Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chapter 22

About how Amadis left the lady's castle, and what happened to him on the road.

[Sohail Castle, Fuengirola, Spain. This polygonal fortress stands on a small hill on the Mediterranean coast. A fort has stood there since the Phoenician era to protect the nearby town, but the current construction was built over an earlier Roman fortress and dates back to Moorish times. It was repeatedly attacked by the pirate Hayreddin Barbarossa in the 1500s and was sieged in 1810 during the War of Independence against Napoleonic troops. Photo by Cindy Van Vreede.]


Amadis said goodbye to the lady and the girl, went on his way, and rode without finding adventure until he came to a forest called Angaduza. The dwarf was riding ahead, and a knight and damsel were coming down the road towards them. When they neared the dwarf, the knight took his sword in hand and charged at him to cut off his head. The dwarf, in fear, let himself fall from his nag and said:

"Help me, my lord! They want to kill me!"

Amadis, who had seen it, galloped forward and said:

"What is this, my lord knight? Why do you want to kill my dwarf? You act without courtesy to strike such a poor thing. Besides, he is mine, and ye have not asked me for the right to do so. Do not lay a hand on him, for I must protect him from you."

"I am sorry ye must protect him," the knight said, "but it still falls on me to cut off his head."

"First ye must do battle," Amadis said.

They took up their arms, raised their shields, and came at each other as fast as their horses could gallop. Their lances struck each others' shields so hard that the shields failed along with their chain mail, and their bodies and helmets and horses collided. Both knights and horses fell, crashing in different directions.

But immediately they got on their feet and began to fight with swords, with such cruelty and might that anyone who saw it would have been terrified, as they themselves were, for never before had they encountered an opponent who put his own life in such peril. And so they continued attacking each other with great slashing blows for much of the day until their shields were shredded and cut in many places, as were their coats of chain mail, which by then offered them little protection. Their swords had encountered many opportunities to strike and find flesh, and their helmets had been cut and dented everywhere.

They had become very tired, and they pulled back. The knight said to Amadis:

"Knight, do not suffer any more on account of this dwarf. Let me do to him what I wish, and then I shall compensate you for him."

"Do not speak of that," Amadis said, "for I shall protect the dwarf in every way possible."

"Then, truly," the knight said, "either I shall die or the damsel who asked for his head shall have it."

"And I tell you," Amadis said, "that one of our heads will be lost first."

He took up his shield and sword and attacked again with great anger because the knight arrogantly and senselessly wanted to kill the dwarf, who had done nothing to deserve it. But if Amadis was brave, the other never flagged. Instead, he proved himself to be very valiant, and they exchanged great blows and tried to show each other their might and courage; thus each expected nothing for himself but death. Though the other knight was seriously injured, he could still fight Amadis with great strength.

While they were in perilous battle, as ye hear, by chance a fully armed knight approached the damsel, and when he saw the fight, he began to cross himself, saying that he had never in his life seen such a fearsome confrontation between two knights. He asked the damsel if she knew who those knight were.

"Yes," she said, "for I brought them together, and I can only leave here happy, since it would please me if either one of them were to die, and much more if they both did."

"Surely, damsel," the knight said, "that is not a good desire nor a pleasure. Instead one should pray to God for two such good men. But tell me why ye despise them so."

"I shall tell you," the damsel said. "The one with the shield more intact is the man who more than any other in the world who despises Arcalaus, my uncle, and whose death Arcalaus desires more than any other. The man he is fighting is named Galaor, and he killed the man whom I loved most in the world. Galaor owed me a boon, and I made sure to ask for something that would bring him death. Since I knew the other knight is the best in the world, I asked for the head of that dwarf. And so this Galaor, a very strong knight, must give it to me, and the other must defend it. They are both close to death, and which gives me glory and pleasure."

When the knight heard this, he said:

"Cursed be the woman who with such treason sought to make the two best knights in the world die!"

He took his sword from its scabbard and give her such a blow on her neck that her head fell at the feet of her palfrey. He said:

"Take this reward for thy Uncle Arcalaus, who put me into a cruel prison and from which that good knight rescued me!"

Then as fast as his horse could gallop, he went shouting:

"Stay, my lord Amadis, for this is your brother, Sir Galaor, whom ye have sought!"

When Amadis heard this, he let his sword and shield fall to the ground and ran towards Galaor, saying:

"Oh, brother, may blessings come to he who made us know each other!"

Galaor said:

"Oh, wretched and ill-fated me! What have I done to my brother and my lord?"

He knelt before him, weeping, and begged for forgiveness. Amadis raised him up, embraced him, and said:

"My brother, the danger ye put me in was well employed, for it was testimony to the test I put to your skill and ability at arms."

Then they took off their helmets and rested, which they badly needed. The knight told them what the damsel had said and how he had killed her.

"May ye be blessed," Galaor said, "for now I am free from her boon."

"Truly, my lord," the dwarf said, "it pleases me even more that ye have been released from that boon. I am also puzzled that she despised me, for I had never seen her before."

Galaor told them what had happened with her and her lover, as ye have already heard, and the knight said:

"My lords, ye are badly wounded. I beg you to ride with me to my castle, which is nearby, and recover from your injuries."

"God give you blessings for what ye have done for us," Amadis said.

"Surely, my lord, I consider myself blessed to serve you, for you took me from the most cruel and vicious prison than any man has ever suffered."

"Where was that?" Amadis said.

"My lord," he said, "in the castle of Arcalaus the Sorcerer, for I am one of the many who escaped there at your hand."

"What is your name?" Amadis said.

"They call me Balais," he said, "and since my castle is Carsante, I am Balais of Carsante. And I beg you, my lord, to come with me."

Sir Galaor said:

"Let us go with this knight who esteems us so highly."

"Let us go, brother," Amadis said, "since it pleases you."

Then they rode as best they could and arrived at the castle, where they found knights and ladies and damsels who received them with great acclaim. Balais told them:

"My friends, ye see that I bring the height of knighthood of all the world. This one is Amadis, who took me out of that awful prison. The other is his brother, Sir Galaor. And I found them at such a moment that if God in His mercy had not led me that way, one of them would have died, or perhaps both. Serve them and honor them as ye should."

Then they helped them off their horses and took them to a chamber, where they were disarmed and put into fine beds. There they were healed by two nieces of Balais's wife, who knew much about that ministry. The lady, their aunt, came to Amadis and very humbly thanked him for what he had done for her husband by rescuing him from Arcalaus's prison.

While they were there, as ye hear, Amadis told Galaor how he had left the court of King Lisuarte to look for him, and how he had promised to bring him back. He asked him to come with him, for in the whole world there was no royal court more honorable nor one where so many good men stayed.

"My lord brother," Sir Galaor said, "all that which pleases you I must follow and do, although I have to say that I thought I ought not make myself known there until my deeds gave testimony in some measure resembling your own, or I should die in the attempt."

"Truly, brother," Amadis said, "do not hold back for that. Your fame there is already such that mine, if anything, is being eclipsed by it."

"Oh, my lord," Galaor said, "by God, do not say something so mad, for not only in deeds but in wisdom I could not approach or equal your great might!"

"Let us set this aside now," Amadis said, "for in your deeds and in mine, next to the great skill of our father, rightly there should be no difference."

And then he ordered his dwarf to leave immediately for the court of King Lisuarte, there to kiss the hands of the Queen on his behalf and tell her that he had found Galaor and as soon as their wounds were healed, they would come there. The dwarf obeyed the order of his lord and got on the road to Windsor, where the King was at that time, well attended by all his knights.

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