How Amadis, with his brothers and his cousin Agrajes, began traveling to where King Lisuarte was, and how they happened to go to the enchanted Firm Island to test their fate, and what happened to them there.
[Garden of the Sultan Queen in the Generalife Palace, which is alongside the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. Photo by Cindy Van Vreede.]
Amadis, his brothers, and his cousin Agrajes were with the new Queen Briolanja in the kingdom of Sobradisa, where they were very honored by her and well served by everyone in the realm. But Amadis thought always of his lady Oriana and her great beauty, which caused him anguish, trouble, and a tormented heart. His tears fell sleeping and awake, and although he tried to hide them, they were manifest to all, but no one knew why and made of them what they would, and because the cause was so important, he guarded his secret all the more carefully, as one who kept all things of virtue within his heart.
But finally his troubled heart could no longer stand to suffer such sorrow, and, with permission from the very beautiful Queen, and he and his companions set out for the place where King Lisuarte was believed to be, not without great sorrow and anguish from she who loved Amadis more than she loved herself.
After they had traveled several days, eager to arrive, Fortune was pleased to make the trip longer than Amadis had wanted or expected, as ye shall now hear.
They encountered a hermitage in the road, and as they entered it to pray, they saw a beautiful damsel who had just left with two other damsels and four squires who were serving her. She waited in the road for the knights, and when they came out, she asked them where they were going. Amadis told her:
"Damsel, we are going to the house of King Lisuarte, and if ye wish to go there, we shall accompany you."
"I thank you very much," she said, "but I am going elsewhere, and because I saw that ye travel armed like knights who seek adventure, I thought to wait and ask if some of you wish to go to Firm Island to see its amazing marvels, for I am going there, and I am the daughter of the current governor of the island."
"Why Holy Mary!" said Amadis. "By God, many times I have heard about the marvels of that island, and I have promised to go there, but until now I have not had the opportunity."
"My good lord, do not feel sad for being slow," she said, "for many others have had this desire, and when they got there, they did not leave as happily as they had arrived."
"That is true," he said, "according to what I have heard. But tell me, would it add much to our journey if we were to go there?"
"It would add two days," she said. "Firm Island is alongside the seacoast here."
"Is that where the enchanted arch of the true lovers is, which no man nor woman can enter if they have erred from their first love?"
"It is, for certain," the damsel said, "and so are many other marvelous things."
"Then," Amadis said to his companions, "I do not know what ye shall do, but I wish to go with this damsel and see the things on that island."
She told him:
"If ye are such a loyal lover that ye can pass below the enchanted arch, there ye shall see the beautiful statues of Apolidon and Grimanesa, and ye shall find your name written on a stone along with only two others, although it has been a hundred years since the enchantment was cast."
"May ye go with God," Agrajes said, "I wish to see if I can be the third."
Amadis, who felt in his heart nothing less than hope for achieving that fate, said to his brothers:
"We are not in love, but we ought to protect our cousin, who is, and with an exuberant heart."
"In the name of God," they said, "and may it please Him that it goes well."
Then the four rode together with the damsel toward Firm Island. Sir Florestan said to Amadis:
"My lord, how do ye know about the island? Though I have traveled in many lands, I have heard nothing about it until now."
"I heard about it," Amadis said, "from a young knight whom I love greatly, who is Arban, King of North Wales, who has proven himself in many adventures. He had been on this island for four days, and he tried to pass the tests and wonders that are there, but he could not succeed in any, and he left there greatly ashamed. But this damsel can tell you about them, for she lives there and she says she is the daughter of its governor."
Sir Florestan said to the damsel:
"My dear lady, I beg you, by the faith ye owe to God, that ye tell me everything ye know about that island, for the length of the journey will give us enough time."
"I shall do this gladly, as I learned it from those who remembered it."
Then she told the entire history that has been related to you, leaving nothing out, which not only amazed the knights to hear about such wonders but made them very eager to test themselves, as those whose strong hearts are never satisfied except when they achieve what others have failed to do, hoping for success and fearing no danger.
