Updated: Aug 29, 2020
Gareth of Orkney was the younger brotther of Gawain, Agravain and Gaheris. when he first came to Camelot he kept his identity secret, wishing to prove himself by his own deeds rather than relying on his relationship to the famous Gawain. During this time he was known only as Beaumains, a nickname given to him by Kay, meaning "fairhands." As Beaumains, he patiently worked in the kitchens, awaiting an opportunity to prove himself. This he eventually did by rescuing the Lady Lyones, who for two years ahd been a hostage of the knight Ironside. While witnessingthe ensuing battle, Lyones fell deeply in love with her young valiant champion, and he with hergiving him the strngth to prevail (see the Hanged Man.)
The two later met amid the celebrations held at the castle of Lyones brother Gringamore. There was great cheer, dancing, games, fine wine, meats, but Gareth was os fervoured by his love that he could not bring himself to eat. He watched every move Lyones made, his love deepeneing by the moment. Seeing how Gareth burned in his love, Gringamore sought to ease his agony. Knowing that his sister's love for GAreth equalled that o fher young champion, Gringamore told him so. There was never a happier man than Gareth. With Gringamore' assurance, Gareth then spoke with Lyones who vowed that aher love for him would last all her days. The two made plans to meet later that night, once all the guests had retired. Lyones instructed Gareth to sleep in the hall and she would join him just before midnight. It became clear to all present that the two were deeply in love. The enchantress Linet, sister to Lyones, suspected their lusty intentions, and although she appeared approved their love, she hoped to delay their union until they were married. That night lyones secretly made her way through the castle to join Gareth in his bed. Meanwhile, Linet conjured up a phantom knight whom she sent to attack Gareth at this delicate moment. The battle was fierce, leaving Linet's knight decapitated andGareth exhausted with a badly wounded thigh. Gringamore, awakened by Lyones' screams, rushed to help and joined the two lovers Just as Linet entered the room. The enchantress calmly walked up to her knight, applied an ointment to his neck, placed his head back upon his shoulders and restored him to life, warning the lovers to cool their hot blood until they were wed.
Ten days passed and despite Gareth's wound their yearning for one another drove them to plan a second meeting. Lyones had not been in Gareth's bed long when she saw the brilliant light of the phantom knight approoching. With sword at his bedside,Gareth was prepared for the knight's timely interruption. As their battle escalated, so too did the ghastly light; its blaze became so bright that Lyones was blind to the struggle. Gareth's wound reopened and the loss of blood weakened him, but he was eventually triumphant, again beheading the phantom knight. This time Gareth chapped the head into a hundred different pieces and threw them out a nearby window. Linet diligently gathered these, however, piecing her knight back together and restoring him to duty. Gareth suffered with his wound, preventing any further mischief but Linet told the angry young lover that when the time came she would heal him and restore him to his healthy lustful self. At long last the day came when--honour in tact--the two were wed and their ordeal with the phantom chaperone ceased.
From Ferguson, Anna-Marie. Keeper of Words. 1995 Llewellyn Publications. St. Paul, Minnesota. (54-55)