Child Christopher and Goldilind the Fair

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(1834 - 1896)
William Morris (24 March 1834 – 3 October 1896) was a British textile designer, poet, novelist, translator and socialist activist associated with the British Arts and Crafts Movement. He was a major contributor to the revival of traditional British textile arts and methods of production. His literary contributions helped to establish the modern fantasy genre, while he helped win acceptance of socialism in fin de siècle Great Britain. (From : Wikipedia.org.)

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Child Christopher and Goldilind the Fair

From : Marxists.org

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This document contains 38 sections, with 48,511 words or 259,394 characters.

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Of old there was a land which was so much a woodland, that a minstrel thereof said it that a squirrel might go from end to end, and all about, from tree to tree, and never touch the earth: therefore was that land called Oakenrealm. The lord and king thereof was a stark man, and so great a warrior that in his youth he took no delight in aught else save battle and tourneys. But when he was hard on forty years old, he came across a daughter of a certain lord, whom he had vanquished, and his eyes bewrayed him into longing, so that he gave back to the said lord the havings he had conquered of him that he might lay the maiden in his kingly bed. So he brought her home with him to Oakenrealm and wedded her. Tells the tale that he rued not his bargain, but loved her so dearly that for a year round he wore no armor, save when she bade him play in the tilt-yard for her desport and pride. So wore the days till she went with child and was near her time, and... (From : Marxists.org.)

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As for the King's son, to whom the folk had of late done homage as king, he was at first seen about a corner of the High House with his nurses; and then in a while it was said, and the tale noted, but not much, that he must needs go for his health's sake, and because he was puny, to some stead among the fields, and folk heard say that he was gone to the strong house of a knight somewhat stricken in years, who was called Lord Richard the Lean. The said house was some twelve miles from Oakenham, not far from the northern edge of the wild-wood. But in a while, scarce more than a year, Lord Richard brake up house at the said castle, and went southward through the forest. Of this departure was little said, for he was not a man among the foremost. As for the King's little son, if any remembered that he was in the hands of the said Lord Richard, none said aught about it; for if any thought of the little babe at all, they said to themselves, Never will he come to be king. (From : Marxists.org.)

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Tells the tale that in the country which lay south of Oakenrealm, and was called Meadham, there was in these days a king whose wife was dead, but had left him a fair daughter, who was born some four years after King Christopher. A good man was this King Roland, mild, bounteous, and no regarder of persons in his justice; and well-beloved he was of his folk: yet could not their love keep him alive; for, whenas his daughter was of the age of twelve years, he sickened unto death; and so, when he knew that his end drew near, he sent for the wisest of his wise men, and they came unto him sorrowing in the High House of his chiefest city, which hight Meadhamstead. So he bade them sit down nigh unto his bed, and took up the word and spake: "Masters, and my good lords, ye may see clearly that a sundering is at hand, and that I must needs make a long journey, whence I shall come back never; now I would, and am verily of duty bound thereto, that I leave behind me some good orde... (From : Marxists.org.)

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AMID of all his other business Earl Geoffrey bethought him in a while of the dead King's daughter, and he gave her in charge to a gentlewoman, somewhat stricken in years, a widow of high lineage, but not over wealthy. She dwelt in her own house in a fair valley some twenty miles from Meadhamstead: thereabode Goldilind till a year and a half was worn, and had due observance, but little love, and not much kindness from the said gentlewoman, who hight Dame Elinor Leashowe. Howbeit, time and again came knights and ladies and lords to see the little lady, and kissed her hand and did obeisance to her; yet more came to her in the first three months of her sojourn at Leashowe than the second, and more in the second than the third. At last, on a day when the said year and a half was fully worn, thither came Earl Geoffrey with a company of knights and men-at-arms, and he did obeisance, as due was, to his master's daughter, and then spake awhile privily with Dame Elinor; and the... (From : Marxists.org.)

