Cambell and Triamond by Jeanie Lang
Once upon a time a fairy had a lovely daughter called Cambina, and three
sons who were born on the same day.
The eldest son she named Priamond, the second Diamond, and the third
Priamond was very stout and big, but he could not strike hard. Diamond
struck very hard, but he was little and thin. But Triamond was tall and
stout and strong as well.
Priamond used to fight on foot. Triamond fought on horseback. But Diamond
could fight equally well on a horse or off it.
Triamond fought with a spear and shield. Diamond fought with a battle-axe.
But Priamond could fight just as well with an axe as he could with a spear
Their fairy mother was so fond and so proud of her gallant sons, that she
could not bear to think of one of them dying.
So she went to see three witches called the Three Fates, who lived in a
dark place underground, and worked at their spinning-wheels day and night.
She asked the Fates to let her sons have long, long lives. That they would
not promise, but they promised that if Priamond died first, all his
strength should go into the other two. And if Diamond should then die, all
his strength and Priamond’s were to go into their brother Triamond.
Priamond, Diamond, and Triamond loved each other very dearly. When they
grew up and all fell in love with the same lady, it did not make them less
The name of this lady was Canacee. She was very beautiful, and was the
cleverest lady in all that land. She knew all about birds and beasts and
plants and flowers, and was as witty as she was wise.
Many knights wished to marry her, and these knights were so jealous of
each other that they were constantly fighting about her.
Canacee had a brother named Cambell, a wise young knight, who was sorry to
see how often the knights fought with each other about his sister.
One day, when they were all gathered together, Cambell told them that
he had made a plan by which they could decide which of them was to marry
‘Choose from amongst yourselves,’ said he, ‘the three knights that you all
think the bravest and the best fighters, and I shall fight them, one by
one. The knight who beats me shall have my sister Canacee for his wife.’
Now all the knights knew that Canacee had given her brother a magic ring,
and that, as long as he wore it, no matter how deep a wound he got, the
wound would not bleed, and he would not die.
‘It is very well for Cambell,’ they said. ‘We cannot kill him, but he can
So they would not fight, even to win Canacee.
But the three brothers, Priamond, Diamond, and Triamond, were not afraid.
‘We will fight with you, Cambell,’ they said, ‘for all of us love
So a day was fixed for this great fight. On the morning of the day, no
sooner was it light than the three brothers in their shining armour were
ready on the field. Crowds of people came to watch the fight, and there
were six judges to see that the knights fought fairly. Canacee, in a
beautiful dress, sat on a high platform whence she could see all that went
on. When Cambell strode into the field, he looked as if he were quite sure
of defeating all three knights.
Then came Priamond, Diamond, and Triamond, marching together, in splendid
armour, with their gay-coloured banners flying.
They bowed low before Canacee, the lady they loved, and the trumpets
sounded and sweet music played.
Then a trumpet blew loudly, and Cambell and stout Priamond began to fight.
Furiously they struck at each other, and at last Priamond’s spear went
through Cambell’s shoulder. But although the shoulder was pierced, and the
pain from the wound was terrible, not a single drop of blood fell from it.
So they fought and fought, until Cambell’s spear was driven through brave
Priamond’s neck. Like a great oak-tree that the storm has struck, Priamond
tottered, then fell with a mighty crash. There, on the ground, he lay
bleeding and dead.
When he died, all his strength passed into his two brothers, as the Three
Fates had promised to his fairy mother.
A second time the trumpet sounded, and slight little Diamond, his
battle-axe in his hand, fiercely rushed at Cambell.
So furiously did they hew and hack at each other, that their armour was
cut and gashed as if it had been rotten wood. No blood flowed from
Cambell’s wounds, but Diamond’s blood gushed fast, and reddened the green
Fierce little Diamond grew tired at last of hacking and hewing and yet
never killing Cambell. So he put all his strength into one terrible
stroke, and swung his axe round with all his might. Had the blow reached
Cambell it must have chopped his head in two, but Cambell swerved aside.
Diamond had used so much force, that when he missed his aim his foot
slipped. Cambell took the chance, let drive at him with all his power, and
with his axe cut Diamond’s head clean off.
