Part 8 out of 10
that he is the knight of the world that most he hateth, and that
he will avenge him of his father and he may meet him. There come
before the castle of Cardoil one day threescore knights armed,
and they seize upon their booty betwixt the castle and the
forest. Lancelot issueth forth all armed, and seven of the best
of the castle with him. He cometh upon them after that they have
led away their plunder. He overtaketh one knight and smiteth him
with his spear right through the body, and the other knights make
an onset upon the others and many to-brake their spears, and much
clashing was there of steel on armour; and there fell at the
assembly on one side and the other full a score knights, whereof
some were wounded right sore. Meliant of the Waste Manor espied
Lancelot, and right great joy made he of seeing him, and smiteth
him so stout a buffet on the shield that he to-breaketh his
Lancelot smiteth him amidst the breast so grimly that he maketh
him bend backwards over the saddle behind, and so beareth him to
the ground, legs uppermost, over his horse's croup, and trampleth
him under his horse's feet. Lancelot was minded to alight to the
ground to take him, but Briant of the Isles cometh and maketh him
mount again perforce. The numbers grew on the one side and the
other of knights that came from Cardoil and from the Hard Rock.
Right great was the frushing of lances and the clashing of swords
and the overthrow of horses and knights. Briant of the Isles and
Lancelot come against each other so stoutly that they pierce
their shields and cleave their habergeons, and they thrust with
their spears so that the flesh is broken under the ribs and the
shafts are all-to-splintered. They hurtle against each other so
grimly at the by-passing that their eyes sparkle as it were of
stars in their heads, and the horses stagger under them. They
hold their swords drawn, and so return the one toward the other
like lions. Such buffets deal they upon their helms that they
beat them in and make the fire leap out by the force of the
smiting of iron by steel. And Meliant cometh all armed toward
Lancelot to aid Briant of the Isles, but Lucan the Butler cometh
to meet him, and smiteth him with his spear so stoutly that he
thrusteth it right through his shield and twisteth his arm gainst
his side. He breaketh his spear at the by-passing, and Meliant
also breaketh his, but he was wounded passing sore.
Thereupon he seizeth him by the bridle and thinketh to lead him
away, but the knights and the force of Briant rescue him. The
clashing of arms lasted great space betwixt Briant of the Isles
and Lancelot, and each was mightily wrath for that each was
wounded. Either seized other many times by the bridle, and each
was right fain to lead the other to his own hold, but the force
of knights on the one side and the other disparted them asunder.
Thus the stour lasted until evening, until that the night
sundered them. But Briant had nought to boast of at departing,
for Lancelot and his men carried off four of his by force right
sore wounded, besides them that remained dead on the field.
Briant of the Isles and Meliant betook them back all sorrowful
for their knights that are taken and dead. Lancelot cometh back
to Cardoil, and they of the castle make him right great joy of
the knights that they bring taken, and say that the coming of the
good knight Lancelot should be great comfort to them until such
time as King Arthur should repair back and Messire Gawain. The
wounded knights that were in the castle turned to healing of
their wounds, whereof was Lancelot right glad. They were as many
as five and thirty within the castle. Of all the King's knights
were there no more save Lancelot and the wounded knight that he
brought along with him.
Here the story is silent of Lancelot and the knights that are at
Cardoil, and saith that King Arthur and Messire Gawain are in the
castle where the priest told Messire Gawain how he was born. But
they cannot depart thence at their will, for Ahuret the Bastard
that was brother of Nabigant of the Rock, that Messire Gawain
slew on account of Meliot of Logres, knoweth well that they are
therewithin, and hath assembled his knights and holdeth them
within so strait that they may not depart without sore damage.
For he hath on the outer side a full great plenty of knights, and
the King and Messire Gawain have with them but only five of the
forest and the country that are upon their side, and they hold
them so strait within that they may not issue out from thence;
yea, the brother of Nabigant sweareth that they shall not depart
thence until such time as he shall have taken Messire Gawain, and
taken vengeance on his fellow of his brother whom he slew. The
King saith to Messire Gawain that he hath much shame of this that
they are so long shut up therewithin, and that he better loveth
to die with honour than to live with shame within the castle. So
they issued forth, spears in rest, and Ahuret and his knights,
whereof was there great plenty, made much joy thereat.
The King and Messire Gawain strike among them, and each
overthroweth his man; but Ahuret hath great shame of this that he
seeth his knights put to the worse by so few folk. He setteth
his spear in rest and smiteth one of King Arthur's knights
through the body and beareth him down dead. Then returneth he to
Messire Gawain, and buffeteth him so strongly that he pierceth
his shield, but he maketh drop his own spear and loseth his
stirrups, and Messire Gawain waxeth wroth and smiteth him so
grimly and with such force that he maketh him bend back over the
hinder bow of his saddle. But Ahuret was strong and of great
might, and leapeth back between the bows and cometh toward King
Arthur that he saw before him, but he knew him not. He left
Messire Gawain, and the King smiteth him with such a sweep that
he cutteth off his arm, spear and all. There was great force of
knights, so that they ran upon them on all sides; and never would
they have departed thence sound and whole, but that thereupon
Meliot of Logres cometh thither with fifteen knights, for that he
had heard tidings of Messire Gawain, how he was besieged in a
castle there, where he and King Arthur between them were in such
plight that they had lost their five knights, so that they were
not but only two that defended themselves as best they might, as
they that had no thought but to remain there, for the odds of two
knights against thirty was too great.
Thereupon, behold you, Meliot of Logres with fifteen knights, and
they come thither where the King and Messire Gawain are in such
jeopardy, and they strike so stoutly among them that they rescue
King Arthur and Messire Gawain from them that had taken them by
the bridle, and so slay full as many as ten of them, and put the
others to flight, and lead away their lord sore maimed. And
Messire Gawain giveth Meliot much thanks of the bounty he hath
done, whereby he hath saved them their lives; and he giveth him
the castle, and is fain that he hold it of him, for in no place
might he have better employment, and that well hath he deserved
it of his service in such need. Meliot thanketh him much, and
prayeth Messire Gawain instantly that and he shall have need of
succour he will come to aid him, in like manner as he would do by
him everywhere. And Messire Gawain telleth him that as of this
needeth him not to make prayer, for that he is one of the knights
of the world that most he ought of right to love. The King and
Messire Gawain take leave of Meliot, and so depart, and Meliot
garnisheth the castle that was right fair and rich and well-
Of Meliot the story is here silent, and saith that King Arthur
and Messire Gawain have ridden so far that they are come into the
Isle of Avalon, there where the Queen lieth. They lodge the
night with the hermits, that made them right great cheer. But
you may well say that the King is no whit joyful when he seeth
the coffin where the Queen lieth and that wherein the head of his
son lieth. Thereof is his dole renewed, and he saith that this
holy place of this holy chapel ought he of right to love better
than all other places on earth. They depart on the morrow when
they have heard mass. The King goeth the quickest he may toward
Cardoil, and findeth the land wasted and desolate in many places,
whereof is he right sorrowful, and understandeth that Kay the
Seneschal warreth upon him with the others. He marvelleth much
how he durst do it. He is come to Cardoil. When they of the
castle know it they come to meet him with right great cheer. The
tidings went throughout all the land, and they of the country
were right joyous thereof, for the more part believed that he was
dead. They of the castle of the Hard Rock knew it, but little
rejoiced they thereat. But Kay the Seneschal was whole of his
wound and bethought him that great folly would he do to remain
longer there to war upon the King, for well knew he that and the
King held him and did that which he had proclaimed, his end were
come. He departeth from the castle, where he had sojourned of a
long while, and crossed again stealthily over-sea, and came into
Little Britain, and made fast a castle for fear of the King, that
is called Chinon, and was there long time, without the King
warring upon him, for enough adventures had he in other parts.
To Cardoil was the King repaired and Messire Gawain. You may
well understand that the land was much rejoiced thereof, and that
all the knights were greatly comforted, and knights came back to
the court from all parts. They that had been wounded were whole
again. Briant of the Isles stinted not of his pride nor of his
outrage, but rather stirred up the war the most he might, he and
Meliant still more, and said that never would he cease therefrom
until death, nor never would he have rest until such time as he
should have vengeance of Lancelot. The King was one day at
Cardoil at meat, and there was in the hall great throng of
knights, and Messire Gawain sate beside the King. Lancelot sate
at the table, and Messire Ywain the son of King Urien, and
Sagramors li Desirous, and Ywain li Aoutres, and many more other
knights round about the table, but there were not so many as
there wont to be. Messire Lucan the Butler served before the
King of the golden cup. The King looked round about the table
and remembered him of the Queen. He was bent upon thinking
rather than on eating, and saw that his court was much wasted and
worsened of her death. And what time the King was musing in such
sort, behold you a knight come into the hall all armed before the
King; and he leaneth on the staff of his spear.
"Sir," saith the knight, "Listen, so please you, to me, and all
these others, listen! Madeglant of Oriande sendeth me here to
you, and commandeth that you yield up the Table Round to him, for
sith that the Queen is dead, you have no right thereof, for he is
her next of kin and he that hath the best right to have and to
hold it; and, so you do not this, you he defieth as the man that
disinheriteth him, for he is your enemy in two manner of ways,
for the Table Round that you hold by wrong, and for the New Law
that you hold. But he sendeth you word by me, that so you will
renounce your belief and take Queen Jandree his sister, that he
will cry you quit as of the Table Round and will be of your aid
everywhere. But and if you do not this, have never affiance in
him. And so sendeth he word to you by me!"
Therewith the knight departeth, and the King remaineth all heavy
in thought, and when they had eaten, he rose from the tables and
all the knights. He speaketh to Messire Gawain and Lancelot, and
taketh counsel with all the others.
