The Knight and the Lion

"The Magic Ointment"

Two girls and their mistress were riding through the forest when they almost stepped upon Yvain lying asleep. One of the girls went closer to see if she could tell who it was. She thought she did not know him, until suddenly she spotted a small scar on the man's face. Surely Yvain has such a scar, she thought. She was amazed to discover him deep in the forest, poor and naked. She crossed herself, but did not wake him and rushed to her mistress in tears.

'My lady, I have found Yvain, the famous knight. What can have happened to make him like this? He must have suffered some terrible sorrow that has driven him mad. If only God could make him again what he used to be, I'm sure he would be able to help you against the wicked Count Alier who is at war with you.'

Her mistress replied:

'With God's help we may be able to calm the storm in his head, but we must be quick. I have an ointment at home given me by that wise woman, Morgan le Fay, who has many powers. She told me there was no fever in the brain it would not cure.'

They rode at once towards their town, while Yvain still slept among the trees. The lady gave to the girl who had recognized Yvain a box of the precious ointment telling her not to use too much of it, for only a little on his forehead would be needed. The girl took with her, too, a fur cloak and scarlet clothes made of silk and everything Yvain would need to be elegantly dressed.

What kind of medicines did people use in the Middle Ages?