Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Chapter 74 [part 1 of 3]

How the Knight of the Green Sword wrote to the Emperor of Constantinople, for the island belonged to hims, about how he had killed that fierce beast, and about their lack of provisions, which the Emperor promptly supplied; and he paid the knight great honor and esteem for the noble service he had rendered in freeing that island, which had been in the hands of the devil for such a long time. 

[Constantinople in the Byzantine era.]

“If that is your will, my lord,” the doctor Elisabad said, “ye must write the Emperor about what has happened to you, and to have some provisions brought here for the journey that we lack.”

“Doctor,” he said, “I never saw him or met him, so I defer this to you to do as ye see fit, and I will take that as a great mercy from you.”

On his behalf, the doctor Elisabad immediately wrote a letter so the Emperor would know everything that had happened to the foreign knight called he of the Green Sword after he had left Grasinda, his lady; and how he had achieved great feats at arms in the islands of Romania, which no other knight could have done; and how a great storm at sea sent them to the Island of the Devil, where the Endriago had been; and how the Knight of the Green Sword of his own free will despite everyone’s wishes had sought it and fought it and killed it.

And he wrote extensively about how the battle took place, and the injuries from which the Knight of the Green Sword escaped death; so there was nothing to know that he did not write. And, since the island was now free of that devil and in his reign, the Emperor should order steps be taken to repopulate it, and the Knight of the Green Sword asked for the mercy of ordering it be called Santa María Island.

He give this letter, containing what ye have heard, to a squire he had brought with him who was a relative, and sent him in the galley with as many sailors as was necessary to go to Constantinople and give it to the Emperor, and bring back the things they needed for their provision.

The squire immediately went out to sea with his company, for the weather was very favorable, and in three days the galley arrived at port. He disembarked and went to the palace of the Emperor, whom he found with many noblemen, as such a grand lord ought to be. He knelt and told him:

“Your servant the doctor Elisabad sends kisses for your feet and this letter, from which ye shall receive great pleasure.”

The Emperor took it and read what it said, which astonished him, and he said loudly so all would hear:

“Knights, amazing news has come to me the like of which I have never heard before.”

Then he was approached by his nephew Gastiles, son of his sister the Duchess of Gajaste, who was a fine young knight, and Count Saluder, brother of Grasinda, who had given so many honors to the Knight of the Green Sword, along with many other noblemen. The Emperor said:

“Know that he of the Green Sword, of whose great deeds at arms in the islands of Romania we have been told, fought the Endriago by his own free will and killed it. And if the whole world did not marvel at such a thing as this, what could come that would cause surprise?”

He showed them Elisabad’s letter, and ordered the messenger to recount aloud what had happened, which he told in its entirety, as one for whom it had all passed in his presence. Then Gastiles said:

“Truly, my lord, this is a great miracle, for I never heard it said that a mortal person could fight with the devil except for saints with their spiritual arms, who could well do so with their holiness. And if such a man as this has come to our land with a great desire to serve us, it would be an injustice not to do him great honor.”

“Nephew,” he said, “ye spoke well. Ye and Count Saluder should prepare some galleys and bring him here, for we have never seen anything like him. And take some masters who can paint the Endriago as it is, because I shall have it cast in metal and the knight himself who fought it, in their appearance and size, and I shall have those figures placed in the same location where the battle occurred, and on a grand copper plate shall have written what happened and the name of the knight. And I shall have a monastery established there where friars shall live so they may reform the island and return it to the service of God, for the people of that land have been deeply injured by the apparition of the evil enemy.”

Many were pleased by what the Emperor said, most of all Gastiles and the Marquis [sic], because they were being sent on a voyage where they could see the Endriago and the man who killed it. They had the galleys prepared and sailed to the Island of Santa María, as the Emperor had ordered that from then on it should be called. When the Knight of the Green Sword learned they had arrived, he ordered the best and finest of what Grasinda had put in the galley be used to decorated his chamber. He had improved and sometimes walked around the room.

They arrived at the castle finely dressed and accompanied by noblemen, and the Knight of the Green Sword came to receive them a little outside his chamber. There they spoke with great courtesy, and he had them sit on some estrados that he had ordered made for them. He already knew from Elisabad that the Marquis was the brother of his lady Grasinda, and he thanked him deeply for what his sister had done for him and the honors and gifts he had received from her, and how, after God, she had given him life by sending that doctor to accompany him who had treated him and kept him from dying.

