The Celtic Literature Collective

Gereint and Enid

Part Two

Then came the little Earl and his hosts to Geraint, and saluted him, and bad him to his castle. "I may not go," said Geraint, "but where I was last night, there will I be to-night also."

"Since thou wilt none of my inviting, thou shalt have abundance of all that I can command for thee, in the place thou wast last night. And I will order ointment for thee, to recover thee from thy fatigues, and from the weariness that is upon thee."

"Heaven reward thee," said Geraint, "and I will go to my lodging." And thus went Geraint, and Earl Ynywl, and his wife, and his daughter. And when they reached the chamber, the household servants and attendants of the young Earl had arrived at the Court, and they arranged all the houses, dressing them with straw and with fire; and in a short time the ointment was ready, and Geraint came there, and they washed his head. Then came the young Earl, with forty honourable knights from among his attendants, and those who were bidden to the tournament. And Geraint came from the anointing. And the Earl asked him to go to the hall to eat. "Where is the Earl Ynywl," said Geraint, "and his wife, and his daughter?"

"They are in the chamber yonder," said the Earl's chamberlain, arraying themselves in garments which the Earl has caused to be brought for them."

"Let not the damsel array herself," said he, "except in her vest and her veil, until she come to the Court of Arthur, to be clad by Gwenhwyvar, in such garments as she may choose." So the maiden did not array herself.

Then they all entered the hall, and they washed, and went, and sat down to meat. And thus were they seated. On one side of Geraint sat the young Earl, and Earl Ynywl beyond him; and on the other side of Geraint were the maiden and her mother, And after these all sat according to their precedence in honour. And they ate. And they were served abundantly, and they received a profusion of divers kind of gifts. Then they conversed together. And the young Earl invited Geraint to visit him next day. "I will not, by Heaven," said Geraint. "To the Court of Arthur will I go with this maiden to-morrow. And it is enough for me, as long as Earl Ynywl is in poverty and trouble; and I go chiefly to seek to add to his maintenance."

"Ah, chieftain," said the young Earl. "it is not by my fault that Earl Ynywl is without his possessions."

"By my faith," said Geraint, "he shall not remain without them, unless death quickly takes me hence."

"Oh, chieftain," said he, "with regard to the disagreement between me and Ynywl, I will gladly abide by thy counsel, and agree to what thou mayest judge right between us."

"I but ask thee," said Geraint, "to restore to him what is his, and what he should have received from the time he lost his possessions, even until this day."

"That I will do gladly, for thee," answered he. "Then," said Geraint, " whosoever is here who owes homage to Ynywl, let him come forward, and perform it on the spot." And all the men did so. And by that treaty they abided. And his castle, and his town, and all his possessions, were restored to Ynywl. And he received back all that he had lost, even to the smallest jewel.

Then spoke Earl Ynywl to Geraint. "Chieftain," said he, "behold the maiden for whom thou didst challenge at the tournament, I bestow her upon thee." "She shall go with me," said Geraint, "to the Court of Arthur; and Arthur and Gwenhwyvar they shall dispose of her as they will." And the next day they proceeded to Arthur's Court. So far concerning Geraint.

Now, this is how Arthur hunted the stag. The men and the dogs were divided into hunting parties, and the dogs were let loose upon the stag. And the last dog that was let loose was the favourite dog of Arthur. Cavall was his name. And he left all the other dogs behind him, and turned the stag. And at the second turn, the stag came towards the hunting party of Arthur. And Arthur set upon him. And before he could be slain by any other, Arthur cut off his head. Then they sounded the death horn for slaying, and they all gathered round.

Then came Kadyriaith to Arthur, and spoke to him. "Lord," said he, "behold, yonder is Gwenhwyvar, and none with her save only one maiden."

"Command Gildas the son of Caw, and all the scholars of the Court," said Arthur, "to attend Gwenhwyvar to the palace." And they did so.

