The Lais of Marie de France: Bisclavret, or The Were-Wolf

Originally.

[BISCLAVRET bites the KNIGHT who has married his wife repeatedly.]

THE COURT

Oh, this is so weird

THE KING

Normally he never does this

THE KNIGHT

[Bleeds]

THE COURT

Obviously this knight has done something wrong, because this dog never bites anyone

THE KING

Yeah, sorry, normally I’d pull him back, but he honestly never does this, so…


[BISCLAVRET’s former WIFE is presented at court before THE KING. BISCLAVRET bites off her nose in front of everyone]

THE KING

Oh, whoa

THE COURT

Yeah, wow

THE KING

Knock it off, Bisclavret — c’mere — good boy —

A CERTAIN WISE COUNSELLOR

Hearken ye a moment, sire. Is it not true that Bisclavret almost never bites the nose off of visitors to court?

THE KING

As true as Prester John reigns over all Nestorians and the children of Saint Thomas the Doubter, yes.

A CERTAIN WISE COUNSELLOR

So mayhap it should stand to reason that this woman has offended Bisclavret. Else why would he bite that whereof he has never bitten before?

THE KNIGHT [bleeding]

He did bite me, quite recently

THE KING

I hear ye, counsellor — and you too, knight. Either my dog has recently started biting people, and should be restrained, or you and this woman have somehow offended my dog, perhaps through treachery, perhaps maybe even when my dog once held the form of a man, and this is his only way of declaring the truth.

[BISCLAVRET yelps and nuzzles the KING’s boot]

THE KING

You see what I mean? This is what he’s usually like.

THE COURT

He really never bites anyone.

THE KING

Honestly, never. Take these two out of my sight and banish them from my kingdom. As for my dog; give him clothes and leave him alone in my bedroom. If I’m right, and he turns into a human man, we’re going to kiss one hundred times, maybe more.

A CERTAIN WISE COUNSELLOR

Because he’s such a good dog, it would just be really weird if he started biting people for no reason.

[BISCLAVRET, having received clothes, promptly falls asleep.]

THE KING

I knew it.

MARIE DE FRANCE

I wrote this so that all of France might remember the lessons we learned at court here today.