So, as ye hear, they rode until sunset, when they entered a valley and saw tents set up in a meadow and people alongside them relaxing. Among them was a richly dressed knight who seemed to be in charge. The damsel said:
"My good lords, there ye see my father, and I wish to go to him so that he shall do you honor."
Then she left them and told him to seek her four companions. He came on foot with his company to receive them, and after greetings, asked them to disarm in a tent, and said that the next day they would arrive at the castle and could try their fates. That seemed good to them, and so they disarmed, ate, and felt very well served, and rested that night.
The next morning, they went with the governor and his men to the castle, which controlled the entire island and was in fact the entrance to the island, and which was an arrow-flight wide and attached to the mainland. The rest was surrounded by the sea, although the island was seven leagues long and five wide. And so it was an island, and because of the little bit of terra firme that it had, it was called Firm Island.
They arrived and entered a gate and saw a grand palace with its doors open and many shields in it placed in three rows. A good hundred were set against a stone ledge against the wall, and above them ten higher up, and above those ten were two, and one of them was higher than the other by half. Amadis asked why they were placed like that, and they told him that they were placed according to the achievements of each knight who had tried to enter the protected chamber. Those who had not reached the copper pillar were the shields on the ground, and the ten that had reached the pillar were higher, and of the two, the lower one had passed the copper pillar, and the one that was higher had reached the marble pillar but could not pass further.
Then Amadis approached the shields to see if he knew any of them, for on each was written the name of who it belonged to, and he looked at the ten, and among them was one much higher. It had a black field with a black lion on it with white claws and teeth and a scarlet mouth, and he recognized it as belonging to Arcalaus. He looked at the two shields that were higher up, and the lower one had a blue field and a giant depicted on it, and next to it a knight who was cutting off its head, and he knew it to belong to King Abies of Ireland, who had come there two years before he had fought with Amadis.
And he looked at the other, which also had a blue field and three gold flowers on it, and he did not recognize it, but he read the writing on it, which said: "This shield belongs to Sir Cuadragante, brother of King Abies of Ireland." Only twelve days before he had tested his fate and had reached the marble pillar, which no other knight had reached, and he had come from his land to Great Britain to fight with Amadis and avenge the death of King Abies, his brother.
When Amadis looked at those shields, he doubted his fate, since those knights had not achieved success.
They left the palace and went to the arch of the loyal lovers, and when they arrived at the garden for which the arch was the entrance, Agrajes reached its base, dismounted, and commended himself to God, saying:
"Love, if I have been loyal to you, think of me."
And he passed the edge and stepped beneath the arch, and the image that was on top began to play a song so sweet that Agrajes and all those who heard it felt great delight. He reached the hall where the images of Apolidon and Grimanesa were, and they seemed to be truly alive, and he looked at the jasper and saw two names written there along with his, and the first name that he saw said:
"This venture was achieved by Madafil, son of the Duke of Borgonia."
The other said:
"This is the name of Sir Bruneo of Bonamar, son of Valladas, the Marquis of Troque."
His own said:
"This is Agrajes, son of Languines, King of Scotland."
Madavil had loved Guinda Flamenca, Lady of Flanders. Sir Brumeo had completed the tests only eight days earlier, and he loved Melicia, daughter of King Perion of Gaul, sister of Amadis.
After Agrajes had passed below the arch of the loyal lovers, Amadis said to his brothers:
"Will ye test yourselves with this venture?"
"No," they said, "we are not so subjugated by this passion that we deserve to succeed."
"Then ye two keep yourselves company," he said, "and I, if I can, will find my cousin Agrajes."
Then he gave his horse and his arms to his squire Gandalin and walked toward the arch quickly and without any fear at all, as one who felt that he had never been untrue to his lady not merely in deed but also in thought. And when he passed beneath the arch, the image began to play a much sweeter song than it had for the others, and beautiful fragrant flowers came from the mouth of the trumpet and thickly covered the ground. Nothing like that had happened for any other knight who had entered the arch.
