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Even in a casual perusing of French Arthurian romances, one can’t help but notice that there really are a lot of animals. Big or small, common or exotic, alone or in multiples, they’re there, and they mean something. Often animals are referred to in a metaphoric way—“Such-and-such-a-knight was like such-and-such an animal.” Other times, the creature is physically present to aid, oppose, warn, or console. All of this is deliberate, but the symbolism can be mystifying in our own age, which is not overly concerned with animal symbolism, and not all of us are friends with well-versed monks or have medieval bestiaries on our bookshelves.

This index is a quick and easy alphabetized reference for the rest of us. In it, we’ve explored every excerpt from the French romantic tradition that we read for our “King Arthur in Legends and History” Medieval Topics course at the University of Arkansas. This includes Erec and Enide; Cliges; Lancelot, or the Knight of the Cart; Yvain, or the Knight of the Lion; and Percival, or the Story of the Grail, all by Chrétien de Troyes; as well as The Death of Arthur and The Book of Arthur from the Vulgate Cycle; and a later French Romance, The Knight of the Parrot. Our study would have included The Story of Merlin from the Vulgate Cycle, but no animals were referenced in this excerpt.

We did not focus on possible allusions to animals, but only instances in which the animal was present or explicitly evoked. The following entries are explored in relation to Arthur and his knights, his enemies, and other lords and ladies. Each entry briefly discusses the animal’s medieval symbology, the quotations from our texts in which they are mentioned, and our educated speculations as to what each reference might mean in its specific context. Enjoy!



BEE

- In The Continuum Encyclopedia of Animal Symbolism in Art, Hope B. Werness notes, “In Medieval Bestiaries, bees symbolized orderliness, industry, and collective labor.” Ancient traditions associated bees with sacred groups, like the priestesses of Demeter at Eleusis. Christianity continued that tradition by linking monastic communities and the Church itself with bees and the beehive. (Werness 41)



- Textual Occurrences:



o Yvain, or the Knight of the Lion by Chrétien de Troyes



In this situation, the orderly nature of the bee is being evoked. Everything around the action of the bee buzzing goes on as it should; things do as they are meant to do.



§ “The dung-heap will always stink, the gad-fly sting and the bee buzz, and a pest pester and plague” (161)



o Perceval by Chrétien de Troyes



Chretien here is using the smallness of a bee as an example of the easiest to feed. Because a bee is so small and insignificant in itself, if not even a bee can be fed, no one can be fed.



§ “Anguingueron has laid siege to this castle for an entire winter and summer without respite, and every day his army expands, while ours dwindles and our supplies are depleted to the point that there is now not enough left here to feed a bee” (406)



BIRD

- In Western mythology, the bird is often a symbol for the immortal or unfettered human soul (Werness 44). Birds are often associated with seers, the gift of second sight, goddesses, female spirits, midwives, wise women, and witches (45-46).



- Textual Occurrences:



o The Knight of the Parrot



§ “He is the best bird in the world for singing sweet and pleasing love-songs and for speaking so well that it pleases the hearts of both men and women to hear him” (372)

§ “Within, it was high, airy and vaulted; there was no sort of stone in the world possessing any value which was not used in the ceiling of the room, worked with beasts, birds and flowers” (378)



o Perceval by Chrétien de Troyes



General birds are usually a part of the background.

§ “It was in the season when trees flower, shrubs leaf, meadows grow green, and birds in their own tongue sing sweetly in the mornings” (382)

§ “As soon as he entered the forest(,) his heart leapt within his breast because of the gentle weather and the songs he heard from the joyful birds” (382)

§ “The next morning the boy arose to the singing of the birds” (389)



Or they can be objects of hunting.

§ “ ‘Then any one of these three javelins you see here is better, because I can kill as many birds and beasts as I want or need” (383)



CAT

- Cat symbolism is ambiguous and varied. Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable cites the animal as a symbol of “stealthy cunning, clairvoyance, and agility” (“Animals in symbolism” 43). In Western folklore from the Middle Ages onward, cats were believed to be the demonic familiars of witches, or even incarnations of the devil. At the same time, they were kept in Medieval Europe to control the rodent population. They were often present as mousers in monasteries and nunneries, where they also provided fur for clothing. Hope B. Werness says, “Bestiary illustrations emphasized the cat’s playfulness,” and tomcats were associated with sexuality and pride (74-75).



- Textual Occurrences:



o Perceval by Chrétien de Troyes



§ “I’m not telling you anything you don’t know, for you can mollify him just like stroking a cat” (435)

§ “Her eyes were two holes, as tiny as a rat’s eyes; she had a nose like a monkey’s or a cat’s, and the lips of an ass or an ox” (438)



DOG

- Medieval Bestiaries commend the dog for its wisdom, diverse abilities, bravery, and fidelity. Dogs were commonly featured in medieval tomb sculptures, lying at the feet of their owners as symbols of vigilance, guidance, and companionship. Christian iconography linked the dog to the image of the Good Shepherd, and the dog became an emblem of the faithful and morally vigilant clergy. (Werness 139) Various breeds of dog appear in Arthurian romances. Along with the generic “dog,” greyhounds, hounds, and mastiffs are discussed here in their particularity.



- Textual Occurrences:



o Perceval by Chrétien de Troyes



§ “ ‘Be off with you!’ she said, ‘rabble, mad dogs, filthy wretches! What devils called you together?’” (454)

§ “The wicked Jews, whom we should kill like dogs, brought harm to themselves and did us great good when in their malice they raised Him on the Cross: they damned themselves and saved us” (458)

§ “The bed’s legs were carved figures of little dogs with grimacing jowls, and the dogs were set on four wheels which rolled so easily that you could push the bed with one finger and roll it all the way across the room” (475)

§ “Preceding the knight through the meadow were three small bird-hunting dogs” (485)



GREYHOUND

- The greyhound is the oldest purebred canine, and is historically a hunting dog. In Britain and Wales after 900 AD, the ownership of a greyhound was a symbol of pride and nobility. (“Brief History of the Greyhound”)



- Textual Occurrences:



o Lanval by Marie de France



The greyhound is the only dog mentioned in Lanval, and it is mentioned only once. Lanval’s lady has a greyhound following her when she enters Arthur’s court.

§ “On her wrist she held a sparrow hawk,/and a greyhound followed her” (lines 573-574).

HOUND

- Hound dogs were associated with Hecate-Artemis, primarily in her role as huntress, who is said to have received her dogs from Pan. By their association with Pan, the Greeks linked hounds to Sirius, the Dog Star, called the “shape-shifting dog of the Great Goddess.” (Werness 136)



- Textual Occurrences:



o Perceval by Chrétien de Troyes



§ “Before long it would be good only as food for the hounds and mastiffs, because there was nothing but hide hanging over its bones” (426)

§ “At the head of the procession were people in short robes, boys on foot leading hounds, and afterwards came huntsmen carrying sharp pikes” (451)

§ “Don’t you recall the knight you tormented so and forced against his will to eat for a month with the hounds, his hands tied behind his back?” (468)



MASTIFF

- In ancient times, mastiffs were associated with the Neo-Babylonian goddess Gula, who was the deity of healing and the patroness of physicians. Since then, mastiffs have been regarded as magically protective figures. (Werness 136)



- Textual Occurrences:



o Perceval by Chrétien de Troyes



§ “Before long it would be good only as food for the hounds and mastiffs, because there was nothing but hide hanging over its bones” (426)

DONKEY

- Donkey symbolism is ambiguous. The ancient world seems to have regarded them positively, but, beginning in early Christian times, the donkey became a symbol of humility, recalcitrance, sexuality, and foolishness. (Werness 21)



- Textual Occurrences:



o Perceval by Chrétien de Troyes



§ “ ‘Peasant,’ he said, ‘driving that ass before you, tell me the shortest way to Carlisle’” (391)

§ “Her eyes were two holes, as tiny as a rat’s eyes; she had a nose like a monkey’s or a cat’s, and the lips of an ass or an ox” (438)



EAGLE

- The eagle is the Roman symbol of victory and the Medieval symbol of divine triumph—specifically of Christ’s triumph over death. It is also the Evangelist symbol of St. John. (Werness 153) Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable associates the eagle with “majesty, dominion, victory, and valor” (“Animals in symbolism” 43).



