The Fisher King
There are hundreds maybe even thousands of myths, poems, and storeys
that are about King Arthur, his royal knights, the quest for the Grail.
In the workshop we used one of the very fist poems that mentions
Perceval who is on his quest or thinks he is. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perceval,_the_Story_of_the_Grail) We were told the myth to start out workshop, loosely as follows. Or how I remember it..
Perceval who is has become a knight, as he always wanted to be, is on
his way home to show his mother what a wonderful knight he has become.
As he is travelling down the road he comes to a lake, which he must
cross in order to get home. He sees a man in a boat fishing on the
lake. He calls out to him, asking if he can have passage across the
lake so that he can continue on home to show his mum what a wonderful
knight he has become. The man in the boat tells him that he can’t
today, however he can tomorrow morning when there is a bigger boat he
should be able to cross. The man in the boat then informs him if he
continues down the road and over the hill he will find lodgings for him
and his horse.
Perceval turns his horse and continues down the road and over the
hill where he sees a huge stunning castle. When he arrives at the
castle servants come out to attend to his and his horses every need. He
is then directed to the feasting hall for as there is a great feast that
Once he enters the hall he notices how finely everyone is dress, and
the tables full to groaning of amazing looking and smelling food some
which he has never seen before. He sees whole roasted pigs, lambs and
geese sitting on beds of vegetables, and the most wondrous deserts.
Women on the dance floor like flocks of pretty butterflies and exotic
birds their clothing is so beautifully. Even the servants in their
castle livery are richly dressed. As he wonders around the feasting
hall the King who is sitting on a dais sees him and calls him over to
dine with him gesturing to the seat next to him. Perceval sits next to
the King and on a closer look sees that it is the same guy who was
fishing from the Boat that morning on the lake. However seeing as
Perceval has been told before, during his knightly training that he
talks to much and he is in the presents of a king he wisely, he thinks,
decides to keep his mouth shut and not say anything. During the
evening there are several strange events that nobody else seems to
notice. First there is a page who is carrying a sword, the most
beautiful sword that Perceval has ever seen, it is rendered in the most
shiniest golds and silvers with an ornate handle and strong blade. The
page presents it to the King who in turns to Percival telling him that
it is only one of three such magical swords in the world, it is said
that it can slain anything even dragons, however it will shatter but
only when it decides it to and nobody can know when that is. Perceval
is surprised when the King then hands it to him as a gift. Perceval
then after admiring the sword hands it on to a nave to have it taken to
his room for the night.
Perceval turns back to the crowd of lords and
ladies who are milling about in the hall in their finery eating the
fabulous food, dancing and drinking the amazing wines. A little while
later another page enters with beautiful a lance that is dripping blood,
this time the king doesn’t notice the lance and the page proceeds to
process through the feasting hall winding in and out and round the
people who also do not notice. Perceval is busting a gut not to say
anything but remembers his knightly training and the manners his mother
installed into him, and seeing as nobody else was saying anything or
even noticing he kept his mouth shut and is reactions to this strange
sight damped down.
A little while later, and woman appears, carrying a wonderfully
golden Chalice, with gemstones surrounding the edges, the Grail,
Perceval here’s from whispers in the room, there is incandescent light
rising up from the liquid in the Grail, and behind the woman is a
possession of people, young old, infirmed, hansom, ugly, sick and well.
All beautifully dressed in golden colours matching that of the woman
and the grail. After the initial whispers however Perceval notices that
nobody is paying attention to the woman holding the grail with its
incandescent light and procession, so to decides not to say anything as
that would seemly be impolite. Perceval just watches the woman with the
grail and procession winding through the room taking a similar path to
that of the page who had the dripping lance.
After the procession has passed and left the room the king who has
been conversing with people on the other side, tells Perceval that he
is going to retire for the night, even though it is still quite early.
He goes o to tell Perceval that he has a mortal wound that can not be
healed which causes him to be tire easily, and he is unable to walk.
Two pages arrive to carry him in his chair out of the feasting hall.
Perceval stays and watches the people, eats until eventually he tires
and retires for the night. A page shows him to his room with is
beautiful and he notices left in his room that his armour has been
polished until it is gleaming like when it was new, as to his saddle,
and bridle. He smiles hugely as this will be a most excellent thing for
when he arrives home in armour to show his mother was a worthy night he
has become. And with that thought he promptly falls soundly asleep.
When he gets up in the morning, he sees his armour all shiny and
polished, along with his saddle and bridle, so he goes to see if he can
find a squire to saddle his horse and help him into his armour. But
alas nobody seems to be around, the castle is quiet still and empty,
this concerns Perceval somewhat so he quickly dresses in his armour and
grabs his saddle and the sword the King Gave him, and hurries down to
the stable, where he finds his horse who has been groomed and looks
beautiful, again Perceval feels uneasy about this and decides that it is
indeed time to leave and continue on his journey home to show his
mother what a wonderful knight he has become.
He mounts his horse and rides through the castle noticing that still
nobody is around. As he nears the drawbridge he sees that it is
beginning to draw upwards, this startles Perceval who spurs his horse
faster and races towards the drawbridge, with just enough time for his
horse to jump across the gap and land across the mote. Perceval’s heart
it racing, it was all very weird, but he tries not to think about it,
and so turns his horse towards home. Along the way he notices that the
trees are wilted, and there are no crops in the fields, and in the
paddocks, lay sick and dying animals, as he nears the hills, he finds a
woman who is cradling a Knight who has a moral wound that will not heal,
and she tells him how this knight received this wound from a lance, and
the only way to heal it was with the water from the Grail. And that
this is effecting the land and the King and Land are reflective of each
other so that while the king is stick so too is the land, and the people
who live there. Perceval there realised that it was the Lance and
Grail that he saw in procession the previous evening, and that he should
of perhaps spoken out and saved the king and land. Perceval felt a bit
guilty over that, and so started a quest to find the grail as this was
the only thing that could heal the land, so he asked himself, “Which
direction to I go in?”
Except that is not so much an ending as a beginning, or if you read
the entire poem, it is the middle, as there is bunches of stuff
concerning training and trials and the like that happen from when he
leaves home and becomes a Knight, the point to ponder here is the
symbolism and what connections that it is making for you? Or in this
case me as i was the one attending the workshop.