Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia

Lord of Pesme Avanture and His Wife and Daughter

What do we make of these three? To all appearances, the lord lives on or at least enjoys the wealth produced by hundred of maidens kept in wretched slave labor; yet he, his wife, and their daughter seem a happy, courteous, and completely functional family who shower visitors with lavish hospitality.

True, the lord, perhaps not wishing to spoil his guest’s evening and night, waits until morning, when Ywaine is about to leave, to spring the news offically that each knightly visitor must singlehandedly fight two gigantic demons and, if he manages to slay them both, he must marry the daughter of the house and become its new owner. The lord speaks as if it is the custom of the house that forces him to insist, against his own better nature, upon this unequal combat, which has already been the death of many a knight; but he also calls the demons his servants.

Just who is the master here? He acts overjoyed when Ywaine, with the lion’s help, wins. He is less overjoyed when Ywaine refuses his daughter – indeed, the lord first threatens to hold him prisoner, then haughtily refuses to take his pledge to return “if possible”. No pledge is necessary, the lord replies, for if the girl attracts Ywaine, he’ll be back soon enough without pledging, and if she doesn’t, her father thinks too highly of her to force her into any marriage.

The wife and the beautiful, charming daughter presumably say something during Ywaine’s visit, but their words are not recorded. Theoretically they all continue rejoicing when they see their ex-slave labor force leave with the man who has saved them.