The Roots of the Mountains

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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 :


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The Roots of the Mountains

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This document contains 60 sections, with 156,098 words or 846,153 characters.

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If The House of the Wolfings was an admiring reconstruction of old Germanic clan-based society as a self-contained world, The Roots of the Mountains shows the ability of that society to revitalize others. The "others" in this case are another Germanic people; one settled in small towns and villages in the valleys at the foot of the mountains. They are a people in the process of losing their past: the old clan organization is becoming rigid - though individuals are still elected to positions, those individuals are always members of one house - and while there are still no classes (in a time without war the thralls have disappeared rather than turning into a caste of serfs) there is the beginning of a division of labor by peoples: the Burgdalers, living by weaving, smithying, and trade with the outside world; the Woodlanders, hunters and carpenters, "freemen, yet as regards the Dalemen well-nigh their servants"; and the Shepherds. (From :

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Once upon a time amid the mountains and hills and falling streams of a fair land there was a town or thorp in a certain valley. This was well-nigh encompassed by a wall of sheer cliffs; toward the East and the great mountains they drew together till they went near to meet, and left but a narrow path on either side of a stony stream that came rattling down into the Dale: toward the river at that end the hills lowered somewhat, though they still ended in sheer rocks; but up from it, and more especially on the north side, they swelled into great shoulders of land, then dipped a little, and rose again into the sides of huge fells clad with pine-woods, and cleft here and there by deep ghylls: thence again they rose higher and steeper, and ever higher till they drew dark and naked out of the woods to meet the snow-fields and ice-rivers of the high mountains. But that was far away from the pass by the little river into the valley; and the said river was no drain from the snow-fields... (From :

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Tells the tale, that on an evening of late autumn when the weather was fair, calm, and sunny, there came a man out of the wood hard by the Mote-stead aforesaid, who sat him down at the roots of the Speech-mound, casting down before him a roe-buck which he had just slain in the wood. He was a young man of three and twenty summers; he was so clad that he had on him a sheep-brown kirtle and leggings of like stuff bound about with white leather thongs; he bore a short- sword in his girdle and a little ax withal; the sword with fair wrought gilded hilts and a dew-shoe of like fashion to its sheath. He had his quiver at his back and bare in his hand his bow unstrung. He was tall and strong, very fair of fashion both of limbs and face, white-skinned, but for the sun's tanning, and ruddy-cheeked: his beard was little and fine, his hair yellow and curling, cut somewhat close, but for its length so plenteous, and so thick, that none could fail to note it. He had no hat nor hood upon his... (From :

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Now Face-of-god, who is also called Gold-mane, rose up to meet the new-comers, and each of them greeted him kindly, and the Bride kissed him on the cheek, and he her in likewise; and he looked kindly on her, and took her hand, and went on up the hall to the dais, following his father and the old man; as for him, he was of the kindred of the House, and was foster-father of Iron-face and of his sons both; and his name was Stone-face: a stark warrior had he been when he was young, and even now he could do a man's work in the battlefield, and his understanding was as good as that of a man in his prime. So went these and four others up on to the dais and sat down before the thwart-table looking down the hall, for the meat was now on the board; and of the others there were some fifty men and women who were deemed to be of the kindred and sat at the endlong tables. So then the Alderman stood up and made the sign of the Hammer over the meat, the token of his craft and of his... (From :

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When it was the earliest morning and dawn was but just beginning, Face-of-god awoke and rose up from his bed, and came forth into the hall naked in his shirt, and stood by the hearth, wherein the piled- up embers were yet red, and looked about and could see nothing stirring in the dimness: then he fetched water and washed the night- tide off him, and clad himself in haste, and was even as he was yesterday, save that he left his bow and quiver in their place and took instead a short casting-spear; moreover he took a leathern scrip and went therewith to the buttery, and set therein bread and flesh and a little gilded beaker; and all this he did with but little noise; for he would not be questioned, lest he should have to answer himself as well as others. Thus he went quietly out of doors, for the door was but latched, since no bolts or bars or locks were used in Burgstead, and through the town-gate, which stood open, save when rumors of war were about. He turned his fac... (From :

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Now he plodded on steadily, and for a long time the forest changed but little, and of wild things he saw only a few of those that love the closest covert. The ground still went up and up, though at whiles were hollows, and steeper bents out of them again, and the half-blind path or slot still led past the close thickets and fallen trees, and he made way without let or hindrance. At last once more the wood began to thin, and the trees themselves to be smaller and gnarled and ill-grown: therewithal the day was waning, and the sky was quite clear again as the afternoon grew into a fair autumn evening. Now the trees failed altogether, and the slope grown steeper was covered with heather and ling; and looking up, he saw before him quite near by seeming in the clear even (though indeed they were yet far away) the snowy peaks flushed with the sinking sun against the frosty dark-gray eastern sky; and below them the dark rock-mountains, and below these again, and nigh to him... (From :

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A yard or two from the threshold Gold-mane hung back a moment, entangled in some such misgiving as a man is wont to feel when he is just about to do some new deed, but is not yet deep in the story; his new friends noted that, for they smiled each in their own way, and the woman drew her hand away from his. Face-of-god held out his still as though to take hers again, and therewithal he changed countenance and said as though he had stayed but to ask that question: 'Tell me thy name, tall man; and thou, fair woman, tell me thine; for how can we talk together else?' The man laughed outright and said: 'The young chieftain thinks that this house also should be his! Nay, young man, I know what is in thy thought, be not ashamed that thou art wary; and be assured! We shall hurt thee no more than thou hast been hurt. Now as to my name; the name that was born with me is gone: the name that was given me hath been taken from me: now I belike must give myself a nam... (From :

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So now went all men to bed; and Face-to-god's shut-bed was over against the outer door and toward the lower end of the hall, and on the panel about it hung the weapons and shields of men. Fair was that chamber and roomy, and the man was weary despite his eagerness, so that he went to sleep as soon as his head touched the pillow; but within a while (he deemed about two hours after midnight) he was awaked by the clattering of the weapons against the panel, and the sound of men's hands taking them down; and when he was fully awake, he heard withal men going up and down the house as if on errands: but he called to mind what the Friend had said to him, and he did not so much as turn himself toward the hall; for he said: 'Belike these men are outlaws and Wolves of the Holy Places, yet by seeming they are good fellows and naught churlish, nor have I to do with taking up the feud against them. I will abide the morning. Yet meseemeth that she drew me hither: for what cause?'... (From :

