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eten he shal yeve you better to drinke, and thenne it shal not styke in your throte.
After thise wordes tho torned hym Reynart toward his castel, and Lantfert cam and fonde the bere fast taken in the tree; thenne ran he faste to his neyghbors and sayde, Come alle in to my yerde, ther is a beere taken ; the worde anone sprange oueral in the thorpe, ther ne bleef nether man ne wyf, but alle ranne theder as fast as they coude, everyche wyth his wepen ; some wyth a staf, some wyth a rake, some wyth a brome, some wyth a stake of the hegghe and some wyth a flayel, and the preest of the chirche had the staf of the crosse, and the clerk brought a vane, the prestis wyf Julok cam wyth her dystaf, she sat tho and spanne. Ther cam olde wymen that for age
had not one toeth in her heed. Now was Bruyn the bere nygh moche sorowe, that he allone muste stande ayenst them all : whan he herde alle this grete noyse and crye, he wrastled and plucked so harde and so sore, that he gate out his heed, but he lefte behynde alle the skyne and bothe his eeris in suche wyse that never man sawe fowller ne lothlyer beest, for the blode ran over his eyen, and or he coude gete oute his feet, he muste lete there his clawes or nayles and his roughe hande. This market cam to hym evyl, for he supposed neuer to have goon, his feet were so sore, and he myght not see for the blode whiche ran so over his eyen. Lantfert cam to hym wyth the preest, and forth with alle the parysshe, and began to smyte and stryke sore upon his heed and visage, he receyvd there many a sore stroke. Every man beware
hierby who hath harme and scathe, every man wil be ther at and put more to. That was wel seen on the bere, for they were alle fiers and wroth on the bere, grete and smal. Ye, Hughelyn wyth the croked lege, and Ludolf with the brode longe noose, they were booth wroth; that one had an leden malle, and that other a grete leden wapper, ther wyth they wappred and al forslyngred hym. Syr Bertolt with the longe fyngers, Lantfert, and Ottram the longe, thyse dyde to the bere more harme than al the other, that one had a sharp hoke, and that other a croked staf well leded on thende for to playe at the balle. Bactkyn ande Ave Abelquak, my dame Baue, and the preest with his staf, and dame Julok his wyf, thise wroughten to the bere so moche harme, that they wolde fayn have brought hym fro his lyf to deth: they smote and stacke hym al that they cowde. Bruyn the beere satte and syghed and groned, and must take suche as was gyven to hym, but Lantfert was the worthiest of byrthe of them alle, and made moste noyse, for dame Pogge of Chafporte was his moder, and his fader was Macob the stoppel maker, a moche stowt man. There as he was allone Bruyn receyved of hem many a caste of stones. Tofore hem alle sprang forth Lantefert's brother with a staf, and smote the bere on the heed that he ne herde ne sawe, and therewith the bere sprang vp bytwene the bushe and ryver emonge an heep of wyvis that he threw a deel of hem in the ryver which was wyde and depe; ther was the persons wyf one of them, wherfor he was ful of sorow, whan he sawe his wyf lye in the water
hym lusted no lenger to smyte the bere, but called, Dame Juloke in the water! now every man see to; alle, they that may helpe her, be they men or wymen I gyve to hem alle pardon of her penance and relece alle theyr synnes. All they thenne lette Bruyn the bere lye, and dyde that the preest badde.
Whan Bruyn the bere sawe that they ranne alle fro hym, and ranne to save the wymen, tho sprange he in to the water and swame all that he coude. Thenne made the preest a grete showte and noyse, and ran after the bere wyth grete anger and said, Come and torne agayne thow false theef. The bere swame after the beste of the streme, and lete them calle and crye, for he was glad that he was so escaped from them; he cursed and banned the hony tree, and the foxe also that had so betrayed hym, that he had cropen therin so depe that he loste boothe his hood and his eeris. And so forth he droof in the streem wel a ij or iij myle. Tho waxe he so wery that he wente to lande for to sitte and reste hym, for he was hevy, he groned and syghed, and the blode lepe over his eyen, he drough his breth lyke as one sholde have deyde.
Now herke how the foxe dyde : er he cam fro Lantferts hows he had stolen a fatte henne and had leyde her in his male, and ranne hastely away by a by path were he wende that no man shold have comen, he ranne toward the ryver that he swette, he was so glad that he wist not what to do for joye, for he hoped that the bere had be dede: he sayde, I have now wel spedde for he that sholde most have hyndred
me in the court is now dede, and none shal wyte me therof, may I not thenne by right be wel glad. With these wordes the foxe loked to the ryver ward and espyed where Bruyn the bere lay and rested hym. Tho was the foxe sorier and hevyer than he to fore was mery, and was as angry and sayde in chydyng to Lantfert, Alas Lantfert, lewde fool, God gyve hym a shames deth that hath loste such good venyson whiche is good and fatte, and hath late hym goo whiche was taken to his hand; many a man wolde gladly have eten of hym, he hath loste a riche and fatte bere. Thus al chydyng he cam to the ryver where he fonde the bere sore wounded, bebled, and right seke, whiche he myght thanke none better thereof than Reynart whiche spack to the bere in skorne, Chiere priestre, dieu vous garde. Wylle ye see the rede theef, sayde the bere to hym self, the rybaud and the felle diere here I se hym comen. Thenne sayd the foxe, have ye ought forgoten at Lantferts ? have ye also payd hym for the hony combes that ye stale fro hym? yf ye have not, it were a grete shame and not honeste. I wyl rather be the messenger my self for to goo and paye hym; was the hony not good ? I knowe yet more of the same prys. Dere Eme, telle me er I goo hens, in to what ordre wille ye goo, that ye were this newe hode. Were ye a monke or an abbot ? he that shoef your crowne, hath nyped of your eeris, ye have lost your toppe, and don of your gloves. I trowe veryly that ye wyl go synge Complyn. Alle this herde Bruyn the bere, and wexe alle angry for he myght not avenge hym; he lete the foxe saye his
wylle and wyth grete payne suffred it, and sterte agayne in the ryver, and swam doun wyth the streem to that other syde. Now muste he sorowe how that he sholde come to the court; for he had loste his eeris, and the skynne wyth the clawes of his forefeet. For though a man sholde have slayn hym he coude not go: and yet he muste nedes forth, but he wist not how. Now here how he dyde: he satte vpon his hammes, and began to rutsele ouer his tayle, and whan he was so wery, he wentled and tombled nyghe half a myle; this dyde he with grete payne so longe tyl atte laste he cam to the courte. And whan he was seen so comyng fro ferre, some doubted what it myght be that cam so wentelyng. The kyng atte laste knewe hym, and was not wel payd and sayde: This is Bruyn the bere my friende ; who hath wounded hym thus? He is passyng reed on his heed; me thynketh he is hurte ynto the deth, where may he have ben ? Therwyth is the bere come to fore the kynge and sayde.
THE COMPLAYNT OF THE BERE UPON THE FOXE.
I COMPLAYNE to yow, mercyful lorde, syre kynge, so as ye may see how that I am handled, prayeng you tavenge it upon Reynart the felle beest, for I have goten this in your seruyse, I have loste bothe my formest feet, my chekes and myn eeris by his false deceyte and