"Sir," saith Messire Gawain, "You will defend yourself the best
you may, and we will help you to smite your enemies. Great
Britain is all at your will. You have not as yet lost any
castle. Nought hath been broken down nor burnt but open ground
and cottages and houses, whereof is no great harm done to
yourself, and the shame thereof may lightly be amended. King
Madeglant is of great hardiment as of words, but in arms will he
not vanquish you so soon. If that he warreth upon you toward the
West, send thither one of the best knights of your court that may
maintain the war and defend the land against him."
The King sojourned at Cardoil of a long space. He believed in
God and His sweet Mother right well. He brought thither from the
castle where the Graal was the pattern whereby chalices should be
made, and commanded make them throughout all the land so as that
the Saviour of the world should be served more worshipfully. He
commanded also that bells be cast throughout his land after the
fashion of the one he had brought, and that each church should
have one according to the means thereof. This much pleased the
people of his kingdom, for thereby was the land somewhat amended.
The tidings came to him one day that Briant and Meliant were
riding through his land with great routs of folk, and were minded
to assiege Pannenoisance; and the King issued forth of Cardoil
with great throng of knights all armed, and rode until he espied
Briant and his people, and Briant him again. They ranged their
battles on both sides, and came together with such might and so
great a shock as that it seemed the earth shook; and they melled
together at the assembly with their spears so passing grimly as
that the frushing thereof might be heard right far away. Some
fourteen fell in the assembly that rose up again never more.
Meliant of the Waste Manor searcheth for Lancelot in the midst of
the stour until he findeth him, and runneth upon him right
sturdily and pierceth his shield with his spear. Lancelot
smiteth him such a sweep amidst the breast, that he thrusteth his
spear right through his shoulder, and pinneth him so strongly
that the shaft is all to-brast, and the end thereof remaineth in
his body. And Meliant, all stricken through as he is, runneth
upon him and passeth his spear right through the shield and
through the arm, in such sort that he pinneth it to his side. He
passeth beyond and breaketh his spear, and afterward returneth to
Lancelot, sword in fist, and dealeth him a buffet on the helm so
grimly that he all to-battered it in. Lancelot waxeth right
wroth thereof, and he grieveth the more for that he feeleth him
wounded. He cometh toward Meliant, sword drawn, and holding him
well under cover of his shield and cover of his helm, and smiteth
Meliant so fiercely that he cleaveth his shoulder down to the rib
in such sort that the end of the spear wherewith he had pierced
him fell out therefrom. Meliant felt himself wounded to the
death, and draweth him back all sorrowful, and other knights run
upon Lancelot and deliver assault. Messire Ywain and Sagramors
li Desirous and Messire Gawain were on the other side in great
jeopardy, for the people of Briant of the Isles came from all
parts, and waxed more and more, and on all sides the greater
number of knights had the upper hand therein. King Arthur and
Briant of the Isles were in the midst of the battle, and dealt
each other right great buffets. Briant's people come thither and
take King Arthur by the bridle, and the King defendeth himself as
a good knight, and maketh a ring about him amongst them that
attack him, the same as doth a wild boar amongst the dogs.
Messire Ywain is come thither and Lucan the Butler, and break
through the press by force. Thereupon, behold you Sagramors li
Desirous, that cometh as fast as his horse may gallop under him,
and smiteth Briant of the Isles right before his people with such
a rush that he beareth him to the ground in a heap, both him and
his horse. Briant to-brast his thigh bone in the fall that he
made. Sagramors holdeth sword drawn and would fain have thrust it
into his body, when the King crieth to him that he slay him not.
Briant's people were not able to succour their lord. Nay,
rather, they drew back on all sides, for the stout had lasted of
a long space. So they tended the dead and the wounded, of whom
were enough on one side and the other. King Arthur made carry
Briant of the Isles to Cardoil, and bring along the other knights
that his own knights had taken. Right joyous were the folks at
Cardoil when the King came back. They bore Meliant of the Waste
Manor on his shield to the Hard Rock, but he scarce lived after.
The King made Briant of the Isles be healed, and held him in
prison of a long while, until Briant gave him surety of all his
lands and became his man. The King made him Seneschal of all his
lands, and Briant served him right well.
Lancelot was whole of his wound, and all the knights of theirs.
King Arthur was safely stablished, and redoubted and dreaded of
all lands and of his own land like as he wont to be. Briant hath
forgotten all that is past, and is obedient to the King's
commands and more privy is he of his counsel than ever another of
the knights, insomuch that he put the others somewhat back,
whereof had they much misliking. The felony of Kay the Seneschal
lay very nigh the King's heart, and he said that and any would
take vengeance upon him for the same, greatly would he love him
thereof, for so disloyally hath he wrought against him that he
durst not let the matter be slurred over; and a sore misfortune
is it for the world when a man of so poor estate hath slain so
high a man as his son for no misdeed, and that strangers ought by
as good right as they that knew him or himself take vengeance
upon him thereof, so that others might be adread of doing such
Briant was feared and redoubted throughout all Great Britain.
King Arthur had told them that they were all to be at his
commandment. And one day while the King was at Cardoil, behold
you a damsel that cometh into the hail and saith unto him: "Sir,
Queen Jandree hath sent me over to you, and biddeth you do that
whereof her brother sent you word by his knight. She is minded
to be Lady and Queen of your land, and that you take her to wife,
for of high lineage is she and of great power, wherefore she
biddeth you by me that you renounce the New Law and that you
believe in the God in whom she believeth, and, so you do not
this, you may not have affiance in your land, for King Madeglant
hath as now made ready his host to enter into the chief of your
land, and hath sworn his oath that he will not end until he shall
have passed all the borders of the isles that march upon your
land, and shall come upon Great Britain with all his strength,
and so seize the Table Round that ought to be his own of right.
And my Lady herself would come hither but for one thing, to wit,
that she hath in her such disdain of them that believe in the New
Law, that she deigneth not behold none of them, for, so soon as
she was stablished Queen, made she her eyes be covered for that
she would not look upon none that were of that believe. But the
Gods wherein she believeth did so much for her, for that she
loveth and worshippeth them, that she may discover her eyes and
her face, and yet see not at all, whereof is she right glad, for
that the eyes in her head are beautiful and gentle. But great
affiance hath she in her brother, that is mighty and puissant,
for he hath her in covenant that he will destroy all them that
believe in the New Law, in all places where he may get at them,
and, when he shall have destroyed them in Great Britain and the
other islands, so that my Lady might not see none therein, so
well is she with the Gods wherein she believeth, that she will
have her sight again all whole nor until that hour is she fain to
"Damsel," saith the King, "I have heard well that which you tell
me of this that you have in charge to say; but tell your Lady on
my behalf, that the Law which the Saviour of the world hath
established by His death and by His crucifixion never will I
renounce, for the love that I have in Him. But tell her that she
believe in God and in His sweet Mother, and that she believe in
the New Law, for by the false believe wherein she abideth is she
blinded in such sort, nor never will she see clear until she
believe in God. Tell her moreover, I send her word that never
more shall there be Queen in my land save she be of like worth as
was Queen Guenievre."
"Then I tell you plainly," saith she, "that you will have betimes
such tidings as that good for you they will not be."
The damsel departeth from Cardoil, and cometh back to where the
Queen was, and telleth her the message King Arthur sendeth her.
"True," saith she, "I love him better than all in the world, and
yet refuseth he my will and my commandment. Now may he no longer
She sendeth to her brother King Madeglant, and telleth him that
she herself doth defy him and he take not vengeance on King
Arthur and bring him not into prison.
This history saith that the land of this King was full far away
from the land of King Arthur, and that needs must he pass two
seas or ever he should approach the first head of King Arthur's
land. He arrived in Albanie with great force of men with a great
navy. When they of the land knew it, they garnished them against
him and defended their lands the best they might; then they sent
word to King Arthur that King Madeglant was come in such manner
into the land, with great plenty of folk, and that he should come
presently to succour them or send them a knight so good as that
he might protect them, and that in case he doth not so, the land
will be lost. When King Arthur understood these tidings, it was
not well with him. He asked his knights whom he might send
thither. And they say, let him send Lancelot thither, for that
he is a worthy knight and a kingly, and much understandeth of
war, and hath in him as much loyalty as hath ever another that
they know. The King maketh him come before him.
"Lancelot," saith the King, "Such affiance have I in you and in
your knighthood, that it is my will to send you to the furthest
corner of my land, to protect it, with the approval of my
knights, wherefore I pray and require you that you do your power
herein as many a time have you done already in my service. And I
will give you in command forty knights."
"Sir," saith Lancelot, "Against your will am I not minded to be,
but in your court are there other knights full as good, or better
than I, whom you might well send thither. But I would not that
you should hold this of cowardize in me, and right willingly will
I do your pleasure, for none ought I to serve more willingly than
The King giveth him much thanks of this that he saith. Lancelot
departeth from the court, and taketh forty knights with him, and
so cometh into the land of Albanie where King Madeglant hath
arrived. When they of the land knew that Lancelot was come,
great joy had they thereof in their hearts, for ofttimes had they
heard tell of him and of his good knighthood. They were all at
his commandment, and received him as their champion and
King Madeglant one day issued forth of his ships to do battle
against Lancelot and them of the land. Lancelot received him
right stoutly, and slew many of his folk, and the more part fled
and would fain have drawn them to their ships, but Lancelot and
his people went after and cut a part of them to pieces. King
Madeglant, with as many of his men as he might, betaketh himself
to his own ship privily, and maketh put to sea the soonest he
may. They that might not come to the ships remained on dry land,
and were so cut up and slain. Madeglant went his way
discomfited. Of ten ships full of men that he had brought he
took back with him but two. The land was in peace and assured in
safety. Lancelot remained there of a long space. They of the
country loved him much and gave themselves great joy of his
valour and his great bounty, insomuch that most of them say
ofttimes that they would fain have such a knight as was he for
king, by the goodwill of King Arthur, for that the land is too
far away; but and if he would set there a knight or other man
that might protect the land, they would take it in right good
part, and he should hold the land of him, for they might not
safeguard it at their will without a champion, for that land
without a lord may but little avail. They of the land loved
Lancelot well, as I tell you. King Arthur was at Cardoil, and so
were his knights together with him. He thought to be assured in
his kingdom and to live peaceably; but what time he sate at meat
one day in Cardoil, behold you thereupon a knight that cometh
before the Table Round without saluting him.
