25 Jan The story of Parzival – Chapter 6 – Artus & Kondrie
Parzival at the court of Artus …
It was Michaelmas, yet a heavy snow fell on the forest in Wales, close to the court of Artus. The king´s falconers were out hunting geese near the place where Parzival had halted. When one falcon struck, three drops of the goose´s blood fell in the new fallen snow. At this sight, Parzival fell into a trance, seeing in the drops the color of the lips and flushing cheek of Kondwiramur, his love. Love enthralled him, and longing for that woman, and that one alone, pierced his soul.
Roused from his trance by Artus´s retinue, Parzival went to the place where the king was holding court. When he engaged in some jousting for sport, he was almost wounded because the trance lingered, and Lady Love dulled his reactions. Parzival was doubly troubled, finding his thoughts for the Gral mixed with his longing for Love, but Love weighed heavier. Meeting Gawan, one of the greatest warriors of the Round Table, brought him back to his senses. The two knights quickly became bosom companions. They rode off together in search of chivalric challenges equal to their skills. Gawan consorted with many women, and Parzival won the affection of many lovely ladies of the land.
One day a damsel came riding their way, but this was no ordinary lady. Her ears were bear-like, her skin ape-colored, and her fingernails, though transparent, resembled lion´s claws. This fetching sweetheart often brought sorrow to Artus’s court, where she was called Kondrie the Sorceress. She spoke all languages, Latin, Arabic, French, German. Riding straight into the great hall of the Round Table, she accosted Parzival in scathing words: King Artus, you should know that the honor of the Round Table has been disgraced by the presence of this knight, Parzival. I curse him and his fair looks! You all may find me monstrous, but I am less so than this ignoble knight who, when he came upon the Sorrowful Angler, failed to see and remedy his plight. A heartless guest he was at Wild Mountain. He saw the Gral and the Bloody Lance, and did nothing, asked not the Question. He is a disgrace to his family. Turning to Parzival, she said, Your renown has proven false. Your mother birthed a widow´s son in vain, for you have strayed from the right path of destiny!
Addressing the court before his departure, Parzival vented his grief without reserve. Alas, what is God? he cried. Were he all-powerful would he have brought me to this shame over the Gral and the Bleeding Lance? Now I will quit his service and be a godless knight, guided by womanly inspiration, not anything divine. And so, nearly cursing God as Kondrie had cursed him, Parzival climbed on his war-horse and rode away with his bosom pal, Gawan. But soon enough they parted ways.