The Knight and the Lion

"The Lady Laudine"

While they were banging and rummaging about, and making a mighty uproar, there came into the room one of the most beautiful ladies ever seen on earth. Her name was Laudine of Landuc. At every step she fell down in a faint, and nothing could ease her great sorrow, for she saw the body of the Knight of the Spring, her husband, carried in on a bier before her. Seeing his face, she cried out so loudly that she turned and dropped to the ground. When those near her lifted her up she screamed and tore her hair and clothes, scratching at her face as if she had gone mad. For she saw that all her happiness was ended.

Yvain saw the procession of nuns carrying a cross and lighted candles. He saw priests shaking incense from their censers and speaking prayers for the soul of the dead man. He heard the cries of grief.

A crowd had gathered round the bier.

'Look', cried one, 'he bleeds.' Sure enough, a trickle of bright red blood oozed from the dead man's wound. '

His murderer must be here among us', another cried. 'For it is well known that a dead man bleeds only if his killer is nearby.'

Then Yvain is well and truly beaten where he lies, as they all set to pounding with their clubs once more. Yet though the wound bleeds more and more, the people have no success in discovering where the killer might be.

Laudine cries: 'Dear God, can no-one find the traitor who took my dear lord's life. Where is this coward? Why will he not show himself? Surely he must be a demon, for no ordinary man could defeat my lord, who had no equal anywhere.' And she falls to weeping once more.

In the end, everyone is quite worn out. They are dazed and cannot understand where their lord's murderer may be and why they cannot find him. At last, still weeping and groaning, they bear the body out of the room to make ready for the burial, and Yvain is alone.

Besides praying for the dead and taking part in funerals,
what role did monks and nuns play in the Medieval church?

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