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THE

JL . 1 /



THE




KNIGHTS

ROUND






I

i



BY THE SAME AUTHOR

Each i vol., 12010, Illustrated by SIDNEY R.
BURLEIGH. Price, $1.50

THE KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE

THE COURT OF KING ARTHUR

THE WAGNER STORY BOOK



THE KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE




"PERCIVALE SAW A SHIP COMING TOWARD THE LAND.'



THE KNIGHTS OF
THE ROUND TABLE

STORIES OF KING ARTHUR
AND THE HOLY GRAIL




ILLUSTRATED BY SYDNEY RICHMOND BURLEIGH




COPYRIGHT, 1897, BY
CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS



TROW DIRECTORY

PRINTING AND BOOKBINDING COMPANY
NEW YORK



So

MY FATHER



CONTENTS



CHAPTER I

PAGE

ON GLASTONBURY TOR, i

CHAPTER II
How WE DISCOVERED CAMELOT, 23

CHAPTER III
THE BOY FROM THE FOREST 49

CHAPTER IV
THE QUEEN'S ROBING-ROOM, 76

CHAPTER V
" CAMELOT, THAT is IN ENGLISH WINCHESTER," . . 102

CHAPTER VI
THE BOAT ON THE RIVER, in

CHAPTER VII
THE GIANTS' DANCE, 126

CHAPTER VIII
ON THE EDGE OF LYONNESSE, 145



x Contents

CHAPTER IX PAGE

THE SIEGE PERILOUS ........ J 54

CHAPTER X
GAWAIN, .......... l6 9



CHAPTER XI

LANCELOT,



CHAPTER XII
BORS, .......... .184

CHAPTER XIII
PERCIVALE, . . . J 93

CHAPTER XIV
GALAHAD, .......... J Q8

CHAPTER XV
THE CITY OF SARRAS, ....... 208

CHAPTER XVI
STORIES OF STRANGE STONES, ...... 218

CHAPTER XVII
" AND ON THE MERE THE WAILING DIED AWAY," . . 233

CHAPTER XVIII
THE ABBESS AND THE MONK, ...... 265

CHAPTER XIX

" REXQUE FUTURUS," ....... 277



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

PAGE

" PERCIVALE SAW A SHIP COMING TOWARD THE LAND,"

Frontispiece

GLASTONBURY TOR, i

" AS HE PLAYED A STORM BEGAN TO RISE," . Facing l8

THE ABBOT'S KITCHEN, 23

" THE CITY AND THE FORTRESS OF THE RABBITS," . 49

" KAY'S HORSE GALLOPED BACK ALONE,". . Facing 72

THE TOWER OF LONDON, 76

THE ROUND TABLE AT WINCHESTER, .... 102

WINCHESTER CATHEDRAL, in

STONEHENGE, 126

ST. MICHAEL'S MOUNT, 145

THE LAND'S END, . . 154

" THE BRIGHT SPOT ON THE ROAD GREW SMALLER AND

SMALLER," Facing 166

"A PASTURE WHERE A HUNDRED AND FIFTY BULLS WERE

FEEDING," l6g

" THROUGH WOODS WHERE THERE WERE SCARCELY ANY

PATHS TO FOLLOW," 176

*' HE SAW THE WATER BEFORE HIM AND A SHIP," . 184
xi



xii List of Illustrations

PAGE

"'KNIGHT,' SHE SAID, 'WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?'" 193

" ' IT WAS KING EVELAKE'S SHIELD,' " . . . . 198
" ' I CUT OFF MY HAIR AND WOVE IT INTO A GIRDLE,'"

Facing 204

THE DOVE WITH THE GOLDEN CENSER, . . . 208

THE CHEESEWRING, 218

ST. JOSEPH'S CHAPEL, GI.ASTONIHJRY ABBEY, . . 233
" THE TWO GREAT WAVES BROKE UPON EACH OTHER,"

Facing 256

THE CHOIR, GLASTONBURY ABBEY, .... 265
" ON TOWARD THE GOLD AND THE PURPLE IN THE

WEST," 277



SOME OLDER STORY-TELLERS

THERE is really no need, perhaps, for me to
tell you that all these stories have been told
before. But, though you know it already, I like
to say it again, because I can never say often
enough how grateful I am to those who told the
world first of Arthur, of Guinevere, of Lance-
lot, and of Gawain ; of Galahad, of Percivale,
and of Percivale's sister ; of the Siege Perilous
and of the Holy Grail. If you do not now
count Sir Thomas Malory a dear friend, as I do,
learn to do it, and you will be the better for it.
I do not know who made those wonderful tales
the Mabinogion, but I know who gave them
to us in our own language Lady Charlotte
Guest. I wish that I knew whom to thank for
" The Romance of Merlin " and for the story of
" Gawain and the Green Knight." And there
were many other noble story-tellers of the old
time who passed away and left us no knowledge
of themselves and not even their names to call



xiv Some Older Story- Tellers

them by. But they left us their stories, and if
anything from us can reach them where they
are, surely gratitude can, and that they must
have from every one of us who loves a story.
And the great poet of our own days, Lord
Tennyson, must have it too, for teaching us
how to read their stories.

