Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Chapter 73 [part 3 of 3]

[In which is recounted how the doctor Elisabad treated the Knight of the Green Sword for his wounds, which brought him near death.] 

[The Fiera Corruptia, a monster of Spanish folklore.]

Gandalin, when he saw that the knight was unconscious, made no effort to respond. Instead, he galloped up a small hill and sounded the horn as loudly as he could as a sign that the Endriago was dead. Ardian the dwarf, who was in the tower, heard it and shouted to the doctor Elisabad to go help his lord, for the Endriago was dead. As soon as he was ready, the doctor rode with everything he might need as fast as he could directly toward where the dwarf had pointed. He had not ridden far before he saw Gandalin on the hill, who, when he saw the doctor, came galloping toward him and said:

“Oh, my lord, by God and by mercy, help my lord, who desperately needs it. The Endriago is dead!”

When the doctor heard this, he felt great pleasure at Gandalin’s good news, not knowing the injuries of the knight, and spurred his horse to go as fast as it could. Gandalin guided him to where the Knight of the Green Sword lay. They found him unconscious and senseless, but groaning loudly. The doctor went to him and said:

“What is this, my lord knight? Where has your great courage gone at the time and cause when ye need it most? Do not fear dying, for your good friend and loyal servant is here, doctor Elisabad, who shall help you.”

When the Knight of the Green Sword heard doctor Elisabad, although he was weak, he recognized his voice and opened his eyes and tried to raise his head, but he could not, and raised his arms as if he wished to embrace him. Doctor Elisabad immediately took off his cloak and laid it on the ground, and he and Gandalin picked him up and put him on it, then took off his armor, disturbing him as little as possible. When the doctor saw the injuries, although he was one of the most skilled in the world, he was frightened and felt no hope for the knight’s life. But as one who loved him and held him as the best knight in the world, he decided to do all he could to heal him. He examined his wounds and saw that his flesh and bones had been injured, but that his entrails had not been touched. He felt more hope that he could heal him, so he set the ribs and bones, and sewed up the flesh, putting ointments on it and wrapping him well all around his body, which stopped the bleeding and helped him breathe. Then the knight gained more consciousness and strength, enough so he could speak, and he opened his eyes and said:

“Oh all powerful Lord God, Who chose to come to the world and take human flesh within the Virgin Mary and open the gates of Paradise, which had been closed, Who chose to suffer many injuries and in the end was killed by evil and ill-fated people! I ask thee, Lord, as one of the greatest sinners, to have mercy on my soul, for my body is condemned to the earth.”

Then he was quiet and spoke no more. The doctor told him:

“My lord knight, it pleases greatly me to see you with such consciousness, because He from whom ye ask mercy shall deliver the best medicine to you, and after that, I as your servant shall use my life for the care of yours, and with His help I shall heal you. Do not fear death at this time, only strengthen your heart and have as much hope to live as you had to die.”

Then he took a sponge with medicine against poison and put it at his nose, which gave him great strength. Gandalin kissed the doctor’s hands, knelt before him, and begged him to have mercy on his lord. The doctor ordered him to mount and hurry to the castle and bring back some men to carry the knight on a litter before night fell. Gandalin did so, and the men came and made a litter from trees in the forest as best they could, then put the Knight of the Green Sword on it and carried him to the castle on their shoulders. They readied the best chamber with the fine bedding that Grasinda had ordered put in the ship, and placed him in the bed so unconscious that he felt nothing. Thus he spent the night and did not speak, groaning as one who was badly injured, and tried to talk, but could not.

The doctor ordered his own bed placed there and was with him to care for him, and put all the proper unguents to draw out the vile poison that the Endriago had filled him with. At the dawn of day the knight fell into a peaceful sleep, so good was the medicine. Then the doctor ordered everyone out so they would not awaken him, because he knew that sleep was a great consolation. After a long time, the sleep was broken, and the knight began to shout with great affliction, and said:

“Gandalin, Gandalin, protect thyself from that cruel and evil devil. Do not be killed!”

When the doctor heard that, he laughed happily, although in his heart he still feared for his life, and said:

“If ye protected yourself as well as ye wish he did, your fame would not be as widespread throughout the world.”

He lifted his head and saw the doctor, and said:

“Doctor, where are we?”