The Greeks who had come there gazed at the Knight of the Green Sword, and although he had lost much of his appearance due to weakness, they said they had never seen a handsomer knight nor one more gracious in his speech. As they were there with great pleasure, Gastiles told him:

“My good lord, my uncle the Emperor wishes to see you, and through us he asks you to come to see him because he ought to do you what honor obliges him and ye deserve, for ye have served him by winning this island that he thought was lost.”

“My lord,” the Knight of the Dwarf said, “I shall do what the Emperor orders, for my desire is to see and serve him as much as a poor foreign knight such as myself can do.”

“Then let us see the Endriago,” Gastiles said, “for some masters that the Emperor has sent here ought to see it so they can portray it fully according to its figure and appearance.”

The doctor told him:

“My lords, it is necessary that ye go well protected against its poison, for if not, your life could be in danger.”

Gastiles said:

“Good friend, please give us that protection.”

“So I shall,” he said.

Then he gave them some boxes to put at their noses when they looked at it. They mounted immediately, and Gandalin came with them to guide them, and as he went he told them what had happened to his lord and to himself in the place where they were going, and what the battle had been like, and how he had wailed and pulled his hair to see his lord so close to death, and how the devil came out of its body and the form it had taken, and everything that had happened as ye have heard.

They arrived at the arroyo where his lord had lay dying, and he led them through some brush next to some rocks, and they beheld the dead Endriago, which gave them a terrible fright, so much that they could not believe that in the world nor in the inferno could there be such an unnatural and fearful beast. And while they had already considered the knight highly, now they esteemed him even more looking at that devil which, although they knew was dead, they did not dare touch or even come close.

Gastiles said that the courage to dare to attack that beast should not be considered highly because it was so great that it could not be attributed to any mortal man but to God, and to Him and no other should it be owed. The masters looked at the beast and measured everything to properly record how it was, and so they did, being singularly and marvelously gifted in their art.

Then they returned to the castle and found that the Knight of the Dwarf was waiting for them with food, and they were served with great pleasure and happiness, considering the place where they were. They all rested three days in the castle looking at that land, which was very beautiful, and at the garden and the well where the ill-fated daughter pushed her mother. On the fourth day they put out to sea, and soon they docked in Constantinople below the palaces of the Emperor. People came to their windows eager to see the Knight of the Green Sword. The Emperor ordered horses be brought so they could mount.

At that time the Knight of the Green Sword’s health was much improved as were his looks, and he wore handsome and exquisite clothing that the King of Bohemia had made him take when he left him, and from his neck he hung the rare and fine green sword he had won for the extraordinary love he had for his lady. When he saw it, he recalled the time he won it and the pleasure he had enjoyed at Miraflores when he was with she whom he loved so much and who was so far away. He shed many tears as anguished as delightful, as they are for those who are subject and tormented by such passion and joy.

So they left the sea, mounted those handsome palfreys with fine bridles and saddles that were brought for them, and they went to the Emperor, who was coming to meet them with noblemen, all very finely attired. The Knight of the Green Sword came ahead of the rest and wished to dismount and kiss his hands, but the Emperor, when he saw this, would not consent. Instead, he went to him and embraced him, showing the great esteem he had for him, and told him:

“By God, Knight of the Green Sword, my good friend, although God may have made me a great man and I come from the lineage of those who held this great reign, ye deserve the honor more than I do, for ye won it by your great courage and through great peril that none other has passed through, while mine came to me while I slept, undeservedly.”

The Knight of the Dwarf said:

“My lord, a man may be satisfied by things that can be measured, but not this, which by God’s great virtue has caused me to receive such praise, and until my death I shall remain in His service in all things that He may send me.”

As they spoke, the Emperor rode back to his palace with him, and he of the Green Sword looked at that great city and the rare and wonderful things in it and at the many people who came out to see him. In his heart, with great humility, he gave thanks to God for having guided him to such a place where the greatest man among Christians received him, and everything he had seen elsewhere seemed like nothing compared to that.

