"Le Roman du Châtelain de Coucilet et la Dame de Fayel"

This tale, written at the end of the thirteenth or beginning of the fourteenth century by a little known writer named Jakemon Sakesep, relates the story of Raoul de Couci who had been given by his lover, La Dame de Fayel, braids of her hair as a symbol of her devotion. When he leaves to go off to battle, he carries them with him in a jeweled box. In the heat of the fight he is struck by a poisoned arrow and so instructs a servant to cut out his heart, to put it in the box with the braids and to take it back to his lover with a letter explaining how his heart belongs to her. The lady's husband catches the servant and, upon discovering the heart, has it made into a meal for his wife. When she realizes that she has eaten her lover's heart, she refuses any food and dies soon afterward.

The story appears in numerous versions throughout the following centuries, passing into English for the first time in the old romance of "The Knight of Curtesey and the Lady of Faguell." It is taken up again by Howell in 1634 in his "Familiar Letters" and dedicated to Ben Johnson.

(C. Sa.) Milad Doueihi. "Cor ne Edito." MLN 108.4 (1993): 696-709. For an exhaustive interpretation of the tale, see Gaston Paris. Histoire littéraire de la France. vol. 8. Paris: V. Palme, 1875. pp. 343 et seq.

Eaten Heart Motif in Medieval Literature:

Further Considerations of the Motif: