This was a story told many in the Middle Ages, whether it is true or not isn’t certain, but it’s a very interesting story nonetheless. Perhaps it was a tale to discourage trusting of young pretty ladies, or perhaps to illustrate that not all knights were good ones. Whatever it’s intended meaning, here it is:
Sir Geoffrey was a brave, young and handsome young knight, unfortunately he wasn’t particularly chivalrous. He had been captured by the Lord of Ludlow castle. He had a price put on his head after the Lord heard that he was hatching plans to overthrow the Lord and take over Ludlow castle. He was now rotting in a dungeon, deep within the castle. However, he still had his wits about him and thought that he could escape.
Everyday a young maiden, named Elanor, brought him his daily meal. Elanor was the daughter of the Captain of the Guard, and was young and very pretty. One day, while Elanor knelt to serve the knight his meal, Sir Geoffrey grabbed he arm and swore to her that he was innocent. She wrestled her arm away from him, but did not leave the cell. She listened to the wicked knight’s false tale of how he had been wrongly imprisoned, and was aghast as he told her of the different tortures awaited him. Sir Geoffrey promised that if she set him free then he would return for her and they would run away and get married. She could not resist the knight’s charm and good looks, and believed his story.
And so the next day Elanor, as usual, went into the cell to give the knight his meal. She knelt down and undid the manacles binding his wrists with a small key, and gave him a larger key as well. This larger key was the key to one of the side gates in the castle, she had stolen the original from her father and had a copy made. Sir Geoffrey took the key gladly and swore that he would be back in three days, and that she should leave a rope dangling from her bedchamber window. She agreed and allowed Sir Geoffrey to make his escape. Soon the Lord of Ludlow heard of the villain’s escape and was furious, though he did not know Elanor was involved, so she was safe for now.
On the night that they had agreed on Elanor secretly lowered a strong leather rope to the ground below form her bedchamber window, which was not overlooked by the guards on the wall. As he had promised Sir Geoffrey returned, and Elanor helped him climb in through the window. A candle lit the small room and the light glinted off the knight’s excited eyes. Elanor smiled nervously and started to move toward the window, intent on escaping with Sir Geoffrey, so he could fulfil his promise of marriage. However, Sir Geoffrey stopped her and told her that he was expecting some friends to join them. Just then a burly pair of hands appeared at the window ledge, and in climbed a huge man. He turned as he came in and helped in another man, then another, within minutes the room was filled with fierce looking men, with leather jackets, soft boots and long wicked knives and swords.
While this had been happening Elanor cowered in a corner, suddenly very afraid. The Sir Geoffrey revealed his plan, he was going to take over the castle by killing all of the guards and the Lord in his sleep. Elanor tried to protest, saying that her father was on duty that night, but Geoffrey clasped a hand around her mouth and gave instructions to the men to kill all of the guards and open the main gate so the rest of his men could get in.
As the last man left the room, Elanor, who still had her arms free took Sir Geoffrey’s long knife from his belt. She twisted herself around and stared bitterly into his eyes. The cruel knight merely laughed at her, but stopped as the long blade slid between his ribs and a look of shock and anger spread across his face. He fell against a wall and slid down to the floor, a soft gurgling noise emitting from his throat.
Elanor looked out onto the battlements and could hear the noises of terror and hand-to-hand combat going on. Men toppled form the walls, and then she heard the drawbridge fall and horses galloping into the castle grounds. She wept for her father, and for her stupidity in believing Sir Geoffrey. She walked slowly to the window ledge and let herself fall to the ground, and no one heard the soft crunching of flesh and bone on rock.
My great Uncle used to read me this tory when I was younger, I don't know what book it came from, so I can't directly cite it. The above version is in my own words from what I can remember.