Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Chapter 74 [part 1 of 3]

How the Knight of the Green Sword wrote to the Emperor of Constantinople, for the island belonged to hims, about how he had killed that fierce beast, and about their lack of provisions, which the Emperor promptly supplied; and he paid the knight great honor and esteem for the noble service he had rendered in freeing that island, which had been in the hands of the devil for such a long time. 

[Constantinople in the Byzantine era.]

“If that is your will, my lord,” the doctor Elisabad said, “ye must write the Emperor about what has happened to you, and to have some provisions brought here for the journey that we lack.”

“Doctor,” he said, “I never saw him or met him, so I defer this to you to do as ye see fit, and I will take that as a great mercy from you.”

On his behalf, the doctor Elisabad immediately wrote a letter so the Emperor would know everything that had happened to the foreign knight called he of the Green Sword after he had left Grasinda, his lady; and how he had achieved great feats at arms in the islands of Romania, which no other knight could have done; and how a great storm at sea sent them to the Island of the Devil, where the Endriago had been; and how the Knight of the Green Sword of his own free will despite everyone’s wishes had sought it and fought it and killed it.

And he wrote extensively about how the battle took place, and the injuries from which the Knight of the Green Sword escaped death; so there was nothing to know that he did not write. And, since the island was now free of that devil and in his reign, the Emperor should order steps be taken to repopulate it, and the Knight of the Green Sword asked for the mercy of ordering it be called Santa María Island.

He give this letter, containing what ye have heard, to a squire he had brought with him who was a relative, and sent him in the galley with as many sailors as was necessary to go to Constantinople and give it to the Emperor, and bring back the things they needed for their provision.

The squire immediately went out to sea with his company, for the weather was very favorable, and in three days the galley arrived at port. He disembarked and went to the palace of the Emperor, whom he found with many noblemen, as such a grand lord ought to be. He knelt and told him:

“Your servant the doctor Elisabad sends kisses for your feet and this letter, from which ye shall receive great pleasure.”

The Emperor took it and read what it said, which astonished him, and he said loudly so all would hear:

“Knights, amazing news has come to me the like of which I have never heard before.”

Then he was approached by his nephew Gastiles, son of his sister the Duchess of Gajaste, who was a fine young knight, and Count Saluder, brother of Grasinda, who had given so many honors to the Knight of the Green Sword, along with many other noblemen. The Emperor said:

“Know that he of the Green Sword, of whose great deeds at arms in the islands of Romania we have been told, fought the Endriago by his own free will and killed it. And if the whole world did not marvel at such a thing as this, what could come that would cause surprise?”

He showed them Elisabad’s letter, and ordered the messenger to recount aloud what had happened, which he told in its entirety, as one for whom it had all passed in his presence. Then Gastiles said:

“Truly, my lord, this is a great miracle, for I never heard it said that a mortal person could fight with the devil except for saints with their spiritual arms, who could well do so with their holiness. And if such a man as this has come to our land with a great desire to serve us, it would be an injustice not to do him great honor.”

“Nephew,” he said, “ye spoke well. Ye and Count Saluder should prepare some galleys and bring him here, for we have never seen anything like him. And take some masters who can paint the Endriago as it is, because I shall have it cast in metal and the knight himself who fought it, in their appearance and size, and I shall have those figures placed in the same location where the battle occurred, and on a grand copper plate shall have written what happened and the name of the knight. And I shall have a monastery established there where friars shall live so they may reform the island and return it to the service of God, for the people of that land have been deeply injured by the apparition of the evil enemy.”

Many were pleased by what the Emperor said, most of all Gastiles and the Marquis [sic], because they were being sent on a voyage where they could see the Endriago and the man who killed it. They had the galleys prepared and sailed to the Island of Santa María, as the Emperor had ordered that from then on it should be called. When the Knight of the Green Sword learned they had arrived, he ordered the best and finest of what Grasinda had put in the galley be used to decorated his chamber. He had improved and sometimes walked around the room.

They arrived at the castle finely dressed and accompanied by noblemen, and the Knight of the Green Sword came to receive them a little outside his chamber. There they spoke with great courtesy, and he had them sit on some estrados that he had ordered made for them. He already knew from Elisabad that the Marquis was the brother of his lady Grasinda, and he thanked him deeply for what his sister had done for him and the honors and gifts he had received from her, and how, after God, she had given him life by sending that doctor to accompany him who had treated him and kept him from dying.

The Greeks who had come there gazed at the Knight of the Green Sword, and although he had lost much of his appearance due to weakness, they said they had never seen a handsomer knight nor one more gracious in his speech. As they were there with great pleasure, Gastiles told him:

“My good lord, my uncle the Emperor wishes to see you, and through us he asks you to come to see him because he ought to do you what honor obliges him and ye deserve, for ye have served him by winning this island that he thought was lost.”