He continued to where the statues of Apolidon and Grimanesa were and looked at them with great pleasure, for they seemed very handsome and as fresh as if they were alive. And Agrajes, who knew something about his love and who had been walking in the garden and admiring the rare things that were there, came, embraced him, and said:
"My lord cousin, there is no need from here on to hide the fact that we are in love."
But Amadis did not respond, and, taking him by the hand, they went looking around that place, which was very delectable and delightful to see.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Here begins the table of contents of the second book.
the castle in Buitrago de Lozoya, near Madrid, Spain. Photo by Sue Burke.]
Chapter 44. How Amadis, with his brothers and his cousin Agrajes, left to travel to where King Lisuarte was, and how they happened to go to the enchanted Firm Island to test their fate, and what happened to them there.
Chapter 45. How Amadis left secretly and in despair to hide in a forest because of the letter that Durin had brought him from his lover Oriana.
Chapter 46. How Gandalin and Durin followed Amadis and brought him his arms, and how he fought with a knight and defeated him.
Chapter 47. Which tells who the knight was that Amadis had defeated and why he had come to Great Britain.
Chapter 48. How Sir Galaor, Florestan and Agrajes searched for Amadis, and how Amadis changed his name and retired to solitary life.
Chapter 49. How Durin returned to Oriana with the reply to her message, which he had brought to Amadis, and how she sobbed when she learned the news.
Chapter 50. How Guilan the Pensive found Amadis's shield and arms and took them to the court of King Lisuarte, and what happened to him on the road.
Chapter 51. How, while Beltenbros was in the hermitage of the Poor Peak, a ship docked in which Corisanda came in search of her lover Florestan, and what she recounted in the court of King Lisuarte.
Chapter 52. How the Damsel of Denmark went in search of Amadis, and by good fortune came from the sea to dock at the Poor Rock, and when she recognized Amadis, they went to Miraflores, where Oriana was.
Chapter 53. How Sir Galaor, Florestan, and Agrajes searched for a long time for Amadis, and finally, having learned nothing, they went to the court of King Lisuarte.
Chapter 54. How when King Lisuarte had just finished eating, an unknown and fully armed knight entered and defied the King.
Chapter 55. How Beltenbros ordered that arms be made and everything be readied to go to see Oriana, and what happened to him on the road.
Chapter 56. How Beltenbros was in Miraflores with Oriana and was happy, when an unknown knight arrived at the court of King Lisuarte with jewels for the test of loyal lovers.
Chapter 57. How Beltenbros and Oriana, with the assurance of King Lisuarte, left for the court, and how they won the test of the jewels and took them.
Chapter 58. How Beltenbros, after winning the green sword for being the most loyal lover, left Miraflores for the battle that had been delayed with King Cildadan, and how he struck three blows with the fine sword and won the battle.
Chapter 59. What happened to Sir Galaor and King Cildadan after they were taken from the battlefield, and what King Lisuarte did after it.
Chapter 60. Of the arrival of Urganda and the things that happened there.
Chapter 61. Of the battle that Amadis fought and won with Ardan Canileo, by which he freed the King of North Wales and Angriote from prison and won the Island of Mongaça.
Chapter 62. Of the battle fought and won by Sir Bruno of Bonamar with Madaman, brother of the terrible damsel, and of the uprising caused by envy between King Lisuarte and Amadis and his friends.
Chapter 63. How Amadis, with many of his family and friends, left King Lisuarte.
Chapter 64. What Oriana did after Amadis left, and what the knights did over the business of Madasima, and the battle that Angriote and Sarquiles fought with the sons of Gandandel and Brocadan.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
And because the great events presented in the fourth book of Amadis have their origin in the Firm Island, it seems that this second book ought to relate what this island was and to whom its enchantments and grand riches were owed, and as this is the beginning of that book, this is a good place to relate it.
[Entrance to the garden in the Palace of Mondragón, Ronda, Spain, which dates back to the 1300s. Photo by Cindy Van Vreede.]
A King of Greece was married to a sister of the Emperor of Constantinople and had two sons by her who were very handsome, especially the elder. He was named Apolidon, and both in the strength of his body and in the valor of his heart no one of his time was his equal. He dedicated himself to the study of all arts with subtle ingenuity, which rarely concurs with great courage, and he accomplished so much that he shone among all those of his time like the bright Moon among the stars, especially in the arts of necromancy, with which all impossible works can be done.
