Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Chapter 11 [final half]

How the giant brought Galaor to be armed by the hand of King Lisuarte, and how Amadis knighted him very honorably.

[Chepstow Castle on the River Wye, Wales. Construction began in 1067, making it the oldest surviving stone fortification in Britain. The barbican tower, shown here, was added in 1245. Photo by Gwyneth Box.]


At that moment, Urganda arrived as if she had heard nothing and said:

"My lord, how does this young man seem to you?"

"To me," he said, "he seems the most handsome youth I have ever seen, but he asks me a boon that is not good for him nor for me."

"And what is that?" she said.

"That I make him a knight," he said, "though he was traveling to ask King Lisuarte for it."

"Truly," Urganda said, "it would cause him more harm than good if ye failed to make him a knight. I say to him that ye shall not be relieved of the boon, and to you that ye shall do it. And I tell you that he shall put knighthood to better use than all those who are now on all the islands of the sea except for one other who is there."

"Then so be it," he said, "and in the name of God. Now we shall go to a church to maintain the vigil."

"That is not necessary," Galaor said, "for I have already heard Mass today and seen the true Body of God."

"That shall suffice," said the knight with the lions.

He put on his right spur, kissed him, and said:

"Now ye are a knight. Take the sword from whomever it most pleases you."

"Ye shall give me it," said Galaor. "I shall take it willingly from none other."

The older knight called for a squire to bring a sword he had in his hand. But Urganda said:

"Do not give him that one. Instead, give the one hanging from that tree, which shall make him much happier."

Then everyone looked at the tree, but they saw nothing. She began to laugh heartily, and she said:

"By God, for ten long years it has been there, but no one who has passed by has seen it. Now all shall see it."

They looked again, and they saw a sword hanging from a branch of the tree. It seemed very handsome, and was shining as if it had just been put there. The scabbard was richly worked in silk and gold. The knight with the lions took it and girded it on Galaor, saying:

"Such a handsome sword deserves a handsome knight, and surely ye shall not lose the affection of she who kept it for you for such a long time."

Galaor was very happy with it, and said to the knight:

"My lord, I must go someplace, and there is no way to avoid it. But I would like to be in your company more than any other knight, and if ye please, tell me where I shall find you."

"In the court of King Lisuarte," he said, "and I shall be happy to see you, for it would be wise to go there. I have only just become a knight, like you, and I have to earn my honor."

This made Galaor very happy, and he said to Urganda:

"My lady damsel, I thank you greatly for this sword that ye gave me. Think of me as your knight."

He bid them farewell, and he returned to where he had left the giant hidden on the bank of a river.

During the time that this took place, one of Galaor's damsels had spoken with one of Urganda's, and learned that the knight was Amadis of Gaul, son of King Perion. She learned that his lady Urganda had bidden him come here to get her beloved out of the castle by force of arms. Her vast knowledge of magic could not do it because the lady of the castle, who was also wise in that art, held her beloved enchanted, and she did not fear Urganda's skills. There within the castle, they had tried to magically shield themselves against the force of arms, a charm that the knight with the lion insignia defeated when he crossed the bridge, as ye have heard told. Urganda's beloved, who was held there, had been brought by the niece of the lady of the castle, the damsel who almost drowned herself, as ye heard.

Urganda and the knight spend part of the day talking there, and she told him:

"Good knight, do you not know whom ye knighted?"

"No," he said.

"It is wise that ye know, for he and you share the same heart, and if ye were to meet him and not recognize him, it would be a great misfortune. Know that he is the son of your father and mother, and he is the one that the giant took when he was two and a half years old. Now, as ye have seen, he is grown and handsome. Out of love for you and him I kept that sword for him for such a long time. I tell you that with it, he will have the best commencement of knighthood ever made in Great Britain."

Amadis's eyes filled with tears of joy and he said:

"Oh, my lady, tell me where I shall find him!"

"Now is not the time to look for him," she said. "He still must do what has been ordained."

"Shall I see him soon?"

"Yes," she said, "but it will not be as easy to know him as ye think."

He ceased to ask about him. She and her beloved went on their way, and Amadis with his squire went on another road, intending to go to Windsor, where King Lisuarte was at the time.

Galaor arrived where the giant was and told him:

"Father, I am a knight, praise be to God and to the good knight who did it."

The giant said:

"Son, I am very glad of it, and I ask a favor of you."

"I shall do it willingly," he said, "as long as it does not keep me from going forth to earn honor."

"Son," he said, "in fact, if it pleases God, this will be a great achievement for it."

"Then ask and I shall do it," he said.

"Son," he said, "from time to time ye have heard me say how the giant Albadan treasonously killed my father and took the Rock of Galtares, which ought to be mine. I ask you to set it right for me. No one else can do it for me, and remember the upbringing I gave you and how I would put my body in the path of death for your love."

