Geraint and Enid by Mary MacGregor
Queen Guinevere lay idly in bed dreaming
beautiful dreams. The sunny morning hours
were slipping away, but she was so happy in
dreamland, that she did not remember that
her little maid had called her long ago.
But the Queen’s dreams came to an end at
last, and all at once she remembered that this
was the morning she had promised to go to
the hunt with King Arthur.
Even in the hunting-field, the King was not
quite happy if his beautiful Queen Guinevere
were not there. This morning he had waited
for her in vain, for in dreamland the Queen
had forgotten all about the hunt.
‘If I dress quickly, I shall not be very late,’
thought the Queen, as she heard the far-off
sound of the hunting-horn. And she was so
quick that in a very short time she and her
little waiting-maid were out, and riding up
to a grassy knoll. But the huntsmen were
already far away. ‘We will wait here to see
them ride homewards,’ said the Queen, and
they drew up their horses to watch and
They had not waited long, when they
heard the sound of horse’s hoofs, and turning
round, the Queen saw Prince Geraint,
one of Arthur’s knights. He was unarmed,
except that his sword hung at his side. He
wore a suit of silk, with a purple sash round
his waist, and at each end of the sash was a
golden apple, which sparkled in the sunlight.
‘You are late for the hunt, Prince Geraint,’
said the Queen.
‘Like you, I have come, not to join the
hunt, but to see it pass,’ said the Prince,
bowing low to the beautiful Queen. And
he asked to be allowed to wait with her
and the little maid.
As they waited, three people, a lady, a
knight and a dwarf, came out of the forest,
and rode slowly past. The knight had his
helmet off, and the Queen saw that he looked
young and bold.
‘I cannot remember if he is one of Arthur’s
knights. I must know his name,’ she said.
And she sent her little maid to find out who
the strange knight was.
But when the little maid asked the dwarf
his master’s name, the dwarf answered rudely
that he would not tell her.
‘Then I will ask your master himself,’
said the maid. But as she stepped towards
the knight, the dwarf struck her with his
whip, and the little maid, half-angry and half-frightened,
hurried back to the Queen, and
told her how the dwarf had treated her.
Prince Geraint was angry when he heard
how rude the dwarf had been to the Queen’s
little messenger, and said that he would go
and find out the knight’s name.
But the dwarf, by his master’s orders,
treated the Prince as rudely as he had treated
the little maid. When Geraint felt the dwarf’s
whip strike his cheek, and saw the blood
dropping on to his purple sash, he felt for the
sword at his side. Then he remembered that
while he was tall and strong, the dwarf was
small and weak, and he scorned to touch him.
Going back to the Queen, Geraint told her
that he had not been able to find out the
knight’s name either, ‘but with your leave, I
will follow him to his home, and compel him to
ask your pardon,’ said the Prince. And the
Queen allowed him to follow the knight.
‘When you come back, you will perhaps
bring a bride with you,’ said the Queen. ‘If
she be a great lady, or if she be only a beggar-maid,
I will dress her in beautiful robes, and
she shall stand among the fairest ladies of
‘In three days I shall come back, if I am
not slain in battle with the knight,’ said
Geraint. And he rode away, a little sorry
not to hear the merry sound of the hunter’s
horn, and a little vexed that he had undertaken
this strange adventure.
Through valleys and over hills Geraint
followed the lady, the knight and the dwarf,
till at last, in the evening, he saw them go
through the narrow streets of a little town,
and reach a white fortress. Into this fortress
the lady, the knight and the dwarf disappeared.
‘I shall find the knight there to-morrow,’
thought Geraint ‘Now I must go to an inn
for food and a bed,’ for he was hungry and
tired after his long ride.
But all the inns in the little town were full,
and every one seemed too busy to take any
notice of the stranger.
‘Why is there such a bustle in your
town this evening?’ asked Geraint, first of
one person and then of another. But they
hurried past him, muttering, ‘The Sparrow-hawk
has his tournament here to-morrow.’
‘The Sparrow-hawk! that is a strange
name,’ thought Geraint. But he did not
know that this was one of the names of the
knight he had followed so far.