He came to him, took him by the hands, and saw that he was still faint. He ordered he be brought something to eat and fed him with what he thought would help him regain his strength. He ate it as a senseless man. The doctor stayed with him giving him the care he needed, as he who was the best at his work as could have been found in the entire world. Before vespers came, the knight had become fully conscious and recognized everyone and spoke with them.

The doctor never left his side and gave him all things necessary for his injuries, and with that care and principally with the will of God, Who wished it so, the doctor in his wisdom saw that the wounds would heal. Then he told that to all those who were there, who felt great pleasure and thanked the sovereign God because he had saved them from both the storm in the sea and the perilous devil.

Greatest was the happiness of Gandalin, his loyal squire, and the dwarf, as those who loved him from the bottom of their hearts, for they were returned from death to life. Then they all gathered around the bed of the Knight of the Green Sword with great pleasure, consoling him and telling him not to worry about his injuries because of the honor and good fate that God had given him, more in both arms and courage than He had ever given to any other earthly man.

They insistently asked Gandalin to tell them everything about the feat as it had happened, since he had seen it with his own eyes, because they wanted to be able to recount the great prowess of the knight. He told them he would willingly do so on the condition that the doctor would have him swear on the holy Evangels, so that they would believe him and it could be written down truthfully, and thus such a great and notable deed would not be lost to oblivion from memory. Doctor Elisabad did so, to make the great deed be more certain.

Then Gandalin told them everything that had happened just as this story has recounted it, and when they heard it, they were astounded by it as the greatest exploit they had ever heard spoken of. Yet none of them had seen the Endriago, which had fallen amid some underbrush, because they had been to busy helping the knight to worry about it.

Then they all said they wished to see the Endriago. The doctor told them to go and gave them many medicines to protect themselves from the poison. When they saw the thing so terrifying and out of proportion to any living thing they had ever seen, they were much more amazed than before and could not believe that such a courageous heart existed in the world to dare to attack that devil. Although they knew for certain that the Knight of the Green Sword had killed it, it seemed to them it was only sleeping.

After they had stared at it for a long time, they returned to the castle, speaking among themselves about what a great deed the Knight of the Green Sword had brought to completion.

What shall I tell you? Know that they were there more than twenty days before the Knight of the Green Sword had become well enough that they dared to take him from his bed. But in time by God and the great diligence of doctor Elisabad his health had improved so that without any danger he could go back out to sea. When the doctor saw him thus disposed, he spoke to him one day and said:

“My lord, now due to the goodness of God, as He has wished and Whose power none equals, ye have come to the point where I dare believe that with His help and your good effort ye may go out to sea and travel where ye please. And because we still lack some very necessary things, both regarding your health and to sustain the crew, ye must give the order to leave, because while we are here, we will find ourselves lacking even more.”

The Knight of the Dwarf said:

“My lord and true friend, I owe many thanks and gifts to God because he has seen fit to heal me in my danger, more out of His holy mercy than because I deserve it, and nothing can be compared to His great power because everything is permitted and guided by His will, and every good thing that happens in this world must be attributed to Him. And leaving His part aside, my lord, I thank you for my life, because truly I believe that no one born now in this world would be able to help me the way ye have. And although God may have done me a great mercy, my fate is very contrary, for the prize for the great service that I have received from you cannot be satisfied by a poor knight who possesses no other thing but a horse and some armor, which has been damaged, as ye see.”

The doctor said:

“My lord, I need no other satisfaction than the glory that I have with you, which is to have, after God, saved from death, the best knight who has ever borne arms, and this I will dare to say before you for what ye have done before me. And the prize I hope from you is much greater than that which any king or great lord can give me, which is the help that many men and women in trouble will find in you, for you will aid them. For me a greater reward than any other shall be to have caused, after God, your recovery.”

The Knight of the Green Sword was embarrassed to hear himself so praised, and he said:

“My lord, let us leave this of which we speak aside. I wish ye to know that which I hold most firmly in my will. I had wished to travel through all the islands of Romania, and after ye told me about the fatigue of the sailors, I changed my purpose and we turned toward Constantinople, which contrary weather has kept us from. Now that it has calmed, I still desire to go there and to see that great Emperor, because, if God sends me to where my heart desires, I will be able to tell some amazing tales about things that one may rarely see except in such royal houses. My lord doctor, for the love ye have for me, I beg you not to be angry about this, because one day ye shall be rewarded by me. And from there we shall return, sovereign God willing, within the deadline set for me by the very noble lady Grasinda. I must try to fulfill it, as ye well know, so that if it is possible and as it is my desire, I may repay some of the great mercies I have received from her without deserving them.”


