[What Nasciano said to Amadis and King Perion in his quest to make peace.]
[14th-century Gothic sculpture from the Doorway of the Apostles at the Cathedral of Valencia. Photo by Sue Burke.]
And so the King and Nasciano entered the great tent where many knights and other people were, and as the hermit wished to bid the King farewell, that handsome childe, his ward Esplandian, came in through a door to the tent with his foster-brother Sarguil. Queen Brisena had sent him to learn news about her lord the King. When the good man saw how much he had grown, now almost a man, who could tell you of the joy he felt? Truly, it would be impossible. And as Nasciano was still with the King, he went to Esplandian as fast as he could to embrace him. The childe, although he had not seen him for a long time, immediately recognized him and came to kneel before him and began to kiss his hands. The holy man took him in his arms and kissed him many times with such great joy that he was almost completely out of his mind, and he held him that way for a long time and could not let him go, speaking to him this way:
“Oh my good child, blessed be the hour in which thy wert born, and blessed and praised be the Lord who by such a miracle wished to give thee life and reach such an estate as my eyes now see thee.”
And as this was happening, everyone was watching what the good man said and did and the great pleasure that it gave him to see the boy he had raised, and their hearts were moved to mercy to see such love.
But above all others, while he did not show it, was the pleasure that King Lisuarte felt, for although earlier he had esteemed and loved the boy for what he expected from him and for his great handsomeness, it was nothing in comparison to knowing that he was actually his grandson, and he could not take his eyes from him. Such was the great love that suddenly came over him that all the passion and anger that until then he had held about the past left him and was turned into the opposite, as it had been in the time when he had the most love for Amadis. And immediately he recognized the great truth in what Urganda the Unrecognized had written: that Esplandian would bring peace between himself and Amadis, so he firmly believed that everything else she had said would also come true.
The good man embraced Esplandian with great love, then released him from his arms, and the childe went to kneel before the King to give him a letter from the Queen, in which she begged him to seek peace and accord if it could be done with honor, and many other things that it is not necessary to speak of. The good man said to the King:
“My lord, I shall take it as a great favor and consolation to my spirit if ye were to give Esplandian permission to accompany me in my travels so I shall have time to look at him and speak with him.”
“So it shall be done,” the King said, “and I order that ye shall not be parted from him until ye wish it.”
The good man thanked him sincerely and said:
“My good and blessed son, come with me, since the King orders it.”
The childe told him:
“My good lord and true father, I am very content with that, for I have wished to see you for a long time.”
And so Nasciano left the tent with those two youths, Esplandian and his nephew Sarguil, and he mounted his donkey and they their palfreys, and they took the road to where Amadis had his camp, the good man spoke with Esplandian about many things he would enjoy, all the while praying to God to give him the grace to carry out his mission in whatever would be in His holy service.
So in this company as ye hear, the saintly hermit arrived at the camp and went directly to Amadis’ tent, where he found so many knights so well dressed that he was amazed. Amadis did not recognize him since he had never seen him and could not imagine what a man so old and ill was seeking. And he looked at Esplandian and saw him more handsome than he believed a mortal person could be. He also did not recognize him, for although he had spoken to him when Esplandian asked for the two Roman knights Amadis had defeated and he gave them to him as this story has recounted, that sight of him was so brief that he had forgotten how he looked.
But Sir Cuadragante, who was there, recognized him immediately and went to him and said:
“My good friend, I wish to embrace you. And do you recall when Sir Brian of Monjaste and I met you, and you gave your regards for the Greek Knight? I gave them to him on your behalf.”
Then he said to Amadis:
“My good lord, ye see here the handsome young nobleman Esplandian, from whom Sir Brian of Monjaste and I gave you a message.”
