Book Of The Achievement Of The Holy Grail
( Originally Published A Long Time Ago )
As, saith the history, that when Sir Galahad had rescued Sir Percivale from the twenty knights, he rode unto a waste forest, wherein he rode many journeys, and found there many adventures, which he brought to an end. Then he took his way to sea on a day ; and it befell that he passed by a castle where was a tournament; but they without had done so much, that they within were put to the worst, yet they within were knights good enough. And when Sir Galahad saw that those within were at so great a mischief, that men slew them at the entry of the castle, then he thought to help them, and put forth his spear, and smote the first that he fell to the earth, and the spear brake all to pieces : then he drew his sword, and smote there as they were thickest; and so he did there wonderful deeds of arms, that they all marvelled thereof. Then it happened that Sir Gawaine and Sir Ector de Maris were with the knights without; but when he espied the white shield with the red cross, the one said to the other, "Yonder is the good knight, Sir Galahad : now he should be a great fool that would meet him to fight." So, by adventure, he came by Sir Gawaine, and he smote him so hard, that he cleave his helm, and the coif of the iron unto his head, so that Sir Gawaine fell to the earth ; but the stroke was great, that it slanted down to the earth, and carved the horse's shoulder in two. When Sir Ector saw Sir Gawaine down, he drew him aside, and thought it no wisdom for to abide him, and also for natural love, because he was his uncle. Thus, through his great hardiness, he beat back all the knights without ; and then they within came out and chased them all about. But when Sir Galahad saw that there would none turn again, he stole away privily, so that no man wist where he became. "Now, by my head," said Sir Gawaine unto Sir Ector, "the words are true that were said of Sir Launcelot du Lake, that the sword which stuck in the stone should give me such a buffet, that I would not have it for the best castle that is in the world; and, certainly, now it is proved true, for never before had I such a stroke-of man's hand." "Sir," said Sir Ector, "me seemeth your quest is done." "And yours is not," said Sir Gawaine, "but mine is done, I shall seek no further." Then Sir Gawaine was borne into a castle and unarmed him, and laid him in a rich bed, and a leech found, that he might live, and be whole within a month. Thus Sir Gawaine and Sir Ector abode together, for Sir Ector would not away till Sir Gawaine were whole. And the good knight Sir Galahad rode so long till that he came that night to the castle of Carbnecke, and it befell him that he was benighted in a hermitage; and so the good knight was full glad when he saw that it was a knight-errant. So when they were at rest, there came a gentlewoman knocking at the door, and called Sir Galahad. And so the good man came to the door to wit what she would. Then she called the hermit Sir Ulfin : "I am a gentlewoman that would speak with the knight that is with you." Then the good man awaked Sir Galahad, and bid him arise and speak with a gentlewoman, which seemeth hath great need of you. Then Sir Galahad, went to her, and asked her what she would. "Sir Galahad," said she, "I will that ye arm you, and mount upon your horse and follow me, for I will show you within these three days the highest adventure that ever any knight saw." Anon Sir Gala-had armed him, and took his horse and commended him to God, and bid the gentlewoman go, and he would follow there as she liked.
So the damsel rode as fast as her palfry might gallop, till that she came to the sea that was called Collibe : and at night they came unto a castle in a valley, that was closed with running water, and with high and strong walls : and she entered into the castle with Sir Galahad, and there had he great cheer, for the lady of that castle was the damsel's lady. So when he was unarmed, the damsel said to the lady, "Madam, shall we abide here this night ?" "Nay," said she, "but till he hath dined and slept a little." So he eat, and slept till the maid called him, and armed him by torch-light. And when the maid and he were both horsed, the lady took Sir Galahad a fair shield and a rich. And so they departed from the castle, and rode till they came to the sea-side; and there they found a ship where Sir Bors and Sir Percivale were in, the which cried on the ship-board, "Sir Galahad, ye be welcome, we have abidden you long." And when he heard them, he asked them what they were. "Sir," said the damsel, "leave your horse here, and I shall leave mine ;" and took their saddles and their bridles with them, and made a cross on them, and so entered into the ship ; and the two knights received him with great joy, and every one knew the other. And so the wind arose and drove them through the sea unto a marvellous place, and within a while it dawned ; then Sir Galahad took off his helm and his sword, and asked of his fellows from whence the fair ship came. "Truly," said they, "ye wot as well as we, but of God's grace." And then they told every one to other of their adventures, and of their great temptation. "Truly," said Sir Galahad, "ye are much bounden to God, for ye have escaped great adventures; and had not the gentlewoman been, I had not come hither ; for as for you, I weened never to have found in this strange country." "Ah, Sir Galahad," said Sir Bors, "if that Sir Launcelot, your father, were here, then were we well at ease, for then me seemeth we should lack nothing." "That may not be," said Sir Galahad, "but if it please our Lord." And by then the ship went from the land of Logris, and, by adventure, it arrived between two rocks, passing great and marvellous, but there they might not land, for there was a whirlpool of the sea, but there was another ship, and upon it they might go without danger. "Go we thither," said the gentlewoman, "and there shall we see adventures ; for so it is our Lord's will." And when they came thither, they found the ship rich enough, but they found neither man nor woman therein, but they found in the end of the ship two fair letters written, which said a dreadful word and a marvellous. "Thou man which shall enter into this ship, beware thou be in steadfast belief, for I am Faith; and, therefore, beware how thou enterest, for and thou fail, I shall not help thee." "Then," said the gentlewoman, "wot ye what I am." "Certainly," said he, "not of my witting." "Wit ye well," said she, "I am thy sister, that am daughter to King Pellinore ; and, therefore, wit ye well that ye are the man in the world that I most like; and, if ye be not in perfect belief of Jesu Christ, and enter not to no manner of wise, for then should ye perish in the ship, for it is so perfect it will suffer no sin in it." And when Sir Percivale knew that she was his sister, he was inwardly glad, and said, "Fair sister, I shall enter therein, for if I be a miscreature, or an untrue knight, there shall I perish."
In the meanwhile Sir Galahad blessed him and entered therein, and then next the gentlewoman, and then Sir Bors and Sir Percivale. And when they were therein, they found it so marvellous fair and rich, that they had great marvel thereof ; and in the midst of the ship was a fair bed, and Sir Galahad went thereto, and found there a crown of silk, and at the feet was a sword, fair and rich, and it was drawn out of the scab-bard half-a-foot and more, and the sword was of divers fashions, and the pommel was of stone, and there was in it all manner of colours, that any man might find, and every one of the colours had divers virtues; and the scales of the haft were of two ribs of divers beasts ; the one beast was a serpent, which was conversant in Calidone, and is called the serpent of the fiend; and the bone of him is of such a virtue, that there is no hand that handled it shall never be weary or hurt; and the other beast is a fish, which is not right great, and haunteth the flood of Ousrates ; and that fish is called Ortanar : and his bones be of such a manner of kind, that who that handleth them he shall have so much courage, that he shall never be weary, and he shall not think on joy nor sorrow that he hath had, but only the thing which he beholdeth before him. And as for this sword, there shall never no man begripe it to the handle but one, but he shall pass all other. "In the name of God," said Sir Percivale, "I shall essay to handle it." So he set his hand to the sword, but he might not begripe it. "By my faith," said he, "now have I failed." Sir Bors set his hand to it and failed. Then Sir Galahad beheld the sword, and saw the letters as red as blood, that said, "Let see who shall essay to draw me out of my scabbard; but if he be more hardier than other; and who that draweth me, wit ye well that he shall never fail of shame of his body, or be wounded unto the death." "By my faith," said Sir Galahad, "I would draw this sword out of the scabbard, but the offending is so great that I shall not sand my hand thereto." "Now, sir," said the gentlewoman, "wit ye well that the drawing of this sword is warned unto all men, save unto you." And then beheld they the scabbard, which seemed to be of a serpent's skin, and thereon were letters of gold and silver; and the girdle was but poorly to account, and not able to sustain such a rich sword, and the letters said, "He that shall wield me ought to be more hardier than any other, if that he bear me as truly as I ought to be borne; for the body of him which I ought to hang by, he shall not be shamed in no place while he is girded with this girdle, nor never none shall be so hardy to do away this girdle, for it ought not be done away but by the hands of a maid, and that she be a King and Queen's daughter, and she must be a maid all the days of her life, both in will and in deed; and, if she break her virginity, she shall die the most villainous death that ever did any woman." "Sir," said Sir Percivale, "turn this sword, that we may see what is on the other side." And it was as red as blood, with black letters as any coal, which said, "He that shall praise me most, most shall he find me to blame at a great necessity, and to whom I shall be most debonair, shall I be most felon, and that shall be at one time."
