Medieval Arthurian Legend
Gottfried von Strassburg: Tristan
13th century, Middle High German | Middle English translation, 14th century, National Library of Scotland.
Tristan set off once again for Ireland, but this time disguised as a Norman merchant.
Following his return from Ireland, where he disguised himself as the minstrel Tantris, Tristan is welcomed by King Mark who makes him heir to the Cornish throne, since Tristan is his nephew. But the Cornish noblemen become jealous and insist that King Mark takes a wife and produces a proper heir instead. They suggest that Tristan should go once more to Ireland, to fetch back the beautiful young princess Isolde.
So Tristan sets off once again for Ireland – not as the minstrel Tantris returned but this time disguised as a Norman merchant. He rids Ireland of a dragon, and at first the two Isoldes, mother and daughter, do not recognise him as he recovers from these martial exertions. Then, while he is in the bath one day, Queen Isolde discovers some damage to Tristan’s sword that exactly matches the splinter of steel recovered from the head of her brother whom Tristan killed in a fight to free Cornwall from extortion. The Norman merchant, alias the minstrel Tantris, is not the friend that he seems.