Isolde had no relief from Petitcreiu, she did not depend on him for solace. For as soon as the faithful Queen had received the dog and heard the bell which made her forget her sorrow, she had reflected that her friend Tristan bore a load of troubles for her sake, and she immediately thought to herself: 'O faithless woman, how can I be glad? Why as I happy for any time at all while Tristan, who has surrendered his life and joy to sorrow for my sake, is sad because of me? How can I rejoice without him, whose sorrow and joy I am? And however can I laugh when his heart can find no ease, unless my heart has a share in it? He has no life but me. Should I now be living without him, happily and pleasantly, while he is pining? May the good God forbid that I should ever rejoice away from him!'. So saying, she broke off the bell, leaving the chain round the little dog's neck. From this the bell lost its whole virtue. It no longer sounded with its old music. They say that it never again quenched or made away with sorrow in any heart, however much one heard it. But this meant nothing to Isolde; she did not wish to be happy. This constant, faithful lover had surrendered her life and joy to the sadness of love and to Tristan.


Gottfried von Strassburg, Tristan, trans. by A.T. Hatto, Penguin Classics, Edinburgh, 1960, p. 256.

PLACE: At Mark's castle in Cornwall, England.

TIME: Middle Ages.

CIRCUMSTANCE: Tristan sent the dog Petitcreiu to Isolde, so that she may regain her happiness when hearing the bell around the dog's neck.