The Lais of Marie de France

by

Marie de France

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Le Fresne is one of the slanderous wife’s twin daughters; she is La Codre’s sister. When Le Fresne is a newborn, her mother abandons her; she is wrapped in a rich brocade and left in a tree near a wealthy abbey. After the baby is found, the abbess names Le Fresne and raises her as a niece. She grows up beautiful, well-educated, and beloved by all. After she and Gurun become lovers, she even humbly accepts the fact that Gurun will ultimately marry a noblewoman instead of a supposed orphan like her. On Gurun’s wedding night with La Codre, Le Fresne even adorns their bed with her brocaded blanket, wanting them to have all the nicest things. This leads to her mother’s recognition of Le Fresne, Le Fresne’s reunion with her family, and her eventual marriage to Gurun instead of her twin sister.

Le Fresne Quotes in The Lais of Marie de France

The The Lais of Marie de France quotes below are all either spoken by Le Fresne or refer to Le Fresne. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of The Lais of Marie de France published in 1986.
III. Le Fresne Quotes

I have been my own judge: I spoke ill of all women. Did I not say that it has never been the case and we had never seen it happen that a woman has had two children unless she has known two men? Now I have twins and it seems that I am paying the price. Whoever slanders and lies about others does not know what retribution awaits him. […] To ward off shame, I shall have to murder one of the children: I would rather make amends with God than shame and dishonour myself.

Page Number: 62
Explanation and Analysis:

She brought her the ring and the lady looked at it carefully, easily recognizing it and the brocade. She had no doubt, for she now knew for sure that this was indeed her daughter, and, for all to hear, she said openly: “You are my daughter, fair friend!”

Page Number: 66
Explanation and Analysis:
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Le Fresne Character Timeline in The Lais of Marie de France

The timeline below shows where the character Le Fresne appears in The Lais of Marie de France. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
III. Le Fresne
Gender Roles and Class Status Theme Icon
...as her own niece. Because she was found in an ash-tree, the baby is called Le Fresne . (full context)
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Class Status Theme Icon
Le Fresne grows up in the abbey. By the time she comes of age, Le Fresne is... (full context)
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Class Status Theme Icon
Gurun talks to Le Fresne often, and once he’s assured of her love, he persuades her to go away with... (full context)
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Class Status Theme Icon
...the ash never bears fruit.” Unfortunately, nobody realizes that the two young women are twins. Le Fresne is kept hidden from Gurun’s bride, and though unhappy about his marriage, she continues to... (full context)
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Class Status Theme Icon
...festivities, when La Codre and her mother are in the bedchamber, the mother marvels that Le Fresne (who’s there serving the bride, and whom the mother doesn’t recognize) seems like such a... (full context)
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Class Status Theme Icon
That night, when the marriage bed is being prepared, Le Fresne shows the chamberlains how Gurun likes the bed to be made, since she’s seen it... (full context)
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
Virtue, Vice, and Justice Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Class Status Theme Icon
When she revives, Le Fresne ’s mother sends for her husband and tells him the whole story, since he’d played... (full context)