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The Romance of Tristan

The Romance of Tristan

by Béroul

The Romance of Tristan Part 3 Summary

The Flour on the Floor

  • Who can be in love and not reveal it?! Tristan and Yseut flirt in the sight of others and continue to have secret meetings.
  • Three of Mark's barons have seen Tristan and Yseut lying naked together in Mark's bed while Mark has been out hunting. Oops. They resolve to tell Mark and demand that he send Tristan away.
  • The barons threaten to withdraw their support from Mark if he does not do so. They advise him to send for the prophetic dwarf, Frocin, which he does.
  • Frocin advises Mark to tell Tristan he must carry a message to King Arthur in Carlisle early the next morning, predicting that Tristan will want to speak with Yseut before he leaves.
  • Frocin buys some bags of flour, which he ties to his belt. Because why not.
  • Before bed, Mark tells Tristan that he must carry a message to Arthur the next morning. Tristan plans to cross the floor between his bed and Mark's to speak to Yseut.
  • Tristan notices that the floor between their beds has been covered with flour. Man, these tricks keep getting better and better.
  • Mark and Frocin leave the room around midnight, at which point Tristan leaps from his bed to Mark's.
  • A wound Tristan received from a boar earlier that day re-opens (you totally did not see that one coming, did you?), but he does not notice it bleeding all over the bed as he gets it on with Yseut.
  • Outside the chamber, Frocin can see Tristan and Yseut by the light of the moon and sends Mark into the room.
  • Tristan hears Mark coming and leaps back into his bed, but his blood drips onto the flour. (Fellas, seriously: make sure your boar-wounds are properly wrapped. This was completely avoidable.)
  • Seeing the bloodied sheets and flour, Mark's barons seize Tristan. Mark tells him not to waste time defending himself, since his guilt is obvious from these clues.
  • Tristan begs for mercy for Yseut. He offers to clear himself of the charge of adultery in trial by combat, which is sort of the medieval equivalent of going on Oprah to clear your name of something you probably actually did.
  • Tristan allows himself to be bound by the barons. He firmly believes that he will be allowed to defend himself in a trial by combat.

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