Sacred Texts  Legends and Sagas  Index  BOOK XVII  Previous  Next 


How Sir launcelot had lain four-and-twenty days and as
many nights as a dead man, and other divers matters.

IN such manner they kept Launcelot four-and-twenty
days and all so many nights, that ever he lay still as a
dead man; and at the twenty-fifth day befell him after
midday that he opened his eyes.  And when he saw folk
he made great sorrow, and said:  Why have ye awaked
me, for I was more at ease than I am now.  O Jesu
Christ, who might be so blessed that might see openly
thy great marvels of secretness there where no sinner may
be!  What have ye seen? said they about him.  I
have seen, said he, so great marvels that no tongue may
tell, and more than any heart can think, and had not my
son been here afore me I had seen much more.

Then they told him how he had lain there four-and-twenty
days and nights.  Then him thought it was
punishment for the four-and-twenty years that he had
been a sinner, wherefore Our Lord put him in penance
four-and-twenty days and nights.  Then looked Sir
Launcelot afore him, and saw the hair which he had
borne nigh a year, for that he for-thought him right
much that he had broken his promise unto the hermit,
which he had avowed to do.  Then they asked how it
stood with him.  Forsooth, said he, I am whole of body,
thanked be Our Lord; therefore, sirs, for God's love tell
me where I am.  Then said they all that he was in the
castle of Carbonek.

Therewith came a gentlewoman and brought him
a shirt of small linen cloth, but he changed not there,
but took the hair to him again.  Sir, said they, the
quest of the Sangreal is achieved now right in you, that
never shall ye see of the Sangreal no more than ye have
seen.  Now I thank God, said Launcelot, of His great
mercy of that I have seen, for it sufficeth me; for as I
suppose no man in this world hath lived better than I
have done to enchieve that I have done.  And therewith
he took the hair and clothed him in it, and above that he
put a linen shirt, and after a robe of scarlet, fresh and
new.  And when he was so arrayed they marvelled all,
for they knew him that he was Launcelot, the good
knight.  And then they said all:  O my lord Sir Launcelot,
be that ye?  And he said:  Truly I am he.

Then came word to King Pelles that the knight that
had lain so long dead was Sir Launcelot.  Then was the
king right glad, and went to see him.  And when Launcelot
saw him come he dressed him against him, and there
made the king great joy of him.  And there the king
told him tidings that his fair daughter was dead.  Then
Launcelot was right heavy of it, and said:  Sir, me
forthinketh the death of your daughter, for she was a full
fair lady, fresh and young.  And well I wot she bare the
best knight that is now on the earth, or that ever was sith
God was born.  So the king held him there four days,
and on the morrow he took his leave at King Pelles
and at all the fellowship, and thanked them of their great

Right so as they sat at their dinner in the chief salle,
then was so befallen that the Sangreal had fulfilled the table
with all manner of meats that any heart might think.  So
as they sat they saw all the doors and the windows of the
place were shut without man's hand, whereof they were
all abashed, and none wist what to do.

And then it happed suddenly a knight came to the
chief door and knocked, and cried:  Undo the door.  But
they would not.  And ever he cried:  Undo; but they
would not.  And at last it noyed them so much that
the king himself arose and came to a window there where
the knight called.  Then he said:  Sir knight, ye shall
not enter at this time while the Sangreal is here, and
therefore go into another; for certes ye be none of the
knights of the quest, but one of them which hath served
the fiend, and hast left the service of Our Lord: and he
was passing wroth at the king's words.  Sir knight, said
the king, sith ye would so fain enter, say me of what
country ye be.  Sir, said he, I am of the realm of Logris,
and my name is Ector de Maris, and brother unto my
lord, Sir Launcelot.  In the name of God, said the king,
me for-thinketh of what I have said, for your brother is
here within.  And when Ector de Maris understood that
his brother was there, for he was the man in the world
that he most dread and loved, and then he said:  Ah God,
now doubleth my sorrow and shame.  Full truly said the
good man of the hill unto Gawaine and to me of our
dreams.  Then went he out of the court as fast as his
horse might, and so throughout the castle.