"Sir," saith he, "Where is Lancelot?"
"Sir," saith the King to the knight, "He is not in this country."
"By my head," saith the knight, "that misliketh me. Wheresoever
he be, he is your knight and of your household; wherefore King
Claudas sendeth you word that he is his mortal enemy, and you
also, if so be that for love of him you receive him from this day
forward, for he hath slain his sister's son, Meliant of the Waste
Manor, and he slew the father of Meliant likewise, but the father
belongeth not to King Claudas.
Meliant was the son of his sister-german, wherefore much grieveth
he of his death."
"Sir knight," saith the King, "I know not how the covenant may be
between them as of this that you tell me, but well know I that
King Claudas holdeth many a castle that King Claudas ought not of
right to have, whereof he disherited his father, but meet is it
that each should conquer his own right. But so much I tell you
plainly, that never will I fail mine own knight and he be such as
durst defend himself of murder, but and if he hath no will to do
this, then well may I allow that right be done upon him. But,
sith that he will not love his own death, neither I nor other
ought greatly to love him and he refuse to redress his wrong.
When Lancelot shall know these tidings, I know well that such is
his valour and his loyalty that he will readily answer in reason,
and will do all that he ought to do to clear himself of such a
"Sir," saith the knight, "You have heard well that I have told
you. Once more, I tell you plainly, King Claudas sendeth you
word that so you harbour his enemy henceforward and in such
manner as you have done heretofore, he will be less than pleased
With that the knight departeth, and the King remaineth at
Cardoil. He sendeth for Briant of the Isles, his seneschal, and
a great part of his knights, and demandeth counsel of them what
he may do. Messire Ywain saith that he killed Meliant in the
King's service, as one that warred upon his land, albeit the King
had done him no wrong, and had so made common cause with the
King's enemies without demanding right in his court. Nor never
had Meliant appealed Lancelot of murder nor of treason, nor
required him of the death of his father. Rather, Lancelot slew
him in open war, as one that warred upon his lord by wrong.
"Sir," saith Messire Ywain to the King, "Howsoever Lancelot might
have wrought in respect of Meliant, your land ought not to be
called to account, for you were not in the kingdom, nor knew not
that either had done other any wrong, and therefore say I that
King Claudas will do great wrong and he bring plaint or levy war
against you on this account."
"Messire Ywain," saith Briant of the Isles, "matter of common
knowledge is it that Lancelot slew the lord of the Waste Manor
and Meliant his son after the contention that was betwixt King
Arthur and me. But, after that he had slain the father, he ought
of right to have taken good heed that he did no wrong to the son,
but rather ought he to have sought peace and accord."
"Briant," saith Messire Gawain, "Lancelot is nor here; and,
moreover, he is now on the King's business. Well know you that
Meliant came to you and that you made him knight, and that
thereafter he warred upon the King's land without reasonable
occasion. The King was far away from the land as he that made
pilgrimage to the Graal. He was told tidings that his land was
being put to the worse, and he sent Lancelot to protect it. He
accordingly maintained the war as best he might until such time
as the King was returned. Meliant knew well that the King was
come back, and that never had he done wrong to none in his court
that wished to demand right therein. He neither came thither nor
sent, either to do right or to demand right, whether he did so
for despite or whether it was for that he knew not how to do it.
In the meanwhile he warred upon the King, that had never done him
a wrong nor refused to do him a right. Lancelot slew him in the
King's war and upon his land in defence thereof. There was peace
of the war, as was agreed on between you and the King, but and if
any should therefore hold Lancelot to blame of the death of
Meliant, meseemeth that therein is he wrong. For the others are
not held to answer for them that they slew; but and if you wish
to say that Lancelot hath not slain him with reason, howsoever he
may have wrought aforetime in respect of his father, I am ready
to maintain his right by my body on behalf of his."
"Messire Gawain," saith Briant of the Isles, "You will not as at
this time find none that will take up your gage on account of
this affair, nor ought any to make enemies of his friends, nor
ought you to counsel me so to do. King Madeglant warreth upon
him and King Claudas maketh war upon him also. They will deliver
attacks enough. But I should well allow, for the sake of saving
his land and keeping his friends, that the King should suffer
Lancelot to remain at a distance from his court for one year,
until tidings should have come to King Claudas that he had been
bidden leave thereof, so as that King Arthur might have his good
will and his love."
Sagramors li Desirous leapeth forward. "Briant of the Isles,"
saith Sagramors, "Ill befall him that shall give such counsel to
a lord or his knight, and the knight have well served his lord,
albeit he may have slain in his wars a knight without murder and
without treason, that he should give him his leave! Right ill
will Lancelot hitherto have bestowed his services, and the King
on this account give him his leave! After that, let King Claudas
come! Let him lay waste and slay, and right great worship shall
King Arthur have thereof! I say not this for that Lancelot hath
need be afeared of King Claudas body to body, nor of the best
knight in his land, but many things befall whereof one taketh no
heed; and so King Arthur give leave to Lancelot from his court,
it will be counted unto him for cowardize, and neither I nor you
nor other knight ought never more to have affiance in him."
"Lord," saith Briant of the Isles, "Better would it avail the
King to give Lancelot leave for one year, than it would to fight
for him ten years and have his land wasted and put to the worse."
Thereupon, behold you! Orguelleux of the Launde come, that had
not been at the court of a long time, and it had been told him
whereof these words were.
"Briant," saith Orguelleux of the Launde, "Evil fare the knight
that would fain grieve and harm with their lord them that have
served him well! Sith that Lancelot is not here, say nought of
him that ought not to be said. The court of King Arthur hath
been as much renowned and made honoured by Lancelot as by ever
another knight that is in it, and, but for him, never would his
court have been so redoubted as it is. For no knight is there so
cruel to his foes nor so redoubted throughout all Great Britain
as is Lancelot, and, for that King Arthur loveth you, make him
not that he hate his knights, for such four or such six be there
in his castle as may depart therefrom without returning, the loss
whereof should scarce be made good by us. Lancelot hath well
served the King aforetime, and the King well knoweth how much he
is worth; and if so be that King Claudas purposeth to war on King
Arthur for Lancelot's sake, according as I have heard, without
any reason, and King Arthur be not more craven than he wont to
be, he may well abide his warfare and his strife so treason harm
him not. For so many good knights hath King Arthur yet, that
none knoweth such knights nor such King in the world beside."
This story saith that Briant would have been wroth with a will
against Orguelleux of the Launde, had it not been for the King,
and Orguelleux against him, for Orguelleux heeded no danger when
anger and ill-will carried him away. Therewithal the talk came
to an end. When the King learnt the tidings that Madeglant was
discomfited and that the land of Albanie was in peace, he sent
word to Lancelot to return back. They of the land were very
sorrowful when he departed, for great affiance had they in his
chivalry. So he came back thither where King Arthur was. All
they of the land made a great joy, for well loved was he of many,
nor were there none that hated him save of envy alone. They told
him the tidings of King Claudas, and also in what manner Briant
had spoken. Lancelot took no notice outwardly, as he that well
knew how to redress all his grievances. He was at the court of a
long while, for that King Claudas was about to send over thither
some one of his knights. Briant of the Isles would fain that the
King should have given him his leave, for more he hated him than
ever another knight in the court, sith he it was that many a time
had harmed him more than any other. By Briant's counsel, King
Claudas sent his knight to King Arthur's court, wherein did he
not wisely, for that he thereby renewed a matter whereof
afterward came right great mischief, as this title witnesseth.
Madeglant of Oriande heard say that Lancelot was repaired back,
and that the land of Albanie was all void save for the folk of
the country. He maketh ready his navy at once and cometh back to
the land in great force. He burneth the land and layeth it waste
on every side, and doth far worse therein than he did aforetime.
They of the land sent over to King Arthur and told him of their
evil plight, warning him that, and he send them not succour
betimes, they will leave the land and yield up the castles, for
that they might not hold them longer. He took counsel, the King
with his knights, whom he might send thither, and they said that
Lancelot had already been there and that now another knight
should be sent thither. The King sent thither Briant of the
Isles, and lent him forty knights. Briant, that loved not the
King in his heart, came into the land, but only made pretence of
helping him to defend it. One day fell out a battle betwixt
Madeglant and Briant and all their men. Briant was discomfited,
and had many of his knights killed. Madeglant and his people
spread themselves over the land and laid the towns in ruins and
destroyed the castles, that were disgarnished, and put to death
all them that would not believe in their gods, and cut off their
All they of the land and country longed with sorrow for Lancelot,
and said that had he remained there, the land would not have been
thus destroyed, nor might they never have protection of no knight
but of him alone. Briant of the Isles returned back, as he that
would the war against King Arthur should increase on every side,
for, what good soever the King may do him, he loveth him not, nor
never will so long as he is on live. But no semblant thereof
durst he show, for, sith that the best of his knights had been
slain in the battle, so had he no power on his side, as against
Lancelot and the good knights of his fellowship, whereof he would
fain that there had been not one.
