Niall Moody

Le Castel d'Épervier


From John Mandeville's Book of Marvels and Travels:

In this country there's an old castle, on a crag, called Le Castel d'Épervier, between the cities of Ayas and Parcipia, of which the Lord of Korikos is the ruler and he's a rich man. In that castle a hawk can be found sitting on a finely wrought perch with a beautiful lady from Fairyland keeping it. Whoever keeps watch over this hawk for seven days and seven nights (some say three days and three nights) all alone will be visited by this pretty lady at the end of the seventh day (or the third day) and she'll grant him the first material thing he requests. This has been attempted many times.

So it happened one day that an Armenian king, a courageous man, kept watch over this hawk and after seven days, the lady came to him and asked him what he wanted, as he had performed his duty very well. So the King replied that he was a great enough lord and totally contented and wealthy, so he wanted nothing but the body of the pretty lady with which to do as he desired. She said that he was a fool, for he knew not what he was asking for; he could not have her because she was not an object, and she asked him to request a material thing. The King said he wished for nothing else. So she said to him, since he wouldn't ask, she would grant something to him and all his descendants, and she said, 'Your highness, you'll have war without peace for nine generations and you'll be in subjection to your enemies and you'll lack provisions and income'. And ever since that time all the kings of Armenia have been at war, in need of help, and under tribute to the Saracens.