The Story of the Norman Knight
"There was a
French soldier of noble mien who sat his horse gallantly. He
spied two Englishmen who were also carrying themselves boldly.
They were both men of great worth and had become companions in
arms and fought together, the one protecting the other. They
bore two long and broad bills* and did great mischief to the
Normans, killing both horses and men.
The French soldier looked at them and their bills* and was
sore alarmed, for he was afraid of losing his good horse, the
best that he had, and would willingly have turned to some
other quarter if it would not have looked like cowardice.
He soon, however,
recovered his courage, and, spurring his horse, gave him the
bridle and galloped swiftly forward. Fearing the two bills, he
raised his shield, and struck one of the Englishmen with his
lance on the breast, so that the iron passed out at his back.
At the moment that he fell the lance broke, and the Frenchman
seized the mace** that hung at his right side, and struck the
other Englishman a blow that completely fractured his skull.
On the other side was an Englishman who much annoyed the
French, continually assaulting them with a keen-edged hatchet.
He had a helmet made of wood, which he had fastened down to
his coat and laced round his neck, so that no blows could
reach his head. The ravage he was making was seen by a gallant
Norman knight, who rode a horse that neither fire nor water
could stop in its career when its master urged it on.
spurred, and his horse carried him on well till he charged the
Englishman, striking him over the helmet so that it fell down
over his eyes; and as he stretched out his hand to raise it
and uncover his face, the Norman cut off his right hand, so
that his hatchet fell to the ground.
sprang forward and eagerly seized the prize with both his
hands, but he kept it little space and paid dearly for it, for
as he stooped to pick up the hatchet an Englishman with his
long-handled axe struck him over the back, breaking all his
bones, so that his entrails and lungs gushed forth. The knight
of the good horse meantime returned without injury; but on his
way he met another Englishman and bore him down under his
horse, wounding him grievously and trampling him altogether
* A Bill - A
halberd or similar weapon with a hooked blade and a long
* A Halberd - A weapon of the 15th and 16th centuries having
an axe-like blade and a steel spike mounted on the end of a
** A Mace - A
heavy medieval war club with a spiked or flanged metal head,
used to crush armor