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Face-of-God went back through the wood by the way he had come, paying little heed to the things about him. For whatever he thought of strayed not one whit from the image of the Fair Woman of the Mountain-side. He went through the wood swiftlier than yesterday, and made no stay for noon or aught else, nor did he linger on the road when he was come into the Dale, either to speak to any or to note what they did. So he came to the House of the Face about dusk, and found no man within the hall either carle or queen. So he cried out on the folk, and there came in a damsel of the house, whom he greeted kindly and she him again. He bade her bring the washing-water, and she did so and washed his feet and his hands. She was a fair maid enough, as were most in the Dale, but he heeded her little; and when she was done he kissed not her cheek for her pains, as his wont was, but let her go her ways unthanked. But he went to his shut-bed and opened his chest, and drew fair raime... (From :

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Next morning Face-of-god dight himself for work, and took his ax; for his brother Hall-face had bidden him go down with him to the Yew- wood and cut timber there, since he of all men knew where to go straight to the sticks that would quarter best for bow-staves; whereas the Alderman had the right of hewing in that wood. So they went forth, those brethren, from the House of the Face, but when they were gotten to the gate, who should be there but the Bride awaiting them, and she with an ass duly saddled for bearing the yew-sticks. Because Hall-face had told her that he and belike Gold-mane were going to hew in the wood, and she thought it good to be of the company, as oft had befallen erst. When they met she greeted Face- of-god and kissed him as her wont was; and he looked upon her and saw how fair she was, and how kind and friendly were her eyes that beheld him, and how her whole face was eager for him as their lips parted. Then his heart failed him, when he knew that he no lon... (From :

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It was three days thereafter that Gold-mane, leading an ass, went along the highway to fetch home certain fleeces which were needed for the house from a stead a little west of Wildlake; but he had gone scant half a mile ere he fell in with a throng of folk going to Burgstead. They were of the Shepherds; they had weapons with them, and some were clad in coats of fence. They went along making a great noise, for they were all talking each to each at the same time, and seemed very hot and eager about some matter. When they saw Gold-mane anigh, they stopped, and the throng opened as if to let him into their midmost; so he mingled with them, and they stood in a ring about him and an old man more ill-favored than it was the wont of the Dalesmen to be. For he was long, stooping, gaunt and spindle-shanked, his hands big and crippled with gout: his cheeks were red after an old man's fashion, covered with a crimson network like a pippin; his lips thin and not well hiding his... (From :

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A week after the ransacking at Greentofts the snow and the winter came on in earnest, and all the Dale lay in snow, and men went on skids when they fared up and down the Dale or on the Mountain. All was now tidingless till Yule over, and in Burgstead was there feasting and joyance enough; and especially at the House of the Face was high-tide holden, and the Alderman and his sons and Stone-face and all the kindred and all their men sat in glorious attire within the hall; and many others were there of the best of the kindreds of Burgstead who had been bidden. Face-of-god sat between his father and Stone-face; and he looked up and down the tables and the hall and saw not the Bride, and his heart misgave him because she was not there, and he wondered what had befallen and if she were sick of sorrow. But Iron-face beheld him how he gazed about, and he laughed; for he was exceeding merry that night and fared as a young man. Then he said to his son: 'W... (From :

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Early on the morrow Gold-mane arose and clad himself and went out-a- doors and over the trodden snow on to the bridge over the Weltering Water, and there betook himself into one of the coins of safety built over the up-stream piles; there he leaned against the wall and turned his face to the Thorp, and fell to pondering on his case. And first he thought about his oath, and how that he had sworn to wed the Mountain Woman, although his kindred and her kindred should gainsay him, yea and herself also. Great seemed that oath to him, yet at that moment he wished he had made it greater, and made all the kindred, yea and the Bride herself, sure of the meaning of the words of it: and he deemed himself a dastard that he had not done so. Then he looked round him and beheld the winter, and he fell into mere longing that the spring were come and the token from the Mountain. Things seemed too hard for him to deal with, and he between a mighty folk and two wayward women; and he went nigh to... (From :

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When they came into the Hall, the hearth-fire had been quickened, and the sleepers on the floor had been wakened, and all folk were astir. So the old man sat down by the hearth while Gold-mane busied himself in fetching wood and water, and in sweeping out the Hall, and other such works of the early morning. In a little while Hall-face and the other young men and warriors were afoot duly clad, and the Alderman came from his chamber and greeted all men kindly. Soon meat was set upon the boards, and men broke their fast; and day dawned while they were about it, and ere it was all done the sun rose clear and golden, so that all men knew that the day would be fair, for the frost seemed hard and enduring. Then the eager young men and the hunters, and those who knew the mountain best drew together about the hearth, and fell to talking of the hunting of the elk; and there were three there who knew both the woods and also the fells right up to the ice-rivers better than any o... (From :

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But it must be told of Gold-mane that what had befallen him was in this wise. His skid-strap brake in good sooth, and he stayed to mend it; but when he had done what was needful, he looked up and saw no man nigh, what for the drift, and that they had gone on somewhat; so he rose to his feet, and without more delay, instead of keeping on toward the elk-ground and the way his face had been set, he turned himself north-and-by-east, and went his ways swiftly towards that airt, because he deemed that it might lead him to the Mountain-hall where he had guested. He abode not for the storm to clear, but swept off through the thick of it; and indeed the wind was somewhat at his back, so that he went the swiftlier. But when the drift was gotten to its very worst, he sheltered himself for a little in a hollow behind a thorn-bush he stumbled upon. As soon as it began to abate he went on again, and at last when it was quite clear, and the sun shone out, he found himself on a long slope of... (From :