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Chapter 73 [part 2 of 3]

[Amadis fights the Endriago. Lithograph from a 1838 edition published in Madrid. From the Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes.]

They passed the night in great fear of the stormy sea and the Endriago, fearing tha it would leave a nearby castle where it often took shelter. When dawn came, the doctor sang Mass, and the Knight of the Green Sword listened with great humility, praying to God to help him in the peril he wished to place himself in His service, and if His will were that death came for him, to have mercy on his soul.

Then he armed himself and had his horse and Gandalin’s brought out to land, and told those who on the ship:

“My friends, I wish to go to that castle, and if I find the Endriago there, to fight with it. And if I do not find it, I shall see if the castle is suitable so you can lodge there until the sea is calmed while I search for the beast in the mountains. If I survive, I shall come back to you. If not, do what ye deem best.”

When they heard this, they were more frightened than ever because even at sea their spirits were not enough to endure the fear of the Endriago, for it was a greater peril than all the harm and danger of the sea’s great storms. Even greater was the courage of that knight who of his own free will was going to look for it and fight it. And truly, all the feats at arms that they had heard of and seen him do seemed like nothing in comparison to this.

The doctor Elisabad, as a man of letters and of faith, reminded him that these things were outside nature and men, and he ought not to fall into the sin of suicide. But the Knight of the Green Sword answered that if he were to think that way, it would keep him from going to land to seek dangerous adventure, as he had done in the past. If it were known that he had failed to fight it, all his other deeds would be held as nothing and in dishonor. So he ought to kill that evil and horrible beast or die, as men had to do, leaving their homes for foreign lands to earn praise and honor.

Then he looked at Gandalin, who while he was speaking with the doctor and with the men of the ship, had put on armor that he had found so he could help. When the knight saw him on his horse weeping, he said:

“Who has given thee to do such a thing? Take off thy armor, for if thou wishest to serve and help me, thou already knowest that it ought not to be by losing thy life but by keeping it so that thou mayest recount my death in the place where the principal cause is and in whose memory I would receive death.”

He made Gandalin disarm, and went with him to the castle. Inside, they found it empty except for birds. Inside were good buildings, although some had fallen into ruin. The main gates were strong and tightly closed with heavy locks, which pleased him. He sent Gandalin to the galley to tell them they could find good shelter in the castle. They all immediately came although they were very afraid of the Endriago, but the great storms of the sea had not ceased. They entered the castle, and the Knight of the Green Sword told them:

“My good friends, I want to search this island for the Endriago, and if it goes well, Gandalin will sound this horn. Then you will know that it is dead and I am alive. If it goes badly, ye need do nothing. In the meantime, close these gates and bring some provisions from the galley, for ye will be safe here until the sea becomes calm.”

Then the Knight of the Green Sword left them, and they all wept. But the tears and bitter wailing of his dwarf Ardian cannot be recounted, for he tore out his hair, struck his face with his hands, beat his head on the walls, and called himself miserable because his sad fate had brought him to serve such a man. A thousand times his lord had come to the point of death as he watched him undertake astounding deeds, and now, finally, he would attempt to do what the Emperor of Constantinople, in all his great power, did not dare to try to put right. As his lord set out across the countryside, he climbed the stone stairway to the top of the castle wall almost senseless, so much did he ache for his lord.

The doctor Elisabad ordered an altar be made with all the relics he had brought for Mass, and had everyone take lit candles, kneel, and pray to God to protect that knight for the service he was offering Him, for he was protecting them by knowingly exposing himself to perils that clearly offered him death.

As ye hear, the Knight of the Green Sword rode with the courageous bearing that his brave heart provided him, and Gandalin rode behind him weeping, believing that the end of his days would come before sundown.

The knight turned to him and said, laughing:

“My good brother, do not hold so little hope in the mercy of God nor the sight of my lady Oriana as to be in such desperation. Not only do I have before me her pleasing memory but her actual person, and my eyes see her, and she is telling me to protect her from this evil beast. So, my true friend, what dost thou think I ought to do? Dost thou not know that my life and death are in hers? Hast thou advised me to let her be killed rather than for me to die before thine eyes? May it not please God for thee to think that way. And if thou dost not see her, I do, for she is right before me. And as her mere memory has allowed me to do such things that have brought me great honor, as thou knowest, how much more does her actual presence give me.”

