Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Chapter 75 [part 2 of 3]

[How the Knight of the Green Sword found his dear friend Sir Bruneo of Bonamar injured and dying.] 

[A statue of a knight from about 1350 to 1450 in England, possibly a depiction of St. George. On display at the British Museum, with a detailed on-line description.]

After the Knight of the Green Sword had rested for two days, he felt the urge to hunt in the forest and hills, for when he did not need to use arms, he spent his time that way. He brought with him some local knights and huntsmen who knew the area, and went to a very dense forest two leagues form the town, where there were many deer. He was provisioned with two fine dogs and placed himself amid a line of beaters between a densely wooded mountain and a nearby forest frequented by game.

It did not take him long to kill two large bucks, and the huntsmen killed another one. Since it was now close to nightfall, the huntsmen blew their horns. Although he was about to leave with them, the Knight of the Green Sword saw a marvelously handsome buck leave some thick brush. He set the dogs on it, and they pursued the buck until it jumped into a large lake to save itself. The dogs followed eagerly and captured it, and the Knight of the Green Sword arrived and killed it.

Gandalin was with him and was as happy as he was. The knight had spoken a lot about leaving soon to go where his lady was, and he found great comfort from the idea, for he had not seen her for a long time, as ye have heard. He jumped from his horse and fed the dogs, who were well trained, for he had great experience in such things.

At this time, night had fallen and almost nothing could be seen. They quickly put the deer over some bushes, covered it with green branches, and mounted their horses. Soon they lost their way due to the dense brush. They did not know what to do or where to go, so they rode for a while through the woods hoping to come across some road or someone from their party. Although they did not find that, they happened to come upon a spring. There they let their horses drink, and without hope of finding other lodging, they dismounted. They took off the saddles and reins and let the horses graze on the green grass that was next to the fountain.

But he of the Green Sword ordered Gandalin to wait and went to some large trees nearby where he could be alone and would be better able to think about his life and his lady. When he neared them, he saw a dead white horse, marked by great blows, and heard someone among the trees groaning painfully, but could not see anyone because the night was dark and the trees were very dense.

He sat beneath a tree, listening to find out who it might be, and soon he heard someone say with great anguish and pain:

“Oh, miserable wretch, Bruneo de Bonamar, now has come the time when thy mortal desires shalt perish and die with thee, from which thou hast always been tormented! Thou shalt never again see thy great friend Amadis of Gaul, for whom thou hast carried out so much toil and labor in foreign lands, he who more than everyone else in the world valued and loved thee. Without him nor family nor friends to mourn thee, thou shalt pass from this life to cruel death, which has come nigh!”

Then he said:

“Oh, my lady Melicia, paragon and example above all women in the world, now your loyal vassal Bruneo de Bonamar shall no longer see you nor serve you, he who in word and deed never failed to love you more than he loved himself! My lady, ye lose that which ye could never have, and truly, my lady, ye shall never find another who loves you as loyally as I. Ye were she whose sweet memory maintained me and made me happy, the source of my valor and courage as a knight without ever having been able to serve you. And now that I have placed my service in the search of this brother whom ye love so much, a quest I shall never give up except through failure, not daring to come before you, my hard fate has not given me the chance to do this service for you and has brought me death, which I always feared would come to me because of you.”

Then he said,

“Oh, my good friend Angriote d’Estravaus, where are ye now? We spent so long on this quest, but at the end of my days shall I receive no aid or help? Cruel has been my fate when it wished us to split up last night. Sad and troubling has been that separation, for we shall not see each other again as long as the world shall last. But may God receive my soul, and may your great loyalty receive what it deserves.”

Then he was quiet, moaning and breathing painfully. The Knight of the Green Sword, who had heard all that, wept fiercely, and once he had grown quiet, went to him and said:

“Oh, my lord and good friend Bruneo de Bonamar, do not be troubled, have faith in the very merciful God, who wished me to find you now to help you with whatever ye may need, and that shall be the medicine for the illness ye suffer. And believe, my lord Sir Bruneo, that if any man may get remedy and health from the wisdom of a mortal person, ye shall have it with the help from our Lord God.”

