An hour before the competition was set to begin, Edmund was ordered by the Earl to hang banners and pennants, and accidentally fell out of a tree in the process and broke one of his legs. Edmund's mother put him to bed, then sent word to the Earl that her son would be unable to watch the match, which he had mandated all residents of Poppleton attend.
The Earl responded by dispatching four of his henchmen to bring Edmund and his mother to the castle. Edmund's mother was told by the Earl that as punishment, Edmund would be tied to a horse and forced to joust against him, as well as all of the knights who had gathered to compete. However, when the knights learned that the Earl expected them to joust against a boy with a broken leg, they left in disgust, refusing to partake in the Tournament. The Earl, furious, thus announced that he alone would joust against Edmund.
As the Earl charged at Edmund, a witch in the crowd, Hannah Cockleford, cast a Shield Charm between them. Slamming into the spell, the Earl was knocked back, and his horse landed on top of him. Though he survived, for the rest of his life, the Earl believed he was a donkey named Hairy Cyril.