Parzival

PARZIVAL : THE STONE GRAIL 

BRIAN COLLESS

 

SYNOPSIS

The German Grail romance, Parzival, was composed around 1200, by Wolfram von Eschenbach (born around 1170), a knight from Bavaria. Wolfram knew The Tale of the Grail, by Chrétien (Crestien) de Troyes, and Wolfram’s story-line follows the same course; the name has been changed from Perceval to Parzival.
The Parzival poem has almost 25,000 lines (rhyming couplets, as in CT’s poem) in 827 stanzas,  and 16 sections (Books 1-16). The first two books tell the story of Gahmuret, Parzival’s father; this is not found in Crestien’s Perceval. Additional material about the success of Parzival’s quest is contained in Books 13-16. As with Crestien, a large part of the poem (Books 7-13) is devoted  to Gawan (Gauvain, Gawain), Arthur’s nephew. 
[Books 1-2] Parzival’s parents are the knight Gahmuret and Herzeloyde, Queen of Norgals & Waleis.
He had a previous wife in the Orient, but he abandoned her. He is a roving adventurer, a knight-errant in search of love and combat, and all his acts of derring-do were spiced with the love of ladies.  When he goes into battle he wears his wife’s chemise over his armour, and on his return she wears it, tattered and torn, on her bare skin. After Gahmuret is treacherously slain, the grief of her loss is allayed by the birth of her son, a fortnight later. However, she decides to raise her child to be ignorant of chivalry.
[Book 3]  He encounters a group of knights and is determined to go to King Artus (Arthur).
Queen Herzeloyde’s advice to her departing son was:
(1) Beware of dark fords, cross only when they are shallow and clear [not CT]
(2) Be polite and give people your greeting [(CT)]  (3) Let a man grey with age teach you good conduct [(CT)]
(4) Wherever you can win a good woman’s ring and greeting take them; kiss her and clasp her tight. [(CT)]
Items 2 - 4 correspond to two of CT’s three (lacks CT’s “go to church and pray”)
The way WE has constructed No 4 is asking for trouble, omitting CT’s detail about helping women in distress,
and jumping straight to the ring and the kissing. That is what Parzival will do with the woman in the tent.
When he had gone, his mother fainted without feinting (‘without falsity’) and died of grief.
Apparently, he did not look back (as Perceval did).
The advice given by Gurnemanz (10 commandments!):
(1) Never lose your sense of shame (shedding your honour and going to hell)
(2) Have compassion on the needy (with generosity, kindness, humility)
(3) Be both poor and rich (hoarding wealth is dishonour; observe the true mean)
(4) Avoid bad manners    (5) Do not ask too many questions    (6) Show mercy to to those who surrender to you
(7) When you remove your armour, wash the rust of your hands and eyes  (8) Be manly and cheerful of spirit
(9) Let women be dear to you (do not tell lies and deceive them)  (10) Husband and wife are one, inseparable
[Book 4]  Condwiramurs/Kondwiramur ( = Blancheflor of Belrepaire) becomes Parzival’s wife 
[Book 5] Parzival spends a night in the Grail Castle as a guest of the sick Fisher-King (Anfortas).
What is the Grail?  Wolfram’s grail (grâl) is a stone. It is accompanied by  2  silver knives (not a carving platter), and also a bleeding spear. The Grail is carried back and forth for each course of the meal, providing the desired food and drink. Its power is renewed every Good Friday by a dove descending from Heaven and placing a sacramental wafer on the stone. (A Celtic origin may be found in Bran’s magical food-dispenser.) It  rejuvenates, and enables the phoenix to rise from its ashes. It is very heavy; can not be carried by a sinner; but easily lifted by a pure virgin.
Where is the Grail? In Munsalvaesche (Montsalvat, Salvation Mount?), the castle of the Fisher-King, an uncle of Parzival. Munsalvaesche is in the same land as King Arthur’s realm and Wales (Parzival’s home), and thus presumably in Britain. Parzival (as does Perceval) moves from one to another of the three on horseback. But, maybe on the mainland and Brittany (Bretagne).
Whence is the Grail?  From Heaven? Meteoric rock like the Black Stone at Mecca?
The Grail is called lapsit exillis (“it slipped out of those”??). Error for: Lapis ex celis (Stone from Heaven)? Lapis elixir (Elixir Stone)? Lapis exilii (Stone of Exile)?  Could it be a stone chalice?!
Whose is the Grail? It serves the maimed Fisher-King (Anfortas) and his grandfather (Titurel), and sustains them.  Parzival, the Welsh country-bumpkin,  attains wisdom and compassion, and asks the king “Uncle, what ails you?”(795:29).  Anfortas is cured, and Parzival becomes king; he is in fact a member of the Grail-family, and his name has appeared  on the Grail as the successor. The Grail-knights are called templeises, Templars (like the Knights Templar). 