This King, father of these two sons, being rich in money but poor in life due to his advanced old age, saw that death was approaching and ordered that his son Apolidon, being the oldest, inherit his kingdom, and the other son his great treasures and books, which were many and valuable. But the younger son was not content with this and, with many tears, told his father that this bequest left him almost disinherited.
His father, twisting his hands, could do no more, and his heart was in great anguish. But that famous Apolidon, whose heart was given as much to acts of virtue as to great deeds, saw his father's sorrow and his brother's cowardice. He said that his heart would be consoled to take the treasures and the books, and he would leave the kingdom to his brother. His father was greatly consoled by that, and with many merciful tears, gave his blessing.
So Apolidon took the great treasures and books, had some ships readied, selected good knights along with provisions and arms to load onto them, and set sail for no port except where Fate took him. Fate saw how this Prince had put himself at her will and wished to repay his profound obedience to his elderly father with great glory. She brought forth such a favorable wind that his fleet arrived directly at the empire of Rome, where at the time the Emperor was called Siudan, who received him very well.
He stayed there for some time, and while his great deeds in arms done previously in other lands had made him esteemed, those that he did there with would make him exalted, and this caused a sister of the Emperor named Grimanesa to fall too deeply in love with him. She was famed throughout the world for her beauty surpassing all women at that time.
It happened that he loved her as much as she loved him, but having no hopes for achieving their love by any other means, the two agreed on a plan. She left the palaces of her brother the Emperor for the fleet of her beloved Apolidon, and they sailed the sea to make port at the Firm Island, whose lord at the time was a brave giant. There Apolidon, without knowing whose land it was, ordered a tent erected with a platform on which his lady might rest, for the sea was furious.
But immediately the fierce giant, fully armed, arrived and terrified them. As was the custom of the island and to save his lady and his company, Apolidon used his exceeding skill and courage to fight and defeat the giant, leaving him dead in the field, and so he became the uncontested lord of the island. After he saw the giant's grand fortress, he feared nothing in the world, including the Emperor of Rome, who was irate because he had taken his sister. Everyone on the island had despised the giant for being evil and arrogant, and when they grew to know Apolidon, he was loved.
Having won the Firm Island as ye have heard, Apolidon lived there for sixteen years with his beloved Grimanesa in such pleasure that the mortal desires of both their beings were satisfied. During that time beautiful buildings were constructed in accordance with his great riches and wisdom, which any other emperor or king, however rich he were, would have found difficult to equal.
At the end of these years, the Emperor of Constantinople died without heir, and it citizens knew of Apolidon's abilities and that he was of the imperial blood and family on his mother's side, so he was freely agreed upon and chosen by all. They sent messengers to the island to have him know that they wanted him for their emperor.
Apolidon considered the offer of such a great empire against the island, where he could find all his delights fulfilled, and thought of how great reigns brought more fatigue and labor than delights and pleasures, and if there were any pleasures, they came mixed with bitterness. Yet the nature of mortal men is that their desires, like his, are never content nor satisfied. So he agreed with his beloved that they would leave that island and take the empire that they had been offered.
But she felt great sadness at leaving such a fine place as that island and the grand things there. It had belonged to her beloved, the best knight at arms as could be found in the world, and to her, whose semblance was praised for its beauty above all other women of her time, and there they had loved each other as perfectly as love could be expressed. She entreated Apolidon that before departing he should, with his great knowledge, provide that in times to come its lords should be those who in fortitude at arms, loyalty in love, and great beauty would most resemble them.
Apolidon told her:
"My lady, if that would please you, I shall make it such that no one can be lord nor lady here without being exactly as ye have said."
Then he made an arch at the entrance to a garden in which all the trees of every species were, and in which there were four beautiful chambers of rare construction. It was surrounded by a fence so that no one could enter the garden without passing through the arch. Above it he put the copper image of a man who held a trumpet to his lips as if he wished to play it. In one of those chambers he placed two statues resembling the faces and bodies of himself and his beloved, and next to them a pale jasper stone. And at the distance of half a crossbow arrow's flight away, he ordered placed a iron pillar five cubits high in a large field that was there.
