Friday, October 07, 2005


UI's Celtic Mythology - Tristan

Tristan, the nephew of King Mark of Cornwall, was one of the great lovers of medieval mythology. His name is said to have been given to him after his mother's death in childbirth. Of Breton origin, the story of Tristan and Iseult was popular in Cornwall, Ireland and Brittany. A love potion prepared by Iseult's mother, the Irish queen, was the cause of their great love. Tristan and Iseult drank it accidentally when Tristan was escorting her to Cornwall, where King Mark waited to marry her. The ensuing tale relates the sad course of their love, separation and their deaths. The lovers' end was particularly touching. Having agreed to part, Tristan went to Brittany, but later was gravely wounded and sent for help from Iseult, who had once before cured him of a serious wound. So she sailed to Brittany with a magic cure. It had been agreed that the ship carrying Iseult would hoist a white sail to indicate that she was aboard. However, an incorrect report of a black sail caused Tristan to lose the will to live and he died of his wound. When Iseult was told of her lover's death she too quickly died, but of a broken heart.

This is one of the more famous Celtic tales and I think it's a truly excellent tragic love story.


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