Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Chapter 60 [part 1 of 3]

How the King saw strange fires approaching by the sea, which was a small galley in which the sorceress Urganda was arriving, and what happened to him with her. 

[A 13th-century war galley depicted in a Byzantine-style fresco.]

It was almost time to sleep, and after having supped, the King was in a gallery looking at the sea when he saw two fires coming toward the town. Everyone was frightened, for it seemed wrong to have the sea and fire joined. But when the flames came closer, they saw that they were in a galley that bore strange, enormous candles on its mast, so it seemed that the whole ship was on fire.

The noise was so great that all the townspeople climbed up on the city walls to see the wonder, believing that if water were not enough to put out the fire, then nothing else could, and the town would be burned. The people were terrified because the galley and the fires had drawn near, and the Queen and all her ladies and damsels went to the chapel in terror.

The King mounted a horse with the fifty knights that always guarded him, and when he arrived at the shore, he saw that the rest of his knights were there. In front of all of them were Amadis and Guilan the Pensive and Enil, so close to the flames that he was surprised they could stand it. The King spurred his horse, which was frightened by the great noise, and joined them.

But soon they saw beneath the sail a lady dressed in white with a small golden box in her hand, which she opened in front of them all and took out a lighted taper. When she threw it in the sea to extinguish it, the great fires immediately went dead and no sign of them remained. All the people were happy at that and lost their fear, and only one large candle burned at the top of the mast, which lit the entire shore.

The curtain that covered the galley was pulled back, and they saw that it was all wreathed with roses and flowers, and they heard musical instruments inside playing so sweetly that it was marvel. The music stopped, and ten richly dressed damsels with garlands on their heads and golden wands in their hands came out, and in front of them was the lady who had extinguished the taper in the sea. They came directly to bow of the galley toward the King. They all knelt, and the King looked at them and said:

“My lady, ye put a great terror in us with your fires, and if it please you, tell us who ye are, although I think that we can guess without much effort.”

“My lord,” she said, “in vain would anyone try to put terror or fear in your great heart and those of the many knights who are here, but the fire that ye saw I brought to protect myself and my damsels. And if ye think that I am Urganda the Unrecognized, ye think rightly. I come to you as the greatest king in the world, and to see the Queen, who in virtue and goodness has no equal in the world.”

Then she said to Amadis:

“My lord, come forward, and I must say to you and your friends that I am here to relieve you of the labor that ye wish to employ to look for your brother Sir Galaor. It would be a lost effort, even if everyone in the world were to look for him. I tell you that he has recovered from his wounds and now has a better life and more pleasure than he has ever had in this world.”

“My lady,” Amadis said, “it was always my thought that after God, your aid would bring health to Sir Galaor and rest to me, and by the way he was sought and taken before my eyes, if I had not suspected this, I would have sooner let him die than be separated from me. And as thanks for this I can give you nothing else but, as ye know better than all, to put my person without any fear in all things to your honor and service, although it were my death.”

“Ye may rest,” she said, “and soon ye shall see him in such pleasure that ye, too, shall be pleased.”

The King said to her:

“My lady, when ye leave your galley, come to my palace.”

“Many thanks,” she said, “but tonight I shall remain here and tomorrow I shall do as ye ask. And may Amadis, Agrajes, Sir Bruneo of Bonamar, and Sir Guilan the Pensive come to get me, for they are in love and have lively hearts, as I do.”

“So it shall be in this,” the King said, “and in all that ye wish.”

And he ordered all the people to return to the town, said goodbye to her, and returned to his palace, ordering twenty men with crossbows to be placed at the shore to make sure that no one approached.

The next morning the Queen sent twelve richly attired palfreys so Urganda and her damsels could come, and Amadis and the three knights she had named went to escort her, dressed in very noble and valuable clothing. When they arrived they found that Urganda and her damsels had left the ship and were in a tent that had been put up during the night. The knights dismounted and went to her and were very well received, all with great humility. Then they put the women on the palfreys, and the four knights rode surrounding Urganda.

And when she found herself thus, she said:

“Now my heart is relaxed and in complete rest, for those whose hearts are like it are close by.”

She said this because in the same way that they were in love, she was enamored with the handsome knight who was her beloved.

When they arrived at the palace, they entered and went to the King, who received her very well, and she kissed his hands. Looking from one end to the other, she saw many knights in the palace, and she looked at the King and said:

“My lord, ye are well accompanied, and I do not say this for the courage of these knights but for the great love they have for you, for when princes are loved by their men, they are secure in their estates. For that reason, be sure to keep them so that it will not seem that your discretion may yet lack all the blessings it could hold. Beware of bad advisers, for that is the true poison that destroys princes. And if it pleases you, I shall see the Queen, and I will speak with you about some things before I leave, my lord.”

The King said:

“My friend, I thank you deeply for the advice ye have given me and I shall do all in my power to follow it. Go and see the Queen, who loves you dearly, and know that she shall gladly do all that she can for your pleasure.”

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