Michelant: Part 3

Canor, king of Northumberland, seeks to marry his only daughter, whose rejections have driven away all suitors up to now. Eager to find a son-in-law of equal worth and whose bravery could help keep her on the throne against their enemies, he has it announced at Bamburgh his capital, that [there will be] a huge tournament where the winner will receive the hand of the princess as a reward. The news reaches the court of Arthur; he highly approves of this measure, which leads to many reflections on the part of the knights of the Round Table; Kay amongst others claims that he will be the winner, if Gawain by his fine words doesn’t manage to win the goodwill of the judges who always decide in his favour; the king reproaches his habitual causticity and scornful remarks, but after having exchanged words with the other knights, Kay leaves irritated, without even taking leave of the king, and makes his way to the tournament. His route leads him near to a fountain where he finds in company a deformed dwarf, a damsel, the friend of Mordrec, whom he leads to the court, followed by Dinadan who he had met on the way. They prepare to make a light meal near to this fountain, when they hear the cries of terror shouted by a young girl pursued by a knight called Bruno Without Pity, who comes to kill her lover in treason. They see Bruno mounted on an excellent courser fleeing in great haste, and the damsel hide herself in the bushes, from where she reaches the way which will lead her to her mother’s. Kay deep in thought passes, without greeting them, near to the dwarf and his company; they in a fit of pique reproach him this lack of courtesy. Kay according to habit replies with insults, pushes the dwarf in the fountain, and moves away from the middle of the conflict and lively rebukes. Mordrec and (vii) Dinadan returning from their chase, informed of what has happened, follow Kay’s trail who they find and attack; they are wounded one after another just as Kay is, who is the least injured. This last demand of Dinadan is the purpose of an attack just as unexpected and Dinadan informs him of it. Mordrec is therefore taken to a woodcutter where his lover comes to care for him; Kay continues on his way and Dinadan, recovered also arrives at the court where Arthur reproaches his lack of courtesy towards the damsel who had been received enthusiastically.

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Filed under introduction, language, Michelant, nineteenth-century French, summaries, translation

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