- Textual Occurrences:



o Lanval by Marie de France



A golden eagle adorns the tent of Lanval’s lady when he first meets her.

§ “They led him up to the tent,/which was beautiful and well placed./…There was a golden eagle on top of it,/whose value I could not tell” (lines 80-81, 87-88).



o Perceval by Chrétien de Troyes



§ “The tent was astonishingly beautiful: one side was vermillion and the other striped with orphrey; on top was a gilded eagle. The sun struck brightly and blazed upon the eagle” (389)



ERMINE

- Ermine refers to the winter pelt of mink which was often used to line the collars and hems of royal garments. In these instances the reference to ermine is an indication of luxury rather than a symbol of those who wore it.



- Textual Occurrences:



o Eric and Enide



The ermine in these sections represents the wealth that is being bestowed her. Since she herself is a beautiful and well-bred woman, she needs these external images to match her exterior. The whiteness of the ermine shows her purity.



§ “The person she had sent brought her the mantle and the tunic, which had white ermine trimmings down to the sleeves” (143)

§ “The lining was of white ermine: none finer or more splendid was ever to be seen or found” (144)



EWE

- Sheep are often associated with meekness and stupidity (“Animals in Symbolism” 43).



- Textual Occurrences:



o The Knight of the Parrot



§ “This is he about whom Merlin spoke in his prophecy, when he said that the Son of the Ewe should subdue the Merciless Lion” (376)



FALCON

- T.H. White’s translation of the medieval Cambridge Bestiary identifies the falcon as a symbol of death (Werness 172). Like other birds, such as hawks and geese, the falcon is linked in Ancient Egypt to the flight of the immortal soul (45).



- Textual Occurrences:



o The Knight of the Parrot



§ “Also, in the middle of the room, there was a stone carved in the shape of a falcon, which bore in its beak a golden chain which hung a good span’s length, to which was attached a precious carbuncle” (378)

§ “Inside the falcon’s chest was a glass phial full of balm which spread a wonderful perfume from the falcon’s beak” (379)

§ “On the other side the falcon held in its feet a marble tablet a good ell long, and a good span wide, on which were raised letters painted with gold, which could be read easily” (379)



o Perceval by Chrétien de Troyes



§ “He caught sight of them and heard them honking, for they had been scared by a falcon that had swooped down upon them at full speed until it had found one that had become separated from the flock” (432)



FISH

- Early Christians claimed their fish symbol derived from the Greek word for fish, ichthys—an acronym for “Jesus Christ, Son of God.” Due to the Matthew 4 and Mark 1 passages in which Jesus instructs his disciples to become “fishers of men,” fish symbolism also pervades Christianity in the analogy between fishing and conversion. (Werness 178) Fish have also historically been phallic symbols in multiple cultures, and have sometimes even been symbolic for the female vulva when associated with ancient goddesses. (180) Several different types of fish occur in our selected romances. This entry discusses fish in general, as well as lampreys, minnows, pike, and salmon.



- Textual Occurrences:



o Cligés by Chrétien de Troyes



The fish in this section are really just fish, though I am sure that men have died because of the shortage of food.



§ “The level of the Thames was low as there had been no rain all summer, and the drought was such that the fish in it had died, the boats were stranded in the port, and it was possible to ford the river at its widest point” (155)



o Perceval by Chrétien de Troyes



§ “The man in front was fishing with a line, baiting his hook with a little fish, somewhat larger than a minnow” (418)



LAMPREY

The female lamprey is used in a sermon to argue for fidelity. She endures his poison and is sincere.



- Textual Occurrences:



o Perceval by Chrétien de Troyes



Fish is food here.



§ “Your mother was his sister and mine; and the rich Fisher King, I believe, is the son of the king who is served from the grail. And do not imagine his is served pike or lamprey or salmon. A single host that is brought to him in that grail sustains and brings comfort to that holy man—such is the holiness of the grail!” (460)



PIKE

- The pike is associated with Christ and his crucifixion. There is a Germanic legend that says when Christ was crucified, all fishes dived under the water in terror, except for the pike, which lifted up its head and beheld the whole scene. It is said that in the pike’s head, all the parts of the crucifixion are represented, with the cross, three nails, and a sword being clearly delineated. (“Pike” 911)



- Textual Occurrences:



o Perceval by Chrétien de Troyes



§ “Your mother was his sister and mine; and the rich Fisher King, I believe, is the son of the king who is served from the grail. And do not imagine his is served pike or lamprey or salmon. A single host that is brought to him in that grail sustains and brings comfort to that holy man—such is the holiness of the grail!” (460)



SALMON

- The salmon is a popular game fish of indeterminate symbolism. (“Salmon”)



- Textual Occurrences:



o Perceval by Chrétien de Troyes



§ “Your mother was his sister and mine; and the rich Fisher King, I believe, is the son of the king who is served from the grail. And do not imagine his is served pike or lamprey or salmon. A single host that is brought to him in that grail sustains and brings comfort to that holy man—such is the holiness of the grail!” (460)



GADFLY

- The gadfly can be seen as a representation of the sinful nature of man. The gadfly’s biting of livestock is excused because that, by nature, is what he does.



- Textual Occurrences:



o Yvain, or the Knight of the Lion by Chrétien de Troyes



The gadfly is doing what gadflies do. There is order in nature.



§ “The dung-heap will always stink, the gad-fly sting and the bee buzz, and a pest pester and plague” (161)



GOOSE

- There is a classical association of the goose with a watchful brother figure who steps in and cries when it perceives negligence or ignorance (Cohen). Thus, the goose represents one who looks out for his, and others’, safety. Especially in France, the goose liver is prized as a delicacy.



- Textual Occurrences:



o Perceval by Chrétien de Troyes



§ “He sent me on a wild goose chase when he told me I’d see a house when I came up here” (418)

§ “But before he reached the tents, a flock of geese that had been blinded by the snow flew over” (432)

§ “Perceval began to spur his steed to where he had observed the attack: the goose had been wounded in the neck and bled three drops of blood, which spread upon the white snow like natural colour. The goose was not hurt severely enough to keep it lying on the ground until Perceval reached there, and it had flown away before he came. When Perceval saw the disturbed snow where the goose had lain, with the blood still visible, he leaned upon his lance to gaze at this sight for the blood mingled with the snow resembled the blush of his lady’s face” (432)



GOAT

- The goat in Judeo-Christian symbology typically stands for the damned (see Revelations), for they are sent to left hand of God while the sheep are sent to the right.



- Textual Occurrences:



o Perceval by Chrétien de Troyes



§ “Her teeth were the colour of egg yolk, flecked with red, and she had the beard of a goat” (438)




HIND

- A female deer, typically red. See roe-buck or stag.



- Textual Occurrences:



o Perceval by Chrétien de Troyes



The hind referring to hunting.

