Lion de Bourges: Folios 121 – 130 (lines 23377-25328*)

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Due to misnumbering in Kipler edition, folio 121ra begins with 23376

The single combat between Thiéry and Henry continues until dusk without a winner. Drained by fatigue, the two men begin a conversation about their masters. Henry realizes that his master, Garnier, is a traitor, but it is because of his fear of Lion that Henry stays in his service. Thiéry assures Henry that Lion would forgive him for having abandoned Lion’s son in the forest. After some hesitation, Henry accepts and the end of the siege is celebrated.

Before the celebration is over, Lion enters Monlusant with his troupes in order to help Thiéry. Lion congratulates his chamberlain and wants to reward him. Therefore, Thiéry asks Lion to pardon Henry, which he does. Lion learns of the fate of his son Herpin (Olivier) and that of his wife Florantine. He swears vengeance on Garnier and Genoivre.

After a year, Lion succeeds in winning back his kingdom. He devotes his energy to Calabria, which he attacks with an army of forty thousand men. After having ravaged and destroyed most of the fortresses, Lion sees the formidable tower of Monrochier in front of him. It is protected by Gautier, whose wife is no other than Clarisse, sister of Garnier, who had given birth to Lion’s son Girart.

Girart sees that his mother is very agitated because she has just learnt that Lion is nearby. Because of this shock, she confesses to Girart about his origin but she begs him to fight for the duke Garnier. However, Girart decides to join his father’s forces, which are laying siege to Reggio. Before presenting himself before Lion, Girart wants to accomplish a brave deed.

The squire Henry had abandoned the young Herpin under an olive tree, and it was there that the cow herder had found him. After some hesitation, the cow herder had brought the infant to Béatris, his wife, who discovered the famous red cross which is the sign of nobility. The infant is baptized as Olivier, in remembrance of the tree under which he was found.

Olivier is raised in the country, helping his adoptive father to watch the herds, but little by little his true nature reveals itself especially when he trains himself at breaking spears on trees. One nice day, as Olivier sees a troupe of splendidly armored knights pass by, he cannot resist the call to arms nor to the tournaments; he makes up his mind to sell the herds of his father in order to buy armor that will allow him to become one of the best at a tournament organized by the neighboring viscount, in honor of his daughter’s wedding. Before the jousts begin, Olivier attentively observes the knights in order to learn their techniques.

He also falls in love with Alexandrine, the bride’s sister. On the opening day, the knights parade into the stands among them Olivier, who holds the attention of the spectators and especially that of Alexandrine. During the tournament he defeats three knights making him the winner: Alexandrine crowns him. That night, she gives herself to him and offers him a golden ring. In spite of the promises that he makes to her, Olivier will never see the beautiful Alexandrine again.

After his return home, Olivier finds his adoptive father bedridden with fever after he discovered the theft. Elie rejects the golden crown that Olivier offers him and tells him that he is not his true father. Olivier then decides to find his real parents. In spite of the pleas of Béatris, he leaves while promising that he would return.

Heading for Spain, Olivier learns that the king Anseïs de Carthage has just lost Burgos to Nabugor, the nephew of Marsilie and brother of Baligant. The king has taken refuge at Na’jera, while the heathens lay siege to Saint Domin. Before arriving at the king’s court, Olivier surprises the Saracens and captures two heathen kings which he offers to Anseïs. Everyone is impressed with his bravery especially Galienne, the daughter of the king.

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