Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Chapter 16 [first half]

Which deals with what Agrajes saw after he came from the war in Gaul and some of the other things that he did.

[The "Chaucer" astrolabe, dated 1326, at the British Museum, used for astronomy, astrology, timekeeping, surveying, and navigation.]


Agrajes left the war in Gaul after Amadis had killed King Abies of Ireland in battle and come to know his father and mother, as has been told to you. He prepared to sail to Norway, where his lady Olinda was.

One day, he went hunting in the hills of a rocky peak at the seacoast, when suddenly a hailstorm with high winds struck with special fierceness at sea, making it rough and wild. He saw a ship being knocked from side to side by the force of the waves, and it was in peril of sinking. He felt great compassion, and since night was coming, he had large fires lit so they could signal salvation for the people in the ship and thus guide them from danger. He watched to see what would happen.

Finally, due to the force of the winds, the skill of the seamen, and above all the mercy of the true Lord, the ship that had many times seemed lost was safely brought to port. Agrajes, from one of the peaks, shouted to his hunters to lend every aid the damsels, terrified by their perils, who were being taken off the ship. He had them sent to some cottages nearby where he was lodging.

The ship's crew was taken and placed in the houses, and after they had eaten around some large fires that Agrajes ordered to be set, they fell into deep sleep. At the same time, the damsels had been placed in his own chambers so they would received better service and honors, but he had not yet seen them. But once the crew had been made secure, as a young knight, he wished to see the women, more to serve them than to make his heart subject to someone other than to whom it already was.

He looked through the doors of the chamber to see what they were doing, and he saw them sitting around a fire speaking with much joy about their rescue from danger, and recognized one of them as the beautiful Princess Olinda, his lady, daughter of the King of Norway. In the kingdom of his father as well as hers, and in other places, he had performed many feats at arms, but his heart, which had been free, had become subject with such force to her that his strength was broken by suffering and affliction. Infinite tears came to his eyes.

Shaken by the sight, he imagined the great danger that she had been in and how he had might have lost her, and almost out of his senses, he said:

"Oh, holy Mary, protect me! This is the lady of my heart!"

She heard this, and not suspecting who it was, sent one of her damsels to see who had said it. When she opened the door, she saw Agrajes there, transported by joy, and he told her who he was. She told her lady, who was no less joyful. She ordered him to enter, where, after many acts of love between them, satisfying their deep desires, that night passed with great pleasure and joy to their spirits.

The travelers spent six days resting until the sea was calmed, and Agrajes spent all those days with his lady without anyone knowing it except her damsels. He learned that Olinda was going to Great Britain to live in the court of King Lisuarte with Queen Brisena, sent by her father. He said that he had been traveling to Norway, where she had been, but since God had given him such good fortune, his journey would instead go to where she would be so he could serve her and see his cousin Amadis, whom he expect to find there. She thanked him greatly for this, and asked and ordered him to do so.

After this was arranged, at the end of those six days, when the sea was so calm that there was no danger to set sail, the damsels said goodbye to Agrajes and took to the sea. They traveled without difficulty and came to Great Britain, where they disembarked and then went to the town of Windsor, where King Lisuarte was. Olinda was well received by him, the Queen, her daughter, and all the other ladies and damsels, for they considered her to be of a high lineage and extraordinary beauty.

Agrajes remained at the seashore watching the ship in which his very beloved lady was traveling, and when it was lost from sight, he left for Briantes, the town where his father, King Languines, was. There he found his uncle Sir Galvanes the Landless and told him it would be wise to go to the court of King Lisuarte, where so many good knights lived, because they could better win honor and fame there than anywhere else. They were wasting time in Scotland, where they could not exercise their hearts except against men with little esteem at arms.

Sir Galvanes was a good knight who wished to earn honor and was not impeded by territories to govern because he possessed only a single castle, and it seemed advisable to him to follow the plan his nephew Agrajes had suggested. They bid goodbye to King Languines and set sail, taking only their arms, horses, and squires.

The brisk winds made them arrive quickly in Great Britain at a town called Bristol. They left it and got on a road through a forest, and on the other side, they met a damsel who asked them if they knew which road went to the Rock of Galtares.

"No," they said.

"But why do ye ask?" Agrajes said.

"I want to see if I can find a good knight there," she said. "He can remedy a great distress that I suffer."