As he said this, his courage grew so much that he would have felt great disappointment if he did not find the Endriago. He encountered a valley amid wild mountains and peaks with many caves, and he said:

“Shout, Gandalin, because that may cause the Endriago to come to us. I beg you that if I were to die here, find a way to bring to my lady Oriana that which is wholly hers, my heart. Tell her that I send it so that I will not have to explain to God why I had something with me that did not belong to me.”

When Gandalin heard this, he not only shouted, he tore his hair, and weeping, he cried out, hoping for his own death before seeing his lord whom he loved so much die. And soon they saw the Endriago come out from the peaks, much braver and stronger than it had ever been before, because the devils had seen that the knight put more hope in his beloved Oriana than in God, so they entered it and made it mightier and more irate, and they said:

“If we escape alive from him, there is no one else in the world so daring and so strong as to attack us again.”

The Endriago approached so enraged, spewing smoke and flames from its mouth, and gnashing its teeth and foaming at the mouth, and making the scales on his body and his wings rattle so loudly that it was terrifying to see. So felt the Knight of the Green Sword, especially when he heard its shrieks and frightening growls. Although it had been described as fearsome, compared to its actual sight, the words had been nothing. When the Endriago saw him, it began to leap and bellow, as one who had spent a long time without seeing a man, then it charged at them. When the horses of the Knight of the Green Sword and Gandalin saw it, they began to flee, terrified, and the men could hardly hold them as they whinnied. When he of the Green Sword saw that he could not approach by horse, he dismounted quickly and told Gandalin:

“Brother, take this horse so that we do not lose both of them, and observe the fate that God wishes me to give to this horrible devil. And I beg Him by my faith in Him to guide me as I destroy it so this land may be returned to His service. And if I must die here, may He have mercy on my soul. In that case, do as I told thee.”

Gandalin could not answer. He was weeping too hard because he saw death close by unless God miraculously saved him. The Knight of the Green Sword took his lance and protected himself with his shield. As a man who had already accepted his death, he lost all his terror and as fast as he could, he ran toward the Endriago.

The devil, when it saw him, charged at him, blowing fire from its mouth and smoke so black that they could hardly see each other. He of the Green Sword entered the smoke and ran close enough to strike it with his lance and, by a great blessing, hit an eye. The Endriago grabbed the lance with its claws and mouth and tore it to pieces, and the iron blade and a little of the wood shaft lodged in its tongue and gills, for it had charged so hard that it had impaled itself on them.

It leaped to grab him, but lacking an eye, it could not, because the knight had protected himself with the courage and lively heart of one who saw death itself. He put a hand on his fine sword and came at it, which was distracted as blood flowed from its eye and mouth. With its great panting and puffing, most of the blood entered its throat and almost choked it, and it could not close its mouth or bite. The knight ran to its side and stuck a heavy blow on its scales, and it seemed like he had struck a hard rock, and he cut nothing.

When the Endriago saw him so close, it tried to grab him with his claws, but it only grasped his shield, yanking so hard that the knight fell hands on the ground. Since he was without a shield and his sword could not cut the beast, he knew well that his deed would be nothing if God did not help him destroy the other eye, for nowhere else could he injure him. Like a furious lion, all fear lost, he came at the Endriago, which was weak and flagging, for it had lost a lot of blood and an eye.

All things in service of the devil fail and perish, and Our Lord was now angry because the vile enemy had acquired such power and had done evil to those who, although they were sinners, believed in the holy Catholic faith. He chose to give the knight special strength and blessing, for without it no one would be powerful enough to dare to confront such great danger. In that way he would put an end to that which against all order of nature had done so much harm to so many, among others its ill-fated mother and father.

The knight aimed for the other eye with his sword, but God guided it into the opening of one of its nostrils, which were very wide. With great strength, the knight lunged and the Endriago leaped at him, and the sword entered all the way into its brains. But when the Endriago saw him so close, it took him in his arms and with his strong, sharp claws tore open all the armor on his back and the flesh and bones down to his entrails.