But he was even more astonished when he entered the palace, where all the riches of the world seemed to have been brought together. There the Emperor had a lodging for the great lords who came to him that was the most beautiful and delightful that could be found in the entire world, as well as fine pavilions and fountains and exotic trees. There he ordered the Knight of the Green Sword to stay as well as the doctor Elisabad, who attended to his health, and Gastiles and the Marquis Saluder to keep him company. Letting them rest, he left with his noblemen to go to his own lodgings.

Everyone in the city who had seen the Knight of the Green Sword spoke about how handsome he was and even more about his courage, which was greater than any other knight. And if he had been amazed to see such a city as that and so many people, even more were they merely to see him, and he was praised by everyone and honored more than any other king or grandee or knight who had come from other foreign lands.

The Emperor told his wife the Empress:

“My lady, the Knight of the Green Sword, of whose many famous deeds we have heard, is here. For his great valor and for the service he did us by winning that island which was in the power of the evil enemy for so long, and simply for having done such a feat, it is right to show him much honor. To do that, order your chambers to be finely decorated in such a way that wherever he may go he will rightly praise it and speak of it as I have spoken to you of other palaces I have seen in other places. And I wish him to see your ladies and damsels in such apparel and adornment as is proper for those who serve such a high lady as yourself.”

And to everything he had said, she replied:

“In the name of God, it shall all be done as ye order.”


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Chapter 73 [part 3 of 3]

[In which is recounted how the doctor Elisabad treated the Knight of the Green Sword for his wounds, which brought him near death.] 

[The Fiera Corruptia, a monster of Spanish folklore.]

Gandalin, when he saw that the knight was unconscious, made no effort to respond. Instead, he galloped up a small hill and sounded the horn as loudly as he could as a sign that the Endriago was dead. Ardian the dwarf, who was in the tower, heard it and shouted to the doctor Elisabad to go help his lord, for the Endriago was dead. As soon as he was ready, the doctor rode with everything he might need as fast as he could directly toward where the dwarf had pointed. He had not ridden far before he saw Gandalin on the hill, who, when he saw the doctor, came galloping toward him and said:

“Oh, my lord, by God and by mercy, help my lord, who desperately needs it. The Endriago is dead!”

When the doctor heard this, he felt great pleasure at Gandalin’s good news, not knowing the injuries of the knight, and spurred his horse to go as fast as it could. Gandalin guided him to where the Knight of the Green Sword lay. They found him unconscious and senseless, but groaning loudly. The doctor went to him and said:

“What is this, my lord knight? Where has your great courage gone at the time and cause when ye need it most? Do not fear dying, for your good friend and loyal servant is here, doctor Elisabad, who shall help you.”

When the Knight of the Green Sword heard doctor Elisabad, although he was weak, he recognized his voice and opened his eyes and tried to raise his head, but he could not, and raised his arms as if he wished to embrace him. Doctor Elisabad immediately took off his cloak and laid it on the ground, and he and Gandalin picked him up and put him on it, then took off his armor, disturbing him as little as possible. When the doctor saw the injuries, although he was one of the most skilled in the world, he was frightened and felt no hope for the knight’s life. But as one who loved him and held him as the best knight in the world, he decided to do all he could to heal him. He examined his wounds and saw that his flesh and bones had been injured, but that his entrails had not been touched. He felt more hope that he could heal him, so he set the ribs and bones, and sewed up the flesh, putting ointments on it and wrapping him well all around his body, which stopped the bleeding and helped him breathe. Then the knight gained more consciousness and strength, enough so he could speak, and he opened his eyes and said:

“Oh all powerful Lord God, Who chose to come to the world and take human flesh within the Virgin Mary and open the gates of Paradise, which had been closed, Who chose to suffer many injuries and in the end was killed by evil and ill-fated people! I ask thee, Lord, as one of the greatest sinners, to have mercy on my soul, for my body is condemned to the earth.”

Then he was quiet and spoke no more. The doctor told him:

“My lord knight, it pleases greatly me to see you with such consciousness, because He from whom ye ask mercy shall deliver the best medicine to you, and after that, I as your servant shall use my life for the care of yours, and with His help I shall heal you. Do not fear death at this time, only strengthen your heart and have as much hope to live as you had to die.”

