hero of the poem. This ring was set with a stone destined to double the
strength of the wearer, and to protect him from the sheets of flame
ejected by the fearful dragon he was about to combat. However, before
his encounter with this fabulous monster, Wolf-dietrich determines to
return the ring, and sends it back to the empress, whereupon she bursts
into tears, exclaiming: " I let it down from the battlements with my
own hand. Does he value it so lightly, that he sends it back to me?"
a satirical and malicious life of Pope Boniface VIII (ca. 1228-1303),
the bitter opponent of the French king Philippe le Bel (1268-1314),
written by, or at the instance of his royal enemy, it is related that
when this pope was dying and was told that he must prepare his soul for
the great change, he cast his eyes upon a stone set in a ring he was
wearing, and exclaimed " Ο you tricky spirits imprisoned in this
stone, why have you deceived me to abandon me now in my extremity?" And
so speaking he snatched off the ring and threw it away.35
One of the old monkish tales from mediaeval times, collected under the title of "Gesta Romanorum," runs as follows:
who reigned in a Roman city, had been a long time without offspring.
Finally, by the advice of wise counsellors, he married a beautiful
girl in parts far distant and lived with her in an unknown land and had
offspring. After this, he wished to return to his realm but could not
obtain his wife's
34 "Der grosse Wolfdietrich," ed. Holtzmann, Heidelberg, 1865, pp. 243, 271.
W. King, "Antique Gems and Rings," London, 1872, p. 393; citing "La
vie, état et condition du pape Maleface, racontés par des gens de foi."