Lion de Bourges: Folios 71-80 (lines 13792-15774)

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On the same night that Gaudiffer accepts to take Lion to Herpin’s grave, he offers his hospitality to Lion and his squire Ganor. When they are both in a deep sleep, Gaudiffer gathers a group of murderers. However, Lion is awakened by a premonitory dream and at that moment the White Knight appears to let him know of the double betrayal of Gaudiffer and also to help him to fight off the murderers.

Gaudiffer presents himself in front of the pope to make him believe that he was attacked and that he avoided this criminal undertaking himself. Lion, in turn, tells the truth and requests a single combat in order to force Gaudiffer to confess.

Early in the morning, Lion and Gaudiffer present themselves on the battlefield. When Gaudiffer is supposed to swear on the relics that he is innocent, he begins to spin around and falls. In spite of this omen, he accepts the combat. He loses his helmet, then his ear and finally an eye. After losing his second eye, he confesses his crimes. Then, he is quartered and hung.

Lion, King Henry, Raymon de Vauvenisse and Ganor leave Rome and, to the joy of Florantine, go to Monlusant. One month after his return, Lion decides to embark on the trails of his father and mother. Florantine, who is pregnant, tries to detain him, but without success. Before his departure, Lion entrusts Florantine to Bauduyn and the protection of the town to his chamberlain Thiéry who is made viscount of Monlusant.

Shortly after Lion’s departure, Florantine gives birth to two sons, Guillaume and Herpin. Herpin will be known later on as Olivier. A spy hired by Garnier, will inform him of Lion’s departure and the birth of the two sons. The duke assigns the task of abducting the two children to Genoivre. She disguises one of her ladies as a pilgrim so that she can go to Monlusant under the pretext of bringing news about Lion. The trick works: the “pilgrim” is celebrated and she spends the night in Florantine’s rooms, not far from the children. During the night, she sneaks up to the crib and takes one of them. Back at Reggio, the “pilgrim” gives the child to Genoivre, explaining that the second child is dead. Garnier gives the “pilgrim” one hundred florins and then orders one of his squires to get rid of the child. The squire takes the child into the forest to execute it, but at the moment that he lifts his sword, the child smiles and softens the cruel Henry who does not carry out the crime.

Abandoned under an olive tree, the child is found by a cow herder, who baptizes him Olivier, while Henry assures duke Garnier that he completed his mission. Thinking that Lion no longer has any heirs, Garnier prepares his army to attack Sicily, in spite of the oath that he had made in Rome. He enters Sicily, capturing and destroying the towns on the way before getting to Bonivant, ten leagues from Monlusant.

The inhabitants organize their defense while Garnier commands the king to give him Florantine. In response, the king prepares himself to save Bonivant. The onslaught takes place at the town wall; the fate of the battle remains undecided until Genoivre sends reinforcements from Calabrais.

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