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But a little while tarried the Earl Geoffrey at Leashowe, but departed next morning and came to Meadhamstead. A month thereafter came folk from him to Leashowe, to wit, the new meney for the new abode of Goldilind; among whom was a goodly band of men-at-arms, led by an old lord pinched and peevish of face, who kneeled to Goldilind as the new burgreve of Greenharbour; and a chaplain, a black canon, young, broad-cheeked and fresh-looking, but hard-faced and unlovely; three new damsels withal were come for the young Queen, not young maids, but stalworth women, well-grown, and two of them hard-featured; the third, tall, black-haired, and a goodly-fashioned body. Now when these were come, who were all under the rule of Dame Elinor, there was no gainsaying the departure to the new home; and in two days' time they went their ways from Leashowe. But though Goldilind was young, she was wise, and her heart misgave her, when she was amid this new meney, that she was not riding... (From : Marxists.org.)

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Now this same summer, when King Christopher was of twenty years and two, Rolf the Marshal, sleeping one noontide in the King's garden at Oakenham, dreamed a dream. For himseemed that there came through the garth-gate a woman fair and tall, and clad in naught but oaken-leaves, who led by the hand an exceeding goodly young man of twenty summers, and his visage like to the last battle-dead King of Oakenrealm when he was a young man. And the said woman led the swain up to the Marshal, who asked in his mind what these two were: and the woman answered his thought and said: "I am the Woman of the Woods, and the Landwight of Oakenrealm; and this lovely lad whose hand I hold is my King and thy King and the King of Oakenrealm. Wake, fool--wake! and look to it what thou wilt do!" And therewith he woke up crying out, and drew forth his sword. But when he was fully awakened, he was ashamed, and went into the hall, and sat in his high-seat, and strove to think out of his troubl... (From : Marxists.org.)

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Next morning Christopher, who slept in the little hall of the inner court of the Castle, arose betimes, and came to the great gate; but, for as early as he was, there he saw the squire Simon abiding him, standing between two strong horses; to him he gave the sele of the day, and the squire greeted him, but in somewhat surly wise. Then he said to him: "Well, King Christopher, art thou ready for the road?" "Yea, as thou seest," said the youngling smiling. For, indeed, he had breeches now beneath his shirt, and a surcoat of green woolen over it; boots of deerskin had he withal, and spurs thereon: he was girt with a short sword, and had a quiver of arrows at his back, and bare a great bow in his hand. "Yea," quoth Simon, "thou deemest thee a gay swain belike; but thou lookest likelier for a deerstealer than a rider, thou, hung up to thy shooting-gear. Deemest thou we go a-hunting of the hind?" Quoth Christopher: "I wot not, squire; but the great... (From : Marxists.org.)

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When they arose in the sunshine, Simon went straightway to see to the horses, while Christopher stayed by the fire to dight their victuals; he was merry enough, and sang to himself the while; but when Simon came back again, Christopher looked on him sharply, but for a while Simon would not meet his eye, though he asked divers questions of him concerning little matters, as though he were fain to hear Christopher's voice; at last he raised his eyes, and looked on him steadily, and then Christopher said: "Well, wayfarer mine, and whither away this morning?" Said Simon: "As thou wottest, to the Long Pools." Said the lad: "Well, thou keepest thy tidings so close, that I will ask thee no more till we come to the Long Pools; since there, forsooth, thou must needs tell me; unless we sunder company there, whereof I were naught grieving." "Mayhappen thou shalt fare a long way to-day," muttered Simon. But the lad cried out aloud, while his eye... (From : Marxists.org.)

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Now as to Squier Simon, whether the devil helped him, or his luck, or were it his own cunning and his, horse's stoutness, we wot not; but in any case he fell not in with Ralph Longshanks and Anthony Green, but rode as far and as fast as his horse would go, and then lay down in the wild-wood; and on the morrow arose and went his ways, and came in the even to the Castle of the Uttermost March, and went on thence the morrow after on a fresh horse to Oakenham. There he made no delay but went straight to the High House, and had privy speech of the Earl Marshal; and him he told how he had smitten Christopher, and, as he deemed, slain him. The Earl Marshal looked on him grimly and said: "Where is the ring then?" "I have it not," said Simon. "How might I light down to take it, when the seven sons were hard on us?" And therewith he told him all the tale, and how he had risen to slay Christopher the even before; and how he had found out after that the youngling had become gu... (From : Marxists.org.)

