The Lais of Marie de France

Alastair Savage

Lycanthropes trapped in their werewolf form, potions that give superhuman strength, and weasels that can bring their fellows back from the dead, all these appear in The Lais of Marie de France:

Unable to rouse its partner, it seemed distressed and left the chapel, going into the woods in search of herbs. With its teeth the weasel picked a flower, bright red in colour, and then quickly returned, placing it in the mouth of its companion, whom the servant had killed, with the result that it quickly recovered.

Lais are short lyric ballads composed in the Middle Ages. Twelve of these tales of chivalry and daring have come down to us today from the pen of Marie de France. Marie composed her works during the twelfth century, drawing on popular stories from Brittany.

The Lais of Marie de France

Her stories lurch from heroism to romance, from triumph to tragedy as they hurtle along to their conclusion…

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