26 Jan The story of Parzival – Chapter 9 – Trevrezent
Chapter 7 Obilot and Chapter 8 Antikonie (Gawan in the country of Askalon) are some Adventures of Parzival’s bossom friend Gawan who’s in love and about tests of chivalry.
Chapter 9 Parzival meets Sigune a third time, Parzival finds Trevrezent the hermet, who instructs him in the crooked ways of destiny.
Riding through the forest somewhere near Wild Mountain, Parzival came upon a new-built cell inhabited by a woman to be seen only through a small window: his cousin, Sigune, who recognized him after a moment. She had retired to an ascetic life in this homely cell next to the grave of her slain lover. Sigune told him that she was sustained by nourishment from the Gral – brought each Saturday by the sorceress Kundrie!
Distraught by the mere suggestion that he was close to Wild Mountain, Parzival rode away without choosing a direction, letting his horse go unreined. After some time, he found himself in the depths of the forest where a light mantle of snow covered the ground. The horse took him to a place called “Fontain-sauvasche” where lived the hermit Trevrezent, deeply versed in matters of the Gral. As they engaged in friendly conversation, Parzival tells the hermit, I am deeply resentful of God, who has set me a high goal, and buried my happiness too deep. The old hermit assures him that God is identical with truth, and one should not play Him false. Anger is of no avail, he said, for it is a Luciferic trait. But Parzival doubted if Lucifer ever existed. Accepting this unlearned response as his cue, Trevrezent offered to teach the young knight about these lofty matters.
Now the hermit instructed Parzival concerning True Love, Grace, and the translucent light of the Godhead. He averred that he had seen with his own eyes the Gral, the source of Parzival’s distress. Trevrezent explained the story of the Gral: that it fell from the crown of Lucifer when he plunged from heaven out of overweening pride. Those who look upon it will by its radiance be kept from age and disease, the hermit told him. And there is another wonder, the Writing that appears on the rim of the Gral, announcing the name and lineage of the one destined to succeed the Gral King. The wounding of Amfortas was due to amorous excess outside of wedlock. A noble company had gathered around that unfortunate king, living with him on Wild Mountain in the midst of a wasted land, where no one ever goes except if it is destined. Such a person once did come, but he was young and indiscreet, and asked nothing to alleviate the plight of the Gral King and the Noble Company.
As the old hermit recounted these matters, he and Parzival looked deeply into each other´s eyes. The moment of recognition came at last. Parzival spoke of his father and his lineage from the house of Anjou. Trevrezent now understood that the young knight was his nephew and a member of the Company. He was the one to tell Parzival that his mother was dead. The hermit did not reproach Parzival harshly, but he said that any Lord of the Gral who seeks love other than what is allowed by the Writing, will suffer pain and sorrow. This was the case of Anfortas, leading to his wound: a spear through the scrotum. This happened in the Valley of the Tigris. When the king returned to his native land, the wound festered, causing him much pain, yet he did not die of it. Only the power of the eternal, self-renewing Gral sustained him. It eased the pain when the Bleeding Lance dipped in the Gral was applied to the wound.
Beholding such wonders, Trevrezent and the Company had fallen on their knees before the Gral. Then a Writing appeared, the hermit told him, speaking in a tone of awe. The Writing said that a knight would come, the son of a widow, and ask the Question, but if anyone were to forewarn him or prompt him to do so, its effect would fail, and the injury of Amfortas would give rise to even greater pain. He may omit the Question once, the Writing told them, but on the second chance he shall save the kingdom of the Gral. Amfortas will be healed, and be king no more. So will the passing of the Gral be accomplished.
Trevrezent sighed, then he told Parzival that he had heard that such a knight did come to Wild Mountain, but brought shame to the Noble Company because he failed to ask the right question. Parzival was stabbed to the heart with remorse. After some hesitation, he told the hermit that it was he, the knight who failed to ask the Question. Trevrezent was deeply alarmed by this confession, yet he siezed the moment to ask, Did you also see the Bleeding Lance at Wild Mountain? You must understand, dear nephew, he continued, that when Saturn reaches the zenith and snow falls in summer, the wound hurts most intensely. The power of the Lance can alleviate it, but sometimes it must be thrust deep into the wound, not merely applied to it. Under these grave conditions, the Company had no more avail to magic powers, but had to turn to the doctrine of the Baptism that promises divine intervention.
Parzival listened closely to the hermit´s explanation, almost overwhelmed by the complexity and cosmic aspect of it all. To his relief, Trevrezent changed the subject. He talked at length about Gahmuret and Herzeleide, for he knew all about the young knight’s family background. He told Parzival that Repanse de Schoie, who loaned him her ceremonial cloak, was his aunt on his mother´s side. Indeed, Trevrezent was his maternal uncle, and Titurel was the grandsire of the entire clan, the first to whom the Gral was awarded. With these intimate revelations of Parzival’s own life, the hermit’s instruction came to an end.
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