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Christopher was six weeks ere he could come and go as he was wont; but it was but a few days ere he was well enough to tell his tale to Jack of the Tofts and his seven bold sons; and they cherished him and made much of him, and so especially did David, the youngest son, to his board-fellow and troth-brother. On a day when he was well-nigh whole, as he sat under an oak-tree nigh the house, in the cool of the evening, Jack of the Tofts came to him and sat beside him, and made him tell his tale to him once more, and when he was done he said to him: "Foster-son, for so I would have thee deem of thyself, what is the thing that thou rememberest earliest in thy days?" Said Christopher: "A cot without the Castle walls at the Uttermost Marches, and a kind woman therein, big, sandy-haired, and freckled, and a lad that was white-haired and sturdy, somewhat bigger than I. And I mind me standing up against the door-post of the cot and seeing men-at-arms riding by in w... (From : Marxists.org.)

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In about a week's time from this, those four fellows went their ways southward from the Tofts, having with them four good nags and four sumpter beasts laden with such things as they needed, whereof were weapons enough, though they all, save Christopher, bare bows; and he and the others were girt with swords, and a leash of good dogs followed them. Two milch kine also they drave with them. Merry they were all as they went their ways through the woods, but the gladness of Christopher was even past words; wherefore, after a little, he spake scarce at all, but sat in his saddle hearkening the tales and songs and jests of his fellows, who went close beside him, for more often they went a-foot than rode. And, forsooth, as the sweet morning wore, it seemed to him, so great was his joy, as if all the fair show of the greenery, and the boles of the ancient oaks, and the squirrels running from bough to bough, and the rabbits scuttling from under the bracken, and the hind leapi... (From : Marxists.org.)

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May was on the land now, and was come into its second week, and Goldilind awoke on a morn in the Castle of Greenharbour; but little did her eyes behold of the May, even when they were fully open; for she was lying, not in her own chamber, which was proper, and even somewhat stately, and from whence she could look on the sky and greenwood, but in a chamber low down amid the footings of the wall, little lighted, unadorned, with naught in it for sport or pleasure; naught, forsooth, save the pallet bed on which she lay, a joint stool and water ewer. To be short, though it were called the Least Guard-chamber, it was a prison, and she was there dreeing her penance, as Dame Elinor would call the cruelty of her malice, which the chaplain, Dame Elinor's led captain, had ordained her for some sin which the twain had forged between them. She lay there naked in her smock, with no raiment anigh her, and this was the third morning whereon she had awakened to the dusky bare walls, a... (From : Marxists.org.)

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Now, as she went in that garden with her face turned toward the postern which led into the open space of the greenwood, which was but two bow-shots from the thicket, she heard the clatter of horse-hoofs on the loose stones of the path, and how they stopped at the said postern; and presently there was a key in the lock, the door opened, and a man came in walking stiffly, like a rider who has ridden far and fast. He was clad in jack and sallet, and had a sword by his side, and on his sleeve was done in green and gold a mountain aflame; so that Goldilind knew him at once for a man of Earl Geoffrey's; and, indeed, she had seen the man before, coming and going on errands that she knew naught of, and on which nothing followed that was of import to her. Therefore, as she watched him cross the garden and go straight up to the door of the Foresters' Tower, and take out another key and enter, she heeded him but little, nor did his coming increase her trouble a whit. She walked... (From : Marxists.org.)

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There then she stayed the horse, and, flushed and panting, got lightly into the saddle and bestrode it, and, leaning over on the beast's neck, smote his flanks with her heels; the horse was fresh, though his master had been weary, whereas the said messenger had gotten him from a forester some six miles away in the wood that morning, so the nag answered to her call for speed, and she went a great gallop into the wood, and was hidden in a twinkling from any eyes that might be looking out of the Castle. Without checking the nag she sped along, half mad with joy at the freedom of this happy morn. Nigh aimless she was, but had an inkling that it were well with her if she could hold northward ever; for the old man aforesaid had told her of Oakenrealm, and how it lay northward of them; so that way she drifted as the thicket would suffer her. When she had gone as much of a gallop as she might for some half hour, she drew rein to breathe her nag, and hearkened; she turned in... (From : Marxists.org.)