Wolfram von Eschenbach, Parzival (Studienausgabe, Berlin 1926, 1965)
Parzival, translated by Helen M. Mustard and Charles E. Passage ((1961)
Joachim Bunke, Wolfram von Eschenbach (1997)

PARZIVAL : THE STONE GRAIL

The German Grail romance, entitled Parzival, was composed around 1200, by Wolfram von Eschenbach, a knight from Bavaria. Wolfram knew the Tale of the Grail, by Chrétien (Crestien) de Troyes, and Wolfram’s story-line follows the same course (only the name has been changed, from Perceval to Parzival,  to protect the innocent; and that is what Parzival was, an innocent, a guileless fool; but he got over it). 

The Parzival poem has almost 25,000 lines (rhyming couplets of eight syllables, as in CT’s poem) in 827 stanzas, and 16 sections (Books 1-16). The first two books tell the story of Gahmuret, Parzival’s father; this is not found in Crestien’s Perceval. Additional material about the success of Parzival’s quest is contained in Books 13-16. As with Crestien, a large part of the poem (Books 7-13) is devoted to Gawan (Gauvain, Gawain), Arthur’s nephew.

At the end of his poem Wolfram makes an accusation  of inaccuracy against his predecessor (and predeceaser): Crestien of Troyes got it  wrong. Here is an opportunity to observe the eight-syllable rhyming couplets, in my attempt at translation,
 
    Ob von Troys meister Cristyân / disem maere hât unreht getân,
    daz mac wol zürnen Kyôt,  / der uns diu rehten maere enbôt. (827, 1-4)

    If he of Troy, Master Cristyân / to this story a wrong has done,
    that may well cause Kyot to grieve / from whom we the right tale receive.
 
In mitigation, we know that Crestien left his poem unfinished, when he died, so we certainly don’t have the whole story from him; but Wolfram claimed to have received privileged information from a reliable source, namely Kyot of Provence, who obtained it in turn from a pagan named Flegetanis, an Israelite tracing his descent from King Solomon (Book  9: 453-455).

(The Grail secrets were held by a Jewish family of royal lineage? Sons of David!)

Kyot’s interest in the Grail was aroused when he was in Toledo (Dolet), in Spain. (Write it on the tablets of your heart, and practise your plain ei-diphthongs: ‘the reign in Spain falls mainly in the vale in the tale of the Grail’. That’s regal regnal ‘reign’, not pluvial ‘rain’, or horse’s ‘rein’, or kidney ‘rein’.
 

(Was the Grail-King, and the Grail, domiciled in Iberia, not Hibernia or Britannia?)

Kyot discovered an account of the Grail in heathen language (meaning Arabic, a language known in Medieval Spain, along with Hebrew), written by Flegetanis, an astrologer, who had redd in the constellations the truth about the Grail, a thing that had been left on the earth by an angelic host, which then flew away beyond the stars.

Subsequently, Kyot redd the chronicles of Britain, Ireland, and France, in search of this family of worthy grail-guardians; and in Anschouwe/Anjou he found the account of the Grail and its earlier kings, and the true story of Mazadan, ancestor of Artus/Arthur and Gawan /Gawain, and also of Gahmuret and Parzival.