"SIR," said she, "there was a King, that hight Pelleas, the maimed King; and, while he might ride, he supported much Christendom, and the holy church. So upon a day he hunted in a wood of his, which lasted unto the sea, and at the last he lost his hounds and his knights, save only one, and there he and his knight went till that they come towards Ireland, and there he found the ship. And when he saw the letters, and under-stood them, yet he entered, for he was right perfect of his life. But his knight had no hardiness to enter, and there he found this sword, and drew it out as much as ye may see; so therewithal entered a spear, wherewith he was smitten through both his thighs, and never sith might he be healed, nor nought shall before we come to him. Thus," said she, "was not King Pelleas, your grandsire, maimed for his hardiness." "In the name of God, damsel," said Sir Galahad. So they went toward the bed to behold all about it, and above the bed's head there hung two fair swords; also there were two spindles which were as white as any snow ; and there were other that were as red as any blood, and other above as green as any emerald : of these colours were the spindles, and of natural colour within, and without any painting. "These spindles," said the damsel, were when sinful Eve came to gather fruit, for which Adam and she were put out of paradise, she took with her the bough on which the apple hung : then perceived she that the branch was fair and green, and she remembered her of the loss that came from the tree; then she thought to keep the branch as long as she might, and because she had no coffer to keep it in, she put it into the ground ; so by the will of our Lord, the branch grew to a great tree, within a little while, and was as white as any snow, branches, boughs, and leaves, that it was a token a maid planned it. But after God came unto Adam, and bade him know his wife. So was Adam with his wife under the same tree ; and anon the tree that was white became as green as any grass, and all that came of it. And in the same time was Abel begotten. Thus was the tree long of green colour. And so it befell, a long time after, under the same tree Cain slew his brother Abel, whereof befell full great marvel ; for anon as Abel had received the death under the green tree, it lost the green colour and became red, and that was in tokening of the blood. And anon all the plants died thereof ; but the tree grew, and waxed marvellous fair, and it was the fairest tree, and the most delectable that any man might behold ; and so died the plants that grew out of it before the time that Abel was slain under it. So long endured the tree till that Solomon, King David's son, reigned, and held the land after his father. This Solomon was wise, and knew the virtues of stones and of trees : and so he knew the course of the stars, and many other things. This Solomon had an evil wife, wherethrough he weened that there had never been no good woman; and so he despised them in his books. So a voice answered him once, 'Solomon, if heaviness come unto a man by a woman, yet reck thou never ; for there shall come a woman, whereof there shall come greater joy unto man a hundred times more than the heaviness giveth sorrow or heaviness ; and the same woman shall be born of thy lineage.'
"Then when King Solomon heard these words, he held himself but a fool, and the truth he perceived by old books ; also the Holy Ghost showed him the coming of the glorious Virgin Mary. Then asked he of the voice, 'If it should be in the line of his lineage, 'Nay,' said the voice ; 'but there shall come a man which shall be of a pure maid, and the last of your blood, and he shall be as good a knight as was Duke Josue, thy brother-in-law.'
" 'Now have I certified thee of that thou stoodest in doubt.' Then was Solomon glad that there should come such a one of his lineage, but ever he marvelled and studied who that should be, and what his name might be. His wife perceived that he studied, and thought that she would know it at some season ; and so she awaited her time, and asked of him the cause of his studying; and there he told her all together how the voice told him. 'Well,' said she, 'I shall let a ship be made of the best wood, and most durable that men may find.' So Solomon sent for all the best carpenters of the land. And when they had made the ship, the lady said unto Solomon, 'Sir,' said she, 'since it is so that this knight ought to pass all other knights of chivalry, which have been before him, and also that shall come after him, moreover I shall tell you,' said she, 'ye shall go into our Lord's temple, whereas is King David's sword, your father, the which is the marvellest and the sharpest that ever was taken in any knight's hand : therefore take that, and take ye off the pommel, and thereto make ye a pommel of precious stones, that it be so subtly made that no man perceive it, but that they be all one; and after make a hilt so marvellously and wondrously, that no man may know it, and after make a marvellous sheath. And when you have made all this, I shall let a girdle be made thereto, such as shall please you.' And this King Solomon made it as she devised, both the ship and all the remnant. And when the ship was ready in the sea for to sail, the lady let make a great bed, and marvellous rich, and set herself upon the bed's head, covered with silk, and laid the sword at the bed's feet; and the girdles were of hemp. And therewith was the King angry. 'Sir, wit ye well,' said she, 'that I have none so high a thing that were worthy to sustain so big a sword, and a maid shall bring other knights thereto; but I wot not when it shall be, nor what time.' And there she let a covering be made to the ship of cloth, that shall never rot for no manner of weather. Yet went that lady and made a carpenter to come to that tree which Abel was slain under. 'Now,' said she, 'carve me out of this tree as much wood as will make me a spindle.' 'Ah! madam,' said the carpenter, 'this is the tree, the which our first mother planted.' 'Do it,' said she, 'or else I shall destroy thee.' Anon as the carpenter began to work, there came out drops of blood, and then would he have left; but she would not suffer him. And so he took away as much wood as might well make a spindle ; and so she made him take as much of the green tree, and of the white tree. And when these three spindles were shapen, she made them to be fastened on the canopy of the bed. When Solomon saw this, he said to his wife, 'Ye have done marvellously ; for, though all the world were here now, they could not tell wherefore all this was made, but our Lord himself, and thou that hast done it, wottest not what it shall betoken.' 'Now let it be,' said she, 'for ye shall hear tidings sooner than ye ween.'
"THAT night lay King Solomon before the ship with a small fellowship. And when King Solomon was asleep, he thought there came from heaven a great company of angels and alighted into the ship, and took water which was brought by an angel in a vessel of silver, spread all about the ship ; and after he came to the sword, and drew letters in the hilt ; and after went to the ship-board, and wrote there other letters which said, 'Thou man that wilt enter within me, beware that thou be full within of faith, for I am but faith and belief.' When King Solomon espied these letters, he was sore abashed, so that he durst not enter, and so drew him back; and anon the ship was shoved into the sea, and it went so fast that he lost the sight of it within a little while. And then a little voice said, `Solomon, the last knight of thy lineage shall rest in this bed.' Then went King Solomon and awaked his wife, and told her the adventures of the ship."
