Sacred Texts  Legends and Sagas  Index  BOOK XVII  Previous  Next 


How King Pelles was smitten through both thighs because he
drew the sword, and other marvellous histories.

SIR, said she, there was a king that hight Pelles, the
maimed king.  And while he might ride he supported
much Christendom and Holy Church.  So upon a day he
hunted in a wood of his which lasted unto the sea; and at
the last he lost his hounds and his knights save only one:
and there he and his knight went till that they came toward
Ireland, and there he found the ship.  And when he saw
the letters and understood them, yet he entered, for he
was right perfect of his life, but his knight had none
hardiness to enter; and there found he this sword, and
drew it out as much as ye may see.  So therewith entered
a spear wherewith he was smitten him through both the
thighs, and never sith might he be healed, nor nought
shall to-fore we come to him.  Thus, said she, was not
King Pelles, your grandsire, maimed for his hardiness?
In the name of God, damosel, said Galahad.

So they went toward the bed to behold all about it, and
above the head there hung two swords.  Also there were
two spindles which were as white as any snow, and other
that were as red as blood, and other above green as any
emerald: of these three colours were the spindles, and of
natural colour within, and without any painting.  These
spindles, said the damosel, were when sinful Eve came to
gather fruit, for which Adam and she were put out of
paradise, she took with her the bough on which the apple
hung on.  Then perceived she that the branch was fair
and green, and she remembered her the loss which came
from the tree.  Then she thought to keep the branch as
long as she might.  And for she had no coffer to keep it
in, she put it in the earth.  So by the will of Our Lord
the branch grew to a great tree within a little while, and
was as white as any snow, branches, boughs, and leaves:
that was a token a maiden planted it.  But after God
came to Adam, and bade him know his wife fleshly as
nature required.  So lay Adam with his wife under the
same tree; and anon the tree which was white was full
green as any grass, and all that came out of it; and in
the same time that they medled together there was Abel
begotten: thus was the tree long of green colour.  And
so it befell many days after, under the same tree Caym
slew Abel, whereof befell great marvel.  For anon as
Abel had received the death under the green tree, it lost
the green colour and became red; and that was in tokening
of the blood.  And anon all the plants died thereof,
but the tree grew and waxed marvellously fair, and it was
the fairest tree and the most delectable that any man might
behold and see; and so died the plants that grew out of
it to-fore that Abel was slain under it.  So long dured
the tree till that Solomon, King David's son, reigned, and
held the land after his father.  This Solomon was wise
and knew all the virtues of stones and trees, and so he
knew the course of the stars, and many other divers things.
This Solomon had an evil wife, wherethrough he weened
that there had been no good woman, and so he despised
them in his books.  So answered a voice him once:
Solomon, if heaviness come to a man by a woman, ne
reck thou never; for yet shall there come a woman
whereof there shall come greater joy to man an hundred
times more than this heaviness giveth sorrow; and that
woman shall be born of thy lineage.  Tho when Solomon
heard these words he held himself but a fool, and the
truth he perceived by old books.  Also the Holy Ghost
showed him the coming of the glorious Virgin Mary.
Then asked he of the voice, if it should be in the yerde
of his lineage.  Nay, said the voice, but there shall come
a man which shall be a maid, and the last of your blood,
and he shall be as good a knight as Duke Josua, thy