The Story of the Fool and the Fisher King, Told in Central Park
Disillusioned, half-insane ex-medieval history professor and homeless vagrant Parry’s (Robin Williams) telling of the legendary story of the simple-minded Fool and the Fisher King involving the quest for the Holy Grail (the cup from the Last Supper). He was lying naked on his back on the grass in Central Park at night (doing what he called “cloud-busting”), next to despairing, guilt-ridden, suicidally-despondent radio DJ shock-jock Jack Lucas (Jeff Bridges):
It begins with the king as a boy, having to spend the night alone in the forest to prove his courage so he can become the king. Now while he is spending the night alone, he’s visited by a sacred vision. Out of the fire appears the holy grail, symbol of God’s divine grace. And a voice said to the boy, ‘You shall be keeper of the grail so that it may heal the hearts of men.’ But the boy was blinded by greater visions of a life filled with power and glory and beauty. And in this state of radical amazement, he felt for a brief moment not like a boy, but invincible, like God, so he reached into the fire to take the grail, and the grail vanished, leaving him with his hand in the fire to be terribly wounded. Now as this boy grew older, his wound grew deeper. Until one day, life for him lost its reason. He had no faith in any man, not even himself. He couldn’t love or feel loved. He was sick with experience. He began to die.
One day, a Fool wandered into the castle and found the king alone. And being a Fool, he was simple-minded, he didn’t see a king. He only saw a man alone and in pain. And he asked the king: ‘What ails you, friend?’ The king replied: ‘I’m thirsty. I need some water to cool my throat.’ So the Fool took a cup from beside his bed, filled it with water, and handed it to the king. As the king began to drink, he realized his wound was healed. He looked at his hands, and there was the Holy Grail - that which he sought all of his life! He turned to the Fool and said with amazement: ‘How could you find that which my brightest and bravest could not?’ And the Fool replied: ‘I don’t know. I only knew that you were thirsty.’ It’s very beautiful, isn’t it?