§ “I hope God will never let the hinds and stags have such hauberks” (384)

§ “Gawain set off after the hinds, hunting them with such skill and cunning that he overtook a white one beside a thorn bush and laid his lance across its neck. The hind leapt like a stag and fled; Gawain followed and pursued her and was about to catch her securely and stop her when his horse completely threw a shoe from a front hoof” (451)



HORSE

- Specific kinds of horses appear in the French Romances, often serving different purposes. Horses in general are discussed here, but so specifically are chargers, mares, nags, packhorses, palfreys, and warhorses.



While the horse in general is accepted as an image of passion, honor, chivalry, and the knight, the horse can also bear a negative connotation. When taken to access, the horse can become a symbol for Pride or Lust (Cohen).



- Textual Occurrences:



o Eric and Enide by Chrétien de Troyes



§ “He has the knights wakened and the horses made ready for the hunt” (142)



o Cligés by Chrétien de Troyes



These horses are tools—symbols of knighthood and prized possessions.



§ “They dismount at the foot of the steps; and their squires and horses remain in the courtyard below while the youths go up into the presence of the best king who ever was or ever may be in the world” (147)

§ “The whole court wonders where his resources have come from; for he gives to all and sundry valuable horses he had brought from his own country” (148)

§ “Then each asks for his own equipment, which is given to one and all, fine arms and a good horse. They all took their own gear. That for each of the twelve, arms, robes and horse, was of equal value” (151)



o The Knight of the Parrot



§ “When he had found his lance, he spurred his horse with great force and galloped towards the king, and the king who was coming from a distance, struck the king so hard on the shield with his lance that the lance pierced both the shield and the hauberk on his right side” (371)

§ “Then they spurred their horses and clashed together, striking each other’s shield so violently, with such great force, that everything was broken and scattered in pieces” (374)



o Livre D’Artus (The Book of Arthur), from The Vulgate Cycle



The horse is mentioned frequently in Livre D’Artus.

§ The robbers’ four horses: “While (the damsel) remained there lamenting, four debauched highway robbers passed by, mounted on strong, swift horses and well armed, as such men usually are” (298). Arthur ultimately kills the robbers for abusing the damsel. He takes their horses and gives them to the hermit, “bidding him to sell them and use the money to repair his dwelling” (300)…

§ Arthur’s horse is mentioned on pages 299, 314, and 316.

§ The knight’s seven horses, which Arthur captures as plunder after defeating their riders in a tournament on the way to the countess’ castle: “Not forgetting the damsel, Arthur captured all the horses, save the last, which had taken cover in the wood; the king recovered this one too, and then returned to the damsel with them all” (303). These horses are first mentioned on 302.

§ The servant, spared by Arthur when he kills the second band of robbers, gives two pack-horses to the king and the damsel to carry Arthur’s new spoils: “The king replied that he was not interested in the clothing, but would take with him any money and silver vessels which might be there. Then the servant replied, ‘Yes, I will load two pack-horses.’”



o Lancelot, or the Knight of the Cart by Chrétien de Troyes



§ “And since this is what you’re set on doing, order our horses to be brought out, bridled and saddled, so that it only remains to set out” (159)

§ “At once the horses are brought out and saddled with all their trappings” (159)

§ “You may be sure the seneschal was fully armed; and his horse was brought into the middle of the courtyard, and beside it a palfrey fit for a queen.” (159)



o Lanval by Marie de France



Horses are mentioned throughout this lais.

§ Lanval’s horse: “The knight of whom I speak,/who had served the king so long,/one day mounted his horse/and went off to amuse himself./He left the city/and came, all alone, to a field;/he dismounted by a running stream/but his horse trembled badly. He removed the saddle and went off, leaving the horse to roll around in the meadow.” (lines 39-48) Later, when the lady’s girls approach him, “The knight went with them,/giving no thought to his horse.” That is the last Lanval’s horse is mentioned.

§ Lanval’s lady’s servants’ horses: “When they were ready to give their verdict/they saw two girls approaching/riding handsome palfreys.” (lines 471-473) “The girls proceeded/still on horseback;/they dismounted before the high table/at which Arthur, the king, sat.” (lines 485-488)

§ Lanval’s lady’s horse: “They were about to give their judgement/when through the city came riding/a girl on horseback: there was none more beautiful in the world./She rode a white palfrey,/who carried her handsomely and smoothly: he was well apportioned in the neck and head,/no finer beast in the world./The palfrey’s trappings were rich;/under heaven there was no count or kin/who could have afforded them all/without selling or mortgaging lands.” (lines 547-558)



o Mort Artu (The Death of Arthur), from The Vulgate Cyle



Horses are mentioned twice in our brief excerpt from Mort Artu—once, when the king instructs Girflet regarding them, and again when we learn that Arthur’s own horse goes with him to Avalon.

§ “Then (Arthur) told Girflet to put the reins and saddles on their horses. This he did. The king mounted and rode towards the sea until he arrived there at noon.” (295)

§ “As soon as Arthur saw his sister Morgan, he arose from the ground where he was sitting, and went aboard the ship, taking his horse and his arms with him” (297).



o Perceval by Chrétien de Troyes



Horses appear all throughout Perceval

§ So the boy took his hunting horse and went to where the harrowers were harrowing the ploughed ground where the oats were sown” (385).

§ “His horse was already saddled” (388)

§ “…the horse bore him swiftly on without stumbling through the great dark forest” (389)

§ “…he brought his horse so close to the king…that he knocked the king’s cap of fine cloth from his head on to the table” (392)

§ “ ‘Friend, take my hunter away with you, for he’s a fine horse and I am giving him to you because I have no need of him any longer’” (396)

§ “Now he’s sitting armed upon his steed and will encounter some vassal who won’t hesitate to maim him in order to win his horse” (397)

§ “Then the gentleman asked him how skilled he was with his horse” (398)

§ “Then the gentleman had himself equipped with the sharp steel spurs the young man had been wearing, mounted the boy’s horse, hung the shield by its strap from his own neck, took the lance, and said: ‘Friend, learn now about weapons and take heed of how you should hold the lance and spur your horse and rein him in’” (399)

§ “He let it hang a little forward so that it rested on the horse’s neck, fewtered his lance, then spurred the horse” (399)

§ “ ‘Friend, could you manoeuvre the lance and shield like that, and spur and guide your horse” (399)

§ “The gate was opened before him and he was armed and mounted upon a horse that had been made ready for him in the square” (408)

§ “And the youth, not knowing how to deal with him from horseback, dismounted” (408)

§ “He pierced one knight through the chest, another through the breast; one had his arm broken, another his shoulder blade; this one he killed, that one he struck down; this one he unhorsed, that one he captured. The prisoners and horses he gave to those of his companions who needed them” (411)

§ “Each knight had a sharp ashen lance, strong and yet easy to handle, and their horses charged at full speed” (414)

§ “There’s no way to get a horse across, for there’s no ferry, bridge, or ford for twenty leagues upstream or down” (418)

§ “He crossed over the bridge and four squires hastened towards him: two of them helped him remove his armour, the third took charge of his horse and gave it hay and oats, while the fourth robed him in a fresh, new mantle of scarlet” (419)

§ “After having shouted a long while, he tried the dorr to the great hall; finding it open, he went down the steps, where he discovered his horse saddled and saw his lance and shield leaning against the wall” (422)

§ “Then he rode off through the gate, but before he had crossed the bridge he felt it drawing up under the hooves of his horse, but the horse made a great leap, and if he had not done so(,) both horse and rider would have come to grief”(423)

§ “Then he headed for the forest and found a path on which he discovered fresh hoofprints of horses that recently had passed by” (423)

