Aug 15, 2014

Three Departures from Medieval Romance; or, Nightmare Dwarves and Restless Nights

It was a mean and spiteful night for travelers on the road to the city of Troyes. At the head of a small procession, the man they called The Christian stopped walking. He turned to face his travel companions and clapped his hands. A ruined house loomed in the dark.

Soria Moria Slott
by Theodor Kittelsen

Chrétien fell from the great height of his bed; it took him a second or ten thousand years. Even after his body hit the cold stone he couldn’t tell. The dream-pain that roused Chrétien from sleep, the bite of a knotted scourge, it lingered in the waking night.

Dancing Fairies
by August Malmström

For two days and nights Erec followed the ugly knight across meadow and moor, traveling in circles. The knight and his dwarves never stopped to eat or drink or even rest. None in their company spoke. Erec hesitated to call them ghosts — they left visible tracks in the mud.

Lancelot and Dragon
by Arthur Rackham


Chrétien de Troyes was the 12th-century French poet who created Lancelot. We don't know much about his life or his literary sources. In fact, Chrétien ("Christian") was something of a cognomen, not the poet's actual name.

For these three separate prompts, I drew inspiration from Chrétien's romance Erec and Enide, which follows Erec son of Lac, a knight of the Round Table. He accompanies queen Guinevere as Arthur takes his knights out to hunt the White Stag, and while escorting the queen Erec suffers general unpleasantness at the hands of a singular dwarf. Said dwarf works for Yder, a knight of "evil intent." It's a free book and an interesting read, so go get it in the format of your choice.

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