Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Chapter 24 [first half]

How Amadis, Galaor, and Balais decided to go to King Lisuarte, and the adventures that happened to them on the way.

[The tomb of William de Valance the Younger, who died in 1282, in Dorchester Abbey, Dorchester-on-Thames, England. Photo by Sean McLachlan, http://midlistwriter.blogspot.com ]


Amadis and Galaor remained in the house of Balais of Carsante until their wounds were healed, then they decided to leave for the court of King Lisuarte before they became involved in other adventures. Balais greatly wished to be at that court, especially since he had met two knights such as these, so he asked them to take him with them, which they willingly granted.

The three heard Mass, armed themselves, and took the most direct road to Windsor, where the King was. They traveled so fast that within five days they arrived at a crossroads where there was large tree, and they saw below it a dead knight on a rich bier. A candle burned at his feet and another at his head, and they were made so that no wind, no matter how strong, could have blown them out.

The knight was fully armed and not covered by a sheet. He had many blows on his head, and a piece of iron lance had pierced his throat and come out of the back of his neck. Both his hands were placed on it, as if he wished to pull it out.

They were astonished to see the knight like that and wanted to ask about him, but they saw no one and nothing around them where they could find out. Amadis said:

"Not without great cause would this knight be dead here this way, and if we wait, some adventure will come along soon."

Galaor said:

"I swear by the faith that I have as a knight to remain here until I know who this knight is and why he was killed, and to avenge him if reason and justice demand it."

Amadis, who dearly wished to continue on the road to see his lady, to whom he had promised to return as soon as he had found Galaor, felt distressed to hear this, and he said:

"Brother, what you have promised troubles me greatly, for I fear that ye will be detained here for some time."

"It is done," Galaor said.

He got off his horse and stood next to the bier, as did the other two so as not to leave him alone. This was sometime between the ninth hour and vespers. As they looked at the knight, Amadis said that he must have reached with his hands to remove the piece of lance while he was still breathing, and his hands had remained there.

They had not waited long before they saw a knight and two squires coming down one of the roads. One squire had a damsel sitting in front of him on his horse, and the other carried the knight's shield and helmet. The damsel was sobbing, and the knight struck her on the head with his lance, which he carried in his hand.

As they passed the bier where the dead knight lay, the damsel saw the three companions, and she said:

"Oh, good knight who hath come to lie there in death! If thou wert alive, thou wouldst not let them take me this way, instead thou wouldst place thy body in the face of any danger. The deaths of these three would be worth more than thine alone!"

The knight struck her even more angrily with the shaft of his lance, and blood ran down her face. They passed by so quickly it was amazing.

"Now I say to you," Amadis said, "that I have never seen a knight as vile as this to injure a damsel that way. God willing, I shall not let this violence continue." He said, "Galaor, brother, if I do not return soon, go to Windsor, and I shall come when I can. Balais will keep you company."

Then he mounted his horse, took up his arms, and said to Gandalin:

"Ride after me."

And he galloped after the knight, who had already gotten far ahead. Galaor and Balais waited there until nightfall. Then a fully armed knight came down the road that Amadis had taken, groaning over an injury to his leg, and he said to Galaor and Balais:

"Do ye know who the knight who is that went galloping down this road?"

"Why do ye ask?" they said.

"Because I wish him a bad death," he said. "He rides so bravely that it seems that all the devils ride with him."

"What brave act did he do to you?" Sir Galaor said.

"He did not wish to tell me where he went so fiercely," he said. "I took his horse by the reins and I told him to either tell me or fight with me. He angrily told me that if I did not let him go, it would take him longer to tell me than to free himself from me by battle. He drew back and we charged at each other, and he struck me so hard that he threw me and my horse on the ground and left my leg as ye see it."

They began to laugh, and Sir Galaor said:

"Next time it would be better to suffer not knowing what another man is doing than to demand an answer against his will."

"What!" the knight said. "Ye laugh at me? Truely, I shall make you less willing."

And he went to where the horses were and slashed Galaor's on its face with his sword, which made it rear up and break its reins. It fled into the fields. The knight wished to do the same to Balais's horse, but he and Galaor took their lances, ran at him, and stopped him.

The knight left, saying:

"If I did anything wrong to the knight, I paid for it, and so ye paid for laughing at me."

"May God not help me," Balais said, "if ye do not give up your horse for the one that ye let loose."

Immediately he mounted his horse and told Galaor that he would return the next day, if fate did not prevent it.

"Go with God," he said.

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