Sacred Texts  Legends and Sagas  Index  BOOK XVII  Previous  Next 

 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
 the ship.
 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.