"From here on no man nor woman shall pass who have erred since they first began to love, for if they try, the image that ye see shall play that trumpet with a sound so frightening that they shall be stunned by smoke and flame and thrown out from here as if dead. But if a knight or lady or damsel were to come here worthy of completing this test for their loyalty, as I have said, they shall enter without impediment and the image shall play such a sweet song that it shall delight all those who hear it. They shall see our statues and see their names written on the jasper, but they shall not know who wrote them."
And taking his beloved by the hand, he had her pass through the arch, and the image played a sweet song. He showed her their statues and their names written in the jasper. When they left, Grimanesa wanted to test it, so she ordered some of her ladies and damsels to enter, and the image played such a terrifying song that they were knocked unconscious and thrown from the garden, and Grimanesa, knowing they were in no danger, laughed with pleasure and deeply thanked her beloved Apolidon for fulfilling her will completely.
Then she told him:
"My lord, what then will become of that beautiful chamber in which we had such pleasure and delight?"
"Now," he said, "let us go there and ye shall see what I shall do."
Then they went to the chamber and he ordered two columns brought, one of marble and the other of copper, and he had the marble column placed five paces from the door of the chamber, and the copper column five paces beyond that, and he told his beloved:
"Now know that no man nor woman may enter this chamber by any means or at any time until a knight comes here who surpasses me in skill at arms or woman who surpasses your beauty. But if those who come surpass than me at arms and you at beauty, they shall enter without any trouble."
And he had words inscribed on the copper column that said:
"Knights of great arms may pass here, each according to his valor."
And he had other words inscribed on the marble column that said:
"No knight shall pass here who does not surpass Apolidon in skill at arms."
And above the door of the chamber he had words inscribed that read:
"He who surpasses me in skill shall enter this beautiful chamber and shall be lord of this island. And of the ladies and damsels who arrive, none shall enter inside who do not surpass your beauty."
And with his wisdom he made an enchantment so that no one could approach the chamber within twelve paces on any side, which had no entry other than that which passed the columns of which ye have heard. And he ordered that a governor rule over the island and collect its income and to keep for the knight whose fate was to enter the chamber and be lord of the island. And he ordered that those who failed at the test of the arch of lovers be expelled without honor, and those who passed be served.
And he further said:
"The knights who try to enter the chamber and who cannot pass the copper column shall leave their arms there, and those who manage only to pass it shall leave their swords, and those who reach the marble column but no further shall leave their shields, and those who pass this column but who cannot enter the chamber shall leave their spurs. And from the damsels and ladies nothing shall be taken, but they shall give their names to be put at the door of the castle, saying where each had reached."
And he said:
"When this island shall have a lord, the enchantment for the knights shall be undone, who shall freely be able to pass the columns and enter the chamber, but it shall not be undone for the women until one shall come who will end it with her great beauty, and who shall lodge with that knight who has won the lordship within that beautiful chamber."
This done, leaving the Firm Island well protected as ye have heard, Apolidon and Grimanesa left on their ships and sailed to Constantinople, where they were Emperor and Empress, and they had sons who succeeded them in the empire after their days were done.
But now, without speaking more of this, it shall be told to you what Amadis and his brothers and his cousin Agrajes did after they left the house of the beautiful Queen Briolanja.
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Four books form the novel Amadis of Gaul, and the first book is the oldest.
[Combat de chevaliers dans la campagne (Confrontation of knights in the countryside), by Eugène Delacroix, 1834.]
Although Amadis of Gaul was initially composed in the early 1300s and then added to later in the century, the only version we have is from 1508, complied by Garcí Rodríguez de Montalvo. A few fragments of an earlier version exist, and it seems he may have shortened the first three books but not changed them much otherwise. He also added the fourth book. Book One retains its distinctive medieval flavor. It was written to be read aloud to an audience, and it features interweaving plot lines and a large cast of characters.
