Probably the story was first told in the form of short lais, each recounting some special episode, such as the lai known as the chevrefeuille; how old these may be it is impossible to say.
For the relations between Lanval and the Lai de Graelent, wrongly ascribed to Marie by Roquefort, see W.
Saving and excepting the incident of his being stolen and brought up by a water-fairy (from a Lai relating which adventure the whole story probably started), there is absolutely nothing in Lancelot's character or career to distinguish him from any other romantic hero of the period.
Rustic life is represented by a squirrel: I crake notis; I krak nots; I bite notes: by a hare, or a hare riding a dog: - Sohou, sohou; sohou, mutel; sohou, Robin; sohou, je le voi; sohou, je lai trouve; je vois a bois; by a hare in a tree: Sohou, scut, ware I cut: by a monkey riding a dog or goat: - Allone I ride, I hunt; allone I ride, have I no swayn: by a stag: - Alas, Bowles: by a dog: - hobbe, dogge, hobbe; garez ben le petit chen: by a hawk seizing a bird: - Alas, je su pris.
The Lais which may be definitely attributed to Marie are: Guigemar, Equitan, Le Feene, Le Bisclavret (the werewolf), Les Deux amants, Laustic, Chaitivel, Lanval, Le Chevrefeuille, Milon, Yonec and Eliduc. The other similar lays are anonymous except the Lai d'Ignaure by Renant and the Lai du cor of Robert Biket, two authors otherwise unknown.
The Lay of Orpheus is known to us only through an English imitation; the Lai du cor was composed by Robert Biket, an Anglo-Norman poet of the 12th century (Wulff, Lund, 1888).