How Amadis asked his foster-father Gandales about news from the court. And how he and his companions left for Gaul, and their adventures on an island where they docked and saved Amadis’s brother Galaor and King Cildadan from death at the hands of the giant Madarque.
[These two statues of wild men, known as Gog and Magog, guard the western entrance to the Cathedral in Ávila, Spain, and intimidate visitors to behave with proper devotion. Photo by Zarateman.]
After the fleet left Firm Island for the Island of Mongaza, as ye have heard, Amadis stayed behind with Sir Bruneo of Bonamar, and in the hurry of the departure he had not had the chance to ask his foster-father Sir Gandales about what had happened to him in King Lisuarte’s court. He called him aside, and as they strolled through a garden where he was staying, he asked what had happened. Sir Gandales told him how he had found the Queen, and the affection with which his message was received and how much she esteemed Amadis, and how he had been asked to try to seek peace between Amadis and the King.
He also told him what had happened with Oriana and Mabilia and how they had responded. He gave him the letter that he had brought from Mabilia, by which Amadis learned that his family had increased, which made him understand that Oriana was pregnant.
Amadis heard all this with great pleasure, although he was very lonely for his lady and his heart found no rest or peace in anything. When he was alone in the garden tower lost in thought, tears fell from his eyes and down his cheeks as a man who had lost all sense.
But he recovered and went to where Sir Bruneo was and ordered Gandalin to put his arms in a ship along with those of Sir Bruneo and everything else they would need because he wished to leave the next day for Gaul, come what may. This was immediately done, and the next morning, they set out to sea, sometimes with good weather and sometimes with bad. In five days, they found themselves at an island covered with trees whose land seemed rich.
Sir Bruneo said:
“My lord, do ye see how lovely that island is?”
“It seems lovely to me,” Amadis said.
“Then let us stop there for a couple of days,” Sir Bruneo said, “and we may find some special adventures there.”
“Let us do so,” Amadis said.
They ordered the captain to bring the ship close to the shore because they wanted to get out and see the island, which seemed beautiful, and to seek adventure there.
“May God keep you away from that island,” the captain said.
“Why?” Amadis said.
“To protect you from death or cruel imprisonment,” he said. “Know that this is Sad Island, where the lord is the brave giant Madarque, the most cruel and untrustworthy there is. And I assure you that for the past fifteen years, no knight, lady, or damsel has gone there who has not been killed or taken prisoner.”
When they heard this, they were astonished and felt no small fear to undertake that adventure. But as they had strong hearts and their true calling was to free the world of evil without fear for their lives, instead they feared the shame that would befall them if they let evil continue, and they told the captain to bring the ship near the shore nonetheless, although this was hard to do and he almost failed.
They took up their arms and mounted their horses, and brought only Gandalin and Lasindo, Sir Bruneo’s squire, with them. As they rode inland, they told their squires that if they were attacked by men who were not knights, they should help as best they could. The squires said they would do so.
They rode a while until they were on top of a mountain, and nearby they saw a castle that seemed well built and beautiful. They rode toward it to see if they could learn anything about the giant. When they were close, they heard a horn being blown from the tallest tower so loudly that the valleys echoed.
“My lord,” Sir Bruneo said, “according to the ship’s captain, the horn is blown when the giant leaves for battle, and he only does this if his men cannot defeat or kill the knights they are fighting, and when the giant leaves the castle, he is so enraged that he kills everyone he finds, even sometimes his own men.”
“Then let us go forward,” Amadis said.
Soon they heard an uproar made by many men, and the sound of blows by lances and sharp swords. They raised their weapons and rode toward it. They saw a group of men surrounding two knights and two squires who were all on foot, since their horses were dead, and the men were trying to kill them, but they defended themselves with swords so well it was amazing to see.
Amadis saw his dwarf Ardian coming toward them, and when he saw Amadis’s shield, he immediately recognized it and shouted:
“Oh, my lord Amadis! Rescue your brother Sir Galaor, or they will kill him and his friend King Cildadan!”
