Morgan Le Fay
Morgan Le Fay
'Morgan the Fairy'
Feimurgan, Marguel, Morgain, Morgaine, Morgana, Morganna, Morgant la Fee, Morgein, Morghain, Morghana, Morgn, Morge, Morgue, Morguein, Morguen
Arthur's halfsister and a necromancer. [More]
Chastel de Morgain
In trying to dovetail Malory's evidence with that of the Vulgate, I am forced to conclude that Morgan le Fay had at least two castles. She may well have had even more, here and there about the country.
King Arthur gave Morgan a castle and later regretted his generosity, but he never could win it from her again with any kind of siege engine. She sent her knights out by one, two, and three to overthrow Arthur's knights and imprison or at least strip them. This castle appears to have been not too far from Camelot, likely to the south toward Cornwall. Were we to make it, say, Ringwood in southwest Southampton, and make Beaulieu, not far from Ringwood, the castle of La Beale Regard, it would be easy to understand why Morgan would usurp La Beale Regard. "Ringwood", indeed, would not make a bad name for the castle of a sorceress.
According to Vulgate VI, Morgan had a castle near the stronghold of Tauroc, which in turn must have been near Taneborc Castle at the entrance of Norgales. Once Arthur and his companions, lost while hunting in the woods around Tauroc, came to this Welsh castle of Morgan's. This was late in Arthur's career, and he was surprised to find his half-sister yet alive - he had presumed her dead, not having heard of her in some years. He found that her castle had silk-covered walls in the courtyard, great splendor and marvelous illumination within, and gold and silver dinner plates which he could not match even at Camelot.
Morgan had once imprisoned Lancelot in this castle, administering to him a curious powder which made him content to remain with her. He had beguild two winters and a summber by painting his life's history, including scenes of his love for Guenevere, on the walls of his room. Morgan showed Arthur Lancelot's murals in yet another attempt to convince her brother he was being cuckolded, but he refused to believe it. Aside from this, his visit with her was amicable on both sides, and he invited her to visit court. She replied, however, that she would never return to court until she left her castle to go to Avilion. It sounds as if the castle in the woods near Tauroc was her favorite, and that she had chosen to retire here from the world.
A chapel, named after Morgan le Fay, on the path to the Valley of No Return.
Val Sans Retour | The Legend of King Arthur
Morgan's Damsel and Mantle
When he met her in Sir Damas' castle, masquerading as Damas' daughter, Arthur thought he recognized her as a damsel he had seen around his own court.
Perhaps she could be identified with the damsel who brought Arthur Morgan's gift of rich mantle, set with precious stones, ostensibly as a peace offering. Nimue, who was perhaps also acquainted with Greek tragedy, warned Arthur not to wear it or let any of his knights wear it unless Morgan's messenger wore it first. Arthur made the reluctant damsel messenger try it on, and it immediately burned her to coals.
Morgan's Drinking Horn
This magical drinking horn, "harnessed with gold", could only be used in safety by ladies who were true to their husbands. If the drinker were false to her husband, all the drink would spill. Morgan le Fay (who could not herself have honestly drunk from it) sent this horn to Arthur in another attempt to publicize Guenevere's unfaithfulness, but Sir Lamorak stopped the messenger and made him take it to King Mark instead.
Of a hundred ladies in Mark's court, including La Beale Isoud, only four could drink cleanly. To the credit of the men, when the angered King Mark swore to burn Isoud and the other shamed ladies,
[t]hen the barons gathered them together, and said plainly they would not have those ladies burnt for an horn made by sorcery, that came from a false a sorceress and witch as then was living. For that horn did never good, but caused strife and debate, and always in her days she had been an enemy to all true lovers. So there were many knights made their avow, an ever they met with Morgan le Fay, that they would show her short courtesy.
The salve which Morgan made and gave to her brother Arthur would heal any wound, even one on a joint or a nerve, within a week, if applied once every day. Morgan gave the Lady of Noroison a box of ointment which cured madness when rubbed into the temples of the sufferer.
These two salves might be identical, or only two of the many Morgan could probably make. I see nothing to prevent anyone from theorizing either way.
Morgan tricked Lancelot into her castle. Putting him to sleep with drugged wine, she blew a powder into his nostrils through a silver tube, thus taking away his senses for a time. It seems to have had a curious effect. He did not lose his memory, apparently; seeing a man paint the history of Aeneas, Lancelot was inspired to paint his own life around the walls of his room. He does seem to have been quite content to remain, in effect, Morgan's prisoner for two winters and a summer.
At the end of this time, a spring rose, in a garden Morgan had planted outside his window for his enjoyment, suddenly reminded him of Guenevere. So he broke the iron bars of his window, plucked the rose, armed himself, and kept on going, the spell broken. He spared Morgan on this occasion for the sake of her brother Arthur.
In early days, Guenevere gave Morgan a ring which differed from the one Guenevere later gave Lancelot only in the engraving of the stone.
Kidnaping Lancelot after he had disenchanted her Val Sans Retour, Morgan demanded the ring Guenevere had given him as a ransom. When he refused, she resorted to drugging him and exchanging rings. He did not notice the difference, and she sent his ring to court with a "confession" and apology purportedly by him, in another effort to uncover Guenevere's unfaithfulness to Arthur. Guenevere said she had given the ring to Lancelot, but honorably; Arthur said he did not believe Morgan's damsel, but, rather than lose Lancelot, he would let him love the Queen.
Although it was made by Morgan le Fay, I find no indication that this shield was magical in itself.
The field was goldish, with a king and a queen therein painted, and a knight standing above them, [one foot] upon the king's head, and the other upon the queen's.
Morgan made Tristram carry this shield in the tournament at the Castle of the Hard Rock. The device signified Arthur, Guenevere, and Lancelot, although Morgan would not tell Tristram who the painted knight was.
Morgan | The Legend of King Arthur