Soon Geraint reached a smithy, and he
looked in, and saw that the smith was busy
sharpening swords and spears. ‘I will go
in and buy arms,’ thought Geraint.
And because the smith saw that the
stranger was dressed like a Prince, he
stopped his work for a moment to speak
‘Arms?’ he said, when Geraint told him
what he wanted. ‘There are no arms to
spare, for the Sparrow-hawk holds his tournament
‘The Sparrow-hawk again!’ thought
Geraint. ‘I wonder who he can be.’ Then
he turned to the smith again and said,
‘Though you cannot give me arms, perhaps
you can tell me where to find food and
‘The old Earl Yniol might give you
shelter. He lives in that half-ruined castle
across the bridge,’ said the smith. And he
turned again to his work, muttering, ‘Those
who work for the Sparrow-hawk have no
time to waste in talk.’
So Geraint rode wearily on across the
bridge and reached the castle. The courtyard
was quite empty and looked very
dreary, for it was all overgrown with weeds
and thistles. At the door of the half-ruined
castle stood the old Earl.
‘It is growing late. Will you not come in
and rest,’ said Earl Yniol, ‘although the castle
be bare, and the fare simple?’
And Geraint said he would like to stay
there, for he was so hungry that the plainest
food would seem a feast.
As he entered the castle, he heard some
one singing. The song was so beautiful,
and the voice was so pure and clear, that
Geraint thought it was the sweetest song in
all the world, and the old castle seemed less
gloomy as he listened.
Then Earl Yniol led Geraint into a long
low room, and this room was both dining-room
The Earl’s wife sat there, and she wore a
dress that must have been very grand once,
but now it was old.
Beside her stood her beautiful daughter,
and she wore a faded silk gown, but
Geraint thought he had never seen so fair
‘This is the maiden who sang the beautiful
song,’ he thought. ‘If I can win her for
my bride, she shall come back with me to
Queen Guinevere. But the brightest silks
the Queen can dress her in, will not make her
look more fair than she does in this old
gown,’ he murmured to himself.
‘Enid,’ said the Earl, ‘take the stranger’s
horse to the stable, and then go to the town
and buy food for supper.’
Geraint did not like the beautiful girl to
wait on him, and he got up eagerly to help
‘We are poor, and have no servants, but
we cannot let our guest wait upon himself,’
said the Earl proudly. And Geraint had to
sit down, while Enid took his horse to the
stall, and went across the bridge to the little
town to buy meat and cakes for supper.
And as the dining-room was the kitchen
too, Geraint could watch Enid as she cooked
the food and set the table.
At first it grieved him that she should
work at all, but afterwards he thought,
‘She touches everything with such grace
and gentleness, that the work grows beautiful
under her white hands.’
And when supper was ready, Enid stood
behind, and waited, and Geraint almost forgot
that he was very hungry, as he took the
dishes from her careful hands.
When supper was over, Geraint turned to
the Earl. ‘Who is this Sparrow-hawk of
whom all the townspeople chatter? Yet if
he should be the knight of the white fortress,
do not tell me his real name. That I must
find out for myself.’ And he told the Earl that
he was Prince Geraint, and that he had come
to punish the knight, because he allowed his
dwarf to be so rude to the Queen’s messengers.
The Earl was glad when he heard his
guest’s name. ‘I have often told Enid of
your noble deeds and wonderful adventures,’
he said, ‘and when I stopped, she would call
to me to go on. She loves to hear of the
noble deeds of Arthur’s knights. But now I
will tell you about the Sparrow-hawk. He
lives in the white fortress, and he is my
nephew. He is a fierce and cruel man, and
when I would not allow him to marry Enid,
he hated me, and made the people believe
I was unkind to him. He said I had stolen
his father’s money from him. And the people
believed him,’ said the Earl, ‘and were full of
rage against me. One evening, just before
Enid’s birthday, three years ago, they broke
into our home, and turned us out, and took
away all our treasures. Then the Sparrow-hawk
built himself the white fortress for
safety, but us he keeps in this old half-ruined
‘Give me arms,’ said Geraint, ‘and I will
fight this knight in to-morrow’s tournament.’