But it suffered from all the blood in its throat and from the blow of the sword into its brains, and above from all the sentence that God had passed over it and which could not be revoked. It could not continue to hold him, opened its arms, and fell to one side as if dead and senseless. When the knight saw that, he pulled out his sword and shoved it into his mouth as hard as he could many times, and finally killed it.

And I wish ye to know that before its soul left it, the devil passed out of its mouth and flew through the air with a great thunder, which those who were in the castle heard as if it were close by. It terrified them for they knew that the knight was now in battle with the beast. And although they were locked in a fortification and its doors barred and chained, they felt unsure of their lives, and if the sea had not been wild, they would not have dared to wait there any longer. But they turned to God with many prayers to save them from that danger and protect that knight who was doing such extraordinary feats in His service.

Since the Endriago was dead, the knight drew back and went toward Gandalin, who was already riding to him, but he could not remain on his feet and fell unconscious next to a small stream that flowed there. Gandalin arrived, saw the terrifying injuries, and thought he was dead. He fell from his horse and began to shout, pulling out his hair. Then the knight came to a bit and said:

“Oh, my good brother and true friend! Now thou seest that I am dead. I beg thee for the upbringing that thy father and mother gave me, and for the great love I have always had for thee, to be as good to me in death as thou hast been in life. And when I am dead, take my heart and bring it to my lady Oriana. Tell her it was always hers and she had it in her power since the first time I saw her, and while it was enclosed in this troubled body, not for one moment did it have any desire but to serve her, and with it she shall have a reminder of he who possessed it although it was not his. There where my soul shall be, it shall find rest with her memory.”

And he could speak no more.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Welcome back

The noble and virtuous knight Amadis of Gaul has many adventures ahead of him.

Greek-language graffiti carved into the handrail in the Loge of the Empress at the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. Photo by Sue Burke.

If all goes as planned, we will finish Book III next July. There are four books in the novel – originally three, but when Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo revised the novel in the late 1400s, he changed the ending and created a fourth book. The early version has been lost, but we know what happened from comments about it.

You will learn the original story when the time comes. No spoilers, but it did not end happily.

In the meantime, Amadis challenges and defeats the devil himself in the form of the Endriago. This wins him the support of the Emperor of Constantinople, whom he visits. Since he likes to learn the local language wherever he travels, he learns Ancient Greek, the language of Constantinople, and thus Amadis becomes known as the Greek Knight.

Under that name, he travels back to Great Britain to try to rescue Oriana from the Romans. Book III ends with a thrilling sea battle.

Adventure, love, courage, and events outside the natural order await. Thanks for reading.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Chapter 73 [part 1 of 3]

How the noble Knight of the Green Sword, after leaving Grasinda to go to Constantinople, was blown by a storm at sea to land at the Island of the Devil, where he found a fierce beast called the Endriago, and how he finally defeated it. 

[An illustration of a medieval legend about the knight Amoras, who tries to sell his wife to the devil for a chest of gold, but, as shown here, the Virgin Mary takes her place and drives the devils away. From the  British Library medieval manuscripts blog.]

The Knight of the Green Sword was sailing through the sea with his crew and companions toward Constantinople, as ye have heard, when the favorable wind suddenly turned contrary, as often happens. The sea grew so stormy and wild that neither the great strength of the ship nor the wisdom of the crew was sufficient to keep it safe. Many times their ship was at the point of sinking. Rain fell so heavily and the wind blew so powerfully and the sky was so dark that doctor Elisabad and the others lost hope and thought that their lives would not be saved without the great mercy of the Most High Lord. Often the ship was filled with water, so neither by day nor night could they rest, eat, or sleep without sudden alarm, and they had no repose other than what fate was pleased to give them.

So they rode the storm for eight days and could not know or calculate where they were in the sea, and the tempest did not cease for a moment. At the end of that time, one night before dawn, the wind beached the ship so forcefully it could not be freed. This gave great consolation to all, as if they were returned from death to life.

But when morning came, the sailors recognized where they were, and knew it was called the Island of the Devil, which a fierce beast had depopulated. Their anguish and the pain in their souls was doubled, for they believed they were in more danger than the sea had held for them. They beat their faces with their hands and sobbed, and came to the Knight of the Green sword unable to speak. He was shocked to see their happiness turned into great sorrow but did not know why, and stood confused, asking them what sudden thing had so quickly changed their pleasure into weeping.