Now saith the history, that a great while the three fellows beheld the bed and the three spindles ; then they were of natural colours, without any manner of painting. Then they lift up a cloth which was above the ground, and there they found a rich purse by seeming; and Sir Percivale took it, and therein he found a writing, and so he read it, and spice of the manner of the spindles, and of the ship from whence it came, and by whom it was made. "Now," said Sir Galahad, "where shall we find the gentlewoman that shall make new girdles to the sword?" "Fair sir," said Sir Percivale's sister, "dismay you not, for by the leave of God I shall let a girdle be made to the sword, such a one as shall belong thereto." And then she opened a box and took out girdles, which were seemly wrought with golden threads; and thereupon were set full of precious stones, and a rich buckle of gold. "Lo! lords," said the gentlewoman, "here is a girdle that ought to be set about the sword ; and wit ye well that the greatest part of this girdle was made of my hair, the which I loved full well while I was a woman of the world; but as soon as I wist that this adventure was ordained me, I clipped off my hair, and made this girdle in the name of God." "Ye are well found," said Sir Bors, "for truly ye have put us out of a great pain, wherein we should have entered, nor had your teaching been." Then went the gentlewoman, and set it up on the girdle of the sword. "Now," said the three fellows, "what is the right name of the sword, and what shall we call it?" "Truly," said she, "the name of the sword is, the Sword with the Strange Girdles, and the scab-bard, Mover of Blood; for no man that hath blood in him shall never see the one part of the scabbard which was made i of the Tree of Life." Then they said unto Sir Galahad, "In the name of Jesu Christ we pray you that ye gird you with this sword, which hath been so much desired in the realm of Logris." "Now let me begin," said Sir Galahad, "to gripe this sword for to give you courage; but wit ye well that it belongeth no more to me than it doth to you." And then he griped about it with his fingers a great deal: and then she girded him about the middle with the sword. "Now reek I not, though I die; for now I hold me one of the blessed maidens of the world, which hath made thee now the worthiest knight of the world." "Fair damsel," said Sir Galahad, "ye have done so much, that I shall be your knight all the days of my life." Then they went from that ship, and went into the other ship. And anon the wind drove them into the sea a great pace, but they had no victuals. But it happened that they came on the morrow to a castle that men call Carteloise, that was in the marshes of Scotland ; and, when they had passed the port, the gentlewoman said, "Lords here be arriven, that and they wist that ye were of King Arthur's court, ye should anon be essayed." "Damsel," said Sir Galahad, "he that cast us out of the rock shall deliver us from them."
So it befell, as they spake thus, there came a squire by them, and asked what they were; and they said they were of King Arthur's court. "Is that sooth ?" said he. "Now, by my head," said he, "ye are evil arrived." And then returned he again unto the chief fortress ; and within a while they heard a horn blow. Then a gentlewoman came to them and asked them, of whence they came? and they told her. "Fair lords," said she, "return again if ye may, for God's love ! for ye be come to your death." "Now," said they, "we will not turn again; for he shall help us in whose service we be entered." Then, as they stood thus talking, there came knights well armed, and bid them yield them, or else they would die. "That yielding,' said they, "shall be evil to you." And therewithall they let their horses run together; and Sir Percivale smote the foremost to the earth, and took his horse and mounted upon him ; and in likewise did Sir Galahad. Also Sir Bors served another so; for they had no horses in the country; for they had left their horses, when they took their ship, in other countries. And so, when they were horsed, then they began to set upon them. And the knights of the castle fled into the strongest fortress, and the three knights followed after them into the castle; and so they alighted on foot, and with their swords slew them downright, and gat them into the hall. So, when they beheld the great multitude of people which they had slain, they held themselves great sinners. "Certainly," said Sir Bors, "I ween and God has loved them, we should not have had power to have slain them thus ; but they have done so much against our lord, that he will not suffer them to reign any longer." "Say ye not so," said Sir Galahad, "for, if they misdid against God, the vengeance is not ours, but to him which hath power thereof." So came there out of a chamber a good man, which was a priest, and bare God's body in a cup; and, when he saw the which lay dead in the hall, he was all abashed. And Sir Galahad put off his helm, and kneeled down, and so did his two fellows. "Sir," said they, "have ye no dread of us; for we be of the court of King Arthur?" Then asked the good man, how they were slain so suddenly? and they told him. "Truly," said the good man, "if ye might live as long as the world shall endure, nor might ye never have done so great an alms-deed as this." "Sir," said Sir Galahad, "I repent me much, inasmuch as they were christened." "Nay, repent ye not," said he, "for they were not christened : and I shall tell you how I wot of this castle. Here was the Earl Hernox but one year, and he had three sons, good knights of arms, and a daughter, the fairest gentlewoman that men knew. So those three knights loved their sister so sore, that they grew full fain, and dishonoured her; and because she cried to her father they slew her, and took their father and put him in prison, and wounded him nigh unto the death. But a cousin of her's rescued him. And then did they great untruth ; for they slew priests and clerks, and made to beat down chapels, that our Lord's service might not be served nor said : and this same day their father sent to me for to be confessed and houseled, But such shame had never man as I had this day with the three brethren. But the earl bade me suffer; for he said that they should no longer endure : for three servants of our Lord God should destroy them. And now it is brought to an end : and by this may ye wit, that our Lord is not displeased with your deeds." "Certainly," said Sir Galahad, "and it had not pleased our Lord, never would we have killed so many men in so little a while." And then they brought the Earl Hernox out of prison into the midst of the hall, which knew Sir Galahad anon; and yet he never seen him before, but by revelation of our Lord.
THEN began he to weep full tenderly, and said, "Long have I abidden your coming; but, for God's love, hold me in your arms, that my soul may depart out of my body in so good a man's arms as ye be." "Gladly," said Sir Galahad. And then one said on high that all heard it, "Sir Galahad, well hast thou avenged me on God's enemies. Now behoveth thee to go to the maimed King, as soon as thou mayest; for he shall receive by thee his health, the which had bidden so long." And therewith the soul departed from the body; and Sir Gala-had made him to be buried as he ought to be. So departed the three knights, and Sir Percivale's sister with them ; and so they came into a waste forest, and there they saw before them a white hart, which four lions led. Then they took them to assent for to follow after, for to know whether they repaired. And so they rode after a great pace, till that they came to a valley, and thereby was a hermitage, whereas a good man dwelled; and the hart and the lions entered in also. So, when they saw all this, they turned unto the chapel, and saw the good man in a religious mood, and in the armour of our Lord ; for ha would sing mass of the Holy Ghost : and so they entered and heard mass ; and, at the secrets of that mass, they three saw the hart become a man, the which marvelled them, and set upon the altar in a rich seat; and saw the four lions changed, the one to the form of a man, and the other unto the form of a lion, and the third unto an eagle, and the fourth was changed unto an ox. Then took they their seat where the hart sat, which went out through a glass window, and there was nothing perished nor broken. And they heard a voice that said thus "In such a manner entered the Son of God into the womb of the maid Mary, whose virginity was not perished nor hurt." And, when they heard these words, they fell down to the, ground, and were astonished; and therewith was a great clearness : and, when they were come to themselves again, they went to the good man, and prayed him that he would tell them the truth. "What thing have ye seen ?" said he. And they told him all that they had seen. "Ah! lords," said he, "ye are welcome. Now wot I will ye be the good knight, the which shall bring the Sancgreal to an end ; for ye be they to whom our Lord shall show great secrets. And well ought our Lord to be signified unto a hart; for the hart, when he is old, weareth young again into his white skin : right so cometh again our Lord from death to life; for he lost earthly flesh, that was the deadly flesh, which he had taken in the womb of the blessed Virgin Mary : and for that cause appeared our Lord as a white hart, without a spot. And the four that were with him is to understand the four evangelists, which set in writing part of Jesu Christ's deeds, that he did sometimes when he was among you an earthly man. For wit ye well, that never erst nor might no knight know the truth; for oftentimes or this our Lord showed him unto good men, and unto good knights, in likeness of a hart: but, I suppose that, from henceforth, ye shall see him no more." And then they joyed much, and dwelled there all that day; and on the morrow, when they had heard mass, they departed, and commended the good man unto God. And so they came unto a castle, and passed by ; so there came a knight armed, and said, "Lords, hearken what I shall say unto you."
