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King Ryence

of North Wales, sent a dwarf to King Arthur to say “he had overcome eleven kings, all of which paid him homage in this sort viz. they gave him their beards to purfell his mantle. He now required King Arthur to do likewise.” King Arthur returned answer, “My beard is full young yet for a purfell, but before it is long enough for such a purpose, King Ryence shall do me homage on both his knees.” (See Percy's Reliques, etc., series iii. book 1.)

Spenser says that Lady Briana loved a knight named Crudor, who refused to marry her till she sent him a mantle lined with the beards of knights and locks of ladies. To accomplish this, she appointed Maleffort, her seneschal, to divest every lady that drew near the castle of her locks, and every knight of his beard. (Faërie Queene, book vi. canto 1.)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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