Middle English Breton lais
14th century, Middle English: British Library, Cambridge University Library, Bodleian Library, Advocates Library of Scotland.
The dragon saw Degaré coming and turned his attention towards him, gaping and snorting as though he would swallow him whole.
Child Degarre wente his wai thourgh the forest al that dai – Degaré travelled through the forest all that day, and for a weapon he cut down the sturdy trunk of a very young oak tree; but he came across nobody at all. Then, late in the afternoon, he heard the sound of shouts and blows in a valley and, with his curiosity aroused, he hurried towards it.
An earl with a knight and four squires had set their hounds after a deer and had been attacked by a dragon; a grim beast with venomous fangs, huge teeth guarding a gaping throat, and dreadful wings. It had a long tail, the feet of a lion and fire and smoke issuing from its nostrils. The knight and the squires all lay dead, both horses and men, and the earl was defending himself as best he could with his sword; but to little avail because the beast’s hide was as hard as iron –
his hide was hard so iren wrout. Therl flei fram tre to tre, fein he wolde fram him be, and the dragon him gan asail, – the earl fled from tree to tree, trying hard to escape, but the dragon kept attacking him.
Seeing the young man approaching, the earl cried out for help.
The dragon saw Degaré coming and turned his attention towards him, gaping and snorting as though he would swallow him whole. But Degaré was made of stern stuff! He took his oaken cudgel and smashed it against the dragon’s forehead, splattering its brains everywhere.
The dragon fell immediately, but its tail caught Degaré on the side, knocking him head over heels. But he leapt up again and smashed every bone in the creature’s body until it lay as still as a stone.