§ “Yet your horses’s belly is so full and his coat so shining that he couldn’t appear more satisfied or his coat smoother had he been washed and combed and given a bed of hay and oats” (423)

§ “…he was struck by a javelin through both thighs and still in so much pain that he cannot ride a horse” (424)

§ “It seemed to be as overworked and ill-fed as a horse that is hired out: overtaxed by day and poorly cared for at night” (426)

§ “My lord…there on the heath is a knight asleep on his horse” (433)

§ “Sagremor immediately ordered that his horse be brought forth and called for his armour” (433)

§ “His horse promptly fled towards the tents with its head in the air. Those who were now stirring within the tents saw the horse, and many among them were distressed” (433)

§ “When Perceval heard this threat, he turned his horse’s head and urged it to a full gallop with his steel spurs” (434)

§ “Kay fainted from the pain and his fleeing horse trotted straight for the tents. The Britons saw the horse returning without the seneschal; squires rushed to their horses, and knights and ladies began to stir” (434)

§ “Sir Gawain, who was renowned and esteemed for all his virtues, had himself armed at once, mounted upon a strong and experienced horse, and came directly to the knight who was leaning upon his lance” (435)

§ “You have good knights, good men-at-arms, and good archers who’ll kill their horses, and I am certain that they’ll come to do battle before this gate” (442)

§ “The knights were heartened by this; squires ran to fetch armour and to saddle and lead out the horses” (442)

§ “Dear God, this knight has so much equipment and so many horses that there’s more than enough for two, yet he has no companion with him” (442)

§ “He’s a merchant, don’t say any more about his participating in the tournament: he’s brought all those horses to sell” (443)

§ “So don’t settle for petty profits: you’d do better to take all those horses and that equipment, for he won’t do a thing to stop you” (444)

§ “The tournament ceased for the day; but many a knight had been captured and many a horse killed” (444)

§ “The man who brought him into the city won’t dare try to defend him, for he’s a most evil trickster: he’s had shields and lances brought in and horses led in by their reins, there by bypassing the customs duties because he looks like a knight” (445)

§ “I’ll give you provisions and horses to carry them” (446)

§ “Then he stretched out his hand to Meliant’s horse, took it by the bridle, and gave it to a squire, telling him to go to the one in whose honour he was fighting” (449)

§ “The squire led the horse with its saddle to the maiden, who had clearly seen, from where she was at a window in the keep, Sir Meliant de Liz fall” (449)

§ “He told his squire, Yonet, who was leading one of his horses—the best he had—and carrying a strong and stiff lance, to stop” (451)

§ “His squire did not hesitate, but immediately handed over to him his horse and lance” (451)

§ “Gawain followed and pursued her and was about to catch her securely and stop her when his horse completely threw a shoe from a front hoof. So my lord Gawain rode on to overtake his supply horses, but it upset him to feel his horse stumbling under him” (451)

§ “He called Yvonet at once and ordered him to dismount and care for his horse, for it was limping badly” (451)

§ “Before he left the tower he took leave of the maiden and told all his squires to return to his land with all of his horses except Gringalet” (457)

§ “You shouldn’t hurry so and quicken your horse’s pace: only a fool rushes up for no reason” (463)

§ “You want to grab me and carry me down this hill across your horse’s neck” (463)

§ Cursed be any man who thinks that! Be careful never to try to put me on your horse! I’m not one of those silly girls the knights sport with and carry away on their horses when they go out seeking adventure. You’ll never carry me on your horse!” (463)

§ “Ah, damsel, where can I leave my horse if I cross to the garden, for he could never pass over that plank I see” (463)

§ “It’s true he couldn’t, sir, so give him to me and cross on foot. I’ll care for your horse as long as I’m able to hold him. But hurry back, because I couldn’t do much if he became restive or were taken from me by force before your return” (463)

§ “So he entrusted his horse to her and departed, but he decided to carry all his arms with him” (463)

§ “My lord Gawain listened to everything the haughty damsel told him without giving a single word in reply; he just handed over her palfrey to her and she let him have his horse” (465)

§ “ ‘I’d rather give you seven chargers, if I had them here with me, than his poor horse, such as it is’” (467)

§ “While he was helping her to her saddle, the knight took my lord Gawain’s horse and mounted, and began to make it prance all around” (467)

§ “ ‘Sir knight, upon my word, it’s very foolish of you to make my horse leap about like that. Dismount and give it to me, for you could easily hurt yourself and cause your wounds to reopen’” (467)

§ “I came here to help you, and you would harm me in return? Don’t take my horse, for that would be treachery!” (468)

§ “I really would like to know why you want to rip out my heart and why you’ve taken my horse, for I never sought to do you harm, nor have I ever in all my life” (468)

§ “Now that you’re so well equipped and seated on such a fine horse you really look like a knight who should be escorting a maiden!” (469)

§ “Now, if you don’t mind, tell me who that is, seated upon my own horse that was stolen from me by the traitor whose wounds I healed this morning?” (470)

§ “Whatever it might cost me, maiden, I’ll never flinch, but will go straight to meet him because I should be most happy if I could recover my horse” (470)

§ “Then my lord Gawain reached out, took hold of his horse, and leapt into the saddle” (471)

§ “It has never happened, nor is there any account of an occasion, that I did not get the horse of any knight defeated at this port if I knew of his defeat or, if I didn’t have the horse¸ that I ever failed to get the defeated knight” (471)

§ “Friend, if I dismount, can I trust you to keep my horse faithfully for me?” (471)

§ “Immediately he climbed down from his horse and gave it to the boatman, who took it and said he would watch it faithfully” (472)

§ “He followed the boatman’s advice and, leading his horse after him, he boarded the punt and they set off and reached the other shore” (472)

§ “Have my horse and arms brought to me at once, for I don’t want to tarry here any longer” (474)

§ “Then he ordered them to bring him his horse from the stable, saddled and readied to ride” (474)

§ “Immediately one of them came forward and began to remove his armour, and others went to stable his horse, which was still outside” (477)

§ “So they climbed down from the turret and squires ran up bringing his body armour, and his horse was led forth” (483)

§ “The knight immediately grasped his shield, spurred his horse, and charged without a word of defiance or warning” (483)

§ “Immediately my lord Gawain led his horse to the bank and looked at the deep water below and the sheer vertical banks” (485)

§ “But the river was narrow, and when my lord Gawain saw it he said to himself that his horse had leapt over many wider chasms and he recalled having heard it said in many places that the knight who could cross over the deep waters of the Perilous Ford would be reckoned the best in the world” (485)

§ “He failed, for he had not made a good jump, and fell right into the middle of the ford. But his horse swam until it felt solid footing for all four hooves” (485)

§ “My lord Gawain was obliged to dismount and found his horse to be completely exhausted” (485)

§ “Then he spurred his horse and it leapt completely across the water without incident. When the maiden who had slandered him with her unki9nd words saw him returning towards her, she tried her horse to the tree and came towards him on foot; her heart and feelings had changed” (490)

§ “Only one thing worries me: you might not have a good hunting horse to take you swiftly there” (492)

§ “The squire replied that he had access to a large, swift, strong, and good horse that he could take as if it were his own” (492)



CHARGER

- See Warhorse



- Textual Occurrences:



o The Knight of the Parrot



§ “He had hardly finished speaking when he saw a very well-armed knight coming on a black charger, causing a great noise” (373)

§ “Nevertheless, there hauberks were so strong that they protected both from death, and the chargers crashed together so violently that they both fell dead under their masters as they jousted” (374)

§ “Then Darsenois the Greek, who had arrived at court, presented a fine broad charger to the king which was very well-trained, as was fitting for such a knight” (377)

§ “They believed that she would take the man who kissed her as her husband, so that each of them prepared as extravagantly as they could, with fine chargers and good arms” (378)



o Perceval by Chrétien de Troyes



§ “Had the palfrey been a charger, he might have assumed that some squire, who had gone off through the countryside to seek his glory and honour, had climbed this hillock” (461)

§ “ ‘I’d rather give you seven chargers, if I had them here with me, than his poor horse such as it is’” (467)

§ “You’d be wise to take the nag, for you’ve lost your charger” (468)

§ “Sir, I have seen you defeat a knight whose charger I am entitled to have. If you don’t wish to wrong me, you must return the horse to me” (471)



NAG

- An old horse that is in poor health; this term is often used in a derogatory sense to mean that the horse is not quite fit for a knight.



