Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Chapter 64 [part 1 of 4]

How Oriana fell into great sorrow over the departure of Amadis and the other knights, and even more to find herself pregnant; and how twelve knights who were at Firm Island with Amadis arrived to protect Madasima and the other damsels with her who were facing death without just cause. 

[From Wilhelm von Orlens by Rudolf von Ems, the story of the love between Wilhelm von Orlens and Princess Amelie. The illumination was made in the workshop of Diebold Lauber in about 1450 to 1470.] 

It has been told to you how Amadis was with his lady Oriana at Miraflores Castle for eight days, and it seems that during that time Oriana was made pregnant. She did not realize it, since she was a person with little knowledge of such matters, until she suffered a great change and weakness in her health. And when she understood it, she took Mabilia and the Damsel of Denmark aside and told them, weeping:

“Oh, my great friends! What shall become of me? As I see it, my death is near, which I had always suspected.”

They thought she spoke about the separation from her beloved and her loneliness, and consoled her as they had before. But she said:

“Another trouble has come to me along with this one, which puts us in the greatest ill fortune and danger. And, truly, it is that I am pregnant.”

Then she described the signs so that they would believe her, and they knew that her suspicion was true. They were very frightened but they did not let her see that. Mabilia said:

“My lady, do not be afraid, for everything will have its good remedy. I have always believed the saying: “Some sports yield certain prizes’.”

Oriana, although she was very anxious, could not keep herself from laughing, and she said:

“My friends, now we need to decide how to solve this, and it would be good if I immediately seemed more afflicted and weak, and if I avoided the company of everyone I can except you, and when the necessity comes, to solve it with the least suspicion.”

“So it shall be done,” they said, “and may God put it right. Now we must decide what shall be done with the infant when it is born.”

“I shall tell you,” Oriana said. “The Damsel of Denmark, if she pleases to ease my anguish and pain, will let her honor be diminished so that mine and my life may be saved.”

“My lady,” she said, “I have no life or honor other than what ye will. So give the order, and I shall fulfill it unto death.”

“My good friend,” she said, “I had hoped for that from you, and I shall repay the honor that you now risk for me in even greater degree if I live.”

The Damsel knelt and kissed her hands. Oriana told her:

“Then, my good friend, this is what ye shall do: go sometimes to see Balasta, the abbess of my monastery in Miraflores, as ye go about doing other things, and when the time of my childbirth comes, go to her and tell her that ye are pregnant and beg her that besides keeping your secret, she shall provide the solution for the newborn, whom ye shall place at the door of the church, and ask that he be raised as a child of God. I know she will do it because she loves you dearly. And this way my pregnancy will be hidden, and ye shall not be in great peril, for this shall only be known by that honorable lady, who will keep your secret.”

“So it shall be done,” the Damsel said. “Ye have thought this through well.”

And for now, this concern shall wait until its proper time, and we shall speak of King Lisuarte.

When he learned that the giantess Gromadaza did not want to deliver the castle at Boiling Lake and the other castles to him, as we have already recounted, he ordered Madasima and her damsels brought before him, as he had been advised by Gandandel and Brocadan. When they were in his presence, he told them:

“Madasima, ye know how ye entered my prison under the agreement that if your mother did not deliver the island of Mongaza in the Burning Lake and the other castles to me, ye and your damsels would be beheaded. And now, I have learned from the men I sent there, that she will not comply with what she promised. That being the case, I wish that your death and the deaths of these damsels be an example and lesson to those who make agreements with me, so that they do not dare to lie.”

When Madasima heard this, her great beauty and lively color became yellow. She knelt before the King and said:

“My lord, the fear of death makes my heart even weaker than it naturally is, since I am a tender damsel. So I am left with no sense at all, and I do not know how to respond. If there is some knight in your court who could rightly speak for me, understanding that I was placed in this prison against my will, he would do what he must according to the rules of knighthood and respond on behalf of all women in such situations. And if there is not, ye, my lord, who has never failed a lady or damsel in tribulation, order that I be given a hearing, and do not let anger and ire overcome the justice that as a King ye must seek.”

Gandandel, who felt very eager for her death, hoping it would further inflame the enmity between King Lisuarte and Amadis, said:

“My lord, by no means should these damsels be heard under any condition because they were condemned to death unless the land is delivered to you. So immediately and without any further delay, justice should be executed.”

Sir Grumedan, tutor of the Queen, who was a very loyal knight and very wise in issues of honor as well as very experienced in deeds of arms, with his subtle and well-read ingenuity, said:

“The King shall not do this, may it please God, nor shall he cause such cruelty nor immoderation, for this damsel was placed in this situation more by the obedience she owes to her mother than by her own will. And so, just as what is humbly done in secret shall receive thanks from God, in public the King must do His duty following His doctrines. As well, I have learned that within three days some knights from Firm Island will be here to plead for those damsels, and if you, Sir Gandandel, or your sons, wish to show what ye said here to be true, ye shall find someone to respond to you among them.”

Gandandel told him:

“Sir Grumedan, if ye wish me ill, I have never deserved it from you, and if ye have had some affront with my sons, ye well know that they shall uphold as knights everything that I have said.”

“We shall see soon,” Sir Grumedan said, “and to you I wish no more ill or good than what is due for the way I see you counsel the King.”

The King, although he had erred against Amadis without reason, considered that he might have to further anger him in these matters, but his new passion could not overcome his old and accustomed virtue. When he heard what Sir Grumedan said, he was very pleased and asked which knights were coming to free the damsels. Grumedan recounted them all by name.

“A fine group of good and wise knights,” the King said.

When Gandandel heard them named, he was very frightened and regretted what he had said about his sons, for he knew well that their skill did not come close to equaling that of Sir Florestan, Agrajes, Brian of Monjaste, and Gavarte of Valtemoroso. As soon as the King had ordered Madasima and her damsels returned to prison, Gandandel went to his brother-in-law Brocadan with great anguish in his heart because things had gone completely the opposite from how he had first thought, and they might well receive the reward that evil deserved.

And now, in this case, things will happen just as the Evangel says: no hidden thing will go unknown.

Gandandel went with Brocadan to a private part of his house to discuss the arrival of the knights from Firm Island and how to try to make the King order the deaths of Madasima and her damsels before they arrived. Brocadan blamed Gandandel for the evil he did to Amadis by telling baseless falsehoods about him to the King and for all the other things that had happened in that evil business. He expressed great concern and sorrow over the bad counsel they had given and feared that the wrath of God and the King would soon arise, causing the loss of his honors and of his sons, for whose cause this had all begun.

As they spoke, it happened that Brocadan’s niece, who was in love with a young knight named Sarquiles, nephew of Angriote de Estravaus, had hidden him in a side room next to the chamber where those two, alone and secretly, were having their discussion. He heard everything they said and learned their evil secrets, and was very astonished.

When they left and night came, he departed, put on all the armor he had left in a house outside the town, mounted his horse in the morning and rode back as if he had come from the other way. He went to the King’s palace and spoke to him, saying:

“My lord, I am native to your lands and was raised in your court, and I want to protect you from all evil and trickery so that ye do not err in your affairs by following someone else’s will. Not yet three days ago I was where I heard some men who wished to give you bad advice that would go against your honor and good name. I tell you not to trust anything Gandandel and Brocadan may say to you about Madasima and her damsels, since there are such people in your court who would counsel you with less dishonesty. Ye and everyone else will know why I am moved to say this within twelve days. If ye remember what I say when they speak, ye can immediately understand that I know something about them. And my lord, may God be with you, for I am going to see my uncle Angriote.”

“May God be with you,” the King said, and he thought long about what he had been told.

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