And I pray that God may rest the souls of those two as I pray He may rest the souls of all of us who must some time go the way that those two and so many others have travelled before us. Amen.
The Book of Sir Percival
Here beginneth the story of Sir Percival of Gales, who was considered to be one of the three great knights of the Round Table at that time. For, if Sir Launcelot was the chiefest of all the knights who ever came unto King Arthur’s court, then it is hard to say whether Sir Tristram of Lyonesse or Sir Percival of Gales was second unto him in renown.
And I pray that it shall be given unto all of ye to live as brave and honorable and pure a life as he did; and that you, upon your part, may claim a like glory and credit in the world in which you dwell by such noble behavior as he exhibited.
[Illustration: Sir Percival of Gales]
The father of Sir Percival was that king hight Pellinore who fought so terrible a battle with King Arthur as has been told in the Book of King Arthur. For it was after that fight that King Arthur obtained his famous sword Excalibur, as was therein told.
Now, King Pellinore was one of those eleven kings who, in the beginning of King Arthur’s reign, were in rebellion against King Arthur as hath been told in the book aforesaid, and he was one of the last of all those kings to yield when he was overcome. So King Arthur drove him from town to town and from place to place until, at last, he was driven away from the habitations of men and into the forests like to a wild beast.
[Sidenote: King Pellinore fleeth to the wilderness] Now, King Pellinore took with him into the wilderness his wife and his four sons; to wit, Lamorack and Aglaval and Dornar and Percival. Of these, Percival was but three years of age; the others, excepting Dornar, being nigh to the estate of manhood. Thereafter that noble family dwelt in the forest like hunted animals, and that was a very great hardship for the lady who had been queen; and, likewise, it was greatly to the peril of the young child, Percival.
Now, Percival was extraordinarily beautiful and his mother loved him above all her other sons. Wherefore she feared lest the young child should die of those hardships in the wilderness.
So one day King Pellinore said: “Dear love, I am now in no wise prepared for to defend thee and this little one. Wherefore, for a while, I shall put ye away from me so that ye may remain in secret hiding until such time as the child shall have grown in years and stature to the estate of manhood and may so defend himself.
“Now of all my one-time possessions I have only two left to me. One of these is a lonely castle in this forest (unto which I am now betaking my way), and the other is a solitary tower at a great distance from this, and in a very desolate part of the world where there are many mountains. Unto that place I shall send ye, for it will not be likely that mine enemies will ever find ye there.