Some time you may read these tales and
others as they wrote them, and you cannot read
them without thinking what a great and mar-
vellous thing it was that they, who lived no
longer than other men, could give delight to
the people of so many centuries. But some of
these stories are not easy to find, and some are
not easy to read, when you have found them.
I have tried to tell a few of them again in my
own way, hoping that thus some might have
the stories and know them, for whom the older
books might be hard to get or hard to under-
stand.




THE KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND
TABLE

CHAPTER I

ON GLASTONBURY TOR

IT was when we were making a journey in
the South of England one summer that we
found ourselves in the midst of the old tales of
King Arthur and of the Holy Grail. " We "
means Helen, Helen's mother, and me. We
wandered about the country, here and there
and wherever our fancy led us, and every-
where the stories of King Arthur fell in our
way. In this place he was born, in that place
he was crowned ; here he fought a battle, there
he held a tournament. Everything could re-
mind us, when we knew how to be reminded,
of the stories of the King and the Queen and
the knights of the Round Table.



2 The Knights of the Round Table

It was I who told the stories and it was
Helen who listened to them. Sometimes
Helen's mother listened to them too, and some-
times she had other things to do that she cared
about more.

One day we had been riding for many hours
on the crooked railways of the Southwest,
where you change cars so often that after a lit-
tle while you cannot remember at all how many
trains you have taken. And late in the after-
noon, or perhaps early in the evening, we saw
from the window of the carriage a big hill, lift-
ing itself high up against the sky, with a lonely
tower on the top of it. And that was Glaston-
bury Tor.

There was no time to try to see anything of
Glastonbury that night after dinner, and we
were too tired. But that big hill looked so in-
viting that we decided that we would see it the
next day and climb up to the top of it, before
we did anything else. I was a little disap-
pointed with Glastonbury, as we walked
through the streets on our way to the Tor.
The place looked much too prosperous to
please me, and not at all too neat.

I cheered up a little when we came to the
Abbot's Kitchen. It stands in the middle of a
big field, with a fence around it, and we had to
borrow a key from a woman who kept it to lend,
so that we could go in and see it. We even



On Glastonbury Tor 3

spared a little time from the Tor to see it in.
The Abbot's Kitchen belonged to the old ab-
bey of Glastonbury. It is a small, square build-
ing-, with a fireplace in each corner. It is still
in such good repair that it is hardly fair to call
it a ruin, but it is a part of old Glastonbury,
and we carried back the key feeling glad that
we had borrowed it.

It was a good, stiff climb up the side of the
Tor, and we stopped more than once to look
back at the town behind us and below us. It
looked prettier from here. Down there in the
streets there was the noise of a busy modern
town. The ways were muddy and there were
rather frowsy women and children about some
of the doors. But up here we were out of sight
and hearing of all that. From here the town
looked quiet and peaceful and beautiful just
its roofs and chimneys and towers showing
through the wide, green masses of the trees,
and the sound of a church chime, that rang
every quarter of an hour, came to us softened
and mellow.

" Down there," I said, " we saw nothing but
Glastonbury to-day's Glastonbury but here
we can see Avalon. That is Avalon down there
below us, the Island of Apples, the happy
country, the place where there was no sorrow,
the place where fairies lived, the place where
Joseph brought the Holy Grail and where he



4 The Knights of the Round Table

built his church. A wonderful old place it was,
and it was a wonderful abbey that grew up
where Joseph first made his little chapel. Our
old friend St. Dunstan, who pinched the devil's
nose, was the abbot there once. So was St.
Patrick. When he came to Glastonbury he
climbed up to the top of this hill where we are
now and found, where this old tower is, the
ruins of a church of St. Michael. They used to
have a way of building churches to St. Michael
on the tops of high hills. St. Patrick rebuilt
this one and afterwards it was thrown down
by an earthquake. I don't know whether
St. Patrick built this tower that is here now
or not.

