Lancelot - Childhood and Becoming a Knight

Lancelot, then called by his christened name of Galahad, was the son of King Ban of Benwick, the young King Arthur's staunchest supporters, and his queen, Elaine of Benwick. King Ban became involved in a war with the neighboring kingdom of King Claudas.

Lancelot was an infant when his parents fled their city with a few retainers. When King Ban looked back and saw his castle burning, he suffered a seizure of some kind, possibly a heart attack. Queen Elaine, hurrying to him, left her son alone for a few moments.

It was then that Viviane, the French Damsel of the Lake, took him, brought him to her rich city in the illusory magical Lake at Bois en Val, and rasied him, renaming him Lancelot. The widowed Elaine remained nearby, building the Royal Minster on the hill where Ban had died. Lancelot's cousins Lionel and Bors, with their mentors, were eventually welcomed into Viviane's Lake with Lancelot to finish their knightly education.

While growing up among the company of women and faery-like mermen of the Lady of the Lake's palace, Lancelot quickly developed his great strength and skill in arms. When Lancelot reached 18 years of age and was itching to become a knight, Viviane gave him a last lecture on the history and duties of that state of life; provided him with a sword of proven worth, a snow-white horse, and the rest of his outfit, all in white and silver; and brought him, accompanied by Lionel, Bors, Seraide, and others, to Arthur's court, where the King dubbed him on Saint John's Day.

He may have become a member of the Queen's Knights at this time; before officially settling down at Arthur's court, however, he spent some time wandering in knight errantry, beginning when he left to succor the Lady of Nohaut - his first rivalry with Kay seems to have been over which of them would serve as her companion.

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See also
Fairy | The Legend of King Arthur
Mermaids and Mermen | Myths and Legends