(This is a children's retelling of Pellinore and the Questing Beast. The reason it is so short is that I drew pictures on each page. The horizontal bars show where I made each page break.)

Pellinore and the Questing Beast

By Katie Bosscher

Pellinore was, in a way, lucky. He was born with a destiny, a purpose -- a quest, you could say. Ever since he was a boy learning how to joust and swordfight, he knew that he would one day take over the search after his father retired. Many years ago his father had taken over the search after his father retired from it, but even Pellinore's grandfather had not begun it. The search was simply something that was handed down from one generation to the next, a Pellinore family occupation of sorts.

What the Pellinores were searching for was a beast, a hideous monster of such grotesque features that regular men cannot imagine. It had a snake's head which breathed fire, the body of a leopard, legs of a lion, and feet like a deer. Besides looking frightful, the beast made a tremendous noise in its belly, like that of forty angry hounds all yelling at once. Because no name could truly describe how awful the monster was, it was simply called the Questing Beast

The Questing Beast often led Pellinore all over the countryside and everywhere he went his faithful old hound, Bracket, went with him. Bracket followed Pellinore on a leash and, many times in his excitement, tangled himself up very badly. This usually frustrated Pellinore because then he had to stop, get off his horse, untangle the dog, and climb back up onto his horse. That might not be too difficult, but now try it wearing one hundred pounds of metal armor!

After a few years of looking for the Beast (and many times losing the trail), Pellinore began to ride with two friends of his, Palomides and Grummore. Palomides was from a far away place and looked different than other people, but he was smart in things Pellinore did not know much about and was often very helpful. Grummore was kind of a gruff fellow and sometimes a little grumpy, but he was loyal and a very dear friend.

On one warm, spring afternoon the three friends came to a big lake and stopped to give their horses a drink. Palomides looked across the water and saw a strange ship coming near. The three decided to wait and see who it belonged to and what they wanted.

When the ship landed, it was very clear that it was empty. Grummore suggested they leave it alone but Pellinore insisted upon checking it out, because he was very curious as to why a boat would be sailing with no one on it. All three of them boarded the big boat and Bracket followed close behind. Suddenly, it started moving again and that was when they realized that it was a magic ship come to take them away to a different place for new adventures.

This might have been an exciting adventure, except for one thing. Somewhere between searching for the Questing Beast and making his new friends, Pellinore had fallen in love with the Queen of Flanders' daughter, a nice plump girl they called Piggy. As the ship sailed away, Pellinore realized he might never see her again and began to cry.

After a few weeks of sailing, the ship landed on the other side of the lake. Pellinore, still teary from losing Piggy, wanted to turn around and go home but Palomides reminded him that you can't steer a magic ship. As they were coming off the ship to find out where they were, four young boys came up to them. They introduced themselves as Gawain, Agravaine, Gaheris, and Gareth, the sons of King Lot of Orkney. Their father was away fighting a war but they took the three travelers to their castle to meet their mother, Margaret.

Because they were in a new place, the three decided to stay for a while and get to know the people. Unfortunately, Pellinore had turned into a sobbing baby and nothing Palomides and Grummore did could cheer him up. You see, not only did he miss his Piggy, but after all those years of chasing the Questing Beast, he was feeling restless and bored.

The situation was becoming so unbearable for those around Pellinore that his friends decided to take action. Palomides had come up with a brilliant idea: if he and Grummore dressed up like the Questing Beast and got Pellinore to believe that it was really his beast, maybe his mind would get off Piggy for a while. The two schemers immediately set out to build their elaborate costume.

Building a Questing Beast is not an easy thing to do. It had to be big, plus it needed to have a snake's head, a leopard's body, a lion's legs, and a deer's feet. They decided to make the head out of cardboard and sew the rest together with strong canvas fabric with buttons in the belly so they both could get in and out. Also, whoever had their head in the middle had to make the sound of forty howling dogs. (This turned out to be Grummore because Palomides tricked him into thinking he was better at howling.)

After the costume was finished, Palomides and Grummore had to practice running around in the outfit. It was not an easy thing to do! They fell often and several times had to sew the buttons back on after they had been ripped off.

Finally they decided they were ready to try it out for real. The next afternoon, they came running into the castle and told Pellinore that they had spotted an old friend of his on the cliff in the forest. At first he did not want to go, but finally decided to come along just to get Palomides and Grummore to stop yelling at him.

Palomides and Grummore ran ahead to get into their outfit while Pellinore saddled up his horse. When Pellinore got to the cliff, a sight, funnier than any he had ever seen before, met his eyes. The Questing Beast was at the bottom of the cliff howling up at none other than Palomides and Grummore, who were hanging on to the side of the cliff for dear life, wearing their ripped up beast suit. Pellinore began to laugh.

Well, the two schemers were in quite a predicament. Pellinore succeeded in distracting the real Questing Beast long enough to let the fake ones run toward the town gate. However, a Questing Beast is much faster than men on foot because of its feet like a deer. Pellinore came galloping through the gates ahead of the other two and, just as they ran through and shut the gate, the Beast stopped to avoid crashing into the door.

Inside the city's walls, Palomides explained what had happened. The Questing Beast had never seen another of its kind and when he saw the two dressed up, he fell in love. Now, the Questing Beast was a stubborn animal and once he had his heart set, he would not leave the castle but began howling for his love to come out. The people in the town began to get upset, but they did not know what to do.

Meanwhile, after Pellinore and the others had come back from the forest, a surprise was waiting -- Piggy! She had seen the ship sail away with Pellinore on it and followed it after he had not come back for a few weeks. Pellinore was overjoyed and began making plans to get married as soon as they could return home.

Palomides decided that it was now his duty to chase the Questing Beast since it was his idea in the first place to make a model. He felt responsible for the terrible howling every day outside the city walls. Pellinore agreed to let Palomides take over the search -- he had had enough running about for one lifetime and now he was ready to have a family. And so he began the chase, which is why the Questing Beast is chased by Palomides now . . .

and sometimes the other way around!

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