When they heard this, Amadis and Sir Bruneo had their horses gallop onward, one beside the other, for Sir Bruneo with all his strength would not be second to Amadis or anyone else in such a moment. As they rode, they saw Madarque approach, the brave giant who was lord of the island, riding a large horse and armed with steel plate armor and heavy mail, and in place of a helmet he wore a thick sallet so polished that it shone like a mirror. In one hand he carried such a heavy lance that any other knight or man could have hardly lifted it, and in the other hand he held a large and heavy shield.
As he came, he shouted to his men:
“Pull back! Ye are so wretched and hapless that ye cannot kill two knights. Ye are weak and tired! Pull back and let my lance savor their blood!”
Oh, how God avenges the unjust and is unhappy with those who persist in arrogance! How quickly this pride is defeated! And thou, reader, look at what happened to Nimrod when he built the tower of Babel, and other examples I could give from Scripture, but which I shall not to avoid verbosity.
And so it happened to Madarque in this battle. Amadis, who had heard this, felt terror at the sight of his horrific size, commended himself to God, and said:
“Now is the time to be helped by you, my good lady Oriana.”
He asked Sir Bruneo to attack the other knights because he wanted to test himself on the giant. He held his lance tightly under his arm and spurred his horse to run as fast at Madarque as it could, and struck him so hard on the chest that the force pushed him doubled-over onto the haunches of the horse. The giant, who gripped the reins in his hand, pulled them so hard that he made the horse buck. It fell on him and broke his leg, and the horse dislocated its shoulder. Neither man nor beast could rise again.
When Amadis saw this, he put his hand on his sword and shouted:
“Fight on, my brother Galaor, for I am Amadis, and I shall rescue you!”
He rushed to them and saw that Sir Bruneo had killed the nephew of the giant with a lance to his throat, and was doing amazing feats with his sword. He struck another knight on top of his helmet, and the sword penetrated to the inner cap, and knocked him to the ground.
Galaor jumped on that knight’s horse and did not leave the side of King Cildadan. When Gandalin arrived, he dismounted, give his horse to the King, and joined the two squires. When all four knights were on horseback, there you could have seen how marvelously they brought down and killed all those who came before them, while the squires inflicted great harm to the men on foot.
Soon most of them were killed or injured, and the rest fled to the castle frightened by the fierce blows they had received. The four knights chased them trying to kill them until they reached the gate of the castle, which was closed and would not be opened until the giant came, in accordance with his orders. When the men who fled saw themselves without protection, those on horseback dismounted, threw their swords away, and ran to Amadis, who had ridden ahead. They knelt at the feet of his horse and asked for his mercy and for their lives, and clung to the hem of his mail to shelter themselves from the other knights who were coming. Amadis protected them from King Cildadan and Sir Galaor, who did not want to leave anyone alive after the great harm they had suffered from them. Amadis made the vanquished knights promise to do what he ordered.
Then they went to the giant, who had lost all his strength, and the horse lay on his broken leg, which was so swollen that the giant was about to lose his soul. King Cildadan dismounted and ordered the squires to help him, and they turned over the horse to free the giant and let him rest. And although the King and Sir Galaor had been brought to the point of death by him, as ye have heard, Galaor did not want to kill the giant, not on the giant’s account, for he was evil and arrogant, but because of Galaor’s affection for his son Gasquilan, King of Suesa, who was a very good knight and who esteemed Galaor. He asked Amadis to do him no harm.
Amadis agreed and told the giant, who had regained consciousness:
“Madarque, ye see what your situation is now, and if ye obey my orders, ye shall live, and if not, death is thine.”
The giant said:
“Good knight, since thou leavest the choice of life or death to me, I shall do thy will to live, I give my word.”
Amadis told him:
“Then all I want from thee is that thou be a Christian and that thou and all your people keep the faith and build churches and monasteries in this realm, and that thou release all the prisoners thou hast, and that from now on thou dost not continue the bad behavior that thou hast practiced until now.”