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Goldilind rode on, hastening yet to put as many miles as she might betwixt her and Greenharbour. Within a three hours from her bathing she fell a-hungering sore, and knew not what to do to eat, till she found a pouch made fast to the saddle-bow, and therein a little white loaf, that and no more, which she took and ate the half of with great joy, sitting down by a brook-side, whence she had her drink. Then again she mounted, and rode on till dusk overtook her just as she came to a little river running from the north from pool to shallow, and shallow to pool. And whereas she was now exceeding weary, and the good horse also much spent, and that the grass was very sweet and soft down to the water's edge, and that there was a thick thorn-bush to cover her, she made up her mind that this place should be her bed-chamber. So she took saddle and bridle off the horse, as he must needs bite the grass, and then when she had eaten the other half of her bread, she laid her down o... (From : Marxists.org.)

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When she awoke it was broad day and bright sun, and she rose up to her feet and looked about, and saw the horse standing close by, and sharing the shade with her, whisking his tail about lazily. Then she turned, and saw the stream rippling out from the pool over the clean gravel, and here and there a fish darting through the ripple, or making clean rings on the pool as he quietly took a fly; the sky was blue and clear, there was scarce a breath of air, and the morning was already hot; no worse than yesterday sang the birds in the bushes; but as she looked across the river, where, forsooth, the alders grew thick about the pool's edge, a cock blackbird, and then another, flew out from the close boughs, where they had been singing to their mates, with the sharp cry that they use when they are frighted. Withal she saw the bush move, though, as aforesaid, the morning was without wind. She had just stooped to do off her foot-gear (for she was minded to bathe again), but now she stop... (From : Marxists.org.)

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They rode speedily, and had with them men who knew the woodland ways, so that the journey was naught so long thence as Goldilind had made it thither; and they stayed not for nightfall, since the moon was bright, so that they came before the Castle-gate before midnight. Now Goldilind looked to be cast into prison, whatever might befall her upon the morrow; but so it went not, for she was led straight to her own chamber, and one of her women, but not Aloyse, waited on her, and when she tried to have some tidings of her, the woman spake to her no more than if she were dumb. So all unhappily she laid her down in her bed, foreboding the worst, which she deemed might well be death at the hand of her jailers. As for Christopher, she saw the last of him as they entered the Castle-gate, and knew not what they had done with him. So she lay in dismal thoughts, but at last fell asleep for mere weariness. When she awoke it was broad day, and there was someone going about in the... (From : Marxists.org.)

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But a little while had she sat there, before footsteps a many came to the door, which was thrown open, and straight it was as if the sun had shone on a flower-bed, for there was come Earl Geoffrey and his lords all arrayed most gloriously. Then came the Earl up the chamber to Goldilind, and bent the knee before her, and said: "Lady and Queen, is it thy pleasure that thy servant should kiss thine hand?" She made him little cheer, but reached out to him her lily hand in its gold sleeve, and said: "Thou must do thy will." So he kissed the hand reverently, and said: "And these my lords, may they enter and do obeisance and kiss hands, my Lady?" Said Goldilind: "I will not strive to gainsay their will, or thine, my Lord." So they entered and knelt before her, and kissed her hand; and, to say sooth, most of them had been fain to kiss both hands of her, yea, and her cheeks and her lips; though but little cheer she made them, but looked ste... (From : Marxists.org.)

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Now it is to be said that the Earl had had much tidings told him of Christopher, and had no intent to put him to death, but rather meant to take him into the company of his guard, to serve him in all honor; and that which he said as to hanging him was but to try Goldilind; but having heard and seen of her such as we have told, he now thought it good to have a privy talk with this young man. So he bade a squire lead him to where Christopher was held in ward, and went much pondering. So the squire brought him to the self-same Littlest Guardroom (in sooth a prison) where Goldilind had lain that other morn; and he gave the squire leave, and entered and shut the door behind him, so that he and Christopher were alone together. The young man was lying on his back on the pallet, with his hands behind his head, and his knees drawn up, murmuring some fag-end of an old song; but when he heard the door shut to he sat up, and, turning to the new-comer, said: "Art thou tidings? I... (From : Marxists.org.)