Sir Bruneo thought because of how fiercely the knight was weeping that it was his squire Lasindo, whom he had sent to find a priest so he could confess, and said:

“My friend Lasindo, thou hast been away long, and my death is near. Now I ask that as soon as thou takest me from here, that thou goest directly to Gaul to kiss the hands of the princess for me, and give her this part of my shirt-sleeve where seven letters have been written with a stick dipped in my blood, for I had no energy for more. And I trust that in her great discretion she shall have some pity for me in my death, which I did not get to sustain my life, and I found death in her service searching with struggle and labor for the brother whom she loved so much.”

The Knight of the Green Sword told him:

“My friend Sir Bruneo, I am not Lasindo. Rather I am he for whom ye have undergone such trouble. I am your friend Amadis of Gaul, so I am as sad as you over your danger. Do not fear, for God will attend to you, and I, with the help of a doctor to help, shall restore your health, since your soul has not yet left your flesh.”

Sir Bruneo, although he was very confused and weak from the loss of blood, recognized the voice and held his arms out toward him, took him, and held him close, tears falling abundantly down his face. But he of the Green Sword, also holding him and weeping, shouted to Gandalin to come immediately, and when he came, he said:

“Oh, Gandalin, thou seest here my lord and loyal friend Sir Bruneo, who has searched long for me and now has come to the point of death. Help me remove his armor.”

They carefully disarmed him and placed him on Gandalin’s tabard, covering him with the Knight of the Green Sword’s tabard. He ordered Gandalin to ride as fast as he could to an outcrop and wait there until morning, and go to the town and to tell doctor Elisabad that for the great faith the Knight of the Green Sword had in him to take everything he might need and come immediately to care for a knight who was badly injured, and to know that it was one of the best friends he had. Gandalin should also ask Grasinda to send men and equipment to take him to town, as one ought for a knight of such high lineage and great skill at arms.

He of the Green Sword stayed there with him, holding his head in his lap and consoling him, and Gandalin left promptly with those orders. He rode up a high peak in the forest, and when day came, he immediately saw the town, spurred his horse, and rode there. He traveled with such speed that he did not stop to answer any questions, and everyone thought had something that happened to his lord.

He arrived at the home of the doctor Elisabad. When he heard the orders from the Knight of the Green Sword and saw the great haste of Gandalin, he knew that the situation was grave, and he took everything he might need and mounted his horse, waiting for Gandalin to guide him, while Gandalin told Grasinda what had happened to his lord and what he had asked her to provide.

He left and they took the road to the mountains, and soon they had arrived at the place where the knights were. When the doctor Elisabad saw how his loyal friend the Knight of the Green Sword held the head of the other knight on his lap and was fiercely weeping, he well understood that he loved him dearly.

He arrived laughing and said:

“My lords, do not fear, for God shall soon give you council that will make you happy.”

Then he went to Sir Bruneo and studied his wounds, finding them swollen and inflamed from the night’s cold. He put such medicines on them that soon the pain had been taken away, and so sleep overcame him, which was a great aid and rest. When he of the Green Sword saw how the doctor held Sir Bruneo to be in so little danger, he joyfully embraced him and said:

“Oh, doctor Elisabad, my good lord and my friend, on a good day I was placed in your company, for so much goodness and advantage has followed for me! I ask God for the mercy that some time I may reward you, for although ye see me now as a poor knight, it may be that before much time has passed, ye shall find my otherwise.”

“So help me God, Knight of the Green Sword,” he said, “I am more content and find it more agreeable to serve you and help your life than I would be for you to give me a reward, for I am certain that I lack none of your gratitude. Let us speak no more of this and go to eat, for it is time.”

And so they did, for Grasinda had ordered him to be very well provided, since besides being a great lady, she was very careful to give pleasure to the Knight of the Green Sword in everything she offered. As they ate, they spoke about how beautiful the beech trees were that they saw there, which seemed to be the tallest trees they had ever seen.

