Gesta Romanorum Vol. II (1871)/Of the Snares of the Devil

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Gesta Romanorum Vol. II  (1871) 
Anonymous, translated by Charles Swan
Of the Snares of the Devil



A certain powerful king planted a forest, and surrounded it with a wall. He stocked it with various animals, in which he took infinite pleasure. It happened that one being discovered meditating traitorous designs, his property was confiscated, and himself banished the land. This person, therefore, provided various kinds of dogs and nets, and went privately into the royal forest to take and destroy the animals which it contained. The names of his dogs were Richer, Emuleym, Hanegiff, Baudyn, Crismel, Egofyn, Beamis, and Renelen"[1]. By means of these dogs and the nets, he destroyed every animal in the forest. The king was greatly enraged at this circumstance and said to his son, "My dear son, arm yourself; call out the troops, and slay this traitor, or drive him from the kingdom." The youth answered, "I am ready to comply with your wishes; but as I have heard that he is a man of exceeding prowess, it would be adviseable to conceal myself for a certain time, in company with a beautiful girl, whose wisdom surpasses that of all others. I will converse with her, and then prepare myself for battle. The father replied, "Go to the castle Varioch[2]; there you will find a girl of inimitable prudence. By her means, you may send a defiance to our enemy, and I will then promote her to many honours." This heard, the son entered the castle secretly, and was received by the lady with great joy. He remained there some time, and then departed, armed with the power of his father, against the traitorous despoiler of the royal forest. In the end, he overthrew him, cut off his head, and returned in triumph to the king's palace.


My beloved, the emperor is God; the forest, the world, whose wall is the divine precepts. The traitor is any evil Christian; the dogs and nets, are vices. The son is Christ; and the castle, the Virgin Mary.

  1. This Tale seems to be of Saxon origin. Many of the names are derivable from that language, as Richer—Hanegiff—Beamis—Renelen, (perhaps from Sax. Renel, cursor.) &c.
  2. Quere if from Sax. ƿær septum, or bellum, and Ioc jugum?