One night, when King Arthur and his knights gathered to celebrate Christmas and New Year, a very tall, strange man that was entirely green burst into the room with a proposal.
..."The he dares to stoutly exchange one blow for another" (69). "But let the respite be a twelvemonth and a day" (79-80).
King Arthur accepts the stranger's challenge, but his most loyal knight Gawain then takes the task as his. Gawain quickly slashes the stranger's head off, but is surprised to then watch the stranger leave on his horse without any trouble.
"I beseech you sire, let this game be mine" (123-124).
Sir Gawain travels far away to find the Green Chapel after the time passed. He stays with a Lord and his Lady in a castle, but the Lady gives Gawain trouble. She attempts to seduce him while the Lord is away, but he resists. On the third day, the Lady offers him a green sash that would protect him from all harm, which was a gift Gawain couldn't deny.
"No man under Heaven can hurt him, whoever may try, For nothing on earth, however uncanny, can kill him" (234-235).
Sir Gawain now meets the stranger once more and prepares to receive his hit. The stranger notices that he slightly flinches before the axe touches his neck and stops, asking why he is afraid. Gawain tells him to stop the talk and simply hit him, but when the stranger does it leaves a only a small cut in his neck.
“Hit me, hero! I’m right up to here with your threats! Is it you that’s the cringing coward after all?" (392-394).
The stranger reveals that he is the Lord that Gawain stayed with, and his Lady was used to test him. Gawain was one of the finest men he's ever seen, but the sash made him less. The stranger believes because he accepted the sash because he loves his own life, he doesn't look down on him.
"That sash you wear by your scabbard belongs to me; my own wife gave it to you as I ought to know. I know, too, of your kisses and all your words and my wife's advances, for I myself arranged them" (350-354).
"And I give you sir this gold embroidered girdle, for the cloth is as green as my gown" (387-388).
The stranger honors Sir Gawain's bravery and gives him the sash to keep. The stranger then leaves to wherever he can.