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So wore away midwinter tidingless. Stone-face spake no more to Face- of-god about the wood and its wights, when he saw that the young man had come back hale and merry, seemed not to crave over-much to go back thither. As for the Bride, she was sad, and more than misdoubted all; but dauntless as she was in matters that try men's hardihood, she yet lacked heart to ask of Face-of-god what had befallen him since the autumn-tide, or where he was with her. So she put a force upon herself not to look sad or craving when she was in his company, as full oft she was; for he rather sought her than shunned her. For when he saw her thus, he deemed things were changing with her as they had changed with him, and he bethought him of what he had spoken to Bow-may, and deemed that even so he might speak with the Bride when the time came, and that she would not be grieved beyond measure, and all would be well. Now came on the thaw, and the snow went, and the grass grew all up and dow... (From :

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February had died into March, and March was now twelve days old, on a fair and sunny day an hour before noon; and Face-of-god was in a meadow a scant mile down the Dale from Burgstead. He had been driving a bull into a goodman's byre nearby, and had had to spend toil and patience both in getting him out of the fields and into the byre; for the beast was hot with the spring days and the new grass. So now he was resting himself in happy mood in an exceeding pleasant place, a little meadow to wit, on one side whereof was a great orchard or grove of sweet chestnuts, which went right up to the feet of the Southern Cliffs: across the meadow ran a clear brook towards the Weltering Water, free from big stones, in some places dammed up for the flooding of the deep pasture-meadow, and with the grass growing on its lips down to the very water. There was a low bank just outside the chestnut trees, as if someone had raised a dyke about them when they were young, which had been trodden low... (From :

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The next day wore away tidingless; and the day after Face-of-god arose betimes; for it was the first day of his watch, and he was at the Maiden Ward before the time appointed on a very fair and bright morning, and he went to and fro on that place, and had no tidings. So he came away somewhat cast down, and said within himself: 'Is it but a lie and a mocking when all is said?' On the morrow he went thither again, and the morn was wild and stormy with drift of rain, and low clouds hurrying over the earth, though for the sunrise they lifted a little in the east, and the sun came up over the passes, amid the red and angry rack of clouds. This morn also gave him no tidings of the token, and he was wroth and perturbed in spirit: but towards evening he said: 'It is well: ten days she gave me, so that she might be able to send without fail on one of them; she will not fail me.' So again on the morrow he was there betimes, and the morn was windy as on... (From :

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It was now about two hours after noon, and a broad band of sunlight lay upon the grass of the vale below Gold-mane's feet; he went lightly down the scree, and strode forward over the level grass toward the Doom-ring, his helm and war-gear glittering bright in the sun. He must needs go through the Doom-ring to come to the Hall, and as he stepped out from behind the last of the big upright-stones, he saw a woman standing on the threshold of the Hall-door, which was but some score of paces from him, and knew her at once for the Friend. She was clad like himself in a green kirtle gaily embroidered and fitting close to her body, and had no gown or cloak over it; she had a golden fillet on her head beset with blue mountain stones, and her hair hung loose behind her. Her beauty was so exceeding, and so far beyond all memory of her that his mind had held, that once more fear of her fell upon Face-of-god, and he stood still with beating heart till she should speak t... (From :

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When he came back to the dais he saw that there was meat upon the board, and the Friend said to him: 'Now art thou Gold-mane indeed: but come now, sit by me and eat, though the Wood-woman giveth thee but a sorry banquet, O guest; but from the Dale it is, and we be too far now from the dwellings of men to have delicate meat on the board, though to-night when they come back thy cheer shall be better. Yet even then thou shalt have no such dainties as Stone-face hath imagined for thee at the hands of the Wood-wight.' She laughed therewith, and he no less; and in sooth the meat was but simple, of curds and new cheese, meat of the herdsmen. But Face-of- god said gaily: 'Sweet it shall be to me; good is all that the Friend giveth.' Then she raised her hand and made the sign of the Hammer over the board, and looked up at him and said: 'Hath the Earth-god changed my face, Gold-mane, to what I verily am?' He held his face close to... (From :

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And now they fell silent both of them, and sat hearkening the sounds of the Dale, from the whistle of the plover down by the water-side to the far-off voices of the children and maidens about the kine in the lower meadows. At last Gold-mane took up the word and said: 'Sweet friend, tell me the uttermost of what thou would'st have of me. Is it not that I should stand by thee and thine in the Folk-mote of the Dalesmen, and speak for you when ye pray us for help against your foemen; and then again that I do my best when ye and we are arrayed for battle against the Dusky Men? This is easy to do, and great is the reward thou offerest me.' 'I look for this service of thee,' she said, 'and none other.' 'And when I go down to the battle,' said he, 'shalt thou be sorry for our sundering?' She said: 'There shall be no sundering; I shall wend with thee.' Said he: 'And if I were slain in the battle, would'st thou lament me?'... (From :

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When he awoke again he saw a man standing over him, and knew him for Wood-wise: he was clad in his war-gear, and had his quiver at his back and his bow in his hand, for Wood-father's children were all good bowmen, though not so sure as Bow-may. He spake to Face-of-god: 'Dawn is in the sky, Dalesman; there is yet time for thee to wash the night off of thee in our bath of the Shivering Flood and to put thy mouth to the milk-bowl; but time for naught else: for I and Bow-may are appointed thy fellows for the road, and it were well that we were back home speedily.' So Face-of-god leaped up and went forth from the Hall, and Wood-wise led to where was a pool in the river with steps cut down to it in the rocky bank. 'This,' said Wood-wise, 'is the Carle's Bath; but the Queen's is lower down, where the water is wider and shallower below the little mid-dale force.' So Gold-mane stripped off his raiment and leaped into the ice-cold pool; and th... (From :

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But Face-of-god with Bow-may and Wood-wise fared over the waste, going at first alongside the cliffs of the Shivering Flood, and then afterwards turning somewhat to the west. They soon had to climb a very high and steep bent going up to a mountain-neck; and the way over the neck was rough indeed when they were on it, and they toiled out of it into a barren valley, and out of the valley again on to a rough neck; and such-like their journey the day long, for they were going athwart all those great dykes that went from the ice-mountains toward the lower dales like the outspread fingers of a hand or the roots of a great tree. And the ice-mountains they had on their left hands and whiles at their backs. They went very warily, with their bows bended and spear in hand, but saw no man, good or bad, and but few living things. At noon they rested in a valley where was a stream, but no grass, naught but stones and sand; but where they were at least sheltered from the wind, whi... (From :