Then he took a sponge with medicine against poison and put it at his nose, which gave him great strength. Gandalin kissed the doctor’s hands, knelt before him, and begged him to have mercy on his lord. The doctor ordered him to mount and hurry to the castle and bring back some men to carry the knight on a litter before night fell. Gandalin did so, and the men came and made a litter from trees in the forest as best they could, then put the Knight of the Green Sword on it and carried him to the castle on their shoulders. They readied the best chamber with the fine bedding that Grasinda had ordered put in the ship, and placed him in the bed so unconscious that he felt nothing. Thus he spent the night and did not speak, groaning as one who was badly injured, and tried to talk, but could not.

The doctor ordered his own bed placed there and was with him to care for him, and put all the proper unguents to draw out the vile poison that the Endriago had filled him with. At the dawn of day the knight fell into a peaceful sleep, so good was the medicine. Then the doctor ordered everyone out so they would not awaken him, because he knew that sleep was a great consolation. After a long time, the sleep was broken, and the knight began to shout with great affliction, and said:

“Gandalin, Gandalin, protect thyself from that cruel and evil devil. Do not be killed!”

When the doctor heard that, he laughed happily, although in his heart he still feared for his life, and said:

“If ye protected yourself as well as ye wish he did, your fame would not be as widespread throughout the world.”

He lifted his head and saw the doctor, and said:

“Doctor, where are we?”

He came to him, took him by the hands, and saw that he was still faint. He ordered he be brought something to eat and fed him with what he thought would help him regain his strength. He ate it as a senseless man. The doctor stayed with him giving him the care he needed, as he who was the best at his work as could have been found in the entire world. Before vespers came, the knight had become fully conscious and recognized everyone and spoke with them.

The doctor never left his side and gave him all things necessary for his injuries, and with that care and principally with the will of God, Who wished it so, the doctor in his wisdom saw that the wounds would heal. Then he told that to all those who were there, who felt great pleasure and thanked the sovereign God because he had saved them from both the storm in the sea and the perilous devil.

Greatest was the happiness of Gandalin, his loyal squire, and the dwarf, as those who loved him from the bottom of their hearts, for they were returned from death to life. Then they all gathered around the bed of the Knight of the Green Sword with great pleasure, consoling him and telling him not to worry about his injuries because of the honor and good fate that God had given him, more in both arms and courage than He had ever given to any other earthly man.

They insistently asked Gandalin to tell them everything about the feat as it had happened, since he had seen it with his own eyes, because they wanted to be able to recount the great prowess of the knight. He told them he would willingly do so on the condition that the doctor would have him swear on the holy Evangels, so that they would believe him and it could be written down truthfully, and thus such a great and notable deed would not be lost to oblivion from memory. Doctor Elisabad did so, to make the great deed be more certain.

Then Gandalin told them everything that had happened just as this story has recounted it, and when they heard it, they were astounded by it as the greatest exploit they had ever heard spoken of. Yet none of them had seen the Endriago, which had fallen amid some underbrush, because they had been to busy helping the knight to worry about it.

Then they all said they wished to see the Endriago. The doctor told them to go and gave them many medicines to protect themselves from the poison. When they saw the thing so terrifying and out of proportion to any living thing they had ever seen, they were much more amazed than before and could not believe that such a courageous heart existed in the world to dare to attack that devil. Although they knew for certain that the Knight of the Green Sword had killed it, it seemed to them it was only sleeping.

After they had stared at it for a long time, they returned to the castle, speaking among themselves about what a great deed the Knight of the Green Sword had brought to completion.

What shall I tell you? Know that they were there more than twenty days before the Knight of the Green Sword had become well enough that they dared to take him from his bed. But in time by God and the great diligence of doctor Elisabad his health had improved so that without any danger he could go back out to sea. When the doctor saw him thus disposed, he spoke to him one day and said:

“My lord, now due to the goodness of God, as He has wished and Whose power none equals, ye have come to the point where I dare believe that with His help and your good effort ye may go out to sea and travel where ye please. And because we still lack some very necessary things, both regarding your health and to sustain the crew, ye must give the order to leave, because while we are here, we will find ourselves lacking even more.”

