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CHAPTER 26 They Ride the Mountains Toward Goldburg
 Five days the Fellowship abode at Whiteness, and or ever they departed Clement waged men-at-arms of the lord of the town, besides servants to look to the beasts amongst the mountains, so that what with one, what with another, they entered the gates of the mountains a goodly company of four score and ten.  
Ralph asked of Bull if any of those whom he might meet in these mountains were of his kindred; and he answered, nay, unless perchance there might be some one or two going their peaceful errands there like Bull Nosy. So Ralph armed him with a good sword and a shield, and would have given him a steel hood also, but he would not bear it, saying that if sword and shield could not keep his head he had well earned a split skull.
Seven days they rode the mountains, and the way was toilsome and weary enough, for it was naught but a stony maze of the rocks where nothing living dwelt, and nothing grew, save now and again a little dwarf willow. Yet was there naught worse to meet save toil, because they were over strong for the wild men to meddle with them, whereas the kindreds thereabout were but feeble.
But as it drew towards evening on the seventh day Ralph had ridden a little ahead with Bull alone, if he might perchance have a sight of the ending of this grievous wilderness, as Clement said might be, since now the way was down-hill, and all waters ran east. So as they rode, and it was about sunset, they saw something lying by a big stone under a cliff; so they drew nigh, and saw a man lying on his back, and they deemed he was dead. So Bull went up to him, and leapt off his horse close by him and bent over him, but straightway cast up his arms and set up a long wailing whoop, and then another and another, so that they that were behind heard it and came up upon the spur. But Ralph leapt from his horse, and ran up to Bull and said: "What aileth thee to whoop and wail? Who is it?" But Bull turned about and shook his head at him, and said: "It is a man of my kindred, even he that was leading away thy she-friend; and belike she it was that slew him, or why is she not here: Ochone! ahoo! ahoo!" Therewith fire ran through Ralph's heart, and he bethought him of that other murder in the wilderness, and he fell to wringing his hands, and cried out: "Ah, and where is she, where is she? Is she also taken away from me for ever? O me unhappy!"
And he drew his sword therewith, and ran about amongst the rocks and the bushes seeking her body.
And therewith came up Clement, and others of the company, and wondered to see Bull kneeling down by the corpse, and to hear him crying out and wailing, and Ralph running about like one mad, and crying out now: "Oh! that I might find her! Mayhappen she is alive yet, and anigh here in some cleft of the rocks in this miserable wilderness. O my love that hast lain in mine arms, wouldst thou not have me find her alive? But if she be dead, then will I slay myself, for as young as I am, that I may find thee and her out of the world, since from the world both ye are gone."
Then Clement went up to Ralph, and would have a true tale out of him, and asked him what was amiss; but Ralph stared wild at him and answered not. But Bull cried out from where he knelt: "He is seeking the woman, and I would that he could find her; for then would I slay her on the howe of my kinsman: for she hath slain him; she hath slain him."
That word heard Ralph, and he ran at Bull with uplifted sword to slay him; but Clement tripped him and he fell, and his sword flew out of his hand. Then Clement and two of the others bound his hands with their girdles, till they might know what had befallen; for they deemed that a devil had entered into him, and feared that he would do a mischief to himself or some other.
And now was the whole Fellowship assembled, and stood in a ring round about Ralph and Bull, and the dead man; as for him, he had been dead some time, many days belike; but in that high and clear cold air, his carcase, whistled by the wind, had dried rather than rotted, and his face was clear to be seen with its great hooked nose and long black hair: and his skull was cloven.
Now Bull had done his wailing for his kinsman, and he seemed to wake up as from a dream, and looked about the ring of men and spake: "Here is a great to do, my masters! What will ye with me? Have ye heard, or is it your custom, that when a man cometh on the dead corpse of his brother, his own mother's s............
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