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Tristan arrives in the land of Duke Hoel of Brittany. He helps the Duke drive off invaders to his land and becomes friends with his son, Kaherdin, and daughter, Yseut of the White Hands.
Kaherdin hears Tristan singing a sad love song about Yseut the Fair, and he assumes that Tristan is in love with his sister. He tells his father, who offers his daughter to Tristan.
Tristan decides to marry her because she is beautiful and has good family connections. He figures he'll never see Yseut the Fair again anyway. And whatever, she has the same name, so it's cool.
Oh, wait. On his wedding night, the ring she gave him reminds Tristan of Yseut the Fair, and he refuses to consummate his marriage. Yseut of the White Hands is one lucky gal.
Kaherdin learns about Tristan's refusal and fusses at him for insulting his family.
Tristan tells Kaherdin of his love for the other Yseut and offers to prove that she is more beautiful than his sister by taking him to Cornwall to see. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, our hero just insulted some dude's sister and then said he couldn't help it because some other woman with the same name was way hotter. And then offered to prove it.
Naturally, Kaherdin is like, "Yeah, let's see!" So off they go. On the way there, they learn that Mark is due to pass by on the road with Yseut and his whole court. They lie in wait for them.
Kaherdin is struck by the beauty of all the Cornish ladies, but especially Yseut.
Tristan manages to get a message through to Yseut, who arranges to meet him at a nearby castle. She reproaches him for his marriage, but forgives him. After all, love means never having to say you're sorry. Or something.
Kaherdin and Tristan return to Brittany, their friendship renewed.