The Knight of the Dwarf said:

“My lord and true friend, I owe many thanks and gifts to God because he has seen fit to heal me in my danger, more out of His holy mercy than because I deserve it, and nothing can be compared to His great power because everything is permitted and guided by His will, and every good thing that happens in this world must be attributed to Him. And leaving His part aside, my lord, I thank you for my life, because truly I believe that no one born now in this world would be able to help me the way ye have. And although God may have done me a great mercy, my fate is very contrary, for the prize for the great service that I have received from you cannot be satisfied by a poor knight who possesses no other thing but a horse and some armor, which has been damaged, as ye see.”

The doctor said:

“My lord, I need no other satisfaction than the glory that I have with you, which is to have, after God, saved from death, the best knight who has ever borne arms, and this I will dare to say before you for what ye have done before me. And the prize I hope from you is much greater than that which any king or great lord can give me, which is the help that many men and women in trouble will find in you, for you will aid them. For me a greater reward than any other shall be to have caused, after God, your recovery.”

The Knight of the Green Sword was embarrassed to hear himself so praised, and he said:

“My lord, let us leave this of which we speak aside. I wish ye to know that which I hold most firmly in my will. I had wished to travel through all the islands of Romania, and after ye told me about the fatigue of the sailors, I changed my purpose and we turned toward Constantinople, which contrary weather has kept us from. Now that it has calmed, I still desire to go there and to see that great Emperor, because, if God sends me to where my heart desires, I will be able to tell some amazing tales about things that one may rarely see except in such royal houses. My lord doctor, for the love ye have for me, I beg you not to be angry about this, because one day ye shall be rewarded by me. And from there we shall return, sovereign God willing, within the deadline set for me by the very noble lady Grasinda. I must try to fulfill it, as ye well know, so that if it is possible and as it is my desire, I may repay some of the great mercies I have received from her without deserving them.”


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Chapter 73 [part 2 of 3]

[Amadis fights the Endriago. Lithograph from a 1838 edition published in Madrid. From the Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes.]

They passed the night in great fear of the stormy sea and the Endriago, fearing tha it would leave a nearby castle where it often took shelter. When dawn came, the doctor sang Mass, and the Knight of the Green Sword listened with great humility, praying to God to help him in the peril he wished to place himself in His service, and if His will were that death came for him, to have mercy on his soul.

Then he armed himself and had his horse and Gandalin’s brought out to land, and told those who on the ship:

“My friends, I wish to go to that castle, and if I find the Endriago there, to fight with it. And if I do not find it, I shall see if the castle is suitable so you can lodge there until the sea is calmed while I search for the beast in the mountains. If I survive, I shall come back to you. If not, do what ye deem best.”

When they heard this, they were more frightened than ever because even at sea their spirits were not enough to endure the fear of the Endriago, for it was a greater peril than all the harm and danger of the sea’s great storms. Even greater was the courage of that knight who of his own free will was going to look for it and fight it. And truly, all the feats at arms that they had heard of and seen him do seemed like nothing in comparison to this.

The doctor Elisabad, as a man of letters and of faith, reminded him that these things were outside nature and men, and he ought not to fall into the sin of suicide. But the Knight of the Green Sword answered that if he were to think that way, it would keep him from going to land to seek dangerous adventure, as he had done in the past. If it were known that he had failed to fight it, all his other deeds would be held as nothing and in dishonor. So he ought to kill that evil and horrible beast or die, as men had to do, leaving their homes for foreign lands to earn praise and honor.

Then he looked at Gandalin, who while he was speaking with the doctor and with the men of the ship, had put on armor that he had found so he could help. When the knight saw him on his horse weeping, he said:

“Who has given thee to do such a thing? Take off thy armor, for if thou wishest to serve and help me, thou already knowest that it ought not to be by losing thy life but by keeping it so that thou mayest recount my death in the place where the principal cause is and in whose memory I would receive death.”

He made Gandalin disarm, and went with him to the castle. Inside, they found it empty except for birds. Inside were good buildings, although some had fallen into ruin. The main gates were strong and tightly closed with heavy locks, which pleased him. He sent Gandalin to the galley to tell them they could find good shelter in the castle. They all immediately came although they were very afraid of the Endriago, but the great storms of the sea had not ceased. They entered the castle, and the Knight of the Green Sword told them:

“My good friends, I want to search this island for the Endriago, and if it goes well, Gandalin will sound this horn. Then you will know that it is dead and I am alive. If it goes badly, ye need do nothing. In the meantime, close these gates and bring some provisions from the galley, for ye will be safe here until the sea becomes calm.”

