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Thomas Bulfinch
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 350 pages of information about The Age of Chivalry.

And Perceval was resting on the shaft of his spear, pondering the same thought, and Sir Gawain came to him, and said:  “If I thought it would be as agreeable to thee as it would be to me, I would converse with thee.  I have also a message from Arthur unto thee, to pray thee to come and visit him.  And two men have been before on this errand.”  “That is true,” said Perceval; “and uncourteously they came.  They attacked me, and I was annoyed thereat” Then he told him the thought that occupied his mind, and Gawain said, “This was not an ungentle thought, and I should marvel if it were pleasant for thee to be drawn from it.”  Then said Perceval, “Tell me, is Sir Kay in Arthur’s court?” “He is,” said Gawain; “and truly he is the knight who fought with thee last.”  “Verily,” said Perceval, “I am not sorry to have thus avenged the insult to the smiling maiden.  “Then Perceval told him his name, and said, “Who art thou?” And he replied, “I am Gawain.”  “I am right glad to meet thee,” said Perceval, “for I have everywhere heard of thy prowess and uprightness; and I solicit thy fellowship.”  “Thou shalt have it, by my faith; and grant me thine,” said he.  “Gladly will I do so,” answered Perceval.

So they went together to Arthur, and saluted him.

“Behold, lord,” said Gawain, “him whom thou hast sought so long.”  “Welcome unto thee, chieftain,” said Arthur.  And hereupon there came the queen and her handmaidens, and Perceval saluted them.  And they were rejoiced to see him, and bade him welcome.  And Arthur did him great honor and respect and they returned towards Caerleon.

CHAPTER XIX

THE SANGREAL, OR HOLY GRAAL

The Sangreal was the cup from which our Saviour drank at his last supper.  He was supposed to have given it to Joseph of Arimathea, who carried it to Europe, together with the spear with which the soldier pierced the Saviour’s side.  From generation to generation, one of the descendants of Joseph of Arimathea had been devoted to the guardianship of these precious relics; but on the sole condition of leading a life of purity in thought, word, and deed.  For a long time the Sangreal was visible to all pilgrims, and its presence conferred blessings upon the land in which it was preserved.  But at length one of those holy men to whom its guardianship had descended so far forgot the obligation of his sacred office as to look with unhallowed eye upon a young female pilgrim whose robe was accidentally loosened as she knelt before him.  The sacred lance instantly punished his frailty, spontaneously falling upon him, and inflicting a deep wound.  The marvellous wound could by no means be healed, and the guardian of the Sangreal was ever after called “Le Roi Pescheur,”—­The Sinner King.  The Sangreal withdrew its visible presence from the crowds who came to worship, and an iron age succeeded to the happiness which its presence had diffused among the tribes of Britain.

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