The Celtic Literature Collective

Didot Perceval
Chapter 9: The Return to the Hermit Uncle

THEREUPON he departed from her, and when he had started upon the way he rode at a great pace, and he lay that night in the forest. And, in truth, he rode seven years through the lands and the forests seeking adventures, and, indeed, he found neither adventure of knighthood nor of marvelous powers in which he failed to acquit himself successfully. And in these seven years he sent more than a hundred prisoners to the court of the rich King Arthur; and truly, because of the marvels that he found and the things that he saw and because he could not find the house of his grandfather the rich Fisher King, he became so mad and so far from his right mind and his memory so far failed him that in these seven years he never remembered God nor entered into holy church nor chapel.

And thus he rode upon the day of the Holy Cross when Our Lord suffered death for sinners," and he was all armed as if to defend himself and to harm others if he encountered them. Then he met some ladies and knights all bowed within their capes and hoods, and they went to reconcile their sins with Jesus Christ through prayers. Then they stopped and asked him what powerful fate maddened him, that on the day that Our Lord had suffered on the cross he was armed to kill men or find adventure. And when Perceval heard them speak of God and recall Him to mind he became conscious of himself and returned to his right mind by the will of Jesus Christ and repented deeply of the madness that had so long led him, and he disarmed himself immediately. And the story says that just as God willed he arrived at the house of his uncle the hermit, there where his sister had brought him to be confessed; and he confessed to him and made such penance as he charged him, and he stayed with him two months.

But of this ChrÍtien de Troies does not speak, nor the other trouveres who have composed of it in order to make their rhymes pleasant, but we tell only so much as appears in the story and as Merlin had written by Blayse his master who dwelt in Northumberland and was so old he could hardly sustain himself. And he saw and knew the adventures that happened to Perceval each day, and had them written by Blayse in order that they might be spoken of to worthy men who would wish to hear them. Now know that we find in the writings that Blayse relates to us, just as Merlin made him write down and record it, that Perceval stayed in the house of his uncle for two months. And know that at this time when Perceval came there his sister was dead and had passed from this world. And Perceval said: "Sir, I will go to see my sister for I love her with a very deep love. " Mid when the hermit heard him he began to weep and said: "Dear nephew, you will nevermore see her, for, in truth, she has been dead for a year and a half. And when I knew that she was dead I was very sorrowful, and I went there and had her borne to my dwelling and buried her there outside of my home."

When Perceval heard that his sister had passed from this world he was very sad, and no matter II one had given him all the gold in the world still he could not have kept the tears from his eyes. And he said to his uncle: "Sir, in God's name, lead me to see the tomb of my sister who loved me so much." And the worthy man answered: 'Willingly. "Then he led him straight to the tomb where the damsel was buried and said to him: "Dear nephew, here your sister was buried." And when Perceval heard this he began to weep, and then they said prayers for her soul. And when they had prayed Our Lord for her soul the hermit said to him: "Dear nephew, will you not go then to see your home, which belonged to Alain li Gros your father and my brother? Know that it will all be at your disposition."

When Perceval heard this he said: "Sir, so God aid me, I would not go if one would give me the realm of the rich King Arthur, for I would mourn too much if I saw the house of my father so emptied of my loved ones for I would not find there a soul who was related to me." And the worthy man said: "Dear nephew, this you would not, most certainly." Then Perceval said to him: "Dear uncle, I would depart by your leave, and know that I will never stop until I have found the house of my grandfather your father." When the hermit heard him he said:

"Dear nephew, may the blessed Jesus Christ allow you to win to it; and know that I will pray much to Our Lord that it may be."

I | II | III | IV | V
VI | VII | VIII | IX | X | XI

SOURCE: Didot Perceval, or, The Romance of Perceval in Prose. ed. and trans. Dell Skeels. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1966.

Back to Continental Texts
Back to CLC