« PreviousContinue »
HOW BRUNE THE BEERE WAS SPED OF REYNART THE FOXE.
Now is Brune goon on his waye toward the foxe wyth a stowte moede, whiche supposed wel that the foxe sholde not have begyled hym, as he cam in a derke wode in a forest were as Reynart had a bypath whan he was hunted, ther bysyde was an hie montayne and land, and there muste Brune in the myddel goon over, for to goo to Maleperduys, for Reynart had many a dwellyng place, but the castel of Maleperduys was the beste and the fastest burgh that he had. Ther laye he inne whan he had nede, and was in ony drede or fere.
Now whan Bruyn was comen to Malperduys he fonde the yate fast shette, tho wente he to fore the yate and satte vpon his taylle, and called, Reynart, be ye at home ? I am Brownyng, the kynge hath sente me for yow
sholde come to court, for to plete your He hath sworn there by his God, come ye not, or brynge I yow not with me for tabyde suche right and sentence as shal be there gyven, it shal coste you your lyf, he wyl hange yow, or sette yow on the ratte. Reynart doo by myn counseyl and come to the court. Reynart laye within the gate as he ofte was wonte to doo for the warmth of the sonne. Whan Reynart herd Bruyn tho wente he inneward in to his hole, for Maleperduys was fnl of hooles, hier one hool and ther an other, and yonder an other, narowe, croked and longe, wyth many weyes to goo out, whiche he opend and shette after that he had nede, whan he had ony proye
be al so wery
brought home, or that he wiste that ony sought hym for hys mysdedes and trespaces, thenne he ran and hydde hym fro his enemyes in to hys secrete chambres, that they coude not fynde hym, by which he deceyvyd many a beest that sought hym; and tho thought Reynart in hym self how he myght best brynge the beere in charge and nede, and that he abode in worship.
In this thoughte Reynart cam out and sayde, Bruyn eme, ye be welcome, I herde you wel to fore, but I was in myn evesong, therfore have I the lenger taryed a lytyl. Dere eme, he hath don to you no good servyse, and I can hym no thank that hath sente you over this longe hylle, for I
that the swete renneth doun by your chekys ; it was no nede, I had nenertheles comen to court to morowe, but I sorowe now the lasse, for your wyse counseyl shal wel helpe me in the court; and coude the kyng fynde none lasse messager but yow ffor to send hyther, that is grete wonder, for next the kynge ye be the mooste gentyl and richest of leeuys and of land. I wolde wel that we were now at the court, but I fere me that I shal not conne wel goo thyder, for I have eten so much new mete, that me thynketh my bely wylle breke or cleve asonder and by cause the mete was nyewe, I ete the more.
Tho spack the bere, lyef neve, what mete have
ye eten that maked yow so ful ? Dere eme that I ete what myght it helpe yow that yf I tolde yow. I ete but symple mete, a poure man is no lord that may ye knowe, eme, by me ; we poure folke muste ete oftymes suche as we gladly wolde not ete yf we had
better; they were grete hony combes which I muste nedes ete for hunger ; they have made my bely so grete, that I can nowher endure. Bruyn tho spack anone, alas! Reynart what saye ye? sette ye so lytyl by hony? me ought to preyse and love it above all mete, lief Reynart helpe me that I myght gete a deel of this hony, and as longe as I lyve I shal be to you a tryew friende, and abyde by yow as ferre as ye helpe me, that I may have a parte of thys hony.
HOW BRUYN ETE THE HONY.
Bruyn eme I had supposed that ye had japed ther wyth. So help me God, Reynard, nay, I shold not gladly jape with yow. Thenne spacke the rede Reynart, is it thenne ernest that ye love so wel the hony ? I shal do late you have so much that ten of yow
shold not ete it at one mele, myght I gete therwith your friendship. Not the ten, Reynerd neve, sayd the bere, how shold that be, had I alle the hony that is bytwene this and Portyngal I sholde wel ete it allone. Reynart sayde : What saye ye, eme ? hier by dwelleth an husbondman named Lantfert which hath so moche hony that ye shold not ete it in vij. yere, whiche
shal have in your holde, yf ye wille be to me friendly and helpyng agenst myn enemyes in the kynges court. Thenne promysed Bruyn the bere to hym, that yf he myght have his bely full, he wold truly be to hym to
fore all other a faythful frende ; herof laughed Reynart the shrewe, and sayde, yf ye wolde have vij hamber barelis ful I shal wel gete them and help you to have them. These wordes plesyd the bere so wel, and made hym so moche to lawhe, that he coude not well stand. Tho thought Reynart, this is good luck, I shal lede hym thyder that he shal lawhe by mesure.
Reynart sayd thenne, this mater may not be longe taryed. I muste payne my self for you, ye shal wel understande the very yonste and good wyl that I bere to you ward. I knowe none in al my lygnage that I nou wolde laboure fore thus sore. That thanked hym the bere, and thought he taryed longe. Now eme, late us goo a good paas and folowe ye me. I shal make you to have as moche hony as ye may bere. The foxe mente of good strokes, but the caytyf markyd not what the foxe mente, and they wente so longe to gydre, that they cam unto Lantferts yerde, tho was sir Bruyn mery. Now herke; of Lantfert is it true that men saye, so was Lantfert a stronge carpenter of grete tymbre, and had brought that other day to fore in his yerde a grete oke whiche he had begonne to cleve ; and as men be woned, he had smeten two betels therin, one after that other, in suche wyse the oke was wyde open; wherof Reynart was glad, for he had founde it right as he wisshed, and sayde to the bere all lawhyng, see nou wel sharply to, in this tree is so moche hony that it is without mesure, asaye yf ye can come therin and ete but lytil, for though the hony combes be swete and good, yet beware that ye ete not to many, but take of
them by mesure, that ye cacche no harme in your body ; for, swete eme, I shold be blamed yf they dyde you ony harme. What, Reynart cosyn, sorowe ye not for me, wene ye that I were a fole ? mesure is good in alle mete. Reynart sayde, ye saye trouthe. Wherfore shold I sorowe? goo to thende and crepe theryn. Bruyn the bere hasted sore toward the hony, and trad in wyth his two formest feet, and put his heed over his eeris in to the clyft of the tree. And Reynart sprang lyghtly and brak out the betle of the tree. Tho helped the bere nether flateryng ne chydyng, he was fast shette in the tree; thus hath the neveu wyth deceyte brought his
pryson in the tree, in suche wyse as he coude not gete out wyth myght ne wyth crafte, hede ne foote.
What prouffyteth Bruyn the bere that he stronge and hardy is, that may not helpe hym; he sawe wel that he begyled was, he began to howle and to braye, and crutched wyth the hynder feet and made suche a noyse and rumour, that Lantfert cam out hastely, and knewe nothyng what this myght be, and brought in his hand a sharp hoke. Bruyn the bere laye in the clyfte of the tree in grete fere and drede, and helde fast his heed, and nyped both his fore feet, he wrange,
he wrastled, and cryed, and all was for nought, he wiste not how he might gete out.
Reynart the foxe sawe fro ferre how that Lantfert the carpenter cam, and tho spack Reynart to the bere, Is that hony good ? How is it now ? Ete not to moche it shold do you harme, ye soold not thenne wel conne goo to the court; whan Lantsert cometh yf ye have wel