The Knight and the Lion

"The Knight of the Spring"

As I stood there, a knight on horseback came clattering towards me with so much noise I thought it was ten knights instead of one. I leapt on my horse as he cried out:

'You might at least have spoken to me before you made war on my woods, my castle and my town with your thunder and lightning. It is not fair to attack without warning. If you had a quarrel with me you should have challenged me and asked for justice. Instead you did me and my people harm for no reason. You have done such damage that you and I from this moment can never be at peace. I will pay you back for the wrong you have done.'

Then, swift as an eagle and more fierce than a hungry lion, he charged at me. He was a bigger man than I am, but I hit him with my lance as hard as I could. Yet he came down so fast upon me and struck with so much force that my lance flew to pieces while his remained whole. It was the heaviest lance I ever saw, and the knight struck me with it so violently that I fell backwards off my horse.

He did not give me another glance but took my horse and rode away, while I sat dizzy and ashamed on the ground by the spring. In the end I remembered my promise to the lord and his daughter. Not knowing what else to do I left even my sword and trudged back the way I had come until I reached the castle where I had stayed before. The lord and his daughter treated me just as kindly and with as much honour as they had the last time, and did nothing to make me feel my disgrace. They said that of all the knights who had ever gone that way I was the first to come back with my life. All the same, I felt a fool and left quickly the next day, never wanting to think of my shame again. Or to have to speak of it either."

How did medieval knights fight?