Brother Clemens, the narrator, an Irish monk from the cloister of Clonmacnoise who sets about telling the story of the children of Duke Grimald. Clemens tells the story with great sympathy and poetry, believing his tale to be instructional as well as entertaining. Living in Rome, Clemens (his Irish name is Morhold) believes that his tale of a saint has a universal message: The sinner may be the chosen one (the German title translates as “The Chosen One”).
Duke Grimald and
Baduhenna, the grandparents of “the Holy Sinner.” Grimald is the duke of Flanders and Artois and lives in the Castle Beaurepaire with his wife, Baduhenna. They become the parents of Wiligis and Sibylla, two handsome children who are loved by their father; Baduhenna dies giving birth to the pair. The duke dies seventeen years after his wife, leaving the children in the hands of their guardian, Sieur Eisengrein.
Sibylla, the two comely children of Duke Grimald and his lady, Baduhenna. After Duke Grimald dies, Wiligis becomes a duke and Sibylla a duchess. The two then commit incest. They confess their sin to Sieur Eisengrein, who sends Wiligis off to join the Crusades and orders Sibylla to Eisengrein’s own castle, where she is to have her baby. Wiligis dies on the way to the port of...
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