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Peredur, the son of Evrawc.

-This is a Welsh romance, known to us from MSS. of the thirteenth century:

The earlier portion corresponds closely in sequence and general character of the incidents with Crestien's poem. But there is marked difference in the scene at the Fisher King's castle. What Peredur sees is first, a lance dripping blood, then a salver in which is a man's head swimming in blood; nothing answers to the Grail. After this adventure the Welsh tale, whilst agreeing generally with Crestien, has special features. Thus Peredur defends a castle against the Sorceresses of Gloucester, one of whom hails him as their destined overcomer, yet from whom he learns chivalry and the use of arms. There is also a large section (nearly one third of the tale) to which nothing answers either in Crestien or in any extant French work. In the latter part of the tale, after the appearance of the hideous damsel, the Welsh, whilst offering to a large extent the same sequence of incidents as in Crestien and Gautier, relates them in a far more coherent and intelligible manner. For the tale closes with the appearance of a youth who reveals himself as Peredur's cousin - he it was had borne the bloody head in the salver; he, in the guise of the hideous damsel, had incited Peredur to continue the quest; he had intervened in the chess-board and stag-hunt adventures to aid and incite Peredur, his object being that Peredur should avenge upon the Sorceresses of Gloucester the death of the cousin whose head was carried in the salver, and the laming of the uncle.

The Welsh tale is thus in a large measure a logical and straightforward version of a hero's vengeance upon supernatural beings for the injuries inflicted by them upon his kindred. As is frequently the case, these supernatural beings know that they must ultimately succumb, and are indeed constrained to furnish means for their own undoing; as is again frequently the case, the hero is passive, almost a dummy, the real protagonist being one of the injured kinsmen. Had we the story in a purer form we should find that the injury, so far as he is concerned, consists in the enchantment of hideous and unsexing disguise, an enchantment from which the consummation of the vengeance can alone free him. The object of the talismans is here to remind the hero of the wrong done and to supply the avenging weapon. Peredur, it will be seen, is like Manessier in being a vengeance story pure and simple, and like the Gawain visit to the Grail castle in Gautier, in so far as the head on the salver in the one case answers to the knight on the bier in the other.


Quelle: The Legends of The Holy Grail, Alfred Nutt, London 1902, S. 15ff