- Textual Occurrences:



o Perceval by Chrétien de Troyes



§ “ ‘But please do me this favour now, if it is not too much trouble: give me the nag that squire is on, who’s trotting along in this direction’” (466)

§ “My lord Gawain was eager to go to him to find out whether he could have his nag, but first he said to the knight: ‘My lord, so help me God, I don’t know who the squire is’” (466)

§ “ ‘Let this squire be, dear sir, for you’ll never hear him say a word to your honour. Leave him, it’s for the best; but first bring me his nag, then take this maiden you see here beside me” (467)

§ “ ‘If I can, I’ll mount this nag and then look for someone to whom I can confess my sins, for I don’t intend to stop until I receive the last rites, confess my sins, and take communion.’” (467)

§ “My lord Gawain seized the nag at once and handed its reins to the knight, who had regained his sight” (467)

§ “You’d be wise to take the nag, for you’ve lost your charger” (468)

§ “I’ll ride off on Gringalet, it’s the best vengeance I can have now. You must trade him for the nag of the squire whom you struck down, for you’ll get nothing else in exchange” (468)

§ “I just wish that nag you took from the squire were a mare! You know why I wish that? Because it would be even more disgraceful” (468)

§ “Its eyes were weak and poor, its feet eaten away, and its thin flanks were all cut up by spurs. The nag was scrawny and long, with a thin crupper and distended spine” (469)

§ “So the first thing I want is to amuse myself by observing your misfortunes: try spurring you nag a bit to see how it goes!” (469)

§ “Gawain rode on, with the maiden following, and no matter how hard he tried he could not discover how to get his nag to run or gallop” (469)

§ “So he rode upon the nag through lonely and uninhabited forests until he came to a flat plain crossed by a deep river” (469)

§ “Dismount and come aboard after me with your nag that’s thinner than a chick; then pull up the ship’s anchor, for you’ll soon be in a real dilemma if you don’t cross over this water quickly, or get away at once” (470)

§ “Then he headed for the clearing and turned his nag’s head towards the knight who was spurring across the sands” (470)

§ “My lord Gawain awaited him, clean off; so he abandoned the right one and awaited the knight just as he was, for the nag refused to budge: no matter how hard he spurred, he could not get it to move” (470)

§ “A nag is a poor mount for a knight when he wants to joust” (471)



PACKHORSES

- According to Isidore of Seville, these were a second class “common” horse, only good for carrying burdens.



- Textual Occurrences:



o Perceval by Chrétien de Troyes



§ “You should have seen all the bedclothes, coverlets and pillows being packed, trunks filled, packhorses loaded, the many carts and wagons piled high—for they did not skimp on the number of tents, pavilions, and shelters” (432)



PALFREY

- Etymologically, the palfrey is an extra riding horse, and it is used especially by women. These horses tend to be well tempered.



- Textual Occurrences:



o Eric and Enide by Chrétien de Troyes



The whiteness of the horse shows the daughter’s purity. She is feminine because she is not riding a knight’s horse.



§ “Behind them mounts the queen accompanied by an attendant maiden, a king’s daughter riding a white palfrey” (142)



o The Knight of the Parrot



§ “They had not ridden far when they saw in a beautiful meadow tents and pavilions and cloths of silk, most richly worked with strange devices, and they saw ladies and damsels on mules and palfreys richly adorned, who were watching knights joust on their warhorses in the meadow making a great noise in a strange manner” (373)

§ “Accompanying them came ladies and damsels playing very joyfully on harps and viols, and behind them followed a dwarf who was dressed in scarlet lined with fur, who drove before him a palfrey carrying a cage in which sat the parrot of which I have already told you” (374)

§ “Then the king mounted, followed by the damsel and the dwarf, who drove the palfrey carrying the parrot” (377)



o Lancelot, or the Knight of the Cart by Chrétien de Troyes



This palfrey is of especially good quality. Not only is it a womanly horse, but it is a womanly horse in a way that a charger is a manly horse.



§ “You may be sure the seneschal was fully armed; and his horse was brought into the middle of the courtyard, and beside it a palfrey fit for a queen. The queen comes to this palfrey, which was neither fiery njor impetuous” (159)



o Lanval by Marie de France



Palfreys are mentioned throughout this lais in connection with Lanval’s lady and her ladies.

§ Lanval’s lady’s servants’ horses: “When they were ready to give their verdict/they saw two girls approaching/riding handsome palfreys.” (lines 471-473) “The girls proceeded/still on horseback;/they dismounted before the high table/at which Arthur, the king, sat.” (lines 485-488)

§ Lanval’s lady’s horse: “They were about to give their judgement/when through the city came riding/a girl on horseback: there was none more beautiful in the world./She rode a white palfrey,/who carried her handsomely and smoothly: he was well apportioned in the neck and head,/no finer beast in the world./The palfrey’s trappings were rich;/under heaven there was no count or kin/who could have afforded them all/without selling or mortgaging lands” (lines 547-558).



o Perceval by Chrétien de Troyes



§ “Perceval followed the tracks he found along the trail until he overtook a lean and weary palfrey walking along ahead of him. The palfrey was so thin and wretched that Perceval thought it had fallen into evil hands” (426)

§ “The palfrey appeared just like that” (426)

§ “And I swore, and rightly so, that her palfrey would have no oats and would no oats and would not be reshod or groomed, and that she would have no other tunic or mantle than what she was wearing then” (429)

§ “The lord carried his daughter before him on his palfrey’s neck and asked her what had been the cause of this quarrel” (447)

§ “He hurried towards the oak until he saw beside it a small Norwegian palfrey; he was quite surprised, for it was most unusual, or so it seemed to him, to find a palfrey together with a shield and arms. Had the palfrey been a charger, he might have assumed that some squire, who had gone off through the countryside to seek his glory and honour, had climbed this hillock” (461)

§ “If you are willing to take the trouble to fetch me my palfrey from this garden plot, I’ll go along with you until you encounter in my company misfortune and grief and trials and shame and woe” (463)

§ “For if he were to find anyone in the orchard who wished to prevent him from fetching the palfrey, there would be a fight or battle before he would be persuaded to return without it” (463)

§ “ ‘Sir knight, you intend to lead away the palfrey, but you don’t yet realize the troubles that sill await you if you lay a hand upon it!’” (464)

§ “The men and women said this because they all wanted to warn my lord Gawain not to the palfrey but to turn back instead” (464)

§ “My lord Gawain advanced to the palfrey, held out his hand, and tried to take it by the halter, for it was saddled and bridled” (464)

§ “ ‘Knight, you’ve wasted your efforts coming for the palfrey. Only false pride could make you reach out your hand for it now’” (464)

§ “He drove the palfrey, whose head was half black and half white, in front of him across the plank” (464)

