Sacred Texts  Legends and Sagas  Index  BOOK XVII  Previous  Next 

 How Sir Launcelot entered into the ship where Sir Percivale's
 sister lay dead, and how he met with Sir Galahad,
 his son.
 NOW saith the history, that when Launcelot was come to
 the water of Mortoise, as it is rehearsed before, he was in
 great peril, and so he laid him down and slept, and took
 the adventure that God would send him.  So when he was
 asleep there came a vision unto him and said:  Launcelot,
 arise up and take thine armour, and enter into the first
 ship that thou shalt find.  And when he heard these words
 he start up and saw great clearness about him.  And then
 he lift up his hand and blessed him, and so took his arms
 and made him ready; and so by adventure he came by a
 strand, and found a ship the which was without sail or oar.
 And as soon as he was within the ship there he felt the
 most sweetness that ever he felt, and he was fulfilled with
 all thing that he thought on or desired.  Then he said:
 Fair sweet Father, Jesu Christ, I wot not in what joy
 I am, for this joy passeth all earthly joys that ever I was
 in.  And so in this joy he laid him down to the ship's
 board, and slept till day.  And when he awoke he found
 there a fair bed, and therein lying a gentlewoman dead,
 the which was Sir Percivale's sister.  And as Launcelot
 devised her, he espied in her right hand a writ, the which
 he read, the which told him all the adventures that ye
 have heard to-fore, and of what lineage she was come.  So
 with this gentlewoman Sir Launcelot was a month and
 more.  If ye would ask how he lived, He that fed the
 people of Israel with manna in the desert, so was he fed;
 for every day when he had said his prayers he was sustained
 with the grace of the Holy Ghost.
 So on a night he went to play him by the water side,
 for he was somewhat weary of the ship.  And then he
 listened and heard an horse come, and one riding upon
 him.  And when he came nigh he seemed a knight.  And
 so he let him pass, and went thereas the ship was; and
 there he alighted, and took the saddle and the bridle and
 put the horse from him, and went into the ship.  And then
 Launcelot dressed unto him, and said:  Ye be welcome.
 And he answered and saluted him again, and asked him:
 What is your name? for much my heart giveth unto you.
 Truly, said he, my name is Launcelot du Lake.  Sir, said
 he, then be ye welcome, for ye were the beginner of me in
 this world.  Ah, said he, are ye Galahad?  Yea, forsooth,
 said he; and so he kneeled down and asked him his
 blessing, and after took off his helm and kissed him.
 And there was great joy between them, for there is no
 tongue can tell the joy that they made either of other,
 and many a friendly word spoken between, as kin
 would, the which is no need here to be rehearsed.  And
 there everych told other of their adventures and marvels
 that were befallen to them in many journeys sith that they
 departed from the court.
 Anon, as Galahad saw the gentlewoman dead in the
 bed, he knew her well enough, and told great worship of
 her, that she was the best maid living, and it was great
 pity of her death.  But when Launcelot heard how the
 marvellous sword was gotten, and who made it, and all
 the marvels rehearsed afore, then he prayed Galahad, his
 son, that he would show him the sword, and so he did;
 and anon he kissed the pommel, and the hilt, and the
 scabbard.  Truly, said Launcelot, never erst knew I of so
 high adventures done, and so marvellous and strange.
 So dwelt Launcelot and Galahad within that ship half a
 year, and served God daily and nightly with all their
 power; and often they arrived in isles far from folk,
 where there repaired none but wild beasts, and there they
 found many strange adventures and perilous, which they
 brought to an end; but for those adventures were with
 wild beasts, and not in the quest of the Sangreal, therefore
 the tale maketh here no mention thereof, for it would be
 too long to tell of all those adventures that befell them.