Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Chapter 41 [first half]

How Sir Galaor traveled with the damsel in search of the knight who had knocked him from his horse. Finally until he managed to fight with him, but in the most heated moment of the battle he learned he was his brother Florestan.

[Full Moon over Tourrette-Levens Castle near Nice, France. NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day photo by Poalo Tanga, Observatoire de la Cote d'Azur.] 

Sir Galaor traveled for four days guided by the damsel who was going to take him to the knight of the forest. During those days a great ire grew in his heart, so that with every knight he fought, he demonstrated full ill will, and most of them were killed by his hands, paying with their lives for something that they did not even know about. At the end of those days he arrived at the house of a knight who lived in a beautiful castle on a summit in a valley. The damsel said that there was no where else to lodge, so they should go there.

"We will go if ye wish," Sir Galaor said.

So they went to the castle, and at the gate they found men and ladies and damsels, and it seemed to be the home of a nobleman. Among them was a knight fully seventy years old, dressed in a cape of scarlet leather, who received them very well and told Sir Galaor to dismount from his horse, for he would gladly give him much honor and pleasure.

"My lord," Sir Galaor said, "ye welcome us so well that even if we were to find another place to lodge, we would not leave yours."

His men took his horse and the damsel's palfrey, and they all entered the castle, where Sir Galaor and his damsel dined in a hall with every honor. When the tablecloths were removed, the knight of the castle came to them and asked Sir Galaor quietly if he would sleep with the damsel, and he said no. Then he had two damsels come to take her with them, and Galaor remained alone to rest and sleep in a rich bed that was there.

His host told him:

"May you rest well, for God knows how much pleasure I have had with you and would have with all knights-errant, because I was a knight, as are my two sons. They are now badly injured, because their custom was none other than to seek adventure, and in many of them they gained great fame at arms. But last night a knight passed by here who knocked them both down in combat, which left them very shamed. They mounted their horses to chase him and caught up with him at the edge of a river where he was getting onto a boat. They told him that since they now knew how he jousted, they would continue the fight with swords. The knight, who was in a hurry, did not wish to do so, but my sons insisted, saying they would not let him get onto the boat.

"A lady who was in the boat told them:

" 'Truly knights, ye are disrespectful of us to delay our knight with such arrogance.'

"They said that they would not stop by any means until he had proven himself to them with swords.

" 'Then so it shall be,' she said. 'Now he shall fight the better of you two, and if he wins, the other shall cede.'

"They said that if he defeated one of them, he would still have to fight the other. The knight, very angrily, then said:

" 'Let both of you come right now, for I cannot get away from you otherwise.'

"He put his hand on his sword and went at them, and one of my sons went at him, but my son could not hold his own in the fight, for the knight was like none he had ever seen. When his brother saw him in danger of death, he wanted to help and attacked the knight as bravely as he could, but his help meant little, and the knight was done with both of them quickly. He left them both lying on the field stunned, got onto his boat, and went on his way.

"I went for my sons, who had been left badly injured, and so that ye may better believe what I have said, I wish to show you the worst and most disdainful blows ever given by the hand of a knight."

Then he ordered that his son's arms from the battle be brought, and Galaor saw them stained with blood and cut by great blows from a sword, and he was amazed. He asked the good man what the knight's shield was, and he said:

"A vermillion shield with two leopards on it, the same as his helmet, and he rode on a roan horse."

Sir Galaor knew then that this was the man he sought, and he said to his host:

"Do ye know anything about this knight?"

"No," he said.

"Well, ye may go to bed now," Galaor said, "for I am looking for this knight, and if I find him, I shall set him right for myself and for your sons, or I shall die."

"My friend and lord," the host said, "I shall praise you if ye took up another search and abandoned this very dangerous one, for if my two sons fared so badly, it was due to their great arrogance." Then he went to his room.

Sir Galaor slept until morning, asked for his arms, and with his damsel returned to the road. They reached the boat of which ye have heard, and when they had gone five leagues further, and they saw a beautiful fortress. The damsel said:

"Wait for me here, and I shall return shortly."

She went to the castle, and he did not wait long before he saw her return. Another damsel came with her and ten men on horseback, and the damsel was marvelously beautiful. She said to Galaor:

"Knight, this damsel with whom ye travel tells me that ye seek a knight with a vermillion shield with leopards on it in order to find out who he is. I tell you that not even by force of arms has anyone been able to find out for the past three years, and it will be very hard for you to do this as well, for truly in all the islands ye shall not find a knight like him."

"Damsel," Galaor said, "I shall not cease to look for him, no matter how well he hides his identity, and if I find him, I will be pleased to fight him if there is no other way to learn who he is."

"Since that is how ye feel," the damsel said, "I shall show him to you three days from here out of the love that I have for my cousin, who has been guiding you and who has begged me to do so."

"I owe you a great favor," said Sir Galaor.

They took to the road and by vespers they had arrived at an arm of the sea that surrounded a nearby island, and they would have to sail over the water three leagues to reach it. They got onto a boat that they found in the port, but first they had to swear that among those who were boarding there was only one knight. Sir Galaor asked the damsel why they had to make that vow.

"Because," she said, "the lady of the island where ye are going has ordered that only one knight may pass until the other returns or is dead."

"Who kills them or defeats them?" Sir Galaor said.

"The knight ye are seeking," she said. "This lady of whom I have spoken loves him dearly and has had him with her for half a year. A tournament had been established by her and by another very beautiful lady, and this knight, who came from a foreign land, defeated everyone in it all by himself. She was so taken by him that she did not rest until he had become her lover, and she has kept him with her and does not let him leave, but because he has wanted to leave several times to look for adventure, in order to keep him, she allows knights that wish to fight him to pass to the island. He gives their arms and horses to his lover, and those who have had the ill fortune to die are buried and those who are defeated are expelled. And I tell you that the lady is very beautiful and is named Corisanda, and the island Gravisanda."

Sir Galaor said:

"Do ye know why this knight was in a forest when I found him? He had been there for fifteen days challenging all the knights-errant that he encountered."

"Yes," the damsel said, "for he had promised a boon to a damsel before he came here, and she asked him to guard that forest for fifteen days, as ye have said. And his lover, though much against her desires, gave him the space of one month to go and guard the forest, then return."

As they were speaking, they arrived at the island. It was now night, and the moon shone bright. They disembarked and spent the night alongside a small river, where the damsels ordered tents to be erected, and there they ate and rested until morning. Galaor wanted to spend the night with the damsel, who was very beautiful, but she did not, although he seemed to be the most handsome knight she had ever seen and she took great pleasure in talking with him.

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