The Phantom Knight of the Vandal Camp
by Gesta Romanorum
There was once in Great Britain, a knight named
Albert, strong in arms and adorned with every
virtue. One day as he was seeking for adventure,
he chanced to wander into a castle where he was
At night, after supper, as was usual in great
families during the winter, the household gathered
about the hearth and occupied the time in
relating divers tales.
At last they told how in the near-by plain of
Wandlesbury there was a haunted mound. There
in old days the Vandals, who laid waste the land
and slaughtered Christians, had pitched their
camp and built about it a great rampart. And it
was further related that in the hush of the night,
if any one crossed the plain, ascended the mound,
and called out in a loud voice, "Let my adversary
appear!" there immediately started up from the
ruined ramparts a huge, ghostly figure, armed
and mounted for battle. This phantom then
attacked the knight who had cried out and
speedily overcame him.
Now, when Albert heard this marvelous tale, he
greatly doubted its truth, and was determined to
put the matter to a test. As the moon was shining
brightly, and the night was quiet, he armed,
mounted, and immediately hastened to the plain
of Wandlesbury, accompanied by a squire of noble
He ascended the mound, dismissed his
attendant, and shouted:
"Let my adversary appear!"
Instantly there sprang from the ruins a huge,
ghostly knight completely armed and mounted on
an enormous steed.
This phantom rushed upon Albert, who spurred
his horse, extended his shield, and drove at his
antagonist with his lance. Both knights were
shaken by the encounter. Albert, however, so
resolutely and with so strong an arm pressed his
adversary that the latter was thrown violently to
the ground. Seeing this Albert hastily seized the
steed of the fallen knight, and started to leave
But the phantom, rising to his feet, and seeing
his horse led away, flung his lance and cruelly
wounded Albert in the thigh. This done he vanished
as suddenly as he had appeared.
Our knight, overjoyed at his victory, returned
in triumph to the castle, where the household
crowded around him and praised his bravery. But
when he put off his armor he found the cuish
from his right thigh filled with clots of blood
from an angry wound in his side. The family,
alarmed, hastened to apply healing herbs and
The captured horse was then brought forward.
He was prodigiously large, and black as jet. His
eyes were fierce and flashing, his neck proudly
arched, and he wore a glittering war-saddle upon
As the first streaks of dawn began to appear,
the animal reared wildly, snorted as if with pain
and anger, and struck the ground so furiously
with his hoofs that the sparks flew. The black
cock of the castle crew and the horse, uttering a
terrible cry, instantly disappeared.
And every year, on the selfsame night, at the
selfsame hour, the wounds of the knight Albert
broke out afresh, and tormented him with agony.
Thus till his dying day he bore in his body a
yearly reminder of his encounter with the Phantom
Knight of the Vandal Camp.