High History of the Graal; Perlesvaus
Of Lancelot the story is here silent, and so beginneth another branch of the Graal in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
You may well understand that King Arthur is no whit joyful. He maketh the white destrier go after him, and hath the crown of gold full near himself. They ride until they come to the castle that belonged to King Fisherman, and they found it as rich and fair as you have heard told many a time. Perceval, that was there within, made right great joy of their coming, as did all the priests and ancient knights. Perceval leadeth King Arthur, when he was disarmed, into the chapel where the Graal was, and Messire Gawain maketh present to Perceval of the Golden Circlet, and telleth him that the Queen sendeth it to him, and relateth also how Nabigant had seized it, and moreover, how Nabigant was dead. The King offereth the crown that had been Queen Guenievre's. When Perceval knew that she was dead, he was right sorrowful thereof in his heart, and wept and lamented her right sweetly. He showeth them the tomb of King Fisherman, and telleth them that none had set the tabernacle there above the coffin, but only the commandment of Our Lord, and he showeth them a rich pall that is upon the coffin, and telleth them that every day they see a new one there not less rich than is this one. King Arthur looketh. at the sepulchre and saith that never tofore hath he seen none so costly. A smell issueth therefrom full delicate and sweet of savour. The King sojourneth in the castle and is highly honoured, and beholdeth the richesse and the lordship and the great abundance that is everywhere in the castle, insomuch that therein is nought wanting that is needful for the bodies of noble folk. Perceval had made set the bodies of the dead knights in a charnel beside an old chapel in the forest, and the body of his uncle that had slain himself so evilly. Behind the castle was a river, as the history testifieth, whereby all good things came to the castle, and this river was right fair and plenteous. Josephus witnesseth us that it came from the Earthly Paradise and compassed the castle around and ran on through the forest as far as the house of a worshipful hermit, and there lost the course and had peace in the earth. All along the valley thereof was great plenty of everything continually, and nought was ever lacking in the rich castle that Perceval had won. The castle, so saith the history, had three names.
One of the names was Eden, the second, Castle
of Joy, and the third, Castle of Souls. Now Josephus saith that none never
passed away therein but his soul went to Paradise. King Arthur was one day at
the castle windows with Messire Gawain. The King seeth coming before him beyond
the bridge a great procession of folk one before another; and he that came
before was all clad in white, and bare a full great cross, and each of the
others a little one, and the more part came singing with sweet voices and bear
candles burning, and there was one behind that carried a bell with the clapper
and all at his neck.
When the hermits came nigh the castle, the
King went to meet them, and the knights adore the crosses and bow their heads
before the good men. As soon as they were come into the holy chapel, they took
the bell from the last and smote thereon at the altar, and then set it on the
ground, and then began they the service, most holy and most glorious. The
history witnesseth us that in the land of King Arthur at this time was there not
a single chalice. The Graal appeared at the sacring of the mass, in five several
manners that none ought not to tell, for the secret things of the sacrament
ought none to tell openly but he unto whom God hath given it. King Arthur beheld
all the changes, the last whereof was the change into a chalice. And the hermit
that chanted the mass found a brief under the corporal and declared the letters,
to wit, that our Lord God would that in such vessel should His body be
sacrificed, and that it should be set upon record. The history saith not that
there were no chalices elsewhere, but that in all Great Britain and in the whole
kingdom was none. King Arthur was right glad of this that he had seen, and had
in remembrance the name and the fashion of the most holy chalice. Then he asked
the hermit that bare the bell, whence this thing came?
One day, as the King sate at meat in the hall
with Perceval and Messire Gawain and the ancient knights, behold you therewithal
one of the three Damsels of the Car that cometh, and she was smitten all through
her right arm.
Lords, think not that it is this Camelot whereof these tellers of tales do tell their tales, there, where King Arthur so often held his court. This Camelot that was the Widow Lady's stood upon the uttermost headland of the wildest isle of Wales by the sea to the West. Nought was there save the hold and the forest and the waters that were round about it. The other Camelot, of King Arthur's, was situate at the entrance of the kingdom of Logres, and was peopled of folk and was seated at the head of the King's land, for that he had in his governance all the lands that on that side marched with his own.