Sir Eglamour of Artois
14th century, Middle English: 15th and 16th century manuscripts at Cambridge University Library, Lincoln Cathedral Library, British Library, Bodleian Library.
It was not long before the dragon itself suddenly appeared and knocked Sir Eglamour off his horse. The knight got up and set his shield against the blows that rained down on him, and from the fire that came out of its mouth.
'Sir!' exclaimed the earl. 'At Rome, as I have heard, there lives a fierce dragon. The fiend is of such notoriety that nobody dares to come within seven miles of the place. Do you hear me! Arm yourself! Kill this monster or back out of everything now. And I mean everything!'
'I have completed two of the tasks that you have set me and I shall fulfil this third or die in the attempt,' replied Sir Eglamour.
After supper, he went to see Cristabel and took his leave. 'Damsel, your father has set me one more task that I must do; I will go, and return as soon as I can, with Mary's help. But take this ring, and keep it well, in case God sends you a child; for with it you cannot die.'
So off to Rome went Sir Eglamour, to seek the dragon. Soon he came across signs of its presence – dead bodies strewn across the ground, scattered by the hundreds! Had he not been such a valiant knight, his heart would have frozen with terror at the sight of it all. And it was not long before the dragon itself suddenly appeared and knocked Sir Eglamour off his horse. The knight got up and set his shield against the blows that rained down on him, and from the fire that came out of its mouth. The heat intensified as night began to fall. It was like standing at the very gates of hell! Sir Eglamour cut off part of the dragon's tail and in desperate pain, the beast managed to hit the knight on the head with its stump, giving him a deep wound. Sir Eglamour cried out in anguish, and in a final desperate effort, he cut off the creature's head.