King Arthur was at Cardoil on one day of Whitsuntide. Many were
the knights that were come to this court whereof I tell you. The
King was seated at meat, and the day was fair and clear, and the
air clean and fresh. Sagramors li Desirous and Lucan the Butler
served before the King. And what time they had served of the
first meats, therewithal behold you, a quarrel, like as it had
been shot from a cross-bow, and striketh in the column of the
hall before the King so passing strong that there was not a
knight in the hall but heard it when it struck therein. They all
looked thereat in great wonderment. The quarrel was like as it
were of gold, and it had about it a many costly precious stones.
The King saith that quarrel so costly cometh not from a poor
place. Lancelot and Messire Gawain say that never have they seen
one so rich. It struck so deep in the column that the iron point
thereof might not be seen, and a good part of the shaft was also
hidden. Thereupon, behold you, a damsel of surpassing great
beauty that cometh, sitting on a right costly mule, full well
caparisoned. She had a gilded bridle and gilded saddle, and was
clad in a right rich cloth of silk. A squire followed after her
that drove her mule from behind. She came before King Arthur as
straight as she might, and saluted him right worshipfully, and he
made answer the best he might.
"Sir," saith she, "I am come to speak and demand a boon, nor will
I never alight until such time as you shall have granted it to
me. For such is my custom, and for this am I come to your court,
whereof I have heard such tidings and such witness in many places
where I have been, that I know you will not deny me herein."
"Damsel, tell me what boon you would have of me?"
"Sir," saith she, "I would fain pray and beseech you that you bid
the knight that may draw forth this quarrel from this column go
thither where there is sore need of him."
"Damsel," saith the King, "Tell me the need."
"Sir," saith she, "I will tell it you plainly when I shall see
the knight that shall have drawn it forth."
"Damsel," saith the King, "Alight! Never, please God, shall you
go forth of my court denied of that you ask."
Lucan the Butler taketh her between his arms and setteth her to
the ground, and her mule is led away to be stabled. When the
damsel had washen, she was set in a seat beside Messire Ywain,
that showed her much honour and served her with a good will. He
looked at her from time to time, for she was fair and gentle and
of good countenance. When they had eaten at the tables, the
damsel prayeth the King that he will hasten them to do her
"Sir," saith she, "Many a good knight is there within yonder, and
right glad may he be that shall draw it forth, for I tell you a
right good knight is he, sith that none may achieve this business
save he alone."
"Fair nephew," saith the King, "Now set your hand to this quarrel
and give it back to the damsel."
"Ha, sir," saith he, "Do me not shame! By the faith that I owe
you, I will not set my hand forward herein this day, nor ought
you to be wroth hereof. Behold, here have you Lancelot with you,
and so many other good knights, that little worship should I have
herein were I to set myself forward before them."
"Messire Ywain," saith the King, "Set your hand hereto! It may
be that you think too humbly of yourself herein."
"Sir," saith Messire Ywain, "Nought is there in the world that I
would not do for you, but as for this matter I pray you hold me
"Sagramors, and you, Orguelleux of the Launde, what will you do?"
saith the King.
"Sir," say they, "When Lancelot hath made assay, we will do your
pleasure, but before him, so please you, we will not go."
"Damsel," saith the King, "Pray Lancelot that he be fain to set
his hand, and then the rest shall go after him if needs be."
"Lancelot," saith the damsel, "By the thing that most you love,
make not mine errand bootless, but set your hand to the quarrel
and then will the others do that they ought of right to do. For
no leisure have I to tarry here long time."
"Damsel," saith Lancelot, "Ill do you, and a sin, to conjure me
for nought, for so many good knights be here within, that I
should be held for a fool and a braggart and I put myself forward
before all other."
"By my head," saith the King, "Not so! Rather will you be held
as a knight courteous and wise and good, as now you ought to be,
and great worship will it be to yourself and you may draw forth
the quarrel, and great courtesy will it be to aid the damsel.
Wherefore I require you, of the faith you owe me, that you set
your hand thereto, sith that the damsel prayeth you so to do,
before the others."
Lancelot hath no mind to disobey the King's commandment; and he
remembered that the damsel had conjured him by the thing that
most he loved; nor was there nought in the world that he loved so
much as the Queen, albeit she were dead, nor never thought he of
none other thing save her alone. Then standeth he straight
upright, doth off his robe, and cometh straight to the quarrel
that is fixed in the column. He setteth his hand thereunto and
draweth it forth with a right passing strong wrench, so sturdily
that he maketh the column tremble. Then he giveth it to the
"Sir," saith she to King Arthur, "Now is it my devoir to tell you
plainly of my errand; nor might none of the knights here within
have drawn forth the quarrel save only he; and you held me in
covenant how he that should draw it forth should do that which I
shall require of him, and that he might do it, nor will I pray
nor require of him nought that is not reason. Needs must he go
to the Chapel Perilous the swiftest he may, and there will he
find a knight that lieth shrouded in the midst of the chapel. He
will take of the cloth wherein he is shrouded and a sword that
lieth at his side in the coffin, and will take them to the Castle
Perilous; and when he shall there have been, he shall return to
the castle where he slew the lion in the cavern wherein are the
two griffons, and the head of one of them shall he take and bring
to me at Castle Perilous, for a knight there lieth sick that may
not otherwise be healed."
"Damsel." saith Lancelot, "I see that you reckon but little of my
life, so only that your wish be accomplished."
"Sir," saith she, "I know as well as you what the enterprise is,
nor do I no whit desire your death, for, and were you dead, never
would the knight be whole for whose sake you undertake it. And
you will see the fairest damsel that is in any kingdom, and the
one that most desireth to see you. And, so you tarry not,
through her shall you lightly get done that you have to do. See
now that you delay it not, but do that is needful swiftly sith
that it hath been laid upon you, for the longer you tarry, the
greater will be the hazard of mischance befalling you."
The damsel departeth from the court and taketh her leave and
goeth her way back as fast as she may, and saith to herself:
"Lancelot, albeit you have these pains and this travail for me,
yet would I not your death herein, but of right ought I to
rejoice in your tribulation, for into two of the most perilous
places in the world are you going. Greatly ought I to hate you,
for you reft me of my friend and gave him to another, and while I
live may I never forget it."
The damsel goeth her way, and Lancelot departeth from the court
and taketh leave of the King and of all the others. He issueth
forth of Cardoil, all armed, and entereth into the forest that is
deep, and so goeth forth a great pace, and prayeth God guide him
Therewithal the story is silent of Lancelot, and saith that
Briant of the Isles is repaired to Cardoil. Of the forty knights
that he took with him, but fifteen doth he bring back again.
Thereof is King Arthur right sorrowful, and saith that he hath
the fewer friends. They of the land of Albanie have sent to King
Arthur and told him that and he would not lose the land for
evermore he must send them Lancelot, for never saw they knight
that better knew how to avenge him on his enemies and to do them
hurt than was he. The King asketh Briant of the Isles how it is
that his knights are dead in such sort?
"Sir," saith Briant, "Madeglant hath great force of people, and
what force of men soever may run upon them, they make a castle of
their navy in such sort that none may endure against them, and
never did no folk know so much of war as do they. The land lieth
far away from you, and more will it cost you to hold it than it
is worth; and, if you will believe my counsel, you will trouble
yourself no more about it, and they of the country would be well
counselled and they did the same."
"Briant," saith the King, "This would be great blame to myself.
No worshipful man ought to be idle in guarding and holding that
which is his own. The worshipful man ought not to hold of things
so much for their value as for their honour, and if I should
leave the land disgarnished of my aid and my counsel, they will
take mine, and will say that I have not heart to protect my land;
and even now is it great shame to myself that they have settled
themselves there and would fain draw away them of the land to
their evil law. And I would fain that Lancelot had achieved that
he hath undertaken, and I would have sent him there, for none
would protect the land better than he, and, were he now there
along with forty knights and with them of the country, Madeglant
would make but short stay there."
"Sir," saith Briant, "They of the country reckon nought of you
nor any other but Lancelot only, and they say that and you send
him there they will make him King."
"It may well be that they say so," saith the King, "But never
would Lancelot do aught that should be against my will."
"Sir," saith Briant, "Sith that you are not minded to believe me,
I will say no more in this matter, but in the end his knighthood
will harm you rather than help you and you take no better heed
thereof than up to this time you have done."
Of Briant of the Isles the story is here silent, whom King the
believeth too much in many things, and saith that Lancelot goeth
his way right through the forest, full heavy in thought. He had
not ridden far when he met a knight that was right sore wounded.
He asked him whence he came and who had wounded him in such
"Sir," saith he, "I come from the Chapel Perilous, where I was
not able to defend me against an evil folk that appeared there;
and they have wounded me in such sort as you see, and but for a
damsel that came thereinto from the forest I should not have
escaped on live. But she aided me on such condition that and I
should see a knight they call Lancelot, or Perceval, or Messire
Gawain, I should tell which of them soever I should first meet
withal that he should go to her without delay, for much she
marvelleth her that none of them cometh into the chapel, for none
ought to enter there but good knights only. But much do I
marvel, Sir, how the damsel durst enter there, for it is the most
marvellous place that is, and the damsel is of right great
beauty; natheless she cometh thither oftentimes alone into the
chapel. A knight lieth in the chapel that hath been slain of
late, that was a fell and cruel knight and a hardy."
"What was his name?" saith Lancelot.
"He was named Ahuret the Bastard," saith the knight; "And he had
but one arm and one hand, and the other was smitten off at a
castle that Messire Gawain gave Meliot of Logres when he
succoured him against this knight that lieth in the coffin. And
Meliot of Logres hath slain the knight that had assieged the
castle, but the knight wounded him sore, so that he may not be
whole save he have the sword wherewith he wounded him, that lieth
in the coffin at his side, and some of the cloth wherein he is
enshrouded; and, so God grant me to meet one of the knights,
gladly will I convey unto him the damsel's message."