§ “My lord Gawain turned over the saddled palfrey to her, saying: ‘Come along now, maiden, and I’ll help you mount’” (465)

§ “ ‘Leave me the palfrey at once—I can easily mount it by myself, for I’ve no need of your help’” (465)

§ “My lord Gawain listened to everything the haughty damsel told him without giving a single word in reply; he just handed over her palfrey to her and she let him have his horse” (465)

§ “ ‘Leave him, it’s for the best; but first bring me his nag, then take this maiden you see here beside me; steady her palfrey and help her mount, for I no longer wish to remain here’” (467)

§ “My lord Gawain took the damsel and placed her courteously and graciously upon the Norwegian palfrey” (467)

§ “And the evilest creature in the world, who was directing my lord Gawain, came straight to the riverbank, the n stopped and dismounted from her little dappled palfrey” (470)

§ “The damsel, who had an evil heart within her breast, boarded the boat, followed by her palfrey which had done this many times before” (470)

§ “He armed himself, mounted and set off, and the boatman in turn mounted upon his palfrey, for he intended to give him a loyal escort to where he himself was so loath to go” (474)

§ “Meanwhile the malevolent maiden had dismounted from her palfrey” (484)

§ “My lord, I will do your bidding from beginning to end…Then she climbed up on to the little, long-maned palfrey’s saddle and they rode to the boatman, who ferried them across the water without any trouble or difficulty” (490)



WARHORSE

- This noble sort of horse is trained for battle. According to Pliny the Elder, this horse builds a bond with its rider, letting none other ride him. He is able to fight enemies in battle and even mourns for the death of his master.



- Textual Occurrences:



o The Knight of the Parrot



§ “It cried thus three times, and when the king heard this voice, he looked around and saw a lady, who was very beautiful and richly attired, fleeing on a mule from an armed knight on a warhorse, who pursued her with naked sword in had” (370)

§ “After he had done this, King Arthur was armed with all his armour, he mounted his warhorse, and he and the damsel left the city” (370)

§ “They had not ridden far when they saw in a beautiful meadow tents and pavilions and cloths of silk, most richly worked with strange devices, and they saw ladies and damsels on mules and palfreys richly adorned, who were watching knights joust on their warhorses in the meadow making a great noise in a strange manner” (373)



o Perceval by Chrétien de Troyes



§ “Sir…outside this camp we came upon a knight sleeping upon his warhorse” (433)

§ “With him he took seven squires, seven warhorses, and two shields” (440)



LAMB

- The lamb is most often associated with the sacrificial animal in Judeo-Christian theology, thus Christ-like. Often times, the lamb is simply a lamb; a piece of meat, not uncommon in heroic literature.



- Textual Occurrences:



o Perceval by Chrétien de Troyes



§ “There are a hundred with hair whiter than lamb’s wool, and a hundred who are turning grey” (473)



LION

- In Christian manuscripts and ideology, the lion is associated with the apostle Matthew. This is a symbol of purity and holiness. The lion forgives quickly and angers slowly. The lion, then. can also represent Christ.



- Textual Occurrences:



o The Knight of the Parrot



§ “Since I was so unruly when I was a child, he called me ‘the Wicked Boy’, and I did not lose the name until I became a newly made knight, and then my name was changed, and I was called ‘the Merciless Lion” (375)

§ “ ‘Lion,’ said the king, ‘you have very badly represented the order of chivalry; for chivalry desires to bring reason and law to all people’” (375)

§ “You have taken away the possessions of knights who were unable to defend themselves against you, a shameful deed, and then without right or reason you have kept them and their people under your control, and thus you have deserved the name of ‘Wicked Boy’ but never that of ‘Lion’” (376)

§ “For a lion is the most worthy beast in the world: for he never feels such great hunger that he is very angry towards another beast, so that if it lies on the ground and shows him humility, he does not wish any longer to attack it. Thus you have maligned the name of lion” (376)

§ “Thus the king made the Merciless Lion and the other knights there promise to do as he had decreed” (376)

§ “The knights and all the nobles were amazed that such a young knight as the king should know how to wreak such vengeance on the Merciless Lion, and they were all very pleased” (376)

§ “This is he about whom Merlin spoke in his prophecy, when he said that the Son of the Ewe should subdue the Merciless Lion, who was full of pride, felony, and anger” (376)

§ “Thenceforth, both they and the Merciless Lion acted as the king had bidden them” (377)



o Livre D’Artus (The Book of Arthur), from The Vulgate Cycle



The lion appears in Livre D’Artus in its female and infant form. As Arthur is on his way to rescue the countess from the Saxon giant, he hears a lioness in distress and she leads him to her cub, which he rescues from two serpents.

§ The lioness: “…he continued until eventually he saw a lioness, which was showing the greatest grief ever made by a beast, for she was biting the ground with her teeth, scratching, and rolling about, and crying so loudly that all the air around vibrated with the noise” (304). She is mentioned throughout the scene the follows, which extends from 303-305.

§ The cub: “In this ditch was a small cub, which had two serpents entwined around its lower back; they were pressing it so closely that it had no more power to cry out, but lay on the ground as if dead” (304). He is mentioned twice on 304, but not again after that.



o Perceval by Chrétien de Troyes



§ “Before he had pulled them all out, he was subjected to another trial: a peasant struck a door with a club, and the door opened and a very ravenous, strong, fierce, and astonishing lion leapt from a room through the door and attacked my lord Gawain with great viciousness and savagery” (477)

§ “After killing the lion, he sat back down upon the bed and his host returned to the hall with a beaming face, found him sitting on the bed and said, ‘Sir, I assure you you have nothing more to fear’” (477)

§ “Then the windows, which had been closed, opened by themselves and sharp bolts and polished arrows struck my shield, and you can still see the claws of a huge, ferocious, crested lion, which had long been kept chained in its room, caught in my shield. The lion was released and set upon me by a peasant; it sprang at me and struck my shield with such force that it became stuck to it by its claws and couldn’t withdraw them” (487)





MARE

- A female horse. See horse.



- Textual Occurrences:



o Perceval by Chrétien de Troyes



§ “I just wish that nag you took from the squire were a mare! You know why I wish that? Because it would be even more disgraceful” (468)



MINNOW

- See fish.



- Textual Occurrences:



o Perceval by Chrétien de Troyes



§ “The man in front was fishing with a line, baiting his hook with a little fish, somewhat larger than a minnow” (418)



MONKEY

- Because of its association with humanity, the monkey image is used to satirize human behavior. For most of Europe, the image of the monkey was usually seen as being exotic or ugly in comparison to human fairness.



- Textual Occurrences:



o Perceval by Chrétien de Troyes



§ “Her eyes were two holes, as tiny as a rat’s eyes; she had a nose like a monkey’s or a cat’s, and the lips of an ass or an ox” (438)



MULE

- Greeks cast the mule as the mount of Dionysus, the god of fertility, nature, drama, and wine (Werness 278) (Gross and Grote). Although mules were generally regarded as being more biddable than horses (Werness 278), they more modernly represent obstinacy (“Animals in symbolism” 43).



- Textual Occurrences:



o The Knight of the Parrot



§ “Then you might have seen a damsel, alone and without any companions, riding in great haste on a mule; she rode until she reached the court, where the feast was being held. When she had dismounted at the mounting-block and had tethered her mule, she went up into the hall” (369)

§ “It cried thus three times, and when the king heard this voice, he looked around and saw a lady, who was very beautiful and richly attired, fleeing on a mule from an armed knight on a warhorse, who pursued her with naked sword in had” (370)

§ “They had not ridden far when they saw in a beautiful meadow tents and pavilions and cloths of silk, most richly worked with strange devices, and they saw ladies and damsels on mules and palfreys richly adorned, who were watching knights joust on their warhorses in the meadow making a great noise in a strange manner” (373)

§ “With him he led a damsel on a very richly embellished mule, but of the lady’s beauty I am unable to tell you, since she did not have any at all” (373)





o Livre D’Artus (The Book of Arthur), from The Vulgate Cycle



There is only one mule in our excerpt of Livre D’Artus; she belongs to the damsel Arthur first rescues, and therefore is mentioned multiple times.

