Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Chapter 10

[Detail of St. Eulàlia Cathedral, Barcelona. Construction was begun in 1298 by King Jaume II. Photo by kdburke.]


How the Childe of the Sea was recognized by his father, King Perion, and by his mother, Elisena.
In the beginning, this story told how King Perion gave Queen Elisena, his lover, one of the two rings that he wore on his hand, each so like the other that no difference could be found between them; and how, when the Childe of the Sea was launched into the river in the ark, he wore that ring from his neck; and how later it was given to him with the sword by his foster-father Gandales. King Perion had asked the Queen several times about the ring, and she, ashamed to have him know what she had done with it, told him she had lost it.

Thus it happened that the Childe of the Sea was passing through a hall, speaking with a damsel, when he saw Milicia, daughter of the King, and the little girl was crying. He asked her what had happened. The girl said:

"My lord, I lost a ring that the King gave me to keep while he slept."

"Well," he said, "I shall give you another one, as good or better, to give him."

Then he took a ring from his finger and give it to her. She said:

"This is the one I lost."

"It is not," he said.

"In that case it is the ring most like it in all the world," the little girl said.

"Then it is even better to give him this one instead of another," said the Childe of the Sea.

He left her and went with the damsel to his room, where he lay down to sleep in one bed and she in the other bed that was there for her. The King awoke and asked his daughter for the ring, and she give her the one she had. He put it on his finger, believing that it was his, but then he saw the one she had lost laying at the end of the room. He picked it up, compared them, and saw that it was the one that he had given to the Queen. He said to the girl:

"What happened with this ring?"

She was afraid of him, and said:

"By God, my lord, I lost yours, and the Childe of the Sea came by here, and when he saw that I was crying, he gave me this one that he had, and I thought it was yours."

The King suspected that the great kindness of the Childe of the Sea, along with his surpassing handsomeness, had given the Queen improper thoughts. He took his sword, entered the Queen's room, shut the door, and said:

"My lady, ye always denied ye had the ring I gave you, and the Childe of the Sea just gave it to Milicia. How could it be that ye see it here? Tell me how he got it, and if ye lie, ye shall pay for it with your head."

The Queen, seeing how angry he was, fell at his feet and said:

"My lord, by God, have mercy! Ye suspect me wrongly. Now I shall tell you my sorrow that up until here I have kept from you."

Then she began to sob and strike her face with her hands as she told him how she had thrown their son in the river, along with his sword and that ring.

"By Holy Mary!" the King said. "I think he is our son!"

The Queen raised up her hands and said:

"May it so please the Lord of the world!"

"Let us go now, ye and I," said the King, "and ask him about his lineage."

Then they went alone to the room where he was, and found him sleeping peacefully, and the Queen could do nothing but weep over the King's unfounded suspicions of her. But the King picked up the sword that had been placed at the head of the bed, looked at it, and knew immediately that it was the one with which he had given many true blows. He said to the Queen:

"By God, I know this sword well, and now I believe what ye said more than ever."

"Oh, my lord," she said, "let us not allow him to sleep any longer, for my heart aches too much."

And then she went to him, took his hand, tugged him a little toward her, and said:

"My beloved lord, help me with my sorrow and suffering."

He awoke, saw her weeping hard, and said:

"My lady, what is this that ye suffer? If I can do anything to help you, tell me, and I will give my life to complete your orders."

"My dear," said the Queen, "help us by giving us your word about whose son ye are."

"May God help me," he said, "but I do not know. I was found, by great good fortune, in the sea."

The Queen fell dazed at his feet. He knelt before her and said:

"Oh, God, what is this?"

She said, weeping:

"Son, thou seest here thy father and mother."

When he heard this, he said:

"Holy Mary, what could this be that I hear?"

The Queen took him in her arms, turned and said:

"This is what God in his mercy has granted, son. He has let us remedy the error I made in fear. My son, I was the bad mother who threw you into the sea. Ye see here the King that engendered you."

The Childe knelt and kissed their hands, weeping many tears of joy, and thanked God for having rescued him from so many dangers in order, in the end, to give him such honor and good fortune to have this father and mother. The Queen told him:

"Son, do ye know if you have another name?"

"My lady, yes, I know," he said. "When I left the battle, that damsel gave me a letter covered with wax that I wore when I was thrown into the sea, and it says to call myself Amadis."

Then, taking it from beneath his shirt, he gave it to them and they saw what Darioleta herself had written by her own hand. The Queen said:

"My beloved son, when this letter was written I was deep in suffering and pain, and now I am in complete comfort and joy. Blessed be God! From here forward call yourself by this name."

"So I shall," he said.

And he was called Amadis, and in many other places Amadis of Gaul. The pleasure that his cousin Agrajes took this news, and that of everyone else in the kingdom, need not be told. Whenever lost children are found, however depraved and debauched they may be, their parents and family receive them with consolation and joy. Then imagine how it could be with him, who was a clear and shining paragon for all the world to see.

