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knight Sir Galahad, with the red cross, come there by adventure. And when he saw all the knights upon one, he cried out, “ Save me that knight's life.” Then he rode toward the twenty men of arms as fast as his horse might drive, with his spear in the rest, and smote the foremost horse and man to the earth. And when his spear was broken, he set his hand to his sword, and smote on the right hand and on the left, that it was marvel to see; and at every stroke he smote down one, or put him to rebuke, so that they would fight no more, but fled to a thick forest, and Sir Galahad followed them. And when Sir Perceval saw him chase them so, he made great sorrow that his horse was slain. And he wist well it was Sir Galahad. Then he cried aloud, " Ah, fair knight, abide, and suffer me to do thanks unto thee; for right well have ye done for me.” But Sir Galahad rode so fast, that at last he passed out of his sight. When Sir Perceval saw that he would not turn, he said, “Now am I a very wretch, and most unhappy above all other knights." So in this sorrow he abode all that day till it was night; and then he was faint, and laid him down and slept till midnight; and then he awaked, and saw before him a woman, who said unto him, “Sir Perceval, what dost thou here?" He answered, “I do neither good, nor great ill.” “If thou wilt promise me,” said she, “that thou wilt fulfil my will when I summon thee, I will lend thee my own horse, which shall bear thee whither thou wilt." Sir Perceval
was glad of her proffer, and insured her to fulfil all her desire. “Then abide me here, and I will go fetch you a horse.” And so she soon came again, and brought a horse with her that was inky black. When Perceval beheld that horse, he marvelled, it was so great and so well apparelled. And he leapt upon him, and took no heed of himself. And he thrust him with his spurs, and within an hour and less he bare him four days' journey thence, until he came to a rough water, which roared, and his horse would have borne him into it. And when Sir Perceval came nigh the brim, and saw the water so boisterous, he doubted to overpass it.
And then he made the sign of the cross on his forehead. When the fiend felt him so charged, he shook off Sir Perceval, and went into the water crying and roaring; and it seemed unto him that the water burned. Then Sir Perceval perceived it was a fiend that would have brought him unto his perdition. Then he commended himself unto God, and prayed our Lord to keep him from all such temptations; and so he prayed all that night till it was day. Then he saw that he was in a wild place, that was closed with the sea nigh all about.
And Sir Perceval looked forth over the sea, and saw a ship come sailing towards him; and it came and stood still under the rock. And when Sir Perceval saw this, he hied him thither, and found the ship covered with silk; and therein was a lady of great beauty, and clothed so richly that none might be better.
And when she saw Sir Perceval, she saluted him, and Sir Perceval returned her salutation. Then he asked her of her country and her lineage. And she said, “I am a gentlewoman that am disinherited, and was once the richest woman of the world.” “ Damsel,” said Sir Perceval, “ who hath disinherited you ? for I have great pity of you.” “Sir,” said she, “ my enemy is a great and powerful lord, and aforetime he made much of me, so that of his favor and of my beauty I had a little pride more than I ought to have had. Also I said a word that pleased him not. So he drove me from his company and from mine heritage. Therefore I know no good knight nor good man but I get him on my side if I may. And, for that I know that thou art a good knight, I beseech thee to help me.”
Then Sir Perceval promised her all the help that he might, and she thanked him.
And at that time the weather was hot, and she called to her a gentlewoman, and bade her bring forth a pavilion. And she did so, and pitched it upon the gravel. “Sir," said she, “now may ye rest you in this heat of the day.” Then he thanked her, and she put off his helm and his shield, and there he slept a great while. Then he awoke, and asked her if she had any meat, and she said yea, and so there was set upon the table all manner of meats that he could think on. Also he drank there the strongest wine that ever he drank, and therewith he was a little chafed more than he ought to be. With that he beheld the lady, and he thought she was the fairest creature that ever he saw. And then Sir Perceval proffered her love, and prayed her that she would be his. Then she refused him in a manner, for the cause he should be the more ardent on her, and ever he ceased not to pray her of love. And when she saw him well enchafed, then she said, “Sir Perceval, wit you well I shall not give ye my love, unless you swear from henceforth you will be my true servant, and do no thing but that I shall command you. Will you insure me this, as ye be a true knight?” “Yea," said he, “ fair lady, by the faith of my body.” And as he said this, by adventure and grace, he saw his sword lie on the ground naked, in whose pommel was a red cross, and the sign of the crucifix thereon. Then he made the sign of the cross on his forehead, and therewith the pavilion shrivelled up, and changed into a smoke and a black cloud. And the damsel cried aloud, and hasted into the ship, and so she went with the wind roaring and yelling that it seemed all the water burned after her. Then Sir Perceval made great sorrow, and called himself a wretch, saying, “How nigh was I lost!” Then he took his arms, and departed thence.
THE SANGREAL, CONTINUED.
WHEN Sir Bohort departed from Camelot he met with a religious man, riding upon an ass; and Sir Bohort saluted him. “What are ye?” said the good man. “Sir,” said Sir Bohort, “I am a knight that fain would be counselled in the quest of the Sangreal.” So rode they both together till they came to a hermitage ; and there he prayed Sir Bohort to dwell that night with him. So he alighted, and put away his armor, and prayed him that he might be confessed. And they went both into the chapel, and there he was clean confessed. And they ate bread and drank water together. “Now," said the good man, “I pray thee that thou eat none other till thou sit at the table where the Sangreal shall be." “Sir,” said Sir Bohort, “ but how know ye that I shall sit there?” “Yea,” said the good man, 66 that I know well; but there shall be few of your fellows with you.” Then said Sir Bohort, “I agree me thereto.” And the good man. when ha