Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Chapter 74 [part 2 of 3]

[How the Knight of the Green Sword was honored; and his jests with the Emperor and Princess Leonorina.]

[12th century mosaic from the upper gallery of the Hagia Sophia, Constantinople. Emperor John II (1118–1143) is shown on the left, with the Virgin Mary and infant Jesus in the center, and Empress Irene on the right.]
 
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The next morning the Knight of the Green Sword arose and dressed himself in luxurious and handsome clothing, which he tended to wear. The Marquis and Gastiles and the doctor Elisabad were with him, and together they went to hear Mass with the Emperor in his chapel, where he awaited them, and then they went to see the Empress. And as they did, they met many ladies and damsels finely dressed in beautiful clothes who made way as they passed and received them well.

The palace was so richly and well decorated that except for the forbidden room at Firm Island, the Knight of the Green Sword had seen nothing like it. His eyes grew sated by the many beautiful women and the other amazing things he saw. When he approached the Empress, who was sitting on her estrado, he knelt before her with great humility and said:

“My lady, I thank God for bringing me where I may see you in your grand sovereignty and in your worth over all other ladies of the world, and your home accompanied and adorned by many ladies and damsels of high estate. And I thank you, my lady, for wishing to see me. I beg God in His mercy to give me a chance to serve you in some way for these great favors. And if I, my lady, do not express what my will and speech wish to say, since this language is foreign to me, please forgive me, for I learned it very quickly from the doctor Elisabad.”

The Empress took him by the hands, told him not to kneel, and had him sit near her. She spent some time talking with him about those things that such a high lady ought to speak of with a foreign knight whom she did not know, and he responded with such tact and grace that the Empress, who was very wise, looked at him and said to herself that his courage could not be so great as to overshadow his moderation and discretion.

At that time, the Emperor was sitting on a chair, speaking and laughing with the ladies and damsels as he who was very loved by all for having given them many favors and fine marriages. He said in a loud voice so all might hear:

“Honored ladies and damsels, ye see here the Knight of the Green Sword, your loyal servant. Honor him and love him, as he honors and loves all the women in the world and has placed himself in great danger to do justice for you, often coming close to death, according to what I have heard from those who know of his great deeds.”

The Duchess, the mother of Gastiles, said:

“My lord, may God honor and love you and thank you for the protection that ye provide for us.”

The Emperor had two princess rise who were daughters of King Garandel, then King of Hungary, and told them,

“Go get my daughter Leonorina, and let no one but you bring her back.”

They did so, and soon they returned with her, each holding her by the hand. And although she was finely attired, it all seemed like nothing compared to her great natural beauty, so there was no man in the world who saw her who was not amazed and was happy to gaze upon her. She was a girl no older than nine. She came to her mother the Empress, kissed her hands in humble reverence, and sat on the estrado below her. The Knight of the Green Sword was pleased to look at her and was amazed by her beauty, which seemed to be greater than that of any of the women he had seen anywhere he had traveled.

He was reminded then of his lady, the very beautiful Oriana, whom he loved more than he loved himself and of the time when he began to love her, which was at about that age, and how his love for her had always grown and never diminished. He recalled the good times when he had many great delights with her, and the bad times that had caused so much concern and pain in his heart, and he thought for a while about how he had no hope to see her for a long time. He was so lost in memories and unaware of his surroundings that tears came to his eyes, and everyone saw him cry and wondered about that, given his outstanding character.

But he returned the present and felt embarrassed, wiped his eyes, and resumed a pleasant expression. The Emperor, who was closest and saw him weep, wondered what might have caused it but seeing no reason, wished to know how such a brave and discreet knight, before himself and the Empress and other people, could have shown such weakness that even in a woman would have been considered poorly in such a situation, because of how happy the knight had been earlier. But he believed he would never find the cause for such a mystery.

Gastiles, who was next to the Emperor, said:

“What kind of man weeps at a time like this?”

“I would not ask about it,” the Emperor said, “but I think that the power of love made him do it.”

“Well, my lord, if ye wish to find out, there is no one who would know except for the doctor Elisabad, in whom he confides and often speaks to privately.”

Then he sent for Elisabad, had him sit before him, ordered all others to leave, and said:

“Doctor, I want you to tell me the truth if ye know it, and I promise you by who I am that not ye nor anyone else shall come to harm because of it.”

