THERE is in the county of Gloucester a forest abounding in boars, stags, and every species of game that England produces In a grovy lawn of this forest there is a little mount, rising in a point to the height of a man, on which knights and other hunters are used to ascend when fatigued with beat and thirst, to seek some relief for their wants. The nature of the place, and of the business, is however such that whoever ascends the mount must leave his companions, and go quite alone.
When alone, he was to say, as if speaking to some other person, "I thirst," and immediately there would appear a cup-bearer in an elegant dress, with a cheerful countenance, bearing in his stretched-out hand a large horn, adorned with gold and gems, as was the custom among the most ancient English. In the cup nectar of an unknown but most delicious flavour was presented, and when it was drunk, all heat and weariness fled from the glowing body, so that one would be thought ready to undertake toil instead of having toiled. Moreover, when the nectar was taken, the servant presented a towel to the drinker, to wipe his mouth with, and then having performed his office, he waited neither for a recompense for his services, nor for questions and inquiry.
This frequent and daily action had for a very long period of old times taken place among the ancient people, till one day a knight of that city, when out hunting, went thither, and having called for a drink and gotten the horn, did not, as was the custom, and as in good manners he should have done, return it to the cup-bearer, but kept it for his own use. But the illustrious Earl of Gloucester, when he learned the truth of the matter, condemned the robber to death, and presented the horn to the most excellent King Henry the Elder, lest be should be thought to have approved of such wickedness, if he had added the rapine of another to the store of his private property.
1 T . Keightley, The Fairy Mythology, p. 284, quoting Gervase of Tilbury.