"Sir Knight," saith Lancelot, "One of them have you found. My
name is Lancelot, and for that I see you are wounded and in evil
plight, I tell it you thus freely."
"Sir," saith the knight, "Now may God protect your body, for you
go in great peril of death. But the damsel much desireth to see
you, I know not for what, and well may she aid you if she will."
"Sir Knight, God hath brought us forth of many a peril, and so
will He also from this and it be His pleasure and His will."
With that, Lancelot departeth from the knight, and hath ridden so
far that he is come at evensong to the Chapel Perilous, that
standeth in a great valley of the forest, and hath a little
churchyard about it that is well enclosed on all sides, and hath
an ancient cross without the entrance. The chapel and the
graveyard are overshadowed of the forest, that is right tall.
Lancelot entereth therein all armed. He signeth him of the cross
and blesseth him and commendeth him to God. He seeth in the
grave-yard coffins in many places, and it seemeth him that he
seeth folk round about that talk together, the one with another.
But he might not hear that they said. He might not see them
openly, but very tall they seemed him to be. He is come toward
the chapel and alighteth of his horse, and seeth a shed outside
the chapel, wherein was provender for horses. He goeth thither
to set his own there, then leaneth his shield against his spear
at the entrance of the chapel, and entereth in, where it was very
dark, for no light was there save only of a single lamp that
shone full darkly. He seeth the coffin that was in the midst of
the chapel wherein the knight lay.
When he had made his orison before an image of Our Lady, he
cometh to the coffin and openeth it as fast as he may, and seeth
the knight, tall and foul of favour, that therein lay dead. The
cloth wherein he was enshrouded was displayed all bloody. He
taketh the sword that lay at his side and lifteth the
windingsheet to rend it at the seam, then taketh the knight by
the head to lift him upward, and findeth him so heavy and so
ungain that scarce may he remove him. He cutteth off the half of
the cloth wherein he is enshrouded, and the coffin beginneth to
make a crashing so passing loud that it seemed the chapel were
falling. When he hath the piece of the cloth and the sword he
closeth the coffin again, and forthwith cometh to the door of the
chapel and seeth mount, in the midst of the grave-yard as it
seemed him, great knights. and horrible, and they are appareled
as it were to combat, and him thinketh that they are watching for
him and espy him.
Thereupon, behold you, a damsel running, her kirtle girt high
about her, right through the grave-yard a great pace.
"Take heed you move not until such time as it is known who the
knight is!" She is come to the chapel. "Sir Knight, lay down
the sword and this that you have taken of the windingsheet of the
"Damsel," saith Lancelot, "What hurt doth it you of this that I
"This," saith she, "That you have taken it without my leave; for
I have him in charge, both him and the chapel. And I would
fain," saith she, "know what is your name?"
"Damsel," saith he, "What would you gain of knowing my name?"
"I know not," saith she, "whether I shall have either loss or
gain thereof, but high time already is it that I should ask you
it to my sorrow, for many a time have I been deceived therein."
"Damsel," saith he, "I am called Lancelot of the Lake."
"You ought of right," saith she, "to have the sword and the
cloth; but come you with me to my castle, for oftentimes have I
desired that you and Perceval and Messire Gawain should see the
three tombs that I have made for your three selves."
"Damsel," saith he, "No wish have I to see my sepulchre so early
"By my head," saith she, "And you come not thither, you may not
issue from hence without tribulation; and they that you see there
are earthly fiends that guard this grave-yard and are at my
"Never, damsel, please God," saith Lancelot, "may your devils
have power to harm a Christian."
"Ha, Lancelot," saith she, "I beseech and pray you that you come
with me into my castle, and I will save your life as at this time
from this folk that are just now ready to fall upon you; and, so
you are not willing to do this, yield me back the sword that you
have taken from the coffin, and go your way at once."
"Damsel," saith Lancelot, "Into your castle may I not go, nor
desire I to go, wherefore pray me no more thereof, for other
business have I to do; nor will I yield you back the sword,
whatsoever may befall me, for a certain knight may not otherwise
be healed, and great pity it were that he should die."
"Ha, Lancelot," saith she, "How hard and cruel do I find you
towards me! And as good cause have I to be sorry that you have
the sword as have you to be glad. For, and you had not had it
upon you, never should you have carried it off from hence at your
will; rather should I have had all my pleasure of you, and I
would have made you be borne into my castle, from whence never
should you nave moved again for nought you might do; and thus
should I have been quit of the wardenship of this chapel and of
coming thereinto in such manner as now oftentimes I needs must
"But now am I taken in a trap, for, so long as you have the
sword, not one of them that are there yonder can do you evil nor
hinder you of going."
Of this was Lancelot not sorry. He taketh leave of the damsel,
that departeth grudgingly, garnisheth him again of his arms, then
mounteth again on his horse and goeth his way right through the
grave-yard. He beholdeth this evil folk, that were so foul and
huge and hideous, it seemed as if they would devour everything.
They made way for Lancelot, and had no power to hurt him. He is
issued forth of the grave-yard and goeth his way through the
forest until daylight appeared about him, fair and clear. He
found the hermit there where he had heard mass, then ate a
little, then departed and rode the day long until setting of the
sun, but could find no hold on the one side nor the other wherein
he might lodge, and so was benighted in the forest.
Lancelot knew not which way to turn, for he had not often been in
the forest, and knew not how the land lay nor the paths therein.
He rode until he found a little causeway, and there was a path at
the side that led to an orchard that was at a corner of the
forest, where there was a postern gate whereby one entered, and
it was not made fast for the night. And the orchard was well
enclosed with walls. Lancelot entered in and made fast the
entrance, then took off his horse's bridle and let him feed on
the grass. He might not espy the castle that was hard by for the
abundance of trees and the darkness of the night, and so knew not
whither he was arrived. He laid his shield for a pillow and his
arms at his side and fell on sleep. But, had he known where it
was he had come, little sleep would he have had, for he was close
to the cavern where he slew the lion and where the griffons were,
that had come in from the forest all gorged of victual, and were
fallen on sleep, and it was for them that the postern gate had
been left unbolted. A damsel went down from a chamber by a
trapdoor with a brachet on her arm for fear of the griffons, and
as she went toward the postern-gate to lock it, she espied
Lancelot, that lay asleep in the midst of the orchard. She ran
back to her Lady the speediest she might, and said unto her: "Up,
Lady!" saith she, "Lancelot is sleeping in the orchard!"
She leapt up incontinent and came to the orchard there where
Lancelot was sleeping, then sate her down beside him and began to
look at him, sighing the while, and draweth as near him as she
"Fair Lord God," saith she, "what shall I do? and I wake him
first he will have no care to kiss me, and if I kiss him sleeping
he will awake forthwith; and better hap is it for me to take the
most I may even in such-wise than to fail of all, and, moreover,
if so be I shall have kissed him, I may hope that he will not
hate me thereof, sith that I may then boast that I have had at
least so much of that which is his own."
She set her mouth close to him and so kissed him the best and
fairest she might, three times, and Lancelot awakened forthwith.
He leapt up and made the cross upon him, then looked at the
damsel, and said: "Ha, God! where, then, am I?"
"Fair sweet friend," saith she, "You are nigh her that hath all
set her heart upon you and will remove it never."
"I cry you mercy, damsel," saith Lancelot, "and I tell you, for
nought that may befall, one that loveth me, please God, never
will I hate! but that which one hath loved long time ought not
so soon to fall away from the remembrance of a love that is
rooted in the heart, when she hath been proven good and loyal,
nor ought one so soon to depart therefrom."
"Sir," saith she, "This castle is at your commandment, and you
will remain therein, and well may you know my thought towards
you. Would that your thought were the same towards me."
"Damsel," saith he, "I seek the healing of a knight that may not
be healed save I bring him the head of one of your serpents."
"Certes, Sir, so hath it been said. But I bade the damsel say so
only for that I was fain you should come back hither to me."
"Damsel," saith he, "I have come back hither, and so may I turn
back again sith that of the serpent's head is there no need."
"Ha, Lancelot," saith she, "How good a knight are you, and how
ill default do you make in another way! No knight, methinketh,
is there in the world that would have refused me save only you.
This cometh of your folly, and your outrage, and your baseness of
heart! The griffons have not done my will in that they have not
slain you or strangled you as you slept, and, so I thought that
they would have power to slay you, I would make them come to slay
you now. But the devil hath put so much knighthood into you that
scarce any man may have protection against you. Better ought I
to love you dead than alive. By my head, I would fain that your
head were hanged with the others that hang at the entrance of the
gateway, and, had I thought you would have failed me in such wise
I would have brought my father hither to where you were sleeping,
and right gladly would he have slain you."
"None that knoweth the covenant between me and you ought to hold
you for a good knight; for you have cozened me of my right
according to the tenor and custom of the castle if that through
perversity or slothfulness you durst not take me when you have
"Damsel," saith Lancelot, "You may say your will. You have done
so much for me sithence that I came hither that I ought not to be
afeard of you, for traitor is the man or woman that kisseth
another to procure his hurt."
"Lancelot, I took but that I might have, for well I see that none
more thereof may I have never again."
He goeth to put the bridle on his destrier, and then taketh leave
of the damsel, that parteth from him right sorrowfully; but
Lancelot would no longer tarry, for great throng of knights was
there in the castle, and he was not minded to put him in jeopardy
for nought. He issueth forth of the orchard, and the damsel
looketh after him as long as she may see him. After that, cometh
she to her chamber, sad and vexed at heart, nor knoweth she how
she may bear herself, for the thing in the world that most she
loveth is far away, and no joy may she have thereof.