"Did I say that fairies used to live here?
Another abbot of Glastonbury found that out.
He was St. Collen, and he must have lived
when there was no church of St. Michael here
on the top of the Tor. St. Collen was one of
those men who think that they cannot serve
God and live in comfort at the same time.
When he had been abbot of Glastonbury for a
time he thought that he was leading too easy a
life, so he gave up his post and went about
preaching. But even that did not please him,
so he came back here and made a cell in the
rock on the side of Glastonbury Tor, and lived
in it as a hermit.

" One day he heard two men outside his cell



On Glastonbury Tor 5

talking about Gwyn, the son of Nudd. And
one of them said : ' Gwyn, the son of Nudd, is
the King of the Fairies.'

" Then Collen put his head out of the door
of his cell and said to the two men : ' Do not
talk of such wicked things. There are no fair-
ies, or if there are they are devils. And there
is no Gwyn, the son of Nudd. Hold your
tongues about him.'

"' Hold your own tongue about him,' one of
the men answered, ' or you will hear from him
in some unpleasant way.'

" The men went away, and by and by Collen
heard a knock at his door, and a voice asked if
he were in his cell. ' I am here,' he answered ;
' who is it that asks ? '

" ' I am a messenger from Gwyn, the son of
Nudd, the King of the Fairies,' the voice said,
' and he has sent me to command you to come
and speak with him on the top of the hill at
noon.'

" Collen did not think that he ought to mind
what the King of the Fairies said to him, if
there really were any King of the Fairies, so
he stayed in his cell all day. The next day the
messenger came again and said just what he
had said before, and again St. Collen stayed in
his cell all day. But the third day the messen-
ger came again and said to Collen that he must
come and speak with Gwyn, the son of Nudd,



6 The Knights of the Round Table

the King of the Fairies, on the top of the hill,
at noon, or it would be the worse for him.

" Then Collen took a flask and filled it with
holy water and fastened it at his waist, and at
noon he went up the hill. For a long time Col-
len had been abbot of Glastonbury and for a
long time he had been a hermit and lived in his
cell on the side of this very hill, but never be-
fore had he seen the great castle that stood that
day on the top of Glastonbury Tor. It did not
look heavy, as if it were built for war, but it
was wonderfully high and graceful and beauti-
ful. It had tall towers, with banners of every
color hung from the tops of them and lower
down, and there were battlements where ladies
and squires in rich dresses stood and looked
down at other ladies and squires below. And
those below were dancing and jousting and
playing games, and all around there were sol-
diers, handsomely dressed too, guarding the
place.

" When Collen came near, a dozen of the
people met him and said to him : ' You must
come with us to our King, Gwyn, the son of
Nudd he is waiting for you.'

" And they led him into the castle and into
the great hall. In the middle of the hall was a
table, spread with more delicious things to eat
than poor St. Collen, who thought that it was
wicked to eat good things, had ever dreamed



On Glastonbury Tor 7

of. And at the head of the table, on a gold
chair, sat a man who wore a crown. ' Coilen,'
he said, ' I am the King of the Fairies, Gwyn,
the son of Nudd. Do you believe in me now?
Sit down and eat with me, and let us talk to-
gether. You are a learned man, but you did
not believe in me. Perhaps I can tell you of
other things that so wise a man as you ought
to know.'

" But St. Coilen only took the flask of holy
water from his side and threw some of it upon
Gwyn, the son of Nudd, and sprinkled some of
it around, and in an instant there was no king
there and there was no table. The hall was
gone, and the castle. The dances and the games
were done, and the squires and the ladies and
the soldiers all had vanished. The whole of the
fairy palace was gone, and Coilen was left
standing alone on the top of Glastonbury Tor.

" But Glastonbury has forgotten St. Coilen,
I suppose. The old town is prouder now of
Joseph of Arimathaea than of anybody else
prouder than it is of King Arthur, I think,
though King Arthur but I won't tell you
about that now. You know how Joseph of
Arimathsea buried the Christ in his tomb after
He was taken down from the cross. After He
had risen again tfye Jews put Joseph in prison,
because they said that he had stolen the body.
But Joseph had with him the Holy Grail, the



8 The Knights of the Round Table

cup in which he had caught the blood of the
Saviour, when He was on the cross. It was the
same cup, too, from which the Saviour had
drunk at the Last Supper. It was a wonderful
thing, that cup, and there are whole volumes of
stories about it. The blood that Joseph had
caught in it always stayed in it afterwards,
and the cup and the blood seemed to have a
strange sort of life and knowledge and the
power of choosing. One of the wonderful
things about the Holy Grail was that it could
always give food to any one whom it chose,
and those who were fed by the Holy Grail
wanted no other food than what it gave them.
And so Joseph wanted nothing while he was in
prison.

