French Mediaeval Romances from the Lays of Marie de France eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 248 pages of information about French Mediaeval Romances from the Lays of Marie de France.

“Sire,” said he, “you do not wisely, nor well, to set this raiment before Bisclavaret, in the sight of all.  In shame and much tribulation must he lay aside the beast, and again become man.  Carry your wolf within your most secret chamber, and put his vestment therein.  Then close the door upon him, and leave him alone for a space.  So we shall see presently whether the ravening beast may indeed return to human shape.”

The King carried the Wolf to his chamber, and shut the doors upon him fast.  He delayed for a brief while, and taking two lords of his fellowship with him, came again to the room.  Entering therein, all three, softly together, they found the knight sleeping in the King’s bed, like a little child.  The King ran swiftly to the bed and taking his friend in his arms, embraced and kissed him fondly, above a hundred times.  When man’s speech returned once more, he told him of his adventure.  Then the King restored to his friend the fief that was stolen from him, and gave such rich gifts, moreover, as I cannot tell.  As for the wife who had betrayed Bisclavaret, he bade her avoid his country, and chased her from the realm.  So she went forth, she and her second lord together, to seek a more abiding city, and were no more seen.

The adventure that you have heard is no vain fable.  Verily and indeed it chanced as I have said.  The Lay of the Were-Wolf, truly, was written that it should ever be borne in mind.

IX

THE LAY OF THE ASH TREE

Now will I tell you the Lay of the Ash Tree, according to the story that I know.

In ancient days there dwelt two knights in Brittany, who were neighbours and close friends.  These two lords were brave and worthy gentlemen, rich in goods and lands, and near both in heart and home.  Moreover each was wedded to a dame.  One of these ladies was with child, and when her time was come, she was delivered of two boys.  Her husband was right happy and content.  For the joy that was his, he sent messages to his neighbour, telling that his wife had brought forth two sons, and praying that one of them might be christened with his name.  The rich man was at meat when the messenger came before him.  The servitor kneeled before the dais, and told his message in his ear.  The lord thanked God for the happiness that had befallen his friend, and bestowed a fair horse on the bringer of good tidings.  His wife, sitting at board with her husband, heard the story of the messenger, and smiled at his news.  Proud she was, and sly, with an envious heart, and a rancorous tongue.  She made no effort to bridle her lips, but spoke lightly before the servants of the house, and said,

“I marvel greatly that so reputable a man as our neighbour, should publish his dishonour to my lord.  It is a shameful thing for any wife to have two children at a birth.  We all know that no woman brings forth two at one bearing, except two husbands have aided her therein.”

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French Mediaeval Romances from the Lays of Marie de France from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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