Briefly summarized, the outline of his career, as given in the German Lanzelet and the French prose Lancelot, is as follows: Lancelot was the only child of King Ban of Benoic and his queen Helaine.
While yet an infant, his father was driven from his kingdom, either by a revolt of his subjects, caused by his own harshness (Lanzelet), or by the action of his enemy Claudas de la Deserte (Lancelot).
His inability to handle a steed were obviously when he could not make the horst stop running.
The subsequent adventures differ widely: in the Lanzelet he ultimately reconquers his kingdom, and, with his wife Iblis, reigns over it in peace, both living to see their children's children, and dying on the same day, in good old fairy-tale fashion.
In fact, the whole of the Lanzelet has much more the character of a fairy or folk-tale than that of a knightly romance.
The process whereby the independent hero of the Lanzelet (who, though his mother is Arthur's sister, has but the slightest connexion with the British king), the faithful husband of Iblis, became converted into the principal ornament of Arthur's court, and the devoted lover of the queen, is by no means easy to follow, nor do other works of the cycle explain the transformation.
This much has been proved certain of the adventures recounted in the Lanzelet; the theft of an infant by a water-fairy; the appearance of the hero three consecutive days, in three different disguises, at a tournament; the rescue of a queen, or princess, from an Other-World prison, all belong to one wellknown and widely-spread folk-tale, variants of which are found in almost every land, and of which numerous examples have been collected alike by M.
- Lanzelet (ed.
Now this incident of the "Three Days' Tournament" is found alike in the prose Lancelot and in the German Lanzelet, this latter translated from a French poem which, in 1194, was in the possession of Hugo de Morville.
Neither of these passages would fit the prose romance, as we know it, but both might well suit the lost French source of the Lanzelet; where we are in a position to compare the German versions of French romances with their originals we find, as a rule, that the translators have followed their source faithfully.
In the Lanzelet of Ulrich von Zatzikhoven the abductor is Falerin.