Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Chapter 61 [part 2 of 5]

[How Amadis lost his sword, and what the knight Ardan Canileo was like.] 

[Entrance to the home of the Marquis of Quintana in Segovia, Spain, 15th century. Carvings of fifteen helmets surround the doorway, and above it is the shield of the Heredia-Peralta family, held by two wild men. The building is currently the Segovia Conservatory of Music. Photo by Sue Burke.] 

When this was done, Amadis brought the damsel to his lodging, which he should not have done even in exchange for the best castle his father had. To do her more honor, he placed her and her two squires in a room where Gandalin kept all his arms and armor and finery. The damsel, looking around, saw Amadis’s sword, which seemed very unusual, and she told her squires and the others who were there to leave and let her be alone for a moment.

Thinking that she wished to do some necessity of nature that could not be avoided, they left her. She closed the door, took the sword, and left the sheath and belt arranged so that it would not seem like it was missing, then put it beneath a thick fur that she had brought that was unusually long. She opened the door, and the squires entered, and she put the sword beneath one of their cloaks and ordered him to take it by stealth to their launch, and told him:

“Bring me my drinking cup, and they will think that ye are going for that.”

The squire did so. Then Amadis and Branfil entered the room and had her sit on an estrado, and Amadis told her:

“My lady, tell us when Madasima will arrive tomorrow, if ye please.”

“She shall come before dinner,” she said, “but why do ye ask?”

“Good lady,” he said, “because we will to go meet her and provide her every possible pleasure and service, for if she has received some affront from me, I shall try to make amends by doing what she may wish.”

“If ye do not go back on what ye have promised,” she said, “and Ardan Canileo is the same as he has always been since he took up arms, ye can make amends by giving her your head, since anything else would not be worth much.”

“I will avoid this if I can, but if I can please her any other way, I shall gladly do that to achieve her pardon, but someone else would need to arrange it who wishes it more than ye do.”

With that they left and let Enil and others serve her. But she was so eager to leave that all the many delicacies they brought only annoyed her, and as soon as the tablecloths were raised, she rose and said to Enil:

“Knight, tell Amadis that I am leaving, and he should know that everything he did for me was wasted.”

“May God help me,” Enil said, “the way ye are, I think that anything done to please you would be wasted.”

“Be that as it may,” she said, “I am little taken by you and less by him.”

“Ye may be sure,” Enil said, “that being such a discourteous damsel as ye are, neither he nor I nor anyone else could make you content.”

With these words the damsel left, and she went to the ship feeling very happy because she had the sword. There, she told Ardan Canileo and Madasima that their message had been delivered, the time of the battle had been set, and she brought guarantees from the King so they could land without any concern.

Ardan Canileo thanked her sincerely for what she had done, and said to Madasima:

“My lady, do not consider me a knight if ye do not leave here with honor and with your land free. If I do not give you Amadis’s head before a man, no matter how fast, could walk half a league, do not give me your love.”

She was quiet and said nothing, for however much she wished to get avenge her father’s and brother’s deaths on he who had killed them, by no way in the world could she see herself united with Ardan Canileo, for she was beautiful and noble, and he was more ugly and disfigured and repugnant than anyone she had ever seen. It was her mother’s wish and not her own to have Ardan Canileo defend their land, and it was her mother’s wish that if he avenged the death of her husband and son, she would have him marry Madasima and would leave him all her land.

Since this Ardan Canileo was a noteworthy knight of great worldly fame for his deeds at arms, this story should tell you where he was from, and of the appearance of his body and face, and other things about him. Know that he was born in a province called Canileo and was of giants’ blood, for there were more giants there than in other places, and while his body was not unusually large, he was taller than any other man who was not a giant.

He had heavy limbs, broad shoulders, and a thick neck, and his hands and legs were in proportion. His face was large with a flat, canine-like nose, and for that resemblance he was called Canileo. His nose was flat, wide, reddish, and covered with thick black freckles, which were also sown on his face, hands, and neck, and he had a rough appearance somewhat like a lion. His lips were thick and turned, and his hair and beard so curly they could hardly be combed.

He was thirty-five years old and since he was twenty-five, he had never found a knight or giant, no matter how strong they were, who could defeat him hand-to-hand or in any other test of courage. But he was so big-boned and so heavy that hardly any horse could be found that could carry him. This is what that knight looked like.

And when, as ye have heard, he promised the head of Amadis to the beautiful Madasima, the giant damsel told him:

“My lord, we should rightly place our hope on you in this battle, since fortune shows itself to be on your side and not on your enemy’s. Ye see here that I bring you his precious sword, and it is no mystery that nothing could be a greater advantage to you and greater disadvantage to him.”

Then she put it in his hand and told him how she got it. Ardan took it and said:

“I thank you deeply for the gift that ye bring me, more for the good means by which ye have gotten it than out of any fear that I have in fighting one lone knight.”

Then he ordered tents to be taken from the ship and had them erected in a field alongside the town, where they all went with their horses and palfreys, bringing the arms of Ardan Canileo and expecting that the next day they would be before King Lisuarte and Queen Brisena, his wife. There Ardan felt very happy to have the battle arranged for two reasons: first, because without any doubt he expected to take the head of Amadis, who was so renowned in the world, and all his glory would become Canileo’s; second, because with Amadis’s death he would win the beautiful Madasima, whom he loved so much, and that made him proud and lofty and fearless. And thus they waited in their tents for word from the King.

Amadis, in turn, was in his lodging with many knights of high means that were always with him, and all them greatly dreaded the battle, which they considered so dangerous that they feared he might lose. At this time Agrajes, Sir Florestan, Galvanes the Landless, and Sir Guilan the Pensive arrived, who knew nothing about this because they had been out hunting in the forest. When they learned the battle had been set, they complained because more knights would not be involved so that they could enter it. The one most passionate about it was Sir Guilan, who had heard it said many times that this Ardan Canileo was stronger and mightier than anyone else in the world. Sir Guilan was sorry because he believed that in no way could Amadis survive in a one-on-one fight, and he deeply wished he could be in that battle with Amadis if it were possible and have the same fate as him.

Sir Florestan, who burned with anger, said:

“May God save me, my lord brother, ye must hold me as nothing, nor as a knight, nor love me, for ye did not think of me, and ye show that ye do not think I can protect you, for ye have left me out of this danger.”

Agrajes and Sir Galvanes also complained bitterly.

“My lords,” Amadis said, “do not complain nor feel hurt and blame me over this, because only I was called for in this battle and because of me it was sought, and so I could not respond in any other fashion without showing weakness other than accepting it. If there were some other way, who would I have to help me and aid me except you? Your great courage always encourages me when I am put in danger.”

And so as ye hear those knights forgave Amadis, and he told them:

“It would be good if we mounted before the King leaves and receive Madasima, who is much esteemed by all who know her.”

And so they passed that night speaking about what they enjoyed most.

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