Didot Perceval

WHEN ARTHUR WAS consecrated and the Mass was sung, all of the nobles came out from the church and looked about them, and they did not see the stone nor did they know what had become of it. Thus was Arthur chosen for king and he held the land and the realm of Logres a long while in peace. When Arthur had been made king and the Mass was sung, he returned from there to his palace and with him all the nobles who had seen him draw the sword from the stone. Then after this election Merlin came to the court and when the nobles saw him who knew him they were very joyous. And Merlin spoke to them, saying: "Lords, now listen to what I will tell you. I wish much that you should know that Arthur whom you have received for king is the son of Uther Pendragon, your liege lord, and of Queen Ygerne. And when he was born the king commanded that he be given into my governance. As soon as I had received him I carried him to Ector because I knew Ector to be a worthy man. And he kept him willingly because of the good fortune which I told him he should have from it. And just as I told him, so has he seen it happen, for Arthur has made his son, Keu, his seneschal."

And the king said, "This certainly I have done and never in my life will he be removed from this post."

With this speech the joy was great and all the lords were glad of it, even Gavain who was the son of Arthur's sister and of King Lot.

After these proceedings the king commanded that all the tables be straightway erected and thus it was done and all seated themselves to eat throughout the room and were very splendidly served and had whatever they might wish to order. When the nobles had eaten, the lackeys and servants removed the tables, and the nobles arose and those who knew Merlin well and who had served Uther Pendragon came to the king and said to him: "Sire, honor Merlin greatly for he was a good prophet for your father and has always loved your family much. And he foretold to Vertigier his death and it was he who had the Round Table made. Now see to it that he is well honored, for you will never ask him about anything that he will not tell you.

And Arthur responded that thus he would do. Then the king took Merlin and seated him beside him and was most joyous of his coming. And Merlin told him: "Sire, I wish to hold counsel with you in private, and you may have with you two of your nobles in whom you trust most."

And the king said: "Merlin, I will do whatever you advise me will be good."

And Merlin responded: "I will not advise you toward anything which may be contrary to the will of Our Lord." Then the king called Keu the seneschal whom he had so long held for his brother, and Sir Gavain, the son of King Lot of Orkney, who was his nephew. And all four met in counsel and then Merlin told them: "Arthur, you are king, God be thanked. And Uther, your father, was a very worthy man and the Round Table was made in his time. It was made to signify that table where Our Lord sat on the Thursday when He said that Judas would betray Him. And also the table was made after that of Joseph which was fashioned for the Grail when Joseph separated the good from the evil. Now I wish for you to know that there have been two kings in Britain who have been kings of France and emperors of Rome. And also I wish that you should know that in Britain there will be yet a third king who will be king and emperor and will triumph by his might over the Romans. And I tell you, just as I have the power to know the things which are to come, as I receive them from Our Lord, that this was prophesied for you two hundred years before you were born and the fate was cast for you. But before you can be so noble and so valiant it is necessary that the Round Table should be exalted again by you. And certainly, I can promise you that you will never be emperor until the Round Table will be exalted in the way which I will tell you.

"It happened formerly that the Grail was given to Joseph when he was in the prison where Our Lord himself bore it to him. And when he had come from the prison this Joseph entered into a wilderness and many of the people of Judea with him. And as long as they behaved well, they had the grace of Our Lord; and when they did otherwise, then it was lacking. And they asked Joseph whether it was because of their sins or his that the Lord's grace was withdrawn from them. And when Joseph heard them he was grieved and went before his vessel and prayed to Our Lord that He might show what the truth was. And then the voice of the Holy Spirit manifested itself to him and said that he should make a table. And he did so, and when it was made he placed his vessel upon it and asked them to be seated. Then those seated themselves who were free of sin and those who had sinned departed, for they could no longer stay there.

"At this table there was a vacant place because it seemed to Joseph that no one ought to sit in the place where Our Lord had sat. And a false disciple who was named Moys and who had often tried and tempted them in many ways came to Joseph and prayed of him in the name of God that he might be allowed to fill this place that was empty, for he said that he felt so much of the grace of Our Lord that he was certainly worthy to sit in the empty place.

"And Joseph said to him: 'Moys, if you are not what you claim to be I advise that you should not make this trial.' And this disciple responded that to the degree that he was worthy, by so much might God allow him to fill the place. And Joseph answered him then that if he was this worthy, he might sit there. And Moys seated himself and tumbled down into the abyss.

"Now, in truth, Our Lord made the first table, and Joseph made the second, and I, In the time of Uther Pendragon, your father, had the third made, which still will be much exalted, and everyone will speak throughout the world of the good chivairy that will be in your time. So, know that the Grail was given into the hands of Joseph, and upon his death he left it to his brother-in-law who had the name of Bron. And this Bron had twelve sons, one of whom was named Alain Li Gros. And the Fisher King commanded him to be the guardian of his brothers. This Alain has come to this land from Judea, just as Our Lord has commanded him, in these islands toward the west thus they have reached this country, and the Fisher King dwells in the islands of Ireland in one of the most beautiful places in the world. And, in truth, he is in the greatest distress that any man ever was and has fallen into a great sickness. But certainly I can tell you this much, that, no matter the age he has, nor the infirmity, he cannot die until a knight who will be of the Round Table will have done so many deeds of arms and of chivalry in tourneys and by the seeking of adventures that he will be the most renowned in the world. And when this knight will be so exalted that he will be able to come to the court of the noble Fisher King and when he will have asked what it is that the Grail has served and what it is it serves, then immediately will the Fisher King be cured. And then he will tell him the secret words of Our Lord and he will pass from life to death, and this knight will have the keeping of the blood of Jesus Christ, and then will fall the enchantment from the land of Britain, and then the prophecy will be entirely fulfilled.

"Now you may be sure that, if you do just as I have told you, great good will come to you. And it is necessary for me to go hence, since I shall not be able to stay any longer in the world of man for you know that I do not have my Savior's permission to stay."

And the king said that if he was able or was willing to remain with him he would love him very much. And Merlin told him that it was impossible for him to stay. Then Merlin departed from the king and went from there into Northumberland to Blayse, who had been confessor to his mother and had set down in writing all those works which Merlin had told him. And Arthur remained with his nobles and thought much of this that Merlin had said.