Book IX - Chapter XL - How after that Sir Tristram, Sir Palomides, and Sir Dinadan had been long in prison they were delivered.
NOW leave we off this tale, and speak we of sir Dinas that had within the castle a paramour, and she loved another knight better than him. And so when sir Dinas went out a-hunting she slipped down by a towel, and took with her two brachets, and so she yede to the knight that she loved, and he her again. And when sir Dinas came home and missed his paramour and his brachets, then was he the more wrother for his brachets than for the lady. So then he rode after the knight that had his paramour, and bade him turn and joust. So sir Dinas smote him down, that with the fall he brake his leg and his arm. And then his lady and paramour cried sir Dinas mercy, and said she would love him better than ever she did. Nay, said sir Dinas, I shall never trust them that once betrayed me, and therefore, as ye have begun, so end, for I will never meddle with you. And so sir Dinas departed, and took his brachets with him, and so rode to his castle.
Now will we turn unto sir Launcelot, that was right heavy that he could never hear no tidings of sir Tristram, for all this while he was in prison with sir Darras, Palomides, and Dinadan. Then Dame Bragwaine took her leave to go into Cornwall, and sir Launcelot, sir Kay, and sir Gaheris rode to seek sir Tristram in the country of Surluse.
Now speaketh this tale of sir Tristram and of his two fellows, for every day sir Palomides brawled and said language against sir Tristram. I marvel, said sir Dinadan, of thee, sir Palomides, an thou haddest sir Tristram here thou wouldst do him no harm; for an a wolf and a sheep were together in a prison the wolf would suffer the sheep to be in peace. And wit thou well, said sir Dinadan, this same is sir Tristram at a word, and now must thou do thy best with him, and let see now if ye can skift it with your hands. Then was sir Palomides abashed and said little. Sir Palomides, then said sir Tristram, I have heard much of your maugre against me, but I will not meddle with you as at this time by my will, because I dread the lord of this place that hath us in governance; for an I dread him not more than I do thee, soon it should be skift: so they peaced themself. Right so came in a damosel and said: Knights, be of good cheer, for ye are sure of your lives, and that I heard say my lord, Sir Darras. Then were they glad all three, for daily they weened they should have died.
Then soon after this Sir Tristram fell sick that he weened to have died; then Sir Dinadan wept, and so did Sir Palomides under them both making great sorrow. So a damosel came in to them and found them mourning. Then she went unto Sir Darras, and told him how that mighty knight that bare the black shield was likely to die. That shall not be, said Sir Darras, for God defend when knights come to me for succour that I should suffer them to die within my prison. Therefore, said Sir Darras to the damosel, fetch that knight and his fellows afore me. And then anon Sir Darras saw Sir Tristram brought afore him. He said: Sir knight, me repenteth of thy sickness for thou art called a full noble knight, and so it seemeth by thee; and wit ye well it shall never be said that Sir Darras shall destroy such a noble knight as thou art in prison, howbeit that thou hast slain three of my sons whereby I was greatly aggrieved. But now shalt thou go and thy fellows, and your harness and horses have been fair and clean kept, and ye shall go where it liketh you, upon this covenant, that thou, knight, wilt promise me to be good friend to my sons two that be now alive, and also that thou tell me thy name. Sir, said he, as for me my name is Sir Tristram de Liones, and in Cornwall was I born, and nephew I am unto King Mark. And as for the death of your sons I might not do withal, for an they had been the next kin that I have I might have done none otherwise. And if I had slain them by treason or treachery I had been worthy to have died. All this I consider, said Sir Darras, that all that ye did was by force of knighthood, and that was the cause I would not put you to death. But sith ye be Sir Tristram, the good knight, I pray you heartily to be my good friend and to my sons. Sir, said Sir Tristram, I promise you by the faith of my body, ever while I live I will do you service, for ye have done to us but as a natural knight ought to do. Then Sir Tristram reposed him there till that he was amended of his sickness; and when he was big and strong they took their leave, and every knight took their horses, and so departed and rode together till they came to a cross way. Now fellows, said Sir Tristram, here will we depart in sundry ways. And because Sir Dinadan had the first adventure of him I will begin.