[How Amadis was deceived by a lady, and what he sorrowfully had to do.]
[Door in the prison at Yedikule Fortress, built in 1458 in Istanbul, Turkey. Photo by Sue Burke.]
The story says that after Amadis and Grasandor left Gandalin at the foot of the Peak of the Enchanting Damsel, they sailed through the sea without trouble or delay. They arrived at the great port of Firm Island one morning, and they mounted their horses armed as they had come. Before they rode up to the castle, they entered to pray in the monastery at the foot of the hill, which Amadis had ordered built when he left for Poor Peak, as he had promised before the image of the Virgin Mary that had been in the hermitage at that time.
When they reached its gate, they found there a lady dressed in black, with two squires and their palfreys nearby. They greeted her, and she greeted them. And while Amadis and Grasandor were kneeling before the altar, the lady learned from people in the monastery that he was Amadis, and she waited for him at the door of the church. When she saw him coming, she came to him weeping, knelt on the ground, and said:
“My lord Amadis, are ye not the knight who aids those who have tribulations and misfortune, especially ladies and damsels? Truly, if it were not so, ye would not have fame in all parts of the world and be spoken of with such praise. For I, as one of the saddest and most unfortunate of women, ask mercy and pity from you.”
Then she grasped the hem of his coat of mail with both hands so firmly that he could not take a single step. Amadis tried to make her stand, but he could not, and he said:
“My dear lady, tell me who ye are and what ye wish my help for, and given your great sorrow, although I were to fail all other ladies, for you alone I would place my person in all danger and peril that might come my way.”
The lady told him:
“Who I am ye shall not know until I am certain that ye shall answer my plea, but what I seek is that being married to a knight whom I dearly love, his great misfortune and mine have brought him to be imprisoned by the greatest enemy he has in the world, and he cannot leave it nor be returned to me except by yourself. And believe that my knees shall not be raised from this ground nor my hands taken from this mail, unless ye were to make me do so with great disrespect and discourtesy, until ye grant me that which I seek.”
When Amadis saw her thus and heard what she said, he did not know how to respond, for he was afraid of giving his word for something that later would cause him great shame, but seeing her weep so fiercely and hold so tightly to his chain mail with her knees on the ground, he was moved to such great pity that he forgot to get assurance that his aid would be for a just cause, and he said:
“Lady, tell me who ye are, and I promise to take your husband from where he is being held prisoner and give him to you if I can carry it out.”
Then the lady grabbed his hands and by force kissed them, and she said to Grasandor:
“My lord knight, see what Amadis has promised me.” And then she said, “Know, my lord Amadis, that I am the wife of Arcalaus the Sorcerer, whom ye hold prisoner. I ask you to give him to me and to put him someplace where I need not fear to lose him again, for ye are the greatest enemy he has, and if I can, I shall change him from your mortal enemy into your friend.”
When Amadis heard this, he was very upset to see himself deceived by that lady with such trickery, and if he could have found an honorable means to refuse to comply, he would have taken it gladly, fearing more the danger and harm that this evil knight could bring to many people who did not deserve it, than what Arcalaus could bring to him. But seeing the great cause the lady had and by no means could she be blamed, being obliged to save her husband, and above all wishing that his word and truth in no way be considered doubtful, he decided to do what she asked and told her:
“Lady, ye have asked me for a lot, and ye may be certain that it is a greater challenge for me to bend my will to consent to what ye ask, than to embolden my heart to take your husband by force of arms from wherever he might have been and whatever risk it involved. And I can well say that from the moment in which I became a knight, I have never offered service and aid to a lady or damsel as much against my will as this.”
Then he and Grasandor mounted their horses, and Amadis told the lady to follow them, and they rode up to the castle.
When Oriana and Mabilia knew they had arrived, the great pleasure and joy they felt could not be told. And immediately they and all the ladies who were there came out to receive them at the entrance to the garden where they dwelled. The acts and courtesies with which Amadis and his lady received each other will be excused from recounting because, although until now as lovers they were worth mentioning, being married, they should be forgotten, although they continued to occur with true love.
Olinda the Prudent and Grasinda embraced Amadis and Grasandor, and together they all went to their chambers, which they had in the great tower that ye have heard of, for in that garden they had enjoyed great pleasure as those who loved each other with their whole hearts.
Amadis ordered that the lady be given lodging and everything she needed. And the next morning they all heard Mass with Grasinda in her chambers, and when it had been said, Arcalaus’s wife asked Amadis to fulfill his promise. He told her he considered that good. Then they all went together to the fortress where Arcalaus was held in an iron cage. After Amadis had spoken with him in the town of Lubaina when they captured him, he had never wished to see him again, nor had those ladies seen him, for they had never left their garden except for when they came out to receive King Lisuarte and to attend their own weddings.
And when they arrived, they found him dressed in a short tunic lined in fine fur from animals hunted on the island, which Sir Gandales, Amadis’ foster father, had him given for winter. He was reading a book that Gandales had sent that offered very good examples and teachings of how to handle adversities of fortune. He had a very long gray beard, and he was of large build with an ugly face that always looked enraged, and when he saw them coming, it became even more so. The ladies were very frightened to see him, especially Oriana, who remembered when he had taken her by force and Amadis had released her from the hands of Arcalaus and four other knights, as the first book of this story has told.
When they arrived, he ceased reading and stood up, and he saw his wife but said nothing. Amadis told him:
“Arcalaus, dost thou know this lady?”
“Yes, I know her,” he said.
