Sacred Texts  Legends and Sagas  Index  BOOK XVII  Previous  Next 

 How the three knights, with Percivale's sister, came unto
 the same forest, and of an hart and four lions, and
 other things.
 THEN began he to weep right tenderly, and said:  Long
 have I abiden your coming, but for God's love hold me in
 your arms, that my soul may depart out of my body in so
 good a man's arms as ye be.  Gladly, said Galahad.  And
 then one said on high, that all heard:  Galahad, well hast
 thou avenged me on God's enemies.  Now behoveth thee
 to go to the Maimed King as soon as thou mayest, for he
 shall receive by thee health which he hath abiden so long.
 And therewith the soul departed from the body, and
 Galahad made him to be buried as him ought to be.
 Right so departed the three knights, and Percivale's
 sister with them.  And so they came into a waste forest,
 and there they saw afore them a white hart which four
 lions led.  Then they took them to assent for to follow
 after for to know whither they repaired; and so they rode
 after a great pace till that they came to a valley, and thereby
 was an hermitage where a good man dwelled, and the hart
 and the lions entered also.  So when they saw all this they
 turned to the chapel, and saw the good man in a religious
 weed and in the armour of Our Lord, for he would sing
 mass of the Holy Ghost; and so they entered in and heard
 mass.  And at the secrets of the mass they three saw the
 hart become a man, the which marvelled them, and set him
 upon the altar in a rich siege; and saw the four lions were
 changed, the one to the form of a man, the other to the
 form of a lion, and the third to an eagle, and the fourth
 was changed unto an ox.  Then took they their siege
 where the hart sat, and went out through a glass window,
 and there was nothing perished nor broken; and they heard
 a voice say:  In such a manner entered the Son of God in
 the womb of a maid Mary, whose virginity ne was perished
 ne hurt.  And when they heard these words they fell down
 to the earth and were astonied; and therewith was a great
 And when they were come to theirself again they went
 to the good man and prayed him that he would say them
 truth.  What thing have ye seen? said he.  And they told
 him all that they had seen.  Ah lords, said he, ye be welcome;
 now wot I well ye be the good knights the which
 shall bring the Sangreal to an end; for ye be they unto
 whom Our Lord shall shew great secrets.  And well ought
 Our Lord be signified to an hart, for the hart when he is
 old he waxeth young again in his white skin.  Right so
 cometh again Our Lord from death to life, for He lost
 earthly flesh that was the deadly flesh, which He had taken
 in the womb of the blessed Virgin Mary; and for that cause
 appeared Our Lord as a white hart without spot.  And
 the four that were with Him is to understand the four
 evangelists which set in writing a part of Jesu Christ's
 deeds that He did sometime when He was among you an
 earthly man; for wit ye well never erst ne might no knight
 know the truth, for ofttimes or this Our Lord showed Him
 unto good men and unto good knights, in likeness of an
 hart, but I suppose from henceforth ye shall see no more.
 And then they joyed much, and dwelled there all that day.
 And upon the morrow when they had heard mass they
 departed and commended the good man to God: and so
 they came to a castle and passed by.  So there came a
 knight armed after them and said:  Lords, hark what I shall
 say to you.