chapter  12
13 Pages

The Saga of the Mantle

ByMarianne E. Kalinke

Möttuls saga (The Saga of the Mantle) is an anonymous Old Norse translation of the French Lai du cort mantel (Tale of the Short Mantle), also known as Le Mantel mautaillié (The Illcut Mantle), which was presumably composed toward the end of the twelfth or the beginning of the thirteenth century. The preface to Möttuls saga informs us that it is the account of a curious and amusing incident that took place at the court of King Arthur and that the translation was undertaken at the behest of King Hákon Hákonarson, who ruled Norway from 1217 to 1263. Möttuls saga is part of a group of Arthurian narratives that were translated for King Hákon from the French bestsellers of the day. In 1226 a certain Brother Robert translated Thomas of Britain’s Tristan (Tristrams saga ok Ísöndar) and this was followed by anonymous translations of Chrétien de Troyes’s Yvain (Ívens saga) and a collection of Breton lais titled in Old Norse Strengleikar (Stringed Instruments).