§ “Once, as he was waking up, a damsel riding a mule passed close by the hermitage” (298)… This damsel is the one who recruits Arthur to defeat the Saxon giant that torments her sister, the countess, in her castle. While the journey, he rescues her numerous times, and she becomes his lover until the giant is defeated and he leaves. Her mule is mentioned here as well as pages 300, 301, and 305. The robbers who try to take her mule when we first meet her describe the animal as “very fine,” and we learn the mule is female, when the damsel says to the lead robber, “Leave my mule, good sirs, since she is mine” (298).



o Lanval by Marie de France



The second set of two girls who come to Arthur’s court to announce the coming of Lanval’s lady come riding Spanish mules.

§ “…two girls in noble array,/dressed in Phrygian silks/and riding Spanish mules,/were seen coming down the street” (lines 510-513).

§ The same mules are mentioned again in line 540: “There was no problem with the mules.”

· Our foot note added, “The following lines are added to explain this remark: ‘There were enough men to care for them/and put them into the stables.”



o Perceval by Chrétien de Troyes



§ “And all night they reveled, and the whole of the next day, until on the third day they saw a damsel approaching on a tawny mule, holding a whip in her right hand” (437-8)

§ “The damsel drove her mule right up before the king: such a damsel had never before been seen at the court of any king. She greeted the king and all the assembled baron s except Perceval alone, to whom she spoke from her tawny mule” (438)





OX

- In The Continuum Encyclopedia of Animal Symbolism in Art, Hope B. Werness cites the ox as, “a universally benevolent symbol of strength, patience, submissiveness, and steady toil.” The ox, regarded as down-to-earth, hardworking, and conscientious, is also the Evangelist symbol of St. Luke. (Werness 308)



- Textual Occurrences:



o Livre D’Artus (The Book of Arthur), from The Vulgate Cycle



The ox is mentioned only once in Livre D’Artus, associated with the Saxon giant, whom Arthur vanquishes.

§ “He had a head as large as an ox, great black eyes which burned like glowing coals, and a voice as loud as a trumpet” (312)…



o Perceval by Chrétien de Troyes



Oxen are the peasants to the aristocracy of the horse in this work.

§ “And the boy said to the ox-drivers, ‘Have you seen five knights and three maidens pass this way’” (385)

§ “ ‘This very day they went through these woods,’ replied the ox-drivers” (385)

§ “Her eyes were two holes, as tiny as a rat’s eyes; she had a nose like a monkey’s or a cat’s, and the lips of an ass or an ox” (438)



PARROT

- During the Middle Ages, the parrot acquired the image of a sacred bird, able to talk and communicate meaningfully without being trained to do so, and possessing prophetic abilities. According to a medieval legend, a parrot had announced the coming of the Virgin Mary, and thereafter the bird was associated with her. By the 15th century, geographical discoveries in the Americas made the bird more easily found and captured, and it was no longer perceived as a rare treasure. By the Renaissance, parrots were viewed as speakers who repeat without thought. They became a symbol of mockery and verbosity, and were no longer considered sacred. (Neznakomka)



- Textual Occurrences:



o The Knight of the Parrot



§ “Moreover, there are at least five hundred of the best knights in the country, who have arrived there to see the court, which is devised in such a manner that the man who has the most beautiful sweetheart and can prove this by battle shall have a parrot which is brought there every year by a dwarf” (372)

§ “Accompanying them came ladies and damsels playing very joyfully on harps and viols, and behind them followed a dwarf who was dressed in scarlet lined with fur, who drove before him a palfrey carrying a cage in which sat the parrot of which I have already told you” (374)

§ “The knights and all the nobles were amazed that such a young knight as the king should know how to wreak such vengeance on the Merciless Lion, and they were all very pleased, swearing to obey his wish and do his bidding; but no one could describe the noise made by the parrot, who spoke, in the highest voice he was capable of” (376)

§ “When the parrot approached the king, he began very sweetly to tell all the events which had occurred from the days of Merlin until that present time, so that the king and all the others present wondered greatly at what he said” (376)

§ “Then the parrot asked the king, ‘Sire, why do you not take hold of me?’” (376)

§ “The king was overjoyed when he heard the speech of the parrot and then the words of the lady. Then he came forward and took the parrot, the dwarf and all his accoutrements” (377)

§ “Then the king mounted, followed by the damsel and the dwarf, who drove the palfrey carrying the parrot” (377)

§ When they saw that this would please him, they asked who they should say had ‘The Knight of the Parrot’” (377)

§ “ ‘Damsel’, said the Knight of the Parrot, ‘I will do your will” (377)

§ The Knight of the Parrot was highly praised because he had promised to help the damsel, except by the Lady with Golden Hair” (377)

§ “Nevertheless, she hid her feelings so well from all her people that nobody perceived them, and she behaved more pleasantly to the Knight of the Parrot than she had formerly done” (378)

§ “Then she begged the damsel Flower of the World to stay with her and the Knight of the Parrot until the tournament had finished, which the damsel readily agreed to do

§ “Until the period of the tourney arrived, the Lady with Golden Hair and the Knight of the Parrot led a very pleasant existence, and often dined together in private rooms and in gardens” (378)

§ “The Lady with the Golden Hair commanded the Knight of the Parrot to come to her chamber to talk” (379)

§ “ ‘And to whom have you given it, lady?’ asked the Knight of the Parrot” (379)

§ “When the Knight of the Parrot saw that he could have his will with the lady, without opposition, he seized her roughly by the hair with both hands and threw her to the ground” (380)

§ “Count Doldois, who was full of anger and malice, struck the Knight of the Parrot so violently that neither shield nor hauberk prevented him from receiving a great wound in the left side” (381)

§ “When the Knight of the Parrot saw the count on the ground, he dismounted and stood over him with drawn sword to prevent him rising again” (381)

§ “His opponent had no strength left, but begged for mercy from the Knight of the Parrot, asking that he should not kill him” (381)

§ “When the Knight of the Parrot saw the count lying on the ground unable to move and begging for mercy so gracefully, he took pity on him” (381)

§ “This lady would have so well repaid his malicious behaviour to the Knight of the Parrot that he would never have had the desire to wrong another knight of whom he knew nothing, had it not been for the Knight of the Parrot” (382)

§ “Without further delay, the Knight of the Parrot went up to the lady and kissed her in front of the nobles, as the best knight in the tournament” (382)

§ “Then the lady sat at the highest table and, taking the Knight of the Parrot by the right hand, sat him beside her” (382)

§ “Then the Knight of the Parrot arose and took the Lady with Golden Hair by the hand, and the two went to sit alone together in another part of the hall” (382)

§ “Elsewhere in the hall, ladies, damsels and knights were talking, speaking as they pleased, each of them desiring to possess a sweetheart since the Knight of the Parrot had found their lady” (383)

§ “When everyone throughout the court was in bed and asleep, the Knight of the Parrot arose and threw a mantle around his neck, and went to the door of the room where the Lady with Golden Hair was sleeping” (383)

§ “Then the Knight of the Parrot had great joy and pleasure with the Lady with Golden Hair” (383)

