Frankly, I am going to recite a very old Breton Lai, and I will report it as I have learned it, without changing a thing.
Il étoit en Brittany un chevalier brave, courtois et généreux appellé Eliduc, qui n’avoit pas son pareil dans le pays. Il avoit épousé une femme bien née, aussi aimable que sage qui faisoit son bonheur. Ils s’aimoient beaucoup quoiqu’ils fussent mariés depuis longtemps. Mais il advint que la guerre ayant été déclarée, Eliduc fut obligé d’aller combattre en pays étranger. Il y fit laconnoissance d’une jeune personne d’une beauté rare, nommée Guillardun, laquelle étoit fille d’un roi et d’une reine. La femme d’Eliduc étoit appelée Guildeliiec dans la Bretagne, aussi le Lai est-il intitulé de Guikleluec et de Guillardun après avoir porté le titre de Lai d’Eliduc. Mais ce titre a été changé à cause des deux dames. Quoi qu’il en soit je vous dirai la vérité à l’égard de l’aventure qui a fourni le sujet de ce Lai.
Eliduc had for lord one of the kings of Little Britain who loved him dearly, because of the services he had rendered him. As soon as the king went on a journey, Eliduc took command of the land which he ruled wisely. Despite all the services he rendered, Eliduc had to suffer many sorrows. He had the right to hunt in all the woods of his lord, and he would not have found a forester bold enough to contradict him or to murmur about what he hunted about the pleasures of a king. However, the jealous ones made infidel reports to the prince who quarreled with his favorite. Eliduc, whose favor had excited the envy of the courtiers, was accused and soon dismissed from the court, without apparent motives.
It was in vain that he begged the king to grant him a private interview to prove his innocence; the prince never answered his request, and the chevalier seeing that his efforts were useless, made up his mind to quit the court and return to his house. As soon as he is back, he calls all his friends, he warns them that he cannot know his lord's motives for being angry with him, especially since he served him faithfully. I was far from expecting such a reward, but my position proves the truth of the proverb of the villain which says, that a wise and educated man should never quarrel with his plow horse, and should never rely on gratitude. of his prince; the vassal owes fidelity to the latter, as to his neighbors services of friendship.
The knight warned his friends. that he was going to go to the kingdom of Logres; during His absence his wife will rule his land and he asks them to help him with all their power. Eliduc's friends had the greatest sorrow at his departure. He takes ten knights with him. His wife comes to accompany him and the separation of the two spouses is very sad. Eliduc promises his wife never to forget him and to love him always. He arrives at a seaport where he embarks, and comes down to Totenois, a country ruled by several princes who were at war with each other.
On the side of Excester, a town in the same province, was a very powerful but very old prince, who had no other heir than a daughter of marriageable age. He was at war with a prince, his neighbor, because he had refused him the hand of his daughter, and the enemy often came to ravage his land. While waiting for her daughter, she was withdrawn into a fortified castle, so that the warriors charged with defending her did not have to fear any surprise or any other kind of attack. As soon as our knight was informed of the old man's position, he did not want to go any further and he stayed in the country.
Eliduc examines who is the prince who has suffered the most from the ravages ”of the troops to offer him his services and put himself in his pay. It was the king father of the young lady. He sends him word from one of his squires that he had left his homeland to come to his kingdom. If you want to keep me and my knights, give me a safe-conduct to come and find you. The king received the messengers perfectly; he calls his constable, orders him to take the greatest care of the new arrivals, so that they lack nothing, and to see that the money which could be necessary for them is delivered to them on the spot. The safe-conduct is signed and immediately sent to Eliduc who, having received it, hastens to arrive.
The king received the knight wonderfully and showered him with friendship. He was lodged with one of the good bourgeois of the city who gave him his most beautiful apartment. Eliduc lived very honorably and invited all the poor knights to his table. He forbade his people under the most severe penalties, not to demand anything from the inhabitants during the first forty days, either in supplies or in money. Eliduc had only arrived three days before, when the sentries let it be known that the enemies were advancing. Spread throughout the country, their design was to unite to lay siege to the city. As soon as Eliduc hears the news, he arms himself with his companions and marches at the head of only fourteen knights. The others were either wounded or taken prisoner.
