Portal:King Arthur/Selected biography/5

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Percival or Perceval is one of King Arthur's legendary Knights of the Round Table. In Welsh literature his name is Peredur (see the Peredur article for the historical figure). He is most famous for his involvement in the quest for the Holy Grail.

There are many versions of Percival's birth. In most accounts he is of noble birth; his father is either King Pellinore or another worthy knight. His mother is usually unnamed but plays a significant role in the stories. His sister is the bearer of the Holy Grail, she is sometimes named Dindrane. In tales where he is Pellinore's son his brothers are Sir Tor, Sir Aglovale, Sir Lamorak, and Sir Dornar.

After the death of his father, Percival's mother takes him to the Welsh forests where she raises him ignorant to the ways of men until the age of 15. Eventually, however, a group of knights passes through his wood, and Percival is stricken with their heroic appearance. Wanting to be a knight himself, the boy travels to King Arthur's court, and after proving his worthiness as a warrior he is knighted and invited to join the Knights of the Round Table.

Even in the earliest stories he is connected to the Grail Quest. In Chrétien de Troyes's Perceval, le Conte du Graal, he meets the crippled Fisher King and sees the Holy Grail, but he fails to ask the question that would heal the injured monarch. Upon learning of his mistake he vows to find the Grail castle again and fulfill his quest. (read more . . . )