Marianson, Dame Joli (Marianson, My Lady Fair)
DESCRIPTION: French. A knight calls on Marianson and steals her husband's rings. The husband, coming home from war, is tricked by the knight into thinking she is unfaitful. He kills the child and drags her behind his horse. She proves her innocence, but is dying.
EARLIEST DATE: 1946 (BerryVin)
LONG DESCRIPTION: French. A man (knight?) calls on Marianson, whose husband is off at the war. He asks her to lend him her golden rings; she gives him the key to her chest, and he takes the rings. He brings them to a goldsmith and has them duplicated. He then meets the lady's husband, who swears his wife is faithful. The man replies that "This I believe, yet disbelieve" and shows the husband the rings. The husband goes home, sick at heart; Marianson show him their newborn son. "A name I'll render to the child, The mother earns renown defiled." He kills the child by throwing it on the ground, ties Marianson by the hair to his horse, and drags her for three days. Then he looks back and asks, "Where are thy golden rings so rare?" She tells him they're in the chest; he looks, and they are there. Stricken with remorse, he asks her what surgeon could save her; she replies that "The only surgeon now would be / A winding-sheet to cover me." He asks her forgiveness; she replies that she forgives him for murdering her, but not for killing their child
KEYWORDS: jealousy virtue courting ring accusation lie questions violence return betrayal homicide death children husband wife foreignlanguage
FOUND IN: US(MW) Canada France
REFERENCES (1 citation):
BerryVin, p. 16 (1 text + translation, 1 tune)
NOTES: Although I can't remember where I encountered it, I seem to recall a medieval romance similar to this. Searches on the Internet say that this story was particularly popular in Normandy.
I am also strongly reminded of the story of Griselda in Chaucer's "Clerk's Tale" (which, admittedly, goes back to Boccaccio, and before that perhaps to the tale of Eros and Psyche). There is also the legend which Chretien de Troyes retold as "Erec and Enide," and which occurs in the Mabinogion as "Gereint and Enid," about a husband's unjustifid jealousy. Admittedly it ends with the lovers making peace, and Chaucer's tale of Griselda technically has a happy ending -- but the *true* happy ending in that case would have been to give Walter a taste of his own medicine. Where is Medea when we need her? - RBW
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