The men who followed Eliduc and who marched to the enemy, say to him: Lord, we will never abandon you and we will always follow your steps and your example. They are my friends; could not any of you teach me a step of arms dangerous for the holder, but from which one can do much harm to the enemy? I am not of the opinion that we expected it here, the place does not seem good enough to me and we would conquer little honor there. One of the warriors spread: Lord, in this wood is a path located near a very narrow path which must serve as a retreat for the enemy when we have beaten him.
His knights often return after being disarmed. I think that by this means it would be easy to make a great carnage of it. My friends, resumed Eliduc, this means requires serious consideration, because it offers too many chances. You are all the king's men and you must serve him faithfully. Promise me to follow me and do what I will do, I dare to promise you that nothing untoward will happen to you and that I will be able to serve you usefully. The knights will hide in the woods near the road, awaiting the arrival of the enemy.
Eliduc teaches and explains to his people how to attack him. When they had come to the narrowest place, Eliduc made, heard his cry of arms and recommended to "his companions to act as they had agreed. The enemy, placed in a bad position, presents himself and surprised with astonishment at the sight of the measures which had been taken, he is obliged to withdraw, leaving his counestable among the prisoners who were handed over to the squires and whose number s' amounted to fifty-five. I am not talking about the taking of the horses, the crews and the booty.
The winners all return joyfully at the gain of the day. The king, mounted on a high tower, feared for his men; he complained of Eliduc, whom he suspected of having abandoned him. He sees a large troop returning loaded with remains. And because the number of his men who came to the city was much greater than at the exit, the king did not recognize them. In the doubt where he was, he gives the order to close the doors, makes his soldiers go up to the walls to defend himself against the newcomers; luckily these orders are unnecessary. A squire sent to the discovery, returns and makes known the details of the victory gained by Eliduc; he relates the course he had followed, how he alone, besides the constable, had taken twenty-nine prisoners, without counting the dead and wounded.
The king rejoices greatly at this news, and immediately descending from the tower, he comes to meet Eliduc, congratulates him on his success and gives him the prisoners for ransom. Eliduc distributes all the booty to his comrades in arms, and entirely abandons to them his share; he retained for himself only three knights; prisoners whose value he had noticed during the fight. The king, full of esteem for Eliduc, kept him for a year with his comrades in arms and at the end of this time the monarch made him keeper of his land. .
To courage, courtesy, wisdom, generosity, Eliduc joined beauty. The king's daughter, who had heard of her exploits, sent her one of her chamberlains) to beg him to come and see her and tell her about his great deeds; she also expressed to him her astonishment at the fact that he had not yet come to visit her. Eliduc replies that he will go to the princess and that he will do his will. He mounts his good horse, followed by a single knight, and arrives at the young lady. Before entering, Eliduc asks the chamberlain to inform the princess of his arrival. This one, with a happy air, returns to announce that he is impatiently awaited.
Eliduc modestly presents himself in front of Guillardon, the beautiful young lady, whom he thanks for asking and he is very well received. She takes the knight by the hand and leads him to a bed where she sits him down next to her. After having spoken of things and others, the young lady considered very attentively the figure, the size and the step of the knight which she finds flawless. Love throws him an arrow which invites him to love him; then she turns pale, sighs and dares not confess her martyrdom, for fear of losing the esteem of her conqueror. After a long conversation, Eliduc takes leave of the beauty who wanted to detain him, then he returned to his hotel all worried and thoughtful.
He remembered with pleasure the sound of voices and the sighs of the princess. He repents that he has not seen her more often since he came to the country. Then he recovers, thinking, of his wife to whom he made the promise to remain faithful. But the beauty wants to make him her friend. Never has she found a knight more worthy of her friendship and all her care will be used to preserve him. The night passed in these reflections, and the princess, for her part, could not close her eyes. She gets up early in the morning, calls her chamberlain and leading him to a window, she tells him about the state of her heart.
I must admit, I am very unhappy and I do not know what to do. I love the knight so much that I lose rest and sleep. If he wants to love me loyally and give me his heart, my happiness will be to please him. Besides, what a happy future for him, he will be king of this land which he will govern wisely,; If he did not love me? Ah! I would die of pain. When the princess had finished her complaints, the chamberlain gave her very wise advice. Madam, since you 'love the knight, make sure he shares your love.
