When Gawaine and Uwaine leave Arthur's court following Morgan le Fay's treason, they journey
for several days until they come to a valley with a turret in a deep forest. Two knights seem to be protecting twelve damosels
as they throw mire and spit at a shield hanging on a tree. When our knights ask the cause, they are told that it is because the owner
hates all women. Uwaine knows the owner whose name is Marhaus and claims him to be a good knight and a powerful warrior.
Gawaine and Uwaine retire a distance from the tree just as Marhaus returns and defeats the two knights that
protect the damosels, sending them screaming into the turret like mad women. Marhaus takes the soiled shield because it was
given to him by his lady love (who is unnamed) and approaches Gawaine and Uwaine to challenge them if need be. Uwaine is
against taking up the challenge but accepts at Gawaine's insistence. Marhaus strikes Uwaine from his horse and wounds
him in the left side. Gawaine follows up and is likewise unseated but battles Marhaus on foot. When he is close to defeat, he
accords himself with Marhaus and they cease their battle. Marhaus claims that the mad women of the turret wrongfully
accuse him of hating all women; but he
hates them because they wish to make a stark coward of a man to have the better of him. Gawaine and Uwaine stay with
Marhaus for a week to allow their wounds to heal.
Afterward, Marhaus accompanies them to the great forest called Arroy where he declares that every knight
that ventured into its domain found strange adventures. As they rode, they came to a deep valley of stones with a broad stream.
At the head of the stream sit three ladies at a fair fountain. But these are not just ordinary ladies, for in them we recognize the
triple aspect of the goddess. The eldest is an old wise woman with white hair crowned by a garland of gold, the second, a woman
of thirty with a circlet of gold, and the last, a maiden of fifteen with flowers in her hair. The three await errant knights to teach
them on strange adventures. Note that Malory uses the word teach not take. Each of our knights must choose one of the three
and a direction and the damosel will lead them on a quest and in twelve months the three will meet again at the fountain.
Uwaine chooses the eldest for being the youngest and least experienced, he felt that she would be the one to best
help him. Marhaus chooses the damosel of thirty winters, leaving the young maiden to Gawaine. Once chosen, the ladies lead
them to a crossroad that leads in three directions. Gawaine will travel north, Uwaine west, and Marhaus south, directions that
could mirror their own - Gawaine being from the northern Lothians, Uwaine from Rheged, and Marhaus to be associated with
Cornwall and the Tristram legends. Without delving into the other sources, we can not from Malory determine the moral,
chivalric purpose of the quest. In some aspects, the tales should relate to love and a knight's duty to protect those that
have suffered for love or family's sake. But Malory seems to have altered the tales' focus or combined the tales from
other source material using the triple goddess to present the stories as a combined quest.
Marhaus travels with his damosel a long distance coming to a deep forest and even into the forest as nighttime
Finding a small
court, they are refused lodging, but the man takes them to a nearby fair castle of a duke. Marhaus is led before the duke and
his men where he relates who he is. Elsewhere Uwaine claims that Marhaus is the son of an Irish king, but here Marhaus
declares himself only to have been born in Ireland. As there were numerous holdings in the western part of the island, in
Cornwall, southwest Wales, and the the Dal Riada areas of Scotland, Malory seems to be stating that Marhaus was not of these
lands but probably a younger son of an Irish noble that was seeking his fortune in Britain. Interestingly, Marhaus states he is
a knight of the Round Table but at the end of this quest, Arthur makes him a knight of the Round Table. It would seem that
Malory had difficulty distinguishing between when a knight was of Arthur's court and when he was a member of the
elite Round Table.
The Duke of the South Marches is an enemy of Arthur. As a proper host, he will
provide welcome lodging to Marhaus for that night but in the morning, Marhaus would have to meet him and his six sons
in combat. Marhaus discovers in trying to seek a remedy that the Duke blames Sir Gawaine for the death of his seventh son
and will be revenged on all knights and men of Arthur's. In the morning, Marhaus meets the duke and his sons in battle
and defeats them. Marhaus charges them to make peace with Arthur at the next Whitsuntide.
Next, the quest damosel takes Marhaus to a tournament held by the Lady de Vawse where Marhaus wins the
Within seven nights, Marhaus and the damosel arrive at the land of Earl Fergus, a young
lord recently come into his lands who will later be one of Tristram's men. Fergus complains to Marhaus of a giant living
nearby that was destroying Fergus' lands. The giant, Taulard, also has a brother named Taulas in Cornwall that will
be defeated by Tristram later in Malory's story. Marhaus determines to face Taulard and is taken by Fergus'
man to the area. Marhaus meets the giant in combat and is quickly in great peril for Taulard cleaves Marhaus' shield
in two. After a fierce battle, Marhaus smote off the giant's right arm. Taulard flees to a nearby lake or the coast.
Marhaus can not go in after the giant and so attacks him from the shore using stones. After many hard hits, the giant drowns.
Marhaus went to the giant's castle where he released twenty-four ladies and twelve knights from the prison and
acquires the giant's riches. Because of his wounds from the battle, Marhaus remains with Fergus for the remaining
half year before setting out to the rendezvous. Along the way, he meets four knights of Arthur's court, Sagramore le
Desirous, Osanna, Dodinas le Savage, and Felot of Listinoise, and defeats them all with one spear.
Once he arrives back at the rendezvous and the adventures are told, Marhaus and the others set out and meet
a messenger from Arthur requesting that Gawaine and Uwaine return to court. Marhaus accompanies them and at the next
Pentecost is made a knight of the Round Table along with Pelleas to fill two
seats left vacant by deaths in the previous year.
more to come...