Kingdom of Lions
= Lions in Literature =


Yvain, the Knight with the Lion

In one of his King Arthur stories the famous French poet Chrétien de Troies tells about Yvain, the Knight with the Lion. During the year 1172 or 1173 he compiled the story from several legends and traditions.

Yvain is married to Laudine, the former wife of a knight he has killed during one of his adventures. But when King Arthur and some of his knights visits the castle, Yvain goes with them for having new adventures. Laudine is inconsolable, but Yvain promises her to return within a year.
At the time he should go back to her, he goes to a big tournament instead and forgets Laudine completely. Lunete, his wife's servant who once helped Yvain winning Laudine's love, takes back the ring Laudine gave him when he left for a year. After this Yvain is full of remorse.

One day Yvain sees a big snake fighting with a lion in the forest. Yvain kills the snake by chopping off the snake's head and prepares to fight the lion. The big cat behaves very humble, however, like a dog. He lays down and tries to lick Yvainís feet. After the knight mounts his horse, the lion follows him. In the evening the lion catches a roebuck and shares the meat with Yvain. From this moment they are inseparable companions.
Yvain is so sad about his behavior towards Laudine that he wants to commit suicide. The lion prevents this by roaring and lying down before him. Yvain replaces his sword into its scabbard.

Then he meets Lunete again. She tells that she is falsely accused of betrayal by a steward and his two brothers. She will be burnt at the stake if she cannot find a knight who is willing to fight for her within forty days. Next day is the fortiest day. Yvain promises to help her. He goes to another castle first, that is terrorized by a giant. Yvain cannot easily win this fight, but the lion helps him by tearing off the giant's skin from head to feet.
Yvain is just in time for the fight against the steward and his brothers. Again the lion helps. When the steward wants to hit Yvain with his sword, the lion crushes the man. Then the brothers attack the lion and when they hurt the animal, Yvain becomes so angry that he soon kills both men.

Laudine is witness of the fight and thanks him for helping Lunete. She doesn't recognize her husband in his harness. She invites him into the castle, but Yvain refuses. When she asks his name, Yvain says: people name me the Knight with the Lion.

After more adventures, problems arise at Laudine's castle. She is looking for a knight who can help her. Lunete proposes to ask the Knight with the Lion, on the condition that Laudine helps him solve his marital problems. Laudine agrees. Lunete asks Yvain and his ok brings him and Laudine together. This time Yvain promises to stay with her at the castle. They have a long and happy life.

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