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HOME > Classical Novels > The Well at the World's End > CHAPTER 5 Bull Telleth of His Winning of the Lordship of Utterbol
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CHAPTER 5 Bull Telleth of His Winning of the Lordship of Utterbol
 "When thou rannest away from me, and left me alone at Goldburg, I was grieved; then Clement Chapman offered to take me back with him to his own country, which, he did me to wit, lieth hard by thine: but I would not go with him, since I had an inkling that I should find the slayer of my brother and be avenged on him. So the Chapmen departed from Goldburg after that Clement had dealt generously by me for thy sake; and when they were gone I bethought me what to do, and thou knowest I can some skill with the fiddle and song, so I betook myself to that craft, both to earn somewhat and that I might gather tidings and be little heeded, till within awhile folk got to know me well, and would often send for me to their merry-makings, where they gave me fiddler's wages, to wit, meat, drink, and money. So what with one thing what with another I was rich enough to leave Goldburg and fall to my journey unto Utterbol; since I misdoubted me from the first that the caytiff who had slain my brother was the Lord thereof.  
"But one day when I went into the market-place I found a great stir and clutter there; some folk, both men and women screeching and fleeing, and some running to bows and other weapons. So I caught hold of one of the fleers, and asked him what was toward; and he cried out, 'Loose me! let me go! he is loose, he is loose!'
"'Who is loose, fool?' quoth I. 'The lion,' said he, and therewith in the extremity of his terror tore himself away from me and fled. By this time the others also had got some distance away from me, and I was left pretty much alone. So I went forth on a little, looking about me, and sure enough under one of the pillars of the cloister beneath the market-house (the great green pillar, if thou mindest it), lay crouched a huge yellow lion, on the carcase of a goat, which he had knocked down, but would not fall to eating of amidst all that cry and hubbub.
"Now belike one thing of me thou wottest not, to wit, that I have a gift that wild things love and will do my bidding. The house-mice will run over me as I lie awake looking on them; the small birds will perch on my shoulders without fear; the squirrels and hares will gambol about quite close to me as if I were but a tree; and, withal, the fiercest hound or mastiff is tame before me. Therefore I feared not this lion, and, moreover, I looked to it that if I might tame him thoroughly, he would both help me to live as a jongleur, and would be a sure ward to me.
"So I walked up towards him quietly, till he saw me and half rose up growling; but I went on still, and said to him in a peaceable voice: 'How now, yellow mane! what aileth thee? down with thee, and eat thy meat.' So he sat down to his quarry again, but growled still, and I went up close to him, and said to him: 'Eat in peace and safety, am I not here?' And therewith I held out my bare hand unclenched to him, and he smelt to it, and straightway began to be peaceable, and fell to tearing the goat, and devouring it, while I stood by speaking to him friendly.
"But presently I saw weapons glitter on the other side of the square place, and men with bended bows. The yellow king saw them also, and rose up again and stood growling; then I strove to quiet him, and said, 'These shall not harm thee.'
"Therewith the men cried out to me to come away, for they would shoot: But I called out; 'Shoot not yet! but tell me, does any man own this beast?' 'Yea,' said one, 'I own him, and happy am I that he doth not own me.' Said I, 'Wilt thou sell him?' 'Yea' said he, 'if thou livest another hour to tell down the money.' Said I, 'I am a tamer of wild beasts, and if thou wilt sell this one at such a price, I will rid thee of him.' The man yeasaid this, but kept well aloof with his fellows, who looked on, handling their weapons.
"Then I turned to my new-bought thrall and bade him come with me, and he followed me like a dog to his cage, which was hard by; and I shut him in there, and laid down the money to his owner; and folk came round about, and wondered, and praised me. But I said: 'My masters, have ye naught of gifts for the tamer of beasts, and the deliverer of men?' Thereat they laughed: but they brought me money and other goods, till I had gotten far more than I had given for the lion.
"Howbeit the next day the officers of the Porte came and bade me avoid the town of Goldburg, but gave me more money withal. I was not loth thereto, but departed, riding a little horse that I had, and leading my lion by a chain, though when I was by he needed little chaining.
"So that without more ado I took the road to Utterbol, and wheresoever I came, I had what was to be had that I would; neither did any man fall on me, or on my lion. For though they might have shot him or slain him with many spear-thrusts, yet besides that they feared him sorely, they feared me still more; deeming me some mighty sending from their Gods.
"Thus came I to Utterness, and found it poor and wretched, (as forsooth, it yet is, but shall not be so for long). But the House of Utterbol is exceeding fair and stately (as thou mightest have learned from others, my master,) and its gardens, and orchards, and acres, and meadows as goodly as may be. Yea, a very paradise; yet the dwellers therein as if it were hell, as I saw openly with mine own eyes.
"To be short, the fame of me and my beast had somehow gone before me, and when I came to the House, I was dealt with fairly, and had good entertainment: and this all the more, as the Lord was away for a while, and the life of folk not so hard by a great way as it had been if he had been there: but the Lady was there in the house, and on the morrow of my coming by her command, I brought my lion before her window and made him come and go, and fetch and carry at my bidding, and when I had done my play she bade me up into her bower, and bade me sit and had me served with wine, while she asked me many questions as to my country and friends, and whence and whither I was; and I answered her with the very sooth, so far as the sooth was handy; and there was with her but one of her women, even thy friend Agatha, fair sir.
"Methought both that this Queen was a fair woman, and that she looked kindly upon me, and at last she said, sighing, that she were well at ease if her baron were even such a man as I, whereas the said Lord was fierce and cruel, and yet a dastard withal. But the said Agatha turned on her, and chided her, as one might with a child, and said: 'Hold thy peace of thy loves and thy hates before a very stranger! Or must I leave yet more of my blood on the pavement of the White Pillar, for the pleasure of thy loose tongue? Come out now, mountain-carle!'
"And she took me by the hand and led me out, and when we had passed the door and it was shut, she turned to me and said: 'Thou, if I hear any word abro............
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