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The Holy Grail - The Fisher King

The Fisher King

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'Bran Fendigaid ( Bran the Blessed ) was the Celtic prototype of 'Bron' - the Rich Fisher or Fisher King.

'The immediate prototype of Chrétien's Fisher King has been recognised .. as Bran the Blessed, son of Llyr, the principle figure in the mabinogi of Branwen.'  Loomis; The Grail, from Celtic Myth to Christian Symbol.

He makes his first appearance in the twelfth-century 'Roman de l'Estoire du Graal' by Robert de Boron. Bron enters the tale in the miracle of Josephe's shirt.

.."Joseph's sister and her husband Bron (or Hebron) are among the followers who accompany Joseph into exile....a Heavenly voice told Joseph to command Bron to go into the water and catch a fish.... (a table like the Last Supper)-Joseph to sit where Christ sat at the Last Supper, with Bron at his right. Bron was to remove one seat to signify Judas' place, and this seat was to be reserved for a child yet to be born to Bron and his wife.. Bron and his wife had twelve sons. Eleven married, but the twelfth (later called ALAIN) refused to take a wife, and in accordance with advice from heaven was instructed by Joseph in the history of the vessel (Grail, which he was to impart to others. Alain's heir was to be guardian of the vessel, and Alain himself was to lead his brothers and sisters westward, preaching Christ. Through heavenly agency PETRUS received a letter, with which he was to set forth for the vales of Avaron and there wait the coming of Alain's son and of the one who would read his letter. An angel then announced that the vessel should pass into Bron's possession after Joseph imparted to him the secrets of the Grail, the words of Christ to Joseph in prison. Bron thenceforth would be called the Rich Fisher because of the fish he had caught, and he too, was to go westward to await Alain's son, to whom the vessel and the grace must be given. The three custodians would signify the Trinity. After Joseph told the secrets to Bron, the Good Fisher departed to the land where he was born."

According to Chretien de Troyes, Joseph gave the Grail the 'Holiest af all Holy relics,' to his brother-in-law, Bron, whose mission was to carry it into the far west to the 'Vaus d'Avaron.'

The Fisher King is called 'King Fisherman' in the Perlesvaus or High History of the Holy Grail

The legends of Bron, 'The Rich Fisher,' and Bran, 'The Blessed,' corespond in more ways than can be allowed for by coincidence. A long list of the most eminent Arthurian scholars including Heinrich, Martin, Nutt, Rhys, Brown, Nitze and Loomis all agree in regarding 'Bran Fendigaid' as the Celtic prototype of 'Bron' - the Rich Fisher or Fisher King

'It can hardly be accidental that so many significant features of bron should lead us back to Welsh tradition. If we accept the hypothesis of an exclusively Christian origin for this character, we must also be prepared to admit that he is irrellevant and unnecessary. As Nitze has observed, Joseph and Petrus would have sufficed for the purposes of the story. If on the other hand Bron = Bran, then the inconsistancies in the stories can be explained as purely Christian developements." from Loomis

'The cumulative evidence of details all pointing to a definite connection between Welsh and Arthurian tradition, evidence that cannot be explained as the result of coincidence.'  from Bran the Blessed in Arthurian Romance.


related pages

Perlesvaus, or the High History of the Holy Grail

Tennyson's Idylls of the King Part 8 The Holy Grail

The Holy Grail



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