How Grasandor, son of the King of Bohemia, encountered Giontes, and what happened.
[Windsor Castle. Photo by Mark S Jobling.]
We have told you how Grasandor left the court of his father, the King of Bohemia, in a ship with twenty knights to go to Firm Island. He was sailing through the sea as fate guided him, when one night he encountered Giontes, the nephew of King Lisuarte, who was going to Rome with his message for the Emperor, as ye have heard. When they neared each other, Grasandor ordered his sailors to steer toward that ship to take it. Giontes had brought only the men necessary to sail the ship and a few other servants because he was traveling on such an important matter for his lord the King, and his only thought was to avoid any kind of conflict and complete his voyage as he had been ordered. For that reason he could not move evasively and avoid being captured and taken before Grasandor in his armor, who asked him who he was. He told him he was a knight from King Lisuarte taking a message to the Emperor of Rome, and if Grasandor would have the courtesy of ordering him released, since he had no reason to detain him, he would appreciate that very much so he could continue on his voyage.
Grasandor told him:
“Knight, although I hope to fight very soon against this King ye speak of to help Amadis of Gaul, and for that reason I am not obliged to treat any of this King’s men well, I wish to offer you full consideration and let you go on the condition that ye tell me your name and the message that ye bring to the Emperor.”
Giontes told him:
“If by not telling you my name and what I am doing were to gain more honor for me and if my lord the King were better served, ye would have no need to ask me that, since it would be in vain. But since my mission is public, by revealing it and my name I am better fulfilling my duties, I shall do what ye ask. Know that I am called Giontes and I am the nephew of King Lisuarte, and the message that I carry is to bring the Emperor with all his strength as fast as possible so that he may unite with my uncle the King and march against those who took the Princess Oriana in the sea, as I believe ye know, because such a great deed cannot help but be publicly known in many places. Now that I have told you what ye wished to know, let me go on my way, if you please.”
Grasando told him:
“Ye have spoken like a knight. I release you to do what ye will, and may ye return as quickly as ye say and find what ye are looking for.”
And so Giontes went on his way, and Grasandor ordered one of the knights with him to depart in a boat they had and return to his father and tell him that news, since things had reached such a state, for his father had asked the favor of being notified when the Emperor or his men departed to go to King Lisuarte; and Grasandor said to tell him that without awaiting another message he should send all his men to Firm Island with Count Galtines, because they would be much more appreciated if they arrived first. And so it was done, and when the King of Bohemia learned this news, he immediately ordered his fleet to leave with many well-armed men, as someone who with great affection and love wished to increase the honor and advantage of Amadis.
Grasandor continued sailing through the sea and without any other incident arrived in the port at Firm Island. When some of the people on the island saw them, they told Amadis, who ordered them to find out who came in the ship, and so it was done. When they told him it was Grasandor, son of the King of Bohemia, he was very pleased, mounted a horse, and went to Sir Cuadragante’s quarters, taking Agrajes with him, and they went to receive him. When they arrived at the port, Grasandor and his men had come to land and were all on horseback. When he saw Amadis coming toward him, he rode ahead of his men and went to embrace him, and Amadis went to him and told him:
“My lord Grasandor, ye are very welcome, and it is a great pleasure to see you.”
“My good lord,” he said, “may it please God through His mercy that ye shall always find pleasure with me, and that your pleasure be as great as mine to know that my father the King and I can repay some of the great debt that ye left us. And it would be good if ye knew some of the news that I learned along the way, so ye may apply the proper remedy in time.”
Then he told him everything he had learned from Giontes, just as ye have heard, and how from there he had sent word to his father, for when he learned that the Emperor’s men were on the move, without any other information the King would immediately send all of his men, so that without a doubt they would arrive before his opponents and Amadis should not be concerned about calling them up.
Sir Cuadragante said:
“If all our friends helped us with as much goodwill as this lord, we would have little fear over this attack.”
