Table of Contents
A powerful and mysterious vessel ...
Then, most wonderful of all, came four maidens with crystal lamps, followed by a princess who carried in her hands that sacred vessel that few have ever seen, and of which Parzival had never heard. As the Grail approached, Parzival heard the king groan as though he were in mortal pain.
The princess placed the Grail on the king’s table and then she and her ladies stepped back. Servants came and brought tables for all the guests. Gold dishes and goblets were brought for all as well.
A page carried to the king’s table a golden basin and silken towel. The king washed his hands and bade Parzival to wash. All was prepared for a great feast, but where was the food and drink?
Just then, the servant behind Parzival held out a goblet toward the Grail. Immediately it was filled, and the servant set before Parzival a golden vessel filled with rich, red wine. Then he held out the golden dish and set it down before Parzival. It was overflowing with meats and fruits and rich goods of every kind. One by one the servants did this, and so served the king and his guests a banquet so sumptuous that even those in Arthur’s court would have been amazed.
What can this be? What is the meaning of these strange events? Parzival wondered.
PUFFIN BOOKS BY KATHERINE PATERSON
Come Sing, Jimmy Jo
Jip: His Story
Rebels of the Heavenly Kingdom
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers,
345 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.
Penguin Books Ltd, 27 Wrights Lane, London W8 5TZ, England
Penguin Books Australia Ltd, Ringwood, Victoria, Australia
Penguin Books Canada Ltd, 10 Alcom Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4V 3B2
Penguin Books (N.Z.) Ltd, 182-190 Wairau Road, Auckland 10, New Zealand
Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England
First published in the United States of America by Lodestar Books,
an affiliate of Dutton Children’s Books, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc., 1998
Published by Puffin Books,
a member of Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers, 2000
Copyright © Minna Murra Inc., 1998
All rights reserved
THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS HAS CATALOGED THE LODESTAR EDITION AS FOLLOWS: Paterson, Katherine. Parzival: the quest of the Grail Knight / retold by Katherine Paterson.
Summary: A retelling of the Arthurian legend in which Parzival, unaware of his
noble birth, comes of age through his quest for the Holy Grail.
eISBN : 978-1-101-14253-0
1. Perceval (Legendary character)—Legends. 2. Arthur, King—Legends. 3. Arthurian romances. [1. Perceval (Legendary character)—Legends. 2. Arthur, King—Legends. 3. Knights and knighthood—Folklore. 4. Grail—Folklore.] I. Wolfram von Eschenbach, 12th cent. Parzival. II. Title. PZ8.1.P2316Par 1998 398.22—dc21 97-23891 CIP AC
Editor: Virginia Buckley
The Grail King of Wild Mountain. In legend, Anfortas is also called the Fisher King or the Angler. He is Parzival’s uncle, brother to Queen Herzoloyde. His other sisters are Sigune’s dead mother, Schoysiane, and Repanse de Schoye, who is the Grail Bearer. Anfortas’s brother is Trevrizent, the hermit.
Legendary king of Britain, head of the Knights of the Round Table, located at his court in the town of Camelot. He was the son of Uther Pendragon and Igrain, who was said to have fairy blood.
King of Iserterre and Condwiramurs’s unwelcome suitor.
Queen of Brobarz, which she inherited from her father. She is niece to Gumemanz and a cousin of Parzival’s cousin, Sigune. She becomes Parzival’s wife.
CUNDRIE THE SORCERESS
Although physically repugnant, she is in truth a prophetess and the messenger of the Grail.
Sister to Parzival’s sworn enemies through his mother.
Parzival’s half brother, son of Gahmuret by the queen of Zazamanc, whom Wolfram describes as a “dusky Moorish queen.”
Son of King Lot of Norway, he is a nephew of Arthur. He is also a distant relative of Parzival’s. In all the legends surrounding him, Gawain epitomizes the best of knighthood.
Variously spelled. She is Arthur’s wife and thus queen of Britain.
The prince who is Parzival’s mentor. He is the father of Liaze, whom Parzival rashly promises to marry, and the uncle of Condwiramurs. All three of his sons have died, one in defending Condwiramurs.