The doctor said:

“My lord, I have confidence in Your Highness’s virtue that it shall be so and that ye shall always show me favor, although I do not deserve it. If I know, I shall tell you willingly.”

“Why did the Knight of the Green Sword cry just now?” the Emperor said. “Tell me, for I am astonished by it, and if he needs my help in something, I shall provide it so thoroughly that he shall be content.”

When the doctor heard this, he said:

“My lord, I do not know what to say about that because there is no man in the world who better hides what he does not wish to be known; he is the most discreet knight ye shall ever see. But I often see him weep and suffer so fiercely that it seems to make no sense, and he sighs with great anxiety as if the heart in his body were breaking. And truly, my lord, as far as I believe, it is the great power of love that torments him, and he is lonely for the woman he loves. If it were some other suffering, I am sure I would find out before anyone else.”

“Certainly,” the Emperor said, “I think the same as you. And if he loves some woman, may God be pleased that she happens to be in my reign, and I would give him such a position and estate that no king or prince would not be pleased to have me give his daughter to him. And I would do this happily to have him with me as a vassal, because there is nothing I could do for him that he would not do more by serving me, such is his valor. And I ask you, doctor, to try to make him stay with me, and anything he asks for I shall grant.”

He thought about that for a while without speaking, then said:

“Doctor, go to the Empress and tell her in private to ask the knight to stay with me, and ye may counsel him to do that for my love, and meanwhile I shall arrange for something that I have just thought of.”

The doctor went to the Empress and the Knight of the Dwarf, and the Emperor called his lovely daughter Leonorina and the two princesses who waited on her, and spoke to them for a while very insistently, but no one else heard what he said. When he had finished, Leonorina kissed his hands and went with the princesses to her chamber, and he remained, speaking with his noblemen.

The Empress spoke with he of the Green Sword about staying with the Emperor, and the doctor advised and urged him to do so. And although there he would be in the best and most honorable situation possible while his father King Perion was alive, that could not conquer his heart, which could take no rest or repose except to think about returning to the land where his very beloved lady Oriana was. Thus no entreaty nor advice could attract him to remain nor detract him from his desire.

The Empress made signs to the Emperor that the knight did not accept her offer. He stood up and came to them and said:

“Knight of the Green Sword, could there be any way that ye would stay with me? There is nothing that ye could ask for that I would not grant if it were in my power.”

“My lord,” he said, “so great is your virtue and grandeur that I would not dare nor know how to ask for such a favor that would be granted, but it is not in my power to do so at the sufferance of my heart. And my lord, do not blame me for not fulfilling your order, for if I were to do so, death would not leave me much time in your service.”

The Emperor truly thought that his passion was caused by nothing other than love, as did everyone else. And at that time the beautiful Leonorina entered the hall with her resplendent visage that annulled all other beauty, and the two princesses with her. She wore a very fine coronet and carried an even finer one in her hand, and she went directly to the Knight of the Green Sword and said:

“My lord Knight of the Green Sword, the time has never come to me before to ask for a boon except from my father, and now I wish to ask it from you. Tell me what ye shall do.”

He knelt before her and said:

“My good lady, who would be of such little wisdom that he would fail to do for you whatever he could? I would be very mad if I did not do your will, my lady. Ask for what would make you delighted, and I shall fulfill it unto death.”

“Ye have made me very happy,” she said, “and I thank you, and I wish to ask for three boons.”

She took the beautiful coronet from her head and said:

“This is the first one. Give this coronet to the most beautiful damsel that ye know, and greet her from me and tell her to send me a message by letter or messenger, and tell her I sent her this coronet which is a gift from this land, although I do not know her.”

Then she took the other crown which had many pearls and stones of great value, especially three that could light an entire room, no matter how dark it was, and gave it to the knight and said:

“Give this to the most beautiful lady that ye know. And tell her that I sent it to her to learn about her, and that I ask her to send me a message. This is the second boon. And before I ask the third, I wish to know what ye shall do with these crowns.”

“What I shall do,” he said, “is to comply immediately with the first boon and fulfill it.”

Then he took the first crown and put it on her head and said:

“I place this crown on the head of the most beautiful damsel that I know of now. And if anyone wishes to disagree, I shall make them know the truth of it by arms.”

Everyone took great pleasure in what he did, and Leonorina no less, although she was embarrassed to be praised so. They said that he had properly fulfilled that gift. And the Empress said:

“Truly, Knight of the Green Sword, I think men would be defeated by your arms easier than my daughter’s beauty would defeat them.”