‘Arms I can give you,’ said the Earl,
‘though they are old and rusty; but you
cannot fight to-morrow.’ And the Earl
told Geraint that the Sparrow-hawk gave
a prize at the tournament. ‘But every
knight who fights to-morrow must have a
lady with him,’ said the Earl, ‘so that if
he wins the prize in fair fight from the
Sparrow-hawk, he may give it to her. But
you have no lady to whom you could give the
prize, so you will not be allowed to fight.’
‘Let me fight as your beautiful Enid’s
knight,’ said Geraint. ‘And if I win the
prize for her, let me marry her, for I love her
more than any one else in all the world.’
Then the Earl was pleased, for he knew
that if the Prince took Enid away, she would
go to a beautiful home. And though the
old castle would be more dreary than ever
without her, he loved his fair daughter too
well to wish to keep her there.
‘Her mother will tell Enid to be at the
tournament to-morrow,’ said the Earl, ‘if she
be willing to have you as her knight.’
And Enid was willing. And when she
slept that night she dreamed of noble deeds
and true knights, and always in her dream
the face of each knight was like the face
of Prince Geraint.
Early in the morning Enid woke her
mother, and together they went through the
meadows to the place where the tournament
was to be held.
And the Earl and Geraint followed, and
the Prince wore the Earl’s rusty arms, but
in spite of these, every one could see that he
was a Prince.
A great many lords and ladies and all the
townspeople came to see the tournament.
Then the Sparrow-hawk came to the front
of the great crowd, and asked if any one
claimed his prize. And he thought, ‘No one
here is brave enough to fight with me.’
But Geraint was brave, and he called out
loudly, ‘I claim the prize for the fairest lady
in the field.’ And he glanced at Enid in her
faded silk dress.
Then, in a great rage, the Sparrow-hawk
got ready for the fight with Enid’s champion,
and they fought so fiercely that three times
they broke their spears. Then they got off
their horses, and fought with their swords.
And the lords and ladies and all the townspeople
marvelled that Geraint was still alive,
for the Sparrow-hawk’s sword flashed like
lightning round the Prince’s head.
But Geraint, because he was fighting for
the Queen, and to win the gracious Enid
for his bride, brought down his sword with
all his strength on the Sparrow-hawk’s
helmet. The blow brought the knight to
the ground, and Geraint put his foot on
him, and demanded his name.
And all the pride of the Sparrow-hawk was
gone because Enid had seen his fall, and he
quickly told Geraint his name was Edyrn.
‘I will spare your life,’ said Geraint, ‘but
you must go to the Queen and ask her to
forgive you, and you must take the dwarf
with you. And you must give back to Earl
Yniol his earldom and all his treasures.’
Edyrn went to the Queen and she forgave
him; and he stayed at the court and
grew ashamed of his rough and cruel
deeds. At last he began to fight for King
Arthur, and lived ever after as a true
When the tournament was over, Geraint
took the prize to Enid, and asked her if she
would be his bride, and go to the Queen’s
court with him the next day. And Enid was
glad, and said she would go.
In the early morning, Enid lay thinking
of her journey. ‘I have only my faded silk
dress to wear,’ she sighed, and it seemed to
her shabbier and more faded than ever, as it
hung there in the morning light. ‘If only I
had a few days longer, I would weave myself
a dress. I would weave it so delicately that
when Geraint took me to the Queen, he
would be proud of it,’ she thought. For in
her heart she was afraid that Geraint would
be ashamed of the old faded silk, when they
reached the court.
And her thoughts wandered back to
the evening before her birthday, three
long years ago. She could never forget
that evening, for it was then that their home
had been sacked. Then she thought of
the morning of that day when her mother
had brought her a beautiful gift. It was a
dress, made all of silk, with beautiful silk
flowers woven into it. If only she could have
worn that, but the robbers had taken it away.
But what had happened? Enid sat up and
rubbed her eyes. For at that moment her
mother came into the room, and over her
arm was the very dress Enid had been
‘The colours are as bright as ever,’ said
the mother, touching the silk softly. And
she told Enid how last night their scattered
treasures had been brought back, and how
she had found the dress among them.
