Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Chapter 33 [final half]

[How Galaor did what Amadis could not and thus saved them both from Lady Madasima's prison.]

[The interior of the prison known as the Ambassador's Tower or Tower of Inscriptions at Yedikule Castle, Istanbul. Built by the Ottomans, it held foreign emissaries who fell out of favor with the sultans. They often scratched their names and last words on the walls of their tiny cells before their execution. Photo by Sue Burke.]


I tell you that at that moment, Amadis wished he were dead, not because of the pain he was in, for he knew better than anyone how to endure such a thing, but because of the agreement that the lady wanted them to make. If he did not do it, he might soon be put where he could never see his lady Oriana, but if he did it, he would have to be parted from her all the same because he could not live in the household of her father. And so he went so lost in thought that he forgot all else in the world.

The old knight who had rescued him thought that he was suffering because of his injury, and that troubled him greatly, because the damsel who had brought them there said he was the most valiant and daring knight at arms the world had ever known. The damsel was his daughter and she had begged him by God and by mercy to try to protect them from death, or everyone would hold her guilty of treachery. And she said he was Amadis of Gaul and the other was Galaor, his brother, the giant-killer.

The knight knew full well why they had been brought there, and it hurt him to see them treated that way, being such great knights at arms. He wished to save them from death if he could, but death was close at hand.

He approached Amadis and said:

"Does your injury hurt you badly? How are ye?"

When Amadis heard the knight speak, he raised his face and saw that it was the old knight who had protected him when the other knights had wanted to kill him. He said:

"My friend and lord, no wound can hurt me, instead I am hurt by a damsel who led us to such betrayal. She came asking for help, and she did us great treachery."

"Ah, my lord," the knight said, "it is true that ye were betrayed, and by chance I know more about you than ye think. And may God help me and keep me from harm, I would make amends if there were a way to do so! I wish to give you some advice that would be good to take and will do you no harm: if they were to find out who ye are, there is nothing for you but death, and nothing in the world could help you escape it. Instead do this: Ye are very handsome and well-built, and the lady will have heard that ye are the best knight in the world. Ask her to marry or win her love some other way, for she is the kind of woman who does as her heart pleases. Either by your skill or by your handsomeness, which is extreme, ye can achieve one of those two things. And if she wishes to grant it, make it happen soon, for she will no doubt send a messenger to find out who ye are tonight from where we are going to sleep. I also want to tell you that in truth the damsel who led you here has not wished to tell her, denying that she knows, for this way and with my help, ye might be freed."

Amadis, who feared his lady Oriana more than death, told the knight:

"My friend, God may do His will with me. But what ye suggest shall never be, even if the lady were to beg me and by it I were released."

"Truly," the knight said, "I am amazed by that, for ye are at the point of death and ye will not try anything to escape it."

"I would not take such an escape if God wished it," Amadis said. "But speak to this other knight, whom with more right than me ye can praise."

The knight then went to Galaor and told him what he had told his brother, and Galaor was very happy to hear it. He said:

"My lord knight, if ye were to arrange it so I could ride alongside the lady, we shall always be at your honor and command."

"Let me go and speak with her now," the knight said, "and I will think of some way to do it."

Then he rode forward, and when he reached the lady, he said:

"My lady, ye have two prisoners here but ye do not know who they are."

"Why do ye say that?" she said.

"Because ye now have the best knight at arms that I know of and the most accomplished in all ways."

"Would he be Amadis," she said, "whom I so much want to kill?"

"No, my lady," the knight said. "I only say that because this man coming toward us, besides his great skill, is the most handsome young knight I have ever seen. Ye foolishly dislike him, which is vile, since however he may have come to be a prisoner, he never deserved it from you, and ye despise him over someone else. Honor him and show him your good side, and it could be that he will bring you pleasure sooner than any by other way."

"Then I shall wait for him," she said, "and I will see what kind of man he is."

"Ye shall see," the knight said, "that he is one of the most handsome knights that ye have ever seen."

At this time Amadis came to Galaor and said:

"Brother Galaor, I see that ye are angry and in danger of death. I beg you to take my advice this time."

"I shall do it," he said, "and may God give you more humility than fear."

The lady turned her palfrey and looked at Galaor and saw him better than she had at night, and he seemed the most handsome man in the world. She said:

"Knight, how goes it for you?"

"Lady," he said, "it is not going as it would for you if ye were in my power the way I am in yours now, because I would give you much service and pleasure. I do not know why ye are doing the complete contrary to me, for I do not deserve it from you, and I would rather be your knight. I would serve you and love you as my lady and not be put into prison, which will bring ye so little good."

The lady looked at him and felt taken by him more than by any other man she had ever seen or met, and she said:

"Knight, if I were to take you as a friend and release you from imprisonment, would ye leave the company of King Lisuarte and tell him that ye do so for me?"

"Yes," Galaor said, "and I would do anything ye ask. And my companion would do the same, for he will do whatever I order."

"That makes me very happy, and now agree to say so in front of all those knights, and I shall agree to do immediately what ye ask and free you and your companion from imprisonment."

"I am very content," Galaor said.

"Then I want it all to be agreed in front of a lady where we are going to lodge," she said, "and if ye promise not to leave, I shall have your hands untied and ye shall ride free."

Galaor called Amadis and told him to agree not to leave the lady. He did so. She immediately ordered their hands untied. Galaor said:

"Also order our squires to be freed, for they shall not leave us."

And so they were freed, and they were given a palfrey without a saddle to ride.

Thus Galaor spent the entire day talking with Madasima. At sunset they arrived at a castle called Abies where the lady received them very well, for there was much love between the two women. Madasima said:

"Galaor, do ye wish to fulfill the agreement that we have made?"

"I will gladly do so," he said, "and ye should fulfill that which ye promised."

"In the name of God," the lady said.

Then she called the lady of the castle and her two sons who were knights, and she told them:

"I want ye to witness an agreement that I will make with these knights." And she said about Sir Galaor: "This knight is my prisoner and I wish to make him my friend, along with his companion. I have made this pact with them: they shall leave King Lisuarte and tell him that they do it for me, and I shall release them and set them free. Ye and your sons shall be with them before King Lisuarte and see that they fulfill it, and if not, ye shall proclaim and publish what happened so that all shall know. I give them ten days to do it."

"My good friend," said the lady of the castle, "I shall be pleased to do as ye say as soon as they agree to it."

"We agree," said Sir Galaor, "and may this lady fulfill what she has promised."

"I shall do that at once," she said.

And it was as ye hear. And that night Sir Galaor was conjoined with Madasima, who was very beautiful and rich, and a noblewoman, but easier to acquire than she should have been, and she was more taken by him than by any other man she had ever seen.

The next morning she ordered them given their horses and arms, and released them, and she continued on to Gantasi, which was the name of her castle. They took the road to London, where King Lisuarte was, very happy to have escaped from that betrayal, and they thought they could be exempted from their promise with honor. That night they lodged with a hermit, where they ate a very humble supper, and the next day they continued on their journey.

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