"THIS gentlewoman that ye lead with you is a maid." "Sir," said she, "a maid I am." Then he took her by the bridle and said, "By the holy cross, ye shall not escape me, before ye have yielded the custom of the castle." "Let her go," said Sir Percivale, "ye be not wise ; for a maid, in what place soever she cometh, she is free." So, in the meanwhile, there came out of the castle ten or twelve knights, armed; and with them carne a gentlewoman which held a dish of silver. And then, "This gentlewoman must yield us the custom of this castle." "Sir," said a knight, "what maid that passeth hereby shall give this dish full of blood of her right arm." "Blame have ye," said Sir Galahad, "that brought up such customs : and, so God me save, I ensure you, that of this gentlewoman ye shall fail as long as I live." "So God me help," said Sir Percivale, "I had rather be slain." "And I also,' said Sir Bors. "By my faith," said the knight, "then shall ye die; for ye may not endure against us, though ye were the best knights of the world." Then let they run each to other; and the three fellows beat the ten knights, and then set their hands unto their swords, and beat them down, and slew them. Then there came out of the castle well a threescore knights all armed. "Pair lords," said the three fellows, "have mercy upon yourselves, and have not to do with us." "Nay, fair lords," said the knights of the castle, "we counsel you to withdraw you; for ye are the best knights of the world; and, therefore, do ye no more. We will let you with this harm ; but we must needs have the custom." "Certainly," said. Sir Galahad ; "for nought speak ye well." Said they, "Will ye die?" "We be not come thereto," said Sir Galahad. Then began they to meddle together; and Sir Galahad, with the strange girdle, drew his sword, and smote on the right hand and, on the left hand, and slew whom that would abide him, and did such marvel, that there was none that saw him but that they weened he had been none earthly knight, but a monster. And his two fellows helped him passing well: and so they held their journey every each in like hard, till that it was night. Then must they needs depart. So there came a good knight, and said to the three fellows, "If ye will come in to-night, and take such harbour as here is, ye shall be right welcome; and we shall ensure you, by the faith of our bodies, as we are true knights, to leave you in such estate to-morrow as we find you, without any falsehood : and, as soon as ye know of the custom, we dare say that ye will accord thereto." "Therefore, for God's love," said the gentlewoman, "go thither, and spare not for me." "Go we," said Sir Galahad. And so they entered into the castle; and, when they were alighted, they made of them great joy. So, within a while, the three knights asked the custom of the castle, and wherefore it was. "What it is," said they, "we will say you the truth."
"There is in this castle a gentlewoman which we have; and this castle is hers, and many other more. So it befell, many years ago, there fell upon her a malady; and, when she had lain a great while, she fell into a leprosy, and of no leech she could have no remedy. But at the last an old man said, `And she might have a dish full of the blood of a maid and a clean virgin, in will and in work, and a king's daughter, that blood would be her health, and for to anoint her therewith." And for this thing was this custom made." "Now," said Sir Percivale's sister, "fair knights, I see well that this gentle-woman is but dead, but if she have so much of my blood." "Certainly," said Sir Galahad, "and if ye bleed so much as ye may die." "Truly," said she, "and I die for to heal her, then shall I get me great worship and soul's health, and worship unto my lineage. And better is one harm than twain ; and, therefore, there shall be no more battle : but, to-morrow, I shall yield you the custom of the castle."
And then there was great joy, more than ever there was afore: for else had there been mortal war on the morrow, not-withstanding she would none other, whether they would or not.. All that night were the three fellows eased with the best; and, on the morrow, they heard mass. And Sir Percivale's sister bid bring forth the sick lady: so she was brought forth before her, which was full evil at ease. Then said she, "Who shall let me blood?" So anon there came one forth to let her blood; and she bled so much, that the dish was full. Then she lift up her hand and blessed her. And then she said unto the lady, "Madam, I am come to my death to make you whole; for God's love, pray for me." With that she fell into a swoon. Then Sir Galahad, Sir Percivale and Sir Bors started up to her, and lift her up, and staunched her blood : but she had bled so much, that she might not live. Then, when she was awake, she said, "Fair brother, Sir Percivale, I must die for the healing of this lady ; so I require you that ye bury not me in this country ; but, as soon as I am dead, put me in a boat at the next haven, and let me go as adventure will lead me; and as soon as ye three come to the city of Sarras, there to achieve the Holy Grail, ye shall find me under a tower arrived, and there bury me in the spiritual place. For, I say you so much, there shall Sir Galahad be buried, and ye also in the same place." So when Sir Percivale understood these words, he granted it her, weeping. And then said a voice : "Lords and fellows, tomorrow at prime ye three shall depart from other, till the adventure bring you unto the maimed King." Then asked she her Saviour, and, as soon as she had received him, the soul de-parted from the body. So the same day was the lady healed, when she was enjointed with all. Then Sir Percivale made a letter, of all that she had holpen them, as in strange adventures, and put it in her right hand, and so laid her in a barge, and covered it with silk ; and so the wind arose, and drove the barge from the land, and all knights beheld it, till it was out of their sight. Then they drew all unto the castle; and so forthwith there fell a sudden tempest of thunder, lightning, and rain, as all the earth would have broken. So half the castle turned upside down ; so it passed even-song or the tempest was ceased. Then they saw before them a knight armed, and wounded hard in the body and in the head, that said, "O, Lord God, succor me, for now it is need." After this knight came another knight and a dwarf, which cried to him afar, "Stand, ye may not escape." Then the wounded knight held up his hands unto God, that he should not die in such tribulation. "Truly," said Sir Galahad, "I shall succor him, for his sake that he calleth upon." "Sir," said Sir Bors, "I shall do it; for it is not for you : for he is but one knight." "Sir," said he, "I grant." So Sir Bors took his horse, and commended him to God, and rode after to rescue the wounded knight.
THE story saith, that all night Sir Galahad and Sir Percivale were in a chapel, in their prayers, for to save Sir Bors. So on the morrow they dressed them in their harness, toward the castle, for to wit what was betide of them therein ; and, when they came there, they found neither man nor woman but what they were dead, by the vengeance of the Lord. With that they heard a voice, which said, "This vengeance is for bloodshedding of maidens." Also they found, at the end of the chapel and churchyard, and therein they might see forty fair tombs. And that place was so fair, and so delectable, that it seemed them there had been no tempest : for there lay the bodies of all the dead maidens, which were martyred for the sick; also they found the name of every each of them, and of what blood they were come. And were all of kings' blood; and twelve of them were knights' daughters. Then they departed, and went into a forest. "Now," said Sir Percivale unto Sir Galahad, "we must depart ; so pray we our Lord that we may meet together in short time." Then took they off their helms, and kissed together, and wept at their departing.
