Sacred Texts  Legends and Sagas  Index  BOOK XVI  Previous  Next 


How the hermit expounded their advision.

THEN spake Nacien unto Ector:  Sooth it is that Launcelot
and ye came down off one chair: the chair betokeneth
mastership and lordship which ye came down from.  But
ye two knights, said the hermit, ye go to seek that ye shall
never find, that is the Sangreal; for it is the secret thing of
our Lord Jesu Christ.  What is to mean that Sir Launcelot
fell down off his horse: he hath left pride and taken him
to humility, for he hath cried mercy loud for his sin, and
sore repented him, and our Lord hath clothed him in his
clothing which is full of knots, that is the hair that he
weareth daily.  And the ass that he rode upon is a beast
of humility, for God would not ride upon no steed, nor
upon no palfrey; so in ensample that an ass betokeneth
meekness, that thou sawest Sir Launcelot ride on in thy
sleep.  And the well whereas the water sank from him
when he should have taken thereof, and when he saw he
might not have it, he returned thither from whence he
came, for the well betokeneth the high grace of God, the
more men desire it to take it, the more shall be their
desire.  So when he came nigh the Sangreal, he meeked
him that he held him not a man worthy to be so nigh the
Holy Vessel, for he had been so defouled in deadly sin by
the space of many years; yet when he kneeled to drink of
the well, there he saw great providence of the Sangreal.
And for he had served so long the devil, he shall have
vengeance four-and-twenty days long, for that he hath
been the devil's servant four-and-twenty years.  And
then soon after he shall return unto Camelot out of this
country, and he shall say a part of such things as he hath

Now will I tell you what betokeneth the hand with the
candle and the bridle: that is to understand the Holy
Ghost where charity is ever, and the bridle signifieth
abstinence.  For when she is bridled in Christian man's
heart she holdeth him so short that he falleth not in deadly
sin.  And the candle which sheweth clearness and sight
signifieth the right way of Jesu Christ.  And when he
went and said: Knights of poor faith and of wicked
belief, these three things failed, charity, abstinence, and
truth; therefore ye may not attain that high adventure of
the Sangreal.