- This topic has 1 reply, 1 voice, and was last updated 2 weeks, 4 days ago by .
I came across a book in the attic, I had as a child of tales of King Arthur. It was a gift from my parents and had some lovely illustrations.
Found myself skimming pages over a Parcival tale…how Parcival learns chivalry.
But there were different elements or at least changed elements from the Parcival tales (translations)mostly discussed here.
It seems to be a
“children’s book?” written by Henry Gilbert with illustrations by Walter Crane. It’s pretty thick and heavy for a children’s book but these days ha ha that does not always matter.
I loved it! Inspired a poem. And a drawing of a medieval knight on horseback.
Well I was inspired by that AND a delightful young person’s guide to castles and Middle Ages with colorful drawings…showing ancient construction, moats, draw bridges, types of armor etc.
As I looked over this Parcival tale though there is a twist: Parcival seems to have dwarf or troll friends…
And it is on account of how he proves his worth to them that they judge his character to be true and good.
His troll or dwarf friend is Tod?
At first the trolls teach him how to hunt but this upsets a “lady,” Lady Angharad? Because she seems to be aware of Parcival’s good nature and tells Tod, “I wish you had not taught him that,” when Parcival tells her what he did.
Angharad seems to be described as proud so maybe she fills in for Cunneware?
Since there is no Cunneware or Antanor anywhere to be found.
Of course this book on knights and armor with lovely illustrations hidden amongst its adventurous pages, was delightful to a ten year old child…so those absences would have held little meaning until later. (Smile)
Plus my parents were so cool in 101 infinite ways and this was a gift from them, one which even now as an adult I would enjoy re-reading!
Later Parcival is put to a test when a wild Stag attempts to gore him, so he feels pressure to self defense but Tod runs in and rescues him and stops him I think from killing the stag.
Because perhaps Tod has sworn himself to the Lady’s wishes about Parcival perhaps?
But Parcival has always been very kind to the dwarves or trolls and in return they teach him many things including skills in fighting, which help him later.
Thus when Parcival wants to be a knight it is Tod and all the dwarfs who praise him highly and it is Tod whom the seneschal beats up.
So one wonders what has happened to Cunneware who stood up on behalf of Parcival? And Antanor? Has the story been changed? A different translation?
This Parcival seems quite calm and sure of himself in spite of all his odd appearance. He is still derided but seems to ignore that in this tale.
To me he already carries himself like a “holy fool.”
Before Parcival has his adventures in the forest it his through his skill in pole fighting,(learned from the trolls) that he is able to defeat a much larger viziered knight outside the gates who has come to address some mischief incurred by Lancelot. He (Parcival)pokes him in the eye (this seems familiar from Campbell’s references) and kills him.
Parcival does go into the forest adventurous (but the tale proceeds rather quickly) There may be one witch in the woods who recognizes that Parcival is her doom.
But as far as I could tell in my skim, she nor anyone else curses him to wander.
Because there seems to be only One Trip to the castle. And no wandering in the “wasteland.”
The ones in the castle guess that Parcival is one of the prophesied White Knights…since there are three?
Parcival manages to crack the dragon headed shield of the “heathen Black Knight,”
And it is apparently the Defeat of the Black Knight by a “pure soul,” that heals or makes the land smile.
No emphasis here on the famous question “What ails thee?” Or it’s importance.
When Parcival arrives at the castle, he does show curiosity about a glowing shield on the castle’s wall. And a knight Marius (who must be the wounded grail king) regales Parcival with the tale of his sojourn in the Middle East and fighting to bring Christ’s word to heathen Britain.
The curse is Balin’s Dolorous Stroke…which I can guess.
But the grail king is given rest and repose when the castle appears because others will continue to spread the good word.There is of course a young woman as well who slightly fancies Parcival.
This is tied up pretty quickly.
Parcival is guessed to be the HOPE “a white knight,” and he takes up the shield and rides out to meet the black knight.
And he has inner information that somehow that evil can be defeated by evil because of his time with the trolls who are underground people so thus he can apply knowledge of the “underworld” to his circumstances.
But because of his true nature this evil won’t affect him is my guess.
And he does hit the dragon shield in such a place it leads to the black knights destruction.
And the inhabitants of the castle celebrate and praise him…and it is said the “land smiles.” For now the curse is broken.
But it is broken because of his defeat of the other knight rather than a direct reference of his questions.
Was this a re-interpretation for a children’s book?
Of course alas! I was skimming as I stood in the attic in the midst of other business. So I might have missed other details.
I wondered if any others had come across this version? Wondered if this was a continued evolution of more of the religious interpretations or tellings?
Minus the friendly troll or dwarf friends.
It made me curious…because when one is interpreting myths and stories with certain themes in them…when there is more than one version and when some parts and characters are left out or maybe they are there but don’t play as primary a role…then that must be a challenge.
That’s why I loved how Joe Campbell and others have opened this story up but I’ve long had a feeling that not everyone has read the exact same tales or translations of Parcival.
And that probably influences perspectives and opinions.
Why some just saw Parcival as the Knight who messed up…
Or this version where Tall Parcival in all his funny clothes seems to have this confidence and calm acceptance of his mistakes and learns from them.
Cant help it but still love this book for both its inspirational and sentimental value.:-)
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.