" At last the Emperor had Joseph let out of
his prison. And some one asked him how long
it had been since he was put there, and he an-
swered : ' I have been here in this prison for
nearly three days.'

" Then they all stared at one another and
whispered and looked at Joseph, and then they
whispered together again. ' Why do you look
at one another and at me so,' said Joseph, ' is it
not three days, almost, since they put me
here ? '

" ' It is wonderful/ said one of them ; 'Joseph,
you have been in this prison for forty-two
years.'



On Glastonbury Tor 9

" ' Can it be ? ' said Joseph ; ' it seems to me
like only three days, and barely that, and I have
never been so happy in my life as I have been
for these three days or these can it be forty-
two years?'

" And this was because he had had the Holy
Grail in the prison with him. Afterwards he
came to England. He brought the Holy Grail
here to Avalon, and the King of that time gave
him some ground to build his church on. They
say it was really the island of Avalon then, for it
was all surrounded by marsh and water, and
there was an opening, a waterway, out to the
Bristol Channel. And since it ceased to be an
island the sea has twice at least broken through
and made it one again for a little while. But
the last time was almost two hundred years
ago.

" Well, when Joseph and those who were
with him first came here, they rested on the
hillside and Joseph stuck the staff that he car-
ried into the ground. It was not this hill where
we are, but another, Wearyall Hill. And Jo-
seph's staff, where he had set it in the ground,
began to bud, and then leaves and branches
grew on it. It struck roots into the ground and
became a tree. It was a thorn-tree, the Holy
Thorn they called it, and always after that it
blossomed twice a year, once in the time of
other thorn-trees and again at Christmas. The



io The Knights of the Round Table

tree was gone, of course, long ago, but other
trees had grown from slips of it, and they say
that descendants of it are still growing in Glas-
tonbury gardens and that they still bloom at
Christmas. I am sorry that we cannot stay
here till Christmas to see if it is true.

" So, in the place that the King gave him, Jo-
seph built his chapel of wood and woven twigs,
and it was the first Christian church in Eng-
land. Some of the stories say that the Holy
Grail, that Joseph brought here with him, was
buried at last under one of these Glastonbury
hills, but that is not the story that I like the
best. One story says that it was not a cup at
all that Joseph brought to Avalon, but two cru-
ets. It says besides that these two cruets were
buried with Joseph when he died, and that when
his grave is found, and the two cruets in it,
there will never again be any drought in Eng-
land. But according to the story that I like
best, Joseph did not die at all, as other men
die, but was long kept alive by the Holy Grail,
waiting for the best knight of the world, for it
was foretold that he should never die till the
best knight of the world should come.

" Since it was here that the Grail was
brought, I think it must have been not far from
here that King Pelles lived, before Balin gave
him the wound that was never to heal till the
best of all knights should come. And I fancy



On Glastonbury Tor n

it was somewhere near here, too, that he lived
after that. He was the keeper of the Grail, and
he had a castle called Carbonek. When we talk
of the Grail it seems to me that everything be-
comes mysterious and uncertain, so that it is
hard to tell where this Castle of Carbonek was.
At one time it seems to have been on the sea-
shore and at another time it seems to have been
inland. But for that very reason I think that
Avalon is as likely a place for it as any, for this
place was inland, just as it is now, but then the
waters of the sea came in around it. Yet the
land around King Pelles's old castle was all laid
waste, and I have never heard that the land
around Avalon was so. But you see that it is
all uncertain and strange, and we cannot be sure
of anything about it.

" I think I have told you the story about
King Pelles and Balin before, but I will tell you
a little of it again, because it fits in so well
just here. King Pelles was descended from Jo-
seph of Arimathsea, and, as I said, he was the
keeper of the Holy Grail. Once Balin came to
his castle, seeking for Garlon, a knight who had
the power of riding invisible and who killed
other knights, when they could not see him.
Balin found him there and killed him, and King
Pelles tried to avenge his death, because he was
his brother.

" Balin had broken his sword and he fled



12 The Knights of the Round Table

from King Pelles and ran through the castle till
he came to a chamber where Joseph of Arima-
thaea, who was kept alive by the power of the
Holy Grail, was lying in a bed. And beside him
was a spear, with drops of blood flowing from
the point. It was the spear with which the Ro-
man soldier wounded the side of the Christ
when He was on the cross. Balin seized it and
turned upon King Pelles and wounded him with
it in the side.