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In sooth they were come to the very Gate of Burgstead, and the great gates were shut, and only a wicket was open, and a half score of stout men in all their war-gear were holding ward thereby. They gave place to Hall-face and his company, albeit some of the warders followed them through the wicket that they might hear the story told. The street was full of folk, both men and women, talking together eagerly concerning all these tidings, and when they saw the men of the Hue-and-cry they came thronging about them, so that they might scarce get to the door of the House of the Face because of the press; so Hall-face (who was a very tall man) cried out: 'Good people, all is well! the runaways are slain, and Face-of-god is come back with us; give place a little, that we may come into our house.' Then the throng set up a shout, and made way a little, so that Hall- face and Gold-mane and the others could get to the door. And they entered into the Hall, a... (From :

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Now on the morrow, when Face-of-god arose and other men with him, and the Hall was astir and there was no little throng therein, the Bride came up to him; for she had slept in the House of the Face by the bidding of the Alderman; and she spake to him before all men, and bade him come forth with her into the garden, because she would speak to him apart. He yeasaid her, though with a heavy heart; and to the folk about that seemed meet and due, since those twain were deemed to be troth-plight, and they smiled kindly on them as they went out of the Hall together. So they came into the garden, where the pear-trees were blossoming over the spring lilies, and the cherries were showering their flowers on the deep green grass, and everything smelled sweetly on the warm windless spring morning. She led the way, going before him till they came by a smooth grass path between the berry bushes, to a square space of grass about which were barberry trees, their first tende... (From :

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But now must he hasten, for the Gate-thing was to be holden two hours before noon; so he betook him speedily to the Hall, and took his shield and did on a goodly helm and girt his sword to his side, for men must needs go to all folk-motes with their weapons and clad in war-gear. Thus he went forth to the Gate with many others, and there already were many folk assembled in the space aforesaid betwixt the Gate of the Burg and the sheer rocks on the face of which were the steps that led up to the ancient Tower on the height. The Alderman was sitting on the great stone by the Gate-side which was his appointed place, and beside him on the stone bench were the six Wardens of the Burg; but of the six Wardens of the Dale there were but three, for the others had not yet heard tell of the battle or had got the summons to the Thing, since they had been about their business down the Dale. Face-of-god took his place silently among the neighbors, but men made way for him, so that... (From :

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But just as the Alderman was on the point of rising to declare the breaking-up of the Thing, there came a stir in the throng and it opened, and a warrior came forth into the innermost of the ring of men, arrayed in goodly glittering War-gear; clad in such wise that a tunicle of precious gold-wrought web covered the hauberk all but the sleeves thereof, and the hem of it beset with blue mountain-stones smote against the ankles and well-nigh touched the feet, shod with sandals gold-embroidered and gemmed. This warrior bore a goodly gilded helm on the head, and held in hand a spear with gold-garlanded shaft, and was girt with a sword whose hilts and scabbard both were adorned with gold and gems: beardless, smooth-cheeked, exceeding fair of face was the warrior, but pale and somewhat haggard-eyed: and those who were nearby beheld and wondered; for they saw that there was come the Bride arrayed for war and battle, as if she were a messenger from the House of the Gods, and the Burg th... (From :

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Next morning tryst was held faithfully, and an hundred and a half were gathered together on Wildlake's Way; and Face-of-god ordered them into three companies. He made Hall-face leader over the first one, and bade him hold on his way northward, and then to make for Boars-bait and see if he should meet with anything thereabout where the battle had been. Red-coat of Waterless he made captain of the second band; and he had it in charge to wend eastward along the edge of the Dale, and not to go deep into the wood, but to go as far as he might within the time appointed, toward the Mountains. Furthermore, he bade both Hall-face and Red-coat to bring their bands back to Wildlake's Way by the morrow at sunset, where other goodmen should be come to take the places of their men; and then if he and his company were back again, he would bid them further what to do; but if not, as seemed likely, then Hall-face's band to go west toward the Shepherd country half a day's journey, and so back,... (From :

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Now ere the night was far spent, Dallach arose and said: 'Kind folk, ye will presently be sleeping; but I bid you keep a good watch, and if ye will be ruled by me, ye will kindle no fire on the morrow, for the smoke riseth thick in the morning air, and is as a beacon. As for me, I shall leave you here to rest, and I myself will fare on mine errand.' They bade him sleep and rest him after so many toils and hardships, saying that they were not tied to an hour to be back in Burgdale; but he said: 'Nay, the moon is high, and it is as good as daylight to me, who could find my way even by starlight; and your tarrying here is nowise safe. Moreover, if I could find those folk and bring them part of the way by night and cloud it were well; for if we were taken again, burning quick would be the best death by which we should die. As for me, now am I strong with meat and drink and hope; and when I come to Burgdale there will be time enough for resting and slumber.'... (From :

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So now being out of the wood, they went peaceably and safely along the Portway, the Runaways mingling with the Dalesmen. Strange showed amid the health and wealth of the Dale the rags and misery and nakedness of the thralls, like a dream amid the trim gaiety of spring; and whomsoever they met, or came up with on the road, whatso his business might be, could not refrain himself from following them, but mingled with the men-at-arms, and asked them of the tidings; and when they heard who these poor people were, even delivered thralls of the Foemen, they were glad at heart and cried out for joy; and many of the women, nay, of the men also, when they first came across that misery from out the heart of their own pleasant life, wept for pity and love of the poor folk, now at last set free, and blessed the swords that should do the like by the whole people. They went slowly as men began to gather about them; yea, some of the good folk that lived hard by must needs fare home t... (From :