For a moment Diamond’s headless body stood still. Then gallant little
Diamond fell dead on the ground. As he fell, all his strength, and the
strength of Priamond, went into Triamond, the youngest brother.
Then Triamond, stronger and more angry than he had ever been before,
lightly sprang up from where he had sat to watch the fight.
His strokes fell like hail on Cambell’s armour. He struck, he thrust, he
hewed, he hacked, till the sparks flew from his sword like the shining
drops that are dashed from a waterfall.
Sometimes Triamond seemed to be winning; sometimes Cambell. The blood
gushed from Triamond’s wounds, till he grew faint. But although Cambell
was covered with wounds the magic ring stopped his blood from flowing, so
that he grew no less strong. When he saw Triamond growing weak, he smote
him in the throat with all his might, and Triamond fell down as if he were
But Triamond did not die. From the fearful wound all the strength that had
belonged to his brother Priamond ebbed away. Still he had his own strength
and Diamond’s strength left.
So he rose up again, and Cambell, who had thought him dead, was so amazed
that Triamond gave him a hard stroke before he had time to defend himself.
Then Cambell fought with more care, and seemed rather to try to save
himself than to try to kill Triamond. Triamond, seeing this, thought that
Cambell must be tired, and that he could easily beat him now. With that
he whirled up his sword to give a fearful blow. But Cambell, quick as
lightning, thrust his sword under Triamond’s upraised arm, so that it
passed right through his body and came out at the other side. Even then
the blow that Triamond struck was such a terrible one, that it cut through
Cambell’s steel helmet and gashed open his head, and he fell senseless to
Triamond, too, fell down, and out of his wound all Diamond’s strength
When those who looked on saw this, they thought that the fight was at an
end, because the fighters all lay dead.
Canacee began to cry because her brother and the brave knight who loved
her were slain. But in a moment both knights rose to their feet again.
Those who watched could not believe their eyes when they saw them begin to
fight as fiercely as before.
While every one stared in wonder and in fear, because they knew that soon
the knights must surely kill each other, a loud noise suddenly drowned the
clash of weapons.
It was a sound as of women and boys shouting and screaming in a panic.
Cambell and Triamond stopped their fight for an instant to listen and to
look at the place from whence the noise came.
They saw a golden chariot, decked with wonderful ornaments, whirling
towards them with the force of a storm. Two fierce lions drew the chariot,
and in it sat a lady, whose face shone with beauty and goodness.
It was Triamond’s sister, Cambina, who knew more about magic than almost
any one else in all Fairyland.
When the crowds who watched saw her and her growling lions, they huddled
together like frightened sheep. Some laughed, most of them screamed, and
all of them ran till the dust flew up in clouds.
In one hand Cambina carried a magic wand with two serpents twisted round
it. In the other she held a golden cup filled with a magic drink, that
made those who drank of it forget all anger and bitterness, and filled
their hearts with happiness and friendship and peace.
When Cambina came to the wooden barrier that shut off the watchers from
the field where the knights had fought, she softly struck the rail with
It flew open, and the lions dashed in with Cambina’s glittering chariot.
She got out of her chariot and ran up to the two knights, and begged them
to fight no more. But they would not listen, and began to fight again.
Then she knelt on the bloodstained ground, and besought them with tears to
lay down their swords. When they still went fiercely on, she smote them
lightly with her magic wand.
Their swords fell to the ground, and while they stared at each other in
wonder, Cambina handed them her golden cup. They were so hot and thirsty
that they gladly drank. And, as they drank, all anger went out of their
hearts, and love for each other took its place. They kissed, and shook
hands, and vowed that they would be friends for evermore.
When the people saw this, they shouted and cheered for gladness till all
the air rang.
And Canacee ran down from her platform and kissed Cambina, who had stopped
the fearful fight and made Canacee’s brother and her lover friends.
Then the trumpets sounded, and Cambina took Canacee into her chariot
beside her, and the lions galloped off to Canacee’s palace. And all the
people thought how beautiful were these two lovely ladies, whose faces
were fresh as morning roses and radiant with happiness.
Cambell and Canacee gave a great feast that lasted for days and days.
And Triamond married Canacee, and Cambell married Cambina, and they all
lived happily and peacefully ever afterwards.