He felt embarrassed to be praised by such a high lady and did not answer. Instead, he turned to Leonorina and said:

“My lady, do ye wish to ask me the third boon?”

“Yes,” she said. “I ask you to tell me why ye wept, and who she is who has such complete reign over you and your heart.”

The knight blushed and ceased to smile, so everyone knew that her request had troubled him. He said:

“My lady, if ye would be pleased to set aside this question, ask another that would serve you better.”

She said:

“This is what I ask, and I want nothing else.”

He lowered his head and spent some time hesitating, so everyone thought what he had to say was serious. But soon he lifted his head with a happy face, looked at Leonorina, who was before him, and said:

“My lady, since there is no other way to keep my promise, I shall say that when you first entered and I saw you, I recalled the time when I was your age, and a memory came to my heart of that time that was good and delightful, but since it is gone now, it made me weep, as ye saw.”

And she said:

“Well, now tell me who she is who rules your heart.”

“Your great restraint,” he said, “which never fails, works against me. This is my great misfortune, and since I have no choice, I must answer even against my pleasure. Know, my lady, that she whom I most love is the same one to whom ye send this crown. I believe she is the most beautiful lady of all whom I have ever seen, and I even believe among all ladies in the world. And by God, my lady, do not wish to know more from me, for I have fulfilled my promise.”

“Ye have fulfilled it,” the Emperor said, “but in such a way that we know no more than before.”

“It seems to me,” the knight said, “that I have said more than I ever have in the past, and that is the reason I wish to serve this beautiful lady.”

“May God save me,” the Emperor said, “ye truly wish to keep your love secret and hidden, and ye have let this be known. And since my daughter was the cause of this, she must ask your pardon.”

“Many have made this error,” he said, “and they have never learned so much from me. And although I am annoyed by the others, I forgive this beautiful lady because she is so high and outstanding in the world, and she wished so much to know about the affairs of a knight-errant like me. But you, my lord, I shall not pardon so easily. After the long and secret conversation ye had with her earlier, it seems she did this not by her will but by yours.”

The Emperor laughed heartily and said:

“God has made you accomplished in everything. It is as ye say, and because of that, I wish to set things right for her and for me.”

He of the Green Sword knelt to kiss his hands, but he did not wish him to do that, and the knight said:

“My lord, I accept these amends to use them when by chance ye are less concerned about them.”

“That cannot be,” the Emperor said, “for ye shall always be in my memory, and ye may take the amends when ye wish.”

These words passed between the Emperor and he of the Green Sword almost as a jest, but the time would come when out of them would come a great deed, as the fourth book in this story shall recount.

The beautiful Leonorina said:

“My lord Knight of the Green Sword, although ye may have no complaint against me, I am still not free of the guilt of having demanded so much from you against your will, and in amends I wish you to have this ring.”

He said:

“My lady, the hand that wears it I must kiss as your servant, for the ring cannot be on another hand without it troubling me.”

“Yet,” she said, “I wish it to be yours so that ye shall remember the trap I set for you and how subtly you escaped.”

The she took the ring and threw it before the knight on the estrado, saying:

“One like it remains with me in this coronet, which I do not know if ye gave me rightly.”

“Great and good witnesses,” he said, “are those lovely eyes and that beautiful hair, and all that God gave you in special grace.”

He picked up the ring and saw that it was the most beautiful and amazing that he had ever seen, and there was no other stone in the world like it except the one that remained in the coronet. And as the Knight of the Green Sword was looking at it, the Emperor said:

“I want ye to know where the stone came from. Ye can see that half of it is the finest and fieriest ruby ever seen, and the other half is white ruby, which by chance ye have never seen, which is even more beautiful than the scarlet half, and a ring with a gem like that would be hard find anywhere else. Now know that Apolidon, who is spoken of around the world, was my grandfather. I do not know if ye have heard of him.”

“Indeed I have,” said he of the Green Sword, “because as I spent a long time in Great Britain, I saw Firm Island, as it is called, where he left marvels, and, as people recount, he won, much to his honor. He was secretly carrying off the sister of the Emperor of Rome when he made port in that island during a great storm, and as was the custom of the island, he was forced to fight with a giant who at that time reigned over it. With great effort he killed him and became lord of the island, where he lived for a long time with his beloved Grimanesa. And of the things he left there, more than a hundred years passed during which time no knight arrived who surpassed him in skill at arms. I have been there, my lord, and ye well seem to be of his lineage, given your appearance and the statues of him he left beneath the arch of the loyal lovers, which truly seem to be alive.”

