The Green Mantle
One day when all of Arthur’s court were sitting down to dine
There came a boy with message short and mantle strange and fine
The King addressed him and the boy did tell of mistress sweet
And asked of Arthur one small boon for that fair lady’s treat.
“Let all your lovely ladies here try on this mantle green
For it will fit only the one who’s gentle, true and sweet.”
The King did frown, but Gawain laughed to see such merry sport;
He said “What harm could come of this”, and so Arthur agreed.
And so he called the ladies forth, and first came his fair Queen,
But through her naughty antics, all her whole calf could be seen;
Sir Kay did boast that his fair love was bound to fit the coat
And yet when she did try it on, it shorter still had got.
Sir Gawain’s love came forward for to face the lady’s test
So short was mantle at the back some said she liked it best;
And so went all the ladies forth, each blushing and afraid
And none did the strange mantle fit and prove she was a maid.
One lady still was missing, ill on her bed did lay,
But she was fetched and Caradoc wept to fear her lasting shame
He said to her, “I care not what this mantle says of you,
But that you love me now is all I’ll ever ask of you.”
The maiden though was unafraid and smiled sweet and clear
For she alone in all that room had nothing for to fear;
And when she tried the mantle on it fit her on all sides,
And Caradoc wept again for thought his heart would burst with pride.
The boy came forward then and smiled, and said, “The mantle’s yours,
For seven courts have felt it’s touch, but none has it yet worn.”
The moral of this story then: don’t test your love too far
And let your love be ever true, lest mantle shame your heart.