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Early on the morrow came the Earl unto Goldilind, and she received him gladly, as one who had fashioned life anew for her. And when he had sat down by her, he spake and said: "Lady, thou cravedst of me yesterday two things; the first was freedom from the captivity of Greenharbour; and the second, life and liberty for the varlet that cherished thee in the wild-wood the other day. Now thy first asking grieved me, for that thou hast been tyrannously done by; and thy second I wondered at; but since I have seen the young man, I wonder the less; for he is both so goodly, and so mighty of body, and of speech bold and free, yet gentle and of all courtesy, that he is meet to be knight or earl, yea, or very king. Now, therefore, in both these matters I will well to do thy pleasure, and in one way it may be; and thou mayst then go forth from Greenharbour as free as a bird, and thy varlet's life may be given unto him, and mickle honor therewith. Art thou, then, willing to do after my red... (From : Marxists.org.)

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Now were folk gathered in the hall, and the Earl Geoffrey was standing on the dais by the high-seat, and beside him a worthy clerk, the Abbot of Meadhamstead, a monk of St. Benedict, and next to him the Burgreve of Greenharbour, and then a score of knights all in brave raiment, and squires withal, and sergeants; but down in the hall were the men- at-arms and serving-men, and a half hundred of folk of the countryside, queans as well as carles, who had been gathered for the show and bidden in. No other women were there in the hall till Goldilind and her serving-women entered. She went straight up the hall, and took her place in the high-seat; and for all that her eyes seemed steady, she had noted Christopher standing by the shot-window just below the dais. Now when she was set down, and there was silence in the hall, Earl Geoffrey came forth and said: "Lords and knights, and ye good people, the Lady Goldilind, daughter of the Lord King Roland that last was, is now of... (From : Marxists.org.)

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They rode in silence a good way, and it was some three hours after noon, and the day as fair and bright as might be. Christopher held his peace for sweet shame that he was alone with a most fair maid, and she his own, and without defense against him. But she amid of her silence turned, now red, and now somewhat pale, and now and again she looked somewhat askance on him, and he deemed her looks were no kinder than they should be. At last she spake, yet not looking on him, and said: "So, Forester, now is done what I must needs do: thy life is saved, and I am quit of Greenharbour, and its prison, and its torments: whither away then?" Quoth he, all dismayed, for her voice was the voice of anger: "I wot not whither, save to the house thou hast blessed already with thy dear body." At that word she turned quite pale, and trembled, and spake not for a while, and smote her horse and hastened on the way, and he after her; but when he was come up with h... (From : Marxists.org.)

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Now awoke Goldilind when the morning was young and fresh, and she drew the mantle up over her shoulders; and as she did so, but half awake, she deemed she heard other sounds than the singing of the black-birds and throstles about the edge of the thicket, and she turned her eyes toward the oak trees and the hazel-thicket, and saw at once three of mankind coming on foot over the greensward toward her. She was afraid, so that she durst not put out a hand to awaken Christopher, but sat gazing on those three as they came toward her; she saw that two were tall men, clad much as Christopher; but presently she saw that there was a woman with them, and she took heart somewhat thereat; and she noted that one of the men was short-haired and dark-haired, and the other had long red hair falling about his shoulders; and as she put out her hand and laid it on Christopher's shoulder, the red-haired one looked toward her a moment under the sharp of his hand (for the sun was on their side), and t... (From : Marxists.org.)

