Flemish Legend Sir Halewyn by Charles de Coster Chapter 5

How it came about that Sir Halewyn, after a certain tournament, called upon the devil for aid

At the third tournament wherein he was beaten there were on the field his father, mother, brother, and sister.

And his father said:

“Well, look at my fine son, Siewert the soft, Siewert the overthrown, Siewert the faint-heart, coming back from jousting with his tail between his legs, like a dog thrashed with a great stick.”

And his mother said:

“I suppose for certain that My Lord the Count has put a gold chain round thy neck, and acclaimed thee publicly, for having so valiantly in this jousting jousted on thy back, as in the old days my lord of Beaufort was wont to make thee do. Holy God! that was a fine tumble.”

And his sister said:

“Welcome, my fair brother, what news do you bring? Thou wert the victor for certain, as I see from thy triumphant mien. But where is the wreath of the ladies?”

And his brother said:

“Where is your lordly bearing, My Lord Siewert Halewyn the elder, descendant of the Crow with the great beak? For such a Crow vanquishes without much trouble eagles, goshawks, shrikes, gerfalcons, sparrow-hawks. Are you not thirsty, my brother, with the thirst of a baron, of a victor, I will not say of a villein? We have here some fine frog’s wine, which will cool the fires of victory in your belly.”

“Ha,” answered the Sire, grinding his teeth, “if God gave me strength, I would make thee sing a different song Sir Brother.”

And saying this, he pulled out his sword to do so, but the younger, parrying his thrust, cried out:

“Bravo, uncrowlike Crow! Bravo, capon! Raise up our house, I beg of thee, Siewert the victorious!”

“Ha,” said the Sire, “and why does this chatterer not go and joust as well as I? But he would not dare, being that kind of coward who looks on at others, folding his arms and making fun of those who strive.”

Then he dismounted from his horse, went off and hid himself in his chamber, cried out to the four walls in a rage, prayed to the devil to give him strength and beauty, and promised him, on the oath of a knight, that he would give him his soul in exchange.

So he called on him all through the night, crying out, weeping, bewailing his lot, minded at times even to kill himself. But the devil did not come, being busy elsewhere.