‘I will wear it at once,’ said Enid, a glad
look in her eyes. And with loving hands
her mother helped her to put on the old
Downstairs the Earl was telling Geraint
that last night the Sparrow-hawk had sent
back all their treasures. ‘Among them is
one of Enid’s beautiful dresses. At last
you will see her dressed as a Princess,’ said
the Earl gladly.
But Geraint remembered that he had first
seen and loved Enid in the faded gown, and
he thought, ‘I will ask her to wear it again
to-day for my sake.’
And Enid loved the Prince so dearly, that
when she heard his wish, she took off the
beautiful dress she had been so glad to wear,
and went down to him in the old silk gown.
And when Geraint saw Enid, the gladness
in his face made her glad too, and she forgot
all about the old dress.
All that day Queen Guinevere sat in a high
tower and often glanced out of the window
to look for Geraint and his bride. When
she saw them riding along the white road,
she went down to the gate herself to welcome
them. And when the Queen had dressed
Enid in soft and shining silk, all the court
marvelled at her beauty.
But because Geraint had first seen and
loved her in the old faded silk, Enid folded
it up with care and put it away among the
things she loved.
And a feast was made for the wedding-day,
and in great joy Geraint and Enid were
Day by day Geraint loved his wife more
dearly. And Enid was happy in this strange
new life, and she wondered at the merry
lords and ladies, and she loved the beautiful
Queen, who was so kind to her.
And Geraint was glad that Enid was often
with the Queen, till one day he heard some
people say that though the Queen was very
beautiful, she was not good. And Geraint
heard this so often, that he learned to
‘I must take Enid away from the court,’
he thought, ‘for she worships the Queen and
may grow like her.’
So Geraint went to King Arthur, and
asked to be allowed to go to his own
country. He told the King that robbers
trampled down his cornfields, and carried
away his cattle. ‘I wish to go and fight
these robbers,’ he said. And King Arthur
allowed him to go.
And Enid left the Queen and the lords
and ladies gladly, to go with Geraint.
But all the time Geraint could not help
thinking, ‘Enid is longing for the knights
and ladies she knew at the court.’
When Geraint reached his own country,
he forgot all about the robbers, who were
destroying his land. He forgot to go to the
hunt, or the tournament, or to look after the
poor people. And this was all because he
loved Enid so much. He thought, ‘I will
stay with her all day. I will be so kind
to her that she will forget the gay lords
and ladies, and be happy here, alone with
But Enid grew sadder and paler every day.
She did not wish Geraint to wait on her and
forget every one else. She wanted him to be
a true knight.
And the people began to scoff and jeer
whenever Geraint’s name was spoken. ‘The
Prince is no knight,’ they said. ‘The robbers
spoil his land and carry off his cattle, but
he neither cares nor fights. He does nothing
but wait on the fair Lady Enid.’
Enid knew what the people said, and she
thought, ‘I must tell Geraint, and then surely
he will be ashamed, and become a brave
knight once more.’ But always her courage
‘I think I could buckle on his armour and
ride with him to battle,’ thought Enid, ‘but
how can I tell him he is no worthy knight?’
And her tears fell fast, and Geraint coming
in, saw her weeping, and thought, ‘She weeps
for the gay lords and ladies of Arthur’s court.’
Then all at once he hated his idle life.
‘It has only made Enid despise me,’ he
thought. ‘We will go together into the
wilderness, and I will show her I can still
fight.’ And half in anger and half in sadness
he called for his war-horse.
Then Geraint told Enid to put on her
oldest dress and ride with him into the
wilderness. And because he was angry with
himself for thinking that Enid wept for the
gay knights and ladies at Arthur’s court,
he would not ride with her, but told her to go
on in front, and ‘whatever you see or hear,
do not speak to me,’ he said sternly.
Then Enid remembered the old faded silk
gown. ‘I will wear that, for he loved me in
it,’ she thought.
Through woods and swamps Enid and
Geraint rode in silence. And while Enid’s
heart cried, ‘Why is Geraint angry with
me?’ her eyes were busy glancing into
every bush and corner, in case robbers
should attack her lord.
