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How Sir Galahad entered into the ship, and of a fair bed
therein, with other marvellous things, and of a sword.

IN the meanwhile Galahad blessed him, and entered therein;
and then next the gentlewoman, and then Sir Bors and Sir
Percivale.  And when they were in, it was so marvellous
fair and rich that they marvelled; and in midst of the
ship was a fair bed, and Galahad went thereto, and found
there a crown of silk.  And at the feet was a sword, rich
and fair, and it was drawn out of the sheath half a foot
and more; and the sword was of divers fashions, and the
pommel was of stone, and there was in him all manner of
colours that any man might find, and everych of the
colours had divers virtues; and the scales of the haft
were of two ribs of divers beasts, the one beast was a
serpent which was conversant in Calidone, and is called
the Serpent of the fiend; and the bone of him is of such
a virtue that there is no hand that handleth him shall
never be weary nor hurt.  And the other beast is a
fish which is not right great, and haunteth the flood of
Euphrates; and that fish is called Ertanax, and his bones
be of such a manner of kind that who that handleth them
shall have so much will that he shall never be weary, and
he shall not think on joy nor sorrow that he hath had
but only that thing that he beholdeth before him.  And
as for this sword there shall never man begrip him at the
handles but one; but he shall pass all other.  In the name
of God, said Percivale, I shall assay to handle it.  So he
set his hand to the sword, but he might not begrip it.
By my faith, said he, now have I failed.  Bors set his
hand thereto and failed.

Then Galahad beheld the sword and saw letters like
blood that said:  Let see who shall assay to draw me out
of my sheath, but if he be more hardier than any other;
and who that draweth me, wit ye well that he shall never
fail of shame of his body, or to be wounded to the death.
By my faith, said Galahad, I would draw this sword out
of the sheath, but the offending is so great that I shall not
set my hand thereto.  Now sirs, said the gentlewoman,
wit ye well that the drawing of this sword is warned to
all men save all only to you.  Also this ship arrived in
the realm of Logris; and that time was deadly war between
King Labor, which was father unto the maimed king, and
King Hurlame, which was a Saracen.  But then was he
newly christened, so that men held him afterward one of
the wittiest men of the world.  And so upon a day it
befell that King Labor and King Hurlame had assembled
their folk upon the sea where this ship was arrived; and
there King Hurlame was discomfit, and his men slain;
and he was afeard to be dead, and fled to his ship, and
there found this sword and drew it, and came out and
found King Labor, the man in the world of all Christendom
in whom was then the greatest faith.  And when
King Hurlame saw King Labor he dressed this sword,
and smote him upon the helm so hard that he clave him
and his horse to the earth with the first stroke of his
sword.  And it was in the realm of Logris; and so befell
great pestilence and great harm to both realms.  For
sithen increased neither corn, nor grass, nor well-nigh no
fruit, nor in the water was no fish; wherefore men call
it the lands of the two marches, the waste land, for that
dolorous stroke.  And when King Hurlame saw this
sword so carving, he turned again to fetch the scabbard,
and so came into this ship and entered, and put up the
sword in the sheath.  And as soon as he had done it
he fell down dead afore the bed.  Thus was the sword
proved, that none ne drew it but he were dead or maimed.
So lay he there till a maiden came into the ship and cast
him out, for there was no man so hardy of the world to
enter into that ship for the defence.