The story begins as King Perion of Gaul is traveling through Little Brittany and stays at the castle of its King. Perion and Princess Elisena fall in love and meet secretly at night. After he leaves, she discovers she is pregnant. She gives birth in secret and the baby is cast into the sea with Perion's sword and gold ring, and a bit of parchment covered in wax giving the boy's name, Amadis.
The baby is rescued by a Scottish knight. He is called Childe of the Sea because no one knows his name, and he is raised alongside the knight's son, Gandalin. When the Childe of the Sea is seven years old, King Languines of Scotland visits and takes him and Gandalin to his court. When the Childe is twelve, King Lisuarte, who has just become King of Great Britain, leaves his ten-year-old daughter Oriana in Languines's court. It is love at first sight for both Oriana and the Childe, though they dare not speak of it to anyone, not even each other.
Meanwhile King Perion marries Elisena after her father dies. She does not tell him about Amadis. They have another son, Galaor, whom a giant carries away when he is two and a half years old because a prophecy says the boy will grow up to be a knight and recover the giant's kingdom, which had been stolen from him by another giant.
Years later, King Perion visits Languines seeking allies in his war with the King of Ireland, and Languines's son Agrajes volunteers. The Childe decides to become a knight to help, and Oriana arranges to have Perion make him a knight. Gandalin becomes his squire.
The Childe rides out and soon meets Urganda the Unrecognized, a sorceress who gives him a magic lance, which he uses in a series of fights to do justice. His fame grows. Eventually, he joins Perion's army and ends the war in a one-on-one battle to the death with the King of Ireland.
At that point, a friend of Oriana, the Damsel of Denmark, brings the Childe the parchment with his name on it. The ring and sword confirm that he is the son of King Perion and Queen Elisena, to the joy of all.
Amadis rides off to King Lisuarte's court in Windsor to be near Oriana and has a series of adventures on his way. His fame as a knight continues to grow. He knights Galaor, not knowing he is his brother. Galaor goes on to defeat and kill the evil giant who stole his adoptive father's kingdom, and then has a series of adventures of his own, some of which involve rescuing and then bedding damsels in distress; unlike the intelligent and chaste Amadis, Galaor is a comic character.
Amadis arrives at Windsor. He secretly meets Oriana at night in a garden, and they confess their love for each other. He enters the service of her mother, the Queen, but he really obeys only Oriana.
When Amadis learns he has a brother, he leaves Windsor in search of him and has another series of adventures. In one, he acquires a dwarf named Ardian as a servant, and in another, he meets Arcalaus the Sorcerer, who will become his lasting enemy.
Galaor has his own adventures that bring him and Amadis together. They fight and nearly kill each other before they discover that they are brothers. They travel back to Windsor together, and the trip includes a long and involved adventure.
Meanwhile, Arcalaus is plotting to take over the Kingdom of Great Britain, using both his sorcerer's skills and enlisting the aid of Barsinan, the Lord of Saxony. King Lisuarte holds a splendid court in London, but soon he is lured off and taken prisoner by Arcalaus's knights. Arcalaus also captures Oriana, and Barsinan takes over London. But when Amadis and Galaor learn of this, they ride to the rescue. Galaor frees the King while Amadis saves Oriana. Finding themselves alone, Amadis and Oriana consummate their love. Amadis then rides to London and defeats Barsinan.
King Lisuarte is restored to his throne, has Barsinan executed, and once again holds a splendid court. But Amadis had promised to help a beautiful young girl, Briolanja, regain the kingdom that had been stolen from her, so he goes off to help her with Galaor and Agrajes. En route, Galaor gets drawn off into his own adventure and discovers that King Perion had another son, Florestan. Meanwhile Amadis and Agrajes regain Briolanja's kingdom in brave combat, and soon they are joined by Galaor and Florestan.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
[How Sir Florestan faced the greatest knight of that land and won the damsels, and what happened next.]
[Capital on a column at the portico of San Pedro Church, Caracena, Spain, from the 12th century.]
