Gawain and the Green Knight (Knight)

Updated: Aug 29, 2020

The Green Knight scrutinizes the brave Gawain.


As Arthur's court celebrated the Winter Solstice, an unexpected visitor burst into the hall. The horse and rider were larger than life, and both were of a green hue. The knight was richly clad and carried a bough of holly in one hand, and an axe in the other. He issued a challenge to the assembly for one to join him in a game of the season--the Beheading GAme. Being that the stranger and his steed gave off a green light, the knights feared him to be the Faery. Naturally, they were reluctant to meet his challenge.


Gawaain was the one to step forward and take up the dare. The Green Kngiht dismounted, knelt, and explained to Gawain that he would be given one chance to behead him; if he survived, a year later the Green Knight would return the blow.


Gawain struck off the head of the Green Knight, but to his dismay the body stood up, retrieved the head, and placed it back on his shoulders. The knight reminded Gawain taht they would meet again in one year. Then, in high humour, he left the court.


During the following year, Gawain's honour and fortitude were tested by the Faery cohorts of the Green Knight.


Gawain fared reasonably well, but, only just resisted teh seductive powers of a beautiful woman (whom he later learned was the wife of the Green Knight). The charming Fay offered Gawain her green garter as a talisman, Gawain accepted the garter, but far from protecting him, the gesture put his life in peril.


When the fateful day came, the Green Knight made his judgment. Being tha tGawain's only weakness was enlisting the help of the lady, the knight only nicked Gawain's neck with the axe. Gawain was now free to return to the court, but the Green Knight declared from that day forward he must wear the garter as a token of his fault.


Afterward, as a demonstration of their solidarity, all Knights of the Round Table wore a green garter.


From Ferguson, Anna-Marie. Keeper of Words. 1995 Llewellyn Publications. St. Paul, Minnesota. (169)

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