Then they all set forth holding converse together concerning the head of the stag, to whom it should be given. One wished that it should be given to the lady best beloved by him, and another to the lady whom he loved best. And all they of the household, and the knights, disputed sharply concerning the head. And with that they came to the palace. And when Arthur and Gwenhwyvar heard them disputing about the head of the stag, Gwenhwyvar said to Arthur, "My lord, this is my counsel concerning the stag's head; let it not be given away until Geraint the son of Erbin return from the errand he is upon." And Gwenhwyvar told Arthur what that errand was.

"Right gladly shall it be so," said Arthur. And thus it was settled. And the next day Gwenhwyvar caused a watch to be set upon the ramparts for Geraint's coming. And after mid-day they beheld an unshapely little man upon a horse, and after him, as they supposed, a dame or a damsel, also on horseback, and after her a knight of large stature, bowed down, and hanging his head low and sorrowfully, and clad in broken and worthless armour.

And before they came near to the gate, one of the watch went to Gwenhwyvar, and told her what kind of people they saw, and what aspect they bore. "I know not who they are," said he.

"But I know," said Gwenhwyvar; "this is the knight whom Geraint pursued, and methinks that he comes not here by his own free will. But Geraint has overtaken him, and avenged the insult to the maiden to the uttermost." And thereupon, behold a porter came to the spot where Gwenhwyvar was.

"Lady," said he, "at the gate there is a knight, and I saw never a man of so pitiful an aspect to look upon as he. Miserable and broken is the armour that he wears, and the hue of blood is more conspicuous upon it than its own colour."

"Knowest thou his name?" said she.

"I do," said he; "he tells me that he is Edeyrn the Son of Nudd."

Then she replied, "I know him not."

So Gwenhwyvar went to the gate to meet him, and he entered. And Gwenhwyvar was sorry when she saw the condition he was in, even though he was accompanied by the churlish dwarf. Then Edeyrn saluted Gwenhwyvar. "Heaven protect thee," said she. "Lady," said he, "Geraint the son of Erbin, thy best and most valiant servant, greets thee."

"Did he meet thee?" she asked.

"Yes," said he, "and it was not to my advantage; and that was not his fault, but mine, Lady. And Geraint greets thee well; and in greeting thee he compelled me to come hither to do thy pleasure for the insult which thy maiden received from the dwarf. He forgives the insult to himself, in consideration of his having put me in peril of my life. And he imposed on me a condition, manly, and honourable, and warrior-like, which was to do thee justice, Lady."

"Now, where did he overtake thee?"

"At the place where we were jousting, and contending for the Sparrow-Hawk, in the town which is now called Cardiff. And there were none with him save three persons, of a mean and tattered condition. And these were an aged, hoary-headed man, and a woman advanced in years, and a fair young maiden, clad in worn-out garments. And it was for the avouchment of the love of that maiden that Geraint jousted for the Sparrow-Hawk at the tournament, for he said that that maiden was better entitled to the Sparrow-Hawk than this maiden who was with me. And thereupon we encountered each other, and he left me, Lady, as thou seest."

"Sir," said she, "when thinkest thou that Geraint will be here?" "To-morrow, Lady, I think he will be here with the maiden."

Then Arthur came to him, and he saluted Arthur; and Arthur gazed a long time upon him, and was amazed to see him thus. And thinking that he knew him, he inquired of him, "Art thou Edeyrn the son of Nudd?"

"I am, Lord," said he, "and I have met with much trouble, and received wounds unsupportable." Then he told Arthur all his adventure.

"Well," said Arthur, "from what I hear, it behoves Gwenhwyvar to be merciful towards thee."

"The mercy which thou desirest, Lord," said she, "will I grant to him, since it is as insulting to thee that an insult should be offered to me as to thyself."

"Thus will it be best to do," said Arthur; "let this man have medical care until it be known whether he may live. And if he live, he shall do such satisfaction as shall be judged best by the men of the Court; and take thou sureties to that effect. And if he die, too much will be the death of such a youth as Edeyrn for an insult to a maiden."

