THE BOOK OF ROMANCE - online children's book

King Arthur, His Court and Knights in the Age of Chivalry, by Andrew Lang

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78 THE QUEST OF THE HOLT GRAAL
the Knight rose up, and on his hands and knees he approached the Holy Vessel, and prayed, and was made whole of his sickness. After that the Graal went back into the chapel, and the light and the candlestick also, and Sir Lancelot would fain have followed, but could not, so heavy was the weight of his sins upon him. And the sick Knight arose and kissed the cross, and saw Sir Lancelot lying at the foot with his eyes shut. ' I marvel greatly at this sleeping Knight,' he said to his squire, ' that he had no power to wake when the Holy Vessel was brought hither.' ' I dare right well say,' answered the squire, 'that he dwelleth in some deadly sin, whereof he was never confessed.' ' By my faith,' said the Knight, ' he is unhappy, whoever he is, for he is of the fellowship of the Round Table, which have under­taken the quest of the Graal.' ' Sir,' replied the squire, ' you have all your arms here, save only your sword and your helm. Take therefore those of this strange Knight, who has just put them off.' And the Knight did as his squire said, and took Sir Lancelot's horse also, for it was better than his own.
After they had gone Sir Lancelot waked up wholly, and thought of what he had seen, wondering if he were in a dream or not. Suddenly a voice spoke to him, and it said, ' Sir Lancelot, more hard than is the stone, more bitter than is the wood, more naked and barren than is the leaf of the fig tree, art thou ; therefore go from hence and withdraw thee from this holy place.' When Sir Lancelot heard this, his heart was passing heavy, and he wept, cursing the day when he had been born. But his helm and sword had gone from the spot where he had lain them at the foot of the cross, and his horse was gone also. And he smote himself and cried, ' My sin and my wickedness have done me this dishonour; for when I sought worldly adventures for 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
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