“My lord,” the Knight of the Dwarf said, “I shall do what the Emperor orders, for my desire is to see and serve him as much as a poor foreign knight such as myself can do.”

“Then let us see the Endriago,” Gastiles said, “for some masters that the Emperor has sent here ought to see it so they can portray it fully according to its figure and appearance.”

The doctor told him:

“My lords, it is necessary that ye go well protected against its poison, for if not, your life could be in danger.”

Gastiles said:

“Good friend, please give us that protection.”

“So I shall,” he said.

Then he gave them some boxes to put at their noses when they looked at it. They mounted immediately, and Gandalin came with them to guide them, and as he went he told them what had happened to his lord and to himself in the place where they were going, and what the battle had been like, and how he had wailed and pulled his hair to see his lord so close to death, and how the devil came out of its body and the form it had taken, and everything that had happened as ye have heard.

They arrived at the arroyo where his lord had lay dying, and he led them through some brush next to some rocks, and they beheld the dead Endriago, which gave them a terrible fright, so much that they could not believe that in the world nor in the inferno could there be such an unnatural and fearful beast. And while they had already considered the knight highly, now they esteemed him even more looking at that devil which, although they knew was dead, they did not dare touch or even come close.

Gastiles said that the courage to dare to attack that beast should not be considered highly because it was so great that it could not be attributed to any mortal man but to God, and to Him and no other should it be owed. The masters looked at the beast and measured everything to properly record how it was, and so they did, being singularly and marvelously gifted in their art.

Then they returned to the castle and found that the Knight of the Dwarf was waiting for them with food, and they were served with great pleasure and happiness, considering the place where they were. They all rested three days in the castle looking at that land, which was very beautiful, and at the garden and the well where the ill-fated daughter pushed her mother. On the fourth day they put out to sea, and soon they docked in Constantinople below the palaces of the Emperor. People came to their windows eager to see the Knight of the Green Sword. The Emperor ordered horses be brought so they could mount.

At that time the Knight of the Green Sword’s health was much improved as were his looks, and he wore handsome and exquisite clothing that the King of Bohemia had made him take when he left him, and from his neck he hung the rare and fine green sword he had won for the extraordinary love he had for his lady. When he saw it, he recalled the time he won it and the pleasure he had enjoyed at Miraflores when he was with she whom he loved so much and who was so far away. He shed many tears as anguished as delightful, as they are for those who are subject and tormented by such passion and joy.

So they left the sea, mounted those handsome palfreys with fine bridles and saddles that were brought for them, and they went to the Emperor, who was coming to meet them with noblemen, all very finely attired. The Knight of the Green Sword came ahead of the rest and wished to dismount and kiss his hands, but the Emperor, when he saw this, would not consent. Instead, he went to him and embraced him, showing the great esteem he had for him, and told him:

“By God, Knight of the Green Sword, my good friend, although God may have made me a great man and I come from the lineage of those who held this great reign, ye deserve the honor more than I do, for ye won it by your great courage and through great peril that none other has passed through, while mine came to me while I slept, undeservedly.”

The Knight of the Dwarf said:

“My lord, a man may be satisfied by things that can be measured, but not this, which by God’s great virtue has caused me to receive such praise, and until my death I shall remain in His service in all things that He may send me.”

As they spoke, the Emperor rode back to his palace with him, and he of the Green Sword looked at that great city and the rare and wonderful things in it and at the many people who came out to see him. In his heart, with great humility, he gave thanks to God for having guided him to such a place where the greatest man among Christians received him, and everything he had seen elsewhere seemed like nothing compared to that.

But he was even more astonished when he entered the palace, where all the riches of the world seemed to have been brought together. There the Emperor had a lodging for the great lords who came to him that was the most beautiful and delightful that could be found in the entire world, as well as fine pavilions and fountains and exotic trees. There he ordered the Knight of the Green Sword to stay as well as the doctor Elisabad, who attended to his health, and Gastiles and the Marquis Saluder to keep him company. Letting them rest, he left with his noblemen to go to his own lodgings.

Everyone in the city who had seen the Knight of the Green Sword spoke about how handsome he was and even more about his courage, which was greater than any other knight. And if he had been amazed to see such a city as that and so many people, even more were they merely to see him, and he was praised by everyone and honored more than any other king or grandee or knight who had come from other foreign lands.

The Emperor told his wife the Empress:

“My lady, the Knight of the Green Sword, of whose many famous deeds we have heard, is here. For his great valor and for the service he did us by winning that island which was in the power of the evil enemy for so long, and simply for having done such a feat, it is right to show him much honor. To do that, order your chambers to be finely decorated in such a way that wherever he may go he will rightly praise it and speak of it as I have spoken to you of other palaces I have seen in other places. And I wish him to see your ladies and damsels in such apparel and adornment as is proper for those who serve such a high lady as yourself.”

And to everything he had said, she replied:

“In the name of God, it shall all be done as ye order.”


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