minstrel: Re: King Arthur search

Brett and Karen Williams brettwi at ix.netcom.com
Thu Feb 27 09:30:46 PST 1997

mn13189 at WCUVAX1.WCU.EDU wrote:
> On Thu, 27 Feb 1997, Nicholson, Drew wrote:
> > I have a friend who is looking for a tale of one of King Arthur's knights.
> >
> > The knight  finds this lady and marries her.  She is completely lovely for 12
> > hours a day and unspeakably ugly the other 12.  He gets to choose which 12 hours
> > of the day she is lovely.  After much thought, he choose that she be lovely
> > during the day, so that all his friends can also enjoy her loveliness.  After
> > being married for a year, and sleeping next to this ugly woman by night, she
> > rewards him for his kindness and becomes lovely all the time.
> >
> > Does anyone have any idea which knight this is and where I might find a copy of
> > the story?  Also, is it period?
> Yes, it is period.  Chaucer included it in his Canturbury Tales.
> Wonderful peice.  If you can wait until I'm home tonight I'll look in my
> copy and tell you the exact tale and the knight's name.
> Aye,
> Eogan

It is good to have an unabridged copy of Child. :) All of this came from
volumes I and V.

Child Ballad #31, _The Marriage of Sir Gawaine_.

"The Weddynge of Sr Gawen and Dame Ragnell", Rawlinson MS., C 86,
Bodleian Library. According to Child, the portion containing the poem is
paper and indicates the end of Henry VII's reign. 

Chaucer, the Wife of Bath's Tale. Child ventures the suspicion that
Chaucer got the plot and story from Gower, but I haven't tracked down
that reference.

The 'undated' Gaelic tale of "The Hoodie" reverses the genders by
offering the choice of man by day, hoodie by night OR hoodie by day, man
by night to his wife, the youngest of three farmer's daughters.
Campbell, Popular Tales of the West Highlands.  Beast by day or night is
a popular folk motif; it's in Hrolfr Kraki's Saga.

When looking in the section "Additions and Corrections" in Volume V of
Child for #31, The Marriage of Sir Gawaine", the comment is made:

"Mr. Whitley stokes has pointed out that the incident of a hag turning
into a beautiful woman afer a man has bedded with her occurs in the Book
of Ballymote, an Irish MS, of about 1400, and elsewhere and earlier in
Irish story, as in the Book of Leinster, a MS. of the middle of the
twelfth century. It is singular that the sovereignity in the first tale
is the sovereignty of Erin, with which the disenchanted hag rewards her
deliverer, and not the sovereignity over woman's will which is the
solution of the riddle in the ballad.  See also the remarks of Mr.
Alfred Nutt. . . who, while denying the necessity for any continental
derivation of the hideous woman, suggest that Rosette in Gautier's Conte
du Graal, vv. 25380-744, furnishes a more liekly origin for her than
Chretien's damoisele, since it does not appear that the latter is under
spells which are loosed by the action of the hero."

Hope this helps....


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