Then a knight left the same valley as the others had. He wore armor parti-colored in gold, and he rode bay horse so large and fierce that it could have served a giant. The knight was tall and muscular, and he seemed to be quite strong and valiant. He came fully armed, lacking nothing, and behind him came two squires to serve him wearing coats of mail and helmets and carrying large, sharp battle axes in their hands. The knight seemed prepared to do harm, and he said to Sir Florestan:
"Stay, knight, and do not flee, for it shall do thee no good. Since thou art going to die, die bravely and not like a coward, for thou canst not escape through cowardice."
When Florestan saw himself threatened with death and called a coward, he became so angry it was amazing, and he said:
"Thou poor thing, vile, deformed, and mindless. May God help me, I fear thee as if thou wert a great beast without strength nor courage."
"Oh," the knight said, "how it hurts me that I cannot avenge myself on thee as thou dost deserve. May God grant me that the four men in your family who thou esteemest most were here, because I would cut off their heads with thine."
"Protect thyself only from me," Florestan said, "for with the help of God I shall do what they may thus be spared of doing."
Then they charged each other with their lances lowered, well covered with their shields, and each held great ire for the other. They met so hard that both shields failed, and their armor was pierced. The big knight lost both stirrups and would have fallen from his saddle if he had not held onto the horse's neck. Florestan, after passing him, went to one of the squires, grabbed the axe that he had in his hand, and pulled on it so hard that the squire and the beast he rode on were thrown to the ground.
He ran at the knight, who had righted himself in his saddle and gotten the axe from the other squire, who had had it ready to put into his hands. They raised the axes and struck each other on the helmets, which were of fine steel, and the blades entered three fingers deep. Florestan was hit so hard that his jaw struck his chest. The big knight was so stunned that he let go of his axe, which remained stuck in Florestan's helmet, and he could not lift up his head, which lay on the neck of his horse.
Florestan turned to attack, and because the other knight lay prostrate, he struck him in the space between the helmet and neckpiece of his coat of mail with such a blow that he easily knocked his head to the hoofs of the horse.
At that, he went to the damsels, and the first one told him:
"Truly, good knight, I had once believed that not even ten knights like you could have won us as ye have done alone, and it is right that ye have us as yours."
Then his host came to him, who was young and handsome, as ye have already heard, and he said:
"My lord, I love this damsel with great passion, and she loves me, and a year ago the knight whom ye killed took her from me by force and would not let me see her, and now that I could have her by you, I would be deeply grateful to you, if this does not grieve ye."
"Truly, host," he said, "if it is as ye say, ye find in me a great benefactor, but I shall not give her to you nor to anyone against her will."
"Oh, my lord," the damsel said, "it would please me, and I beg ye to give me to him, for I love him dearly."
"In the name of God," Florestan said, "I set you free so ye can do as ye will."
The damsel happily left with the host. Galaor ordered his squires to take the great bay horse, which seemed the handsomest he had ever seen, and gave the one he had to the host. Then they got on the road, the damsels with them, and I tell you that they were young and beautiful. Sir Florestan took the first one for himself and said to the other:
"My dear, do for this knight what may please him, for I order you do to so."
"What?" she said. "Ye wish to give me to him, who is worth less than a woman, who saw you in such danger and did not help you? Truly, I believe that the armor he wears is for someone else and not him, for the heart it surrounds is weak."
"Damsel," Sir Florestan said, "I swear to you by the faith I have in God that I give you to the best knight that I know of in the world now, except for my lord Amadis."
The damsel looked over Galaor and saw him so young and handsome that she was amazed by what she had just heard about him, and gave him her love, and the other gave hers to Sir Florestan. That night they stayed at the home of lady who was the sister of the host they had just left, and she did all she could in their service when she learned what had happened. There they rested that night, and in the morning they returned to the road, and they said to their lovers:
"We must travel through many far-off lands, and it would be very hard for you to accompany us. Tell us where ye would be most content, and we shall take ye there."
"Then if ye please," they said, "four days from here on this road that ye follow, there is a castle of a lady who is our aunt, and we shall stay there."
And so they continued on their journey. Sir Galaor asked his lady:
"How did that knight take you?"
