by Sir Walter Scott
Ivanhoe Chapter 16 Summary
- Scott opens this chapter with the first six lines of Thomas Parnell's poem "The Hermit." A hermit is a religious man who decides to leave the world behind and live alone, praying and meditating about God.
- The narrator reminds the reader about the Black Knight who had disappeared so suddenly at the end of the tournament.
- We rejoin the knight as he is trying to go north.
- He gets lost in the curving roads of Yorkshire and decides to let his horse choose the way.
- The horse finds a tiny path that leads to a small chapel. Inside is a hermit.
- The Black Knight asks for either shelter for the night or directions to the main road.
- The hermit is really, really reluctant to help. He just wants to be left alone with his prayers.
- But he finally allows the Black Knight to come inside and have dinner.
- The hermit, whose title is the Clerk of Copmanhurst, settles in to some porridge after saying a long grace.
- In this chapter, the hermit is called Friar, but for the rest of the book, he is "the Friar," so we're just going to call him that. (By the way, a friar is a monk who frequently ministers to the faithful.)
- When he pulls back his hood, the Black Knight sees that the hermit is youngish, healthy, and very strong looking.
- The Black Knight can't believe the Friar could stay so healthy looking on just a diet of porridge.
- The Friar admits that his sponsor leaves richer food, but he never eats it since he has taken a vow of self-denial.
- The Friar ducks back into his house and brings out a fine piece of deer meat baked into a pastry.
- It turns out that he hasn't really been denying himself, but he holds back from eating for a bit, since he doesn't want it to be too obvious.
- But the Black Knight insists, and finally the two men devour their rich meal.
- The Black Knight also guesses that the Friar has some wine hidden, which the two men split.
- They are getting quite drunk by now.
- The Black Knight hints that the Friar has been poaching – that is, killing animals that belong to someone else.
- For doubting the strength of his holy vows, the Friar challenges the Black Knight to a fight.
- It turns out that the Friar has some very fine weapons hidden away in his chapel.
- The Black Knight backs down at the sight of the Friar's swords and arrows.
- The two of them continue to drink happily together.
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