[How Gandalin helped King Perion, Sir Florestan, and Amadis escape, and how Arcalaus tricked Sir Galaor and Norandel.]
Loarre Castle in northeastern Spain, built in the 11th and 12th centuries; the curtain wall was added in the 13th or 14th century. It appeared in the 2006 film Kingdom of Heaven. Photo by Miguel Daza.]
Gandalin, Orfeo, and the dwarf had been put in a prison below the floor where their lords were, and there they found a lady and two knights. One was her husband, long in years, and the other her son, a fine young man. They had been there a year. Gandalin told them how they had come in search of the three knights with the dragon insignia and had been captured.
“Holy Mary!” the knight said. “Know ye that those of whom ye speak were received very well in this castle, and while they were sleeping, four men came in here and turned this iron lever that ye see to lower the floor, so they have been betrayed.”
Gandalin, who was astute, immediately understood that his lord and the others were up there and in great danger of death. He said:
“If it is so, we must labor to raise it up. If we do not, neither they nor we shall ever leave here. Ye may be sure that if they are saved, we shall be freed.”
Then the knight and his son on one side and Gandalin and Orfeo on the other began to turn the lever, and the floor began to rise. King Perion, who was not sleeping peacefully more because of his worry for his sons than forr himself, immediately felt it move. He woke his sons and said:
“Do ye see how the floor is rising up? I do not know why.”
“Whatever the reason, there is a great difference between dying as knights or dying as thieves.”
They leaped from their beds, had their squires arm them, and waited to see what would happen. The floor was brought up with great effort by those making it rise. King Perion and his sons, who were at the door, saw light between the boards and knew they were back where they had entered. The three worked hard to knock it down and came out on the castle wall, where the guards were. With such great courage and bravery that it was amazing, they began to kill and throw down everyone they found on the wall, and they shouted:
“Gaul, Gaul, for this castle is ours!”
Arcalaus heard that and was terrified. He thought that the deceit was by one of his men who had brought his enemies there, ran naked to a tower, and drew up the wooden ladder used to enter it. He did not fear the prisoners, whom he thought were securely locked up. He leaned out of a window and saw the knights with the dragon insignia rushing through the castle, and although he recognized them, he did not dare to leave and go down to them. Instead he shouted to his men not to fear them, for they were only three knights.
Some of his men down in the castle began to arm themselves, but the three knights, who had by then eliminated the guards from the wall, heard them and came after them, and soon they had killed or injured so many of them that no one dared to oppose them. When the people in the prison heard what was happening, they shouted for help. Amadis recognized the voice of his dwarf, for he and the lady were the most afraid, and Amadis and his father and brother immediately went to free them.
And so they did. With great effort they broke the hasps and opened the door, and the prisoners escaped. They searched the stables around the courtyard and found their horses and those of their lords, and the horses of Arcalaus, which they gave to the knight and his son, and Dinarda’s palfrey to the lady.
They led the horses out of the castle, and when everyone had mounted, the King ordered the stables set on fire. They began to burn so fiercely that everything seemed to be aflame, and the fire was so big it reached the tower.
The dwarf shouted:
“My lord Arcalaus, receive this smoke as uncomplaining as I did when ye hung me by one leg and deceived Amadis.”
The King was delighted by how the dwarf insulted Arcalaus, and they all laughed to see how it was the result of their effort. Then they took the road that went to the ship, and as they rode up a mountain, they saw the great flames of the castle and heard the shouts of its people, which gave them great pleasure. They rode on until they were in the hills. When the day grew bright, they saw the ship at the seashore. They went there and when they were on board, they disarmed and rested.
The lady, when she saw the King disarmed, went to kneel before him, and he recognized her, raised her up by the hand, and embraced her with good will, for he loved her dearly. The lady said to the King:
“My lord, which of them is Amadis?”
He told her:
“The one in the green gambeson.”
Then she went to him, knelt, and wanted to kiss his foot, but he was embarrassed and raised her up. The lady introduced herself, saying that she was the one who threw him in the sea after he was born in order to save his mother’s life. She asked for his forgiveness.
“My lady, now I know what I never did, for although my foster-father, Gandales, told me he found me in the sea, I did not know why I was there. I forgive you, for it was no wrong to me, since it was done in the service of she whom I must serve all my life.”
The King was happy to speak about that time, and laughed with them for a while. And so they went out to sea, very happy with their adventures, and they arrived at the Kingdom of Gaul.
Arcalaus, as ye heard, was in the tower where he had taken refuge, naked, and he could not leave because the flames had reached the door. The smoke and heat were too much and he could not withstand them or find any protection, although he had climbed on the roof. The smoke was so dense that he suffered greatly. He spent two days there, for no one could enter the castle because the fire was too large. But on the third day they could get in without danger, and they went up into the tower.
They found Arcalaus unconscious and about to lose his soul. They poured water into his mouth and brought him to, although with great difficulty. They took him in their arms to carry him to the town, and when he saw the castle burned and completely destroyed, he sighed and said with great pain in his heart:
“Oh, Amadis of Gaul, how much harm comes to me from thee! If I could capture thee, such cruelty I would give thee to avenge my heart of all the harm I have received from thee. And because of thee, I swear and promise that I shall never let any knight live whom I capture, so that if thou wert to fall into my hands, thou wouldst not escape from them as thou hast done now.”