THE story saith, that when Sir Launcelot was come to the water of Morteise, as it is rehearsed before, he was in great peril, and so he laid him down and slept, and took his adventure that God would send him. So when he was asleep, there came a vision unto him, and said, "Launcelot, arise up, and take thine armour, and enter into the first ship that thou shalt find." And when he had. heard these words he started up, and saw a great clearness about him, and then he lift up his hand, and blessed him ; and so took his armour, and made him ready. And by adventure he came by a strand, and found a ship, the which was without sail and oars; and, as soon as he was within the ship, there he felt the most sweetest savour that ever he felt, and he was filled with all things that he thought on or desired. Then he said, "Fair rather, Jesu Christ, I wot not in what joy I am, for this joy passeth all earthly joys that ever I was in ;" and so in this joy he laid him down on the ship-board, and slept till daylight. And when he awoke, he found there a fair bed, and therein lying a gentlewoman dead, the which was Sir Percivale's sister. And as Sir Launcelot beheld her, he espied in her right hand a writing, the which he read, wherein he found all the adventures as ye have heard before, and of what lineage she was come. So with this gentlewoman Sir Launcelot was a month and more. If ye would ask me how he lived, he that fed the people of Israel with manna in the desert in likewise fed him. For every day, when he had said his prayers, he was sustained with the grace of the Holy Ghost.
So upon a night he went to play him by the water's side, for he was somewhat weary of the ship, and then he listened, and heard a horse come, and one riding upon him; and, when he came nigh he seemed a knight, and so he let him pass, and went there as the ship was ; and there he alighted, and took the saddle and bridle, and put the horse from him, and went into the ship. And then Sir Launcelot went toward him, and said, "Sir, ye be welcome." And he answered and saluted him again, and asked him his name, "for much my heart giveth unto you." "Truly," said he, "my name is Sir Launcelot du Lake." "Sir," said he, "then ye be welcome; for ye were the beginning of me in this world." "Ah !" said Sir Launcelot, "are ye Sir Galahad ?" "Yea, forsooth," said he. And so he kneeled down and asked him his blessing, and after took off his helm, and kissed him. And so there was great joy between them; for there is no tongue can tell the joy that they made either of other, and many a friendly word was spoken between them, as kind would, the which is no need here to be rehearsed ; and there each one told other of their adventures and marvels that were befallen them in many journeys, since they departed from the court. And anon as Sir Galahad saw the gentlewoman dead in the bed, he knew her well enough, and told great worship of her, and that she was the best maid living, and it was great pity of her death. But when Sir Launcelot heard how the marvellous sword was gotten, and who made it, and all the marvels rehearsed before, then he prayed Sir Galahad, his son, that he would show him the sword; and so he did. And anon he kissed the pommel, the hilts, and the scabbard. "Truly," said Sir Launcelot, "never till now knew I of so high adventures done, and so marvellous and strange. So dwelled Sir Launcelot and Sir Galahad within that ship half-a-year, and served God daily and nightly, with all their power. And oft they arrived in isles, far from folk, where were but wild beasts ; and there they found many strange adventures, and perilous, which they brought to an end. But because those adventures were with wild beasts, and not in the quest of the Sancgreal, therefore the tale maketh here no mention, for it would be long to tell that befell them.
So after, upon a Monday, it befell that they arrived in the edge of a forest, before a cross of stone, and then saw they a knight armed all in white, and was richly horsed, and led in his right hand a white horse, and so he came to the ship, and saluted the two knights upon the high Lord's high behalf, and said, "Sir Galahad, ye have been long enough with your father ; come out of the ship, and leap upon this horse, and ride where adventure shall lead thee in the quest of the Sancgreal." Then he went unto his father, and kissed him full courteously, and said unto him, "Fair father, I wot not when I shall see you any more, till that I see the body of our Lord Jesu Christ." "I pray you," said Sir Launcelot, "pray you unto the high Father, that he hold me in his service." And so he took his horse, and there they heard a voice, that said, "Think for to do well, for the one shall never see the other till the dreadful day of doom." "Now my son, Sir Galahad," said Sir Launcelot, "sith we shall depart, and never see other more, I pray unto the high Father of heaven for to preserve both you and me." "Sir," said Sir Galahad, "no prayer availeth so much as yours." And there-with Sir Galahad entered into the forest ; and the wind arose, and drove Sir Launcelot more than a month throughout the sea, where he slept but little, and prayed unto God that he might have a sight of the Holy Sancgreal. So it befell, upon a night, at midnight, he arrived afore a castle, on the back side, which was rich and fair; and there was a postern that opened toward the sea, and was open without any keeping, save two lions kept the entry; and the moon shone clear. Anon Sir Launcelot heard a voice, that said, "Launcelot, go out of this ship, and enter into the castle, where thou shall see a great part of thy desire." Then he ran to his arms, and armed him, and so he went unto the gate, and saw the two lions ; then he set hands to his sword, and drew it. Then came there suddenly a dwarf, that smote him upon the arm so sore that the sword fell out of his hand. Then he heard a voice, that said, "Oh, man of evil faith and poor belief, wherefore believest thou more in thy harness than in thy Maker; for he might more avail thee than thine armour, in whose service thou art set." Then said Sir Launcelot, "Fair Father, Jesu Christ, I thank thee, of thy great mercy, that thou reprovest me of my misdeed. Now see I well that thou holdest me for thy servant." Then took he again his sword, and put it upon his shield, and made a cross on his forehead, and came to the lions; and they made attempt to do him harm ; notwithstanding, he passed by them without hurt, and entered into the castle, to the chief fortress, and there were they all at rest. Then Sir Launcelot entered in so armed, and he found no gate, nor door, but it was opened ; and so at the last he found a chamber, whereof the door was shut, and he set his hand thereto, for to have opened it, but he might not.
THEN he enforced him much for to undo the door. Then he listened, and heard a voice, which sung so sweetly, that it seemed none earthly thing; and thought that the voice said, "Joy and honour be to the Father of heaven." Then Sir Launcelot kneeled, down before the chamber, for well he wist that there was the Sancgreal in that chamber. Then said he, "Fair sweet Father, Jesu Christ, if ever I did thing that pleased the Lord, for thy pity, nor have me not in despite for my foul sins done here before time, and that thou show me something of that which I seek." And with that he saw the chamber-door open, and with that there came out a great clearness, that the house was as bright as though all the torches of the world had been there. So came he to the chamber-door, and would have entered, and anon a voice said unto him. "Flee, Sir Launcelot, and enter not, for thou oughtest not to do it ; and, if thou enter, thou shalt much regret it." And he withdrew him back, and was right heavy in his mind. Then he looked up in the midst of the chamber, and saw a table of silver, and the holy vessel covered with red samite, and many angels about it, whereof one of them held a candle of wax burning, and the other held a cross, and the ornaments of the altar. And before the holy vessel he saw a good man, clothed like a priest ; and it seemed that he was at the consecrating of the mass. And it seemed unto Sir Launcelot that above the priest's hands there were three men, whereof the two put the youngest, by likeness, between the priest's hands, and so he lift it up on high : and it seemed to show so to the people. And then Sir Launcelot marvelled not a little ; for him thought that the priest was so greatly changed of the figure, that him seemed that he should have fallen to the ground. And when he saw none about him that would help him, then he came to the door a great pace, and said, "Fair Father, Jesu Christ, nor take it for no sin, though I help the good man, which hath great need of help." Right so he entered into the chamber, and came toward the table of silver. And when he came nigh he felt a breath, that him thought was intermeddled with fire, which smote him so sore in the visage, that him thought it all to break his visage; and therewith he fell to the ground, and had no power to arise. As he was so enraged, that he had lost the power of his body, and his hearing, and his saying, then he felt many hands about him, which took him up, and bear him out of the chamber, with-out any amendment of his swoon, and left him there, seeming dead, to all the people. So on the morrow, when it was fair daylight, they within were arisen, and found Sir Launcelot lying before the chamber door ; and they marvelled how he came in. And so they looked upon him, and felt his pulse, to wit whether there were any life in him; and so they found life in him, but he might neither stand nor stir no member that he had ; and so they took him by every part of the body, and bear him into a chamber, and laid him in a rich bed, far from all folk : and so he lay four days. Then the one said he was alive, and the other said nay. "In the name of God," said an old man, "for I do verily wit he is not dead, but he is so full of life as the mightiest of you all, and therefore I counsel you that he be well kept, till God send him life again."
