Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia

Dwarf of the Cart

Charete de la Nain

Lancelot had ridden two horses to death pursuing Meliagrant, Guenevere, and Kay, when he caught up with a cart and asked the dwarf driving it if he had seen the Queen. The dwarf, a surly and vulgar fellow, only bade him get into the cart if he wanted to find out what had happened to her.

Riding in the cart was a horrific disgrace but, having just ridden two horses to death and thus being afoot with no other way to travel, Lancelot climbed in. Gawaine soon caught up, and the dwarf gave him the same advice; Gawaine, still having his horse, chose to ride alongside.

The dwarf silently allowed this – indeed, the dwarf seems not to have spoken again, even when they passed people who questioned them about what the knight had done. After depositing both knights without explanation at the castle of the “Lady of the Deadly Bed”, the dwarf drove off and disappeared from the story.

Could it be that Lancelot’s following the dwarf’s injunction and Gawaine’s refusal to do the same has any bearing on the fact that Lancelot was able to cross the Sword Bridge into Gore while Gawaine, at this stage in Arthurian romance the greatest of the knights, could not manage the Water Bridge and finally had to be rescued?

See also
Lady of the Deadly Bed | The Legend of King Arthur