Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK XVI CHAPTER V

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Of the good counsel that the hermit gave to them.

CERTES, said Gawaine, soothly have ye said, that I see it
openly.  Now, I pray you, good man and holy father, tell
me why we met not with so many adventures as we were
wont to do, and commonly have the better.  I shall tell
you gladly, said the good man; the adventure of the
Sangreal which ye and many other have undertaken the
quest of it and find it not, the cause is for it appeareth
not to sinners.  Wherefore marvel not though ye fail
thereof, and many other.  For ye be an untrue knight
and a great murderer, and to good men signifieth other
things than murder.  For I dare say, as sinful as Sir
Launcelot hath been, sith that he went into the quest of
the Sangreal he slew never man, nor nought shall, till that
he come unto Camelot again, for he hath taken upon him
for to forsake sin.  And nere that he nis not stable, but
by his thought he is likely to turn again, he should be next
to enchieve it save Galahad, his son.  But God knoweth his
thought and his unstableness, and yet shall he die right an
holy man, and no doubt he hath no fellow of no earthly
sinful man.  Sir, said Gawaine, it seemeth me by your words
that for our sins it will not avail us to travel in this quest
Truly, said the good man, there be an hundred such as ye
be that never shall prevail, but to have shame.  And when
they had heard these voices they commended him unto

Then the good man called Gawaine, and said:  It is
long time passed sith that ye were made knight, and never
sithen thou servedst thy Maker, and now thou art so old
a tree that in thee is neither life nor fruit; wherefore bethink
thee that thou yield to Our Lord the bare rind, sith
the fiend hath the leaves and the fruit.  Sir, said Gawaine
an I had leisure I would speak with you, but my fellow
here, Sir Ector, is gone, and abideth me yonder beneath
the hill.  Well, said the good man, thou were better to be
counselled.  Then departed Gawaine and came to Ector,
and so took their horses and rode till they came to a
forester's house, which harboured them right well.  And
on the morn they departed from their host, and rode long
or they could find any adventure.