Medieval Arthurian Legend

Old French pre-Vulgate Lancelot

13th century, Old French.

Sir Gawain tracks Galehot and Sir Lancelot down to a Lost Island, and in attempting to storm the only bridge onto this island, is met by Sir Lancelot wearing Galehot’s arms.

Sir Gawain gains entry to a curious land of Sorelois, a kingdom ruled by Galehot of the Outer Isles; it is surrounded by water and approachable only by one of two perilous causeways that remind one a little of the Underwater Bridge in Chrétien de Troyes' The Knight of the Cart. Galehot is playing host to Sir Lancelot, but upon hearing that Sir Gawain has gained control of one of these causeways from its defending knight and ten men-at-arms, he removes himself and Sir Lancelot still further from the outside world to a Lost Island.

Sir Gawain tracks them both down again, and in attempting to storm the only bridge onto this island, is met by Sir Lancelot wearing Galehot’s arms. Sir Lionel arrives from the castle on the island and recognises Sir Gawain by his armour. Sir Lancelot, upon learning from Sir Lionel that it is Sir Gawain he is fighting, embraces Sir Gawain in joy.

But Sir Gawain brings worrying news of King Arthur. The king is under attack by Saxons at Arestal in Scotland. Will Galehot and Sir Lancelot join him to fight on the side of King Arthur? Of course! – they both say.

'But let us go,' said Galehot, 'in such a way that we shall not be recognised, and all take unfamiliar arms.'

So they travel out from their place of retreat to Arestal, and in accordance with Queen Guinevere's prior instructions, agree not to wear their own arms. Instead, on the day of the battle, Sir Lancelot carries a black shield with a white band...

...Galehot carried the shield of the King of a Hundred Knights and Sir Gawain carried a shield which was half white and half azure, which belonged to the best knight in Galehot's household, whose name was Galain...'

Story fragment recounted from: Corley, Corin, with an introduction by Kennedy, Elspeth, 1989. Lancelot of the Lake. (The pre-cyclic prose Lancelot). Translated from Old French with an introduction. Oxford University Press. Sir Gawain's visit to the Lost Island and prelude to the battle at Arestal, pp 357–73.


Weird Tales—discussion.


Lancelot – Wikipedia


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