IN such a manner they kept Sir Launcelot twenty-four days, and as many nights, who lay still like a dead man, and at the twenty-fifth day befell him, after midnight, that he opened his eyes, and when he saw folks, he made great sorrow, and said, "Why have ye wakened me; for I was better at ease than I am now. Oh, Jesu Christ, who might be so blessel, that might see openly great marvels of secretness there, where no sinner may be." "What have ye seen?" said, they about him. "I have seen,' said he, "great marvels, that no tongue can tell, and more than any heart can think; and if my son had not been here before me, I had seen much more." Then they told him how he had lain there twenty-four days, and as many nights. Then him thought how it was a punishment for the twenty-four years he had been a sinner; wherefore our Lord put him in penance twenty-four days and nights. Then looked Sir Launcelot before him, and saw the hair, which he had borne nigh a year ; for that he forethought him right much that he had broken his promise unto the hermit, which he had vowed to do. Then they asked him how it stood with him. "Forsooth,'' said he, "I am whole of my body, thanked be our Lord; there-fore, sirs, for God's love, tell me where I am." Then said they all, he was in the castle of Corbonek. Therewith came a gentlewoman, and brought him a shirt of fine linen cloth; but he changed not there, but took the hair to him again. "Sir," said they, "the quest of the Sancgreal is achieved right now in you ; that never shall ye see more of the Sancgreal than ye have seen." "Now, I thank God," said Sir Launcelot, "of his great mercy, of that I have seen, for it sufficeth me: for, as I suppose, no man in this world hath.lived better than I have done, to achieve that I have done." And therewith he took the hair, and clothed him in it, and above that he put a linen shirt, and after a robe of scarlet, fresh and new ; and when he was so arrayed, they marvelled all ; for they knew that. he was Sir Launcelot, the good knight. And then they said all, "O, Lord, Sir Launcelot, be that ye?" And then he said, "Truly, I am he." Then came' word to King Pelleas, that the knight which had lain so long dead was Sir Launcelot. Then was King Pelleas wondrous glad, and went to see him. And when Sir Launcelot saw him come, he dressed him against him. And there the King made great joy of him : and there the King told him tidings that his fair daughter was dead. Then was Sir Launcelot right heavy of it, and said, "Sir, it forethinketh me thy daughter, for she was a full fair lady, fresh and young ; and well I wot she bare the best knight that is now on the earth, or that ever was since God was born." So King Pelleas held Sir Launcelot there four days, and on the morrow he took his leave of King Pelleas, and of all the fellowship that were there, and thanked them of their great labour. Right so, they sat at their dinner in the chief hall ; then it was so that the Sancgreal had filled the table with all manner of meats, that the heart might think. So, as they sat, they saw all the doors and windows of the place were shut without man's hand, whereof they were all abashed, and none wist what to do. And then it happened suddenly, that a knight came unto the chief door, and knocked mightily, and cried, "Undo the door !" But they would not. And ever he cried, "Undo ;" but they would not. And at the last, it annoyed him so much, that the King himself arose, and came to a window, where the knight called ; then he said, "Sir knight, ye shall not enter at this time, while the Sancgreal is here; and therefore go into another; for certainly ye be none of the knight of the quest, but one of them that hath served the fiend, and hath left the service of our Lord." Then was he wondrous wrath at the King's words. "Sir knight," said the King, "since ye would so fain enter, tell me of what country ye be." "Sir," said he, "I am of the country and realm of Logris, and my name is Sir Ector de Maris, and brother unto the noble knight Sir Launcelot." "In the name of God," said King Pelleas, "me forethinketh that I have, for your brother is here within." And when Sir Ector de Maris understood that his brother was there, for he was the man in the world that he most dread and loved, and then he said, "Ah! Lord God, now doubleth my sorrow and shame. Full truly said the good man of the hill unto Sir Gawaine and me of our dreams." Then went he out of the court as fast as his courser might run, and so throughout the castle.
AND then King Pelleas came to Sir Launcelot, and told him, tidings of his brother, whereof, he was sorry, that he wist not what to do. So Sir Launcelot departed, and took his armour, and said "That he would go to see the realm of Logris, which, I have not seen these twelve months." And therewith he commended the King unto God, and so rode through many realms; and at the last he came unto an abbey, and there he had great cheer. And on the morrow he arose and heard mass, and afore an altar he found a rich tomb which was newly made, and then he took heed and saw the sides written with letters of gold, which saidó"Here Iieth King Bagdemagus, of Gore, the which King Arthur's nephew slew, and named him Sir Gawaine." Then was he not a little sorry, for Sir Launcelot loved him more than any other; and if it had been any other than Sir Gawaine, he should not have escaped from death, and said to himself, "Ah! Lord God, this is a full great damage to King Arthur's court, the loss of such a man." And then he departed, and came unto the abbey, whereas Sir Galahad did the adventure of the tombs, and won the white shield with the red cross, and there had he great cheer all that night. And on the morrow he turned to Camelot, whereas he found King Arthur and Queen Guenever : but many of the knights of the Round Table were slain and destroyed more than half. And so three of them were come home again ; that were Sir Gawaine, Sir Ector, and Sir Lionel, and many other which needeth not to be rehearsed. Then all the court was passing glad of Sir Launcelot, and King Arthur asked him what tidings of his son Sir Galahad. And there Sir Launcelot told the King of his adventures that had befallen him sit hence he departed ; and also he told him of the adventures of Sir Galahad, Sir Percivale, and Sir Bors, which he knew by the letter of the dead damsel, and as Sir Galahad had told him. "Now would God," said the King, "that they were all three here." "That shall never be," said Sir Launcelot; "for two of them shall ye never see, but one of them shall come again."
Now that Sir Galahad rode many journeys in vain ; and at the last he came unto the abbey where King Mordrains was, and when he heard that, he thought he would abide to see him. And on the morrow, when he had heard mass, Sir Galahad came unto King Mordrains, and anon the King saw him, which had lain blind a long time. And then he dressed him against him, and said, "Sir Galahad, the servant of Jesu Christ, whose coming I have abidden long, now embrace me, and let me rest on thy breast, so that I may rest between thine arms ; for thou art a clean virgin above all knights, as the flower of the lily, in whom virginity is signified, and thou art the rose, the which is the flower of all good virtues, and in the colour of fire ; for the fire of the Holy Ghost is so taken in thee that the flesh which was of dead oldness is becoming young again." When Sir Galahad heard his words, he embraced him in his arms. Then said King Mordrains, "Fair Lord Jesu Christ, now I have my will; now I require thee in this point that I am in, that thou come and visit me." And anon our Lord heard his prayer; therewith the soul, departed from the body. And then Sir Galahad put him in the earth as a king ought to be, and so departed and came into a perilous forest; whereas he found the well that boiled with great waves, as the tale telleth before. And so soon as Sir Galahad set his hand thereto it ceased ; so that it burnt no more, and the heat departed. For that it burnt, it was a sign of lechery, the which was at that time much used : but that heat might not abide his pure virginity. And this was taken in the country for a miracle, and so ever after was it Called Sir Galahad's Well. Then by adventure he came into the country of Gore, and into the abbey where Sir Launcelot had been beforehand, and found the tomb of King Bagdemagus, but Joseph of Arimathy's son was the founder thereof; and there he found the tomb of Simeon, where Sir Launcelot had failed. Then he looked into a cross under the minster, and there he saw a tomb, the which burned full marvellously. Then asked he the doctor what it was : "Sir," said he, "it is a marvellous adventure that may not be brought to an end, but by him that passeth of bounty and of knighthood all the knights of the Round Table." "I would," said Sir Galahad, "that ye would lead me thereto." "Gladly," said they. And so they led him unto a cave, and he went down upon a pair of stairs, and came nigh the tomb, and when the flaming failed, and the fire staunched, the which many a day had been great. Then came there a voice that said, "Much are ye beholden to thank our Lord, that hath given you a good hour, that ye may draw your souls out of earthly pain, and put them into the joys of paradise. I am of your kindred, the which bath dwelled in this heat these three hundred and four and fifty years, for to be purged of the sin that I did to Joseph of Arimathy." Then Sir Galahad took the body in his arms and bear it to the minster, and that night lay Sir Galahad in the abbey. And on the morrow he give him service, and put him in the earth, before the high altar.
