December 03, 2020

#08-018: Aucassin and Nicolette

Aucassin and Nicolette

Note: Literature is replete with great romances. Almost everyone knows about Romeo and Juliet. But do you know the story of Aucassin and Nicolette?

Get Ready: In your opinion, what makes a great love story?

Aucassin, a young Christian noble, loves Nicolette, a Saracen slave girl. When Aucassin's father, Count Garin, calls on him to fight against his foe, Count Bougars, Aucassin refuses unless his father allows him to join with his one true love. His father replies that this Muslim slave-girl is no fit match for his son.

But Aucassin won't be dissuaded, so his father has the girl shut up in a tower, from which she resolves to escape.

When Count Bougars assaults the castle, Aucassin's father agrees to a moment's meeting between the lovers if Aucassin will fight the attackers. Agreeing, Aucassin is distracted by love as he rides into the fray, and is taken prisoner. About to be slain, he suddenly wakes from his reverie and strikes down all around him, taking Count Bougars captive.

Despite this, Aucassin's father again denies him the right to see Nicolette, and, what's more, throws him into the castle's dungeon! Nicolette, however, at last escapes the tower, and, seeking out Aucassin, tells him that she must go away.

She hides in the forest, and sends some shepherds with a coded message to Aucassin. She then builds herself a rustic lodge in the forest and awaits Aucassin. When released, he comes to her, and they ride away together on one horse. Reaching the seashore, they board a ship and, driven off course by a storm, land in Torelore, a country of strange customs. (This part of the story is filled with amusing details.)

After three years, the Saracens attack Torelore, and carry Aucassin and Nicolette away separately. Returning to his homeland, Aucassin learns that his parents are dead and he is the lord of the land.

Nicolette is also returned home, where she discovers that her father is the king of Carthage. (She hadn't known her background, because she had been kidnapped as a little child). Her father intends to marry her to a Muslim, but she escapes disguised as a minstrel. In Aucassin's country--still in disguise--she sings the tale of her life to Aucassin. Overjoyed to hear that Nicolette is alive, he decides to go to her in Carthage, but she (with the help of her former foster-mother) washes up, changes into rich clothing, and reveals herself to Aucassin.


Practice: Match the term to its definition below:

  1. dissuaded
  2. fit
  3. foe
  4. fray
  5. minstrel
  6. replete
  7. resolves
  8. reverie
  9. rustic
  10. slain

  1. decides firmly
  2. daydream
  3. traveling singer
  4. killed
  5. persuaded against
  6. filled
  7. appropriate
  8. enemy
  9. battle
  10. rough; unrefined

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for December 3, 2020

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. e; 2. g; 3. h; 4. i; 5. c; 6. f; 7. a; 8. b; 9. j; 10. d