In this regard, mention could be made of René d’Anjou, born in 1408, who bore a mass of titles, including duke of Anjou, duke of Lorraine (his personal device was the cross of Lorraine, with its two horizontal bars), king of various European countries, and, most notably, king of Jerusalem [HBHG, 446f] (which is tantamount to claiming Davidic descent, like Jesus, the ‘Son of David’)

As for Kyot, if he is not an invention of Wolfram, he could be the poet Guiot de Provins, described by Baigent and co [Holy Blood Holy Grail, 308] as a troubadour, monk, and spokesman for the Templars (the crusading “Order of the Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon”); he lived in Provence; he wrote love songs, satirical verse, paeans in praise of the Temple, and attacks on the Church. They can offer an occasion when the poet-troubador Guiot and the knight Wolfram could have met: Guiot visited Mainz in Germany in 1184, when The Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick Barbarossa, conferred knighthood on his sons. Moreover, both Guiot and Wolfram  visited the Holy Land, where they could have studied the Templars. Wolfram has the Guardians of the Grail as Templars. This is an anachronism, apparently, or simply poetic licence, unless there was an order with the same aims as the Templars in centuries before the Crusades, in the time of King Arthur. For the HBHG brigade it was the Merovingian Dynasty that kept the secret of the Holy Grail.

Now to the story.
Books 1-2 [Stanzas 1 - 58 - 116]
Parzival’s parents are the knight Gahmuret and Herzeloyde, Queen of Norgals and Waleis. He had a previous wife in the Orient, but he abandoned her. He is a roving adventurer, a knight-errant in search of love and combat, and all his acts of derring-do were spiced with the love of ladies. Herzeloyde agrees to allow him to fight whenever he feels the urge, or he will carry out his threat to  desert her, too. When he goes into battle he wears his wife’s chemise over his armour, and on his return she wears it, tattered and torn, on her bare skin. After he is treacherously slain, by a lance through his sabotaged helmet, the blood-stained chemise is buried in the church, and she is unable to wear it again.

The grief of her loss of Gahmuret is allayed by the birth of her son, a fortnight later. However, in an attempt to avoid more sorrow, she decides to raise her child to be ignorant of chivalry.

Books 3-6 {Stanzas 116 - 337]
Parzival’s youth is characterized by tumpheit: he is a Dummkopf, may we say? But he has led a sheltered life. And yet, by the end of Book 6, with 10 more books remaining, he has become a knight of King Artus’s round table.

The threads of the tale as told by Wolfram are basicly the same as Crestien’s, but there are many differences in the details.  And, of course, Wolfram’s version has an ending.

Book 3 [116 -179]
The prince (his name is not revealed until stanza 140) encounters knights for the first time, to the dismay of his mother; and forthwith he is intent on going to King Artus to be knighted. His mother dressed him in fool’s clothing, hoping the world would reject him, and he would come back to her.

[3:127]
Queen Herzeloyde’s advice to her departing son was:
(1) Beware of dark fords, cross only when they are shallow and clear [not Crestien de Troyes]
(2) Be polite and give people your greeting [CT]
(3) Let a man grey with age teach you good conduct [CT]
(4) Wherever you can win a good woman’s ring and greeting take them; kiss her, clasp her tight in your embrace. [CT]
[Items 2 - 4 correspond to two of CT’s three (lacks CT’s “go to church and pray”)]
The way WE has constructed No 4 is asking for trouble, omitting CT’s detail about helping women in distress, & jumping straight to the ring and the kissing.

When he had gone, his mother fainted without feinting (‘without falsity’) and died of grief. Apparently, he did not look back (as Perceval did).

[129] At an easily fordable brook he neglects to cross it all day, because flowers and grass make it dark (?). Next day he finds a clear ford and goes to a luxurious tent. Inside, lying langorously asleep on her bed, with her divinely shaped body uncovered down to her hips, he finds Duchess Jeschute, wife of Duke Orilus de Lalander. [130] She has a ring on a finger, and in misplaced obedience to his mother’s badly-phrased counsel he leaped onto the bed.  [131] Ignoring her protests when she awoke, he forced her mouth to his, and hugged the duchess to him. Then he took her ring, and also a brooch from her smock.

Quote: “Then the lad complained of hunger. The lady’s body was radiantly lovely”. She asked him not to eat her, and directed his gaze to the bread and wine, and two partridges. (What, no venison pies? But Wolfram has bread, and we have seen that this scene is profaning the sacrament in Crestien’s scheme.)