" Then the whole castle fell down around
them and all the country about it became waste
and dry and desolate. Balin lay under the ruins
for three days, and then Merlin, the great magi-
cian of King Arthur's court, came and woke
him and gave him a horse and a sword and sent
him on his way. Afterwards Balin met his
brother Balan, and they fought, neither of them
knowing who the other was, till they killed
each other. Then Merlin took the sword with
which Balin had killed his brother and drove
it into a great stone, up to the hilt, and set the
stone floating on the river. And he wrote on
the stone that no knight should ever draw this
sword out of the stone except the one to whom
it should belong, the best knight of the world.

" I cannot tell you how King Pelles got out
of the ruins of his castle, but afterwards he had
another castle, the one that was called Carbonek.
He was still the keeper of the Grail. And it



On Glastonbury Tor 13

was foretold that the wound in the side that
Balin had given to him with the spear would
never be healed till the best knight of all the
world should come. So for many years King
Pelles lived in his castle and bore the pain of a
wound that always seemed new and fresh, and
waited for the coming of the best knight of the
world.

" This is getting to be a rather rambling sort
of story, and while we are rambling perhaps I
may as well tell you about the adventure that Sir
Bors had at the Castle of Carbonek. Bors was
a knight of the Round Table. He was one of
the best of all of them. He sat at the table in
the next seat but one to the Siege Perilous.
The Siege Perilous was the seat on the right of
the King's. Merlin had made it when he made
the Round Table, and he said that no one should
ever sit in it without coming to harm, except the
best knight of all the world. So for many years
no one had sat in that seat. And no one sat
in the one next to it either, but Bors sat in
the one next to that. Next to him sat his cousin
Lancelot. They were the sons of two kings who
were brothers, Ban and Bors, who had helped
King Arthur, when he first came to his throne.

" Lancelot was counted as the best of all King
Arthur's knights. He was the strongest and
the bravest of them all, people said, and the best
fighter, and the King and the Queen loved him



14 The Knights of the Round Table

more than any of the others. Nobody could see
why he should not sit in the Siege Perilous, but
whenever a knight came to the Round Table
his name appeared of itself, in gold letters, in
the seat that he was to have, and nobody could
sit in the Siege Perilous till his name came in it.

" But I set out to tell you about Sir Bors.
Once Bors came to the Castle of Carbonek. A
wandering knight, in those days, was always
welcome in every castle, and so King Pelles wel-
comed Bors. The King was brought into the
hall and Bors was placed at the table between
him and his daughter. And there in the hall,
too, Bors saw a beautiful child, a boy, with deep
eyes and a bright, sweet face and golden hair.
He was the son of King Pelies's daughter, and
I will tell you more about him another time.

" It was a strange way of entertaining guests
that they had here, Bors thought, for, though
they were sitting at the table, there was nothing
to eat on it. Just as Bors noticed this he saw a
white dove fly into the room. It carried a little
golden censer, by a chain which it held in its
beak. The thin smoke from the censer spread
through the hall and filled it with a strange,
sweet odor. And while the dove flew about the
hall a girl came in, carrying something covered
with white silk, which she held high up in her
hands. Bors could not see what it was that she
carried, but all who were in the hall knelt down



On Glastonbury Tor 15

and looked up toward it, and Bors did the same.
But though the covering of silk hid the thing it-
self which was under it, there was something
about it that it could not hide. For the white
silk was all glowing with a rosy light that came
from within it, and it shone through it and shed
a rosy brightness all through the hall. The dove
flew out of the room again and the girl went
away too. And this was the Holy Grail that
had passed, and Bors had not seen it.

" But when it was gone and Bors looked at
the table again it was covered with food, finer
and more delicious than Bors had ever tasted or
seen before. ' There are strange things to see
in your castle, King Pelles,' said Bors.

" ' There are stranger things than you have
seen yet,' King Pelles answered. ' It is a place
of wonders and of danger for knights, and few of
them leave here without coming to harm. Only
for the best of them is it safe to stay all night in
my castle. You, Sir Knight, may stay if you
will, but it will be better for you to go, and
so I warn you.'

"'It is not for me to say,' Bors answered,
'that I am better than other knights, and indeed
I know some who are better than I. But I am
not afraid to be in your castle for a night, and
here I will stay.'

"'Do as you please,' said the King, 'but I
have warned you.'



1 6 The Knights of the Round Table

" So, when it was time to go to bed, Bors was
led to a chamber and left alone in it. Nothing
that the King had said had made him afraid, but
he thought that it would be better not to take
off his armor. And as soon as he had lain down
in his armor a great beam of light shone upon
him. He could not tell where it came from, but
suddenly, along in the beam of light, came a
spear, with no hand to hold it, and a little stream
of blood flowed from the point of the spear.


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