92 THE QUEST OF THE HOLY GRAAL
that I most love. If you are without faith, or have any hidden sin, beware how you enter, else you will perish.' ' Fair sister,' answered he,' I shall enter therein, for if I am an untrue Knight then shall I perish.' So they entered the ship, and it was rich and well adorned, that they all marvelled.
In the midst of it was a fair bed, and Sir Galahad went thereto and found on it a crown of silk, and a sword drawn out of its sheath half a foot and more. The sword was of divers fashions, and the pommel of stone, wrought about with colours, and every colour with its own virtue, and the handle was of the ribs of two beasts. The one was the bone of a serpent, and no hand that handles it shall ever become weary or hurt; and the other is the bone of a fish that swims in Euphrates, and whoso handles it shall not think on joy or sorrow that he has had, but only on that which he beholds before him. And no man shall grip this sword but one that is better than other men. So first Sir Perci-vale stepped forward and set his hand to the sword, but he might not grasp it. Next Sir Bors tried to seize it, but he also failed. When Sir Galahad beheld the sword, he saw that there was written on it, in letters of blood, that he who tried to draw it should never fail of shame in his body or be wounded to the death. ' By my faith,' said Galahad, 1I would draw this sword out of its sheath, but the offending is so great I shall not lay my hand thereto.' ' Sir,' answered the gentlewoman, 'know that no man can draw this swrord save you alone'; and she told him many tales of the Knights who had set their hands to it, and of the evil things that had befallen them. And they all begged Sir Galahad to grip the sword, as it was ordained that he should. ' I will grip it,' said Galahad, ' to give you courage, but it belongs no more to me than it does to you.' Then he gripped it tight with his fingers, and the gentlewoman girt him about the middle with the sword, and after that they left that ship and went into