In the Middle Ages, the most rewowned tournaments of poetry in all of France
were held at the court of Eleanor of Aquitaine. Celebrated troubadours gathered
there to demonstrate their art, and once a year the winner of this poetic joust
On one occasion, the winner was an unknown and very handsome young man, who
refuse to give his name or say where he came from, despite the entreaties of
Eleanor herself. The aura of mystery surrounding the anonymous troubadour,
together with his kindness and beauty, soon made him one of the favorites
among the ladies of the court. Griselda, a young and wistful maiden, the
youngest daughter of the lord of Foix, fell passionately in love with the
knight and declared fer love for him. Moved by the maiden's entreaties, the
troubadour agreed to marry her in secret and take her to his home, but on
condition that Griselda should never try to see him other than when he chose,
and that she should never try to discover his secret.
The lovesick lady promised to comply with this strange condition. It seemed
little to ask in exchange for being able to remain with her loved one.
One night, the young Griselda had fallen asleep in the arms of her lover in
the castle of Eleanor of Aquitaine where she lived, and on opening her eyes
she found herself in an unfamiliar room. It was luxurious place, adorned with
silk and precious stones, and beside her lay her husband smiling benignly at
'You are in my house, which belongs to you', said the troubadour. 'You may
give orders to my servants and do whatever you please. There are stables with
horses at your disposal, huntsmen and hawks for hunting, and you may go as you
wish. You are my lady, and all that is mine is yours. There are maidens ready
to serve you and to carry out your every whim, dancers and musicians to
entertain you, jewels and silks to adorn you. If you need anything, tell me
and I will give it to you.'
'I wish only for the love of my lord', replied the young woman, bewildered.
'That is good, my love, but do not forget your promise.'
Griselda, full of happiness, demonstrated her compliance by flinging herself
into the arms of her beloved husband.
For a while the lady kept her promise and believed she was in paradise. The
troubadour knight, who was kind and passionate, spent most of his time with
his wife. Occasionally he would disapear into a locked room, and she, faithful
to her promise, did not ask him any questions. However, curiosity gradually
got the better of her. One day she decided to find out the secret of her
knight. She crept up to the door of the forbidden room, which he had left
ajar, and spied through the chink. Horrified, she watched as the troubadour
turned into a huge dragon with green scales and powerful wings. She could not
prevent a cry of horror escaping her lips. The dragon prince wheeled round,
and saw his terrified wife in the doorway. Deeply hurt by this betrayal, the
knight bade his servants remove Griselda immediatly to the court of Aquitaine,
and never again did he turn to see her.
The lady could not forget her beloved, and not a day went by without her
recalling the months of happiness beside the gentle dragon. Full of repentance
and sadness, she wrote down her adventure; that is how the famous story of the
dragon prince has found its way to us.