The Sangreal (Continued)
When Sir Boliort departed from Camelot he met with a religious man, riding upon an ass; and Sir Bohort saluted him. “What are ye?” said the good man. “Sir,” said Sir Bohort, “I am a knight that fain would be counselled in the quest of the Sangreal.” So rode they both together till they came to a hermitage; and there he prayed Sir Bohort to dwell that night with him. So he alighted, and put away his armor, and prayed him that he might be confessed. And they went both into the chapel, and there he was clean confessed. And they ate bread and drank water together. “Now,” said the good man, “I pray thee that thou eat none other till thou sit at the table where the Sangreal shall be.” “Sir,” said Sir Bohort, “but how know ye that I shall sit there?” “Yea,” said the good man, “that I know well; but there shall be few of your fellows with you.” Then said Sir Bohort, “I agree me thereto” And the good man when he had heard his confession found him in so pure a life and so stable that he marvelled thereof.
On the morrow, as soon as the day appeared, Sir Bohort departed thence, and rode into a forest unto the hour of midday. And there befell him a marvellous adventure. For he met, at the parting of two ways, two knights that led Sir Lionel, his brother, all naked, bound upon a strong hackney, and his hands bound before his breast; and each of them held in his hand thorns wherewith they went beating him, so that he was all bloody before and behind; but he said never a word, but, as he was great of heart, he suffered all that they did to him as though he had felt none anguish. Sir Bohort prepared to rescue his brother. But he looked on the other side of him, and saw a knight dragging along a fair gentlewoman, who cried out, “Saint Mary! succor your maid!” And when she saw Sir Bohort, she called to him, and said, “By the faith that ye owe to knighthood, help me!” When Sir Bohort heard her say thus he had such sorrow that he wist not what to do. “For if I let my brother be he must be slain, and that would I not for all the earth; and if I help not the maid I am shamed for ever.” Then lift he up his eyes and said, weeping, “Fair Lord, whose liegeman I am, keep Sir Lionel, my brother, that none of these knights slay him, and for pity of you, and our Lady’s sake, I shall succor this maid.”