Enide


  1. Enide

    Gawaine's paramour in Ulrich's Lanzalet.


  2. Enide
    Enid, Enite, Evida, Nida

    The beautiful daughter of an impoverished nobleman who figures into Chrťtienís Erec et Enide, the Welsh Geraint, and their adaptations. Chrťtien describes her as so beautiful that Nature herself, who created her, could never again reproduce her (but that is more or less what he says of most of his heroins). She is the wife of the hero.

    In Chrťtienís romance, her fatherís name is Licorant (Liconal) and her motherís name is Tarsenesyde. In Welsh legend, her father is the Earl Niwl or Ynwyl and her mother is unnamed. Hartmann calls her father Koralus and her mother Karsinefite. Enide had at least two female cousins, one of them being Mabonagrain's lady.

    Her future husband (either Erec or Geraint, but referred to throughout the rest of this entry, for convenience, as Erec) met her when he came to her fatherís humble home (in Lut, Laluth, or Tulmein) during a sparrowhawk tournament. Erec was intent on entering the tournament to exact revenge on Yder, who had insulted Queen Guinevere. As all knights entering the tournament had to be accompanied by a lady, Erec received Enideís fatherís permission to use Enide for this purpose, and he won the tournament.

    At any rate, Enide was so lovely that Arthur easily solved his dilemma of killing the White Stag and having to choose the loveliest maid among the five hundred highborn damsels at court, simply by following Guinevere's suggestion and naming golden-haired Enide as soon as she appeared with Erec, since not even the most jealous lover of any other maid could dispute this choice!

    During these events, Erec fell in love with Enide. The poverty of Enide's immediate family sprang from her parents' pride. Her mother, Karsinefite (Tarsenesyde), was sister to the Count of Lalut and by her father Liconal's (Liconaus) account Enide had any number of would-be suitor, but he refused them all his parental permission until Erec arrived, to whom he betrothed her at once, to her own silent satisfaction. Her vavasour father being so impoverished he had only a single manservant, Endie could tend horses like an expert stablehand, a talent which must have come in handy when her husband later took her as his only attendant on a series of adventures. They returned to Arthurís court together, married, and retired to Erecís homeland.

    In time, Erec grew so domesticated, preferring to spend all his time with Enide, that his people grew discontented. One night, while she thought Erec was asleep, Enide lamented that he had lost his valor. In some versions, her words also cause Erec to believe her unfaithful. Angered, Erec forced Enide to accompany him on a series of dangerous adventures, culminating in a combat with three giants that left him unconscious. A local nobleman (variously called Oringle, Limwris (Limors), or Doorm) found them and brought them to his castle, but began to make advances on Enide. When she refused him, he abused her. Erec awoke at her screams and killed the nobleman. Realizing the folly of his actions, Erec apologized to Enide, and the two returned to Erecís kingdom to live out their days.

    Among his methods to punish her fear was forbidding her to speak a word to him without first being addressed. Poor, patient Griselda, that famous medieval model of wifely virtue, would have obeyed her lord to the strictest letter; but Enide proved herself no patient Griselda by disobeying Erec on several occasions, though not without severe mental anguish, whenever she saw robbers or other dangers bearing down on him to his apparent (though feigned) ignorance. Even while berating her for disobeying his injunction not to speak, he secretly recognized and rejoiced in the love her disobedience displayed.

    Such was Enide's affection that it survived even the test to which her husband put it, which must make her one of the most remarkable examples of loyalty in all Arthurian romance.

    The Prose Tristan tells a variant version of Erec and Enide. Enide is the daughter of the duke of Huiscam, who has been killed by Sir Senehar. Senehar is besieging Enide when Erec arrives with Galahad, Bleoberis, and Hector. Arthurís knights defeat Senehar and Erec marries Enide.

    The origin of Enid's name is uncertain and it was perhaps at first a territorial designation.


  3. Enide's Cousin

    When Enide was about to leave Lalut with her affianced husband Erec, another niece of the count's, a maid of talent, prudence, and intelligence, wanted to give her a fine dress as a going-away present. Erec, however, preferred bringing his betrothed to court in her ragged old white dress in order to have Guenevere give her fine apparel.

    So, instead, the cousin gave her finest dappled palfrey to her cousin. This was almost certainly the same horse that later served Enide so well during her enforced adventures following Erec.


  4. Enide's Dappled Palfrey

    Presented to the heroine by her cousin, who called it swift as a bird, gentle as a boat [presumably on quiet waters], and calm enough for a child to ride, this splendid northern mount was almost certainly the one Enide later rode on the madcap adventures Erec initiated to prove that his knightly prowess still continued after marriage.

    There may have been a touch of Faery in this horse's origin. Unhappily, somewhere during the adventures this excellent palfrey was lost - I suspect during the episode with Count Oringle of Limors.


  5. Enide's Saddle

    Given to her, along with a remarkable sorrel palfrey, by Guivret the Little and his sisters, this saddle had ivory bows, decorated with gold, on which the complete story of Aeneas and Dido was carved. The craftsman had spent seven years making it.


  6. Enide's Sorrel Palfrey

    This mount, presented to Enide by Guivret the Little and his sisters to replace the notable dappled palfrey she had lost while following Erec's adventures, had a tricolored head with one cheek white, the other black, and a line greener than a vine separating the white and black sides. (One thinks of the "horse of a different color".)

    D.D.R. Owen remarks that both this palfrey and Enide's earlier one may have been supernatural in origin.