“Oh, knight!” they said, “this tribulation is so great that we have no strength to tell you, but doctor Elisabad will tell you, for he well knows why this is called the Island of the Devil.”

The doctor, no less troubled than them, was encouraged by the Knight of the Dwarf. Trembling and barely able to speak, he solemnly and fearfully told the knight what he wanted to know:

“My lord Knight of the Dwarf, know that of this island were we have landed, a giant named Bandaguido was lord, and with his ferocious brutality he made all other giants whose land abutted his be his tributaries. He was married to a gentle giantess who had been well raised. While her husband’s vile anger and cruelty toward Christians caused him to kill and destroy them, she took pity on them and tried to help them as best she could.

“With this lady, Bandaguido had a daughter who, when she reached the age to be a damsel, nature honored and heightened her beauty so that in much of the world no other woman of her nobility or blood could be found to equal her. But as great beauty may soon be joined to vanity, and vanity to sin, this damsel found her self so gracious and praised, and lovely and worthy of being loved by all, yet due to her father’s fierceness, no one dared to approach her.

“As a result and as a last resort, in vile and very improper affection, she loved her father. So, often, when her mother was not at her father’s side, the daughter came to him, joking and laughing with him, and embracing and kissing him. Her father at first took that as the love a daughter owed to her father, but as it went on and he came to know how she felt, her excessively great beauty and his little conscience and virtue gave rise to the fulfillment of her evil and foul desire.

“We must take that as an example of how no man in this life should be so confident of himself that he fails to avoid and guide conversation and affection away not only from his aunts and sisters but from his own daughters, because that evil passion will reach its natural incitement, and rarely are judgement, conscience, and fear enough to bring it to a halt and retreat.

“From this ugly and greatly erroneous sin soon came a larger one, as happens to those who forget the mercy of God and follow the will of His evil enemy, and wish to remedy one great wickedness with another. They do not know that the true cure for sin is honest repentance and penance. This will bring them pardon from the Lord on High, who for similar errors was placed Himself, after many torments, on the Cross, where as a real man He died and as a real God was resuscitated.

“This ill-fated father was burning with love for his daughter and she for him, and so that they could enjoy their vile desire without inconvenience, they planned to kill that noble lady who was his wife and her mother. The giant was advised by the false idols he adored that if he married his daughter, there would be engendered in her the bravest and strongest thing that could be found in the world, so they made plans. The ill-fated daughter, whom her mother loved more than she loved herself, was walking in a garden speaking with her, when the daughter pretended to see something strange in a well. She called her mother to look at it, then pushed her in down to its depth, and soon she had drowned.

“The daughter shouted for help, saying that her mother had fallen into a well. People rushed there, including the giant, who knew of the trickery, and when they saw that the lady whom they all loved very much was dead, they mourned deeply. But the giant said:

“ ‘Do not mourn her. This is what the gods have wanted, and I shall take as a wife she in whom shall be engendered someone who will make us be feared and become the lords of all things.’

“Everyone fell silent out of fear of the giant and did not dare oppose him. Then that same day, publically and before all, he took his daughter Bandaguida as his wife, and in her that misfortunate night was engendered an animal by order of the devils in whom she and her father believed, and its description ye shall hear now:

“Its body and face were covered with hair, and over that were shells like scales one over another so strong that no weapon could pass through them. Its legs and feet were wide and strong. On its shoulders were wings long enough to reach its feet that were covered not with feathers but with leather black as pitch, shiny and hairy, and so tough that no weapon could harm it. It would cover itself with them as a man would use a shield.

“Below the wings were arms strong as a lion, covered with shells finer than those on its body, and its hands were like those of an eagle with five fingers and claws so mighty and large that anything in the world, no matter how strong, would be destroyed once it was in their grip. It had two teeth in each jaw, so strong and long that they hung a cubit long outside its mouth, and its eyes were large, round, and vermilion like coals, so that from far away at night they could be seen, and everyone fled from it.

“It leaped and ran with such agility that no deer could escape. It ate and drank little, and sometimes not at all, and never felt hunger. Its only pleasure was to kill men and other living animals, and when it found lions or bears that tried to defend themselves, it became irate and blew smoke from its nose so frightening that it seemed like flames, and it would give hoarse bellows that were terrifying to hear.

