Sir Thomas Malory (d. 1471). The Holy Grail. The Harvard Classics. 190914.
The Seventeenth Book
How Galahad and His Fellows Came to a Castle, and How They Were Fought Withal, and How They Slew Their Adversaries, and Other Matters
SO it befell as they spoke thus there came a squire by them, and asked what they were; and they said they were of King Arthurs house. Is that sooth? said he. Now by my head, said he, ye be ill arrayed; and then turned he again unto the cliff fortress. And within a while they heard an horn blow. Then a gentlewoman came to them, and asked them of whence they were; and they told her. Fair lords, said she, for Gods love turn again if ye may, for ye be come unto your death. Nay, they said, we will not turn again, for He shall help us in whose service we be entered in. Then as they stood talking there came knights well armed, and bad them yield them or else die. That yielding, said they, shall be noyous to you. And therewith they let their horses run, and Sir Percivale note the foremost to the earth, and took his horse, and mounted thereupon, and the same did Galahad. Also Bors served another so, for they had no horses in that country, for they left their horses when they took their ship in other countries. And so when they were horsed then began they to set upon them; and they of the castle fled into the strong fortress, and the three knights after them into the castle, and so alit on foot, and with their swords slew them down, and gat into the hall. Then when they beheld the great multitude of people that they had slain, they held themself great sinners. Certes, said Bors, I ween an God had loved them that we should not have had power to have slain them thus. But they have done so much against Our Lord that He would not suffer them to reign no longer. Say ye not so, said Galahad, for if they misdid against God, the vengeance is not ours, but to Him which hath power thereof. So came there out of a chamber a good man which was a priest, and bare Gods body in a cup. And when he saw them which lay dead in the hall he was all abashed; and Galahad did off his helm and kneeled down, and so did his two fellows. Sir, said they, have ye no dread of us, for we be of King Arthurs court. Then asked the good man how they were slain so suddenly, and they told it him. Truly, said the good man, an ye might live as long as the world might endure, ne might ye have done so great an alms deed at this. Sir, said Galahad, I repent me much, inasmuch as they were christened. Nay, repent you not, said he, for they were not christened, and I shall tell you how that I wot of this castle. Here was Lord Earl Hernox not but one year, and he had three sons, good knights of arms, and a daughter, the fairest gentlewoman that men knew. So those three knights loved their sister so sore that they brent in love, and so they lay by her, maugre her head. And for she cried to her father they slew her, and took their father and put him in prison, and wounded him nigh to death, but a cousin of hers rescued him. And then did they great untruth: they slew clerks and priests, and made beat down chapels, that Our Lords service might not be served nor said. And this same day her father sent to me for to be confessed and houseld; but such shame had never man as I had this day with the three brethren, but the earl bad me suffer, for he said they should not long endure, for three servants of Our Lord should destroy them, and now it is brought to an end. And by this may ye wit that Our Lord is not displeased with your deeds. Certes, said Galahad, an it had not pleased Our Lord, never should we have slain so many men in so little a while. And then they brought the Earl Hernox out of prison into the middes of the hall, that knew Galahad anon, and yet he saw him never afore but by revelation of Our Lord.