Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Icelandic Horse in Medieval French Romances--Part 2

In the French romance, Erec and Enide written by Chrétien de Troyes around 1170 , Enide rides a "palefroi Norrois" or Norse palfrey. "While lamenting, the lady attired herself beautifully in her finest dress. Nothing, however, pleased her. Everything had become a source of grief. She had a maid summon one of her squires, and she ordered him to saddle her splendid Norse palfrey. No count or king ever had a better horse. The moment she gave the squire the command, he followed it without delay and saddled the dappled palfrey."

As Erec and Enide ride off on their adventure, they are spotted by a band of eight rogue knights. The leader espies the splendid Norse palfrey and rouses his fellow bandits to attack Erec and Enide. The bandit leader swears that he wants only the stunning Norse palfrey, the rest of the band can have the woman and the rest of the loot.

And the story continues. One of the scholars writing about this romance claims, based not on research but solely on her opinion, that the splendid Norse palfrey had to have been a Friesian or other cross. Obviously this scholar does not know much
about Icelandic horse or the Nordland horse or other representives of the Norse breed. Every Icelandic owner would agree that "No count or king ever had a better horse."

Source: Chrâetien (de Troyes), The Complete Romances of Chrâetien de Troyes, Indiana University Press, 1990

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