THE GRAIL AND THE SWAN-KNIGHT
IN less than a hundred lines at the end of his Parzival Wolfram tells briefly, even sketchily, the story of Parzival's son, the famous Grail Knight, Loherangrin, as Wolfram spells the name, who has himself been the hero of long romances. This story of Lohengrin, the Swan-Knight, never more than slenderly connected with the Arthurian legends, is probably the best known tale of non-Celtic origin that became attached to that ever-growing cycle. The part played by the swan, a favorite bird of Germanic mythology, points to a Germanic origin; and so does the localisation of the story. The scene of action is generally in Low German territory, most often somewhere in the Netherlands, but sometimes as high up the Rhine as the city of Mainz. In its simplest form the story tells of a man, young, handsome, brave, who comes in a boat drawn by a swan to a strange land, where he releases from danger the lady of the country. He marries her; but on her asking a forbidden question, he is obliged to go to his own land again as mysteriously as he came, leaving her widowed, with a child from whom is to descend an illustrious race.
From various allusions to some such story as this, it is evident that it was well known in France in the second half of the twelfth century, where it probably