Lancelot rideth right amidst the forest until it is day, and
cometh at the right hour of noon to the Castle Perilous, where
Meliot of Logres lay. He entered into the castle. The damsel
that was at King Arthur's court cometh to meet him.
"Lancelot," saith she, "Welcome may you be!"
"Damsel," saith he, "Good adventure may you have!"
He was alighted at the mountingstage of the hall. She maketh him
mount up the steps and afterward be disarmed.
"Damsel," saith he, "Behold, here is some of the winding-sheet
wherein the knight was shrouded, and here is his sword; but you
befooled me as concerning the serpent's head."
"By my head," saith the damsel, "that did I for the sake of the
damsel of the Castle of Griffons that hateth you not a whit, for
so prayed she me to do. Now hath she seen you, and so will she
be more at ease, and will have no cause to ask me thereof."
The damsel leadeth Lancelot to where Meliot of Logres lay.
Lancelot sitteth him down before him and asketh how it is with
"Meliot," saith the damsel, "This is Lancelot, that bringeth you
"Ha, Sir, welcome may you be!"
"God grant you health speedily," said Lancelot.
"Ha, for God's sake," saith Meliot, "What doth Messire Gawain?
Is he hearty?"
"I left him quite hearty when I parted from him," saith Lancelot,
"And so he knew that you had been wounded in such sort, full
sorry would he be thereof and King Arthur likewise."
"Sir," saith he, "The knight that assieged them maimed me in this
fashion, but was himself maimed in such sort that he is dead
thereof. But the wounds that he dealt me are so cruel and so
raging, that they may not be healed save his sword toucheth them
and if be not bound with some of the winding-sheet wherein he was
shrouded, that he had displayed about him, all bloody."
"By my faith," saith the damsel, "Behold them here!"
"Ha, Sir," saith he, "Gramercy of this great goodness! In every
way appeareth it that you are good knight, for, but for the
goodness of your knighthood, the coffin wherein the knight lieth
had never opened so lightly, nor would you never have had the
sword nor the cloth, nor never till now hath knight entered
therein but either he were slain there, or departed thence
wounded right grievously."
They uncover his wounds, and Lancelot unbindeth them, and the
damsel toucheth him of the sword and the winding-sheet, and they
are assuaged for him. And he saith that now at last he knoweth
well he need not fear to die thereof. Lancelot is right joyful
thereof in his heart, for that he seeth he will be whole betimes;
and sore pity had it been of his death, for a good knight was he,
and wise and loyal.
"Lancelot," saith the lady, "Long time have I hated you on
account of the knight that I loved, whom you reft away from me
and married to another and not to me, and ofttimes have I put
myself to pains to grieve you of some ill deed for that you did
to me, for never was I so sorrowful for aught that befell me. He
loved me of right great love, and I him again, and never shall
that love fail. But now is it far further away from me than it
was before, and for this bounty that you have done, never
hereafter need you fear aught of my grievance."
"Damsel," saith Lancelot, "Gramercy heartily."
He was lodged in the castle the night richly and worshipfully,
and departed thence on the morrow when he had taken leave of the
damsel and Meliot, and goeth back a great pace toward the court
of King Arthur, that was sore dismayed, for Madeglant was
conquering his islands and great part of his land. The more part
of the lands that he conquered had renounced the New Law for fear
of death and held the false believe. And Messire Gawain and many
other knights were departed from King Arthur's court for that the
King trusted more in Briant of the Isles than he did in them.
For many times had King Arthur sent knights against Madeglant
since Lancelot was departed from the court, to the intent that
they should put to rebuke the enemies of his land, but never saw
he one come back from thence nought discomfited. The King of
Oriande made much boast that he would fulfil for his sister all
that she had bidden him, for he thought that King Arthur would
yield himself up betimes unto him and yield all his land
likewise. The King greatly desired the return of Lancelot, and
said ofttimes that and he had been against his enemies as nigh as
the others he had sent they would not have durst so to fly
against him. In the midst of the dismay wherein was King Arthur,
Lancelot returned to the court, whereof was the King right
joyous. Lancelot knew that Messire Gawain and Messire Ywain were
not there, and that they held them aloof from the court more
willingly than they allowed on account of Briant of the Isles,
that King Arthur believed in more than ever a one of the others.
He was minded to depart in like sort, but the King would not let
him, but said to him rather, "Lancelot, I pray and beseech you,
as him that I love much, that you set your pains and your counsel
on defending my land, for great affiance have I in you."
"Sir," saith Lancelot, "My aid and my force shall fail you never;
take heed that yours fail not me."
"Of right ought I not to fail you," saith the King, "Nor will I
never, for I should fail myself thereby."
The history saith that he gave Lancelot forty knights in charge,
and that he is come into an island where King Madeglant was. Or
ever he knew of his coming, Lancelot had cut off his retreat, for
he cut his cables and beat his anchors to pieces and broke up his
ships. After that, he struck among the people of Madeglant, and
slew as many of them as he would, he and his knights. The King
thought to withdraw him back, both him and his fellowship, into
safety as he wont, but he found himself right ill bested.
Lancelot drove him toward the sea, whither he fled, but only to
find himself no less discomfit there, and slew him in the midst
of his folk, and all his other knights were slain and cast into
the sea. This island was freed of him by Lancelot, and from
thence he went to the other islands that Madeglant had conquered
and set again under the false Law, and there did away the false
Law from them that had been set thereunder by fear of death, and
stablished the land in such sort as it had been tofore. He roved
so long from one island to another that presently he came to
Albanie where he had succoured them at first.
When they of the land saw him come, they well knew that the King
of Oriande was dead and the islands made free, whereof made they
great joy. The land was some deal emptied of the most puissant
and the strongest, for they were dead along with their lord.
Lancelot had brought with him some of the best knights and most
puissant. He was come with a great navy into the land and began
to destroy it. They of the land were misbelievers, for they
believed in false idols and in false images. They saw that they
might not defend the land, sith that their lord was dead. The
more part let themselves be slain for that they would not
renounce the evil Law, and they that were minded to turn to God
were saved. The kingdom was right rich and right great that
Lancelot conquered and attorned to the Law of Our Lord in such
wise. He made break all the false images of copper and fatten
wherein they had believed tofore, and whereof false answers came
to them of the voices of devils. Thereafter he caused be made
crucifixes and images in the likeness of Our Lord, and in the
likeness of His sweet Mother, the better to confirm them of the
kingdoms in the Law.
The strongest and most valiant of the land assembled one day and
said that it was high time a land so rich should no longer be
without a King. They all agreed and came to Lancelot and told
him how they would fain that he should be King of the realm he
had conquered, for in no land might he be better employed, and
they would help him conquer other realms enow. Lancelot thanked
them much, but told them that of this land nor of none other
would he be King save by the good will of King Arthur only; for
that all the conquest he had made was his, and by his commandment
had he come thither, and had given him his own knights in charge
that had helped him to reconquer the lands.
King Claudas had heard tell how Lancelot had slain the King of
Oriande and that none of the islands might scarce be defended
against him. He had no liking of him, neither of his good
knighthood nor of his conquest, for well remembered he of the
land that he had conquered from King Ban of Benoic that was
Lancelot's father, and therefore was he sorry of the good
knighthood whereof Lancelot was everywhere held of worth and
renown, for that he was tenant of his father's land. King
Claudas sent a privy message to Briant and bore him on hand that,
and he might do so much as that King Arthur should forbid
Lancelot his court, and that it were ill with him with the King,
he would have much liking thereof and would help him betimes to
take vengeance on his enemies, for, so Lancelot were forth of his
court, and Messire Gawain, the rest would scarce abide long time,
and thus should they have all their will of King Arthur's land.
Briant sent word back to King Claudas that Messire Gawain and
Messire Ywain began to hold them aloof from the court, and that
as for most part of the other he need not trouble him a whit, for
he might so deal as that in short time Lancelot should be well
trounced, would they or nould they.
Tidings are come to King Arthur's court that the King of Oriande
is dead and his people destroyed, and that Lancelot hath
conquered his kingdom and slain the King, and reconquered all the
lands wherein he had set the false Law and the false believe by
his force and by dread of him. And the more part say in the
court that they of the realm of Oriande nor those of the other
islands will not let Lancelot repair to court, and are doing
their endeavour to make him King; and nought is there in the
world, and he command them, they will not do, and that never was
no folk so obedient to any as are they of all these lands to him.
Briant of the Isles cometh one day privily to King Arthur, and
saith: "Sir," saith he, "Much ought I to love you, for that you
have made me Seneschal of your land; whereby meseemeth you have
great affiance in me, and my bounden duty is it to turn aside
that which is evil from you and to set forward your good
everywhere, and, did I not so, no whit loyal should I be towards
"Tidings are come to me of late that they of the kingdom of
Oriande and Albanie and of the other islands that are your
appanages have all leagued together, and have sworn and given
surety that they will aid one another against you, and they are
going presently to make Lancelot their King, and will come down
upon your land as speedily as they may wheresoever he may dare
lead them, and they have sworn their oath that they will conquer
your kingdom just as you now hold it, and, so you be not
garnished against them betimes, you may have thereof sore trouble
to your own body as well as the loss whereof I tell you."
"By my head," saith the King, "I believe not that Lancelot durst
think this, nor that he would have the heart to do me evil."
"By my head," saith Briant, "Long time have I had misgivings both
of this and of him, but one ought not to tell one's lord all that
one knows, for that one cannot be sure either that it be not
leasing or that folk wish to meddle in his affairs out of envy.
