Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book XVI Chapter 17
So there’s Bors, badly wounded but on his feet. He’s full of that inexplicable knightly hardiness that you sometimes see in a Malory hero. Arthur had it, when he fought Sir Accolon. Sir Palomides had it at Lonazep, I think. And now Bors is just too knightly to stay down!
“You’ve gone crazy for no clear reason, brother,” he tells Lionel.
“No, you’re the crazy one!” spits Lionel right back at him. “Raaaahr! My actions are wholly unmotivated! Raaaahr!”
All right, all right. Malory doesn’t have him saying that explicitly. But come on!
Bors gives a little speech about, basically, how great he is. Then he makes to fight Lionel, who has very obligingly just stood there and let Bors speechify. But then a miracle happens! A great gout of flame comes down from heaven, directly between the two knights, and a voice instructs Bors to leave quietly. However Bors is too busy screaming his fool head off, on account of the talking magic flame has lit his shield on fire!
Bors and Lionel (whose shield also gets scorched) both faint from surprise and exhaustion. When Bors comes to, the angel (if that’s what it was) has vanished, and also Bors has been miraculously healed of his wounds. He kneels over Lionel, and gives a prayer of thanksgiving for the awesome and crazy magic.
Then the disembodied voice tells him to go meet Sir Percivale, who’ll be waiting for him at the seaside, and not to try to deal with his brother any more.
“I didn’t get this far along the Grail Quest by ignoring miraculous voices,” muses Bors. “So, all right. Sorry, Lionel. Good luck with your life.”
Lionel who had been still lying unconscious at Bors’s feet, suddenly wakes and accepts his apology and offers an apology of his own. So, a happy ending I guess?
Afterwards Bors rides off towards the seaside, which is a few days of hard travel away. Once there he sets up a tent and goes to sleep, but his new buddy the disembodied voice wakes him up in the middle of the night and sends him down to the beach. There Bors finds Sir Percivale’s white samite ship that Nacien gave him at the end of Book XIV. He rides his horse along a broken seawall and from the end of it he dismounts and swims the rest of the way. Once Bors is aboard the ship, it starts moving under its own inexplicable holy power, which is kind of freaky so Bors goes belowdecks and finds Percivale sleeping down there. Bors wakes Percivale up, and the two of them congratulate one another on getting this far, and compare notes. I’m guessing that Sir Percivale’s face is pretty red when he finds out that Sir Bors managed to resist the Devil’s temptation without resorting to self-castration! But anyway, it’s an exciting time, and their spirits are high.
Malory closes Book XVI with a rhetorical flourish:
Then said Sir Percivale “We lack nothing but Galahad, the good knight.”
Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book XVI Chapter 17 — No Comments
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