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"Let us pray that we may soon meet
again."

Then they kissed each other, and wept at the parting, and each rode his
own way into the forest before them.

But we must now leave them and return to Lancelot, whom we left sorely
repentant of his sins. After he departed from the hermitage he rode
through many lands and had divers adventures, and in the end came to the
sea-shore, beside which he lay down and slept.

In his slumber, words came to his ear, saying, "Lancelot, rise and take
thine armor, and enter into the first ship that thou shalt find." On
hearing these words he started up, and saw that all about him was
strangely clear, the skies giving out a light like that of midday. Then
he blessed himself, and took his arms, and advanced to the strand, where
he saw a ship without sails or oars. This he entered, as he had been
bidden, and when he was within it his heart was filled with such joy as
he had never before known.

Naught had he ever thought of or desired but what seemed come to him
now, and in his gladness he returned thanks fervently to the Lord.

"I know not what has happened to me," he said, "but such joy as I feel I
never dreamed the human heart could hold."

Then he lay down and slept on the ship's deck, and when he woke the
night had passed and it was broad day.

And in the ship he found a bed, whereon lay a dead lady, with a letter
in her right hand which Lancelot read. From this he learned that the
fair corpse was that of Percivale's sister, together with many of the
strange things that had happened to her and the chosen knights.

For a month or more Lancelot abode in this ship, driven about the seas,
and sustained by no food, but by the grace of the Holy Ghost, for he
prayed fervently for God's aid night and morning.

At length came a night when the ship touched the shore. Here he landed,
being somewhat weary of the deck. And as he stood on the strand he heard
a horse approach, and soon one rode by that seemed a knight.

When he came to the ship he checked his horse and alighted. Then, taking
the saddle and bridle from the horse, he turned it free and entered the
ship. Lancelot, in surprise, drew near.

"Fair knight," he said, "I know not who you are or why you come. But
since you seek passage on my ship you are welcome."

The other saluted him in turn, and asked,--

"What is your name? I pray you, tell me, for my heart warms strangely
towards you."

"My name is Lancelot du Lake."

"Then are we well met indeed. You are my father."

"Ah! then you are Galahad?"

"Yes, truly," and as he spoke he took off his helm, and kneeled, and
asked his blessing.

Joyful indeed was that meeting, and gladly there father and son
communed, telling each other all that had happened to them since they
left the court. When Galahad saw the dead maiden he knew her well, and
told his father the story of the sword, at which he marvelled greatly.

"Truly, Galahad," he said, "I never heard of aught so strange, and can
well believe you were born for wondrous deeds."

Afterwards for nearly half a year the father and son dwelt together
within that ship, serving God day and night with prayer and praise. Now
they touched on peopled shores, and now on desert islands where only
wild beasts abode, and perilous and strange adventures they met. But
these we shall not tell, since they had naught to do with the Sangreal.

But at length came a Monday morning when the ship touched shore at the
edge of a forest, before a cross, where they saw a knight armed all in
white, and leading a white horse. He saluted them courteously, and
said,--

"Galahad, you have been long enough with your father. You must now leave
the ship, and take this horse, and ride whither destiny shall lead you
in the quest of the Sangreal."

Hearing this command, Galahad kissed his father, and bade him farewell,
saying,--

"Dear father, I know not if we shall ever meet again."

"Then I bid you," said Lancelot, "to pray to the great Father that He
hold me in His service."

There came in answer a mysterious voice that spoke these words,--

"Think each to do well; for you shall never see each other till the
dreadful day of doom."

This voice of destiny affected them greatly, and they bade each other a
tearful farewell, Lancelot begging again the prayers of his son in his
behalf. Then Galahad mounted the white horse and rode into the forest,
while a wind arose which blew the ship from shore, and for a month drove
it up and down the seas.

But at length came a night when it touched shore on the rear side of a
fair and stately castle. Brightly shone the moon, and Lancelot saw an
open postern in which stood on guard two great lions. As he looked he
heard a voice.

"Lancelot," it said, "leave this ship and enter the castle. There shalt
thou see a part of that which thou desirest."

Lancelot at this armed himself and went to the gate, where the lions
rose rampant against him. With an instinct of fear he drew his sword,
but at that instant appeared a dwarf, who struck him on the arm so
sharply that the sword fell from his hand.

