THE TALE OF THE LOST LAND
CHAPTER 24: A RIVAL MAGICIAN
"And so it might be, if he were sleeping," I said, "but the king
is not sleeping, the king rides."
Here was trouble again--a conflict of authority. Nobody knew which
of us to believe; I still had some reputation left. The magician's
scorn was stirred, and he said:
"Lo, I have seen many wonderful soothsayers and prophets and
magicians in my life days, but none before that could sit idle and
see to the heart of things with never an incantation to help."
"You have lived in the woods, and lost much by it. I use incantations
myself, as this good brotherhood are aware--but only on occasions
When it comes to sarcasming, I reckon I know how to keep my end up.
That jab made this fellow squirm. The abbot inquired after the
queen and the court, and got this information:
"They be all on sleep, being overcome by fatigue, like as to the king."
"That is merely another lie. Half of them are about their amusements,
the queen and the other half are not sleeping, they ride. Now
perhaps you can spread yourself a little, and tell us where the king
and queen and all that are this moment riding with them are going?"
"They sleep now, as I said; but on the morrow they will ride,
for they go a journey toward the sea."
"And where will they be the day after to-morrow at vespers?"
"Far to the north of Camelot, and half their journey will be done."
"That is another lie, by the space of a hundred and fifty miles.
Their journey will not be merely half done, it will be all done,
and they will be here, in this valley."