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 night.
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 crown 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.