The Knight, and the Lady with Golden Hair

As told in the Forest of Dean

There was a time, long ago, when England had two kings, and was a troubled land. Some followed one king, some followed the other, and many terrible battles were fought. 

In those wretched times a knight came into the forest pursued by his enemies. He was for one king, and they the other. As he galloped through the trees, he lost his way, eventually coming upon a lonely cottage in a rocky clearing. By the door stood a lady with golden hair and a dress of green. He called out to her, begging that she would save him from his pursuers.

The woman lead him to a secret place amongst the rocks. Just big enough to conceal the knight and his horse. No sooner was he safely hidden than the men of the other king came. In great haste they rode past the rocks, down the trackway, and out of sight. 

When he was sure that his enemies were gone, the knight returned to the lonely cottage where he was fead and given a bed for the night. 

The next morning was the last day of the year, the lady rose early and took the knight through the trees to a road leading to the castle of his king. 

He thanked her, and said that whatever she asked for would be her reward. 

She answered that in a year and a day he should return to her, and be her husband. 

The knight said that he would do so gladly, so grateful was he, and he swore an oath to return and make her his wife. 

The knight rode away to the castle and his king. He fought in many terrible battles, and eventually the other king was defeated, and his master ruled a peaceful realm. But the knight forgot his promise to the lady with golden hair and a dress of green. He did not return to the cottage after a year and a day. Not after five, nor ten, but married the daughter of another knight, and lived in a castle of his own. 

One day the king summoned the knight to his court, as he travelled there he found himself riding through the forest. Eventually he came to the lonely cottage in a rocky clearing, where, outside waiting, was the lady with golden hair and a dress of green. 

“You left this forest promising to return in a year and a day. Now you will remain here for a thousand years”. The knight hastened away, fearing enchantment, but he never found the road to his king. He wondered through the trees, year after year, and, some say, he rides there still.

Curioseum – The Lost Museum 

© 2020 Curioseum/Clive Barrett

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