“Ye have made me very happy,” the Emperor said, “to make me remember things about him, who in his time had no par. I ask ye to tell me the name of the knight who showed himself to be more valiant and mighty at arms than he was and won Firm Island.”

The knight said:

“He is named Amadis of Gaul, son of King Perion, who has done grand and astounding deeds that are recounted all over the world. When he was born, he was placed in an arc and was found in the sea. And with the name of Childe of the Sea, he killed the mighty King Abies of Ireland in one-on-one battle, then he came to be known to his father and mother.”

“Now I am happier than before because, given the great news I have heard of him, I do not need to feel my grandfather’s skills to be overshadowed since Amadis surpasses all those alive in the world today. And if I were to believe that as the son of such a King and such a great lord, he were to dare to travel so far from his land, I would truly think that he were you, But even as I say this, I doubt it, and in addition, if ye were him, ye would not be so immoderate as to not tell me.”

Although he of the Green Sword felt troubled by this, he still wished to hide his identity, so he did not respond in any way, and said:

“My lord, if your mercy would be pleased, tell me how the stone was cut.”

“I shall tell you with pleasure,” he said. “When Apolidon, my grandfather, as I have said, was lord of this empire, Felipanos, who was King of Judea at that time, send him twelve very handsome and expensive crowns, and although in all of them were large pearls and precious stones, the one that ye gave to my daughter came with this stone, which was then in one piece. Since Apolidon saw that this crown was the most beautiful because of that stone, he gave it to Grimanesa, my grandmother. She ordered a master to cut it in half and put half in this ring, and she gave it to Apolidon and left the other half in the crown as ye see. So it was cut for this ring out of love and given to him. Thus I believe that out of good love my daughter gave it to you, and you will give it to someone even better loved.”

And this came to happen as the Emperor said, for it was placed on the hand of she from whom he left, spending three years without seeing her and suffering great anguish and passion for her love, which another branch of this story shall recount called The Exploits of Esplandian, which tells all about it as well as the deeds of Esplandian.

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

The spurious Quixote

Cervantes did the only thing he could: write back.

The cover to this Quixote looks like most novels of chivalry.
 
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Four hundred years ago, Don Quixote was published – but not the one you’re thinking about. This one was the Continuation of the History and Adventures of the Renowned Don Quixote de La Mancha by Alonso Fernández de Avellaneda.

Never heard of it? It’s best known among scholars, and even they’re not entirely enthused about it. Here’s what happened:

The first part of Don Quixote was written by Miguel de Cervantes in 1605, and at the time he didn’t seem to be planning to write any more about the Knight of the Woeful Countenance, even though it was a big success. Unluckily for Cervantes, maybe too big of a success: it was immediately pirated. He probably didn’t make that much money from it anyway, and he always needed money.

Copyright laws weren’t as good then as they are now, so he couldn’t do much about the piracy. He also couldn’t stop someone named Alonso Fernández de Avellaneda from writing his own sequel to Cervantes’ book nine years later. It sold fairly well, even though it fell far short of a masterpiece.

Avellaneda’s version, which insults Cervantes in the prologue, tells how Don Quixote meets two knights on their way to a joust in Zaragoza. Don Quixote has recovered his sanity, but he is persuaded to undertake a life of adventure again. He arrives too late for the joust and is made fun of. He heads back to Madrid to fight a giant, and on his way, he falls in love with Barbara, a prostitute, believing she is a queen. After being the butt of more jokes in Madrid, Don Quixote is committed to an insane asylum in Toledo, Barbara enters a home for “repentant women,” and Sancho Panza goes to work for a nobleman in Madrid.

The book is marked by ridiculous humor and stereotyped characters, as well as weak writing. You can read it here if you want.

Who was this Avellaneda? A pseudonym, and the real author remains to be discovered, although there are plenty of theories.

By that time, Cervantes might have already been working on Part II of Don Quixote. If not, the spurious Quixote inspired him to reclaim his masterpiece and make some of the cash due to him for his creation. Part II takes pains to ridicule Avellaneda’s work while maintaining the profound humanity, irony, and fine humor that marks Cervantes’ genius.

The real Part II of Don Quixote de la Mancha came out in 1615, and the world is a better place because of it.

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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.”

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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.]
 
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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.”

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