"Oh, man of evil hope and weak belief," came the mysterious voice,
"trust you more in your armor than in your Maker? Does He who brought
you here need a sword for your protection?"

"Truly am I reproved," said Lancelot. "Happy am I to be held the Lord's
ward and servant."

He took up his sword and put it in the sheath, then made a cross on his
forehead, and advanced to the lions, which raged and showed their teeth
as if ready to rend him in pieces. Yet with a bold step and tranquil
mien he passed between them unhurt, and entered the castle.

Through it he went, room by room, passage by passage, for every door
stood wide and no living being met him as he advanced. Finally he came
to a chamber whose door was closed, and which yielded not to his hand
when he sought to open it. He tried again with all his force, but the
door resisted his strength.

Then he listened, and heard a voice that sang more sweetly than he had
ever heard. And the words seemed to him to be, "Joy and honor be to the
Father of Heaven!"

Lancelot no longer sought to open the door, but kneeled before it,
feeling in his heart that the Sangreal was within that chamber.

"Sweet Father Jesus," he prayed, "if ever I did aught in thy service, in
pity forgive me my sins, and show me something of that which I seek."

As he prayed the door opened without hands, and from the room came a
light brighter than if all the torches of the world had been there. He
rose in joy to enter, but the voice spoke sternly in his ear,--

"Forbear, Lancelot, and seek not to enter here. If you enter, you shall
repent it dearly."

Then he drew back hastily, and looked into the chamber, where he saw a
table of silver, on which was the holy vessel covered with red samite,
with angels about it, one of which held a burning candle of wax, and one
a cross. And before the holy vessel stood a priest, who seemed to be
serving the mass. In front of the priest appeared to be three men, two
of whom put the youngest between the priest's hands, who held him up
high as if to show him. Yet so heavy seemed the figure that the priest
appeared ready to fall with weakness, and with a sudden impulse Lancelot
rushed into the room, crying, "Fair Lord Jesus, hold it no sin that I
help the good man, who seems in utmost need."

But as he rashly entered and came towards the table of silver, a breath
that seemed half fire smote him so hotly in the face that he fell
heavily to the earth, and lay like one bereft of all his senses. Then
many hands seemed to take him up, and bear him without the door, where
he lay to all seeming dead.

When morning dawned he was found there by the people of the castle, who
marvelled how he got there, and could not be sure if he were dead or
alive. But they laid him in a bed, and watched him closely, for days
passed without signs of life or death. At length, on the twenty-fifth
day, he gave a deep sigh, and opened his eyes, and gazed in wonder on
the people about him.

"Why have you wakened me?" he cried. "Why left you me not to my blessed
visions?"

"What have you seen?" they asked, eagerly.

"Such marvels as no tongue can tell nor ear understand," he said. "And
more had I seen but that my son was here before me. For God's love,
gentlemen, tell me where I am."

"Sir, you are in the castle of Carbonek."

"I thank God of His great mercy for what I have seen," he said. "Now
may I leave the quest of the Sangreal, for more of it shall I never see,
and few men living shall see so much."

These words said, he arose and dressed in new clothing that they brought
him, and stood in his old strength and beauty before the people.

"Sir Lancelot!" they cried, "is it you?"

"Truly so," he answered.

Then word was brought to King Pellam, the maimed king, who now dwelt in
that castle, that the knight who had lain so long between death and life
was Lancelot. Glad was the king to hear this, and he bade them bring
Lancelot to him.

"Long has my daughter Elaine been dead," he said. "But happy she lived
in having been loved by you, and in the grace of her noble son Galahad."

"I was but cold to her," answered Lancelot, "for she was a lovable lady.
But in truth I have been held from love and life's delights, for my fate
has not been my own to control."

For four days he abode at the castle, and then took his armor and horse,
saying that now his quest of the Sangreal was done, and duty bade him
return to Camelot.

Back through many realms he rode, and in time came to the abbey where
Galahad had won the white shield. Here he spent the night, and the next
day rode into Camelot, where he was received with untold joy by Arthur
and the queen.

For of the Knights of the Round Table who had set out on that perilous
quest more than half had perished, and small was the tale of that
gallant fellowship that could now be mustered. So the coming of
Lancelot filled all hearts with joy.

Great was the marvel of the king when Lancelot told him of what he had
seen and done, and of the adventures of Galahad, Percivale, and Bors.

"God send that they were all here again," said the king.

"That shall never be," said Lancelot.



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