The Sparrowhawk

The warriors started to return to the lists, many injured and on foot. Tristan galloped in with a group he had caught trying to ambush a knight from his team. The noble squire Perinis rode out to help Tristan find others who were stranded.

The herald, impassioned, tried to sell knights to the crowd.

“And what about Sir Tristan?” he asked.

A cry went up,

“Tristan! Tristan! Tristan won!”

The next time that Tristan arrived with a new group of injured knights, the king stood up and proclaimed,

“Sir Tristan of Cornwall, you are the winner of the golden sparrowhawk.” The golden sparrowhawk was in fact just a regular sparrowhawk, but it came with a pouch of gold coins. The sparrowhawk settled on Tristan’s shoulder, trying to get comfortable amidst the solidness of chain mail.

By late afternoon, knights were either celebrating, or bedridden in quiet rooms of the castle under physicians’ orders. There had been one death of a knight from Brittany, but many were deeply injured with wounds in the chest or some missing phalanges. Those invited dined at King Marc’s table, Tristan sitting next to the king and across from Isolde.

A few entertained the crowd, singing popular songs, but then Tristan was asked to sing and play the harp. He stood up and sang the story of a boy from Loonnois, Wales. Perhaps he had a little too much of the wine, because the song went on to tell of this man’s love for an Irish healer. Isolde froze in her seat, but King Marc did not know the details of how she had healed Tristan twice, once after he battled Morholt and once when he fought a dragon in Ireland.

A foot-stamping, hand-clapping bawdry tune followed Tristan’s, and Isolde and I, relieved, stood up to join the ladies dancing. Isolde kept turning her head to find Tristan, and he was smiling at her everywhere she went.

13 thoughts on “The Sparrowhawk

  1. I could just picture this banquet scene. I felt Isolde’s chills of fear when Tristan sang of his thinly veiled love. So dangerous I imagine, for all involved had it been discovered.


    1. Thanks, Robyn. Your comment means a lot to me. It’s so true, and in the original Tristan and Isolde texts the lovers get caught. Although they escape to the forest for a time, their story doesn’t end well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m looking forward to learning more. I’m guessing so much would have been beyond the women’s control especially in Brangien’s case. She is but a pawn in a much bigger game. I’m interested to find out how she fares.


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