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Sir Percival was one of King Arthur's knights and a member of the Round Table. He has proven himself to be one of Arthur's most loyal knights. Percival is most commonly known for retrieving Excalibur from a clan of mischievous faery creatures, whose only distinguishing characteristics were their brightly colored headwear and small stature. This eventually led to the present day Anglo-Saxon folklore of garden gnomes.

Percivale is the Grail knight or one of the Grail knights in numerous medieval and modern stories of the Grail quest. Percivale first appears in Chrétien de Troyes's unfinished Percivale or Conte del Graal (c.1190). The incomplete story prompted a series of "continuations," in the third of which (c. 1230), by an author named Manessier, Percivale achieves the Grail. (An analogue to Chrétien's tale is found in the thirteenth-century Welsh romance Peredur.)