"Ye are in error," Agrajes said. "At that rock ye speak of ye will find no knight, only that fierce giant Albadan, and if ye are already suffer distress, his evil deeds will double it."

"If ye knew what I do, ye would not turn away thinking it an error," she said. "The knight I seek fought with that giant one-on-one and killed him."

"Why, damsel," he said, "ye speak of wonders! No knight would take on any giant, especially that one, who is the most fierce and feared in all the islands in the sea. Only King Abies of Ireland fought against a giant. He was armed and the giant unarmed, and he killed him, and even still everyone took it as the world's greatest folly."

"My lords," the damsel said, "but this knight that I speak of was able to do it as a proper knight."

Then she told them how the battle went, and they were amazed. Agrajes asked the damsel if she knew the name of the knight who had attempted such a daring deed.

"Yes, I know it," she said.

"Then I beg ye to tell us it out of courtesy," Agrajes said.

"I tell you," she said, "that his name was Sir Galaor, and he is the son of the King of Gaul."

Agrajes trembled and said:

"Oh, damsel, ye tell me news that makes me happier than anyone else in the world, for I have learned about the cousin whom I thought more likely dead than alive!"

Then he told Sir Galvanes what he knew about Galaor, how he had been taken by a giant and how until that moment he had heard no news about him at all.

"Surely," Galvanes said, "his and his brother's lives have been nothing other than amazing, as well as their first acts of arms, so much so that I doubt if their equals could be found in the world."

Agrajes told the damsel:

"My friend, what do ye want from this knight that ye seek?"

"My lord," she said, "I would want him to help a damsel who is held prisoner on his account. A traitorous dwarf, the most false creature in the world, has had her taken."

Then she told them everything that happened to Galaor with the dwarf as it has already been told, except that she told them nothing about what happened with his lover Aldeva.

"And, my lords, because the damsel does not wish to do what the dwarf says, the Duke of Bristol has ordered that she shall be burned in here in ten days, and this is a great concern to the other ladies because the damsel, out of dear of death, might condemn one of them, saying that she took Galaor there for that end. And of the ten days, four have passed."

"If that is the situation," Agrajes said, "go no further, for we shall do what Galaor would do. If he cannot be here in person, his will shall be done. Now guide us in the name of God."

The damsel turned on the road toward where she had come, and they followed her. They arrived at the house of the Duke the day before the damsel would be burned, and at the hour when the Duke had sat down to eat. They dismounted and, armed as they were, went to where he was. The Duke greeted them, and they him, and he invited them to eat.

"My lord," they said, "First we will tell you why we have come."

And Sir Galvanes told him:

"Duke, ye are keeping a damsel prisoner because of false and vile words that a dwarf told you, and we sincerely beg you to release her, for ye have no fault in this. If it is necessary to fight over this, we will defend her against any two knights who wish to answer the call."

"Ye have said a lot," the Duke said.

He called for the dwarf, and told him:

"How dost thou respond to what these knights say, that thou wouldst falsely have me burn a damsel and that they would fight for her? I tell thee that thou shouldst have someone to support thee."

"My lord," the dwarf said, "I have someone who shall prove that I spoke the truth."

Then he called a knight, his nephew, who was strong and healthy and seemed to have no family resemblance to him, and the dwarf told him:

"Nephew, I need you to support me against these knights."

The nephew said:

"Knights, what did ye say against this loyal dwarf who suffered great dishonor from the knight the damsel brought here? Perhaps one of ye are that knight? I swear to you that he did harm to the dwarf and that the damsel should die, because she brought that knight to the chambers of the Duke."

Agrajes, who had become very annoyed, said:

"Certainly, he is not one of us, although we might wish to emulate his deeds, nor did he do harm. I will fight you at once. And of the damsel, I say that she must not die, and the dwarf was not honest about either of them."

"Then let us fight right now," said the dwarf's nephew.

He called for his arms, put them on, and mounted a good horse, and said to Agrajes:

"Knight, now it seems God has sent you, the one whom the damsel brought here, so I may make you pay for your misdeeds."

The Duke stopped eating, went with them, and took them in a field where jousts were usually fought. He told them:

"The damsel whom I hold prisoner I do not place in trial in this combat, for the harm the dwarf suffered is not her doing."

"My lord," Agrajes said, "ye shall burn her for what the dwarf said, and I say that he told you lies, and if I defeat this knight, who fights for him, by rights ye must give her to us."

"I have told you already," the Duke said, "and I will do no more." He left the field.

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