Mǫttuls saga - also known as Skikkju saga - commences with the most extensive and encomiastic portrait of King Arthur and his court in Scandinavian literature, but the active force generating the plot is neither the king nor one of his knights, but rather a magic mantle destined to belong to that woman alone who has been faithful
in love. Mǫttuls saga is the Old Norse translation of the late twelfth- or early thirteenth-century Le Lai du cort mantel, or Le Mantel mautaillié, and belongs to a small group of works that - if the information transmitted to us in the manuscripts is to be trusted - were
translated from the French at the behest of King Hákon Hákonarson (1217-63) of Norway. With the sole exception of Mǫttuls saga, these translations - of Thomas' Tristan (Tristrams saga ok Ísǫndar), Chretien de Troyes' Yvain or Le chevalier au lyon (Ívens saga), and a collection of lais, some of which are attributed to Marie de France (Strengleikar) - bring to the North the new spirit of courtoisie, of court1iness.