[132] He filled his belly with food, washed down with lusty drafts of wine.  She demanded her ring and brooch, to no avail. She warned him of her husband’s imminent wrathful return, but he did not care, though he said he would leave if any harm would come to her honour.  He stole another kiss, and his last words were: “God shield you, That’s what my mother told me to say”.

[133] The haughty Orilus soon returned and found his wife all woebegone. He accused her of having another ami (using the same French word as Crestien did), and made a long speech about the shame and dishonour, culminating in the sentence of punishment he would impose on her (same as CT). [137] Her horse would go hungry; no more clothes for her body; no shared bed and board. He would get even with the one who had shared her love in his pavilion. We are told that for more than a year she was to miss the comfort of her husband’s embrace.

[138] The simple lad went on his way, greeting all and sundry, and adding: “That’s what my mother told me to do”.      
Suddenly, as he was riding down a slope “our simple boy” heard a woman wailing in anguish. Wolfram informs us that it was Sigûne tearing out her long brown hair in grief over her dead lover, Prince Schianatulander, whose body was lying in her lap (apparently he was self-possessed enough to keep his head this time; Crestien has him headless; and he does not let Perceval meet her till after the Grail-castle episode).

[140] Sigune asks the boy his name; he replies that at home he was known as:
“Bon fils (bon fiz), Cher fils (scher fiz), Beau fils (bêâ fiz)”[Fitz] (CT: Biax fix only).
We remember Perceval giving this sort of response to the first knights he met.
She straightway recognized him; and the narrator interposes this: “Now hear him more rightly named, that you may know who is the lord of this adventure”. 
Wolfram seems to be impatient to let the hero’s name pierce its way out of the bag, a vellum (animal-skin) bag, no doubt, so we can frame a new hypothesis: Perceval means “pierce the vellum” [!]

Wolfram has his own theory, which he puts into “the red mouth of the maiden”:
“Forsooth, you are hight (called) Parzival, meaning ‘right through the middle’”.
Wolfram must be construing French ‘Perceval’ as perce à val (‘pierce through’).
Crestien himself did not give an etymology for ‘Perceval’, but my proposal is that he intended us to see the hero as the one who ‘pierces the vale’, that is, penetrates the valley to reach the Grail-castle (Crestien says it is hidden in a val).
We are told (Mustard and Passage, Parzival, 78, n. 8) that a subsequent poet, Heinrich von der Türlin, in his poem Diu Krone, explains that val means ‘furrow’ as well as ‘valley’. I have already played with this ‘furrow’ idea, and it is interesting to see Wolfram take it up at this point, as Sigune continues:

“Such a furrow (furch) did great love (liebe) plow in your mother’s heart with the plow of her faithfulness. Your father bequeathed her sorrow.” (M & P, 78) (grôz liebe ier solch herzen furch mit dîner muoter triuwe: dîn vater liez ir riuwe.)
[OE furh > ‘furrow’]
Wolfram also seems to be suggesting that the mother’s name, Herzeloyde, means ‘Heart-sorrow’ (herz + leide), but this etymology is doubted (M & P, 78,  n.9). 

Sigune turns out to be his cousin, and she imparts some important information to Parzival about their family. His mother is her aunt; his father was an Angevin; Parzival was born a man of Waleis on his mother’s side, at Kanvoleis; he is the king of Norgals, and will one day wear the crown in his capital city Kingrivals. The prince she is mourning, and to whom she had never declared her love, sad to say, till he was dead,  lost his life defending Parzival’s lands.  However, she does not want him to seek vengeance yet.

And we must not dilly-dally; moving on he found a churlish churl of a fisherman, whose tone changed when he was given Lady Jeschute’s brooch, and he conducted Parzival to Arthur’s Table Round.  We know the story: he killed a villainous knight, who had offended King Artus and Queen Ginover; and the victor appropriated his red armour and his title, the Red Knight.