The giant, fearing death, agreed, although his heart was not true:
“I shall do all that ye order, for I see that by comparing my strength and my men’s to yours, I could not have been defeated for any other reason than my sins, especially by a single blow as I was. And if it pleases you, have me taken to the castle where I shall rest and what ye order shall be done.”
“May it be so,” Amadis said.
Then he ordered the men who had promised to obey him be called, and they picked up the giant and carried him to the castle, where he and Amadis and his companions entered. When they had disarmed, Amadis and Sir Galaor embraced each other many times, weeping with pleasure to see each other again. And so all four were very happy until the giant’s servants told them that they had prepared food, for it was dinner time. Amadis said they would not eat until all the prisoners were brought there so that they would eat together.
“This shall be done,” the giant’s men said, “for he has already ordered them to be freed.”
Then they had them brought in, all hundred of them, including thirty knights and more than forty ladies and damsels. They all approached humbly to kiss Amadis’s hands and asked him to give them his command. He told them:
“My friends, what would please me is if ye went to the kingdom of Queen Brisena and told her that ye were sent there by her knight from Firm Island, and that I have found my brother Sir Galaor. Kiss her hands for me.”
They said they would do everything he had ordered and anything else they could do for him. Then they sat to eat, and they were well served with many delicious dishes. Amadis ordered that their ships be returned, which was done immediately. The former prisoners set sail together to see Queen Brisena to fulfill his orders.
After eating, Amadis and his companions went to the giant’s bedroom to see him, and they found him being cared for by his sister Andandona, also a giant, the most brave and disdainful in the world. She had been born fifteen years earlier than Madarque and had helped raise him. Her white hair was so curly it could not be combed, and her face was so ugly that she looked like the devil. She was exceptionally large and agile, and there was no horse, no matter how wild, nor any other beast that could be mounted, which she could not tame. She could shoot a bow and arrow with such strength and accuracy that she had killed many bears, lions, and boars, and clothed herself with their skins. She spent all the time she could in the mountains hunting wild beasts.
She was a sworn enemy of Christians and did them great harm, and would do much more in the future after she made her brother Madarque their greatest enemy, until in the battle where King Lisuarte fought with King Aravigo and six other kings, King Perion killed the giant, as shall be told further on.
After the knights spent a while with the giant and he promised to become a Christian, they left for their rooms, where they spent the night. The next day they boarded their ships and set sail for Gaul via a branch of the sea with forests on both sides. There the diabolic giant Andandona was waiting to do them harm. When she saw them in the water, she climbed down a hill until she was above them on top of a boulder without letting them see her. She chose the best arrow she had and as they were so close, she aimed and shot with all her strength. She hit Sir Bruneo in the leg, and the arrow passed through it to hit the galley, where it broke.
But with the great force she had used in her eagerness to hurt them, her feet slipped on the boulder and she fell into the water, dropping so hard that it seemed as if a tower had fallen. Those who saw her and her great size, dressed in black bear pelts, thought she was some devil and began to cross themselves and commend themselves to God. Then they saw her swimming so well it was amazing, and they shot at her with bows and arrows, but she dove under the water until she reached the shore. As she climbed out, Amadis and King Cildadan hit her on each shoulder with arrows, but she kept climbing and began to flee through thick brush. King Cildadan, who saw her running with the arrows in her, could not keep himself from laughing.
They went to help Sir Bruneo, stopping the bleeding and carrying him to his bed. Soon the giantess appeared on top of another hill and began to shout:
“If ye think I am the devil, ye should not, for I am Andandona, and I shall do you all the harm I can, and I shall not cease for any reason nor for all the labor it may require.”
She ran across the cliffs so fast that there was no way to hit her, and everyone was surprised, for they had thought she would die from her wounds. Then they learned all about her from two men who were among the prisoners that Gandalin had brought to the galley to take to Gaul, where they were from, and they were astonished. If it had not been for Sir Bruneo, who insisted that they take him as fast as they could to somewhere where his injury could be treated, they would have returned to the island and searched every part of it to find the diabolic giantess and have her burned.