You will tell him that you send him either a belt, a ribbon or a ring; if he receives this gift with transport and is happy to have it, you are; sure he shares your feelings; there is no sovereign under heaven who was not at the height of joy, if you wanted to love him. The young lady, after having listened to her chamberlain, answered her: How can I be sure of being loved? I am not unaware that we have never seen such a proposition made to any knight. Gods, I would be unhappy if he came to laugh at me.
Why are there no sure signs to read the human heart? Come on, come on, my friend, get ready. Madam, I am ready. You will go on my behalf to greet the knight a thousand times; you will give him this golden ring and my belt. The chamberlain leaves and the princess hardly calls him back; but she lets him go and is sorry while waiting for his return. How unhappy I am to have become attached to a stranger, for I do not know his birth and whether he will stay in the kingdom for a long time. I will therefore be in pain, it must be admitted, I acted very lightly.
I spoke to him yesterday for the first time and today I ask him for love. No doubt he will blame me; no, he is brave, he is doubtless gallant and will be grateful to me for my approach. If he doesn't want to listen to me, I look at myself as the most unfortunate of women, I will never have pleasure in my life. In the meantime, when the princess is feeling sorry, the chamberlain hastens to carry out his commission. He arrives at Eliduc's, greets him on behalf of his mistress, presents him the ring and the belt which he was responsible for giving him. The knight thanks the chamberlain, puts the ring on his finger and ties the belt around his body.
The knight says nothing more, but he offers gold to the chamberlain who, after having thanked him, returns immediately to give an account of his message. He finds the princess in her apartment, greets her and thanks her on behalf of the knight. Well, she said, do not hide anything from me, does Eliduc want to share my love. I think so, madame, I believe the knight too sincere and too gallant to deceive you. When I arrived at his house, I greeted him on your behalf and handed him your present. He immediately put your ring on his finger and your belt around his body, then I left him.
Perhaps I am sacrificed; did he seem to be satisfied? Madame, I do not know, but if he had rejected your prayer, he would have refused your presents. You actually seem to be making a joke of it, I'm pretty sure he doesn't believe the feelings I have for him. However, I did him no other harm than to love him tenderly. If he came to hate me, I would die of pain. Until he comes, I don't want to tell him anything either from you or from others. I will show him the strength of my love; unfortunately I do not know if he will remain with us for a long time.
Madam, I know the king has retained him by oath for a year. You then have all the latitude to see and talk to each other. When the princess learned that her lover was to stay, she rejoiced at the news. For his part, Eliduc had suffered greatly since the moment he had known the young lady with whom he was very much in love. From that moment he had no pleasure; he still thought of Guillardon, and the memory of the promise he had made to his wife on leaving her, poisoned his happiness. Eliduc wanted to maintain loyalty to his wife, but Guillardon's charms made all his resolutions vanish. He had the freedom to see her, to speak to her, to kiss her, but he never did anything that could turn to the dishonor of his friend, as much to keep his promise to his wife, as because he was in the pay. of the King.
Eliduc cannot bear the penalties he endures; followed by his companions, he goes to the castle to go talk to the king near whom he will see his friend. The monarch had just dined; and at the end of the meal, he had gone to rest in the apartments of the princess. He even played a game of chess with a knight who came back from overseas. Guillardon stood near the players to take advantage of their example. Eliduc enters at this moment. The king makes her a lot of friendship and invites her to sit by his side. Then calling his daughter, he said to her: Damsel, you should bond with this knight and bring him honor; because for bravery, one would not find his equal between five hundred.
The young lady was very happy with the order she had just received. She walks away, calls Eliduc and invites him to come and stand beside her. Oh! how much love they are in love! The princess does not dare to start the conversation, the knight is afraid to speak. However, he thanks Guillardon for the present she deigned to send him; he assures her that he has never received anything more precious. The princess replied that she had been flattered that he had used the ring and the belt. I love you so passionately that I want to take you for my husband; and if I can't get you, I'll never get married.