Next stop on Parzival’s educational tour is the castle of Gurnemanz de Graharz,
where he learns a thing or two about chivalry [3: 162 - 179]
[3: 170-173] The advice given by Gurnemanz (10 commandments!):
(1) Never lose your sense of shame (shedding your honour and going to hell)
(2) Have compassion on the needy (with generosity, kindness, humility)
(3) Be both poor and rich (hoarding wealth is dishonour; observe the true mean)
(4) Avoid bad manners
(5) Do not ask too many questions
(6) Show mercy to to those who surrender to you in battle
(7) When you remove your armour, wash the rust of your hands and eyes
(8) Be manly and cheerful of spirit
(9) Let women be dear to you (do not tell lies and deceive them)
(10) Husband and wife are one, inseparable, from one seed

Then he travels on, to Pelrapeire (CT: Beaurepaire) [Book 4: 179 - 223]
The beautiful young queen in this castle is named Condwiramurs (or Kondwiramur); Crestien called her Blancheflor. After he saves her from two pestering rogues, he marries her. But he must leave her for a while, to see how his mother is faring.

Now we come to the Grail Scene [Book 5]
[225] The child of Gahmuret rode on, sorely troubled by the thought that he was separated from her who was fairer and better than any other woman, namely Queen Condwiramurs, his belovèd wife. At evening he came to a lake, and saw fishers in a boat; one of them, who was wearing rich apparel and a hat trimmed with peacock feathers, invited him to his castle, and promised to be his host.
(CT: Perceval is surprised to find the fisher as his host; and here no vale is pierced to reach the castle, but it is still not easy to find [250: to see it you must chance upon it unawares].)

[228] On arrival, he was given a silk cloak, which had been worn by the Queen, named Repanse de Schoye (Spreader of Joy, I take it to mean).

[229]  They went up to a hall. A hundred chandeliers were hanging there.
He saw a hundred couches which could each seat four knights (CT: 400 seats)

[230] There were three square fireplaces made of marble, with fires burning the aromatic wood called lign aloe. The host himself was brought in on a bed and they set him down in front of the central fireplace. At this stage of his life, as an invalid,  he was enjoying a living death. Into the hall came Parzival, and his gracious host requested that he sit beside him. [231] Because of his sickness, he needed fires and furs to warm him. His jacket and mantle were of costly sable, as also his headdress, which had a glittering ruby at its centre. Sorrow was ushered into the presence of the many valorous knights, as a squire burst in, bearing a lance in his hand. Blood ran from the tip of the lance, down the shaft to the bearer’s hand and into the sleeve [an extra detail in WE]. Weeping and wailing filled the place as the squire carried the lance all round the room, and then ran out through the door.

[232] The sorrowing had been caused by the memory evoked by this lance.
[A reminder of how the fisher-king had been maimed?]
It was time for the food to be served with ritual courtesy. A door of steel opened at the end of the hall, and a succession of noble ladies came in to set a table for the king.

[234] Two princesses carried two shining silver knives, perhaps sharp enough to cut steel, and put them on the table.
[These knives replace CT’s tailleor, a carving-platter. Did Wolfram misunderstand tailleor as ‘cutter’ (cp. ‘tailor’, a ‘cutter of cloth’, from French tailleur) and as meaning ‘knife’? Two knives, actually. Did he mean scissors?!]

[235] After them came the radiant queen, Repanse de Schoye.
[Note, she was not the fisher-king’s wife; nor his mother; she was unmarried.]
She was clothed in a dress of Arabian silk. And on a green achmardî [????] she bore ‘the perfection of Paradise’.
[truoc si den wunsch von pardîs]
[wunsch: the supreme good; modern ‘wish, desire, request’]
That was a thing called the Grail, which surpasses all earthly perfection.
[daz was ein dinc, daz hiez der Grâl, erden wunsches überwal.]
The Grail allowed her to be the bearer, if she preserved her chastity and purity.
[We must find a husband for her, though it can not be Parzival; he’s taken already.]

[236] The lights preceeding the Grail were six vessels of clear glass in which balsam was burning. The queen set the Grail down before the host. Here Wolfram says:  “The story relates that Parzival looked at her and remembered that it was actually her mantle he was wearing”.
[If the source-text he means is CT, then although Crestien has Perceval receiving a scarlet cloak when he was welcomed to the castle, he does not say it belonged to any particular person. ]
The beautiful maiden with the crown remained standing there, while the others stepped back.

[237] Then stewards and pages brought in gold basins and towels for washing hands, and gold vessels for food.

