The High History of the Holy Graal

Author: Unknown


Perceval and Messire Gawain sojourned that day in the forest in the hermitage, and the morrow Perceval took his shield that he brought from King Arthur’s court, and left that which he brought with him, and Messire Gawain along with him that made himself right joyous of his company. They ride amidst the forest both twain, all armed, and at the right hour of noon they meet a knight that was coming a great gallop as though he were all scared. Perceval asketh him whence he cometh, that he seemeth so a-dread.

"Sir, I come from the forest of the robbers that won in this forest wherethrough you have to pass. They have chased me a full league Welsh to slay me, but they would not follow me further for a knight that they have beset in one of their holds, that hath done them right sore mischief, for he hath hanged four of their knights and slain one, as well as the fairest damsel that was in the kingdom. But right well had she deserved the death for that she harboured knights with fair semblant and showed them much honour, and afterward brought about their death and destruction, between herself and a dwarf that she hath, that slew the knights."

"And know you who is the knight?" saith Perceval.

"Sir," saith the knight, "Not I, for no leisure had I to ask him, for sorer need had I to flee than to stay. But I tell you that on account of the meat that failed him in the hold wherein they beset him, he issued forth raging like a lion, nor would he have suffered himself be shut up so long but for two wounds that he had upon his body; for he cared not to issue forth of the house until such time as they were healed, and also for that he had no horse. And so soon as he felt himself whole, he ventured himself against the four knights, that were so a-dread of him that they durst not come a-nigh. And moreover he deigneth not to go a-foot, wherefore if they now come a-nigh, it may not be but he shall have one at least out of their four horses, but they hold them heedfully aloof."

"Sir," saith Perceval,"Gramercy of these tidings."

They were fain to depart from the knight, but said he: "Ha, Lords, allow me so much as to see the destruction of this evil folk that have wrought such mischief in this forest! Sir" saith he to Messire Gawain, "I am cousin to the Poor Knight of the Waste Forest that hath the two poor damsels to sister, there where you and Lancelot jousted between you, and when the knight that brought you tidings thereof died in the night."

"By my faith," saith Messire Gawain, "These tidings know I well, for you say true, and your company hold I right dear for the love of the Poor Knight, for never yet saw I more courteous knight, nor more courteous damsels, nor better nurtured, and our Lord God grant them as much good as I would they should have."

Messire Gawain made the knight go before, for well knew he the robbers’ hold, but loath enough had he been to go thither, had the knights not followed him behind. Lancelot was issued forth of the hold sword in hand, all armed, angry as a lion. The four knights were upon their horses all armed, but no mind had they come a-nigh him, for sore dreaded they the huge buffets he dealt, and his hardiment. One of them came forward before the others, and it seemed him shame that they might not vanquish one single knight. He goeth to smite Lancelot a great stroke of his sword above in the midst of his head, nor did Lancelot’s sword fail of its stroke, for before he could draw back, Lancelot dealt him such a blow as smote oft all of his leg at the thigh, so that he made him leave the saddlebows empty. Lancelot leapt up on the destrier, and now seemed him he was safer than before. The three robber-knights that yet remained whole ran upon him on all sides and began to press him of their swords in right sore wrath. Thereupon behold you, the knight cometh to the way that goeth to the hold and saith to Messire Gawain and Perceval, "Now may you hear the dashing of swords and the melly."

Therewithal the two good knights smite horse with spur and come thither where the three robber-knights were assailing Lancelot. Each of the twain smiteth his own so wrathfully that they thrust their spears right through their bodies and bear them to the ground dead. Howbeit the third knight was fain to flee, but the knight that had come to show Messire Gawain the way took heart and hardiment from the confidence of the good knights, and smote him as he fled so sore that he pierced him with his spear to the heart and toppled him to the ground dead. And the one whose leg Lancelot had lopped off was so trampled underfoot of the knights that he had no life in him.


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Chicago: Unknown, "5," The High History of the Holy Graal, trans. Evans, Sebastian in The High History of the Holy Graal Original Sources, accessed March 29, 2023,

MLA: Unknown. "5." The High History of the Holy Graal, translted by Evans, Sebastian, in The High History of the Holy Graal, Original Sources. 29 Mar. 2023.

Harvard: Unknown, '5' in The High History of the Holy Graal, trans. . cited in , The High History of the Holy Graal. Original Sources, retrieved 29 March 2023, from