As they were looking at them, they saw a man arrive on a horse with the heads of two knights hanging from its harness, and he carried a battle ax covered with blood. When he saw the people at the trees, he stopped and wished to turn back. But the Knight of the Green Sword and Gandalin recognized him. He was Lasindo, Sir Bruneo’s squire, and they feared that if he approached, he would innocently say who they were, so he of the Green Sword said:

“Be still everyone, and I shall see who he is, since he is afraid to approach us, and find out why he is carrying those heads.”

Then, mounted on a horse and with a lance, he rode toward him, and told Gandalin to come with him.

“And if that man does not wait for me, follow him.”

The squire, when he saw them coming toward him, pulled back into the forest out of fear, and he of the Green Sword followed him. But when they came to a valley, where the others could not see or hear them, he began to call him, saying:

“Wait, Lasindo. Do not fear me.”

When Lasindo heard this, he looked and recognized Amadis, and with great pleasure he came and kissed his hands, and said:

“Oh, my lord, ye do not know of the misfortune and sad news of my lord Bruneo, who has suffered so much danger looking for you in foreign lands.” He began to mourn, saying: “My lord, these two knights told Angriote that they left him dead near this forest, so he cut off their heads and ordered me to put them next to Sir Bruneo if he were dead or to present them to him on his behalf if he were alive.”

“Oh, God,” said the Knight of the Green Sword, “what is this that thou sayest? I found Sir Bruneo, but in such a state that he could tell me nothing. Wait a bit now, and take Gandalin with thee as if he has caught up with thee, and he shall tell thee the news about thy lord, and when thou art before me, call me the Knight of the Green Sword.”

“I have already been advised to do this,” he said.

“And there thou shalt tell us the news that thou knowest.”

Then he turned back and told his companions that Gandalin was coming behind him with the squire, and soon they saw them coming together. When Lasindo arrived and saw the Knight of the Green Sword, he promptly dismounted and knelt before him and said:

“Blessed be God to bring us to this place, because ye have saved the life of my lord Sir Bruneo, who loved you so.”

He of the Green Sword lifted him up by the hand and said:

“My friend Lasindo, thou art welcome, and thou shalt find thy lord in a good state. But now tell us why thou bringest these men’s heads.”

“My lord,” he said, “show me Sir Bruneo, and there I shall tell you, for such are my orders.”

They went to where he was in a small tent that Grasinda had ordered brought with the other things. Lasindo knelt before him and said:

“My lord, ye see here the heads of the knights who did you such great harm, and they were sent by your loyal friend Angriote d’Estravaus. He knew of the infamy they had done to you, and he fought and killed them. He shall be here soon, for he stopped at a convent next to the forest to have a wound on his leg tended to, and when the blood flow is stopped, he shall come here.”

“God help him!” Sir Bruneo said, “how shall he know where to go?”

“He told me to come to the tallest trees in this forest, where I would find you dead, and he knew that because of what one of those traitors had told him before he killed him. The mourning he made for you cannot be recounted or told.”

“Oh, God!” the Knight of the Green Sword said, “protect him from evil and danger. Tell me,” he said to Lasindo, “dost thou know how to guide me to this convent?”

“I do,” he said.

Then he told the doctor Elisabad to take Sir Bruneo on a stretcher to the town. He put on Sir Bruneo’s armor, mounted his horse, and entered the forest with Lasindo, who carried his helmet and lance. They reached the place where the night before they had left the buck under a tree and saw Angriote coming on his horse, his head down as if he were in mourning, and he of the Green Sword was very pleased to see him.

Then he saw four well-armed knights coming behind him who shouted:

“Wait, Sir False Knight, ye ought to lose your head in exchange for the ones you cut off. They were worth much more than ye are.”

Angriote turned his horse toward them, raised his shield, and meant to defend himself from them even before he had seen the Knight of the Green Sword, who had already taken up his arms and rode as fast as his horse could carry him to Angriote, reaching him before the others arrived.

He said:

“My good friend, do not fear, for God shall be with you.”


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