So departed he from thence, and commended the brethren to God. And so he rode five days, till that he came to the maimed King; and ever followed Sir Percivale the five days, asking where he had been, and so one told him how the adventures of Logris were achieved. So upon a day it befell that there came out of a great forest, and there they met at a travers with Sir Bors that rode alone. It is no need to tell if they minded. And then he saluted, and they yielded him honour and good adventure, and they told each other their adventures. Then said Sir Bors, "It is more than a year and a-half, that I never lay ten times where men dwelled, but in wild forests and in mountains, but God was ever my comfort." Then rode they a great while, till they came to the castle of Corbonek, and when they were entered within the castle, King Pelleas knew them all. Then was there made great joy, for he knew well by their coming that they had fulfilled the quest of the Sancgreal. Then Eliazar, King Pelleas' son, brought before them the broken sword, wherewith Joseph was smitten through the thigh. Then Sir Bors set his hand thereto, if he might have forced it again together, but it would not be. Then he took it to Sir Percivale, but he had no more power thereto than he. "Now have ye it," said Sir Percivale unto Sir Gala-had, "for and it be ever achieved by one bodily man, ye must do it." And then took he the pieces and set them together, and they seemed that they had never been broken, and as well as it had been first forged. And then they within espied that the adventure of the sword was achieved ; then they gave the sword unto Sir Bors, for he might not be better set, for he was a full good knight and a worthy man : and a little before even the sword arose great and marvellous, and was full of great heat, that many men fell for dead. And anon light a voice among them said, "They that ought not to sit at the table of our Lord Jesu Christ arise ; for now shall very knights be fed." So they went thence all, save King Pelleas and Eliazar his son, the which were holy men, and a maid which was his niece: and so these three fellows and they three were there, and no more. Anon they saw knights all armed come in at the hall door, and did off their helms and their harness, and said unto Sir Galahad, "Sir, we have hied sore to be with you at this table, where the holy meat shall be parted." "Then," said he, "ye be welcome, but of whence be ye ?" So three of them said they were of Gaul, and the other three said they were of Ireland, and other three said they were of Denmark. So as they sate thus, there came a bed of wood out of a chamber, the which four gentle-women brought ; and in that bed lay a good man sick, and a crown of gold upon his head, and there in the midst of the place they sat them down and went their way again. Then he lift up his head and said, "Sir Galahad, knight, ye be welcome, for much have I desired your coming, for in such pain and anguish as ye see have I been long ; but now I trust to God the time is come that my pain shall be allayed, that I shall pass out of this world, so as it was promised me long ago." Therewith a voice said, "There be two among you that be not in the quest of the Sancgreal, and therefore depart ye."
THEN King Pelleas and his son departed ; and therewith it seemed them that there came a man and four angels from heaven, clothed in the likeness of bishops, and had a cross in his hand; and the four angels bear him up in a chair, and set him down before the table of silver, whereupon the Sancgreal was, and it seemed that he had in the midst of his forehead letters that said, "See ye here, Joseph, the first bishop of Christendom, the same which our Lord succored in the city of Sarras, in the spiritual place." Then the knights marvelled, for that bishop was dead more than three hundred years before. "Oh, knights !" said he, "marvel not, for I was sometime an earthly man." With that they heard the chamber-door open, and there they saw angels, and two bear candles of wax, and the third a towel, and the fourth a spear, which bled marvellously, that the drops fell within a bier, the which he held with his other hand. And then they set their candles upon the table, and the third put the towel upon the vessel, and the fourth set the holy spear even upright upon the vessel. And then the bishop made semblance as though he would have gone to the consecrating of the mass ; and then he took a wafer, which was made in the likeness of bread, and at the lifting up there came a figure in the likeness of a child, and the visage was as red and as bright as any fire, and smote himself into that bread, so that they all saw that the bread was formed of a fleshy man. And then he put it into the holy vessel again; and then he did that belonged unto a priest to do at mass. And then he went unto Sir Galahad and kissed him, and then went and bade him go and kiss his fellows; and as he was bidden so he did. "Now," said he, "ye servants of Jesu Christ, ye shall be fed before this table with sweet meats, which never no knights tasted." And when he had said, he vanished away, and they set them in great dread, and made their prayers. Then looked they and saw a man come out of the holy vessel, that had all the signs of the passion of Jesus Christ, bleeding all openly, and said, "My knights and my servants, and my true children, which be come out of deadly life, I will now no longer hide me from you; but ye shall see now a part of my secrets and of my hidings. Now hold and receive the high meat which ye have so much desired." Then took he himself the holy vessel, and came to Sir Galahad, and he kneeled down, and there he received his Saviour; and so after him received all his fellows, and they thought it so sweet that it was a marvel to tell. Then he said, "Galahad, my son, wottest thou what I hold between my hands?" "Nay," said Sir Galahad, "but if ye tell me." "This is," said he, "the holy dish wherein I eat the lamb on Shrove-Thursday, and now hast thou seen that thou desirest most to see; but yet hast thou not seen it openly as thou shalt see it in the city of Sarras, in the spiritual place. Therefore thou must go hence, and bear with thee this holy vessel: for this night it shall depart from the realm of Logris, that it shall never be seen more here, and wottest thou there-fore, for it is not served nor worshipped to his right, by them of this land, for they be turned unto evil living. Therefore I shall disinherit them ; and therefore go ye three to-morrow unto the sea, whereas ye shall find your ship ready, and with you take this sword with the strange girdles, and no more with you but Sir Percivale and Sir Bors. And also I will ye take with you of the blood of this spear for to anoint the maimed King, both his legs and all his body, and he shall have his health." "Sir," said Sir Galahad, "why shall not these other fellows go with us?" "For this cause; for right as I parted mine apostles, one here and another there, so will I that ye part; and two of you shall die in my service, but one of you shall come again, and tell tidings." Then gave he them his blessing, and vanished away.
