Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Chapter 40 [middle part]

[How a mysterious knight defeated Agrajes, Galaor, and Amadis in jousts.]

[Jousting shield from Germany from about 1450 on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.] 


Amadis, Agrajes, and Galaor were traveling, as ye hear, and soon they met a damsel. After greeting them, she said:

"Knights, where do ye go?"

"Down this road," they said.

"Then I advise you to leave this road," she said.

"Why?" Amadis said.

"Because for the past two weeks," she said, "no knight-errant has passed down it without being killed or injured."

"And from whom did they receive this harm?" Amadis said.

"From a knight who is the best in arms of any that I know," she said.

"Damsel," Agrajes said, "could ye show us this knight?"

"He will show himself to you," she said, "as soon as ye enter the forest."

So they continued on their way, with the damsel following them, looking everywhere, and when they saw nothing, they doubted her words. But when they left the forest, they saw a large and fully armed knight on a beautiful roan horse, and alongside him a squire with four lances and another in his hand. When the knight saw them, he gave an order to his squire that they could not hear. The squire put the lances in a tree, approached them and said:

"My lords, that knight sends me to tell you that he had to guard this forest from all knights-errant for two weeks, which has gone so well that he has always been the victor. And he has enjoyed jousting so well that he has stayed a day and a half extra. Now, when he wished to go, he saw you come, and he ordered me to tell you that if ye please, he will joust with you, except that the fight will end when swords become necessary, because he does poorly in that and does not enjoy it, and he does not wish to do it anymore."

As soon as the squire had said this, Agrajes put his helmet on his head and his shield on his neck and said:

"Tell him to be on guard, for he shall not lack a joust from me."

When the knight saw him charging, he charged at Agrajes, and as fast as their horses could gallop they struck their lances on each others' shields, and they broke immediately. Agrajes was knocked to the earth so easily that he was amazed and very ashamed, and his horse got loose.

Galaor, when he saw this, took up his arms to avenge him, and the knight of the forest took another lance and came at him. Neither missed in their attack, and they broke their lances. Their horses and their shields collided so hard that Galaor's horse, which was weaker and less rested, was knocked to the earth with its master on it, leaving Galaor on the ground, and the horse escaped across the field.

Amadis, who was watching, began to cross himself, then took up his arms and said:

"Now one may praise that knight against the two best knights in the world."

We went to Galaor and found him on foot with his sword in his hand, calling the knight to fight with him on his horse and Galaor on foot, but the knight laughed at him. Amadis said:

"Brother, do not complain, for he has already told us he would not fight with a sword."

Then he told the knight to be on guard. They charged each other and their lances flew through the air in pieces, and their shields and helmets struck each other such that it was amazing. Amadis and his horse were thrown to the earth, and his horse broke its back. The knight of the forest fell, but he kept the reins in his hand and remounted quickly. Amadis told him:

"Knight, we must joust again, for the fight was not finished, since we both wound up on foot."

"It does not please me to joust any more now," the knight said.

"Ye are not being reasonable," Amadis said.

"Make that joust happen when ye can," he said, "for I, as I have you told, have no further obligation."

Then he left and entered the forest as fast as his horse could gallop. Amadis and his companions watched him go, leaving them on the ground very disgraced, and they could not imagine who the knight was who had departed in full glory. Amadis mounted Gandalin's horse and said to the others:

"Mount up and ride behind me, for it shall deeply trouble me if I do find out who that knight is."

"Truly," the damsel said, "to think that ye can find him, for all that ye may try, is the greatest madness in the world, and if all the knights of the house of King Lisuarte were to look for him, they could search for a year and not find him unless someone were to guide them to him."

When they heard this, they felt angry, and Galaor, who was more irate than the others, told her:

"My dear lady, by chance do ye know who this knight is and where he can be found?"

"If I knew anything," she said, "I would not tell you, for I do not wish to anger such a good man."

"Oh, damsel," Galaor said, "by the faith that ye owe to God and by the thing that ye love most in the world, tell us what ye know of him."

"It does no good to invoke God," she said, "for ye shall not discover the anything about that good knight without something in it for me."

"Then ask what ye please of us that we can do," Amadis said, "and we shall agree to do what ye say."

"I shall tell you," she said, "if ye tell me who ye are and where I can find you when I ask for it."

They wished to find out so much that they agreed.

"In the name of God," she said, "now tell me your names."

They told her. When she heard that one was Amadis, she became very happy, and she told him:

"Thanks be to God, for I have been looking for you."

"Why?" he said.

"My lord," she said, "ye shall know when it is time, but tell me if ye remember the battle that ye promised to fight for the daughter of the King of Sobradisa when she rescued you with the lions and saved you from death."

"I remember it," he said, "and I am going there now."

"Then how do ye wish to pursue this knight," she said, "who is not as easy to find as ye think, when the time for the battle is approaching?"

"My lord brother, she is right," Galaor said. "Ye and Agrajes should go there, and I shall look for the knight with this damsel, for I shall never be happy until I find him and, if I can, I shall join you in time for the battle."

"In the name of God," Amadis said, "if that pleases you, so shall it be."

And they said to the damsel:

"Now tell us the name of the knight and where Sir Galaor shall find him."

"His name I cannot tell you," she said, "for I do not know it, although there was a time when I watched him for a month, and I saw him perform such deeds at arms that one who had not seen it could hardly believe it, but I shall guide whoever wishes to go with me to where he is headed."

"I am satisfied with that," Sir Galaor said.

"Then follow me," she said.

They commended each other to God.

Amadis and Agrajes continued on the road as they had been before, and Galaor left guided by the damsel.

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