Madam, I cannot express to you enough my gratitude for the love which you grant me, and I feel the greatest satisfaction in learning that you esteem me. But I don't know if I will stay in your states for long, since I only promised your father that I would serve him for a year. Moreover, I will not leave it until the war is entirely over, then I will go to my country, if you grant me permission. The virgin answered him: I see, my friend, that you are wise and courteous, I think that you have thought of everything; you are incapable of mistaking me, and I love you so much, that I believe everything you tell me.
The two lovers separate, Eliduc returns to his hotel with joy because of the confidence he has made to his friend of their love which is constantly increasing. liduc by his valor, took prisoner the king who had declared war on his suzerain and delivered the country from the scourge of war. So he was greatly esteemed for his courage, his advice and his generosity. While these things were going on, the king, in whose states Eliduc's property was situated, sent for him; he even had three messengers out of his control to try to find out the place of his stay. He told him that the enemies would ravage and plunder his lands, seize his castles, and desolate his kingdom.
The king had often repented of the conduct he had held with Eliluc, especially for having believed the calumnies which had been uttered by traitors and which had subsequently forced him to leave the country and go into exile. . The prince, telling the knight the need he had for his value, expressed to him all his regrets at not having him in his estates. He begged him, conjured him in the name of the alliance they had contracted when he had received his faith and his homage to come and help him in the painful position in which he found himself. When Eliduc received this news, it grieved him greatly for the young beauty who loved him so much and with whom he was so violently in love.
However, nothing had happened between them that decency did not have to admit. Their only pleasure was to talk about their passion and give each other gifts. The poor young lady flattered herself that she would retain the knight and marry him; she was far from suspecting that he was married. Alas! said Eliduc, I made a big mistake by settling in this country where I came only for my misfortune. I loved the beautiful Guillardon, the king's daughter, who shares my love. To separate, one of us must die or even both; and yet I must leave her. My natural lord demands my services, in the name of the oath I have taken to him.
On the other hand, my wife begs me to return to her. I cannot stay, and it is necessary that I abandon these places. I cannot marry my mistress, religion and the laws forbid me. I don't see any way out of my pain. God! how my departure will cost us tears! Whatever fate awaits me, I will submit to my friend's orders and take her advice. First of all, the king, his father, calm in his circumstances, no longer needs my services. I will send him those that my prince asks for, I will ask for a leave of absence, agreeing to return within a determined time. I will then go to the virgin to show her my letters, she will give me her advice and I will carry them out.
Eliduc no longer balances, he goes to the king to ask for a leave of absence and shows him the letter he has received from his prince. The king, fearing that he will never come back, is sorry for this setback. He offers him a third of his statements, to take everything he needs from his coffers, and if he wants to stay, to fill it with so many benefits that he will no longer want to leave it. Sire, my prince is in peril, he is writing to me from so far away that I cannot help flying to his aid. I won't stay, but right now you don't need me anymore. On my return, I promise to bring you a considerable number of knights.
The king thanks Eliduc and grants him the honor he claims. He offers to take from his palace, gold, silver, dogs, horses, precious stuffs, which may suit him. Eliduc took what he needed, then asked the king for permission to take leave of the beautiful Guillardon, which was granted to him. He sends a damsel in front of him who opens the doors of the apartment to him. After the first greetings, Eliduc tells his plan to his beauty and asks for her advice. No sooner had he begun his speech than Guillardon lost the use of. his senses.
The knight, sorry to see his mistress in this state, often kisses her and weeps with tenderness; he supports her, presses her in his arms and by dint of care, she regains consciousness. Dear friend, allow me therefore to assure you that you are my life, my death, and that in you is all my hope. I have come to take your advice through the friendship that exists between us. It is out of necessity that I return to my homeland and that I have already taken leave of your father. but I want to do your will, whatever the future may be. Hey! well, since you do not want to stay, take me with you, otherwise I will kill myself, since I would have no more pleasure.
Eliduc replied: You know how much I love you, my beautiful; attached to your father by oath, I cannot take you with me without betraying him and without failing in my faith. But I swear to you, on my honor, if you will grant me leave, to return to the day you indicate; nothing in the world, since my life is in your hands, will be able to hold me back, if however I am still alive. Guillardon then allows his lover to be away and fixes the time of his return. Their farewells overwhelm them with pain. Before leaving each other, they exchange their rings, then give each other the kiss of separation. Eliduc arrives towards the sea, embarks, and the auspicious winds lead him to his country.