And so they went to the castle, and Amadis took Grasandor to his quarters, had his men lodged, and ordered them be given everything they needed. He sent for all the lords to come see the very honorable prince who had arrived, and so they did, immediately going to Amadis’ quarters wearing their finest martial clothing, as they were always accustomed to do when they were off duty. When Grasandor saw them and how many knights there were whose fame was well known by everyone in the world, he was amazed and considered himself very honored to be in the company of such men. They all came with great courtesy to embrace him and showed him great love.
Amadis told them:
“My good lords, it would be good for you to hear what this knight told us about King Lisuarte.”
Then Grasandor told them everything, as ye have already heard, and they all said it would be good to send other messengers to call up the men who had been already advised, and so it was done. And because it would be very long and bothersome to write extensively here what they said and what happened in those journeys, we shall only tell you that when these messengers arrived where they had been sent, the men were called up by their lords and placed in ships and they all traveled to Firm Island, each one with the men that here shall be told:
King Perion brought 3,000 knights, both his own men and his friends’ men. King Tafinor of Bohemia sent 1,500 knights with Count Galtines. Tantiles, Queen Briolanja’s majordomo, brought 1,200 knights. Branfil, Sir Bruneo’s brother, brought 600 knights. Landin, Sir Cuadragante’s nephew, brought 600 knights from Ireland. King Ladasan of Spain sent 2,000 knights with his son Sir Brian of Monjaste. Sir Gandales brought from Agrajes’ father, King Languines of Scotland, 1,500 knights. The men from the Emperor of Constantinople, brought by his nephew Gastiles, were 8,000 knights.
All these men that this story speaks of arrived at Firm Island. And the first to come was King Perion of Gaul due of his haste and his lands being closer than any other, and if he were well received by his sons and by all those lords, it is not necessary to say, as well as the great pleasure that he had with them. He agreed that all the men of Firm Island should go with their tents and equipment to a plain below the hill topped by the castle, which was very flat and beautiful, surrounded by many trees and with many springs, and so it was done, and so from then on they were all encamped there, and all the men who came were immediately lodged there.
And once they were all together, who could tell you what knights, what horses, and what weapons were there? Truly ye may believe that in the memory of man there were never so many and so select fighting men as these at any time brought together to help any prince as these were.
Oriana, who felt great sorrow at this discord, did nothing but weep and curse her fate, since she had brought things to such a state where a great loss of men might occur because of her if God did not provide a remedy. But the ladies with her consoled her, offering a great deal of pity and love, saying that neither she nor those in her service were responsible for any of this before God nor before the world. Although she did not wish to do so, they had her climb to the highest point in the tower where she could see the entire plain and the men in it. And when she saw that field filled with men and so much shining armor and so many tents, she could only think that all the world had come together there, and when all the ladies were looking at this, so they were paying no attention, Mabilia came to Oriana and told her very quietly:
“How does it seem to you, my lady? Does anyone in the world have such a servant and lover as ye do?”
“Oh, my lady and true friend! What shall I do, for my heart can in no way withstand what I see, for this cannot result in anything for me but great misfortune. On one side is this man of whom ye speak who is the light of my eyes and the consolation of my sad heart, without whom it would be impossible for me to live. On the other side is my father, who although I have found him very cruel, I cannot deny the true love that as a daughter I owe him. Then sorrowful me! What shall I do? Whichever shall lose, I will always be the saddest and unluckiest woman that ever was for all the days of my life.”
And she began to weep and wring her hands. Mabilia took her by the hands and told her:
“My lady, by God I ask you to set aside this grief and place your good hope in God, Who to show His great power oftentimes raises up such frightening things as this with little hope that they may be remedied, and later with thoughtful counsel brings than to an end contrary to what men might think, and so my lady, it might happen here, if it pleases Him. And given that this rupture has been permitted by Him, ye must understand that such a great violence as was done to you cannot be remedied without even greater violence. Then give thanks to God that this is not your fault, as those lords have told you.”
Oriana, as she was very wise, understood well that she had spoken the truth, and was somewhat consoled. And so they spent a long time looking, and later returned to their chambers.