Galahad and Tristan were best friends. They each had unique talents, and these talents complimented each other. Galahad could empathize with people, even people he had never met, and understand their thinking and feelings. Tristan could understand what things did, even across time and space. Tristan did for things what Galahad did for people, essentially.
Tristan was a Mongolian shaman knight known for his graceful prowess in battle. Galahad was a Christian knight known for his naivety and purity. Both were members of King Arthur’s court.
One day Arthur had a vision of a procession carrying a grail hidden behind a veil. The prophecies said only the most pure knight would be able to find it, so of course he asked Galahad. And Galahad of course asked that Tristan be allowed to accompany him. And so the two rode off to find the grail.
They rode until they came to a river in which two fishermen were fishing. One of the fishermen invited them to dinner at his castle. He gave specific directions:
"Just down the road a little way, turn left, cross the drawbridge, and you will be my guest tonight."
We now know from Robert Johnson that these directions are to be interpreted as follows:
"The specific instructions are to go down the road -- whatever road one is involved with at the moment -- turn left, which is to say go toward the unconscious or the world of imagination and fantasy, cross the drawbridge -- the division between our conscious world and the inner world of imagination -- and one will be in the grail castle, the miraculous place of healing."
In other words, all journeys are internal, all directions are metaphoric, and that which we seek always involves healing.
At the castle the king was obviously in considerable pain. And his face showed the effects of having borne that pain for a long time. He was aged and withered. While dinner was being served a procession of maidens carrying a veiled object walked through the dining room. It looked like what Arthur had seen in his dream.
“What are they doing? What do they want?” Galahad whispered to Tristan.
And Tristan whispered back, “This is your domain – empathize.”
So Galahad let the pendulum swing, and then he knew: the king wanted him to ask a specific question. So he asked the question: “Whom does the grail serve?”
The effect was instantaneous. The king’s face relaxed for the first time, and he sighed. He said, “You have healed me and the grail is your reward.”
The rest of the evening was spent celebrating the king’s return to health. The next morning they were given a box containing the grail and they rode out. They rode all day, and in the evening they found themselves once again back at the castle. The king greeted them heartily and invited them to stay the night. Dinner was festive and the king did not appear to be in pain.
The following morning they rode out on a different path, and after riding all day, they again found themselves back at the castle, where the king again welcomed them and invited them to stay the night. As before, the dinner was festive.
And on the third morning they took a different path again, and again ended up back at the castle in the evening, where the king greeted them warmly and invited them to spend the night.
As they were eating Tristan whispered to Galahad, “This is more than coincidence. Empathize and find out why this is happening.”
So Galahad let the pendulum swing, and what he saw was that the king was afraid they would tell the world how he had aged during the time he was in constant pain.
“He thinks he is ugly and that we will tell the world,” he whispered to Tristan.
“Then it is now in my domain,” Tristan replied, and he made a few shamanic passes at the king that reduced the aging of his face.
So for the next four days they did not ride out, but availed themselves of the king’s hospitality. And each time Tristan and the king were together, Tristan made his shamanic passes to restore the king’s appearance. On the morning of the 5th day, over breakfast, Tristan asked the king if they could return to their home.
The king sighed and said, “No, I am sorry but you must remain as my guests.”
Tristan asked the king if a mirror could be brought to him. The king said that mirrors had been banned from the castle during his illness. Tristan asked the king if he would look at himself as reflected in Tristan’s bao sword. He assured the king on his knight’s honor that the king would see something that would please him. The king reluctantly agreed, and when he looked at his face in the reflection of Tristan’s sword, he saw a handsome man.
“How is this possible?” said the king. “I was ugly.”
Tristan asked the ladies if perhaps one of the banned mirrors might be found. And when the king looked in the mirror, he smiled, as he had not in years.
Again he asked, “How is this possible?”
And Tristan replied, “Being in great pain is destructive to the body. Being relieved of that pain allows the body to heal. This is who you are now. We will tell the world of your hospitality and graciousness, if we may.”
And the king, in his joy, showed them the path that actually led away from the castle.
That night at an Inn they opened the box that contained the grail. Inside they found another box, which they could not open. This box was black.
“What is this, Tristan?” asked Galahad. “Use your talent for discerning object use please.”
So Tristan let the scene he was looking at dissolve and reform, and what he saw was a lecture being given in the future.
The lecturer said, “There are six ‘hard technologies’ which changed the world: fire, the wheel, animal and plant domestication, electricity, the integrated circuit, and birth control. Correspondingly, there are four ‘soft technologies’ that changed the world even more: written language, mathematics, money, and software. These abstractions are the basis of civilization.”
Tristan listened as the lecture focused on software. Then he looked at Galahad and said, “He says the box runs software.”
Galahad said “That is not really useful Tristan.”
Tristan replied, “He is now talking about how you can control these boxes by talking to them. He is talking to objects called Siri and Alexa. Find out what they want please.”
Galahad let his pendulum swing and said “They seem to want unicorns.”
Tristan said, “Let’s try.” So he took the box and said “Grail, we want a unicorn,” and as if by magic a beautiful white unicorn appeared and nuzzled Galahad’s hand.
And whomever the unicorn touched was healed. And Galahad and Tristan bought their own castle and never went back to Arthur’s court because the grail gave them anything they wanted and also because they could not imagine how they could explain everything that had happened to the other knights. They lived happily ever after.
And the answer to the grail question “Whom does the grail serve” is of course that it serves all of us and uses software to do so. We are at a time in history where technology is available to almost everybody rather than only to the feudal lords who traditionally controlled resources. This ubiquitous access is the holy grail of our era. And Galahad and Tristan, with their unique talents, saw this from the middle ages.