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Ten days they abode in the house of Littledale in all good cheer, and Joanna led Goldilind here and there about the woods, and made much of her, so that the heart within her was full of joy, for the freedom of the wild-woods and all the life thereof was well-nigh new to her; whereas on the day of her flight from Greenharbour, and on two other such times, deadly fear, as is aforesaid, was mingled with her joyance, and would have drowned it utterly, but for the willfulness which hardened her heart against the punishment to come. But now she was indeed free, and it seemed to her, as to Christopher when he was but new healed of his hurt, as if all this bright beauty of tree and flower, and beast and bird, was but made for her alone, and she wondered that her fellow could be so calm and sedate amid of all this pleasure. And now, forsooth, was her queenhood forgotten, and better and better to her seemed Christopher's valiant love; and the meeting in the hall of the eventide was so sw... (From : Marxists.org.)

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Next morning, while the day was yet young, they rode together, all of them, the nighest way to the Tofts, for they knew the wood right well. Again they slept one night under the bare heavens, and, rising betimes on the morrow, came out under the Tofts some four hours after high noon, on as fair and calm a day of early summer as ever was seen. They rode up straight to the door of the great hall, and found but few folk about, and those mostly women and children; Jack was ridden abroad, they said, but they looked to see him back to supper, him and his sons, for he was no great way gone. Meantime, when they got off their horses, the women and children thronged round about them; and the children especially about Christopher, whom they loved much. The maidens, also, would not have him pass into the hall unkissed, though presently, after their faces had felt his lips, they fell a-staring and wondering at Goldilind, and when Christopher took her by the hand and ga... (From : Marxists.org.)

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Even therewith, and while the last word had but come to Christopher's ears, rang out the voice of Jack of the Tofts again, louder and clearer than before: and he said: "Men in this hall, I bear you tidings! The King of Oakenrealm is among us to-night." Then, forsooth, was the noise and the turmoil, and cries and shouts and clatter, and fists raised in air and weapons caught down from the wall, and the glitter of spear-points and gleam of fallow blades. For the name of Rolf, King of Oakenrealm, was to those woodmen as the name of the Great Devil of Hell, so much was he their unfriend and their dastard. But Jack raised up his hand, and cried: "Silence ye! Blow up, horns, The Hunt's Up!" Blared out the horns then, strong and fierce, under the hall-roof, and when they were done, there was more silence in the hall than in the summer night without; only the voice of the swords could not be utterly still, but yet tinkled and rang as hard came against hard here... (From : Marxists.org.)

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When morning was, there were horns sounding from the tower on the toft, and all men hastening in their war-gear to the topmost of the other toft, the bare one, whereon was no building; for thereon was ever the mote-stead of these woodmen. But men came not only from the stead and houses of the Tofts, but also from the woodland cots and dwellings anigh, of which were no few. And they that came there first found King Christopher sitting on the mound amid the mote-stead, and Jack of the Tofts and his seven sons sitting by him, and all they well-weaponed and with green coats over their hauberks; and they that came last found three hundreds of good men and true gathered there, albeit this was but the Husting of the Tofts. So when there were no more to come, then was the Mote hallowed, and the talk began; but short and sharp was their rede, for well did all men wot who had been in the hall the night before that there was now no time to lose. For though nigh all the men tha... (From : Marxists.org.)

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On the morrow early was Jack of the Tofts dight for departure, with Christopher and David and Gilbert and five score of his best men. But when they went out of the porch into the sweet morning, lo! there was Goldilind before them, clad in her green gown, and as fresh and dear as the early day itself. And Jack looked on her and said: "And thou, my Lady and Queen, thou art dight as thou wouldst wend with us?" "Yea," she said, "and why not?" "What sayest thou, King Christopher?" said the Captain. "Nay," said King Christopher, reddening, "it is for thee to yea-say or nay-say; though true it is that I have bidden her farewell for two days' space." And the two stood looking on one another. But Jack laughed and said: "Well, then, so be it; but let us get to the way, or else when the sweethearts of these lads know that we have a woman with us we shall have them all at our backs." Thereat all laughed who were within earshot, and were merry... (From : Marxists.org.)

