Failure in Literature: The Once and Future King. 

“Something happened to me which was outside my own plans, and after that I went where I was taken,” said Lancelot.

“What was the accident?” Authur said.

“I was riding with Sir Percivale, when we came across my son. He unhorsed me at the first tilt — my son did…I rode at Galahad with all the skill I could manage, and he gave me the finest fall I ever had…indeed, I might say he gave me one of the only falls I’ve ever had. The first thing I can remember feeling, when I was lying on the ground, was pure astonishment. It was only later it turned to something else…

I was lying on the ground, and Galahad was standing his horse beside me without saying a word, when a woman came up who was a recluse in a hermitage where we had been fighting. She made a curtesy and said: ‘God be with you, best knight of the world’…

I looked up, to see who was talking to me.”

The king and queen waited.

Lancelot cleared his throat again: “I am trying to tell you something about my spirit, if you see what I mean, not about my adventures. So I can’t be modest about it. I am a bad man,I know, but I was always good with arms. It was a consolation to me in my badness, sometimes, to think — to know that I was the best knight of the world.”

“And so?” Authur said.

“Well, the lady was not talking to me.”


“Yes.” Lancelot said. 

“What a disgusting thing to say!” Exclaimed the King.

“It was true… At the time I couldn’t bare it. I felt as if my prop had been taken from me, and I knew that she only said the simple truth. I felt as if she had broken the last piece of my heart…”

“My poor Lance,” said Guenever.

“It was the best thing that ever happened.”

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