And so, leaving aside any further recounting of this, let us tell what happened next. The damsel of Denmark said:

"Amadis, my lord, I wish to go with this good news, which will give my lady great pleasure. Stay and give joy and happiness to those eyes that for your love have shed many tears.

Tears came to his eyes and streamed down his face, and he said:

"My friend, go commended to God, and I commend my life to you. May ye have mercy on me, but from my lady I would not dare to ask it, since she has already given me this great gift. I will be there to serve her soon bearing arms with an insignia like that which I carried in the battle with King Abies. Ye may know me by them, if there is no other way to recognize me."

Agrajes also said goodbye to him, and told him that the damsel for whom he had taken the head of Galpano to avenge her dishonor, had carried a message to him from Olinda, her lady, daughter of King Vavayn of Norway, to go see him immediately. He had won her love while he and his uncle, Sir Galvanes, were in that kingdom. Sir Galvanes was brother of his father, and since he had no other inheritance than a single poor castle, they called him Ganvales Lackland. Agrajes said:

"My lord cousin, I would rather remain your company more than anything else, but my heart is so troubled that it will let me do nothing other than go to see her. Near or far, I am always in her power. But I want to know where I can find you when I return."

"My lord," Amadis said, "I think ye should find me in the court if King Lisuarte. They tell me chivalry is practiced better there than under any other king or emperor in the world. I beg you to commend me to your father the King and your mother, and they and ye may count on me in your service for having raised me so well."

Then Agrajes bid farewell to the King and to the Queen, his aunt, and he rode off with his party, accompanied by the King and Amadis to do him honor. As they left gate of the town, they met a damsel, who took the King's horse by the reins and told him:

"Remember, King, what a damsel said to thee, that when thou recoverest thy loss, the dominion of Ireland would lose its glory. See if she had told the truth, for thou hast recovered that son whom thou hadst lost and brave King Abies has died, who was the glory of Ireland. And I tell thee more, that Ireland shall never recover its glory under any lord until the arrival of the good brother of a lady, who arrogantly and by force of arms shall cause tribute to arrive from another land. He shall die at the hand of a man who himself shall be killed by the one who he most loves. This is Morlote of Ireland, brother of the Queen of Ireland. He kills Tristan of Leonis over the tribute demanded by his uncle, King Mark of Cornwall. And Tristan dies due to Queen Isolde, who is the person he loved most in the world. I was sent to tell thee this by Urganda, my lady."

Amadis told her:

"Damsel, tell your lady that the knight to whom she gave the lance commends himself to her, and now I see the truth in what she said, that with it I would liberate the house from which I first left, for I freed my father the King when he was at the point of death."

The damsel went on her way, then Agrajes bade farewell to the King and Amadis and went on his way, which is how we shall leave him until later.

King Perion ordered the court to meet so that all might see his son Amadis. They held many feasts and games in honor and in service of him, the lord whom God had given them, for they hoped to live in great honor and peace with Amadis and his father. There Amadis learned about the giant who had taken away his brother, Sir Galaor, and he pledged to strive to find out what happened to him and to take him back by force of arms or by any other means necessary.

Many things were done in that court, and many and grand were the gifts that the King gave, which would be too many to recount here. When they were done, Amadis spoke with his father, saying that he wished to go to Great Britain, and since the King had no need of him, asked for his permission to go. The King and the Queen tried hard to keep him, but there was no way to do it. The great ache for his lady never left him and allowed him no other obedience than to she who had subjugated his heart.

Amadis took with him only Gandalin and new arms to replace those that King Abies had cut to pieces in the battle. He left and traveled until he reached the sea, where he got on a ship and went to Great Britain, and took port at a good town named Bristol. There he learned that King Lisuarte was in one of his towns, Windsor; that he was very powerful and had a force of good knights; and that all the other kings of the islands obeyed him.

He left for Windsor and was not long on the road before he met a damsel who said to him:

"Is this the road to Bristol?"

"Yes," he said.

"By chance, do ye know if I might find there a ship that is traveling to Gaul?"

"Why are ye going there?" he said.

"I am going to ask about a good knight, son of the King of Gaul, named Amadis, who only recently met his father."

He was amazed and said:

"Damsel, from whom do ye know about this?"

"From she from whom nothing can be hidden, and who knew about his lineage before both he and his father did, for she is Urganda the Unrecognized. She has great need of him because only by him and by none other can she recover the man she desires."

"Merciful God," he said. "She from whom all need so much has need of me. Know, damsel, that I am he for whom ye ask. Let us go now wherever ye wish."

"Why, are ye the one I seek?" she said.

"I am without doubt," he said.

"Then follow me," the damsel said, "and I will take you to where my lady is."

Amadis left the road he was on, and entered the one that the damsel led him down.


  1. Ah, how great a pleasure to see him recover his name at last!

  2. Typo: I think ye should find me in the court if King Lisuarte.

    Should be "the court of King Lisuarte."

  3. Thanks, Anonymous. I'll make a note of that.