Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Chapter 48 [first part]

How Sir Galaor, Florestan, and Agrajes left to search for Amadis, and how Amadis abandoned his arms, changed his name, and retired with an elderly priest in a hermitage to lead a solitary life. 

[Modern joust re-enactment in Livermore, California. Sir Quint of the Knights of Avalon on a Clydesdale draft horse. Photo by David Ball.] 

Ye have already been told how Amadis left Firm Island in great sorrow and so secretly that his brothers Sir Galaor and Sir Florestan and his cousin Agrajes did not know about it; and how he had Ysanjo promise not to speak of it until the next day after Mass. And so Ysanjo did, for having heard Mass, they asked about Amadis, and he told them:

"Arm yourselves and I shall tell you his orders."

And when they were armed, Ysanjo began to sob and said:

"Oh, my lords, what sorrow and pain have come upon us, for our lord was with us so little time!"

Then he told them how Amadis had left the castle in grief and mourning, and everything he had ordered Ysanjo to tell them, and what he ordered done in that land, and how he begged them not to follow him, and that by no means could they give him aid or comfort, and that, by God, not to be saddened by his death.

"Oh, Holy Mary, help us," they said. "The best knight in the world is going to die, so we must ignore his orders and go look for him, and if we cannot give him comfort with our lives, our deaths shall accompany his."

Ysanjo told Sir Galaor that Amadis had wanted him to make Gandalin a knight and to take Ardian the dwarf with him, and Ysanjo told them this weeping bitterly, and they did the same. Galaor took the dwarf into his arms, who had been grieving and beating his head on a wall, and told him:

"Ardian, come with me as thy lord has ordered, for what becomes of me shall become of thee."

The dwarf said:

"My lord, I shall serve you, but not as my lord until I know for certain about Amadis."

Then they mounted their horses, and Ysanjo showed them the road that Amadis had taken. All three rode all day without finding anyone to question. Then they saw Patin, who lay injured and his horse dead. His squires, who had arrived, were cutting wood and branches to make a litter to carry him, for he was very weak from the blood he had lost, and he could tell them nothing.

He gestured for them to leave him alone, and they asked the squires who had injured the knight. They said they did not know except that when they had arrived, he told them he had jousted with a knight who had come from the Firm Island and who had easily knocked him down in the first encounter and with one blow of the sword had caused that wound and killed his horse, and after he had left, he said that he had learned from a page that the knight was the one who had won the lordship of the Firm Island.

Sir Galaor told them:

"Good squires, did ye see where the knight went?"

"No," they said, "but before we arrived here we saw an armed knight in this forest on a fine horse, weeping and cursing his fate, and a squire behind him who carried his arms. On the shield there was a field of gold and two purple lions an it, and the squire was also sobbing."

They said:

"That is him."

Then they went in that direction as fast as they could ride, and when they left the forest they found a great field in which there were roads in all directions, and all of them had tracks, so they could not be sure which was Amadis's. Thus they agreed to part, and in order to find out what each had learned in their search in the lands where they traveled, they would be united on the day of Saint John [June 24] in the court of King Lisuarte. If at that time their efforts ran so contrary that they had learned nothing of him, they would make another pact.

Then they embraced each other, weeping, and separated, holding firmly in their hearts the desire to do all they could finish their search with success. But this was in vain, and however many lands they traversed, where great and very dangerous feats of arms befell them, and despite their mighty and brave hearts filled with great hopes, their fate was to find nothing at all. Their adventures shall not be here recounted because their search failed and went unfulfilled.

That was because when Amadis left Patin, he rode through the forest and when he came out, he found a field in which there were many roads, and he left on none of them so that he would leave no track. He entered a valley and rode up a mountain, and he was so lost in thought that his horse went where it would. At midday the horse had reached some trees on the bank of a rivulet that came down the mountain, and due to the heat and the long night of toil, it stopped there.

Amadis took note of his surroundings again, and looked all around and saw no town, which gave him great pleasure. Then he dismounted and drank some water, and Gandalin, who had been riding behind him, arrived. He took the horses and put them where they could graze on the grass, returned to his lord, and found him so dazed that he seemed more dead than alive, but he did not dare revive him from his sorrow, and lay down in front of him.

Amadis recovered from his thoughts when the sun was about to set, got up, kicked Gandalin, and said:

"Art thou sleeping or what art thou doing?"

"I am not sleeping," he said, "but I am thinking about two things that deal with you, and if ye wish to hear them, I shall tell you. If not, I shall not."

Amadis told him:

"Go and saddle the horses for I must go, since I do not want anyone who searches for me to find me."

"My lord," Gandalin said, "ye are in a secluded place, and your horse is so weak and tired that if ye do not let it rest it will not bear you."

Amadis told him, weeping:

"Do what ye thing best, for neither staying nor riding shall I find rest."

Gandalin cared for the horses, returned to him, and asked him to eat a meat turnover he had brought, but he did not wish to, so he said:

"My lord, do ye wish me to tell you the two things that I thought about?"

"Say what thou wishest," he said, "for I give nothing about anything said or done, and do not wish to live any longer in this world after I have had confession."

Gandalin said:

"Still, my lord, I ask you to listen to me." Then he said:

"I have thought a lot about the letter that Oriana sent you and about the words that the knight that ye fought said. And as the will of many women is very fickle and they change their love from some men to others, it could be that Oriana has strayed from you and wished to pretend to be angry at you before ye found out. The other thing is that I hold her to be so good and loyal that she would not be so moved unless something false had been told her about you that she held to be true, loving you as firmly with her heart as yours must for her.

"And since ye know that ye have never strayed, if something false has been told to her, she will eventually learn the truth, that ye are blameless, so she will not only repent for what she has done, but with great humility she will ask forgiveness, and ye shall return to her with the great delights that your heart desires. Would it not be better to wait for this remedy and to eat and to take such consolation that life may sustain itself, than to die with such little hope and spirit that ye shall lose her and ye shall lose both the honor of this world and what ye may have in the next world?"

"By God, be quiet!" Amadis said. "Thou hast said such madness and lies that it would enrage all the world. Thou hast said things to console me that thou dost not believe to be true, for my lady Oriana has never erred in anything, and if I die it is not because I deserve it but because with it I fulfill her will and orders. And if I did not understand that thou hast said it to console me, I would cut off thy head. Know that thou hast made me very angry, and from here on do not dare to say anything like that to me again."

He left Gandalin and walked down river, so lost in thought that he lost all sense of himself. Gandalin fell asleep as one who had not slept for two days and one night. When Amadis returned, now sensible to his surroundings, he saw how Gandalin slept so deeply, went to saddle his horse, hid Gandalin's saddle and reins in some deep brush so he could not follow him, took his arms, and entered the thickest part of the mountain forest very angry at Gandalin for what he had said.

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