Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Chapter 15 [final half]

[How Galaor rescues a damsel in distress and, as ye shall see, again does that which cannot be written of in detail without great shame. He is so unlike his brother.]

[Suit of armor, Segovia Castle. Photo by Sue Burke.]


After Sir Galaor had gotten away from the armed men of the Duke of Bristol, where the dwarf had caused him so much trouble, he traveled through a forest called Arnida until almost vespers without knowing where he was or finding a town. At vespers he met a noble squire who rode a handsome workhorse. The knight Galaor was suffering from a large and terrible wound that had been caused by one of the three knights whom the dwarf had brought to the boat, and it had grown much worse since he had done his will with the damsel. He said:

"Good squire, can ye tell me where I could be treated for a wound?"

"I know a place," said the squire, "but those like you do not dare to go there, and if they do, they leave disgraced."

"Leave that be," he said. "Can someone there treat my wound?"

"I think that instead," the squire said, "ye would find someone there who would cause you more injuries."

"Show me where it is," Galaor said, "and I will see what ye want to frighten me with."

"I will not do it if I do not want to," he said.

"Or thou shalt show me," Galaor said, "or I will make thee show me, for thou art such a villein that anything done to thee would be deserved."

"Ye can do nothing that would make me do anything to please such a bad and ignoble knight," he said.

Galaor put his hand on his sword to frighten him and said:

"Or thou shalt guide me or thou shalt leave thy head here."

"I will guide you to where your madness shall be punished," said the squire, "and I will be avenged for what ye have done to me."

Then he went along the road and Galaor followed behind him off the road, and when they had traveled a league, they arrived at a handsome fortress in a forested valley.

"Ye see here the place I told you of," the squire said. "Let me go."

"Go," he said. "I am not at all fond of thy company."

"Ye shall be less fond of it soon," he said.

Galaor went toward the fortress and saw that it had been recently built. When he came to the door, he saw a well-armed knight on his horse and five foot soldiers equally well armed, and they said to Galaor:

"Are ye the one who brought our squire as a prisoner?"

"I do not know who your squire is," he said, "but I made a squire take me here who was the worst and the lowest that I have ever met in my life."

"That could well be him," the knight said. "But ye, what do ye wish here?"

"My lord," Galaor said, "I suffer from a bad wound, and I would wish to get care for it."

"Then enter," the knight said.

Galaor went forward, and the foot solders attacked on one side and the knight on the other. A villein came for Galaor, who took the battle ax from his hand, turned toward the knight, and gave him so fierce a blow with it that no doctor could have saved him. He attacked the foot soldiers and managed to kill three of them. The other two fled for the castle, with Galaor behind them, but his squire said:

"My lord, take your arms, because I hear a great uprising in the castle."

He did that, while the squire took the shield and an ax from one of the dead and said:

"My lord, I will help you against the villeins, but I cannot lay a hand on a knight, for I would lose forever the chance to become one."

Galaor told him:

"If I find the good knight that I seek, soon I will make thee a knight."

Then they went forward and saw two knights and ten foot soldiers coming toward them, and the two that were fleeing turned around. From a window, the squire who had guided Galaor was shouting:

"Kill him, kill him, but keep the horse and it will be mine!"

When Galaor heard this, he grew angry and charged at them, and them at him. They broke their lances, but there was no need to take arms any longer against the one whom Galaor had struck. He turned toward the other, sword in hand, infuriated, and with the first blow knocked him from his horse. He quickly turned toward the foot soldiers and saw that his squire had killed two of them. He told him:

"Kill them all, they are traitors."

Thus they did, and none escaped. When the squire in the window saw this, he ran and climbed a great staircase toward a tower, shouting:

"My lord, arm yourself. If not, ye are dead."

Galaor went toward the tower, but before he arrived, he saw a knight coming from it, fully armed, and at the foot of the tower they had a horse for him to ride. Galaor, who had dismounted because his horse could not enter beneath a low doorway, came to him, took the reins and said:

"Knight, do not ride, for I do not know if I can trust you."

The knight turned his face to him and said:

"Are ye the one who has killed my cousins and the men of my castle?"

"I do not know of whom ye speak," Galaor said, "but I tell you that I have found here the worst and most false people that I have ever seen."

"By good faith," said the knight, "the one whom ye killed is better than you, and ye shall pay dearly for it."

Then they came at each other on foot and fought hard, for the knight of the castle was skilled, and no one who saw it would not have marveled. They continued attacking each other for some time until the knight, who could no longer suffer the mighty and powerful blows from Galaor, began to flee, with Galaor in pursuit. The knight ran under a doorway, thinking to jump onto a parapet walk, but due to the weight of the armor, he could not jump to where he meant and fell onto some stones from such a height that he was broken to pieces.

Galaor, who saw him fall, turned back, cursing the castle and its inhabitants. As he stood, he heard a woman shouting from a chamber:

"My lord, have mercy! Do not leave me here!"

Galaor went to the door and said:

"Open it."

And she said:

"My lord, I cannot. I am imprisoned in chains."

Galaor kicked the door, knocked it down, entered, and found a beautiful lady who had a heavy chain around her neck. She said:

"My lord, what has happened to the lord of the castle and its other people?"

He said:

"They are all dead." And he said he had come there looking for someone who could treat a wound.

"I will treat you," she said. "Take me from this prison."

Galaor broke the lock and took the lady from the chamber, but first she took two small boxes from an chest where the lord of the castle kept things to treat wounds, and they went to the portal of the castle. There Galaor found the first knight whom he had fought, still moving, so he trampled him with his horse several times, and they left the castle.

Galaor looked at the lady and saw that she was wondrously beautiful, and said to her:

"My lady, I freed you from prison, and I shall fall into one if ye do not help me."

"I shall help in any way ye order," she said, "and if I can do anything else for you, it would be poor thanks not to, for ye took me out of a horrible tribulation."

With these amorous motives and will, and with the guile of Sir Galaor and the lady, which by good fortune they both found agreeable, they set to work at that which cannot be put into writing without great shame. Finally, that night they dwelt in the forest with some hunters in their tents, and there the lady treated the injury and the great desire that he had shown.

She told him that she was the daughter of Lelois of Flanders, to whom King Lisuarte had given County Clare; and of a lady whom he had had as a lover.

"And while I with my mother in a convent near here," she said, "that arrogant knight whom ye killed asked for me in matrimony, and because my father turned him down, he waited until one day when I was relaxing with some other damsels. He took me and brought me to his castle, where he put me in that cruel prison and told me:

" 'Ye rejected me in marriage, and my fame and honor was greatly diminished by you. I tell you that ye shall not leave here until your mother and you and your family beg me to take you as my wife.' "

"And I, who despised him more than anyone else in the world, decided it would better to remain there suffering for some time, confident in the mercy of God, than to be forever married to him."

"Well, my lady," Galaor said, "what shall I do with you? I have a long way to travel and much to do, and it would be vexing for you to wait for me."

"Take me to the convent where my mother is," she said.

"Guide me," he said, "and I shall follow you."

Then they got on the road and arrived at the convent before the sun had set, where both the damsel and Galaor were received with joy, and even more after the damsel told them of the amazing feats of arms that he had done. There Galaor rested at the request of those ladies.

The author ceases to tell of this and turns to speak of Agrajes, and of what happened to him after he left the war in Gaul.

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