NIGHTBRINGER | The Arthurian Encyclopedia

Val Sans Retour

“Valley of No Return”
Val des Faux Amants | “Valley of False Lovers”

An enchanted vale, created by Morgan Le Fay to punish an unfaithful lover. The valley magically entrapped any knight who had ever been unfaithful to his lady. The valley’s surrounding forest was called the Forest of Misadventures, and the road leading to it was known as the Devil’s Road.

Apparently Morgan’s Chapel stood at the entrance to this beautiful valley, located between Escalon li Tenebreux and the Dolorous Tower.

Ladies could enter and depart at will. It held some two hundred and fifty captives – including Galescalain (Galeshin), Kehedin (Kahedins), Gaheris of Carahew, and Yvain.

Twenty years before Lancelot defeated Carados of the Dolorous Tower, Morgan le Fay found her faithless lover in this valley with her rival. She spellcast the valley so that no knight could get out, although all other folk could come and go at will. It is said that the entrance was guarded by a monster, which forced anyone attempting to escape to retrace their steps. Only a knight who had always been true in love could deliver the trapped knights.

Sir Galeshin’s adventures will serve as an example. He came first to a low gate, where he dismounted. He then passed through a large hall to a vault guarded by two pairs of chained dragons, which attacked only knights, and from which Galeshin’s sword rebounded as from an anvil. (Perhaps this gate and hall were Morgan’s Chapel.) Next he came to a narrow plank spanning a deep water, where two knights knocked him in. Four men rescued him from the water, took his swordshield, and helmet, and led him in to meet his fellow prisoners, who included three other companions of the Round Table.

Lancelot, coming through on his way to the Dolorous Tower, slew the dragons and crossed the plank through strategem. Once over, he looked at his ring, which had the power to dispel enchantments, and the plank with its guarding knights vanished. Lancelot then cut down several apparently real defenders, chasing one down the hall stairs, through a garden, over an enchanted stream, through another large hall, and into the pavilion where Morgan lay asleep. Lancelot slew the refugee and apologized to the enchantress for entering her chamber.

Thus did Lancelot break the spell and free the prisoners, including Morgan’s faithless lover. In return, however, Morgan kidnaped Lancelot while he slept and imprisoned him, although she let him out for awhile on his parole so that he could kill Sir Carados.

There is a Valley of No Return in Tréhorenteuc in Brittany, where you can take a walk through some Arthurian history.

See also
Rocher des Faux Amants | The Legend of King Arthur

Vulgate Lancelot | 1215-1230
Le Livre d’Artus | Early 13th century
Les Prophecies de Merlin | Richart d’Irlande, 1272-1279