But nought is there in the world that I will conceal from you
henceforward for the love that you bear me and for that you have
affiance in me, and so may you well have, for I have abandoned my
land for you that marched with your own, whereby you may sorely
straiten your enemies, for well you know that in your court is
there no knight of greater puissance than am I."
"By my head," saith the King, "I am fain to love you and hold you
dear, nor shall you never be removed from my love nor from my
service for nought that may be said of any, so manifestly have I
seen your goodness and your loyalty. I will bid Lancelot by my
letters and under my seal that he come to speak with me, for sore
need have I thereof, and when he shall be here we will take
account of this that you have told me, for this will I not, that
he nor none other that may be my knight shall dare rise in arms
against me, for such power ought lord of right to have over his
knight, and to be feared and dreaded of him, for elsewise is he
feeble, and lordship without power availeth nought."
The King sent his letters by his messenger to Lancelot. The
messenger sought him until he found him in the kingdom of
Oriande, and delivered him the letters and the seal of the King.
So soon as he knew that which the letters say, he took leave of
them of the land, that were right sorrowful. He departed thence
and came back to Cardoil, bringing with him all the knights that
he had in charge, and told the King that he had reconquered for
him all the islands, and that the King of Oriande was dead and
that his land was attorned to the Law of Our Lord. The King bade
Briant of the Isles that he should make forty knights come armed
under their cloaks ready to take Lancelot prisoner as soon as he
should command them. The tidings come to Lancelot, there where
he was in his hostel, that the King had made knights come all
armed to the palace. Lancelot bethought him that some need had
arisen and that he would arm himself likewise, so he made him be
armed and came to the hall where the King was.
"Sir," saith Briant, "Lancelot thinketh him of something, for he
hath armed himself at his hostel, and is come hither in such
manner and at such time without your leave, and he may do
something more yet. You ought well to ask him wherefore he
wisheth to do you evil, and in what manner you have deserved it."
He biddeth him be called before him. "Lancelot," saith the King,
"Wherefore are you armed?"
"Sir, I was told that knights had come in hither armed, and I was
feared lest some mishap had befallen you, for I would not that
any evil should betide you."
"You come hither for another thing," saith the King, "according
to that I have been given to wit, and, had the hall been void of
folk, you hoped to have slain me."
The King commandeth him be taken forthwith without gainsay of
any. The knights that were armed did off their cloaks and leapt
toward him on all sides, for they durst not disobey the King's
commandment, and the more part were men of Briant of the Isles.
Lancelot seeth them coming towards him with their keen swords and
saith, "By my head, an evil guerdon do you return me of the
services I have done for you."
The knights come to him all together swords drawn, and run upon
him all at once. He goeth defending himself, as far as the wall
of the hall, whereof he maketh a castle to his back, but before
he cometh thither he hath slain or wounded seven. He began to
defend himself right stoutly on all sides, but they gave him
great buffets of their swords, and no fair play is it of thirty
or forty blows to one. Nor ought none believe that one single
knight might deliver himself from so many men, seeing that they
were eager to take him and do him a hurt. Lancelot defended him
the best he might, but the numbers were against him, and, anyway,
or ever he let himself be taken he sold himself right dear, for
of the forty knights he harmed at least a score, and of them was
none that was not sore wounded and the most part killed; and he
caught Briant of the Isles, that was helping to take him, so sore
that he made his sword drink the blood of his body, in such sort
that the wound was right wide. The knights laid hold on Lancelot
on all sides, and the King commanded that none should harm him,
but that they should bring him to his dungeon in the prison.
Lancelot marvelled him much wherefore the King should do this,
nor might he understand wherefore this hatred was come so lately.
He is put in the prison so as the King hath commanded. All they
of the court are sorry thereof, save Briant and his knights, but
well may he yet aby it dear, so God bring Lancelot out or prison.
Some say, "Now is the King's court lost, sith that Messire Gawain
and the other knights have thus forsaken it, and Lancelot is put
in prison for doing well, ill trust may the others have therein."
They pray God yet grant Briant of the Isles an evil guerdon, for
well know they that all this is of his procurement. And of an
evil guerdon shall he not fail so God protect Lancelot and bring
him forth of prison.
Thereupon the story is silent of Lancelot, and cometh back to
Perceval that had not heard these tidings, and if he had known
them, right sorrowful would he have been thereof. He is departed
from his uncle's castle that he hath reconquered, and was sore
grieved of the tidings that the damsel that was wounded brought
him of his sister that Aristor had carried away by force to the
house of a vavasour. He was about to take her to wife and cut
off her head on the day of the New Year, for such was his custom
with all them that he took. Perceval rideth one day, all heavy
in thought, and taketh his way as fast as he may toward the
hermitage of his uncle King Hermit. He is come thither on an
eventide, and seeth three hermits issued forth of the hermitage.
He alighteth and goeth to meet them so soon as he seeth them.
"Sir," say the hermits, "Enter not in, for they are laying out a
"Who is it?" saith Perceval.
"Sir," say the hermits, "It is the good King Pelles that Aristor
slew suddenly after mass on account of one of his nephews,
Perceval, whom he loveth not, and a damsel is laying out the body
When Perceval heard the news or his uncle that is dead, thereof
was he right grieved at heart, and on the morrow was he at his
uncle's burial. When mass was sung, Perceval would have
departed, as he that had great desire to take vengeance on him
that had done him such shame.
Thereupon behold you the damsel that is his.
"Sir," saith she, "Full long time have I been seeking you.
Behold here the head of a knight that I carry hanging at the bow
of my saddle, in this rich casket of ivory that you may see, and
by none ought he to be avenged but by you alone. Discharge me
thereof, fair Sir, of your courtesy, for I have carried it too
long a time, and this King Arthur knoweth well and Messire
Gawain, for each hath seen me at court along with the head, but
they could give me no tidings of you, and my castle may I not
have again until such time as he be avenged."
"Who, then, was the knight, damsel?" saith Perceval.
"Sir, he was son of your uncle Bruns Brandalis, and were he on
live, would have been one of the best knights in the world."
"And who slew him, damsel?" saith Perceval.
"Sir, the Knight of the Deep Forest that leadeth the lion, foully
in treason there where he thought him safe. For had he been
armed in like manner as was the other, he would not have slain
"Damsel," said Perceval, "This grieveth me that he hath slain
him, and it grieveth me likewise of mine uncle King Hermit, whom
I would avenge more willingly than all the men in the world, for
he was slain on my account."
"Most disloyal was this knight, and foully was he fain to avenge
him when he slew a holy man, a hermit that never wished him ill
on account of me and of none other. Right glad shall I be and I
may find the knight, and so, methinketh, will he be of me, for me
he hateth as much as I do him, as I have been told, and Lord God
grant, howsoever he may take it, that I may find him betimes."
"Sir," saith the damsel, "So outrageous a knight is he that no
knight is there in the world so good but he thinketh himself of
more worth than he, and sith that he hateth you with a will, and
he knew that you were here, you and another, or you the third, he
would come now at once, were he in place and free."
"Damsel," saith Perceval, "God give him mischief of his coming,
come whensoever he may!"
"Sir," saith she, "The Deep Forest there, where the Red Knight
leadeth the lion, is towards the castle of Aristor, and, or ever
you come by adventure into the forest, you may well hear some
tidings of him!"
Here beginneth the last branch of the Graal in the name of the
Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
The story saith that Perceval went his way through the forest.
He saw pass before him two squires, and each carried a wild deer
trussed behind him that had been taken by hounds. Perceval
cometh to them a great pace and maketh them abide.
"Lords," saith he, "Whither will you carry this venison?"
"Sir," say the squires, "To the castle of Ariste, whereof Aristor
"Is there great throng of knights at the castle?" saith Perceval.
"Sir," say the squires, "Not a single one is there, but within
four days will be a thousand there, for Messire is about to
marry, whereof is great preparation toward. He is going to take
the daughter of the Widow Lady, whom he carried off by force
before her castle of Camelot, and hath set her in the house of
one of his vavasours until such time as he shall espouse her.
But we are right sorrowful, for she is of most noble lineage and
of great beauty and of the most worth in the world. So is it
great dole that he shall have her, for he will cut her head off
on the day of the New Year, sith that such is his custom."
"And one might carry her off," saith Perceval, "would he not do
"Yea, Sir!" say the squires, "Our Lord God would be well pleased
thereof, for such cruelty is the greatest that ever any knight
may have. Moreover, he is much blamed of a good hermit that he
hath slain, and every day desireth he to meet the brother of the
damsel he is about to take, that is one of the best knights in
the world. And he saith that he would slay him more gladly than
ever another knight on live."
"And where is your lord?" saith Perceval, "Can you give me
"Yea, Sir," say the squires, "We parted from him but now in this
forest, where he held melly with a knight that seemeth us to be
right worshipful and valiant, and saith that he hath for name the
Knight Hardy. And for that he told Aristor that he was a knight
of Perceval's and of his fellowship, he ran upon him, and then
commanded us to come on, and said that he should vanquish him
incontinent. We could still hear just now the blows of the
swords yonder where we were in the forest, and Aristor is of so
cruel conditions that no knight may pass through this forest, but
he is minded to slay him."
When Perceval heard these tidings, he departed from the squires,
and so soon as they were out of sight he goeth as great pace
thither as they had come thence. He had ridden half a league
Welsh when he heard the buffets they were dealing one another on
the helm with their swords, and right well pleased was he for
that the Knight Hardy held so long time melly with Aristor in
whom is there so much cruelty and felony. But Perceval knew not
to what mischief the Knight Hardy had been wounded through the
body of a spear, so that the blood rayed out on all sides; and
Aristor had not remained whole, for he was wounded in two places.
