir Lancelot, "with knighthood, and a castle, and a lady. Lacks but a motto and a name for the Blue Flower in thy shield."

"He that names it shall never find it," said Sir Martimor, "and he that finds it needs no name."

So Lirette rejoiced Sir Martimor and loved together during their life-days; and this is the end and the beginning of the Story of the Mill.

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The Blue Flower
Henry van Dyke

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