After leaving Carteloise Castle, Galahad and his companions entered a “waste forest.” Assuming that this forest would be near the castle, Phyllis Ann Kerr calls it Carteloise. Here Galahad’s party saw the mystical white hart, representing Christ, walking within a guard of four lions, representing the four evangelists. Others had seen the hart and lions before, but Galahad and his companions appear to have been the first and only folk to follow the animals to a
vailley, and thereby was an hermitage where a good man dwelled, and the hart and the lions entered also. So when they saw all this they turned to the chapel, and saw the good man in a religious weed and in the armour of Our Lord, for he would sing mass on the Holy Ghost: and so they entered in and heard mass. And at the secrets of the mass they three saw the hart become a man, the which marvelled them, and set him upon the altar in a rich siege; and saw the four lions were changed, the one to the form of a man, the other to the form of a lion, and the third to an eagle, and the fourth was changed unto an ox. Then took they their siege where the hart sat, and went out through a glass window, and there was nothing perished nor broken; and they heard a voice say: In such a manner entered the Son of God in the womb of a maid Mary, whose virginity ne was perished ne hurt. And when they heard these words they fell down to the earth and were astonied; and therewith was a great clearness.
When they came to themselves, the holy man expounded the vision, also remarking that he supposed the white hart would be seen no more. Although Malory says “they three saw” it, actually there were four, not counting the hermit: Galahad, Percival, Bors, and Percival’s sister Amide.
Vulgate Queste del Saint Graal | 1215-1230
Prose Tristan | 1230-1240
La Tavola Ritonda | 1325–1350
Le Morte Darthur | Sir Thomas Malory, 1469-1470