Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia

Turquine of the Impenetrable Forest

Tericam of the Impenetrable Forest
Tarquin, Tarquine, Terican, Tericans, Teriquam, Teriquan, Terique, Terrican, Terrigans, Terriguan, Terriquan, Terriquans, Tiriguan

Lord of the Impenetrable Forest (also called Terique) and the Castle of the Thorn. Turquine was a giant, cruel knight who captured and imprisoned many good knights, including Ector de Maris and Lionel.

While seeking Lancelot and adventures, Sir Ector de Maris asked a forester if there were any of the latter nearby.

Sir, said the forester … within this mile, is a strong manor, and well dyked, and by that manor, on the left hand, there is a fair ford for horses to drink of, and over that ford there groweth a fair tree, and thereon hang many fair shields that wielded sometime good knights, and at the hole of the tree hangeth a basin of copper and latten [brass], and strike upon that basin with the butt of thy spear thrice, and soon after that thou shalt hear new tidings, [or] else hast thou the fairiest grace that many a year had ever knight that passed through this forest.

Ector thanked the forester and followed his instructions. Forth came Sir Turquine and bade Ector make ready. Ector began well, striking Turquine such “a great buffet that his horse turned twice about.” Turquine, being a strong knight of great prowess, quickly turned the tables and took Ector prisoner back to his own hall. In honor of Ector’s having put up the best fight of any opponent in twelve years, Turquine offered to give him his life in exhange for Ector’s promise to remain his prisoner for said life’s duration. When Ector refused these terms, Turquine had him stripped and beaten with thorns before throwing him into the deep dungeon with the other prisoners, “three score and four,” including some of the Round Table.

Sir Lancelot was guided in his turn to Turquine by a damsel who remarked that she knew of no one else who might conquer the villainous knight. After a battle of two hours, Turquine, much impressed by Lancelot’s prowess, asked his name, offering him friendship and the free release of all the prisoners on condition that the stranger was not the one knight whom Turquine hated above all others. Lancelot asked which was the hated knight.

Faithfully, said Sir Turquine, his name is Sir Launcelot du Lake, for he slew my brother, Sir Carados, at the dolorous tower, that was one of the best knights alive; and therefore … may I once meet with him, the one of us shall make an end of other, I make mine avow. And for Sir Launcelot’s sake I have slain an hundred good knights, and as many I have maimed all utterly that they might never help themsevles, and many have died in prison, and yet have I three score and four.

Lancelot announced who he was. Turquine replied,

Ah, Lancelot, thou art unto me most welcome that ever was knight, for we shall never depart till the one of us be dead.

It seems almost superfluous to report that Turquine was the one who was left dead.

Sommer standardizes Turquine’s name as Terican in the Vulgate, where the tale differs in a few details.

See also
Carados of the Dolorous Tower | The Legend of King Arthur
Tericons du Chastel de l’Espine | The Legend of King Arthur
Turquine’s Hill | The Legend of King Arthur

Vulgate Lancelot | 1215-1230
Palamedes | c. 1240
Le Livre d’Artus | Early 13th century
Le Morte Darthur | Sir Thomas Malory, 1469-1470
”Sir Lancelot du Lake” | 16th century