Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Chapter 75 [part 3 of 3]

[How the Knight of the Green Sword defended Angriote and learned why the knights had wanted to kill him.] 

[Ivory plaque with scenes from the life of David: the upper binding of the Melisende Psalter, made in eastern Mediterranean in 1131-1143. At the British Library.]

Because of the armor, Angriote thought the Knight of the Green Sword was Sir Bruneo, and he was happy beyond comparison. Then he of the Green Sword attacked the first knight before them, who was Bradansidel, whom he had already jousted and made ride backwards holding his horse’s tail, as ye have heard. He was one of the most valiant men in arms that could be found in the entire region. He of the Green Sword struck him above the top of his shield close to his helmet on his chest so hard that he was thrown from the saddle onto the ground, where his hands and feet lay still.

The three attacked Angriote, and he charged at them, as he was very valiant. But he of the Green Sword took his sword in his hand and entered the fight with wrath and mighty blows. He struck a single blow on the shoulder of a knight, and his armor could not stop the blade, nor could his bones and flesh. The knight fell at the feet of Angriote, who was amazed by the attack and could not believe that Sir Bruneo had such skill, for he immediately brought down another knight.

The knight who remained alone saw he of the Green Sword coming at him and did not dare wait. He began to flee as fast as his horse could gallop, and he of the Green Sword came after him to attack. In his great fear, the fleeing knight erred as he crossed a river and fell from the horse into the water, and due to the weight of his armor, he drowned.

Then he of the Green Sword gave his shield and helmet to Lasindo and returned to Angriote, who was amazed by his great valor, believing that he was Sir Bruneo, as I have told you. But when he neared, he recognized him as Amadis and rode toward him with his arms open, thanking God that he had found him. He of the Green Sword also came to embrace him, both of them with tears of good will coming to their eyes, for they loved each other dearly.

He of the Green Sword said:

“Now it seems, my lord, that ye have loyal and true love for me, having looked for me for so long amid so many dangers in foreign lands.”

“My lord, I cannot do such labors in your honor and service to exceed what I owe to you, since ye have caused me to have she without whom I would be unable to sustain my life. But let us leave this, for the debt is so great that it can hardly be repaid. Tell me if ye have heard the ill-fated news about your great friend Sir Bruneo of Bonamar.”

“I know it,” said he of the Green Sword, “and it is good news, for God in His mercy wished that I find him at the right time.”

Then he told him how he had found Sir Bruneo and how he had left in him the care of the best doctor in the world, so he was certain to live. Angriote raised his hands to the heavens thanking God for having provided such help. Then they left, and passing by the knights they had defeated, they found that one of them was alive, and he of the Green Sword stopped alongside him and said:

“Evil knight, may God confound you. Tell me why without any reason ye wished to kill knights-errant. Speak now, for if not, I shall cut off your head. And tell me if ye were one of the ones who did ill to the knight whose armor I wear now.”

“He cannot deny this,” Angriote said, “for I left Sir Bruneo with him and the two knights, and after that I found the two boasting that they had killed Sir Bruneo. They had brought him with them to help them, saying that one of their sisters was going to be burned, so all three had to be involved in the treachery, because Sir Bruneo left with them under safe conduct to rescue the damsel. I went with an elderly knight, who had given us lodging that night, to bring back his son, who was being held prisoner in some tents down river. That turned out so well that I had him returned and put the one holding him into his own prison. And so we parted. Now, ye there, say why ye committed such treachery.”

He of the Green Sword told Lasindo:

“Dismount and cut off his head, for he is a traitor.”

The knight was very afraid and said:

“My lord, for God’s sake have mercy, and I shall tell you the truth about what happened. Know, my lord knight, that we knew these two knights were looking for the Knight of the Green Sword, whom we mortally hate, and knowing how they were his friends, we decided to kill them. We did not think we could do so if they were together, so we made up that story that this knight has told. We rode under the pretext of freeing that damsel, and we were talking without armor on our heads and hands, and we arrived at the Spring of the Tall Beech Trees. When the knight let his horse drink, we took our lances, and I, who was at his side, grabbed his sword from its scabbard, and before he could fight back, we knocked him from his horse and gave him so many injuries that we thought we had killed him. So I think he must be dead.”

He of the Green Sword said:

“Why do ye hate me? What crime have I done you?”

“What?” he said. “Are ye the Knight of the Green Sword?”

“I am,” he said. “Look, I have the sword here.”

“Then I will answer your question now. Ye must recall how a year ago ye passed through these lands, and ye fought with that knight who lies there dead,” and he pointed to Bradansidel. “He was the most fierce and mighty knight in all these lands, and the battle was before the beautiful Grasinda. With great arrogance Bradansidel set the rule the loser would have to obey, which was that he would have to ride backwards on his horse wearing his shield upside down and holding the tail of his horse like reins before that beautiful lady and through her town, which Bradansidel as the loser had to fulfill to his great dishonor and discredit. He mortally hated you over that dishonor, as did all of us who were his relatives and friends, and we fell into the error that ye have seen. Now order me killed or leave me alive, for I have told you everything ye wanted to know.”