THEN Sir Galahad went anon to the spear which lay upon the table, and touched the blood with his fingers, and came to the maimed King, and anointed his legs. And therewith he clothed him anon, and started upon his feet, out of his bed, as a whole man, and thanked our Lord that he had healed him, and that was not to the world ward ; for anon he yielded him unto a place of religion of white monks, and was a full holy man. That same night, about midnight, there came a voice among them, that said thus : "Mine own sons, and not my chief sons, my friends, and not my warriors, go ye hence whither ye hope best to do, and as I bade you." "Ah! thanked be thou, Lord," said they, "that thou wilt vouchsafe to call us so; now may we prove that we have not lost our pain." And anon in all haste they took their harness and departed; but the three knights of Gaul, one of them bight Claudine, King Claudas' son, and the other two were great gentlemen. Then prayed Sir Galahad unto every each of them, "If ye come unto King Arthur's court, that ye will salute my lord, Sir Launcelot, my father, and all the fellowship of the Round Table; and pray them that if they come in these parts that they should not forget it." Right so departed Sir Galahad, and Sir Percivale and Sir Bors with him. And so they rode three days, and then they came to a strand, and found the ship, whereof the tale speaketh before. And when they came within board, they found in the midst the table of silver which they had left with the maimed King, and the Sancgreal, which was covered with red samite. Then they were passing glad for to have such things in their fellowship : and so they entered and made great reverence thereto. And Sir Galahad fell in his prayers a long time unto our Lord, that at what time he asked he might pass out of this world ; and so much he prayed, till at the last a voice said to him, "Galahad, thou shalt have thy request, and when thou askest the death of thy body, thou shalt have it, and then shalt thou find the life of thy soul." Sir Percivale heard this, and prayed him of fellowship that was between them, for to tell him wherefore he asked such things. "That shall I tell you," said Sir Galahad. "The other day when we saw the part of the adventurers of the Sancgreal, I was in such a joy of heart, that I trow never man was that was earthly; and, therefore, 1 wot well that when my body is dead my soul shall be in great joy for to see the blessed Trinity every day, and the majesty of our Lord Jesus Christ." So long were they in the ship, that they said unto Sir Galahad, "Sir, in this bed ought ye to lie; for so saith the Scripture." And then he laid him down, and slept a great while ; and when he awaked, he looked afore him, and saw the city of Sarras ; and as they would have landed, they saw the ship wherein Sir Percivale had put his sister. "Truly," said Sir Percivale, "in the name of God well hath my sister held us covenant." Then took they out of the ship the table of silver; and he took it to Sir Percivale and to Sir Bors to go before, and Sir Galahad came behind. Right so they went into the city; and at the gate of the city they saw an old man sit crooked. Then Sir Galahad called him, and bade him help to bear this heavy thing. "Truly," said the old man, "it is ten years ago that I might not go but with crutches." "Care thou not," said Sir Galahad, "arise up, and show thy good-will." And so he essayed and found himself as whole as ever he was ; then he ran to the table, and took one part against Sir Galahad. And anon there arose a great noise in the city, that a cripple was made whole by a knight's miracle, that were entered into the city. Then anon after they three knights went to the water, and brought up into the palace Sir Percivale's sister, and buried her as richly as a king's daughter ought to be. And when the king of the city, which was called Estourause, saw the fellowship, he asked them of whence they were, and what thing it was that they had brought upon the table of silver ; and they told him the truth of the Sancgreal, and the power that God had set there. Then the king was a tyrant, and was come of the lineage of Paynims, and took them and put them in prison in a deep hole.
But as soon as they were there, our Lord sent them the Sancgreal, through whose grace they were always filled while they were in prison. So at the year's end, it befell that this King Estourause lay sick, and felt that he should die; then he sent for the three knights, and they came before him, and he cried them mercy of that he had done to them ; and he forgave him goodly, and he died anon. When the king was dead, all the cry was dismayed, and wist not who might be their king. Right so, as they were in counsel together, there came a voice among them, and bid them choose the youngest knight of the three to be their king, for he shall maintain you and all yours. So they made Sir Galahad king by all the assent of the holy city, and else they would have slain him. And when he was come for to behold the land, he let make about the table of silver a chest of gold and of precious stones, that covered the holy vessel; and every day in the morning the three fellows would come before it, and said their devotions. Now, at the year's end, and the same day after that Sir Galahad had borne the crown of gold, he arose up early, and his fellows, and came unto the palance, and saw before them the holy vessel, and a man kneeling upon his knees in the likeness of the bishop, which had about him a great fellowship of angels, as it had been Jesu Christ himself : and then he arose and began a mass of our Lady. And when he came to the consecrating of the mass, and had done, anon he called Sir Galahad, and said unto him. "Come forth, the servant of Jesu Christ, and thou shalt see that which thou hast much desired to see." And then Sir Galahad began to tremble right sore when the deadly flesh began to behold the spiritual things. Then he held up both his hands towards heaven and said, "Lord, I thank thee, for now I see that which hath been my desire many a day : now, blessed Lord, would I no longer live, if it might please thee, good Lord." And therewith the good man took our Lord's body between his hands, and proffered it unto Sir Galahad; and he received it right gladly and meekly. "Now," said the good man, "wottest thou whom I am ?" "Nay," said Sir Galahad. "I am Joseph of Arimathy, which our Lord hath sent'here to thee to bear the fellowship. And wottest thou wherefore he hath sent me more than any other? for thou hast resembled me in two things : one is, that thou hast seen the Sancgreal, and the other is, in that hast been a clean maiden as I am." And when he had said these words, Sir Galahad went to Sir Percivale and kissed him, and commended him to God, and said, "Fair lord, salute me to my lord, Sir Launcelot, my father; and soon as ye see him, bid him remember this unstable world." And therewith he kneeled down before the table and made his prayers; and then suddenly his soul departed unto Jesus Christ, and a great multitude of angels bear his soul up to heaven that his two fellows might behold it : also, his two fellows saw come from heaven a hand, but they saw not the body, and then it came right to the vessel and took it, and the spear, and so bear it up to heaven. Since then was there never no man so hardy for to say that he had seen the Sancgreal.
WHEN Sir Percivale and Sir Bors saw Sir Galahad dead, they made as much sorrow as ever did' two men, and if they had not been good men, they might lightly have fallen in despair; and the people of the country and of the city were right heavy. And as soon as he was buried, Sir Percivale yielded him to a hermitage out of the city, and took a religious clothing, and Sir Bors was always with him, but he never changed his secular clothing, because he purposed him to go again into the realm of Logris. Thus a year and two months lived Sir Percivale in the hermitage a full holy life, and then passed out of this world ; and Sir Bors let bury him by his sister and, by Sir Galahad in the spiritualities. When Sir Bors saw that he was in so far countries, as in the parts of Babylon, he departed from Sarras, and armed him, and came to the sea and entered into a ship ; and so it befell him by adventure to come into the realm of Logris, and then he rode fast till he came to Camelot, where King Arthur was. And then was there made great joy of him in the court ; for they deemed all that he had been dead, forasmuch as he had been so long out of the country. And when they had eaten, King Arthur made great clerks to come before him, that they should chronicle the high adventures of the good knights. When Sir Bors had told him of the adventures of the Sancgreal, such as had befallen him and his two fellows, that was Sir Galahad and Sir Percivale. Then Sir Launcelot told the adventures of the Sancgreal that he had seen : all this was made in great books, and put in the armoury at Salisbury. And anon Sir Bars said unto Sir Launcelot, "Sir Galahad, your son, saluted you by me, and after you, King Arthur and all the court, so did Sir Percivale; for I buried them with mine own hands in the city of Sarras. Also, Sir Launcelot, Sir Galahad prayeth you for to remember this unsteadfast world, as ye be-hight him when ye were together more than half-a-year." "This is full true," said Sir Launcelot; "now I trust to God his prayer shall avail me." Then Sir Launcelot took Sir Bars in his arms and said, "Gentle cousin, ye are welcome to me, and all that ever I may do for you and yours, ye shall find me ready at all times, while I have life, and that I promise you faithfully, and never to fail you : and wit ye well, gentle cousin, Sir Bors, that you and I will never depart in sunder whilst that our lives may last." "Sir," said he, "I will as ye will."