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On the morrow Face-of-god took counsel with Hall-face and Stone-face as to what were best to be done, and they sat on the dais in the Hall to talk it over. Short was the time that had worn since that day in Shadowy Vale, for it was but eight days since then; yet so many things had befallen in that time, and, to speak shortly, the outlook for the Burgdalers had changed so much, that the time seemed long to all the three, and especially to Face-of-god. It was yet twenty days till the Great Folk-mote should beholden, and to Hall-face the time seemed long enough to do somewhat, and he deemed it were good to gather force and fall on the Dusky Men in Rose-dale, since now they had gotten men who could lead them the nighest way and by the safest passes, and who knew all the ways of the foemen. But to Stone-face this rede seemed not so good; for they would have to go and come back, and fight and conquer, in less time than twenty days, or be belated of the Folk-mote,... (From :

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Now on the day appointed for the Weapon-show came the Folk flock-meal to the great and wide meadow that was cleft by Wildlake as it ran to join the Weltering Water. Early in the morning, even before sunrise, had the wains full of women and children begun to come thither. Also there came little horses and asses from the Shepherd country with one or two or three damsels or children sitting on each, and by wain-side or by beast strode the men of the house, merry and fair in their war- gear. The Woodlanders, moreover, man and woman, elder and swain and young damsel, streamed out of the wood from Carlstead, eager to make the day begin before the sunrise, and end before his setting. Then all men fell to pitching of tents and tilting over of wains; for the April sun was hot in the Dale, and when he arose the meads were gay with more than the spring flowers; for the tents and the tilts were stained and broidered with many colors, and there was none who had not furbished up... (From :

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On the morrow betimes in the morning the Westland chapmen, who were now all come, went out from the House of the Face, where they were ever wont to be lodged, and set up their booths adown the street betwixt gate and bridge. Gay was the show; for the booths were tilted over with painted cloths, and the merchants themselves were clad in long gowns of fine cloth; scarlet, and blue, and white, and green, and black, with broidered welts of gold and silver; and their knaves were gaily attired in short coats of divers hues, with silver rings about their arms, and short swords girt to their sides. People began to gather about these chapmen at once when they fell to opening their bales and their packs, and unloading their wains. There had they iron, both in pigs and forged scrap and nails; steel they had, and silver, both in ingots and vessel; pearls from over sea; cinnabar and other colors for staining, such as were not in the mountains: madder from the marshes, and purple of the sea... (From :

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In the Hall of the Face Folk-might sat on the dais at the right hand of the Alderman, and the Sun-beam on his left hand. But Iron-face also had beheld the Bride how her face changed, and he knew the cause, and was grieved and angry and ashamed thereof: also he bethought him how this stranger was sitting in the very place where the Bride used to sit, and of all the love, as of a very daughter, that he had had for her; howbeit he constrained himself to talk courteously and kindly both to Folk-might and the Sun-beam, as behooved the Chief of the House and the Alderman of the Dale. Moreover, he was not a little moved by the goodliness and wisdom of the Sun-beam and the manliness of Folk-might, who was the most chieftain-like of men. But while they sat there Face-of-god went from man to man of the Guests, and made much of each, but especially of Wood-father and his sons and Bow-may, and they loved him, and praised him, and deemed him the best of hall-mates. N... (From :

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Then turned Face-of-god back into the Hall, and saw where Iron-face sat at the dais, and with him Folk-might and Stone-face and the Elder of the Dale-wardens, and Sun-beam withal; so he went soberly up to the board, and sat himself down thereat beside Stone-face, over against Folk-might and his father, beside whom sat the Sun-beam; and Folk-might looked on him gravely, as a man powerful and trustworthy, yet was his look somewhat sour. Then the Alderman said: 'My son, I said not to thee come back presently, because I wotted that thou wouldst surely do so, knowing that we have much to speak of. For, whatever these thy friends may have done, or whatsoever thou hast done with them to grieve us, all that must be set aside at this present time, since the matter in hand is to save the Dale and its folk. What sayest thou hereon? Since, young as thou mayst be, thou art our War-leader, and doubtless shalt so be after the Folk-mote hath been holden.' Face-of-god an... (From :

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Face-of-God was at the Bridge on the morrow before sun-rising, and as he turned about at the Bridge-foot he saw the Sun-beam coming down the street; and his heart rose to his mouth at the sight of her, and he went to meet her and took her by the hand; and there were no words between them till they had kissed and caressed each other, for there was no one stirring about them. So they went over the Bridge into the meadows, and eastward of the beaten path thereover. The grass was growing thick and strong, and it was full of flowers, as the cowslip and the oxlip, and the checkered daffodil, and the wild tulip: the black-thorn was well-nigh done blooming, but the hawthorn was in bud, and in some places growing white. It was a fair morning, warm and cloudless, but the night had been misty, and the haze still hung about the meadows of the Dale where they were wettest, and the grass and its flowers were heavy with dew, so that the Sun-beam went barefoot in the meadow. She h... (From :

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It must be told that those footprints which Face-of-god and the Sun- beam had blessed betwixt jest and earnest had more to do with them than they wotted of. For Folk-might, who had had many thoughts and longings since he had seen the Bride again, rose up early about sunrise, and went out-a-doors, and wandered about the Burg, letting his eyes stray over the goodly stone houses and their trim gardens, yet noting them little, since the Bride was not there. At last he came to where there was an open place, straight-sided, longer than it was wide, with a wall on each side of it, over which showed the blossomed boughs of pear and cherry and plum-trees: on either hand before the wall was a row of great lindens, now showing their first tender green, especially on their lower twigs, where they were sheltered by the wall. At the nether end of this place Folk- might saw a gray stone house, and he went towards it betwixt the lindens, for it seemed right great, and presently was... (From :

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Now came the day of the Great Folk-mote, and there was much thronging from everywhere to the Mote-stead, but most from Burgstead itself, whereas few of the Dale-dwellers who had been at the Fair had gone back home. Albeit some of the Shepherds and of the Dalesmen of the westernmost Dale had brought light tents, and tilted themselves in in the night before the Mote down in the meadows below the Mote-stead. From early morning there had been a stream of folk on the Portway setting westward; and many came thus early that they might hold converse with friends and well-wishers; and some that they might disport them in the woods. Men went in no ordered bands, as the Burgstead men at least had done on the day of the Weapon-show, save that a few of them who were arrayed the bravest gathered about the banners, and went with them to the Mote-stead; for all the banners must needs be there. The Folk-mote was to be hallowed-in three hours before noon, as all men knew; therefore an... (From :