"Ye need not ask this favor from me," Galaor said. "Instead, I would ask you to grant me this battle. When it is done, if I survive, I am prepared to do all else that would serve your honor and advantage, until with this life I pay the great debt that I owe you. Let us go there now."

"In the name of God," said the giant.

Then they began to travel toward the Rock of Galtares, and they had not gone far before they met Urganda the Unrecognized. They greeted each other courteously, and she said to Galaor:

"Do ye know who made you a knight?"

"Yes," he said, "the best knight I have ever heard of."

"That is true," she said, "and he is better than ye think, but I want you to know who he is."

Then she called Gandalaz the giant, and said:

"Gandalaz, dost thou not know that this knight whom thou hast raised is the son of King Perion and Queen Elisena, and because of what I said to thee, thou hast taken and reared?"

"It is true," he said. Then he said to Galaor:

"My beloved son, know that he who made ye knight is your brother and is two years older than you, and when ye meet him, honor him as the best knight in the world and try to be like him in spirit and good will."

"Is it true?" Galaor said. "King Perion is my father and the Queen my mother, and I am the brother of such a fine knight?"

"Without a doubt," she said, "it is true."

"Thanks be to God," he said. "Now I tell you that I am more worried than before and my life is in greater danger, since it behooves me to be that which ye have said, damsel, so that they and all others shall believe it."

Urganda bid them farewell, and the giant and Galaor continued to travel as they were before. Galaor asked the giant who that wise damsel was, and he answered that it was Urganda the Unrecognized, who was called that because she often transformed and could not be recognized.

They arrived at a riverbank, and, because of the heat, they decided to rest there in a tent that they put up. Soon they saw a damsel coming down the road, and then another on a different road, and they met near the tent. When they saw the giant, they wanted to flee, but Sir Galaor ran to them and made them turn back, offering assurances. He asked them where they were going. One of them said:

"I have been sent by my lady to watch an amazing battle in which a lone knight will fight the mighty giant of the Rock of Galtares, and to bring back news about it."

The other damsel said:

"I am amazed by what ye say, that there is a knight so mad as to dare such a feat, and although I am traveling elsewhere, I want to go with you to see something that insane."

They were about to leave, but Galaor told them:

"Damsels, ye ought not go, for we are also going to see this battle. Go in our company."

They agreed, and they were very pleased to see him so handsome and dressed as a new knight, which made him look even better. They all ate and rested. Galaor took the giant aside and said:

"Father, I would prefer that ye stay behind when I go to the battle. Without you I will get there faster."

He said this so the damsels would not know that he was the one who was going to fight and would not suspect that he had the spirit to try such a thing. The giant agreed against his will.

Galaor put on his armor and got on the road, along with both damsels and three squires that the giant ordered to go with him and who carried weapons and everything that was necessary. He traveled until he was two leagues from the Rock of Galtares, where they spent the night in the house of a hermit.

Galaor learned the good man was ordained, and he made his confession to him. And when he said that he was going to enter into that battle, the priest was frightened and said:

"Who has made ye so mad as to do that? In this entire region there are not ten knights that would dare to do it, because the giant is so brave and frightening and merciless. And ye are too young to put yourself in such danger and to lose your body and even your soul, for those who knowingly put themselves in the path of death when they could avoid it, kill themselves."

"Father," Sir Galaor said, "God may do His will with me, but I would not avoid the battle by any means."

The hermit began to weep, and said to him:

"Son, may God give you help and strength, since this is what ye wish to do, and it pleases me to find that you are living faithfully."

Galaor asked him to pray to God for him. There they spent the night, and the next day, having heard Mass, Galaor put on his armor and went to the Rock, and when he arrived, he saw that it was very tall with many high towers, which made the castle seem marvelously beautiful. The damsels asked Galaor if he knew the knight who was going to fight. He told them:

"I believe I have seen him." Galaor asked the damsel who had been sent by her lady to see the battle if she had been told who it was.

"That can only be known by the knight who will fight."

And as they spoke, they arrived at the castle. Its gate was shut. Galaor called, and two men appeared over the door, and he told them:

"Tell Albaban that Gandalaz's knight is here and comes to fight him, and if he tarries, no man shall leave or enter whom I shall not kill if I can."

The men laughed and said:

"Thy rancor will not last long, because either thou shalt leave, or thou shalt lose thy head."

They went to talk to the giant, and the damsels came up to Galaor and said:

"Dear sir, are you the champion in this battle?"

"Yes," he said.

"Oh, my Lord!" they said. "May God help you and let ye conclude this with honor. What a great feat ye undertake! May fate be with you, but we do not dare to wait here for the giant."

"My dears, fear not and watch what ye came to see, or go back to the house of the hermit, where I shall go if I do not die here."

One of them said:

"Whatever happens, no matter now bad, I want to watch what I came for."

Then they backed away from the castle and hid themselves in the edge of a forest, where they were ready to flee if things went poorly for the knight.

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