The tale opens with King Arthur's court celebrating the New Year, and this feast is to last fifteen days. During the jousting and other activities, the Green Knight comes to test and challenge the honor of Arthur and his court. The Knights are all cowards, and King Arthur is the only one to accept the challenge. However, Sir Gawain, the most courteous and valiant knight, relieves the king of the challenge and takes it upon himself. Sir Gawain beheads the green Knight and promises to seek the Green Knight in a year and a day.

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