Tristan may be safe for the moment, but as yet you haven't heard what he's going to try next. And that you certainly should know, 8900 lest you lose all interest in the story. It goes on to tell about a very dangerous serpent that inhabited the country. This wicked renegade had overwhelmed land and people with depredations so severe and wrought so much destruction that the king took a solemn vow upon his royal truth and word: to him who should kill the thing he would give his only daughter, provided he be a noble knight. This widely known challenge and the maiden, so desirable, had already led thousands who came from far and wide to try it only to a miserable end. The stories were told everywhere, and Tristan too knew them well. From this alone he resolved to undertake the journey, it being by far his best assurance, in the absence of any other hope. And the time is now. Have at it!
Very early the next morning he armed himself as thoroughly as does a man facing danger. Mounted on a sturdy charger, he took from his squires a spear as heavy and as solid as could be found in the ship, the stiffest and the best. He then set out on his way across fields and countryside. He took many a twist and turn in passing through that wilderness. As the sun began to climb, he sped on purposefully toward the vale of Anferginan, where the dragon had its lair, as you can read in the legend. In the distance he caught sight of four men in full armor going at a flying gallop (rather faster than a canter) across the fields and the rough. Of these four, one of them was seneschal to the queen. He also proudly aspired to be 8950 suitor for the young princess, although much against her will. Whenever anyone rode out in search of manly adventure, this enthusiast was there, no matter when, no matter where, in order that it would be said he was always on the scene whenever others took a chance. But that was about the size of it, because at the first sign of the dragon he stormed away in retreat.
To Tristan it was obvious from the speed of their flight that the dragon lurked somewhere near. So he explored in that direction and had not ridden very far before a sight smote his vision— the frightfully revolting serpent! Spurting from its gaping jaws a blast of smoke and flames worthy of the devil's kind, it advanced straight at him. Tristan levelled his great spear and took his horse with the spurs. His charge carried with such force that the spear, tearing through its jaws, penetrated down its throat very nearly to the heart. Rider and horse together collided with the beast so hard that the horse was killed by the impact and the rider was lucky to survive. The dragon ravaged the dead horse with slashing teeth and flames until this monster had consumed the half of it before the saddle. But now the spear in its gut began to cause it such agony that it left the carcass that remained and fled toward its stony lair. But Tristan, its real opponent, followed hot on its trail. The fiend went raging on ahead with such violent impetus while ripping through the underbrush and scorching it to ashes that the entire forest resounded with its frightful roaring. But at the climax of its rampage 9000 its painful wound overcame it and it wedged itself for refuge deep beneath a stony cliff. Tristan, approaching, drew his sword, hoping to find it exhausted. Not at all—the fight grew worse than ever it had been before. Yet never did it get so fearsome as to deter Tristan from attack. The dragon fought back ferociously, putting the man to such great peril he thought it would be his end. Still he diverted its worst assaults, or it quickly would have left him without attack or defenses. Nor was this viper a simple foe— it brought as allies into battle not only smoke and vapors but other armaments as well, fire and things to strike with, huge teeth and fearsome claws acute as though honed to a point and cutting edge sharper than a razor. Brandishing these weapons the dragon chased him around, dodging trees and through the bush— he had to take whatever cover might give him some protection, for now it had him on the run. While doing his best to parry the worst of its onslaughts, his shield had been scorched to cinders almost down to his hand, since trying to repel the flames had left him almost no escape. But then the tide began to turn— that bloodthirsty serpent began to reach the point where its vigor had to slacken. The embedded spear, working deeper, finally brought the creature down where it lay in twisting agony. Tristan swiftly took his chance, driving straight in for the kill. Next to the spear, he plunged his sword right through the heart, up to his hand. At this the fiendish scourge burst out with one last howl as awesome and so dire 9050 from deep within its dismal gullet as at the collapse of earth and heaven, and this final mortal shriek echoed across hills and fields— Tristan himself was horrified.
But when he saw the fallen dragon had at last relaxed in death, he tore its vile maw asunder with all the strength at his command. And out of its boiling throat he sliced the tongue away, with his sword, as far down as he could reach. Sequestering it under his vest of mail he forced the jaws together again. Then he retired to the wilderness, his purpose being only this: he meant to find a respite there, to spend a day in recovering as much of his strength as possible, and then as evening would fall to return again to his countrymen. The heat, however, bore him down, both from his great exertions and from the dragon's exhalations. He nearly yielded to fatigue, a lethargy so oppressive that he might never have recovered. He vaguely saw the shimmer of a pool, small and narrow, fed at one end by a brook flowing from a massive cliff. In full armor, he fell in and sank straight to the bottom, leaving only his mouth showing. There he lay that day and night, for the noxious tongue he still carried had robbed him of all his vigor. It gave off fumes that stunned him, which alone were quite enough to render him pale and powerless, so that he didn't emerge again until the queen pulled him out.
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