Sister to Anfortas, the Grail King; Trevrizent, the hermit; Repanse de Schoye, the Grail Bearer; and Schoysiane, who died giving birth to Sigune. Herzoloyde inherited the kingdoms of Waleis and Norgals, lands that were added to her husband Gahmuret’s when they married. In this story, she is best known as Parzival’s mother and Gahmuret’s sorrowing widow.
Also known as the Red Knight. He is a distant relative of Parzival’s and quite a ladies’ man. After Parzival kills Ither, Parzival becomes known as the Red Knight because he has put on Ither’s armor and is riding his sorrel, or reddish-colored horse.
A young page in King Arthur’s court who befriends Parzival. He is a kinsman of Queen Guenever.
Wife of Herzoloyde’s sworn enemy, Duke Orilus.
Twin son of Parzival and Condwiramurs, brother to Lohengrin. He inherits the secular kingdoms of Brobarz from his mother and Anjou, Waleis, and Norgals from his father.
King Arthur’s seneschal (counselor or chief steward). He is Arthur’s foster brother and so has a lot of influence in court, although his temper and cruelty make him an unpopular figure.
Seneschal of King Clamide.
Brother of Orilus and Cunneware. With his brother, Orilus, he has conquered the kingdoms of Herzoloyde, namely Waleis and Norgals, and is thus her sworn enemy.
Daughter of Gurnemanz. She is Parzival’s first crush, soon forgotten after he meets her cousin, Condwiramurs.
Twin son of Parzival and Condwiramurs, brother to Kardeiz. He inherits the throne at Wild Mountain.
Enemy of Herzoloyde, brother of Lahelin and Cunneware, and husband of Jeschute, the duchess from whom Parzival takes the ring and brooch.
Variously spelled Parsifal, Percival. In Wolfram’s romantic poem, he was the son of Gahmuret and Queen Herzoloyde. In English tradition, Percival is the son of Pellinore. In later English texts, Galahad replaces him as the Grail Knight.
REPANSE DE SCHOYE
Parzival’s maternal aunt and the Grail Bearer. Repanse later marries Parzival’s half brother, Feirefiz.
A member of Arthur’s court and a cousin to Queen Guenever.
Parzival’s first cousin, daughter of Schoysiane, Herzoloyde’s sister. Her knight has been killed by Duke Orilus.
The hermit. He is maternal uncle to Parzival and brother of Anfortas, the Grail King. He is also uncle to Sigune.
the ancient days, when Arthur was king of Britain, there lived a boy who had never heard of the great son of Pendragon or of his bold knights. The only home the boy had ever known was a cottage in the wilderness of Soltane, and the only parent he had ever known was his mother. He was never called by his proper name; indeed, he didn’t even know that he had one. The plowmen who worked his mother’s fields and the drovers who tended her flocks called him Young Master. His mother called him her Dear Boy. Strangers rarely came into the district, but when one happened by and asked his name, he would say, “You may call me Young Master or Dear Boy or whatever you please.”
He was a happy child. He loved the forests where the birds sang, the streams where the fish jumped, and the fields where the golden grain danced. He did not desire the pomp of King Arthur’s court because he had never dreamed it existed. He did not long for learning because he had never seen a book. And he never feared death because he had yet to hear of Heaven or Hell.
He spent his days exploring the forest, fishing the streams, and making toys for his own amusement. When he was a little boy, he was content to devise whistles from reeds and construct watermills for the stream. But as he grew older, he came to idolize the huntsmen who brought rabbit and pheasant and venison for his mother’s table, so he carved for himself a bow from yew wood and sharpened sticks from the oak tree, to which he fastened feathers from the henyard.
One day, crossing his mother’s fields, he came upon a flock of larks pecking seeds from the plowed ground. One bird rose high into the air, singing a song so beautiful that it pierced the boy’s heart. Without thinking, he raised his bow and shot his arrow into the sky. The song ceased mid-note, and the singer dropped like a stone to the earth.