A book of moral and religious reflections written by a Carolingian noblewoman for her teenage son in the middle of the 9th century. Intended as a guide to right conduct, the book was to be shared in time with William's younger brother. Dhuoda's situation was poignant. Her husband, Bernard, the count of Septimania, was away and she was separated from her children. William was being held by Charles the Bald as a guarantee of his father's loyalty, and the younger son's whereabouts were unknown. As war raged in the crumbling Carolingian Empire, the grieving mother, fearing for the spiritual and physical welfare of her absent sons, began in 841 to write her loving counsel in a handbook. Two years later she sent it to William.