How Urganda the Unrecognized brought together all the Kings and knights that were at Firm Island, and the great things she told them that would happen in the past, present, and future, and how she finally left.
[Gargoyle at the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia, Barcelona, Spain. Photo by Bernard Gagon.]
The story recounts that after the great festivities of the weddings were over at Firm Island, Urganda the Unrecognized asked the Kings to order all the knights and ladies and damsels to gather together because she wished to tell them all of them her purpose and reason for coming, which they ordered to be done.
When they were all together in the great hall of the castle, Urganda sat before them, holding her two young noblemen by the hands. When everyone was quiet, waiting for her to speak, she said:
“My lords, without being told, I knew about these great festivities following those many deaths and losses that ye have suffered, and God is my witness that if any or all of those evils could have been prevented by me, I would have not failed to place all my effort and person into such labors. But as it had been permitted by the Lord on high, they could not have been avoided, because what by Him is ordained, without Him none has the power to prevent. And since I could not have forestalled those evils with my presence, I realized that to improve on what good was within my powers, given the great love I have for many of you and that ye have for me, and to declare some things that I had previously told you by private means, as I am accustomed to do. That way ye may truly believe what I said, as ye could the things ye heard from me at other times.”
Then she looked at Oriana and said:
“My good lady and beautiful bride, ye should well recall that when I was with your father the King and your mother the Queen in their town in Fenusa, sleeping with you in your bed, ye asked me to tell you what would happen to you, and I asked you not to wish to know. But because I knew your will, I told you how the lion of Fearful Island would leave its cave, and his great roars would frighten your guardians so he could take control of your flesh and, with them, put his great hunger at rest.
“This ye ought to clearly understand, for your husband, who is very much stronger and braver than any lion, left this island, which may rightly be called Fearful for it has so many caves and hiding places, and with his strength and shouts the, fleet of the Romans, who guarded you, was defeated and destroyed, and so ye were placed in his mighty arms and he took control of your flesh, as all have seen, without which his ravenous hunger could not have been contented or appeased. And thus ye know that everything I told you was true.”
Then she said to Amadis:
“Then ye, my good lord, shall clearly see the truth in everything I had told you, that ye would give your blood for others, for in the battle with Ardan Canileo the Fearful ye gave it for your friends King Arban of North Wales and Angriote d’Estravaus, who were prisoners. Then your fine sword, when ye saw it in the hands of your enemy and which was turned against your flesh and bones, ye dearly wished were in some lake from which it would never reappear. And then the reward that followed from this, what was it? Truly, none other than anger and great enmity between yourself and King Lisuarte, who is here, which was the result of your winning the Island of Mongaza, as all have clearly seen and as I told you.
“And things that I wrote to you, very virtuous King Lisuarte, when ye found this very handsome and noble youth Esplandian, your grandson, in a forest hunting with a lioness, ye still hold clearly in your memory. From what I said about the past ye can see that I knew, because he was raised by three very different wet nurses, in fact a lioness and a sheep and a woman, all of whom gave him milk.
“I also told you that this youth would bring peace between yourself and Amadis, and I leave it to be judged by both of you all the ire, all the acrimony, and all the enmity he has eliminated from your wills with his grace and great handsomeness, and how because of him and his great discretion ye were rescued by Amadis when ye expected no other thing but death. Whether such a service as this was worthy of eradicating enmity and attracting love, I leave to these lords to judge.
“As for other things that in due time shall occur, as the letter foretold, may they be judged by those who will be alive to see them, from by what I knew about the past they may believe that I know about the future.
“Another prophecy I told you was much greater than the rest, for it contained everything that happened by delivering your daughter Oriana to the Romans, and the great evils and cruel deaths that resulted, which, so as not to remind you of a thing which would cause so much anguish and ire at a time when ye ought to be enjoying great pleasure, I shall leave for those who wish to see it in the second book where they may observe clearly that all the things that happened are contained in it and were said by me previously.
“Now that I have spoken of things in the past, I wish ye to learn about the present things ye do not know about.”
Then she took the handsome youths by the hand, Talanque and Maneli the Moderate, for such were their names, and said to Sir Galaor and King Cildadan:
“My good lords, if in your lives ye have received any services and aid from me, I am content with the reward I have, which is enormous glory for me. Since I myself cannot engender any progeny, I caused to have in other women such handsome youths as these to be born, whom ye see here. Without a doubt ye may believe that if God allows them to reach the age for knighthood and to become knights, they shall do such things in His service to maintain truth and virtue that not only those who engendered them against the prescripts of the Holy Church shall be forgiven, and I for causing it, but their merits and worth shall be so surpassing in this world that in the next they shall achieve their rest, and I as well. And so many things shall happen because of these youths that no matter how much I might say, it would not be enough, so I shall leave them to their time, which will not be long from now, given the age that they have already acquired.”
