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The Romance of Tristan

The Romance of Tristan


by Béroul

The Romance of Tristan Part 16 Summary

Tristan's Vengeance

  • Tristan, Yseut, and Mark are now free of worries. But Mark's barons are on the watch for any sign of betrayal and continue to cause trouble.
  • A spy tells the barons that Tristan visits the queen when Mark goes hunting. He tells them to watch Yseut's window and see Tristan come visit her wearing some arrows and the sword.
  • The spy makes them promise to pay him a silver mark if they see Tristan through the queen's bedroom window.
  • The spy promises that if someone waits at a curtain-covered opening near the queen's bedroom, they will be able to see through a gap in the surrounding garden to her window.
  • Godwin is the first to keep watch, on a night when the king is away and Yseut sends for Tristan.
  • When Tristan reaches the garden, he notices Godwin coming toward him, and he hides in ambush. Godwin goes the other way, however.
  • Next, Tristan sees Denoalan traveling through the thicket where he is hiding, intent on flushing out a boar using his greyhounds.
  • Tristan leaps on him and cuts off his head, saving the hair so that he can show it to Yseut.
  • Tristan hurries to Yseut's chamber, where she waits with Brangain and Perinis. Godwin sees him approach, carrying some arrows and a handful of hair.
  • Yseut notices Godwin's shadow just as she rises to greet Tristan.
  • After Tristan tells her how he has killed Denoalan, she tells him to "stretch" his bow to "see how it is bent." When Yseut asks him to string it, he realizes that she has seen someone and finally notices Godwin's shadow.
  • Asking for God's help in bringing vengeance on the man who has wronged him, Tristan lands an arrow through his eye and into his brain, killing him instantly.
  • [The Béroul fragment ends here, and the following is reconstructed from another version of the legend.]
  • Yseut tells Tristan he must flee for his own safety. The two exchange love-tokens and promise to be always at one another's service.

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