While celebrating Christmas and New Year, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table were interrupted by a strange green guest.
"Sir, you are welcome in this place:/I am the head of this court. They call me Arthur" (Lines 34-35).
Nope! I have a challenge!
I will battle!
The man has a Christmas game he wishes to play. In this Duel, two men may have one swing of an heavy ax onto the other.
"And so of this Court, I ask for a Christmas game" (Lines 65). "So bold in his blood- and so brainless in his head-/-That he dares to stoutly exchange are Stroke for Stroke for another" (Lines 68-69).
Gawain takes the challenge and chop the Green Knight's head off. The Green Knight then tells Gawain that in the new year, he has to come to his green chapel, and allow him to take one swing of the ax.
"Look that you go, Sir Gawain, as good as your word,...You sworn in this hall to do... Come to the green Chapel... Stroke the same as you've given, for well you deserve" (lines 179-183).
The lady of the manor that Gawain stops at tries to seduce him. Instead he is respectful to the King's lady and only accepts to take a green sash sworn to protect him from death.
"No man Under Heaven can hurt him, whoever may try,/ for nothing on Earth, however uncanny, and kill him" (Lines 234-235).
Gawain reached the green chapel and stood still as the Green Man take his strike. Gawian flinches at first, but then gains the courage to stay still.
"No more strokes, my friend; You've had your swing!/ I've stood one swipe of your ax without resistance;" (Lines 314-315).
The Green Knight and Gawain resolved and embraced each other after the challenge was finished. The Green Knight honored his decision to not give in to the lady of the manor.
"Remember the Green Chapel./ And now, Cone on, let's both go back to my castle/ and finish the New Year's revels with feasting and joy,/ not strife " (Lines 391-394).