NIGHTBRINGER | The Arthurian Encyclopedia

Valley of Marvels

Tal voller Wunder
Valley full of Wonders

The place where Marrien the Centaur resides and where the hero Wigalois travels to seek his help. In Middle High German it is called Tal voller Wunder, which can be translated as “Valley of Marvels” or “Valley full of Wonders.”

The valley is described as a place of great beauty and wonder, full of strange and wondrous creatures, and it plays an important role in the story’s plot.

There was a valley wide and vast,
Wherein a fountain clear did last,
Whose waters icy cold did flow,
And from which the Jews did go
To keep their wives from bathing there,
For it was said that death they'd bear.
Beyond that lay a glistening stone,
Wherein was carved a shape unknown,
And underneath a crystal wall,
Where sunbeams danced and lit up all.
And next to that was a palace bright,
Wherein a queen did hold her right,
So wondrous fair and lovely too,
None knew her name, nor whence she grew.
And last of all, a palace grand,
Wherein were many folks who fanned
The queen's desires, and served her well
In all her needs and tasks to quell.

This passage describes the various wonders and marvels found in the Valley, including the cold fountain, the glistening stone, the crystal wall, the palace of the queen, and the palace of the servants. The Valley of Marvels is a magical and fantastic place, typical of the fantastical landscapes often found in Arthurian literature.

Wigalois | Wirnt von Grafenberg, early 13th century