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Amid the clamor uprose the Alderman; for it was clear to all men that the Folk-mote should be holden at once, and the matters of the War, and the Fellowship, and the choosing of the War-leader, speedily dealt with. So the Alderman fell to hallowing in the Folk-mote: he went up to the Altar of the Gods, and took the Gold-ring off it, and did it on his arm; then he drew his sword and waved it toward the four airts, and spake; and the noise and shouting fell, and there was silence but for him: 'Herewith I hallow in this Folk-mote of the Men of the Dale and the Sheepcotes and the Woodland, in the name of the Warrior and the Earth-god and the Fathers of the kindreds. Now let not the peace of the Mote be broken. Let not man rise against man, or bear blade or hand, or stick or stone against any. If any man break the Peace of the Holy Mote, let him be a man accursed, a wild-beast in the Holy Places; an outcast from home and hearth, from bed and board, from mead and acre;... (From :

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Now a great silence fell upon the throng, and they stood as men abiding some new matter. Unto them arose the Alderman, and said: 'Men of the Dale, and ye Shepherds and Woodlanders; it is well known to you that we have foemen in the wood and beyond it; and now have we gotten sure tidings, that they will not abide at home or in the wood, but are minded to fall upon us at home. Now therefore I will not ask you whether ye will have peace or war; for with these foemen ye may have peace no otherwise save by war. But if ye think with me, three things have ye to determine: first, whether ye will abide your foes in your own houses, or will go meet them at theirs; next, whether ye will take to you as fellows in arms a valiant folk of the children of the Gods, who are foemen to our foemen; and lastly, what man ye will have to be your War-leader. Now, I bid all those here assembled, to speak hereof, any man of them that will, either what they may have conceived in their own m... (From :

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It was on the evening of the fourth day after the Folk-mote that there came through the Waste to the rocky edge of Shadowy Vale a band of some fifteen score of men-at-arms, and with them a multitude of women and children and old men, some afoot, some riding on asses and bullocks; and with them were sumpter asses and neat laden with household goods, and a few goats and kine. And this was the whole folk of the Woodlanders come to the Hosting in Shadowy Vale and the Home of the Children of the Wolf. Their leaders of the way were Wood-father and Wood-wont and two other carles of Shadowy Vale; and Red-wolf the tall, and Bears-bane and War-grove were the captains and chieftains of their company. Thus then they entered into the narrow pass aforesaid, which was the ingate to the Vale from the Waste, and little by little its dimness swallowed up their long line. As they went by the place where the lowering of the rock-wall gave a glimpse of the valley, they looked down into... (From :

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It was about three hours before noon that the Host began to enter into the pass out of Shadowy Vale by the river-side; and the women and children, and men unfightworthy, stood on the higher ground at the foot of the cliffs to see the Host wend on the way. Of these a many were of the Woodlanders, who were now one folk with them of Shadowy Vale. And all these had chosen to abide tidings in the Vale, deeming that there was little danger therein, since that last slaughter which Folk-might had made of the Dusky Men; albeit Face-of- god had offered to send them all to Burgstead with two score and ten men-at-arms to guard them by the way and to eke out the warders of the Burg. Now the fighting-men of Shadowy Vale were two long hundreds lacking five; of whom two score and ten were women, and three score and ten lads under twenty winters; but the women, though you might scarce see fairer of face and body, were doughty in arms, all good shooters in the bow; and the swains were... (From :

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So wore the night, and when the dawn was come were the two captains afoot, and they went from band to band to see that all was ready, and all men were astir betimes, and by the time that the sun smote the eastern side of Shield-broad ruddy, they had broken their fast and were dight for departure. Then the horns blew up beside the banners, and rejoiced the hearts of men. But by the command of the captains this was the last time that they should sound till they blew for onset in Silver-dale, because now would they be drawing nigher and nigher to the foemen, and they wotted not but that wandering bands of them might be hard on the lips of the pass, and might hear the horns' voice, and turn to see what was toward. Forth then went the banners of the Wolf, and the men of the vanward fell to threading the rock-maze toward the north, and in two hours' time were clear of the Dale under Shield-broad. All went in the same order as yesterday; but on this day the Sun-beam would... (From :

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There then they rested, as folk wearied with the toilsome journey, when they had set sure watches round about their campment; and they ate quietly what meat they had with them, and so gat them to sleep in the wood on the eve of battle. But not all slept; for the two captains went about among the companies, Folk-might to the east, Face-of-god to the west, to look to the watches, and to see that all was ordered duly. Also the Sun- beam slept not, but she lay beside Bow-may at the foot of an oak- tree; she watched Face-of-god as he went away amid the men of the Host, and watched and waked abiding his returning footsteps. The night was well worn by then he came back to his place in the vanward, and on his way back he passed through the folk of the Steer laid along on the grass, all save those of the watch, and the light of the moon high aloft was mingled with the light of the earliest dawn; and as it happed he looked down, and lo! close to his feet the face of... (From :

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Wild was the turmoil and confusion in the Market-stead; for the more part of the men therein knew not what had befallen about the altar, though some clomb up to the top of that stack of fagots built for the burning of the thralls, and when they saw what was toward fell to yelling and cursing; and their fellows on the plain Place could not hear their story for the clamor, and they also fell to howling as if a wood full of wild dogs was there. And still the shafts rained down on that throng from the Bent of the Bowmen, for another two score men of the Woodlanders had crept down the hill to them, and shafts failed them not. But the Dusky Men about the altar, for all their terror, or even maybe because of it, now began to turn upon the scarce-seen foemen, and to press up wildly toward the hill-side, though as it were without any order or aim. Every man of them had his weapons, and those no mere gilded toys, but their very tools of battle; and some, but no great number, ha... (From :