At last in the shadow of some trees, Enid
saw three tall knights. They were armed,
and she heard them whisper, when they saw
Geraint, ‘This is a craven-looking knight.
We will slay him, and take his armour and
And Enid thought, ‘Even if it makes Geraint
angry, I must tell him what the knights
say, or they will attack him before he knows
they are there.’ And Enid turned back.
Geraint frowned as he saw her coming to
speak to him, but Enid said bravely, ‘There
are three knights in front of us. They say
they will fight with you.’
‘I do not want your warning,’ said Geraint
roughly, ‘but you shall see I can fight.’
Sad and pale, Enid watched the three
knights spring suddenly out of their ambush
and attack her lord.
But Geraint threw his spear at the tallest
knight, and it pierced his breast. Then with
two sword thrusts, he stunned the other two.
Geraint dismounted, and took the armour
of the three fallen knights, and tied it round
their horses. Twining the three bridle reins
into one, he gave it to Enid.
‘Drive these horses in front, and whatever
you see or hear, do not speak to me,’ said
Geraint. But he rode a little nearer Enid
than before, and that made her glad.
Soon they came to a wood, and in the
wood Enid again saw three knights. One
was taller and looked stronger than Geraint,
and Enid trembled as she looked at him.
‘The knight hangs his head, and the
horses are driven by a girl,’ she heard them
mutter. ‘We will kill the knight, and take
his damsel and his horses for ourselves.’
‘Surely,’ thought Enid, ‘I may warn
Geraint this time, for he is faint and tired
after the last battle.’
And Enid waited till Geraint rode up
to her, and told him there were three evil
men in front of them. ‘One is stronger
than you,’ she said, ‘and he means to kill
And Geraint answered angrily, ‘If you
would but obey me, I would fight one
hundred knights gladly.’ Yet Geraint loved
Enid all the time, though he spoke so
Then Enid stood out of the way, and she
hardly dared to look as the strongest knight
attacked Geraint. But Geraint hurled his
spear through the strong knight’s armour,
and he fell over and died.
The other two knights came slowly towards
Geraint, but he shouted his battle-cry,
and they turned and fled. But Geraint
caught them, and killed them.
Again Geraint tied the armour of the three
slain knights round their horses. Then he
twisted the three reins together, and handed
them to Enid.
‘Drive these on in front,’ said Geraint.
And now Enid had six horses to drive,
and Geraint saw that they were difficult
to manage. Then he rode nearer Enid.
They had left the wood behind them now,
and were riding through cornfields, where
reapers were busy cutting down the waving
Coming down the path towards them, they
saw a fair-haired boy. He was carrying
food to the reapers. Geraint thought Enid
looked faint, and he was very hungry, so
he stopped the lad and asked for food.
‘I can give you some of this; it is the
reapers’ dinner,’ said the boy. ‘But it is
coarse and plain food,’ and he glanced
doubtfully at the lady with the sad eyes
and her stern-looking knight.
But Geraint thanked him, and took the
food to Enid. And to please him she ate
a little, but Geraint was so hungry that
he finished all the reapers’ dinner.
‘I will reward you,’ said Geraint, for the
lad was dismayed to find nothing left for
the reapers to eat. And he told him to take
one of the horses, with the suit of armour
bound round it.
Then the boy was full of glee, and thought
himself a knight, as he led the horse away.
Geraint and Enid then went to the little
village near the cornfields, and lodged there
for one night.
The country they were in belonged to
a cruel Earl. He had once wanted to
marry Enid. When he heard that she was
in his country, he made up his mind to
kill Geraint, and make Enid marry him
‘I will go to the inn while they are still
asleep,’ thought the Earl, ‘and kill the knight
and take Enid away.’
But Geraint and Enid had got up very
early that morning, and had left the five
horses and the five suits of armour with
the landlord, to pay him for their food
By the time the Earl reached the inn
Geraint and Enid had ridden a long way
into a wild country.
Then the wicked Earl galloped after them,
and Enid heard the sound of horse’s hoofs
coming nearer and nearer. As the horseman
dashed down upon Geraint, Enid hid
her face, and asked God to spare her dear
lord’s life once more.