Then the Knight of the Green Sword left them, and they all wept. But the tears and bitter wailing of his dwarf Ardian cannot be recounted, for he tore out his hair, struck his face with his hands, beat his head on the walls, and called himself miserable because his sad fate had brought him to serve such a man. A thousand times his lord had come to the point of death as he watched him undertake astounding deeds, and now, finally, he would attempt to do what the Emperor of Constantinople, in all his great power, did not dare to try to put right. As his lord set out across the countryside, he climbed the stone stairway to the top of the castle wall almost senseless, so much did he ache for his lord.

The doctor Elisabad ordered an altar be made with all the relics he had brought for Mass, and had everyone take lit candles, kneel, and pray to God to protect that knight for the service he was offering Him, for he was protecting them by knowingly exposing himself to perils that clearly offered him death.

As ye hear, the Knight of the Green Sword rode with the courageous bearing that his brave heart provided him, and Gandalin rode behind him weeping, believing that the end of his days would come before sundown.

The knight turned to him and said, laughing:

“My good brother, do not hold so little hope in the mercy of God nor the sight of my lady Oriana as to be in such desperation. Not only do I have before me her pleasing memory but her actual person, and my eyes see her, and she is telling me to protect her from this evil beast. So, my true friend, what dost thou think I ought to do? Dost thou not know that my life and death are in hers? Hast thou advised me to let her be killed rather than for me to die before thine eyes? May it not please God for thee to think that way. And if thou dost not see her, I do, for she is right before me. And as her mere memory has allowed me to do such things that have brought me great honor, as thou knowest, how much more does her actual presence give me.”

As he said this, his courage grew so much that he would have felt great disappointment if he did not find the Endriago. He encountered a valley amid wild mountains and peaks with many caves, and he said:

“Shout, Gandalin, because that may cause the Endriago to come to us. I beg you that if I were to die here, find a way to bring to my lady Oriana that which is wholly hers, my heart. Tell her that I send it so that I will not have to explain to God why I had something with me that did not belong to me.”

When Gandalin heard this, he not only shouted, he tore his hair, and weeping, he cried out, hoping for his own death before seeing his lord whom he loved so much die. And soon they saw the Endriago come out from the peaks, much braver and stronger than it had ever been before, because the devils had seen that the knight put more hope in his beloved Oriana than in God, so they entered it and made it mightier and more irate, and they said:

“If we escape alive from him, there is no one else in the world so daring and so strong as to attack us again.”

The Endriago approached so enraged, spewing smoke and flames from its mouth, and gnashing its teeth and foaming at the mouth, and making the scales on his body and his wings rattle so loudly that it was terrifying to see. So felt the Knight of the Green Sword, especially when he heard its shrieks and frightening growls. Although it had been described as fearsome, compared to its actual sight, the words had been nothing. When the Endriago saw him, it began to leap and bellow, as one who had spent a long time without seeing a man, then it charged at them. When the horses of the Knight of the Green Sword and Gandalin saw it, they began to flee, terrified, and the men could hardly hold them as they whinnied. When he of the Green Sword saw that he could not approach by horse, he dismounted quickly and told Gandalin:

“Brother, take this horse so that we do not lose both of them, and observe the fate that God wishes me to give to this horrible devil. And I beg Him by my faith in Him to guide me as I destroy it so this land may be returned to His service. And if I must die here, may He have mercy on my soul. In that case, do as I told thee.”

Gandalin could not answer. He was weeping too hard because he saw death close by unless God miraculously saved him. The Knight of the Green Sword took his lance and protected himself with his shield. As a man who had already accepted his death, he lost all his terror and as fast as he could, he ran toward the Endriago.

The devil, when it saw him, charged at him, blowing fire from its mouth and smoke so black that they could hardly see each other. He of the Green Sword entered the smoke and ran close enough to strike it with his lance and, by a great blessing, hit an eye. The Endriago grabbed the lance with its claws and mouth and tore it to pieces, and the iron blade and a little of the wood shaft lodged in its tongue and gills, for it had charged so hard that it had impaled itself on them.

