Summary and Analysis Book 5: Sir Tristram De Lyones: Lamerok of Wales; Sir La Cote Male Tale


Both Lamerok and Tristram happen to be shipwrecked on an island ruled by Nabon le Noire, a murderer of knights. The two write off their old differences and join against Nabon and overthrow him. Tristram returns to Britain afterward, while Lamerok fights with various knights, including Launcelot and Gawain, and proves himself.

The tale of Sir La Cote Male Tale concerns a third rising hero, one who defends Guinevere from a lion and is therefore knighted by Arthur. His coat is tattered with the sword strokes that murdered his father; Kay gives him, for this reason, the name "The Knight with the Ugly Coat."

The young man accepts a quest no one else will take and rides off with the damsel Maledysaunt ("Ugly-talking") who has brought it. Two established knights knock Male Tale from his saddle but choose not to fight with him on foot, and the damsel bitterly mocks her champion. He later fights a courtyard full of knights and slays twelve of them, but still the lady mocks him. When Mordred and Launcelot try to defend him, the lady turns her tongue against them as well.

At last, when the great Sir Launcelot scolds her, she weepingly explains that she mocks the boy only because she fears he will be harmed in this adventure. Launcelot changes her name to the Damsel Beau-Pensaunte (loosely, "beautiful of thought"). Launcelot and Male Tale purge Castle Pendragon of the four outlaw knights who rule and, and for his bravery the boy is promised a seat at the Round Table next Pentecost. At that time Male Tale marries Beau-Pensaunte.