فصل 08

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کتاب های خیلی ساده

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فصل 08

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CHAPTER EIGHT

Sir Lancelot did everything he could to avoid a battle with King Arthur, but it was inevitable. Sir Lancelot’s own knights within the castle of Joyous Gard told him that he had to fight. ‘We cannot stay inside the castle forever,’ they argued. ‘Sir Gawain will never let the king make peace with you. Therefore you must go out and fight them.’

Sir Lancelot went to the castle walls again and tried to persuade King Arthur and Sir Gawain not to take part in the battle.

‘I beg you both to stay away from the field tomorrow because I do not want to harm either of you,’ he told them.

Sir Gawain replied contemptuously to this message.

‘The king has led us here to fight you,’ he shouted, ‘and he will not stay away from the battle. And neither will I’ he went on proudly. ‘You killed my brothers, Sir Lancelot, and I will never rest until one of us is dead!’

The battle between Sir Lancelot’s knights and the knights of King Arthur was very fierce. Many knights were killed or wounded on both sides.

King Arthur rode into the battle determined to find Sir Lancelot and fight with him. At last he found him and charged with his spear. Sir Lancelot defended himself against the king’s attack, but would not endanger the king’s life by attacking him. Everyone saw that Sir Lancelot was trying to save Arthur. Sir Bors saw what was happening and rode to attack the king. He charged and knocked him to the ground. Then Sir Bors drew out his sword and stood over the king.

‘Shall I finish this war now?’ he called to Sir Lancelot.

‘No!’ cried Sir Lancelot. ‘Don’t kill the king!’

Sir Lancelot jumped off his horse and handed the reins to King Arthur.

‘Ride away, my lord,’ he said to him. ‘You could never win if I used all my strength against you - and I’ll never do that!’

King Arthur rode away from the battle as Sir Lancelot had advised him. He wept to think of Sir Lancelot’s kindness towards him. In his heart he wanted to make peace with both the queen and his friend, but he was ashamed to do so.

The next day there was another battle. This time Sir Gawain attacked Sir Bors. Both knights fell from their horses and began to fight with their swords. Sir Gawain wounded Sir Bors very badly and it seemed that he might kill him. Sir Lancelot saved Sir Bors, but he did not attack Sir Gawain. Sir Lancelot’s knights began to be angry with him.

‘We came to help you and the queen,’ they complained, ‘and many of us have been injured for your sake. But you refuse to fight with your real strength. You are letting us die!’

The news of the war between King Arthur and Sir Lancelot travelled around the world. When the Pope heard what was happening in England, he decided to stop the killing. He sent an order to King Arthur telling him to make peace with Sir Lancelot and to take Queen Guinevere back to the court.

King Arthur was pleased to receive the Pope’s instructions, because now he thought it would be possible to make peace with Sir Lancelot. Sir Gawain, however, advised the king that he should take Guinevere back, but that he should not make peace with Sir Lancelot.

The Bishop of Rochester told Sir Lancelot what the Pope had ordered. Sir Lancelot agreed to return the queen immediately to Arthur’s court.

‘I never wanted to take the queen away from King Arthur,’ he said. ‘It was only my intention to save her from a dishonourable death. I am happy for her to return to the court, if she is in no danger.’

‘Queen Guinevere will be in no danger,’ the bishop told him.

Sir Lancelot and the queen set out for Arthur’s court with a hundred knights. When they arrived at the court both of them knelt humbly in front of King Arthur. The king looked at his wife and at his friend and could not speak for the tears that ran down his face.

‘My lord,’ said Sir Lancelot, ‘I have brought you back the queen. And if anyone here, except you or Sir Gawain, says that the queen has ever betrayed you in any way, I am prepared to fight for her honour.’

‘The king may make peace with you if he wishes,’ Sir Gawain interrupted loudly, ‘but I shall always be your enemy, Sir Lancelot. You killed three of my brothers and I will never rest until I have fought with you to the death.’

‘I killed Sir Agravaine because he said I was a traitor knight,’ Sir Lancelot told him. ‘And I killed Sir Gaheris and Sir Gareth when I was rescuing the queen from the fire. I killed them by mistake. But if the king will make peace with me, this is what I shall do to show how much I regret their deaths. I will walk barefoot from Sandwich to Carlisle as a penance. I will stop every ten miles along the road and set up a convent, where prayers will be said morning and evening for the souls of Sir Gaheris and Sir Gareth. Surely this will be better than continuing the unhappy war between us!’

King Arthur and his knights wept when they heard of the penance that Sir Lancelot was prepared to do for the deaths of Sir Gaheris and Sir Gareth. Sir Gawain, however, was determined to continue the war.

‘The king may make peace with you,’ he repeated, ‘but I shall never agree to it. If the king makes peace with you, I will leave his service.’

Sir Lancelot was very sad when he heard Sir Gawain’s words because he realised that the dreadful war between himself and King Arthur would continue. He turned silently and left the court. King Arthur looked at Sir Lancelot as he walked away and his heart nearly broke for sadness at the thought of his friend.

Sir Lancelot returned to Joyous Gard and spoke to the knights who had taken his part in the war.

‘I must leave England,’ he told them, ‘and I shall never see King Arthur or the Round Table again.’

‘We took your part in the quarrel with King Arthur,’ the knights replied, ‘and we cannot go back to him and the Round Table now. We prefer to stay with you.’

‘Then we must go to France together,’ Sir Lancelot decided. ‘I have land there and I will give each of you a portion of it.’

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