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Now the banners of the Wolf flapped and rippled over the heads of the Woodlanders and the Men of the Wolf; and the men shot all they might, nor took heed now to cover themselves against the shafts of the Dusky Men. As for these, for all they were so many, their arrow-shot was no great matter, for they were in very evil order, as has been said; and moreover, their rage was so great to come to handy strokes with these foemen, that some of them flung away their bows to brandish the ax or the sword. Nevertheless were some among the kindred hurt or slain by their arrows. Now stood Face-of-god with the foremost; and from where he stood he could see somewhat of the battle of the Dalesmen, and he wotted that it was thriving; therefore he looked before him and close around him, and noted what was toward there. The space betwixt the houses and the break of the bent was crowded with the fury of the Dusky Men tossing their weapons aloft, crying to each other and at the kindred,... (From :

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So sang they; but Face-of-god went with Red-wolf, who was hurt sorely, but not deadly, and led him back toward the place just under the break of the bent; and there he found Bow-may in the hands of the women who were tending her hurts. She smiled on him from a pale face as he drew nigh, and he looked kindly at her, but he might not abide there, for haste was in his feet. He left Red-wolf to the tending of the women, and clomb the bent hastily, and when he deemed he was high enough, he looked about him; and somewhat more than half an hour had worn since Bow-may had sped the first shaft against the Dusky Men. He looked down into the Market-stead, and deemed he could see that nigh the Mote-house the Dusky Men were gathering into some better order; but they were no longer drifting toward the southern bents, but were standing round about the altar as men abiding somewhat; and he deemed that they had gotten more bowshot than before, and that most of them bare bows. Though... (From :

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The din and tumult still came from the north side of the Market- place, so that all the air was full of noise; and Face-of-god deemed that the thralls had gotten weapons into their hands and were slaying their masters. Now he lifted up his face, and put his hand on Folk-might's shoulder, and said in a loud voice: 'Kinsmen, it were well if our brother were to bid the banners into the Mote-house of the Wolf, and let all the Host set itself in array before the said house, and abide till the chasers of the foe come to us thither; for I perceive that they are now become many, and are more than those of our kindred.' Then Folk-might looked at him with kind eyes, and said: 'Thou sayest well, brother; even so let it be!' And he lifted up his sword, and Face-of-god cried out in a loud voice: 'Forward, banners! blow up horns! fare we forth with victory!' So the Host drew its ranks together in good order, and they all set fo... (From :

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Then strode the Warriors of the Wolf over the bodies of the slain on to the dais of their own Hall; and Folk-might led the Sun-beam by the hand, and now was his sword in its sheath, and his face was grown calm, though it was stern and sad. But even as he trod the dais comes a slim swain of the Wolves twisting himself through the throng, and so maketh way to Folk-might, and saith to him: 'Chieftain, the Alderman of Burgdale sendeth me hither to say a word to thee; even this, which I am to tell to thee and the War-leader both: It is most true that our kinswoman the Bride will not die, but live. So help me, the Warrior and the Face! This is the word of the Alderman.' When Folk-might heard this, his face changed and he hung his head; and Face-of-god, who was standing close by, beheld him and deemed that tears were falling from his eyes on to the hall-floor. As for him, he grew exceeding glad, and he turned to the Sun-beam and met her eyes, and saw that she... (From :

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Now Dallach, who had gone away for a while, came back again into the Hall; and at his back were a half score of men who bore ladders with them: they were stout men, clad in scanty and ragged raiment, but girt with swords and bearing axes, those of them who were not handling the ladders. Men looked on them curiously, because they saw them to be of the roughest of the thralls. They were sullen and fierce-eyed to behold, and their hands and bare arms were flecked with blood; and it was easy to see that they had been chasing the fleers, and making them pay for their many torments of past days. But when Face-of-god beheld this he cried out: 'Ho, Dallach! is it so that thou hast bethought thee to bring in hither men to fall to the cleansing of the Hall, and to do away the defiling of the Dusky Men?' 'Even so, War-leader,' said Dallach; 'also ye shall know that all battle is over in Silver-stead; for the thralls fell in numbers not to be endured on the Dusky Me... (From :

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Now tells the tale of Folk-might, that he went his ways from the Hall to the house where the Bride lay; and the swain who had brought the message went along with him, and he was proud of walking beside so mighty a warrior, and he talked to Folk-might as they went; and the sound of his voice was irksome to the chieftain, but he made as though he hearkened. Yet when they came to the door of the house, which was just out of the Place on the Southern road (for thereby had the Bride fallen to earth), he could withhold his grief no longer, but turned on the threshold and laid his head on the door-jamb, and sobbed and wept till the tears fell down like rain. And the boy stood by wondering, and wishing that Folk-might would forbear weeping, but durst not speak to him. In a while Folk-might left weeping and went in, and found a fair hall sore befouled by the felons, and in the corner on a bed covered with furs the wounded woman; and at first sight he deemed her not so pale as... (From :

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On the morrow they bore to bale their slain men, and there withal what was left of the bodies of the four chieftains of the Great Undoing. They brought them into a most fair meadow to the west of Silver-stead, where they had piled up a very great bale for the burning. In that meadow was the Doom-ring and Thing-stead of the Folk of the Wolf, and they had hallowed it when they had first conquered Silver-dale, and it was deemed far holier than the Mote- house aforesaid, wherein the men of the kindred might hold no due court; but rather it was a Feast-hall, and a house where men had converse together, and wherein precious things and tokens of the Fathers were stored up. The Thing-stead in the meadow was flowery and well-grassed, and a little stream winding about thereby nearly cast a ring around it; and beyond the stream was a full fair grove of oak-trees, very tall and ancient. There then they burned the dead of the Host, wrapped about in exceeding fair raiment. And w... (From :

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On the third day there was high-tide and great joy among all men from end to end of the Dale; and the delivered thralls were feasted and made much of by the kindreds, so that they scarce knew how to believe their own five senses that told them the good tidings. For none strove to grieve them and torment them; what they would, that did they, and they had all things plenteously; since for all was there enough and to spare of goods stored up for the Dusky Men, as corn and wine and oil and spices, and raiment and silver. Horses were there also, and neat and sheep and swine in abundance. Withal there was the good and dear land; the waxing corn on the acres; the blossoming vines on the hillside; and about the orchards and alongside the ways, the plum-trees and cherry-trees and pear-trees that had cast their blossom and were overhung with little young fruit; and the fair apple-trees a-blossoming, and the chestnuts spreading their boughs from their twisted trunks over the gr... (From :

