Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK XVII CHAPTER VII
Legends and Sagas
A wonderful tale of King Solomon and his wife.
THAT night lay Solomon before the ship with little
fellowship. And when he was asleep him thought there came
from heaven a great company of angels, and alighted into
the ship, and took water which was brought by an angel,
in a vessel of silver, and sprent all the ship. And after
he came to the sword, and drew letters on the hilt. And
after went to the ship's board, and wrote there other letters
which said: Thou man that wilt enter within me, beware
that thou be full within the faith, for I ne am but Faith
and Belief. When Solomon espied these letters he was
abashed, so that he durst not enter, and so drew him
aback; and the ship was anon shoven in the sea, and he
went so fast that he lost sight of him within a little while.
And then a little voice said: Solomon, the last knight of
thy lineage shall rest in this bed. Then went Solomon
and awaked his wife, and told her of the adventures of
Now saith the history that a great while the three
fellows beheld the bed and the three spindles. Then they
were at certain that they were of natural colours without
painting. Then they lift up a cloth which was above the
ground, and there found a rich purse by seeming. And
Percivale took it, and found therein a writ and so he read
it, and devised the manner of the spindles and of the ship,
whence it came, and by whom it was made. Now, said
Galahad, where shall we find the gentlewoman that shall
make new girdles to the sword? Fair sir, said Percivale's
sister, dismay you not, for by the leave of God I shall let
make a girdle to the sword, such one as shall long thereto.
And then she opened a box, and took out girdles which
were seemly wrought with golden threads, and upon that
were set full precious stones, and a rich buckle of gold.
Lo, lords, said she, here is a girdle that ought to be set
about the sword. And wit ye well the greatest part of
this girdle was made of my hair, which I loved well while
that I was a woman of the world. But as soon as I wist
that this adventure was ordained me I clipped off my hair,
and made this girdle in the name of God. Ye be well
found, said Sir Bors, for certes ye have put us out of great
pain, wherein we should have entered ne had your tidings
Then went the gentlewoman and set it on the girdle of
the sword. Now, said the fellowship, what is the name of
the sword, and what shall we call it? Truly, said she, the
name of the sword is the Sword with the Strange Girdles;
and the sheath, Mover of Blood; for no man that hath
blood in him ne shall never see the one part of the sheath
which was made of the Tree of Life. Then they said to
Galahad: In the name of Jesu Christ, and pray you that
ye gird you with this sword which hath been desired so
much in the realm of Logris. Now let me begin, said
Galahad, to grip this sword for to give you courage; but
wit ye well it longeth no more to me than it doth to you.
And then he gripped about it with his fingers a great deal;
and then she girt him about the middle with the sword.
Now reck I not though I die, for now I hold me one of the
blessed maidens of the world, which hath made the worthiest
knight of the world. Damosel, said Galahad, ye have done
so much that I shall be your knight all the days of my life.
Then they went from that ship, and went to the other.
And anon the wind drove them into the sea a great pace,
but they had no victuals: but it befell that they came on
the morn to a castle that men call Carteloise, that was in
the marches of Scotland. And when they had passed the
port, the gentlewoman said: Lords, here be men arriven
that, an they wist that ye were of King Arthur's court, ye
should be assailed anon. Damosel, said Galahad, He that
cast us out of the rock shall deliver us from them.