Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Chapter 31 [last half]

[How Amadis kept his promise both to Angriote and to the woman Angriote loved.]

[The calendar page for January from Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, a book of hours created in France in the 1400s.]


The next morning, the King dressed in his most regal outfit, as was fit for the day, called for the crown that the knight had left him, and ordered the Queen to wear the cloak. The Queen opened the chest where they were stored using the key that she always kept with her, but she found nothing inside. She was shocked and began to cross herself. She sent word to the King, and when he heard it, he felt troubled, but he did not show it nor let anyone know. He went to the Queen, took her aside, and said:

"Madam, how could ye have so badly protected something so important for a day like today?"

"My lord," she said, "I do not know what to say except that I found the chest locked and only I had the key, for I trusted no one with it. But I tell you that last night a damsel seemed to have come and told me to show her the chest, and, as if in a dream, I did. She asked me to give her the key, and I did. She opened the chest and took out the cloak and the crown, then locked it again and put the key where it had been before. She put on the cloak and placed the crown on her head, and she seemed so fine in it that I enjoyed looking at her. She told me, 'Five days from now these shall belong to the man and woman who shall reign in the land that a great power now strives to defend in addition to conquering other lands.' I asked her, 'Who is that?' And she told me, 'At that time ye shall know." And she disappeared from in front of me, taking the crown and the cloak. But I tell you that I cannot understand if this happened to me in a dream or in reality."

The King was astonished and said:

"Let us leave this now, and speak of it to no one."

They both left the tent and went to another accompanied by so many knights, ladies, and damsels that anyone who saw it would have marveled. The King sat on a very beautiful chair and the Queen on one a bit lower, both placed on a platform covered by golden cloth. The knights were placed on the King's side, and the ladies and damsels on the Queen's. Closest to the King were the four knights that he esteemed the most. One was Amadis and the others Galaor, Agrajes, Galvanes the Landless. Behind them was Arban, King of North Wales, fully armed with his sword in hand, along with two hundred other armed knights.

Then, when all were silent and no one spoke, a beautiful and richly-dressed lady stood up, and twelve ladies and damsels stood up with her, all dressed like her, for high-born ladies and noblemen had the custom of bringing their people to such festivities as well-dressed as they themselves were. The beautiful lady went before the King and Queen with her retinue and said:

"My lords, hear me out as I tell you of the obligation I have with a knight who is here."

She pointed to Amadis and began to speak:

"For a long time, I was entreated by Angriote d'Estravaus, who is present here," and she told everything that had happened with him, and why she had made him guard the valley with the pine trees. "And it happened that a knight named Amadis made him leave the valley by armed force. They tell me that they became friends, and Amadis promised to do all in his power so that Angriote would have me. I put guards at my castle at with orders that no unknown knight could enter."

She explained the custom of the castle, as this tale has already recounted. Then she said:

"My lord, a knight was able to get past all those guards that I have told you about, and that knight is here at your feet."

By that she meant Amadis, but she did not know who he was.

"And after this knight had entered my castle, he promised me that he would gladly free Amadis from his promise to Angriote using all his honest power, whether by armed force or by some other means, and then after making that promise, this knight fought in my castle with my uncle, who is here."

She told then why they had fought, and what happened. Many people looked at Garsinan, whom they had not noticed earlier, when they heard that he had dared to fight with Amadis. Then the lady told how the battle had ended and how her uncle was defeated and was at the point of losing his life, and how she had asked the knight for the boon of not killing him.

"And, my lords," she said, "he stopped, due to my request, provided that I come to the first court that ye called, and he would say there what boon he would ask of me. To comply, I have come here to this court, which is the first, and before you I ask him to keep his word, as he promised me, and I shall do what he asks if in any way I can."

Amadis then rose and said:

"My lord, the lady has told the truth about our promises, just as it happened, and before you I swear that I shall free Amadis from what he promised Angriote, and she must give me the boon that she promised."

The lady was made very happy by that and said:

"Now ask for what ye want."

Amadis told her:

"What I want is that ye marry Angriote and love him as he loves you."

"Holy Mary, save me!" she said. "What is this that ye say?"

"My good lady," Amadis said, "I tell you to marry the kind of man that a beautiful and high-born lady such as yourself ought to wed."

"Oh, knight," she said, "is this how ye keep your promise?"

"I promised nothing to you that I will not keep," he said, "since what I promised to do is to free Amadis of the promise he made to Angriote. That is what I am doing, for I am Amadis, and I am giving Angriote the boon that I owe him, and thus I keep what I said to you and to him."

The lady was amazed and said to the King:

"My lord, is it true that this good knight is Amadis?"

"Beyond a doubt, he is," the King said.

"Oh, pitiful me," she said, "how I was fooled! Now I see that neither by prudence nor by cunning can anyone avoid the things that please God. I tried as hard as I could do be rid of Angriote, not because I despise him nor because I failed to understand that he in his great valor was worthy to be my lord, but because my aim was to live free of all ties and in complete chastity. When I did the most to be rid of him, then I found myself closer then ever, as ye see."

The King said:

"May God help me, my dear, ye ought to be happy with this situation, for ye are beautiful and of great means, and he is a handsome young knight. And if ye are rich in material goods, he is rich in goodness and virtue, both at arms and in all ways that a noble knight ought to be. So it seems to me that for you to wed him and he to wed you would be very proper, and I think that many in this court would agree."

The lady said:

"And ye, Queen and my lady, as the woman to whom God gave to most prudence and goodness in the world, what do ye say to me?

"I tell you," she said, "that as Angriote is praised and esteemed as one of the best, he deserves to be the lord of great lands and loved by any lady whom he loves."

Amadis told her:

"My good lady, do not think that I made my promise to Angriote by accident or out of friendship, for if I had, I ought to be known more for madness and frivolity instead of virtue. But I came to know of his skill at arms, which cost me dearly to learn, and of the great love that he had for you, and I believed that not just I but all those who know him ought to try to remedy both his great passion for you and your little understanding of him."

"Truly, my lord," she said, "ye have such nobility that ye would not say anything but the truth before so many good people. And since I hold ye so well, as I do the King and Queen my lords, I would be mad not to accept him even if he had no bond over me. By rights I cannot do otherwise. Now see me here and do with me as ye will."

Amadis took her by the hand, called Angriote, and told him in front of the fifteen knights from his family who had come with him:

"My friend, I promised that I would bring you your beloved by any and all means. Tell me if this is she."

"This is my lady," he said, "and I am hers."

"Then I give you her," Amadis said, "and I ask that ye wed, and that ye honor her and love her above all other women in the world."

"Truly, my lord," Angriote said, "I shall do this fully."

The King ordered the Bishop of Salerna to take them to the chapel and give them the blessings of the Holy Church, and so Angriote and the lady and all the members of their families went with the Bishop to the town, where they were solemnly wed.

And we can say that not men but God acted. He saw that Angriote treated the lady with great restraint, for when he had her in his power he would do nothing against her will, even though he could have had what he wanted most in the world. Instead, Angriote put himself in great danger at her command, and Amadis brought him very close to death. God wished that such great willpower, having submitted itself out of love to thoughtlessness, would not fail to receive the reward that it deserved.

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