When Amadis heard him called Esplandian, he immediately recognized him, and if seeing him gave him pleasure, this need not be told, and so he lost his senses with the great joy that he felt, and he could barely respond, nor was he in his right mind. And if anyone had been paying attention they would have clearly seen his alteration, but no one suspected such a thing, instead they all believed that no one other than Urganda knew who his father was. Then with Sir Cuadragante holding him by the hand, Amadis wished to embrace him, but Esplandian told him:
“Good lord, instead do honor to this saintly man Nasciano, who seeks you.”
And when they all heard it said he was Nasciano, who was so renowned everywhere for his saintly and austere life, they came to him with great humility and, with their knees on the ground, asked him to give them his blessing.
The hermit said:
“I beg to my Lord Jesus Christ that, if a blessing of such a sinner as I am can be of any good, that mine may abate the great rage and pride in your hearts and put you in such understanding of His service that, forgetting the vain things of this world, ye shall follow the truth of He who is truth itself.”
Then he raised his hand and blessed them. Amadis turned to Esplandian and embraced him. And Esplandian gave him recognition and reverence not as his father, for he did not know he was, but as the best knight he had ever heard spoken of. And for this reason he considered him very highly and his eyes were so content he could not take them from him, and from the day he saw him defeat the Romans, his desire had always been to travel in his company serving him to see his great deeds of knighthood and to learn for the future. And now that he found himself older and closer to being a knight, he desired it even more, and if it were not for the great division between his lord the King and Amadis, he would have already asked for permission to go with him, but these troubles made it impossible.
Amadis, who could hardly take his eyes from him, saw how the young nobleman looked at him so eagerly, and he suspected that he must know something. The good hermit, who knew the truth, looked at the father and son and as he saw them together and so handsome, he was as joyful as if he were in paradise. And in his heart he prayed to God for them and for it to be in His service to bring about great love and accord between him and all the other knights who were the finest in the world. And as they were all congregating around that saintly man, he said to Sir Cuadragante:
“My lord, I must speak about some things with Amadis. Take this childe with you, for he has spoken more with you than with any of these other lords.”
Then he took Amadis by the hand and drew him some distance away, and told him:
“My son, before making manifest the main reason for which I have come, I wish to remind you of the debt and thanks greater than any other man now alive that ye have with our Lord God, for at your birth ye were thrown into the sea inside an ark without any protection, and the Redeemer of the world, having mercy on you, miraculously brought you into the sight of he who raised you so well. This Lord of whom I speak has made you the most handsome, the strongest, the most loved, and themost honored of anyone known in the world. Having been given His grace, ye have defeated many valiant knights and giants and other wild and misshapen creatures who did great harm in this world. Ye are today in the world the most outstanding of all men.
“Since He has done so much for you, what is reasonable that ye should do for Him? For truly, if the Evil Enemy [Satan] does not fool you, with more humility and patience than anyone else ye should look to do His service, and if ye do not, all the grace and gifts that ye have received from God shall do harm and diminish your honor, because while His holy mercy is great in those who obey and know Him, so His justice is great on those who have received the greatest gifts from Him but have not given recognition or thanks for them.
“And now, my good son, ye shall know why I put this tired and old body before every danger to its health, wishing to follow the purpose for which I chose to leave behind all things of this perishable world. I have come with great labor and trouble to my spirit with the help of He without whom nothing good can be done, to create peace and love where there was rupture and misfortune, as there is at present. And as I have spoken with King Lisuarte, in whom I have found what every good minister of God must obey, I wish to know from you, my good lord, if ye have greater recognition to He who created you than to the vainglory of this world. And so that without distrust or fear ye may speak with me, I would have you know that before I came here, I went to Firm Island, and with the permission of Princess Oriana, from whom in confession I learned everything in her heart and her greatest secrets, I undertook this mission in which you see me now.”
