Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Chapter 25

How Galaor avenged the death of the knight whom they had found wrongly killed at the tree at the crossroads.
[Statues of Margrave Ekkehard II and his wife, Uta, at the Naumburg Cathedral, Germany, carved in the 13th century. Photo by Linsengericht.]


They gave Galaor a horse and he left with the damsels. They traveled until they came to a forest, where they saw a fortress on a very high rocky peak. The damsels told him:

"My lord, there ye must avenge the knight."

"Let us go there," he said, "and tell me the name of he who killed him."


At that, they arrived at the castle and saw the gate closed. Galaor called, and an armed man appeared above the gate, who said:

"What do ye wish?"

"To enter here," Galaor said.

"This gate," the other knight said, "is only for those who leave."

"Well, where shall I enter?"

"I will show ye," the other said, "but I fear I shall do so in vain and ye will not dare to enter."

"May God help me," Galaor said, "I already want to be inside."

"Now we shall see if your bravery is equal to your desire," he said. "Dismount and go on foot to that tower."

Galaor gave the horse to the damsels and went where he had told. Soon he saw that knight and a bigger one, well armed, on top of the tower, and they began to unwind a winch and lowered a large basket tied by stout rope. They said:

"Knight, if ye wish to enter here, this is the way."

"If I get into the basket," Galaor said, "will ye pull me up safely?"

"Yes, truthfully," they said, "but after that, we make no promises."

So he got into the basket and said:

"Well, pull, for I take you at your word."

They began to pull him up, and the damsels who were watching said:

"Oh, good knight! God protect thee from treachery, for truly great courage lies in thy heart!"

Thus the knights pulled Galaor to the top, and when he was up there, he jumped quickly from the basket to join the knights on the tower. They said:

"Knight, ye must swear to help the lord of this castle against those who seek him for the death of Antebon, or ye shall not leave here."

"Is one of you he who killed him?" Galaor asked.

"Why do ye ask?" they said.

"Because I would have him know the great treachery that he committed."

"Are you mad?" the knights said. "Ye are in our power and ye threaten him? Well, now ye shall pay for your madness."

They put their hands on their swords and came at him angrily. Galaor took his sword in his hand, and they struck great blows on each other's helmets and shields. The two knights had courage, and Galaor, seeing himself in danger, tried to bring them death.

The damsels below heard the blows, and they said:

"Oh, God, what can be happening to the good knight that he is already in combat?"

And one of them said:

"Let us not part from here until we see how this ends."

Galaor fought so bravely that he put great fear into the knights. He ran at one and hit him with all his strength on top of his helmet. The sword reached his head and entered two fingers deep into it. He pulled his sword back and knocked the knight to his knees on the ground. Then he began to strike fierce blows, and despite the attacks from the other knight, he did not stop until he had killed him.

Then he turned to the other, who saw that he was alone and tried to flee. But Galaor pursued him, grabbed the edge of his shield, pulled so hard that he knocked him down at his feet, and gave him such blows with his sword that no surgeon could have saved him.

When this was done, he put his sword in its scabbard, threw the knights from the tower, and asked the damsels to see if one of them was Palingues. They said:

"My lord, they are too battered to recognize, but we are sure that neither of them is him."

Then Galaor went down a stairway in the tower. He entered a hall and saw a beautiful damsel who was saying:

"Palingues, why dost thou flee if thou wert courageous enough to kill my father in battle as thou hast said? See to this knight who is coming."

Galaor looked and saw a fully armed knight who was trying to open to the door to another tower but could not, and by the words of the beautiful damsel, knew he was as the one whom he sought. He felt pleased and said:

"Palingues, thou shouldst not flee nor take courage, for even if thou dost, thou shalt find no escape."

Then Galaor charged at him, and the other knight, who had no choice, turned to attack, and struck a great blow on the edge of Galaor's shield, but the sword sunk a palm deep and could not be withdrawn. Galaor struck him on the right arm, which was unprotected, and cut the sleeve of his hauberk, and his arm at the elbow, and it landed on the ground.

Palingues tried to flee into a chamber but fell as he crossed the threshold. Galaor grabbed him by the leg and dragged him back, pulled off his helmet and struck him with his sword, saying:

"Take that for the treachery thou didst to kill Antebon."

And he split his head down to his teeth. Then Galaor put the sword in its scabbard, and the beautiful damsel, who heard these words, came to him and said:

"Oh, good knight, may God give thee a life of honor, for thou hast avenged my father and the violence that was done to me."

Galaor took her by the hand and said:

"Surely, my lovely dear, it would truly be shameful to cause sorrow to someone of such seemly beauty, and may God help me, ye much more deserve to be served than troubled." He added, "My dear lady, are there any others in this castle whom I should fear?"

"My lord," she said, "only servants remain here, and they will all be at your disposition."

"Well," he said, "let us go and let in the two damsels that your mother ordered to guide me here."

Then he took her by the hand, and when they arrived at the gate of the castle, they opened it and found the damsels waiting, and one of them brought his horse. They had them enter, and when they had dismounted, they embraced their lady with great happiness and asked her if the death of her father had been avenged.

"Yes," she said, "by the grace of God and the good knight who avenged him, something one else could have done."

Then they went together to were Galaor was, who had by then removed his shield and helmet, and when they saw how young and how handsome he was, they were amazed. The damsel whom he had helped felt more tenderly toward him than anyone else she had ever seen, and embraced him, saying:

"My dear lord, I owe you more love than any other person, and would very much like to know, if it pleases you, who ye are."

"I was born in the same land as your father," he said.

"Then tell me your name."

"They call me Sir Galaor," he said.

"Thanks be to God," she said, "that the knight who avenged my father is you, for he often spoke of you and another good knight, your brother Amadis, and he said ye were sons of the King of Gaul, whose vassal he was."

At this point the two damsels went to search through the castle with other women to find them something to eat, leaving Sir Galaor and the damsel, who was named Brandueta, alone, conversing as ye have heard, and as she was very beautiful and he was eager for such sustenance, before the meal was brought and the table set, together they unmade a bed that was in the hall where they were and made the damsel a woman, which she had not been before, satisfying their desires, which had grown great during the brief time they had spent gazing at one another in the flourishing beauty of youth.

When the table was set and everything ready, Galaor and the damsel entered the courtyard, and under a tree that was there, they were served a meal. Brandueta told how Palingues had placed many guards at that castle out of fear that he and his brother Amadis would be most likely to avenge Antebon's death, since her father was also born in Gaul.

Afterwards, they rested with contentment, but Brandueta was anxious to leave the castle and go to see her mother. Galaor thought well of that and agreed to leave soon, although it was already late, so they mounted their palfreys. They took to the road and arrived at the house of the lady, her mother, two hours after nightfall. Because one of the damsels had ridden ahead, the lady already knew everything that had happened, so she and all the other residents of the castle, men and women, were waiting in the courtyard where Antebon lay dead, and cheered loudly because his death had been avenged so fully and honorably.

Galaor dismounted into the arms of the lady, who said:

"My lord knight, this castle is yours, and we shall do all that ye command."

Then she had him disarm and brought him to a rich chamber where there was a bed with beautiful bedding. There he remained that night, much to his pleasure, because Brandueta believed that leaving him alone would not be in keeping with the great honors that he deserved. When she saw that the time was right, she went to him, and at times sleeping and other times talking and enjoying themselves, they were together until nearly dawn, when she returned to her bed.

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