Medieval Arthurian Legend
Sir Thomas Malory: Le Morte d'Arthur
15th century, late-Medieval English.
again and againConcealed identity
‘Sir,’ said a knight to Balin. ‘Your shield is too small. I will lend you a bigger one.’ And so Balin took the unfamiliar shield, leaving his own behind.
The lady of the castle said:
Knight of the two swords, ye must have ado and juste – you must joust with a knight on an island nearby, for no one can pass here without doing so.’
‘This is an unfortunate custom,’ said Balin.
‘Well, you need joust with only one knight.’
‘If I must, then’ replied Balin. ‘Men who are travelling are often weary after a day’s riding, and their horses also, but although my horse is tired my heart is still eager for battle, and I am happy to die on that island.
‘Sir,’ said a knight to Balin. ‘Your shield is too small. I will lend you a bigger one.’
And so he tooke the sheld that was unknowen and lefte his owne – and so Balin took the unfamiliar shield, leaving his own behind and rode to where a large boat was waiting to take him over to the island. On the other side he met with a damsel. She said:
O, knyght Balyn, why have ye lefte your owne sheld? Allas! ye have put yourself in grete daunger, for by your sheld ye shold have ben knowen.