"This pleases me," said Gwenhwyvar. And Arthur became surety for Edeyrn, and Caradawc the son of Llyr, Gwallawg the son of Llenawg, and Owain the son of Nudd, and Gwalchmai, and many others with them. And Arthur caused Morgan Tud to be called to him. He was the chief physician. Take with thee Edeyrn the son of Nudd, and cause a chamber to be prepared for him, and let him have the aid of medicine as thou wouldest do unto myself, if I were wounded, and let none into his chamber to molest him, but thyself and thy disciples, to administer to him remedies."

"I will do so, gladly, Lord," said Morgan Tud. Then said the steward of the household,

"Whither is it right, Lord, to order the maiden?"

"To Gwenhwyvar and her handmaidens," said he. And the steward of the household so ordered her. Thus far concerning them.

The next day came Geraint towards the Court; and there was a watch set on the ramparts by Gwenhwyvar, lest he should arrive unawares. And one of the watch came to the place where Gwenhwyvar was. "Lady," said he, "methinks that I see Geraint, and the maiden with him. He is on horseback, but he has his walking gear upon him, and the maiden appears to be in white, seeming to be clad in a garment of linen."

"Assemble all the women," said Gwenhwyvar, "and come to meet Geraint, to welcome him, and wish him joy." And Gwenhwyvar went to meet Geraint and the maiden. And when Geraint came to the place where Gwenhwyvar was, he saluted her. "Heaven prosper thee," said she, "and welcome to thee. And thy career has been successful, and fortunate, and resistless, and glorious. And Heaven reward thee, that thou hast so proudly caused me to have retribution."

"Lady," said he, "I earnestly desired to obtain thee satisfaction according to thy will; and, behold, here is the maiden through whom thou hadst thy revenge."

"Verily," said Gwenhwyvar, "the welcome of Heaven be unto her; and it is fitting that we should receive her joyfully." Then they went in, and dismounted. And Geraint came to where Arthur was, and saluted him.

"Heaven protect thee," said Arthur, "and the welcome of Heaven be unto thee. And since Edeyrn the son of Nudd has received his overthrow and wounds from thy hands, thou hast had a prosperous career."

"Not upon me be the blame," said Geraint, "it was through the arrogance of Edeyrn the son of Nudd himself that we were not friends. I would not quit him until I knew who he was, and until the one had vanquished the other."

"Now," said Arthur, "where is the maiden for whom I heard thou didst give challenge?"

"She is gone with Gwenhwyvar to her chamber."

Then went Arthur to see the maiden. And Arthur, and all his companions, and his whole Court, were glad concerning the maiden. And certain were they all, that had her array been suitable to her beauty, they had never seen a maid fairer than she. And Arthur gave away the maiden to Geraint. And the usual bond made between two persons was made between Geraint and the maiden, and the choicest of all Gwenhwyvar's apparel was given to the maiden; and thus arrayed, she appeared comely and graceful to all who beheld her. And that day and that night were spent in abundance of minstrelsy, and ample gifts of liquor, and a multitude of games. And when it was time for them to go to sleep, they went. And in the chamber where the couch of Arthur and Gwenhwyvar was, the couch of Geraint and Enid was prepared. And from that time she became his bride. And the next day Arthur satisfied all the claimants upon Geraint with bountiful gifts. And the maiden took up her abode in the palace; and she had many companions, both men and women, and there was no maiden more esteemed than she in the Island of Britain.

Then spake Gwenhwyvar. "Rightly did I judge," said she, "concerning the head of the stag, that it should not be given to any until Geraint's return; and, behold here is a fit occasion for bestowing it. Let it be given to Enid the daughter of Ynywl, the most illustrious maiden. And I do not believe that any will begrudge it her, for between her and every one here there exists nothing but love and friendship." Much applauded was this by them all, and by Arthur also. And the head of the stag was given to Enid. And thereupon her fame increased, and her friends thenceforward became more in number than before. And Geraint from that time forth loved the stag, and the tournament, and hard encounters; and he came victorious from them all. And a year, and a second, and a third, he proceeded thus, until his fame had flown over the face of the kingdom.

On to Part Three--

Back to the Mabinogion
Back to Welsh Texts
Back to CLC