Wigalois the knight at the wheel

Wirnt de Grafenberg's novel, written around 1210, tells the story of Gauvain's son and the fairy Florie. THE Wigalois novel tells the story of Gawain's son from his birth to his coronation, after many initiatory adventures firmly rooted in the marvels of the Matter of Brittany and where the hero faces giant, dwarf, dragon and ghosts...

Wigalois the Knight at the Wheel by Wirnt von grafenberg

Wigalois the Knight at the Wheel by Wirnt von grafenberg

In front of the city of Carduel, Gawain, King Arthur's nephew, is taken prisoner by King Floreis, who manages to defeat him in battle thanks to a magic stone he carries on him and gives him powers. Floreis then takes Gawain with him to his country, treating him with great honours. And when he introduces him to his sister, the fairy Florie, Gauvain thinks he sees an angel and immediately falls in love with her. Floreis then proposes to Gauvain to marry Florie.

Gauvain immediately accepts, and Floreis is delighted to see his sister married to a knight of such great renown and of such high lineage. Some time later will be born from this new union a son named Wigalois. Later, one day when Wigalois is staying at Carduel, a young lady accompanied by a dwarf comes to Arthur's court and demands that a knight try to come to the aid of his lady by attempting the adventure of Corotin, it is that is, to deliver this place from the cruel Roas de Glois.

Indeed the latter once betrayed and murdered the former king of Corotin. Wigalois, if he succeeds, will obtain the love of the beautiful Larie, the daughter of this deceased king, and the territories of Corotin. Wigalois then sets off on an adventure, accompanied by the young lady and her dwarf. At first he proves his worth by triumphing over the Red Knight, thereby restoring to Marene, the king's daughter of Persian, the bird and the palfrey given to her by the King of Ireland as a reward for her beauty.

After a few adventures and after meeting Larie with whom he falls in love at Roymund Castle, Wigalois follows a crowned dragon (a deer in the original version of Wigalois) who changes into a human: it is in fact the ghost of the former king of Corotin, who gives him a linden leaf to protect him and a spear to kill the horrible dragon Pheton. Wigalois then kills Pheton and thus frees Count Moral.

Later Wigalois is attacked by Ruel the wild woman, then kills the dwarf Karios and Marin, a sort of centaur with the head of a dog, both servants of Roas and guardians of the kingdom of Corotin. After fighting Count Adam who then becomes his faithful friend, he manages to kill Roas, then marries Larie.

And while his wedding is barely over, he leaves for Namur, helped among others by Gauvain, Yvain, Erec and Lancelot, as well as by Marene and his beloved Count Adam, to avenge King Amire of Libia for his murderer Lyons. During the battle, both Marene and Adam find death. The novel ends with the birth of Benehamis, Gauvain's grandson.

This story strangely resembles, especially at the beginning, Le Bel Inconnu by Renaud de Beaujeu. It is believed that these two texts come from an older story that is now lost.