[238] Wonder of wonders, whatever anyone desired, when they streched out their hand it was there in front of the Grail: warm food or cold, game meat or tame meat, new dishes or old.

[239] Whatever drink one held out one’s goblet for, it was there, all by the power of the Grail, whose guests the noble companions were. [Be my guest, the Grail said, and everbody tucked in to their heart’s content.] Both the temperate and the gluttonous could have their fill, Wolfram says. The abundance and the sweetness were like what we are told about the kingdom of heaven, he declares.

Parzival contemplated all these wonders, but for courtesy’s sake he refrained from asking questions, trying to be obedient to the counsels of Gurnemanz. If I stay here long enough, it will all be revealed to me, he thought. Just then, a squire brought a marvellous sword, which the host presented to Parzival, saying that it had been used by him in battle in the past, before God wounded him.

[240] Here Wolfram bemoans the failure of Parzival to ask the vital question that could have freed the wounded man from the punishment imposed on him by the displeasure of God. The sword was a sign to him that he should ask.

But now the feast was ended. The attendants removed the tables and the dishes on four carts, and the queen with her maidens carried the Grail away. Before they closed the door, Parzival caught sight of a bed in an outer room, on which was a venerable man whose beautiful hair was greyer than the mist.

[241] Who he was you shall learn later, Wolfram says, keeping us in suspense.
He does not divulge the name of the old man or the fisher-king.

Well, Wolfram has let us know the name of the boy’s parents Gahmuret and Herzeloyde, and the name of the queen who was in charge of the Grail (Répanse de Joye), and of the hero (Parzival). But at the same juncture in the French Tale of the Grail, Crestien had left the parents and all the Grail characters nameless, and Perceval himself, unlike Parzival, did not know how he was yclept.

[242] At this sumptuous but gloomy feast there was no post-prandial entertainment for this mournful company.
[No jester, no jokes.]
The host sent Parzival to bed, not exactly without any supper; dessert snacks are available in the bedroom.

[243] A colourful silken bed had been prepared, and he was undressed for it by some nimble page-boys. Then four maidens appeared, each preceded by a squire lighting her way with a candle. There is no mention of a nightshirt or pajamas, so, out of modesty the agile knight leapt into bed, in a race against time, “as in a children’s game”. He peeped over the covers at the girls, who had to be satisfied with the thrill of seeing his red lips and the smooth skin of his hairless young face.

Three of them were bringing his nightcap, not something to keep his head warm, but mulberry juice, wine, and claret [choose one? one after the other? mix them?] The fourth damsel offered fruits of the kind found in Paradise; when she kneeled he told her to sit, but she replied that he could not receive the service she had been ordered to render to him. What? Tuck him in and kiss him goodnight? No, just to give him her fruit. He partook of each of the preferred delights, let the girls go, and lay down to sleep.

[245]But Parzival did not lie alone: Distress was his mistress all through the night.
[Funny how so many words referring to bad things are feminine: they begin with the title ‘Miss’ (mis-fortune, mis-demeanour, mis-behaviour), or end with ‘ess’ (temptress, seductress); and ‘mis-tr-ess’ is the worst of them all.]
[his companion was ‘strengiu arbeit’, ‘Deep Distress’. Arbeit = ‘work’]

And when daylight came, no one was there to attend to him. The whole place seemed to be deserted.
[Well, there was probably a sign upon the king’s door saying: ‘Gone fishing, instead of just a-wishing’]
So Parzival donned his armour,  [as in the good old movies, no one ever needs to go to the toilet], mounted his horse, and rode across the drawbridge. Before he reached the end of it, an unseen squire started pulling it up, saying: “You are a goose. If only you had asked the question, you would have won great honour.” (CT does not have the accusing voice.)

[This is slightly odd, winning the $64,000 prize for asking a question, not answering one; just sometimes in quizzes they give you the answer and you have to say what the question would have been. But you cannot blame the poor innocent lad; he was alone in a strange place, and you never know what might happen in a German castle (like Colditz): you ask a question and they start slapping you around the head and snarling: ‘Ve ask the kvestions’.]

