An Incomplete Collection of pre-1600 Stories

Please note: this is, as the title suggests, a very incomplete collection. However, all stories, to the best of my knowledge, are both documentably period and freely available online. Consider it a starting place, if you would.

Note also: where a story takes your fancy, I highly recommend seeking out a recent scholarly translation, if translation has been necessary. It can make a significant difference to the text, and the online versions are rarely the best, simply because of copyright laws.

Finally, for those who are interested in retelling these stories, I have attached the handout of a class I’ve run on medieval storytelling.



The Aeneid – Virgil (1st c BC)

The Metamorphoses – Ovid (1st c AD)

Gesta Romanorum (13th c)



Sir Morien (14th c)



Beowulf (8th-11th c)

Guy of Warwick (13th c)

The Canterbury Tales – Geoffrey Chaucer (14th c)

Tales of the Seven Deadly Sins – John Gower (14th c)

Troilus and Criseyde – Geoffrey Chaucer (14th c)

The Testament of Cresseid – Robert Henryson (14th c)

Sir Orfeo (14th c)

Stanzaic Morte Arthur (14th c)

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (14th c)

Le Morte D’Arthur – Thomas Malory (15th c)

Alliterative Morte Arthure (15th c)

Prose Merlin (15th c) – a Middle English translation of a 13th century French text

Sir Degrevant (15th c)

Reynard the Fox (16th c) – this story is originally French, and the earliest versions date back to the 12th century



The Song of Roland (11th c)

The Breton Lais – Marie de France (12th c)

Yvain, or The Knight with the Lion – Chretien de Troyes (12th c)

Lancelot, or The Knight of the Cart – Chretien de Troyes (12th c)

Eric et Enide – Chretien de Troyes (12th c)

Cliges – Chretien de Troyes (12th c)

The Lai of Tyolet (13th c)

The Knight of the Two Swords (13th c)

The High History of the Holy Graal (13th c)

The Quest for the Grail (13th c)

The Heptaméron – Marguerite of Navarre (16th c)



Nibelungenlied (12th c)



The Voyage of Bran (8th c)



The Decameron – Giovanni Boccaccio (14th c)

Jerusalem Delivered – Torquato Tasso (16th c)

Orlando Enraged/Orlando Furioso – Ludovico Ariosto (16th c)


Middle/Near Eastern

The Book of Golden Meadows – Masoudi (10th c)

1001 Arabian Nights: I haven’t listed a date, as individual stories were often added to the mix in different versions. If you’re curious, I encourage you to look into the history of this text further yourself



The Armament of Igor (12th c)



Egil’s Saga (13th c)

Volsunga Saga (13th c)

Eyrbyggja Saga (13th c)

Njal’s Saga (13th c)

The Chronicle of the Kings of Norway/Heimskringla – Snorri Sturluson (13th c)

The Prose Edda – Snorri Sturluson (13th c)

The Poetic Edda – Snorri Sturluson (13th c)



The Lay of the Cid (12th c)



The Mabinogion (13th c)



The following websites contained too many sources for me to list them all, but I highly recommend them:

The Middle English Texts Series –

The Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse –

Icelandic Saga Database –

Luminarium: An Anthology of English Literature –

The Celtic Literature Collective –

In Parentheses (a collection of texts and related essays from many medieval cultures):


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