Middle English Breton Lais
The tale of Sir Degaré
14th century, Middle English: British Library, Cambridge University Library, Bodleian Library, Advocates Library of Scotland.
By the age of ten, the king's daughter's child had grown into a strong and good-looking young lad who knew no other father and mother but the merchant and his wife.
Her time come, she was unbounde, and delivred al mid sounde; a knaveschild ther was ibore, – The damsel’s time came and this king's daughter delivered a healthy little boy, much to her joy. A maiden assisted at the birth, wrapped the child up, laid it in a cradle and was eager to be off, but the king’s daughter, however, made her wait until she had cuddled it and placed four pounds of gold and ten pounds of silver under the baby’s feet. Then she took a pair of gloves that her lover had sent from the Otherworld, that fitted her alone, and put them under his head. Then she wrote a letter and tied it around the baby’s neck – and it read: 'If any good man finds this helpless child, may he let it be christened and let it live, for it comes of fine parents. Use the money to raise it, and when the child is ten years old, give him the gloves and tell him that wherever he goes, he should love no woman before he has offered her these gloves to wear.'
The baby was left at the door of a hermitage. The hermit discovered the new-born baby, christened it Degaré and gave it to his sister to look after. She was married to a rich merchant in the city.
The baby was taken to the city, and the wife and the husband looked after it as though it was their own. And by the age of ten, the child had grown into a strong and good-looking young lad who knew no other father and mother but the merchant and his wife.