May and Beaflor

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Mai und Beaflor is a Middle High German verse novel from the 13th century . The author is unknown.

The verse novel is preserved in two manuscripts: Cod. Germ. 57 owned by the Bavarian State Library from the 14th century and Codex 6 from the Fulda State Library from the 15th century .


Beaflor is the daughter of Telion, King of Rome, and his wife Sabie. After Sabie's death, Telion develops an incestuous love for Beaflor. To escape the insistence of her father, Beaflor flees alone by ship with the help of the loyal servants Roboal and Benigna and ends up on the coast of a country ruled by a prince named Mai. Mai gives her hospitality, but she does not reveal her name or where she comes from. Finally Mai falls in love with her and the two get married, but against the will of Eliacha, Mai's mother, who then leaves the farm.

Less than a year later, Mai has to assist his uncle, the King of Spain, in the war against the pagans and leaves. Beaflor remains under the care of two loyal councilors and a little later gives birth to a boy. A messenger is sent to inform Mai of this event. But the messenger goes to Eliacha first. The latter is still looking for revenge and treats the messenger with plenty of alcohol in order to then exchange the letter for another. The new letter accuses Beaflor of adultery and describes the newborn child as a monster. Mai is furious, but orders nothing to be done until his return. On the way back, the messenger is intercepted by Eliacha and another letter is slipped under. In it she orders the councils to kill Beaflor and the child. However, the councils spare them and send them away on a ship. The people that Beaflor had come to love are outraged and want to stone Mai on his return. The intrigue is exposed, the messenger confesses to having been with Eliacha, and Mai stabs his mother to death in revenge.

In the meantime, the ship lands in Rome with Beaflor and her son. There she meets the loyal servant couple again and is taken in by them. Eight years later, Mai decides to go on a pilgrimage to Rome to seek forgiveness from the Pope for his sins. He sends some servants ahead who happen to run into Roboal. He finds out who her master is and moves Mai together with Beaflor's son Lois and leads him to his apartment, where Mai and Beaflor are reunited.


  • Albrecht Classen (Ed.): May and Beaflor. Edited, translated, commented and with an introduction by Albrecht Classen. Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main a. a. 2006, ISBN 3-631-54303-4 .
  • Elisabeth Martschini: Writing and writing in courtly narrative texts of the 13th century. Kiel, Solivagus-Verlag 2014, chapter Mai and Beaflor: pp. 250–262, pp. 291–556, ISBN 978-3-943025-14-9 .

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