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But they had not done their meat, and had scarce begun upon their drink, ere they saw three men come riding on the spur over the crown of the bent before them; these made no stay for aught, but rode straight through the ford of the river, as men who knew well where it was, and came on hastily toward the feasters by the wood-edge. Then would some have run to meet them, but Jack of the Tofts bade them abide till he had heard the tidings; whereas they needed not to run to their weapons, for, all of them, they were fully dight for war, save, it might be, the doing on of their sallets or basnets. But Jack and Christopher alone went forward to meet those men; and the foremost of them cried out at once: "I know thee, Jack of the Tofts! I know thee! Up and arm! up and arm! for the foemen are upon thee; and so choose thee whether thou wilt fight or flee." Quoth Jack, laughing: "I know thee also, Wat of Whiteend; and when thou hast told me how many and who be the foemen, we w... (From : Marxists.org.)

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Now thither cometh Jack o' the Tofts, and spake to Christopher: "See thou, lad--Lord King, I should say; this looketh not like very present battle, for they be stayed half way down the bent; and lo thou, some half score are coming forth from the throng with a white shield raised aloft. Do we in likewise, for they would talk with us." "Shall we trust them, father?" said Christopher. "Trust them we may, son," said Jack; "Gandolf is a violent man, and a lifter of other men's goods, but I deem not so evil of him as that he would bewray troth." So then they let do a white cloth over a shield and hoist it on a long spear, and straightway they gat to horse, Jack of the Tofts, and Christopher, and Haward of Whiteacre, and Gilbert, and a half score all told; and they rode straight down to the ford, which was just below the tail of the eyot aforesaid, and as they went, they saw the going of the others, who were by now hard on the waterside; and said Jack:... (From : Marxists.org.)

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So when Christopher was armed, Jack turned about speedily, and so gat him back through the ford and stood there on the bank with the nine other folk of the Tofts. And by this time was Gandolf of Brimside armed also, and Oliver Marson, who had done his helm on him, was gone to his side of the river. Drew the huge man-at-arms then toward Christopher, but his sword was yet in the sheath: Christopher set his point to the earth and abode him; and the Baron spake: "Lad, thou art fair and bold both, as I can see it, and Jack of the Tofts is so much an old foe of mine that he is well-nigh a friend: so what sayest thou? If thou wilt yield thee straightway, I will have both thine head and the outlaw's with me to King Rolf, but yet on your shoulders and ye two alive. Haps will go as haps will; and it maybe that ye shall both live for another battle, and grow wiser, and mayhappen abide in the wood with the reiver's men. Ha? What sayest thou?" Christopher laughed and... (From : Marxists.org.)

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Now Jack of the Tofts said a word to one of his men, and he rode straightway up into the field under the wood, and spake to three of the captains of the folk, and they ranked a hundred of the men, of those who were best dight, and upraised among them the banner of Oakenrealm, and led all them down to the river bank; and with these must needs go Goldilind; and when they came down thither, Christopher and Jack were there on the bank to hail them, and they raised a great shout when they saw their King and their Earl standing there, and the shout was given back from the wood-side; and then the men of Brimside took it up, for they had heard the bidding of their Lord, and he was now in a pavilion which they had raised for him on the mead, and the leeches were looking to his hurts; and they feared him, but rather loved than hated him, and he was more to them than the King in Oakenrealm and they were all ready to do his will. But as to Goldilind, her mind it had been, as she w... (From : Marxists.org.)

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That night, though there was some little coming and going between the Tofters and the Brimsiders, yet either flock slept on their own side of the river. Moreover, before the midst of the night, cometh David to the wood-side, and had with him all men defensible of the Tofts and the houses thereabout, and most of the women also many of whom bore spear or bow, so that now by the wood-side, what with them of the Tofts and the folk who joined them thereto from the country-side about Hazeldale, there were well-nigh ten hundreds of folk under weapons; and yet more came in the night through; for the tidings of the allegiance of Brimside was spreading full fast. Betimes on the morrow was King Christopher afoot, and he and Jack and David and Gilbert, and they twelve in company, went down to the banner by the water-side; and to them presently came Oliver Marson and ten other of the captains of Brimside, and did them to wit that the Baron were fain if they would come to his pavil... (From : Marxists.org.)

