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wel your desyre. Assons as this spekyng was don, Noble, the kyng, wente and stode vpon an hygh stage of stone, and commanded silence to alle the bestes, and that they shulde sytte doun in a rynge
vpon the grasse, eueriche in his place, after his estate and byrthe. Reynart the foxe stode by the quene, whom he ought wel to loue. Thenne said the kynge, Here ye alle, that be poure and riche, yong and olde, that stondeth here, Reynart, one of the heed offycers of my hows, had don so euyl, whiche this daye shold haue ben hanged, hath now in this courte don so moche, that I and my wyf, the quene, haue promysed to hym our grace and frendshyp. The quene hath prayde moche for hym; in so moche that I haue made pees wyth hym, and I gyf to hym his lyf, and membre, freely agayne ; and I comande you, ypon your lyf, that ye doo worship to Reynart, his wyf, and to his chyldren, where someuer ye mete hem, by day or by nyght; and I wil also here no moo complayntes of Reynard; yf he hath heirtofore mysdon, and trespaced, he wil no more mysdo, ne trespace, but now bettre hym; he wylle to morowe erly goo to the Pope for pardon and foryeuenes of alle hys synnes; and forth ouer the see to the Holy Lande, and he wil not come agayn til he brynge pardon of alle his synnes.
This tale herde Tyselyn the rauen, and leep to Ysegrym, to Bruyn, and to Tybert, there as they were, and saide, Ye caytyfs, how goth it now ye vnhappy folke, what do ye here? Reynard the foxe is now a squyer, and a courtyer, and right grete and myghty in
the court. The kynge hath skylled hym quyte of alle his brokes, and forgyuen hym alle his trespaces and mysdedes, and ye be alle betrayed and apechyd. Ysegrym saide, How may this be? I trowe Tyselyn that ye lye. I do not certaynly, saide the rauen. Tho wente the wulf, and the bere, to the kynge. Tybert, the catte, was in grete sorowe, he was so sore aferde, that for to haue the foxes frendship, he wold wel forgyue Reyner the losse of his one eye, that he loste in the prestes hows; he was so woo, he wist not what to doo, he wolde wel that he neuer had seen the foxe.
HOW THE WULF AND THE BERE WERE ARESTYD BY THE
LABOUR OF REYNART THE FOXE.
YSEGRYM cam proudly ouer the felde to fore the kynge, and he thanked the quene, and spack, wyth a felle moed, ylle wordes on the foxe, in suche wyse, that the kynge herde it, and was wroth, and made the wulf and the bere anon to be arestyd. Ye sawe neuer wood dogges do more harme than was don to them ; they were bothe fast bounden, so sore, that, alle that night, they myght not stere hande ne foot; they myght scarsely rore, ne meue ony joynte.
Now here how the foxe forth dyde: he hated hem; he laboured so to the quene, that he gate leue for to haue as moche of the beres skyn vpon his ridge as a
foote longe and a foot brode for to make hym therof a scryppe. Thenne was the foxe redy yf he had foure stronge shoon.
Now here how he dyde for to gete these shoon. He said to the quene, Madame, I am youre pylgrym, here is myn eme, sir Isegrym, that hath iiij. strong shoon, whiche were good for me, yf he wolde late me haue two of them, I wolde on the waye besyly thynke on your sowle ; for it is right that a pylgrym shold alway thynke and praye for them that doo him good. Thus maye ye doo your sowle good, yf ye wyll. And also, yf ye myght, gete of myn aunte, dame Eerswyn, also two of her shoon to gyue me; she may well doo it, for she gooth but lytil out, but abydeth alway at home. Thenne, sayde the quene, Reynard, yow behoueth wel suche shoes, ye may not be wythout them; they shal be good for you to kepe your feet hool for to passe with them many a sharpe montayn, and stony roches; ye can fynde no better shoes for you, than such as Ysegrym and his wyf haue and were, they be good and stronge; though it sholde touche their lyf, eche of them shal gyue you two shoes, for to accomplissh wyth your hye pilgremage.
HOW YSEGRYM AND HIS WYF ERESWYN MUST SUFFRE HER
ON THE SHOYS FOR TO GOO TO ROME WYTH.
Thus hath this false pylgrym goten fro Ysegrym ij.
shooes fro his feet, which were haled of the clawes, to the senewis; ye sawe neuer foule that men rosted laye so stylle as Ysegrym dyde, whan his shoes were haled of he styred not; and yet his feet bledde. Thenne whan Y segrym was unshoed, tho muste dame Eerswyn, his wyf, lye doun in the grasse wyth an heuy chere, and she loste ther her hynder shoes. Tho was the foxe glad, and saide to his aunte, in scorne, My dere aunte, how moche sorow haue
suffred for my sake, whiche me sore repenteth, sauf this herof I am glad, for ye be the lyeuest of alle my kyn, therefore I wyl gladly were your shoen. Ye shal be partener of my pylgremage, and dele of the pardon that I shal, with your shoen, fecche ouer the see.
Dame Erswyne was so woo that she vnnethe myght speke; neuertheles, this she sayde, A Reynart, that ye now al thus baue your wyl, I pray God to wreke it! Y segrym and his felaw, the bere, helden their pees and wheren al stylle. They were euyl at ease, for they were bounden and sore wounded; had Tybert, the catte, haue ben there, he shold also somwhat haue suffred, in suche wyse, as he sholde not escaped thens wythout hurte and shame. The next day, whanne the sonne aroos, Reynard thenne dyde grece his shoes, whiche he had of Ysegrym and Erswyn, his wyf, and dyde hem on, and bonde hem to his feet; and wente to the kynge and to the quene, and said to hem with a glad chere, Noble lord and lady, God gyue you good morow! and I desire of your grace, that I
haue male and staff, blessyd as belongeth to a pilgrym.
Thenne the kynge, anone, sent for Bellyn the ramme, and whan he cam he saide, Sir Bellyn, ye shal do masse to fore Reynart, for he shal goo on pylgremage, and gyue to hym male and staf. The Ram answerd agayn, and said, My lord, I dare not do that, for he hath said that he is in the Pope's curse. The kynge said, what therof? Mayster Gelys hath said to vs, yf a man had doo as many synnes as al the world, and he wold those synnes forsake, shryue hem, and ressegue penance, and do by the prestes counseyl, God wil forgyue them, and be mercyful vnto hym; now wil Reynard goo ouer the see, in to the Holy Lande, and make hym clere of al hys synnes.
Thenne ansuerd Bellyn to the kynge: I wil not doo litil ne moche herin, but yf ye saue me harmles in the spirituel court byfore the bysshop Prendelor and to fore his archedeken Loosuynde and to fore sir Rapiamus his offycyal. The kynge began to wexe wroth and saide, I shal not bydde you so moche in halfe a yere : I had leuer hange you than I sholde so moche praye you
for it. Whan the rame sawe that the kynge was angry, he was so sore aferd that he quoke for fere, and wente to the awter and sange in his bookes and radde suche as hym thought good ouer Reynart, whiche lytyl sette ther by, sauf that he wold haue the worship therof. When Bellyn the ramme had alle sayd his seruyse deuoutly, thenne he hynge on the foxes necke a male couered wyth the skynne of Bruyn the bere, and a lytil palster therby: tho was Reynart redy toward his journey. Tho loked he toward the kynge as he had