The fight was long and fierce, but at
last Geraint overthrew the Earl, and left
him lying half-dead in the dust.
Still a little in front, Enid rode silently
on, and Geraint followed, but he had been
wounded in the fight with the Earl, though
he did not tell Enid. And the wound bled
inside his armour, till Geraint felt very faint,
and suddenly everything seemed black in
front of him. He reeled and fell from his
horse on to a bank of grass.
Enid heard the crash of his armour as
he fell, and in a moment she was beside him.
She unbuckled the armour and took off
his helmet Then she took her veil of faded
silk and bound up his wound. But Geraint
lay quite still.
Enid’s horse wandered into a forest and
was lost, but Geraint’s noble war-horse kept
watch with Enid, as if he understood.
About noon, the Earl, in whose country
they now were, passed along with his
followers. He saw the two by the wayside,
and shouted to Enid, ‘Is he dead?’
‘No, no, not dead; he cannot be dead.
Let him be carried out of the sun,’ she
And Enid’s great sorrow, and her great
beauty, made the Earl a little less rough, and
he told his men to carry Geraint to the hall.
‘His charger is a noble one, bring it too,’
shouted the Earl.
His men unwillingly carried Geraint to
the hall, and laid him down on a stretcher
there, and left him.
Enid bent over him, chafing his cold
hands, and calling him to come back to her.
After a long time Geraint opened his eyes.
He saw Enid tenderly watching him, and
he felt Enid’s tears dropping on his face.
‘She weeps for me,’ he thought; but he
did not move, but lay there as if he were
In the evening the Earl came into the
great hall and called for dinner, and many
knights and ladies sat down with him, but
no one remembered Enid. But when the
Earl had finished eating and drinking, his
eye fell on her. He remembered how she
had wept for her wounded lord in the
‘Do not weep any more, but eat and be
merry. Then I will marry you, and you
shall share my earldom, and I will hunt
for you,’ said the wild Earl.
Enid’s head drooped lower, and she
murmured, ‘Leave me alone, I beseech
you, for my lord is surely dead.’
The Earl hardly heard what she said, but
thought Enid was thanking him. ‘Yes,
eat and be glad,’ he repeated, ‘for you are
‘How can I ever be glad again?’ said
Enid, thinking, ‘Surely Geraint is dead.’
But the Earl was growing impatient. He
seized her roughly, and made her sit at the
table, and he put food before her, shouting,
‘No,’ said Enid, ‘I will not eat, till my lord
arises and eats with me.’
‘Then drink,’ said the Earl, and he thrust
a cup to her lips.
‘No,’ said Enid, ‘I will not drink, till my
lord arises and drinks with me; and if he
does not arise, I will not drink wine till
The Earl strode up and down the hall
in a great rage. ‘If you will neither eat
nor drink, will you take off this old faded
dress?’ said the Earl. And he told one of
his women to bring Enid a robe, which had
been woven across the sea, and which was
covered with many gems.
But Enid told the Earl how Geraint had
first seen and loved her in the dress she
wore, and how he had asked her to wear it
when he took her to the Queen. ‘And when
we started on this sad journey, I wore it
again, to win back his love,’ she said, ‘and I
will never take it off till he arises and bids
Then the Earl was angry. He came close
to Enid, and struck her on the cheek with
And Enid thought, ‘He would not have
dared to strike me, if he had not known
that my lord was truly dead,’ and she gave
a bitter cry.
When Geraint heard Enid’s cry, with one
bound he leaped to where the huge Earl
stood, and with one swing of his sword cut
off the Earl’s head, and it fell down and
rolled along the floor.
Then all the lords and ladies were afraid,
for they had thought Geraint was dead, and
they fled, and Geraint and Enid were left
And Geraint never again thought that
Enid loved the gay lords and ladies at King
Arthur’s court better than she loved him.
Then they went back to their own land.
And soon the people knew that Prince
Geraint had come back a true knight, and
the old whispers that he was a coward
faded away, and the people called him
‘Geraint the Brave.’
And her ladies called Enid, ‘Enid the Fair,’
but the people on the land called her ‘Enid