Before long the rebuke for remaining silent was reiterated. Who does Parzival meet next? At this point, Perceval ran into a woman weeping over her headless lover; she turned out to be his cousin, and told him of his mother’s demise. But Wolfram has already used this scene, interpolated after the unsavoury incident in the tent. Sigune is here making a second appearance, now seated in a linden tree, still cradling her slain lover, and lamenting over him. Many days have elapsed.
[To quote the Bible, what Martha said, with respect to Lazarus (John 11:39):
“He hath been dead four days; he stinketh already”.]

To our relief, we are told that the body has been embalmed in the mean time.
Parzival, does not recognize Sigune; but this is understandable, since her long brown hair has all been torn out, and the colour has been drained from her red lips. (Wolfram has an obsession with lips)
She does not know who he is either, till she hears his voice.

She is acting as the local information centre for travellers [the i-site]. Here are the ‘facts’ [251].

The castle’s name is Munsalvaesche; the kingdom is called Terre de Salvaesche.
(I would expect these names to mean Mount of Salvation and Land of ditto.)
If you search diligently for that rich castle, and many do so, you will not find it.
Titurel the aged king bequeathed it to his son Frimutel, but he lost his life at a joust, done at the bidding of love. He left four noble children. One of them is Trevrizent, who has chosen poverty for the love of God (he is a pious hermit). Three of them are rich but sad, notably Anfortas, the lord of Munsalvaesche, who can only lean, recline; he can not ride, walk, lie, or stand. 

[255] Parzival confesses to her that he had not asked any questions.
She is appalled to hear that having seen so many wonders he could not feel compassion for his host, and inquire about the cause of his suffering. She angrily sends him on his way. He is now remorseful and full of self-reproach.

[256] Then he met a sad lady on a miserable horse: its mane hung down to its hooves, and you could count all its ribs through the skin. She recognized Parzival as the cause of all her suffering; she was the duchess Jerschute, who had been ravished by him, an experience she had not found ravishing at all. Parzival, like Perceval, has to fight her husband, Duke Orilus, to persuade him to see sense. They went to the cave of a hermit named Trevrizent (later Parzival will learn that Trevrizent and Anfortas are brothers, and therefore uncles of his). There he swore an oath on a casket of holy relics and confessed that he was to blame. Reconciliation was achieved all round [269].

[Book 6] Arthur and the queen have set out to find this renowned Red Knight, our hero Parzival. Meanwhile, by chance, he is stationed close by. A flock of geese has been attacked by a falcon, and one goose has left three red drops of blood on the snow.  Parzival imagined the face of his Condwiramurs in the snow:
two of the spots were her rosy cheeks, the third was her chin. He sat on his horse musing, lost in thought, enthralled by love for the queen of Pelrapeire.

A couple of knights challenged him for his effrontery in not acknowledging the presence of King Arthur. Parzival comes out of his trance each time and reacts. The blustery Keie [Sir Kay] is particularly worsted; his right arm and left leg were broken and his horse killed in the fall.
[No animals were harmed in the making of this epic? That disclaimer is kaput.]

As we already know from the Perceval version of the epic, Gawan (Gauvain) went out to Parzival, befriended him, and escorted him to Arthur & Guinevere.

So Parzival became a member of the Round Table.  Not that they had brought it with them; it was left in Nantes [309].
Isn’t Nantes in France? Yes, in Bretagne, here meaning Brittany, not Britain.
Wolfram seems to have a different geographical setting, on the mainland.

At this point in Crestien’s narrative, the Hideous Damsel makes her entrance on her mule. Wolfram gives her the name Cundrie (Kundry in Wagner’s Parsifal), with the title la sorcière, the sorceress [312]. Wolfram is reluctant to say it of a lady, but she is ugly; no lover would desire her face or fight a joust for her love. Her redeeming feature was that she was learnèd: she spoke Latin, French, and Arabic (‘heathen’), and was well versed in dialectic, geometry, and astronomy. She was the archetypal ‘bluestocking’ , but it was her cape that was blue: bluer than lapis lazuli (azure).

She curses Parzival for his manly beauty, and she lashes him with her tongue for not taking pity on the sorrowful fisher and releasing him with a compassionate question.