As soon as he returned, he informed his prince, who was very happy to hear this news. His parents, his friends, delighted to see him again, come to congratulate him, especially his good wife who joined beauty, wisdom and generosity. But Eliduc, despite the marks of friendship he received, was always sad and gloomy because of his passion. He will never have pleasure except when he is near his beautiful. His look of grief alarms his wife, who cannot suspect the cause. She often questioned him to ask him if during his absence he had learned that she had offended him the slightest. Tell me, my friend, I will publicly prove my innocence.
No, madam, I haven't heard anything about you, but I have sworn to the king of the country from which I come, to come back to him because he needs my courage. If the king, my lord, signed the peace, a week later I would not be here any more; I will endure a lot of pain before returning, and until then I will not have peace of mind, because I do not want to break my promise. After having made his arrangements, Eliduc leaves and goes to serve his lord who only behaved by his advice. Responsible for the defense of the kingdom, he fully justified the confidence of his sovereign.
But when the time fixed by Guillardon approached, the knight forced the enemies to sign the peace. He then made the preparations for his trip and thought about who was to accompany him. He first chose two nephews whom he loved dearly, then one of his chamberlains who had already followed him on his first trip, and. finally his squires. Eliduc made them all swear never to divulge the events they could witness. They embark and soon arrive at the place where our knight was so ardently desired.
Eliduc, acting cunning, went to stay far from the port, because he did not want to be seen or recognized by anyone. He orders his chamberlain to go near his crumb, to warn her of her return, and to warn her to prepare to leave the next day. At nightfall, the chamberlain set out to complete his message. He was followed by Eliduc, who, in order not to be recognized, had changed his clothes; they arrive in the place where Guillardon was. The chamberlain enters the palace, and by dint of searching he manages to find the princess's apartment. He greets her on behalf of her lover whose return he tells her.
Moved, beside herself, Guillardon weeps with joy, and repeatedly kisses the bearer of such pleasant news. The chamberlain warns her to be ready to leave and come and join Eliduc. They spent the day making all their preparations, and when the night was late, everything was resting in the castle, the virgin and the chamberlain fled. Fearing to be seen, Guillardon, dressed in a lightly embroidered silk dress, was wrapped in a short cloak. Not far from the palace and on the edge of a wood, the knight and his friends were waiting for the princess, whom they saw arriving with pleasure.
The chamberlain gives his friend Eliduc; at the height of joy, he kisses her tenderly and makes her climb on her back. They set off, rush forward and come to the port of Totenois where they embark immediately. The vessel which they mounted carried only the knight, his mie and their retinue. They had very good weather during the crossing, but when it was time to land, a furious turmoil arose; the wind threw them away from the harbor, the main yard was broken and the sails torn. The passengers kneel down, fervently claiming the intercession of Saint Clement, Saint Nicolas, and Madame Saint Marie; they beg her to implore her son's kindness to protect them from danger and lead them to the port.
Pushed by the storm, the ship drifts sometimes forward, sometimes backward. One of the squires began to cry out: What do we need prayers for? You have near you, lord, the object which must cause our death. We will never come ashore, because you have a lawful wife and you bring another wife, in defiance of religion, law, probity and honor. Let us throw it in the sea, and you'll see we'll be there right away. Little by little Eliduc was choked with anger. Miserable, perjury, traitor, you must consider yourself lucky that I cannot leave my friend, you would pay dearly for the insult you have just done to me.
In fact he held her in his arms to comfort her and give her courage against the irritation of the sea. But as soon as Guillardon heard that her lover was married, she fell unconscious, lost both color and pulse. and breathing. The knights who helped transport her were convinced that she had ceased to live. Transported with fury, Eliduc gets up, comes to the squire who is the author of his ailments, grabs an oar, hits him on the head with it and extends it at his feet. His companions, witnesses of his death, pick up the young man's body, throw it into the sea, and the waves soon made it disappear.
