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ther.” Then Gawain was borne into the castle, and unarmed, and laid in a rich bed, and a leech found to search his wound. And Sir Gawain and Sir Hector abode together, for Sir Hector would not away till Sir Gawain were whole.

CHAPTER XX.

THE SANGREAL, CONTINUED.

SIR LAUNCELOT.

SIR LAUNCELOT rode overthwart and endlong in a wide forest, and held no path but as wild adventure led him. And at last he came to a stone cross. Then Sir Launcelot looked round him, and saw an old chapel. So he tied his horse to a tree, and put off his shield, and hung it upon a tree; and then he went unto the chapel, and looked through a place where the wall was broken. And within he saw a fair altar, full richly arrayed with cloth of silk; and there stood a fair candlestick, which bare six great candles, and the candlestick was of silver. When Sir Launcelot saw this sight, he had a great wish to enter the chapel, but he could find no place where he might enter. Then was he passing heavy and dismayed. And he returned and came again to his horse, and took off his saddle and his bridle, and let him pasture; and unlaced his helm, and ungirded his sword, and laid him down to sleep upon his shield before the cross.

And as he lay, half waking and half sleeping, he saw come by him two palfreys, both fair and white, which bare a litter, on which lay a sick knight. And when he was nigh the cross, he there abode still. And Sir Launcelot heard him say, “O sweet Lord, when shall this sorrow leave me, and when shall the holy vessel come by me whereby I shall be healed ?"

And thus a great while complained the knight, and Sir Launcelot heard it. Then Sir Launcelot saw the candlestick, with the lighted tapers, come before the cross, but he could see nobody that brought it. Also there came a salver of silver and the holy vessel of the Sangreal; and therewithal the sick knight sat him upright, and held up both his hands, and said, “Fair, sweet Lord, which is here within the holy vessel, take heed to me, that I may be whole of this great malady.” And therewith, upon his hands and upon his knees, he went so nigh that he touched the holy vessel and kissed it. And anon he was whole. Then the holy vessel went into the chapel again, with the candlestick and the light, so that Sir Launcelot wist not what became of it.

Then the sick knight rose up and kissed the cross; and anon his squire brought him his arms, and asked his lord how he did. “I thank God right heartily," said he, “ for, through the holy vessel, I am healed. But I have great marvel of this sleeping knight, who hath had neither grace nor power to awake during the time that the holy vessel hath been here present.” “I dare it right well say,said the squire, “ that this same knight is stained with some manner of deadly sin, whereof he was never confessed.” So they departed.

Then anon Sir Launcelot waked, and set himself upright, and bethought him of what he had seen, and whether it were dreams or not.

And he was passing heavy, and wist not what to do. And he said : “My sin and my wretchedness hath brought me into great dishonor. For when I sought worldly adventures and worldly desires, I ever achieved them, and had the better in every place, and never was I discomfited in any quarrel, were it right or wrong.

And now I take upon me the adventure of holy things, I see and understand that mine old sin hindereth me, so that I had no power to stir nor to speak when the holy blood appeared before me." So thus he sorrowed till it was day, and heard the fowls of the air sing. Then was he somewhat comforted.

Then he departed from the cross into the forest. And there he found a hermitage, and a hermit therein, who was going to mass. So when mass was done, Sir Launcelot called the hermit to him, and prayed him for charity to hear his confession. “ With a good will,” said the good man. And then he told that good man all his life, and how he had loved a queen unmeasurably many years. all my great deeds of arms that I have done, I did the most part for the queen's sake, and for her sake

66 And

would I do battle, were it right or wrong,

and never did I battle all only for God's sake, but for to win worship, and to cause me to be better beloved ; and little or naught I thanked God for it. I pray you counsel me.”

“I will counsel you,” said the hermit, “if ye will insure me that ye will never come in that queen's fellowship as much as ye may forbear.” And then Sir Launcelot promised the hermit, by his faith, that he would no more come in her company. “Look that your heart and your mouth accord,” said the good man, “and I shall insure you that ye shall have more worship than ever ye had.”

Then the good man enjoined Sir Launcelot such penance as he might do, and he assoiled Sir Launcelot, and made him abide with him all that day. And Sir Launcelot repented him greatly.

SIR PERCEVAL.

arms.

Sir Perceval departed, and rode till the hour of noon; and he met in a valley about twenty men of

And when they saw Sir Perceval, they asked him whence he was; and he answered, “Of the court of King Arthur.” Then they cried all at once,“ Slay him." But Sir Perceval smote the first to the earth, and his horse upon him. Then seven of the knights smote upon his shield all at once, and the remnant slew his horse, so that he fell to the earth. So had they slain him or taken him, had not the good

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