Old French Tales from Brittany

Marie de France: The Story of Bisclavret

12th century, Old French: British Library, Bibliothèque Nationale Paris.

Bisclavret's clothes have been taken. And whilst he is in the forest he is not half a man and half a wolf. His is all wolf. He is now trapped as a wolf...

Bisclavret, a Breton nobleman, hides a dark secret. Whenever he goes away from home for a few days at a time he takes off all his clothes, leaves them in an old chapel and goes to live in the forest surrounding the chapel as a wolf. He is a werewolf. And whilst he is in the forest he is not half a man and half a wolf. His is all wolf. A wolf with a man's mind.

When he returns to his clothes, his human form comes upon him again and he returns to his wife. But her suspicions are beginning to grow. Prizing his secret out of him, the next time he disappears for a few days she arranges for the chapel to be visited and his clothes to be taken. He is now trapped as a wolf...

Story fragment retold from: Burgess, Glyn S., and Busby, Keith, 1986. The Lais of Marie de France. Translated from Old French with an introduction. Penguin Books Limited. Bisclavret, pp 68–72.

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