“I shall not kill you,” said he of the Green Sword, “because those who do evil die many times while they are alive and pay as their evil deeds deserve, and given your foul acts, ye shall fulfill what I say.”

He ordered Lasindo to take a horse from among those who were loose to carry the deer and to take the reins from the other horses so they could run free through the forest, and they went to the town, where they knew they would find Sir Bruneo, and brought before them the buck on the horse.

The Knight of the Green Sword had great pleasure in asking Angriote for the news from Great Britain, who told him what he knew, although a year and a half had passed since he and Sir Bruneo had left to search for him. Among other things, he said:

“Know, my lord, that in King Lisuarte’s court there is a childe who is the most rare and handsome ever seen, and Urganda the Unrecognized told the King and Queen in a letter that he shall accomplish great things if he lives.”

Angriote told how the hermit had raised him, taking him from the mouth of a lion, and how King Lisuarte found him, and told him about the white and red letters he had on his chest, and how the King was raising him honorably because of what Urganda had said, and how, besides being such a handsome and gallant young man, he was well accomplished in everything he did.

“By God,” the Knight of the Green Sword said, “ye speak to me of a very strange man. Now tell me how old he is.”

“He must be about twelve years old [sic],” Angriote said. “And he and Ambor de Gadel, my son, serve Oriana, who treats them very well because their service is so good, so much that in the King’s court there are none so honored or admired as them. But they are very different in appearance, for one is the most handsome as could be found and the best mannered, and Ambor seems very lazy to me.”

“Oh, Angriote,” the Knight of the Green Sword said, “do not judge your son at an age when he cannot understand either good or bad. And I tell you, my good friend, that if he were older and Oriana wished to give him to me, I would bring him with me and would make Gandalin a knight, for he has served and cared for me for such a long time.”

“So help me God,” Angriote said, “he very much deserves that, and I think that he would make a very good knight, since he has been one of the best squires in the world. And if he were a knight and my son were to serve you in his place, then I would lose all the doubts I have, and he would be exposed to such great experience in your company that he would turn out in such a way as to bring great honor to everyone in his lineage. And let us leave that now until its time, when God may make it so.”

And then he said:

“Know, my lord, that Sir Bruneo and I have been traveling everywhere in the islands of Romania, where we have found that ye have done great deeds at arms, both against very arrogant knights and against powerful and furious giants, and everyone who knows about it is amazed by how much the body of a single man can suffer from such opponents and dangers. And there we learned about the death of the frightening and mighty Endriago, and we wondered at how ye dared to challenge the devil himself, for they say that was how he was made and who engendered him and raised him, although he was the son of a giant and his daughter. And I ask you, my lord, to tell me how ye did it, so I may hear of the most strange and perilous thing that ever happened to a mortal man.”

The Knight of the Green Sword told him:

“For that, better witnesses than I would be Gandalin and the doctor who is treating Sir Bruneo, and they can tell you.”

And speaking as ye hear, they arrived at the town, where they were received with great pleasure by Grasinda. Angriote had been told he should only call him the Knight of the Green Sword, and they were met by a group of armed knights that Grasinda had sent to look for them. She took them with her and brought them to the chamber of the Knight of the Green Sword, where Sir Bruneo of Bonamar lay in a bed.

When they entered and found him in a good disposition, who could tell you of the pleasure that came to their spirits to find themselves together? And that very beautiful lady also felt great pleasure, feeling very honored to have such esteemed knights in her house protecting her, whom she could give such help that could not be found anywhere else.

Then Angriote was treated for a wound to his leg, which was very inflamed by travel and by the hard combat with the knights. He was placed in a bed next to Sir Bruneo, and when they had eaten the food that the doctor ordered, they all left to let them rest and sleep.

They fed the Knight of the Dwarf in another chamber, where he told Grasinda of the skills and great valor of those very true friends. After he had eaten, she went to her ladies and damsels, and he of the Green Sword to his companions, whom he dearly loved and whom he found awake and talking. He ordered his bed be brought next to theirs, and there he rested, speaking with great pleasure with them about all the things that had happened to them.

The Knight of the Green Sword told them about the boon he had promised the lady and what she had asked for, and how he was preparing to travel by sea to Great Britain, which greatly pleased Sir Bruneo and Angriote, because having found whom they were searching for, they wished to return to that land.

So, just as this story has recounted, the Knight of the Green Sword, Sir Bruneo of Bonamar, and Angriote d’Estravaus were in the house of the beautiful lady Grasinda, with great delight and pleasure. When there was no danger to their health to go to sea, the fleet had already been provisioned with food for a year and men to sail and fight, as might be needed.

One Sunday morning in the month of May, they boarded the ships, and with good weather, they began to sail toward Great Britain.


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