Andrew Lang's King
Arthur - Tales of the Round Table
AN ADVENTURE OF SIR GAWAINE
Sir Gawaine rode long without meeting any adventure, and from Pentecost to
Michaelmas found none that pleased him. But at Michaelmas he met Sir Ector de
Maris and rejoiced greatly.
As they sat talking there appeared before them a hand showing unto the elbow
covered with red samite, and holding a great candle that burned right clear; and
the hand passed into the chapel and vanished, they know not where. Then they
heard a voice which said, "Knights full of evil faith and poor belief, these two
things have failed you, and therefore you may not come to the adventure of the
Holy Graal.'" And this same told them a holy man to whom they confessed their
sins, "for," said he, "you have failed in three things, charity, fasting, and
truth, and have been great murderers. But sinful as Sir Lancelot was, since he
went into the quest he never slew man, nor shall, till he come into Camelot
again. For he has taken upon him to forsake sin. And were he not so unstable, he
should be the next to achieve it, after Galahad his son. Yet shall he die an
holy man, and in earthly sinful men he has no fellow."
"Sir," said Gawaine, "by your words it seems that our sins will not let us
labour in that quest?" "Truly," answered the hermit, "there be an hundred such
as you to whom it will bring naught but shame." So Gawaine departed and followed
Sir Ector, who had ridden on before.