Then she said to Esplandian:
“Very handsome, blessed, and noble Esplandian, thou wert engendered in the great blaze of love by those from whom thou hast inherited a great part of it without them losing a single bit of their own, and which thy tender and innocent age now conceals. Take this youth Talanque, son of Sir Galaor, and Maneli the Moderate, son of King Cildadan, and love one as much as the other, for although by them thou shalt be placed in many dangerous confrontations, they shall rescue thee from other confrontations in which none but themselves shall be able to aid thee.
“And this great dragon that brought me here I leave for thee, in which thou shalt be made a knight with the horse and arms that lie hidden within it along with other rare things that at the time of thy knighthood shall be made manifest. This serpent shall be the guide to the first events in which thy mighty heart shall reveal thy high virtue, and it shall guide thee and many others of thy great lineage through fearsome storms and misfortunes in the open sea without any danger, where with great battles and labors thou shalt repay the Lord of the world for some of the great mercies thou shalt receive from Him, and in many places thou shalt be known by no other name than the Knight of the Great Serpent.
“In it thou shalt travel for long days without rest, for besides the great and dangerous battles thou shalt fight, thy spirit shall be placed in all affliction and great anguish by she who shall read and understand the seven letters that will burn like fire on thy left side. That great heat and ardor shall burn within thee with flames that shall not be quenched until the great flocks of cormorants fly to the East over the rough waves of the sea and place the hawk in such dire straits that it will not dare to alight in its tight nest, and the proud black falcon, the most esteemed and beautiful of all birds of prey, along with those of its lineage and other birds that are not, shall come to its aid and cause such great destruction among the cormorants that the field shall be completely covered by their feathers and many of them shall perish in their sharp claws, and others shall drown in the water where the mighty black falcon and its allies overtake them.
“Then the great hawk shall pull out most of their entrails and place them in the sharp claws of its helper, and with them, its ravenous hunger, which for a long time had tormented him, shall be satisfied and ceased. It shall give him possession of all its forests and great mountains, and he shall be brought back to his perch in the tree of the Holy Garden. At this time the great dragon, having fulfilled the hour marked by my great wisdom, before all shall sink into the great sea, giving thee to know that more on firm ground than on moving water thou ought to pass the coming time.”
This said, she told the Kings and knights:
“My good lords, now I must go elsewhere and cannot avoid it, but when Esplandian is ready to receive knighthood and all these youths receive it with him, I know that for a reason now hidden to you, many of you here now shall be brought together and at that time I shall come, and in my presence great festivities will be made for the novice knights, and I shall tell you many great and amazing things that will come to them. And I warn you all not to dare to approach the serpent until I return, for if anyone does, everyone in the world could not prevent that person from losing his life.
“And because ye, my lord Amadis, have here as a prisoner the wicked and evil-doing Arcalaus, who is called the Sorcerer and whose vile wisdom is never used except to do harm, and who might still do you injury, take these two rings, one for you and the other for Oriana, for while these are on your hands, nothing that he may do can cause harm to you or to anyone in your company, nor shall his enchantments have any power while ye hold him prisoner. And I tell you not to kill him because with death he would not pay in the least for the evil he has done. Instead put him in an iron cage where all can see him, and there he shall die many times. Much more painful is the death that leaves a person alive than that with which all dies and perishes.”
Then she gave the rings to Amadis and Oriana, which were the finest and most extraordinary ever seen. Amadis told her:
“My lady, what can I do to repay you for all the honors and gifts I have received from you?”
“Not a thing,” she said, “for everything I have done and shall do from here on ye already paid for when I could not take advantage of my wisdom and ye restored that very handsome knight to me, who is the thing I most love in the world, although he felt contrary, when by force of arms ye defeated the four knights at the causeway of the castle where they were holding him, and then ye defeated the lord of the castle. Then ye made your brother Sir Galaor a knight. And with that great benefit to my life, which could not be sustained without my beloved, I was repaid and will still be repaid for all the days in which I will be allowed to aid your advancement by the most powerful Lord of this world.”
Then she called for her palfrey to be brought, and all the lords and ladies accompanied her to the seashore, where she found her dwarves and the skiff. After she was bid farewell by everyone, she got in and they watched her return to the great dragon, and then the smoke was so black that for more than four days nothing could be seen of what was within it, but after that, it dissipated, and they saw the serpent as it was before. Of Urganda they knew not what she had done.