The German story makes its appearance in the last stanzas of Wolfram von Eschenbach's Paazival, where it is related how Parzival's son, Loherangrin,' was sent from the castle of the Grail to the help of the young duchess of Brabant.
It is guarded by a body of chosen knights, or templars, and acts alike as a life and youth preserving talisman - no man may die within eight days of beholding it, and the maiden who bears it retains perennial youth - and an oracle choosing its own servants, and indicating whom the Grail king shall wed.
Hence the invention of Galahad, son to Lancelot by the Grail king's daughter; predestined by his lineage to achieve the quest, foredoomed, the quest achieved, to vanish, a sacrifice to his father's fame, which, enhanced by connexion with the Grailwinner, could not risk eclipse by his presence.
Recent grail researches have made it most probable that that mysterious talisman was originally the vessel of the ritual feast held in honour of a deity of vegetation, - Adonis, or another; if the Round Table also, as Dr Mott suggests, derives from a similar source, we have a link between these two notable features of Arthurian tradition, and an additional piece of evidence in support of the view that behind the Arthur of romance there lie not only memories of an historic British chieftain, but distinct traces of a mythological and beneficent hero.
The noble poem Lucretius, one of the greatest of Tennyson's versified monographs, appeared in May 1868, and in this year The Holy Grail was at last finished; it was published in 1869, together with three other idyls belonging to the Arthurian epic, and various miscellaneous lyrics, besides Lucretius.
Tricked into a liaison with the Fisher King's daughter Elaine, he becomes the father of Galahad, the Grail winner, and, as a result of the queen's jealous anger at his relations with the lady, goes mad, and remains an exile from the court for some years.
By the Germans it was turned to mystical use by being attached loosely to the Grail legend (see Grail and Perceval); in France it was adapted to glorify the family of Godfrey de Bouillon.
In the Parzival of Wolfram von Eschenbach, the ultimate source of which is identical with that of Chretien, on the contrary, the Grail is represented as a precious stone, brought to earth by angels, and committed to the guardianship of the Grail king and his descendants.
Numerous attempts have been made to solve these problems, and to construct a theory of the origin of the Grail story, but so far the difficulty has been to find an hypothesis which would admit of the practically simultaneous existence of apparently contradictory features.
A noticeable feature of the story is the uncertainty as to the hero's parentage; the mother is always a lady of rank, a queen in her own right, or sister of kings (as a rule of the Grail kings); but the father's rank varies, he is never a king, more often merely a valiant knight, and in no instance does he appear to be of equal rank with his wife.