"Of Sir Galahad and how he achieved the Quest of the Holy Grail"
Illustration by Arthur Rackham
This illustration from Rackham appears to be a
variant on a published illustration from "Stories of King Arthur"
(1910). It seems to be inspired
by the same scene depicted by
the published version that is associated with the following text:
The young knight ... at once opened the gates.
The broader context for the illustration is set within
the following text:
It was Galahad's custom to pray to God every day for
counsel and guidance in his great
undertaking. Not long after he had left his companion
he turned aside at a wayside chapel
to perform his devotions, and while he was kneeling
before the altar he suddenly heard
a voice that said:
"Rise, Sir Galahad, and go now to the Castle of
Maidens which is near
at hand, and there do away with the wicked custom
that you will find."
The young knight was overjoyed on hearing this summons,
for here was an adventure to
his taste. Mounting once more, he rode down the hill
asking his way from all he met.
The castle was well known, for its ill-repute had
spread far and wide, and many of those
he encountered sought to deter him from journeying
thither. But Galahad laughed, and,
looking to his arms, spurred his horse boldly to the
castle gates. Scarcely had he reined up
when seven knights, all brethren, dashed out to meet
"Now guard thee, knight," they cried, "fro we promise
thee naught but death."
"Why, then," returned Galahad, "will ye all set upon me
"Even so," cried the others, and couching their spears
they charged down upon him.
Then Galahad spurred forward to meet them, and with a
mighty thrust of his own lance
he sent the foremost of the seven brethren headlong to
the ground. The other six fell upon
him with their swords and spears, but receiving their
blows on his shield the young knight
escaped scatheless. Casting aside his lance, Galahad
now drew forth his great sword and
dashed fiercely at his adversaries.
So quick and strong were his strokes that the knights
were forced to give way before him.
At last they one and all turned tail and fled, Galahad
pursuing them for some distance. At
the entrance to the castle an old monk awaited him with
the keys in his hands. The young
knight took these and at once opened the gates, to the
great joy of all those within, who
had been held captive by the seven brethren.
Galahad now learned how the castle had come to gain its
evil name. It had formerly
belonged to Duke Lianour, the lord of the surrounding
country, but the seven brethren had
overcome him by treachery and killed him, making his
beautiful daughter a prisoner. The
maiden had thereupon prophesied that for their
wickedness they should not hold the castle
many years, for by one knight alone should they all be
discomfited. The brethren then
vowed that no lady or knight should pass by the castle
alive until that knight of whom she
spake appeared. And thus the castle had come by its
name, for a great number of maidens
had fallen into their hands.