"I shall tell you," the damsel said. "Know ye that the great knight who died in the battle dearly loved the damsel that your host took with him, but she despised him with all her heart and loved he to whom ye gave her more than anything else in the world. And the knight, as he was the greatest of these lands, took her by force without challenge. She never wished to give him her love, and since he loved her so much, so as not to anger her, he said:
" 'My dear, so that I may be rightly loved and desired by you as the best knight in the world, for your love I shall do this: know that a knight who is everywhere called the best who ever was, Amadis of Gaul, killed my cousin, who was called Dardan the Arrogant, in the court of King Lisuarte. I shall look for Amadis and cut off his head, and thus all his fame shall be converted into mine.
" 'While I am doing this, I shall leave you with two of the most beautiful damsels of this land to wait with you, and I shall give them as lovers two of the best knights of my family, and we shall take you every day to the Spring of the Three Elms, where many knights-errant pass by, and if they wish to take you, there ye shall see handsome jousts and how I shall fight in them, and so I shall become freely loved by you the way that I love you.' "
"At that, he took us and gave us to the two knights that were defeated, and kept us at that spring for a year, where they did many great deeds of chivalry until Sir Florestan ended the dispute."
"Truly, my dear," Sir Galaor said, "the ideas of that knight were overly grand if he had carried them out as he had said. But instead I think that he would have found great peril if he had met that Amadis whom he wished to find."
"So it seems to me," she said, "since ye hold him to be better than yourselves."
"What was the name of that knight?" Galaor said.
"Alumas," she said, "and ye should believe that if his great arrogance had not caused his downfall, he would have achieved high deeds at arms."
As they spoke of these and other things, they rode until they arrived at the aunt's castle, where they were well served, for the lady knew how Sir Florestan had killed Alumas and defeated his companions, who without cause or good reason had taken her nieces and held them by force and at great dishonor.
The next day they left the damsels there and rode until, four days later, they arrived in a town in the Kingdom of Sobradisa. There they learned how Amadis and Agrajes had killed Abiseos and his sons in battle and immediately made Briolanja the Queen. The news brought them great happiness and pleasure, and they gave many thanks to God. They left and arrived at the city of Sobradisa and went directly to the palaces without anyone recognizing them. They dismounted and went to where Amadis and Agrajes, now healed from their wounds, were with the new and beautiful Queen.
When Amadis saw them, having already recognized the damsel who had guided Sir Galaor, and saw Sir Florestan so strong and handsome and having already learned of his skill, he went to him with tears of joy falling from his eyes. Sir Florestan knelt before him to kiss his hands, but Amadis raised him up, embraced him and kissed him, and asked him in detail about the things that had happened to him, and then spoke with Sir Galaor, and they with his cousin Agrajes, whom they loved dearly.
When the beautiful Queen Briolanja saw four such knights in her house, she remembered how long she had been deprived of her inheritance and confined in fear to a single castle, where she had been taken in almost out of pity. Now she had recovered her honor and her reign through a great turn of the wheel of Fortune, and she not only had recourse to defend her own lands but even to conquer others. After receiving these two brothers with great love, she knelt on the ground and gave great thanks to the most powerful Lord, who had rewarded her in that way and with great mercy, and she said to the knights:
"Believe it true, my lords, that these miraculous reversals of fate have been done by the Lord on high, and although they may seem very grand, before His great power they should be rightly thought of as next to nothing. But should we now to believe that these great dominions and these riches, which we try to win and keep with so much trouble, care, pain, and anguish, would be better abandoned and abominated as superfluous and cruel torments to our bodies and even more to our souls, since they are neither certain nor lasting? Certainly I say not. Instead I affirm that if they are rightly won and acquired with good conscience, if we thank the Lord who has given them to us with modesty and gratitude, and if we retain for ourselves only enough that our reason but not our greed is satisfied, then we may achieve rest, pleasure, and happiness in this world, and we shall perpetually enjoy their fruit in the eternal world."
HERE ENDS THE FIRST BOOK OF THE NOBLE AND VIRTUOUS KNIGHT AMADIS