So soon as Perceval espied them, he smiteth his horse of his
spurs, lance in rest, and smiteth Aristor right through the
breast with such force that he maketh him lose his stirrups and
lie down backwards over the hinder bow of the saddle. After that
saith he: "I am come to my sister's wedding, of right ought it
not to be made without me."
Aristor, that was full hardy, set himself again betwixt the bows
of the saddle in great wrath when he seeth Perceval, and cometh
towards him like as if he were wood mad, sword in hand, and
dealeth him such a buffet on the helm as that it is all dinted in
thereby. The Knight Hardy draweth back when he seeth Perceval,
for he is wounded to the death through the body. He had held the
stout so long time that he could abide no more. But or ever he
departed, he had wounded Aristor in two places right grievously.
Perceval felt the blow that was heavy, and that his helmet was
dinted in. He cometh back to Aristor and smiteth him so passing
strongly that he thrusteth the spear right through his body and
overthroweth him and his horse all of a heap. Then he alighteth
over him and taketh off the coif of his habergeon and unlaceth
"What have you in mind to do?" said Aristor.
"I will cut off your head," said Perceval, "and present it to my
sister whom you have failed."
"Do not so!" saith Aristor, "But let me live, and I will forgo my
"Your hatred might I well abide henceforward, meseemeth," saith
Perceval, "But one may not abide you any longer, for well have
you deserved this, and God willeth not to bear with you."
He smiteth off his head incontinent and hangeth it at his saddle-
bow, and cometh to the Knight Hardy, and asketh him how it is
"Sir," saith he, "I am very nigh my death, but I comfort me much
of this that I see you tofore I die."
Perceval is remounted on his horse, then taketh his spear and
leaveth the body of the knight in the midst of the launde, and so
departeth forthwith and leadeth the Knight Hardy to a hermitage
that was hard by there, and lifteth him down of his horse as
speedily as he may. After that, he disarmed him and made him
confess to the hermit, and when he was shriven of his sins and
repentant, and his soul had departed, he made him be enshrouded
of the damsel that followed him, and bestowed his arms and his
horse on the hermit for his soul, and the horse of Aristor
When mass had been sung for the knight that was dead, and the
body buried, Perceval departed.
"Sir," saith the damsel that followed him, "Even now have you
much to do. Of this cruel knight and felonous you have avenged
this country. Now, God grant you find betimes the Red Knight
that slew your uncle's son. I doubt not but that you will
conquer him, but great misgiving have I of the lion, for it is
the cruellest beast that saw I ever, and he so loveth his lord
and his horse as never no beast loved another so much, and he
helpeth his lord right hardily to defend him."
Perceval goeth toward the great Deep Forest without tarrying, and
the damsel after. But, or ever he came thither, he met a knight
that was wounded right sore, both he and his horse.
"Ha, Sir," saith he to Perceval, "Enter not into this forest,
whence I have scarce escaped with much pains. For therein is a
knight that had much trouble of rescuing me from his lion; and no
less am I in dread to pass on forward, for there is a knight that
is called Aristor, that without occasion runneth upon the knights
that pass through the forest."
"Of him," saith the damsel, "need you have no fear, for you may
see his head hanging at the knight's saddle-bow."
"Certes," saith the knight, "Never yet was I so glad of any
tidings I have heard, and well know I that he that slew him is
not lacking of great hardiment."
The knight departeth from Perceval, but the lion had wounded his
horse so passing sore in the quarters that scarce could he go.
"Sir Knight," saith Perceval, "Go to the hermit in the Deep
Forest, and say I bade him give you the destrier I left with him,
for well I see that you have sore need thereof, and you may repay
him in some other manner, for rather would he have something else
than the horse."
The knight goeth him much thanks of this that he saith. He
cometh to the hermit the best he may, and telleth him according
as he had been charged, and the hermit biddeth him take which
destrier he will for the love of the knight that had slain the
evil-doer, that did so many evil deeds in this forest.
"And I will lend you them both twain if you will."
"Sir," saith the knight, "I ask but for one of them."
He taketh Aristor's horse, that seemed him the better, and
straightway mounteth thereon, and abandoneth his own, that might
go no further. He taketh leave of the hermit, and telleth him he
will right well repay him, but better had it befallen him and he
had not taken the horse, for thereof was he slain without reason
thereafter. A knight that was of the household of Aristor
overtook him at the corner of the forest, and knew his lord's
horse and had heard tell that Aristor was dead, wherefore he went
into the forest to bury him. He smote the knight through the
body with his spear and so slew him, then took the horse and went
away forthwith. But, had Perceval known thereof, he would have
been little glad, for that he asked the knight to go for the
horse, but he did it only for the best, and for that he rode in
Perceval goeth toward the Deep Forest, that is full broad and
long and evil seeming, and when he was entered in he had scarce
ridden a space when he espied the lion that lay in the midst of a
launde under a tree and was waiting for his master, that was gone
afar into the forest, and the lion well knew that just there was
the way whereby knights had to pass, and therefore had abided
there. The damsel draweth her back for fear, and Perceval goeth
toward the lion that had espied him already, and came toward him,
eyes on fire and jaws yawning wide. Perceval aimeth his spear
and thinketh to smite him in his open mouth, but the lion swerved
aside and he caught him in the fore-leg and so dealt him a great
wound, but the lion seizeth the horse with his claws on the
croup, and rendeth the skin and the flesh above the tail. The
horse, that feeleth himself wounded, catcheth him with his two
hinder feet or ever he could get away, so passing strongly that
he breaketh the master-teeth in his jaw. The lion gave out a
roar so loud that all the forest resounded thereof. The Red
Knight heareth his lion roar, and so cometh thither a great
gallop, but, or ever he was come thither, Perceval had slain the
lion. When the knight saw his lion dead, right sorry was he
"By my head," saith he to Perceval, "When you slew my lion you
did it as a traitor!"
"And you," saith Perceval, "adjudged your own death when you slew
my uncle's son, whose head this damsel beareth."
Perceval cometh against him without more words, and the knight in
like manner with a great rushing, and breaketh his spear upon his
shield. Perceval smiteth him with such force that he thrusteth
his spear right through his body and beareth him to the ground
dead beside his horse. Perceval alighteth of his own when he
hath slain the knight, and then mounteth him on the Red Knight's
horse for that his own might carry him no longer.
"Sir," saith the damsel, "My castle is in the midst of this
forest, that the Red Knight reft away from me long ago. I pray
you now come with me thither that I may be assured thereof in
such sort as that I may have it again wholly."
"Damsel," saith Perceval, "This have I no right to deny you."
They ride amidst the forest so long as that they come to the
castle where the damsel ought to be. It stood in the fairest
place of all the forest, and was enclosed of high Walls
battlemented, and within were fair-windowed halls. The tidings
were come to the castle that their lord was dead. Perceval and
the damsel entered in. He made the damsel be assured of them
that were therein, and made them yield up her castle that they
well knew was hers of right inheritance. The damsel made the
head be buried that she had carried so long, and bade that every
day should mass be done within for the soul of him. When
Perceval had sojourned therein as long as pleased him, he
departed thence. The damsel thanked him much of the bounty he
had done her as concerning the castle that she had again by him,
for never again should it be reconquered of another, as well she
Josephus telleth us in the scripture he recordeth for us, whereof
this history was drawn out of Latin into Romance, that none need
be in doubt that these adventures befell at that time in Great
Britain and in all the other kingdoms, and plenty enow more
befell than I record, but these were the most certain. The
history saith that Perceval is come into a hold, there where his
sister was in the house of a vavasour that was a right worshipful
man. Each day the damsel made great dole of the knight that was
to take her, for the day was already drawing somewhat nigh, and
she knew not that he was dead. Full often lamented she the Widow
Lady her mother, that in like sort made great dole for her
daughter. The vavasour comforted the damsel right sweetly and
longed for her brother Perceval, but little thought he that he
was so near him. And Perceval is come to the hold all armed, and
alighteth at the mounting-stage before the hall. The vavasour
cometh to meet him, and marvelleth much who he is, for the more
part believed that he was one of Aristor's knights.
"Sir," saith the vavasour, "Welcome may you be!"
"Good adventure may you have, Sir!" saith Perceval. He holdeth
Aristor's head in his hand by the hair, whereof the vavasour
marvelled much that he should carry a knight's head in such-wise.
Perceval cometh to the master-chamber of the hall, where his
sister was, that bewailed her right sore.
"Damsel," saith he to his sister, "Weep not, for your wedding
hath failed. You may know it well by this token!"
He throweth the head of Aristor before her on the ground, then
saith unto her: "Behold here the head of him that was to take
The damsel heareth Perceval her brother that was armed, and
thereby she knoweth him again. She leapeth up and maketh him the
greatest joy that ever damsel made to knight. She knoweth not
what to do. So joyful is she, that all have pity on her that see
her of her weeping for the joy that she maketh of her brother.
The story saith that they sojourned therewithin and that the
vavasour showed them much honour. The damsel made cast the
knight's head into a river that ran round about the hold. The
vavasour was right glad of his death for the great felony that he
had in him, and for that needs must the damsel die in less than a
year and she had espoused him.
When Perceval had been therein as long as it pleased him, he
thanked the vavasour much of the honour he had done him and his
sister, and departed, he and his sister along with him on the
mule whereon she had been brought thither. Perceval rode so long
on his journeys that he is come to Camelot and findeth his mother
in great dole for her daughter that should be Queen, for she
thought surely that never should she see her more. Full
sorrowful was she moreover of her brother, the King Hermit that
had been killed in such-wise. Perceval cometh to the chamber
where his mother was lying and might not stint of making dole.
He taketh his sister by the hand and cometh before her. So soon
as she knoweth him she beginneth to weep for joy, and kisseth
them one after the other.