It leaped to grab him, but lacking an eye, it could not, because the knight had protected himself with the courage and lively heart of one who saw death itself. He put a hand on his fine sword and came at it, which was distracted as blood flowed from its eye and mouth. With its great panting and puffing, most of the blood entered its throat and almost choked it, and it could not close its mouth or bite. The knight ran to its side and stuck a heavy blow on its scales, and it seemed like he had struck a hard rock, and he cut nothing.

When the Endriago saw him so close, it tried to grab him with his claws, but it only grasped his shield, yanking so hard that the knight fell hands on the ground. Since he was without a shield and his sword could not cut the beast, he knew well that his deed would be nothing if God did not help him destroy the other eye, for nowhere else could he injure him. Like a furious lion, all fear lost, he came at the Endriago, which was weak and flagging, for it had lost a lot of blood and an eye.

All things in service of the devil fail and perish, and Our Lord was now angry because the vile enemy had acquired such power and had done evil to those who, although they were sinners, believed in the holy Catholic faith. He chose to give the knight special strength and blessing, for without it no one would be powerful enough to dare to confront such great danger. In that way he would put an end to that which against all order of nature had done so much harm to so many, among others its ill-fated mother and father.

The knight aimed for the other eye with his sword, but God guided it into the opening of one of its nostrils, which were very wide. With great strength, the knight lunged and the Endriago leaped at him, and the sword entered all the way into its brains. But when the Endriago saw him so close, it took him in his arms and with his strong, sharp claws tore open all the armor on his back and the flesh and bones down to his entrails.

But it suffered from all the blood in its throat and from the blow of the sword into its brains, and above from all the sentence that God had passed over it and which could not be revoked. It could not continue to hold him, opened its arms, and fell to one side as if dead and senseless. When the knight saw that, he pulled out his sword and shoved it into his mouth as hard as he could many times, and finally killed it.

And I wish ye to know that before its soul left it, the devil passed out of its mouth and flew through the air with a great thunder, which those who were in the castle heard as if it were close by. It terrified them for they knew that the knight was now in battle with the beast. And although they were locked in a fortification and its doors barred and chained, they felt unsure of their lives, and if the sea had not been wild, they would not have dared to wait there any longer. But they turned to God with many prayers to save them from that danger and protect that knight who was doing such extraordinary feats in His service.

Since the Endriago was dead, the knight drew back and went toward Gandalin, who was already riding to him, but he could not remain on his feet and fell unconscious next to a small stream that flowed there. Gandalin arrived, saw the terrifying injuries, and thought he was dead. He fell from his horse and began to shout, pulling out his hair. Then the knight came to a bit and said:

“Oh, my good brother and true friend! Now thou seest that I am dead. I beg thee for the upbringing that thy father and mother gave me, and for the great love I have always had for thee, to be as good to me in death as thou hast been in life. And when I am dead, take my heart and bring it to my lady Oriana. Tell her it was always hers and she had it in her power since the first time I saw her, and while it was enclosed in this troubled body, not for one moment did it have any desire but to serve her, and with it she shall have a reminder of he who possessed it although it was not his. There where my soul shall be, it shall find rest with her memory.”

And he could speak no more.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Welcome back

The noble and virtuous knight Amadis of Gaul has many adventures ahead of him.

Greek-language graffiti carved into the handrail in the Loge of the Empress at the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. Photo by Sue Burke.

If all goes as planned, we will finish Book III next July. There are four books in the novel – originally three, but when Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo revised the novel in the late 1400s, he changed the ending and created a fourth book. The early version has been lost, but we know what happened from comments about it.

You will learn the original story when the time comes. No spoilers, but it did not end happily.

In the meantime, Amadis challenges and defeats the devil himself in the form of the Endriago. This wins him the support of the Emperor of Constantinople, whom he visits. Since he likes to learn the local language wherever he travels, he learns Ancient Greek, the language of Constantinople, and thus Amadis becomes known as the Greek Knight.

Under that name, he travels back to Great Britain to try to rescue Oriana from the Romans. Book III ends with a thrilling sea battle.

Adventure, love, courage, and events outside the natural order await. Thanks for reading.