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July 25, 2014

Les Deus Amanz- The Lais of Marie de France- Summary

Les Deus Amanz- The Lais of Marie de France- Summary

In Normandy, there was a city at the foot of a high mountain, named Pitres. The king's wife died, and all he had left was a beautiful daughter. He did not want her to get married, because then he would be all alone. The king made it known that his daughter would only be married to the man, who could carry her up the huge hill without resting. Many men tried, but all of them were unsuccessful.

In Pitres, there was a man, who had fallen in love the king's daughter. He asked her for her love, and finally she granted it to him. They had to conceal their love, because they did not want the king to find out about it. The young man wanted her to elope with him, but she refused because it would break her father's heart. She told him to go to Salerno, and see one of her relatives, who knew a lot about medicine. She gave a letter to him to take to the woman in Salerno, and told him that she would be able to give him potions that would increase his strength.

He went to see the woman in Salerno, and she gave him the potion. She told him that no matter how tired he was, if he took the potion he would be returned to full strength.

When he returned to Pitres, he immediately went to ask the king for his daughter's hand. The king granted his request, thinking that it was foolish of such a young man to try. The young man's beloved fasted so that she would not be so heavy to carry up the hill. On the appointed day, he gave his beloved the potion to hold, and began carrying her up the hill. He refused to stop and drink the potion, even though his beloved begged him to. When he reached the top of the mountain he was so exhausted that he lay down and died. At first the lady just thought he was sleeping, but soon figured out that he had died. She threw the potion on the surrounding hillside, and many wonderful plants sprang up. She lay down next to him and died.

The king and his men wondered what was taking them so long, and when they reached the top of the hill they saw the two lovers lying next to each other. They left them there for three days. They brought a marble coffin to the top of the mountain, and placed them in it together. They were buried there on top of the mountain, and ever since it has become known as the Mountain of the Two Lovers.


The Lais of Marie de France. Trans. Glyn S. Burgess. New York: Penguin, 1999.