Once upon a time, Sir Lancelot was sent out by King Arthur on an important mission. He was to go to Spain to deliver a message to the king. Lancelot begins looking for a good horse to ride to Spain on since it is a long distance and his horse is sick. All he can seem to find is an old mare. He takes it, though, since he has to leave so quickly.
Lancelot realizes this was a mistake about three days after he leaves his Kingdom. The mare is always acting tired and seems to be becoming lame. Finally, he makes it to a village and goes to the local inn. He explains his problem to the innkeeper. He tells the innkeeper that he has to complete his mission to take the king’s message and needs a good horse to do so. The innkeeper tells Lancelot that most of the horses in the small village are not able to help him carry out his task. He could look around the town, though, and is welcome to anything he finds.
The innkeeper was right. Lancelot could not find a good horse anywhere as he looked around the village. As soon as he was about to give up, Lancelot comes upon a stable where a boy is carting some feed. He questions the boy, asking if he knows of any beast of burden that could help him fulfill his mission. The boy starts to tell him no, but then, instead, suggests that he go to the barn and see if Old Mange could help him.
Lancelot expects to find a horse when he goes over to the barn. Instead, he finds a huge dog that is almost the size of a pony. The dog is very messy, though. It has some of its fur falling out, is mangy, and seems to be loaded down with fleas. Lancelot looks the dog over carefully since he is so desperate. He decides that the dog does look like it has enough strength to take him to Spain, which is three days of travel at this point in the journey.
After this, Lancelot goes back and tells the innkeeper that he couldn’t find a horse anywhere in the village that he could use. He tells him that Old Mange may be able to help take him at least most of the way to Spain, though. The innkeeper stiffens up when he hears this and says, “I wouldn’t send a dog out with a Knight like this.”