Amadis, when he heard him say this, fully believed that he was telling the truth, because he was a saintly man and would never say anything unless it were true, and he responded to him this way:
“Friend of God and saintly hermit, if the knowledge that I have of the goods and gifts that I have received from my Lord Jesus Christ I were to have put to use in the services that I am obliged to Him, I would be the most blessed knight that was ever born, but I have received from him everything and much more than you have said, and I have not recognized nor repaid Him but instead I have offended Him every day in many things, and I consider myself very sinful and full of error against His commandments. And if now with your arrival I could amend something of the past, I would be very happy and content to do so. For that end, tell me what is in my grasp, and with full dedication it shall be carried out.”
“Oh blessed son!” the good man said. “How much ye have made my sinful soul glad and have consoled my sorrow at seeing so much evil. May the Lord who shall save you give you rewards for me! And now without any fear, I wish you to know what I learned after I came to this land.”
Then he told him everything he had spoken of with Oriana and how with her permission he came to her father the King and all the things that he had spoken of with him, and how he told him plainly that Oriana was married to Amadis, and that the noble youth Esplandian was his grandson, and how the King had listened with great patience and was now very close to accepting peace. And since Nasciano, with the help of God, had placed him in that state of mind, Amadis should give orders so that, being married to the Princess, peace could be arranged between both sides. When Amadis heard this, his heart and flesh trembled with the great joy he had to know that by the wish of his lady their secret love had been made known, and he had her in his power without any risk of danger, and he said to the hermit:
“My good lord, if King Lisuarte is so disposed and he wishes me as his son, I shall take him as my lord and father to serve him in everything that may be to his honor.”
“Then so be it,” the good man said. “How do ye think these two intentions may be fully united so no more evil may come here?”
“It seems to me, father, that ye should speak with my lord King Perion and tell him the reason and desire with which ye came. If he considers it good to make peace with him and provided King Lisuarte agrees to that which Sir Cuadragante and Sir Brian of Monjaste on our behalf sought from him regarding the matter involving Oriana, I have so much faith in his virtue that ye shall achieve all the assurance that ye seek. And tell him that ye have spoken about this with me a little, but I place everything at his will.”
The good man believed he had spoken wisely and that is what he did: immediately he left Amadis’ tent and with his young nobleman and companions went to the tent of King Perion, who, knowing who he was, received him with great love and goodwill. The King looked at Esplandian, whom he had never seen, and was very amazed to see such a handsome and gracious youth, and he asked the holy hermit who he was. The holy man told him how he had raised him and how God had sent him in a miraculous way.
King Perion said:
“All the more miraculous, father, if this is the youth who led a lioness on a leash for hunting, and ye raised in the forest where you live, and of whom many amazing things will happen as the very wise Urganda the Unrecognized had sent to be told, if God lets him live. And it seems to me that I have been told that she sent a letter to King Lisuarte which said that this childe shall make great peace and accord between him and my son Amadis, and if it is so, we must all love and honor him greatly, since because of him so much good may come, as ye can see, father.”
The good and holy man Nasciano told him:
“My lord, this is truly whom ye speak of. And if ye have some reason to love him, ye shall have even more reason soon, when ye know more about him.”
Then he said to Esplandian:
“Son, kiss the hands of the King, who is well worthy of it.”
The young nobleman knelt to kiss his hands, but the King embraced him and told him:
“My childe, ye should be very grateful to God for the gift He gave you to be so handsome and graceful, so that even those who know nothing about you are attracted to you to love and esteem you. And since He was pleased to give you so much grace and good looks, if ye are obedient to him, much more He has promised you.”
The youth did not respond in any way. Instead, with great embarrassment at hearing himself praised by such a prince, his face grew red, which seemed very good to everyone to see such modesty at his age, and many people were amazed that such an outstanding person did not know who his father or mother was. The King asked the holy man Nasciano if he knew whose son he was. The good man told him:
“He is the son of God, who makes all things, although of mortal man and woman he was engendered and born. But given his beginning and the care God has taken to protect him and to see that he was well raised, it seems that He loves him like a son, and it will please Him by His holy clemency and mercy that soon ye shall know more about him.”