“Art thou pleased she has come?”
“If it is for my good,” he said, “thou mayest judge. But if it bears no more fruit than it seems, it is to the contrary. I have made myself determined to suffer all ill that may come to me, and I have subjugated my heart, so unless what I see may give me hope for some rest, it will cause me greater pain.”
Amadis told him:
“If with her arrival thou art freed from this prison, ought thou to thank me for it and acknowledge it from now on?”
“If by thine own will thou sent for her to do what thou sayest,” he said, “I shall always appreciate it greatly. But if she has come without thy pleasure or knowledge and if thou hast promised her something, I cannot give thee thanks because good works that owe more to necessity than charity are not worthy of much merit. And for that I urge thee to tell me, if thou wilt, what moved her and thee to come see me with these ladies.”
Amadis told him:
“I shall tell thee the truth about everything that has happened, and I ask thee to speak in the same manner in response.”
Then he told him how his wife had by trickery asked him for a boon, and how she had asked him to release him, and all the rest of how he responded, and he did not leave anything out.
Arcalaus told him:
“However it may affect my situation, I shall tell thee the complete truth of how I feel, since thou wishest to know. In Lubaina I asked for pity and mercy from thee, and if thou wouldst have restored me to my free will, thou mayest truly believe that for my entire life I would have been obliged to thee and thou wouldst have always found in my deeds true friendship. But thou art now doing what thou does not desire but cannot avoid, and with enmity thou doest me this good deed, so I accept it and hold it in the degree it deserves, for thou wouldst consider me unworthy and of a weak heart if I gave thee thanks for what I must wish thee ill.”
“I have taken great pleasure in what thou hast said,” Amadis said, “and thou speakest the truth, for by taking thee from here thou owest me nothing, because, truly, I was determined to hold thee here for a long time, thinking this was the most appropriate way to give thee the punishment thou deservest rather than for you to do harm to many who did not deserve it. But by the promise that I gave to thy lady, I shall order thee released from this prison and set free.
“I ask one thing of thee, that although in thy heart and deeds thou dost not forgive me and shalt always treat me as the enemy that in the past thou hast always considered me, that thou forgivest all the others that never did thy harm. And do this for the Lord who, when thou wert with the least hope for liberation and I to give it to thee, thought it good to remedy thy ills, which he does with His boundless mercy for those wicked men after he has tested them, because with such lashes and fatigues He puts and end to the works that are contrary to His service.
“When they understand that, He does them good for what remains of their lives in this world and blessings and pleasure in the world to come. And if they do the contrary, He does the contrary and executes justice with the punishment they deserve and gives them no hope nor remedy to their souls after they leave their unfortunate bodies.”
Arcalaus told him:
“In what regards thee, it is clear that in no way could I wish thee well nor cease to do what ill I could to thee. Regarding the others thou speakest of, I do not know what I shall do because my habits are so established, and with all the wrong I have done, I have little hope that the Lord of whom thou speakest will give me any of His grace without merit on my part. Yet without His grace my disposition could not withstand nor weigh such a thing so hard and foreign to its desires.
“And if that were not so, I would not do it by thy counsel so that thou wouldst not win the glory that thou hast won from all others. If I have received any mercy from God, it is none other than to give thee no mercy nor a place in my heart, for when I with such humility asked thee to release me, He instead wished that it would come at thy sorrow and much against thy will, so there is nothing left that I might bear for thee.”
The ladies were very frightened to hear what Arcalaus had said to him, and they begged Amadis not to release him, because he would do greater wrong before God by causing that vile man to go free so he could freely execute his evil desires than by keeping him prisoner and going against his promise.
Amadis told them:
“My ladies, often it happens that people are corrected and reformed by great adversities, holding in their souls the mighty and firm hope and mercy of God, but others who lack that hope and mercy cause their own desperation, whereby they are condemned without remedy. And this could happen to Arcalaus if I held him here any longer, knowing that there is no way within him to be corrected and reformed by this means. I shall keep my word and promise, and I shall leave this to the Lord, Who in a moment may bring him to His holy service as He has done for many worse sinners.”
With that they ended their discussion, and on Amadis’ orders the lady was placed in the iron cage with her husband so that she could keep him company that night, and he and the ladies returned to the garden tower. The next morning he ordered Isanjo, the island’s governor, be called, and asked him to take Arcalaus and his wife from prison and give them a horse and arms, and to order Insajo’s sons with ten knights to escort him safely to wherever he would be content and his wife satisfied that what she had asked had been done. It was carried out and Isanjo’s sons went with him to his castle called Valderin, and left him there.
And as they were about to leave, he told them:
“Knights, tell Amadis that wild beasts and brute animals may be put in jails, but not knights such as myself. He should protect himself well from me, for I soon hope to avenge myself on him, even though he may have the help of that vile whore Urganda the Unrecognized.”
They told him.
“May ye soon return down this road to where ye came from.”
And with that they returned home.
Ye may believe here that this lady, Arcalaus’s wife, was very pious and fearful of God, and all her husband’s deaths and cruelties caused great sorrow and pain to her heart, and she sought forgiveness for them as best she could, and by her merits she achieved the grace to take her husband from a place where no one else in the world could have done. So a good lady and devoted wife must be highly appreciated and esteemed for often by her our Lord permits that her estate, husband, and children are protected from great danger.
As ye hear, Amadis and Grasandor were at Firm Island with great pleasure in their hearts, where soon Darioleta arrived with her husband, daughter, and her husband Bravor, which greatly increased their joy.