He spent four days in that town regaining his life, and then, in a stretcher with seven knights to guard him, he left for his castle at Mount Aldin, accompanied by the beautiful Dinarda and another damsel. That night he slept in the home of a friend, and the next day he was to arrive at his castle. After two thirds of the day had passed on the road, as he was resting alongside a spring, he saw two knights coming past the edge of a forest toward him. They came richly armed and rode splendidly. When they saw the stretcher and the knights, they waited to find out what had happened. And as they were waiting, Dinarda came to Arcalaus and said:
“Good uncle, over there you can see two knights who are strangers.”
He lifted his head, and when he saw them, he called his men and told them:
“Take your arms and bring me those knights without telling them who I am, and if they resist, bring me their heads.”
Know that those knights were Sir Galaor and his companion Norandel. Arcalaus’s knights came to them and told them to put down their arms, for they were taken at the orders of the man in the stretcher.
“In the name of God,” Galaor said, “who is this who gave such orders, and what does it matter to him if we come armed or unarmed?”
“We do not know,” they said, “but it is best if ye did so, or we shall take your heads.”
“We are not at the point where ye could do so,” Norandel said.
“Now ye shall see,” they said.
Then they attacked, and at the first meeting two of them fell two the ground with mortal wounds. The others broke their lances but did not move the two knights from their saddles. Immediately they put their hands on their swords, and there was a wild and cruel battle among them all. But at the end, three of Arcalaus’s men were on the ground, badly injured, and the two who remained did not dare to await more mortal blows, so they left for the forest at a gallop.
The two companions did not follow them. Instead, they immediately went to learn who was in the stretcher. When they arrived, all of Arcalaus’s company ran away except for two men who were on horseback. Sir Galaor and Norandel raised the curtain covering the stretcher and said:
“Lowly knight, may God curse you, is this how ye treat knights who come down the road without danger? If ye were armed, we would make ye know that ye are vile and treacherous to God and the world. Since ye are ill, we shall send you to Sir Grumedan, who will judge you and give you the penalty ye deserve.”
When Arcalaus heard this, he was desperate, for he knew well that if he were taken to Sir Grumedan, his death was certain. As he was subtle in all things, he made his face look calm and said:
“Truly, my lords, send me to Sir Grumedan, my cousin and my lord, and ye do me a great mercy, for he knows my good and bad qualities well. But understand that I have suffered misfortune and sickness outside my reason, and my intentions are only to serve all knights-errant. I beg you, my lords, that ye listen to my misadventure, and then do with me what ye will.”
When they heard him say he was Sir Grumedan’s cousin, whom they deeply esteemed, they regretted the dishonorable things they had said to him, and told him:
“Now speak, and we shall gladly listen.”
“Know, my lords, that I was riding armed one day in the forest at Black Lake, where I found a lady who complained to me of an injury that had been done to her. I went with her and returned her rights to her before Count Guncestra. As I was returning home to my castle, I had not gone far before I met that knight whom ye killed there, may God damn him, who was wicked, accompanied by two other knights. To take my castle, they charged at me. When I saw this, I held my lance tight and came at them, and I did everything in my power to defend myself, but I was defeated and taken prisoner. He held me in his castle for a year, and if he did me any honor, it was to heal these wounds.”
Then he showed them his scars, for he had many because he was a valiant knight and had given and received many injuries.
“As I was desperate, I agreed to deliver him the castle to get out of his prison, but I was so weak that he could only bring me in this stretcher. I had planned to go immediately to Sir Grumedan, my cousin, and to King Lisuarte, my lord, and ask for justice for that betrayer who had robbed me. My lords, it seems ye have done me better than I had hoped for without my asking for it. And if I received no remedy there, I would have looked for Amadis of Gaul or his brother Sir Galaor to ask them to take pity on me and give me remedy, as they do for all others with grievances. The reason those traitors attacked you was so ye would not learn about me in this stretcher, for the reason I have told you.”
When they heard this, they believed it was entirely true, and asked forgiveness for the dishonorable words they had said. They asked what his name was. He said:
“I am called Granfiles. I do not know if ye have heard of me.”
“I have,” Sir Galaor said. “I know that ye do great honor to all knights-errant, from what your cousin has told me.”
“Thanks be to God,” he said, “that ye know of me that way. And since ye know my name, I ask you in equal measure to take off your helmets and tell me your names.”
Galaor told him:
“Know that this knight is named Norandel and is the son of King Lisuarte, and my name is Sir Galaor, brother of Amadis.”
And they took off their helmets.
“Thanks be to God,” Arcalaus said, “that I was rescued by such knights.”
Looking carefully at Sir Galaor to recognize him and do him harm if he were ever in his power, he said:
“I trust God, my lords, that eventually the time will come when fate will put me where the wish I have for you can be fulfilled. I ask you to tell me what to do.”
“Whatever ye wish,” they said.
“I wish to continue traveling to my castle.”
“May God guide you,” they said.