Medieval Romance

The Story of William and the Werewolf

12th century, Old French | 14th century Middle English alliterative translation, Library of King's College Cambridge.

This wolf must have a human consciousness!

Now sertes, for sothe, this best [beast] has mannes kynde [a human nature], it may be non other, said William. 'This wolf must have a human consciousness, it can be no other way. See what sorrow he suffers to keep the two of us alive. He never fails to bring whatever we need straight to where we are. May Christ keep him from all harm!'

'Amen,' said Emelior, as they happily tucked into the food that the werewolf had brought, for they were very hungry. And they rested all that day, and to tell the truth, all the following night as well, for Emelior was so weary that she could not walk.

Early the following day, before the sun was up, some colliers approached, laden with coal. When they had moved off, William said to Emelior: 'Darling, we cannot walk about in these bearskins any more, if we can find any alternative at all.'

'I agree,' said Emelior. 'If we go about like this any more, we shall be recognised the moment someone sees us. But I cannot see any alternative.'

'Nor I,' said William.

Story fragment recounted from: Skeat, Walter W, 1867. The Romance of William of Palerne (The Romance of William and the Werewolf). Early English Text Society; reprinted 1996 for the EETS by Boydell and Brewer Limited, Woodbridge, Suffolk. Translation and retelling of lines 2505–67.

See for yourself

Anglo-Norman literature – Wikipedia

Chivalric romance – Wikipedia

Guillaume de Palerme – Wikipedia

14th century Middle English alliterative translation of The Romance of William of Palerne, edited by Walter Skeat, 1867, reprinted 1996, available through the Early English Text Society (EETS)

…or direct from Oxford University Press

Birds and animals

Northern Line

animal montage
pencil drawing, a sleeping cat

Navigate the tunnel