Nonfiction > Harvard Classics > Sir Thomas Malory > The Holy Grail
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Sir Thomas Malory (d. 1471).  The Holy Grail.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
The Sixteenth Book
 
Chapter XII
 
How a Devil in Woman’s Likeness Would Have Tempted Sir Bors, and How by God’s Grace He Escaped
 
 
ALAS, said she, Bors, shall ye not do my will? Madam, said Bors, there is no lady in the world whose will I will fulfill as of this thing, for my brother lieth dead which was slain right late. Ah Bors, said she, I have loved you long for the great beauty I have seen in you, and the great hardiness that I have heard of you, that needs ye must lie by me this night, and therefore I pray you grant it me. Truly said he, I shall not do it in no manner wise. Then she made him such sorrow as though she would have died. Well Bors, said she, unto this have ye brought me, nigh to mine end. And therewith she took him by the hand, and bad him behold her. And ye shall see how I shall die for your love. Ah, said then he, that shall I never see. Then she departed and went up into an high battlement, and led with her twelve gentlewomen; and when they were above, one of the gentlewomen cried, and said: Ah, Sir Bors, gentle knight have mercy on us all, and suffer my lady to have her will, and if ye do not we must suffer death with our lady, for to fall down off this high tower, and if ye suffer us thus to die for so little a thing all ladies and gentlewomen will say of you dishonour. Then looked he upward, they seemed all ladies of great estate, and richly and well bisene. Then had he of them great pity; not for that he was uncounselled in himself that lever he had they all had lost their souls than he his, and with that they fell adown all at once unto the earth. And when he saw that, he was all abashed, and had thereof great marvel. With that he blessed his body and his visage. And anon he heard a great noise and a great cry, as though all the fiends of hell had been about him; and therewith he saw neither tower nor lady, nor gentlewoman, nor no chapel where he brought his brother to. Then held he up both his hands to the heaven, and said: Fair Father God, I am grievously escaped; and then he took his arms and his horse and rode on his way. Then he heard a clock smite on his right hand; and thither he came to an Abbey on his right hand, closed with high walls, and there was let in. Then they supposed that he was one of the quest of the Sangreal, so they led him into a chamber and unarmed him. Sirs, said Sir Bors, if there be any holy man in this house I pray you let me speak with him. Then one of them led him unto the Abbot, which was in a Chapel. And then Sir Bors saluted him, and he him again. Sir, said Bors, I am a knight errant; and told him all the adventure which he had seen. Sir Knight, said the Abbot, I wot not what ye be, for I weened never that a knight of your age might have been so strong in the grace of our Lord Jesu Christ. Not for then ye shall go unto your rest, for I will not counsel you this day, it is too late, and to-morrow I shall counsel you as I can.  1
 

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