But we must cut this long story short. All’s well that ends well. The hermit Trevrizent takes Parzival in hand, completes his spiritual education; he learns that the unhealed wound of Anfortas had to be touched by by the spear, and that is why the tip had blood on it; the wound was so cold that ice formed on the lance, and the two knives were to remove this ice. Finally Parzival is called to the Grail by Cundrie (at the end of Book 15), and in Book 16 he becomes Grail-king and is joined by his wife Condwiramurs. One of their sons is named Loherangrin (Wagner’s Lohengrin). Anfortas is freed from his suffering. Parzival has found a half-brother named Feirefiz (son of Gahmuret and his oriental wife Belacane). Feirefiz marries Repanse de Schoye, the Grail-queen, daughter of Frimutel son of Titurel and also father of Anfortas, Trevrizent, and Herzeloyde, mother of Parzival. Those who have survived seem set to live happily ever after.

Remember, we quoted part of Wolfram’s final stanza, to the effect that Crestien had done an injustice to the story (got it wrong?), and that might well disturb Kyot of Provence, who provided the right story.

[827] Kyot “the Provençal  correctly/through to the end (endehaft) tells how Herzeloyde’s child won the Grail, as he was destined to do, when Anfortas had forfeited it”. 

I think that Wolfram might simply be saying that Crestien left the story unfinished, but Wolfram has completed it, with the help of Kyot (Guiot).

The moral of the story (stated at the end) is that Parzival’s worthy achievement was “a  life so concluded that God is not robbed of the soul through fault of the body, and which can obtain the world’s favour with dignity”. Parzival thus led a balanced life, pleasing both God and human society.

Parzival is the pure, innocent, artless, naive simpleton who attains the supreme goal denied to the worldly-wise: to be the keeper of the Grail, to reign as the Grail King.

What is the Grail? 
Wolfram’s grail (grâl) is a stone. It is accompanied by  two  silver knives (not a carving platter), and also a bleeding spear. The Grail is carried back and forth for each course of the meal, providing the desired food and drink. Its power is renewed every Good Friday by a dove descending from Heaven and placing a sacramental wafer on the stone.
(A Celtic origin may be found in Bran’s magical food-dispenser.)
It  rejuvenates, and enables the phoenix to rise from its ashes.
It is very heavy; can not be carried by a sinner; but easily lifted by a pure virgin.

Where is the Grail?
In Munsalvaesche (Montsalvat, Salvation Mount?), the castle of the Fisher-King, an uncle of Parzival, on his mother’s side. Munsalvaesche is in the same land as King Arthur’s realm and Wales (Parzival’s home), and thus presumably in Britain. Parzival (as does Perceval) moves from one to another of the three on horseback. But, maybe on the mainland and Brittany (Bretagne). Wolfram’s geographical landscape is poetic; the English Channel is ignored. What was Britain for Crestien de Troyes is Brittany for Wolfram von Eschenbach, with Nantes as the city of Arthur’s Round Table; similarly Wales (Gales), the home of Perceval the Welshman (Galois) becomes Valois, a region northeast of Paris. Spain and Portugal are mentioned in the book (Toledo, Aragon, Seville).

Whence is the Grail?
From Heaven? Meteorite rock like the Black Stone, Mecca?
The Grail is called lapsit exillîs (“it slipped out of those”??). Error for: Lapis ex celis (Stone from Heaven)? Lapis elixir (Elixir Stone)? Lapis exilii (Stone of Exile)?
 Could it be a stone chalice?! Perhaps the one now held in the Cathedral of Valencia in Spain? It came from a monastery situated near the Pyrenees mountains, that could have been the prototype of the Grail-castle.
This stone chalice has a brief Arabic inscription, which has been redd as: Albzt s.lys., an equally enigmatic counterpart to Wolfram’s lapsit exillîs. It has a documented pedigree, showing it was brought from the Holy Land, claiming to be the cup from the Last Supper of Jesus Christ and his disciples.

Whose is the Grail?
It serves the maimed Fisher-King (Anfortas) and his grandfather (Titurel), and sustains them. 
Parzival, the Welsh country-bumpkin,  attains wisdom and compassion, and at last asks the king “Uncle, what ails you?”(795:29).  Anfortas is cured, and Parzival becomes king; he is in fact a member of the Grail-family, and his name has appeared on the Grail as the chosen successor.

The Grail-knights are called templeises, Templars (like the Knights Templar).