Legend of the Sphere: A Door in the Wall

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Next there appears from a closet a hideous, fire-breathing serpent which,. The city is, of course, Caer Seint. A mysterious voice then announces to him his true identity : he is Guinglain, son of Gauvain and Blancemal the fay. Despite his joy at the news, he falls asleep upon the table ; and when he wakes in full daylight, it is to find at his head a damsel lovelier than any save the Pucelle aux Blanches Mains. She is the princess whom he has come to deliver and who, after her father's death, had been treacherously transformed into the serpent by Mabon, her rejected suitor.

Guinglain has saved both her and her city. Her name, as we are later told, is Blonde Esmeree, and she is Queen of Wales in her own right. She wishes to take Guinglain as her husband, but he asserts that he must first have King Arthur's leave. But now he begins to pine again for the Pucelle aux Blanches Mains and to dream of her embraces.

With the excuse that he has a further task to perform, he leaves Blonde Esmeree to make her way alone to Arthur's court and rides off himself to the Ile d'Or. He is to sleep in a room adjacent to hers which, however, he must on no account enter. Tormented by love, he finds this last command impossible to obey, but thrice when he attempts to go to her he is prevented by some enchantment. The maiden does at last send for him and requites his love to the full, explaining that she herself worked the enchantments as a punishment for his earlier unfaithfulness ; for she is well versed in the magic arts and knows besides all the details of Guinglain's life.

Indeed, it was she who announced his name after the fier baiser. At King Arthur's court, meanwhile, there is alarm at Guinglnin's continued absence; so the King announces a great tournament, which he knows the hero will not wish to miss. Guinglain hears the news ; and although the Pucelle aux Blanches Mains knows that despite his protestations she will lose him for ever, she says that it is not in her pow7er to prevent him from leaving.

He rides away to the tournament, where he displays his prowess; and eventually he marries Blonde Esmeree in Senau-don, her city, amid great rejoicing. Renaut's poem is not the only version of this story, others being found in the German Wigalois written ca. From a comparison of all the versions 1 it is clear that they are ultimately descended from a common original showing, among others, the following differences from Le Bel Inconnu : the hero was brought up by his mother in a forest, where he used to hunt in ignorance of the practice of knightly chivalry 2 ; the story ended with the hero's marriage to the princess soon after her deliverance and without his second visit to the Ile d'Or 3 ; and, as in Carduino, the enchantments of the second Ile d'Or episode probably occurred on the hero's first and only visit there although the details of his awakening do not figure in the Italian poem.

Wigalois by Wimt von Gravenberg, ed J. Kapteyn, Bonn, ; Libeaus Desconus, ed. Kaluza, Leipzig, ; Carduino, perphaps by Antonio Pucci, ed. Rajna, Bologna, XXX, p. A trace of this secluded upbringing remains in Le Bel Inconnu, Renaut evidently duplicated the main events of the story he is the only one to do so in order to increase its length.

In his epilogue he addresses his lady and refers rather cynically to his ability to expand the tale at will :.

Quant vos plaira, dira avant i. Mais por un biau sanblant mostrer. Vos ferait Guinglain retrover. S' amie, que il a perdue. More precisely, I believe the Pucelle aux Blanches Mains to represent the dream-maiden of the primitive story, and Blonde Esmeree to be the reality behind the dream : in short, the dream episode has been rationalised. If my hypothesis is correct, the central episode in B1 the meeting at the Ile d'Or must be derived from a dream episode similar to that in D. Let us then see if there is any evidence to support this derivation. More typical of the dream situation is the hero's deception in B when the maiden comes to him in his bed only to leave him before his desires are fulfilled.

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Thereafter she reappears in his dreams, both during the night at the lie d'Or and immediately before his return to her compare Macsen's recurrent dreams. For the Celtic motif of the mystifications see A.