Eliduc moves to the rudder and by his care the ship enters the port. We drop anchor, we build the bridge, and everyone goes out. Eliduc carefully brings down his friend who was still unconscious and who does not seem to exist anymore. His despair was all the greater in that he regarded himself as the cause of Guillardon's death. He consults his knights to designate a place not far away, where he can have her buried honorably. I want to have her buried with pomp in a church, something that is due to her, since she is the daughter of a king. The knights were so dismayed at the fatal event of which they had been the witnesses, that they did not know what to answer.
Eliduc began to think about the place where he could deposit the remains of the object of his love, for his home was so close to the sea that one could arrive there before dinner. He remembered that near his estates was a forest thirty leagues in length, where a hermit had lived for over forty years, to whom he had often spoken and who served as a small chapel. I will bring him the body of my friend whom he will bury in his chapel; I will do him so much good, that he will found an abbey either of religious or of canons who night and day will pray to the Lord to grant him eternal life. Eliduc rides on horseback as well as his companions to whom he swears never to reveal anything of what they are going to see. In front of him, on his palfrey, Eliduc carried his friend.
They enter the forest and arrive at the chapel; they knock, they call, but they cannot find anyone who will come and open the door to them. Impatient to wait, Eliduc gives the order to one of his family to climb the wall and open the doors, which was executed on the spot. As soon as he entered, Eliduc realizes that the holy hermit had finished his career eight days ago. The sight of his newly raised grave, increased the sadness of the unfortunate lover. His friends wanted to dig a second pit to deposit Guillardon there; Eliduc stopped them by warning them that he would not take any determination with regard to the funeral of this beautiful one, before having consulted the wise people of the country.
Besides, he said, my plan is to build a monastery or an abbey in this place. In recommending the unfortunate Guillardon to God, we are going, while waiting, to put her to bed in front of the altar; bring me your coats, I will make a bed for her, then I will cover her with mine. When the moment came when the knight had to leave his mistress, he thought he would die of grief. He kissed her, kissed her eyes, watered her with his tears. Belle, I swear on you to give up arms and withdraw from the world. Yes, dear friend, it is for your misfortune that you saw me and that you followed me. That I am therefore to be pitied since it is through your love for me that you no longer exist. Without me you would have become queen.
The day that I lower you into the tomb, I enter a convent, I renounce the world and every day near you, I will come to talk about my pain. The knight abandons this sad place and carefully closes the doors of the chapel. He sends one of his squires to his wife to warn her that he is coming back ill and very tired from his journey. The good lady, happy with her husband's return, is getting ready to receive him well; instead of the caresses she was expecting, she is quite surprised to see him so sad, so gloomy, and not saying a word. For two days she did not know what means to use to make him speak. The knight got up very early in the morning, heard mass, then set out to go to the chapel where his mie Guillardon was deposited.
This beauty was still in the same condition; always deprived of knowledge, she gave no sign of life. One thing surprised Eliduc a lot, it was to see that his friend's face had seen no other change than to have turned a little pale. He wept bitterly, prayed fervently for his friend, then returned home. Eliduc's wife, curious to know where her husband was going, had him one day watched by a squire to whom she promised full armor and a horse. The varlet perfectly fulfills the commission. He followed Eliduc without being noticed, saw him enter the chapel and heard him cry and complain. Provided with these instructions, the squire, fearing to be seen, returns to report to the lady of what he had witnessed, of his entry into the chapel, of the pain and despair of the knight.
The lady, very surprised at what she heard, but nevertheless satisfied to have satisfied her curiosity, replied: We must go to the hermitage tomorrow, because my husband must go to court to speak to the king. I know the hermit is dead and my husband loved him very much, but I cannot believe it was for this old man that he is so grieved. Eliduc having gone to court in the afternoon, the lady followed by the squire walks towards the hermitage. As soon as she entered the chapel, she saw the young person who looked like a new rose. Raising the blanket, she sees a body of perfect beauty, arms and hands of dazzling white, long, plump fingers.
