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The Romance of Tristan

The Romance of Tristan


by Béroul

The Romance of Tristan Part 12 Summary

The Hermit Ogrin II

  • Ogrin greets the lovers by remarking on what great suffering they endure for love. Again, he urges them to repent.
  • Tristan tells the hermit that they did not suffer for three years. Now, however, they wish to reconcile with the king. Tristan says that he wishes to serve King Mark again.
  • Tristan falls at the hermit's feet, telling him that she loves Tristan as a friend, but their physical relationship has come to an end.
  • Ogrin says that when a man and woman love truly, but then repent their sin, God will forgive them. He says that to cover up the wrong, they will have to tell some lies. (What else is new?)
  • Ogrin advises Tristan to send a letter to Mark asking him to take the queen back and promising to fight with anyone who accuses him of adultery.
  • Ogrin says that he gives him this advice because no knight will be willing to challenge Tristan on the field.
  • The hermit remarks that everyone remembers how Tristan offered to stand trial when accused before but wasn't allowed.
  • The hermit continues, saying that God obviously protected Tristan when he leapt into the sea and kept him and Yseut safe in the forest.
  • Tristan must remind Mark of this, and tell him that he fled with Yseut because he felt responsible for her safety.
  • He must write that he wishes to serve Mark again, but that he will go to Dumfries and serve another king if Mark does not agree.
  • Tristan agrees, but asks Ogrin to add to the letter that he doesn't trust Mark since he offered a reward for his head. So, he dares not tell Mark where he is.
  • Tristan decides he will affix the letter to a post at the crossroads and trust any letter from Mark he receives in response.
  • The hermit writes the letter for him and seals it. Tristan decides to carry it to the crossroads himself, despite Ogrin's protest.
  • When Tristan enters the town of Lantyan, the watchmen blow their horns. He sneaks through a ditch to the window of the king's bedchamber.
  • Tristan calls out to the king and identifies himself. He sets the letter on the windowsill.
  • Mark begs him not to go, but Tristan escapes from the city and returns to the hermitage.
  • The chaplain reads Tristan's letter to Mark. He is pleased and rounds up all the barons.
  • Mark tells his barons that he wants them to listen to the letter. Dinas declares that everyone must listen and give their king good advice.
  • The letter the chaplain reads reminds Mark of how Tristan slew a dragon to win Yseut for him. It says that Mark believed the lies of his barons.
  • Tristan offers to defend himself in combat. He declares that he and Yseut never shared a wrongful love.
  • If he is not able to defend himself at Mark's court, he says, Tristan will defend himself before an army.
  • Tristan explains that he and Yseut escaped thanks to God's grace, adding that he kept Yseut with him in the woods because he wished to protect her.
  • Tristan concludes the letter by offering to serve Mark again if he takes Yseut back, or to travel to Dumfries and serve another king.
  • If Mark does not take Yseut back, Tristan says, he will return her to Ireland.
  • Mark's barons advise him to take Yseut back, but to send Tristan to fight for the king of Galway in his war with the Scots.
  • Mark agrees and sends his letter off to the crossroads, where Tristan retrieves it before midnight.
  • Ogrin reads the king's letter to him, which tells how he will be ready to receive Yseut in three days at the Gué Aventurous.
  • Although sad to part from Yseut, Tristan accepts the separation as a way to make up to her for all the suffering she has endured on his account.
  • Tristan proposes they pledge their love to one another and always remain in touch.
  • Yseut asks Tristan to leave her his dog, Husdant, in memory of him. She will give Tristan her jasper ring, which he must send with his messages so she knows they come from him. They seal their gift exchange with a kiss.

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