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Of the great danger that Sir Percivale was in by his horse,
and how he saw a serpent and a lion fight.

AND when Sir Percivale came nigh the brim, and saw the
water so boistous, he doubted to overpass it.  And then
he made a sign of the cross in his forehead.  When the
fiend felt him so charged he shook off Sir Percivale, and
he went into the water crying and roaring, making great
sorrow, and it seemed unto him that the water brent.
Then Sir Percivale perceived it was a fiend, the which
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 on the morn that it was day; then he saw that
he was in a wild mountain the which was closed with the
sea nigh all about, that he might see no land about him
which might relieve him, but wild beasts.

And then he went into a valley, and there he saw a
young serpent bring a young lion by the neck, and so he
came by Sir Percivale.  With that came a great lion
crying and roaring after the serpent.  And as fast as Sir
Percivale saw this he marvelled, and hied him thither, but
anon the lion had overtaken the serpent and began battle
with him.  And then Sir Percivale thought to help the
lion, for he was the more natural beast of the two; and
therewith he drew his sword, and set his shield afore him,
and there he gave the serpent such a buffet that he had
a deadly wound.  When the lion saw that, he made no
resemblaunt to fight with him, but made him all the
cheer that a beast might make a man.  Then Percivale
perceived that, and cast down his shield which was broken;
and then he did off his helm for to gather wind, for he
was greatly enchafed with the serpent: and the lion went
alway about him fawning as a spaniel.  And then he
stroked him on the neck and on the shoulders.  And then
he thanked God of the fellowship of that beast.  And
about noon the lion took his little whelp and trussed him
and bare him there he came from.

Then was Sir Percivale alone.  And as the tale telleth,
he was one of the men of the world at that time which
most believed in Our Lord Jesu Christ, for in those days
there were but few folks that believed in God perfectly.
For in those days the son spared not the father no more
than a stranger.  And so Sir Percivale comforted himself
in our Lord Jesu, and besought God no temptation should
bring him out of God's service, but to endure as his true
champion.  Thus when Sir Percivale had prayed he saw
the lion come toward him, and then he couched down at
his feet.  And so all that night the lion and he slept
together; and when Sir Percivale slept he dreamed a
marvellous dream, that there two ladies met with him,
and that one sat upon a lion, and that other sat upon a
serpent, and that one of them was young, and the other
was old; and the youngest him thought said:  Sir Percivale,
my lord saluteth thee, and sendeth thee word that
thou array thee and make thee ready, for to-morn thou
must fight with the strongest champion of the world.
And if thou be overcome thou shall not be quit for losing
of any of thy members, but thou shalt be shamed for ever
to the world's end.  And then he asked her what was her
lord.  And she said the greatest lord of all the world:
and so she departed suddenly that he wist not where.