The lady immediately knew the subject of her husband's great sorrow. She calls the varlet, and says to him: Do you see this woman whose beauty surpasses the brilliance of the precious stone; it is the friend of my husband, it is for her that he is sorry. I am no longer surprised at his sorrow after the loss he has made, because I, out of pity as much as out of tenderness, henceforth will no longer have any pleasure. The good lady sits down in front of the maid's bed and begins to cry bitterly over the death of this young person. While Eliduc's wife abandoned herself to her tears, a weasel coming out from inside the altar came to walk in the chapel, passing over Guillardon's body. The squire adjusts his staff, reaches for the weasel, kills it and throws the animal into a corner.
Shortly after, the female appeared and went straight to the body of the weasel which had been killed. She turns around her companion, shakes her head, walks on it, and seeing that she cannot raise her friend, she seems to be in despair. She immediately leaves the chapel, goes into the wood, chooses a red flower there which she brings back between her teeth, then returns to the animal which was lying there. The weasel places the flower in a certain way in the mouth of its companion who had been killed and who immediately came back to life. The lady having noticed this marvelous cure, begged the varlet to hold back the weasels; he throws his staff at these animals which take flight, abandoning the precious flower.
The lady runs to grab it and immediately puts it in the virgin's mouth. After a moment of waiting, Guillardon came to her senses, sighed, opened his eyes, then spoke Good God, she said, I slept a long time. The lady at the height of joy to see the young person returned to life, thanked Heaven for this favor. My friend, she asked her, what is your name, your family? Lady, replied the virgin, I am the daughter of a king of the land of Logres. I loved the knight Eliduc who was in the service of my father; he took me with him and I made a big mistake, since he deceived me by carefully hiding from me that he had a wife.
When I heard this unfortunate news, I fell unconscious. What harm he did to me! After betraying me, he abandons me in a foreign country. Ah! how foolish a woman is to trust the promises of men! Beautiful friend, said the lady, nothing in the world will cause the knight more joy than the news of your return to life. Since he thinks you are dead he is sorry; every day he comes to visit you, and he is far from expecting to find you alive. It is I who am his wife, and I cannot express to you the pain caused by her despair. Seeing him go out every day, I wanted to know where he was going, I had him followed and I came myself to find out the subject of his grief.
I cannot tell you the joy I feel to see you brought back to life. You will return with me and I want to put you in the hands of your friend. I keep him free from his oaths, since my purpose is to take the veil. The lady went about it in such a way that she succeeded not only in consoling the afflicted beauty, but also in taking her with her. She orders the squire to go find Eliduc and give him an account of what had happened. The squire works diligently, meets the knight, tells him about the adventure and fulfills his commission perfectly. Eliduc immediately climbs on horseback without waiting for his retinue, and arrives at his place at night.
Seeing his friend again, he tenderly thanks his wife, he is overjoyed and has never been happier. He often kisses his beauty who returns her caresses with less eagerness. Eliduc's wife begs her husband to give her leave, because she wants to separate and enter into religion. I hope that you will deny providing the sum necessary to raise an abbey. You can then marry your friend, because you know that the law is against a husband having two wives. Eliduc consented to everything, and in the grove, near the castle, in the hermitage chapel, he had a monastery erected with all the necessary buildings; he added to it land, income and finally all that could be useful or pleasant to the new establishment.
When everything was in order, the lady took the veil with thirty nuns of which she became the superior. Eliduc married his friend, and this marriage was celebrated with great festivals. They lived together for a very long time, perfectly united and perfectly happy. The two spouses after having given large alms consecrated themselves to the Lord. On the other side of his castle, Eliduc had a church erected which he endowed richly. He placed there religious renowned for the holiness of their life and their customs to be the example of the house. When everything was prepared, Eliduc went to the monastery to dedicate himself to the service of Almighty God.
Guillardon went to join Eliduc's first wife, who received her like a sister and who showered her with friendship. She showed him the service of the convent and taught him the duties of religion. Both prayed to heaven to grant the wishes of their friend, who in turn prayed for his two wives. They send each other messages to hear from each other and to give each other courage. Each one made his efforts to be pleasing to God, and each of them died in the feelings of the greatest piety.
Sur l’aventure de ces trois personnages, les anciens Bretons, toujours courlois, composèrent un Lai, pour en rappeler le souvenir et empêcher qu’elle ne s’oubliât.