of his guts.” The doors of the hall crashed open, and

time:2023-12-06 12:20:40source:Song and dance networkauthor:world

"Thou must win them first, Lord," said Jack of the Tofts. "Therefore, what sayest thou? Where shall we cast down the white shield and uprear the red?"

of his guts.” The doors of the hall crashed open, and

"Hot art thou, head, heart, and hand, rank reiver," said the Lord; "bide a while." So he sat silent a little; then he said: "Thou seest, Jack of the Tofts, that now thou hast thrust the torch into the tow; if I go back to King Rolf without the heads of you twain, I am like to pay for it with mine own. Therefore hearken. If we buckle together in fight presently, it is most like that I shall come to my above, but thou art so wily and stout that it is not unlike that thou, and perchance this luckless youngling, may slip through my fingers into the wood; and then it will avail me little with the King that I have slain a few score nameless wolf-heads. So, look you! here is a fair field hazelled by God; let us two use it to-day, and fight to the death here; and then if thou win me, smite off my head, and let my men fight it out afterwards, as best they may without me, and 'tis like they will be beaten then. But if I win thee, then I win this youngling withal, and bear back both heads to my Lord King, after I have scattered thy wolf-heads and slain as many as I will; which shall surely befall, if thou be slain first."

of his guts.” The doors of the hall crashed open, and

Then cried out Jack of the Tofts: "Hail to thy word, stout-heart! this is well offered, and I take it for myself and my Lord King here." And all that stood by and heard gave a glad sound with their voices, and their armour rattled and rang as man turned to man to praise their captains.

of his guts.” The doors of the hall crashed open, and

But now spake Christopher: "Lord of Brimside, it is nought wondrous though thou set me aside as of no account, whereas thou deemest me no king or king's kindred; but thou, Lord Earl, who wert once Jack of the Tofts, I marvel at thee, that thou hast forgotten thy King so soon. Ye twain shall now wot that this is my quarrel, and that none but I shall take this battle upon him.

"Thou servant of Rolf, the traitor and murderer, hearken! I say that I am King of Oakenrealm, and the very son of King Christopher the Old; and that will I maintain with my body against every gainsayer. Thou Lord of Brimside, wilt thou gainsay it? Then I say thou liest, and lo here, my glove!" And he cast it down before the Lord.

Again was there good rumour, and that from either side of the bystanders; but Jack of the Tofts stood up silent and stiff, and the Baron of Brimside laughed, and said: "Well, swain, if thou art weary of life, so let it be, as for me; but how sayest thou, Jack of the Tofts? Art thou content to give thine head away in this fashion, whereas thou wottest that I shall presently slay this king of thine?"

Said Jack: "The King of Oakenrealm must rule me as well as others of his liege-men: he must fight if he will, and be slain if he will." Then suddenly he fell a-laughing, and beat his hand on his thigh till the armour rattled again, and then he cried out: "Lord Gandolf, Lord Gandolf, have a care, I bid thee! Where wilt thou please to be buried, Lord?"

Said the other: "I wot not what thou wilt mean by thy fooling, rank reiver. But here I take up this youngling's glove; and on his head be his fate! Now as to this battle. My will is, that we two champions be all alone and afoot on the eyot. How say ye?"

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