§ “When it was a little before day, the Knight of the Parrot returned to his own bed, so no one should know” (383)



o Perceval by Chrétien de Troyes



§ And the maiden was more charming, more splendid, and more graceful than sparrow-hawk or parrot” (404)



PHEASANT

- The ring-necked pheasant was brought to Europe as early as the 4th century BCE, and because it came from the same area of the world as the peacock, it was associated with immortality. (Peacocks were symbols of immortality because Aristotle, and later St. Augustine, claimed their flesh was incorruptible.) Pheasants were used as sepulchral decorations in early Christian art and later became symbols of redemption. (Werness 46, 325)



- Textual Occurrences:



o Perceval by Chrétien de Troyes



§ “My lord Gawain was served with everything befitting a gentleman: he had plover and pheasant and partridge and venison for supper” (472)



PLOVER

- The plover is “a short-billed, gregarious wading bird,” with little documented symbology. Its name is based on the Latin pluvia, meaning “rain.” (“Plover”)



- Textual Occurrences:



o Perceval by Chrétien de Troyes

§ “My lord Gawain was served with everything befitting a gentleman: he had plover and pheasant and partridge and venison for supper” (472)



RAT

- In Christianity, the rat is often linked with the devil and was seen to be a creature of ill omen (Werness 343). Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable associates the rat with destructiveness, avarice, and foresight (“Animals in Symbolism” 43).



- Textual Occurrences:



o Perceval by Chrétien de Troyes



§ “Her eyes were two holes, as tiny as a rat’s eyes; she had a nose like a monkey’s or a cat’s, and the lips of an ass or an ox” (438)



ROE-BUCK

- A male roe deer. Due to its monogamous breeding habits, it is associated with humanity. It is also noted that the deer has human-like thoughts of morality and is associated with longevity.



- Textual Occurrences:



o Perceval by Chrétien de Troyes



§ “There’s no other food herein, except a roe-buck that one of my servants killed this morning with an arrow” (405)



SPARROW HAWK

- A small woodland hawk that preys on small birds. The hawk is chiefly characterized by its determination. Domesticated hawks are loyal to their masters and bring them back their prey.



- Textual Occurrences:



o Lanval by Marie de France



The hawk, specifically a sparrow hawk, appears once in this lais, in connection with Lanval’s lady as she is entering Arthur’s court.

§ “On her wrist she held a sparrow hawk,/and a greyhound followed her” (lines 573-574).



o Perceval by Chrétien de Troyes



§ And the maiden was more charming, more splendid, and more graceful than sparrow-hawk or parrot” (404)

§ “Then he resaddled his steed, remounted, and rode along at a walking pace until he saw a lone knight hunting with a sparrow-hawk” (485)



SERPENT

- The serpent plays as a figurative double to the stag, for they are natural enemies. The serpent is most strongly associated with the corruption of man in the Garden of Eden, or simply sin, but it can also represent the penitential man, in that it sheds its skin, or the outer evil image, and it relinquishes its venom, like the sin that runs through its veins.



- Textual Occurrences:



o Livre D’Artus (The Book of Arthur), from The Vulgate Cycle



The serpent occurs twice in Livre D’Artus, once when Arthur kills two serpents to save a lion cub, and again in association with the Saxon giant.

§ “In this ditch was a small cub, which had two serpents entwined around its lower back; they were pressing it so closely that it had no more power to cry out, but lay on the ground as if dead” (304).

· These serpents spit “fire and venom mixed together,” and Arthur puts his sword between them and the cub, cuts them to pieces, and throws them out of the ditch with his sword, thereby rescuing the cub and ensuring the loyalty of its mother (304-305).

§ Of the Saxon knight which torments the damsel and her countess sister: “He was armed to his toes with a serpent’s skin which came from India and was so strong that no weapon could penetrate it, however sharp and pointed it might be” (312). His serpent-skin helmet is mentioned specifically on page 312, and his serpent-skin shield, which Arthur ultimately plunders for his own after defeating the giant in combat, is mentioned specifically on 313, 314, and 316.





STAG

- The stag uses cunning to destroy serpents when he comes upon them. It is easy, then, to see that the stag in an image for Christ who destroys the Devil. They are symbols of spiritual aid for those who are in need.



- Textual Occurrences:



o Eric and Enide by Chrétien de Troyes



In the hunt for the white stag, the stag acts as a symbol of some sort of aid, though in the excerpt we read, it is not probable that he stands for strictly spiritual aid.



§ “The Hunt for the White Stag” (141)

§ “Now before that court disbanded, the king told his knights he wished to hunt the white stag and renew the worthy observance of that custom” (142)

§ “For a long time we’ve all well known what the custom of the white stag is: whoever can kill this white stag must by right kiss the fairest of the maidens in your court, come what may” (142)

§ “Tomorrow morning we shall all derive great enjoyment from going to hunt the white stag in the forest where adventures abound” (142)

§ “Upon her, unless any challenge me, I shall bestow the honour of the white stag” (145)

§ “I say that it is right and proper that she should receive the honour of the stag” (145)

§ “Let no one hesitate to say truly if this maiden is not the fairest in my household and should not rightly receive the kiss of the white stag” (146)

§ “Those were the circumstances in which the king observed the rightful tradition associated at his court with the white stag” (146)



o Perceval by Chrétien de Troyes



The stag referring to hunting.

§ “I hope God will never let the hinds and stags have such hauberks” (384)

§ “The hind leapt like a stag and fled; Gawain followed and pursued her and was about to catcher securely and stop her when his horse completely threw a shoe from a front hoof” (451)



STEED

- See horse.



- Textual Occurences:



o Perceval by Chrétien de Troyes



§ “Now he’s sitting armed upon his steed and will encounter some vassal who won’t hesitate to maim him in order to win his horse” (397)



SQUIRREL

- The vair, a French squirrel, also associated with the weasel, is considered a dirty animal for though it has heard the word of the Lord willingly, it does nothing with what it has heard. They have a nice winter coat.



- Textual Occurrences:



o Perceval by Chrétien de Troyes



§ “Others, still, melted down gold and silver for beautiful and costly metalwork: cups, goblets, and bowls; and jewellery inlaid with enamel; rings, belts, and clasps. It was easy to believe that every day was the day of the fair in the town, which was filled to overflowing with so much wealth: with wax, pepper and grains, with pelts of vair and miniver, and every sort of merchandise” (452)



Sources:

“Animals in Symbolism.” Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 16th ed. London: HarperResource, 1999. Print.

“Brief History of the Greyhound.” Greyhound Expressions. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2011. <http://www.greyhoundexpressions.org/‌history.htm>.

Cohen, Simona. Animals as Disguised Symbols in Renaissance Art. United Kingdom: Brill, 2008.

Gross, Rachel, and Dale Grote. “Dionysus.” Encyclopedia Mythica. N.p., 3 Mar. 1997. Web. 23 Apr. 2011. <http://www.pantheon.org/‌articles/‌d/‌dionysus.html>.

The Medieval Bestiary: Animals in the Middle Ages. Web. http://www.bestiary.ca/

Neznakomka. “How Parrots Influenced European Culture during the Middle Ages.” Helium. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2011. <http://www.helium.com/‌items/‌1280180-medieval-parrots>.

“Pike.” Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 16th ed. London: HarperResource, 1999. 911. Print.

“Plover.” Oxford American Dictionaries. Electronic.

“Salmon.” Oxford American Dictionaries. Electronic.

Werness, Hope B., ed. The Continuum Encycolpedia of Animal Symbolism in Art. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2003. Print.

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