“So all living things fled from it as from death. It smelled so bad that it poisoned all around it, and when it rattled its shells against each other and gnashed its teeth, it seemed the earth itself shuddered in fear. Such is the animal called the Endriago that I tell you of,” doctor Elisabad said. “And I tell you more, that the great sin of the giant and his daughter caused the evil enemy to enter into it, which multiplied its strength and cruelty.”

The Knight of the Green Sword and the other people on the ship were astonished by what the doctor told him about the devil named Endriago, born of man and woman. The knight said:

“Doctor, how can something so terrible be born from the body of a woman?”

“I shall tell you,” the doctor said, “according to what can be found in a book belonging to the Emperor of Constantinople, whose island this was, and who lost it because his power was not enough to kill that devil. Know ye,” the doctor said, “that when Bandaguida felt herself pregnant, she told the giant, and he was very pleased because he saw that what his gods had told him was true, and so he thought the rest of what they told him was also true. He decided that three or four nursemaids would be needed at the birth because it would be the strongest thing that was in the world. As the vile creature grew in its mother’s belly, since it was the doing and work of the devil, she was often in pain, and her face and eyes turned yellow like poison.

“Yet she thought that was good for she believed, as the gods had said, her son would be the strongest and bravest ever seen, and if it was, she would find a way to kill her father and marry her son. This is the greatest danger for evil: to become more sinful and to delight so much in sin, that although the grace of the Lord on High remains in their spirits, not only do they fail to sense or recognize that grace, they abhor and reject it as something bothersome and foreign. They plan and labor only to do evil deeds, which subject them and overcome them.

“When the time came, a son was born, and not with much difficulty, for until they end, evil things try to be agreeable. When the nursemaids, who were ready to care for it, saw such a horrible creature, they were terrified, but they were so afraid of the giant that they remained quiet and wrapped it in the clothing they had for it. One of them was more daring than the others and offered her breast to feed it, and it took it, but it suckled so hard that she screamed, and when they took it from her, she fell dead from the poison that had entered into her.

“This was immediately reported to the giant, and when he saw his son, he was amazed by such a horrible creature, and he decided to ask his gods why they had given him such a son. He went to the temple where he kept the three gods. One was the shape of a man, the other a lion, and the third a griffon. He offered sacrifices and asked them why they had given him such a son.

“The idol in the shape of a man told him:

“ ‘It was proper for it to be thus, because as its deeds shall be rare and amazing, so must it be, especially to destroy the Christians who are trying to destroy us. That is why I made it resemble me in having free will like men, which beasts lack.’

“The other idol told him:

“ ‘I wished to give it the gift of bravery and strength, which we lions have.’

“The third said:

“ ‘I gave it wings and claws and greater agility than any animal that shall ever be in the world.’

“When the giant heard this, he said:

“ ‘How shall I raise it, for the nursemaid who suckled it immediately died?’

“They told him:

“ ‘Make the other two nursemaids feed it, and they shall also die, but the one who remains will raise it with milk from your cattle until it is one year old, and then it will be as big and handsome as we are, for we have been the cause of its engendering. And we prohibit you and your wife and any other person from seeing it for the coming year, only the woman whom we told you shall care for it.’

“The giant ordered it to be done as his idols had told him, and this is how that rough beast was raised, as ye hear. At the end of a year, the giant learned from the nursemaid that it had grown large, and they heard its hoarse and frightening cries. He and his daughter, whom he had for a wife, agreed to go and see it, and so they entered the room where it was.

“They saw it leaping and running, and when the Endriago saw its mother, it came at her, leaped up, and clawed her face, tearing off her nose and ripping her eyes open, and before it let her go, she was dead. When the giant saw that, he put his hand on his sword to kill it, but it took the sword and struck him on the leg, giving him such a wound that his leg was cut through, and he fell on the ground and soon died.

“The Endriago jumped over him and out the door, poisoning everyone in the castle, and ran to the mountains. Soon after, many of that land’s inhabitants were killed by it, and the rest had fled by the sea in all the ships and boats they could find, and the island was depopulated.

“This happened forty years ago. This is what I know about this evil and devilish beast,” the doctor said.

The Knight of the Green Sword said:

“Doctor, ye have told me astonishing things, and our Lord God has suffered much from those who serve him ill, but in the end if they do not reform, He shall give them a punishment equal to their evil. Now I beg you, doctor, to say Mass in the morning, because I want to see this island, and if He gives me strength, I shall return it to His holy service.”