Percival's sister

Percival's sister is a role of two similar but distinct characters in the Holy Grail stories within the Arthurian legend.


Dindrane (or Dandrane, Danbrann, Dandrenor, Dindraine, etc.) is a character in the Old French romance Perlesvaus, or The High Book of the Holy Grail, an anonymous prose adaptation of (and sequel to) Chrétien de Troyes' great unfinished work Percival, or The Story of the Grail. A sister of King Arthur's knight Percival, who rescues her from an evil bride kidnapper, Dandrane lives out her days as a maiden in the Grail Castle,[Notes 1] together with her mother (Yglais, herself a sister of King Pelles and widow of Alain "the Large", lord of the valley and castle of Kamaalot) and brother (Perlesvaus/Percival).[1]

"Grail heroine"

Contrary to popular notion, Dandrane in the 13th-century Perlesvaus is not the sister of Percival who dies helping him (with Galahad and Bors) achieve the Holy Grail.[1] This distinct latter character appears, unnamed, in the Vulgate Queste del Saint Graal (Quest for the Holy Grail) and its successors—and in the same context as Agresizia in the 14th-century Italian novella Tavola Ritonda (The Round Table).

Though frequently left unnamed, Perceval's sister is a prominent figure in many of the Grail romances, sometimes dubbed the "Grail heroine". The maiden is first encountered upon her brother (sometimes half-brother)'s return to their mother's castle, where she tells him that their mother has died. Percival leaves her either in the care of their hermit uncle or (in other texts) at the Castle of Maidens. She later meets up with Percival, Galahad and Bors, telling them who she is (she does not mention her name prior to this). She proceeds to inform them of the Sword of the Strange Belt, the magical Ship of Solomon, the Tree of Life, and other aspects of her destiny.

The travellers board the Ship of Solomon, intent to complete the mystical Grail quest. After leaving the ship, they encounter a castle with a leprous mistress; told that only the blood of a maiden princess can cure the chatelaine's leprosy, Percival's sister opts to donate hers, but succumbs to the blood loss and dies.[2]

As per her dying wish, the damsel's body is set adrift in a boat (without a crew) to float to the holy city of Sarras. In some versions, Lancelot (Galahad's father) finds her vessel and buries her in Palais Esperitel; in others, she is interred by Galahad and Bors when they land at the port of Sarras (after which they proceed to win the Grail).[3]

See also



  1. The Grail Castle is traditionally identified as Dinas Brân (the home of Bran, one original source for the Fisher King), a Welsh toponym possibly related to Dindrane, rendered as Danbrann in Y Seint Greal, the Welsh translation of the Vulgate Quest of the Holy Grail and Perlesvaus.


  1. Bruce, Christopher W. (1999). "Dandrane". The Arthurian Name Dictionary. Retrieved 9 December 2012. [Dandrane] was kidnapped by Aristor of Amorave, who intended to marry and behead her, but she was rescued by Perceval. She lived out her days as a maiden in the Grail Castle. She is not the same sister of Perceval who appears, unnamed, in the Vulgate Queste del Saint Graal and as Agresizia in La Tavola Ritonda. [Perlesvaus]
  2. Sigurd Towrie (23 December 1996). "Re: Dindrane". Newsgroup: alt.legend.king-arthur. Retrieved 9 December 2012.
  3. Newell, William Wells (1898). "The Legend of the Holy Grail". Journal of American Folklore. IV.
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