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But of the time then passing, it is to be said that the whole host abode in Silver-dale in great mirth and good liking, till they should hear tidings of Dallach and his company, who had followed hot-foot on the fleers of the Dusky Men. And on the tenth day after the battle, Iron-face and his two sons and Stone-face were sitting about sunset under a great oak-tree by that stream-side which ran through the Mote-stead; there also was Folk-might, somewhat distraught because of his love for the Bride, who was now mending of her hurts. As they sat there in all content they saw folk coming toward them, three in number, and as they drew nigher they saw that it was old Hall-ward of the Steer, and the Sun-beam and Bow-may following him hand in hand. When they came to the brook Bow-may ran up to the elder to help him over the stepping-stones; which she did as one who loved him, as the old man was stark enough to have waded the water waist-deep. She was no longer in her war-gea... (From :

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Three days thereafter came two swift runners from Rose-dale with tidings of Dallach. In all wise had he thriven, and had slain many of the runaways, and had come happily to Rose-dale: therein by the mere shaking of their swords had they all their will; for there were but a few of the Dusky Warriors in the Dale, since the more part had fared to the slaughter in Silver-stead. Now therefore had Dallach been made Alderman of Rose-dale; and the Burgdalers who had gone with him should abide the coming thither of the rest of the Burgdale Host, and meantime of their coming should uphold the new Alderman in Rose- dale. Howbeit Dallach sent word that it was not to be doubted but that many of the Dusky Men had escaped to the woods, and should yet be the death of many a mother's son, unless it were well looked to. And now the more part of the Burgdale men and the Shepherds began to look toward home, albeit some among them had not been ill-pleased to abide there yet a while; fo... (From :

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On morrow of the morrow were the Burgdale men and they of the Shepherds gathered together in the Market-stead early in the morning, and they were all ready for departure; and the men of the Wolf and the Woodlanders, and of the delivered thralls a great many, stood round about them grieving that they must go. There was much talk between the folk of the Dale and the Guests, and many promises were given and taken to come and go betwixt the two Dales. There also were the men of the thrall-folk who were to wend home with the Burgdalers; and they had been stuffed with good things by the men of the kindreds, and were as fain as might be. As for the Sun-beam, she was somewhat out of herself at first, being eager and restless beyond her wont, and yet at whiles weeping-ripe when she called to mind that she was now leaving all those things, the gain whereof had been a dream to her both waking and sleeping for these years past. But at last, as she stood in the door of the Mote-... (From :

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On the morrow morning when they were on their way again Face-of-god left his own folk to go with the House of the Steer a while; and among them he fell in with the Sun-beam going along with Bow-may. So they greeted him kindly, and Face-of-god fell into talk with the Sun-beam as they went side by side through a great oak-wood, where for a space was plain green-sward bare of all underwood. So in their talk he said to her: 'What deemest thou, my speech- friend, concerning our coming back to guest in Silver-dale one day?' 'The way is long,' she said. 'That may hinder us but not stay us,' said Face-of-god. 'That is sooth,' said the Sun-beam. Said Face-of-god: 'What things shall stay us? Or deemest thou that we shall never see Silver-dale again?' She smiled: 'Even so I think thou deemest, Gold-mane. But many things shall hinder us besides the long road.' Said he: 'Yea, and what things?' 'Think... (From :

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It was fourteen days before they came to Rose-dale; for they had much baggage with them, and they had no mind to weary themselves, and the wood was nothing loathsome to them, whereas the weather was fair and bright for the more part. They fell in with no mishap by the way. But a score and three of runaways joined themselves to the Host, having watched their goings and wotting that they were not foemen. Of these, some had heard of the overthrow of the Dusky Men in Silver- dale, and others not. The Burgdalers received them all, for it seemed to them no great matter for a score or so of new-comers to the Dale. But when the Host was come to Rose-dale, they found it fair arid lovely; and there they met with those of their folk who had gone with Dallach. But Dallach welcomed the kindreds with great joy, and bade them abide; for he said that they had the less need to hasten, since he had sent messengers into Burgdale to tell men there of the tidings. Albeit they were most... (From :

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Now May was well worn when the Host came home to Burgdale; and on the very morrow of men's home-coming they began to talk eagerly of the Midsummer Weddings, and how the Maiden Ward would be the greatest and fairest of all yet seen, whereas battle and the deliverance from battle stir up the longing and love both of men and maidens; much also men spake of the wedding of Face-of-god and the Sun-beam; and needs must their wedding abide to the time of the Maiden Ward at Midsummer, and needs also must the Sun-beam go on the Ward with the other Brides of the Folk. So then must Face-of-god keep his soul in patience till those few days were over, doing what work came to hand; and he held his head high among the people, and was well looked to of every man. In all matters the Sun-beam helped him, both in doing and in forbearing; and now so wonderful and rare was her beauty, that folk looked on her with somewhat of fear, as though she came from the very folk of the Gods. (From :

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Three years and two months thereafter, three hours after noon in the days of early autumn, came a wain tilted over with precious webs of cloth, and drawn by eight white oxen, into the Market-place of Silver-stead: two score and ten of spearmen of the tallest, clad in goodly war-gear, went beside it, and much people of Silver-dale thronged about them. The wain stayed at the foot of the stair that led up to the door of the Mote-house, and there lighted down therefrom a woman goodly of fashion, with wide gray eyes, and face and hands brown with the sun's burning. She had a helm on her head and a sword girt to her side, and in her arms she bore a yearling child. And there was come Bow-may with the second man-child born to Face-of- god. She stayed not amid the wondering folk, but hastened up the stair, which she had once seen running with the blood of men: the door was open, and she went in and walked straight-way, with the babe in her arms, up the great Hall... (From :


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