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When morning was, the captains came to King Christopher to council: but while they were amid of their talk came the word that the foe was anigh and come close to the river-bank; whereat was none abashed; but to all it seemed wisdom to abide them on the vantage-ground. So then there was girding of swords and doing on of helms; as for ordering of the folk, it was already done, for all the host was ranked on the bent-side, with the banner of Oakenrealm in the midst; on its left hand the banner of the Tofts, and on the right the banner of Brimside. Now when Christopher was come to his place, he looked down and saw how the foemen were pouring over the river, for it was nowhere deep, and there were four quite shallow fords: many more were they than his folk, but he deemed that they fared somewhat tumultuously; and when the bowmen of the Tofts began shooting, the foemen, a many of them, stayed amid of the river to bend bow in their turn, and seemed to think that were nigh e... (From : Marxists.org.)

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When morning was, and it was yet early, the town was all astir and the gates were thrown open, and weaponed men thronged into it crying out for Christopher the King. Then the King came forth, and Jack o' the Tofts and his sons, and Oliver Marson, and the captains of Brimside; and the host was blown together to the market-place, and there was a new tale of them taken, and they were now hard on seventy hundreds of men. So then were new captains appointed, and thereafter they tarried not save to eat a morsel, but went out a-gates faring after the banners to Oakenrealm, all folk blessing them as they went. Naught befell them of evil that day, but ever fresh companies joined them on the road; and they gat harbor in another walled town, hight Sevenham, and rested there in peace that night, and were now grown to eighty hundreds. Again on the morrow they were on the road betimes, and again much folk joined them, and they heard no tidings of any foeman faring agains... (From : Marxists.org.)

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But on the morrow the first man who came to the King was the man-at-arms aforesaid; and he told that he had done the King's errand, and ridden a five miles on the road to Oakenham before he had left the horse with his felon load, and that he had found naught stirring all that way when he had passed through their own out-guards, where folk knew him and let him go freely. "And," quoth he, "it is like enough that this gift to Oakenham, Lord King, has by now come to the gate thereof." Then the King gave that man the gold which he had promised, and he kissed the King's hand and went his ways a happy man. Thereafter sent Christopher for Jack of the Tofts, and told him in few words what had betid, and that Rolf the traitor was dead. Then spake Jack: "King and fosterling, never hath so mighty a warrior as thou waged so easy a war for so goodly a kingdom as thou hast done; for surely thy war was ended last night, wherefore will we straight to Oakenham, if so thou wilt. But... (From : Marxists.org.)

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It was in the morning when King Christopher arose, and Goldilind stood before him in the kingly chamber, that he clipped her and kissed her, and said: "This is the very chamber whence my father departed when he went to his last battle, and left my mother sickening with the coming birth of me. And never came he back hither, nor did mine eyes behold him ever. Here also lay my mother and gave birth to me, and died of sorrow, and her also I never saw, save with eyes that noted naught that I might remember. And my third kinsman was the traitor, that cast me forth of mine heritage, and looked to it that I should wax up as a churl, and lose all hope of high deeds; and at the last he strove to slay me. "Therefore, sweet, have I no kindred, and none that are bound to cherish me, and it is for thee to take the place of them, and be unto me both father and mother, and brother and sister, and all kindred." She said: "My mother I never saw, and I was but little when... (From : Marxists.org.)

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GES the tale back now to the time when the kingship of Child Christopher was scarce more than one month old; and tells that as the King sat with his Queen in the cool of his garden on a morning of August, there came to him a swain of service, who did him to wit that an outland lord was come, and would see him and give him a message. So the King bade bring him in to the garden to him straight-way; so the man went, and came back again leading in a knight somewhat stricken in years, on whose green surcoat was beaten a golden lion. He came to those twain and did obeisance to them, but spake, as it seemed, to Goldilind alone: "Lady, and Queen of Meadham," said he, "it is unto thee, first of all, that mine errand is." Then she spoke and said: "Welcome to thee, Sir Castellan of Greenharbour, we shall hear thy words gladly." Said the new-comer: "Lady, I am no longer the Burgreve of Greenharbour, but Sir Guisebert, lord of the Green March, an... (From : Marxists.org.)

Chronology

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