[How King Perion met with Oriana, and what she asked of him.]
[Illustration from Cantiga 51 of the Cantigas de Santa Maria of Alfonso X, 1250-1300.]
King Perion, when he saw that all of his men had been quartered, took Grasandor, the King of Bohemia’s son, and Agrajes with him and said that he wished to see Oriana, and so he went with them to the castle, ordering Amadis and Sir Florestan to stay with his men. When Oriana learned the King was coming, she was very pleased, because she had not seen him after he made Amadis of Gaul a knight at her request at the court of King Languines of Scotland, Agrajes’ father, when Amadis was called the Childe of the Sea, just as the first book of this story has recounted. She went to receive him with all of her ladies.
When the King and those knights arrived at her chamber, they entered, and the King greeted her with great courtesy, and she greeted him very humbly, followed by Queen Briolanja and Queen Sardamira and all the other princesses and ladies. Mabilia came to him, knelt, and wished to kiss his hands, but he pulled them back and embraced her with great love and told her:
“My good niece, I bring you many greetings from your aunt the Queen and your cousin Melicia, as the one whom they greatly loved and esteem, and Gandalin will bring you their message. He has stayed behind to travel with Melicia, who will soon be with you to accompany this lady, who so well deserves it.”
Mabilia told him:
“May God give them my thanks for what ye tell me, my lord, and I shall serve them with whatever may come to my hand. I am very joyful over the arrival of my cousin, as will be the Princess, who has wished to see her for a long time because of the fine things she has been told about her.”
The King turned to Oriana and told her:
“My good lady, what has caused me to feel very sorrowful and sad at your trials also obliged me to have a great desire to procure the remedy for it, and that is why I have come, where our Lord may be pleased to give me the opportunity to do such things at your service to advance your honor as ye and I desire, my good lady. And I am very amazed that your father, who is usually wise and careful to present all the good behavior that a king must, in this case, which has so much to do with his honor and reputation, has comported himself so crudely and abruptly. After he had made his first error, he should have corrected it as his second deed, which these knights tell me that they requested with great courtesy but which he did not wish to hear.
“If he has any excuse to seek forgiveness, it is only that great errors tend toward this ailment: they do not know how to reverse themselves and return to proper understanding. Instead, they become more rigorously stubborn and think that with additional errors and greater insults they can remedy their first mistakes.
“Since the outcome and honor in this is being prepared by God, Who is the true wisdom and judge of the great injustice that was done to you, He knows that in this extraordinary event He may show his power even more extraordinarily. My lady, have great hope in Him that He will help you and return you to the grandeur that justice and your great virtue deserve.”
Oriana, who was very intelligent and more understanding than any other woman, gazed at the King, and he seemed so noble both in his person and speech that she had never seen anyone like him. And she well understood that he deserved to be father to such sons, and very rightly he was praised and his fame was known in every part of the world as one of the best knights in it. She felt very consoled to see him, and if the love she had for her father were not so great, who had placed her in such great anguish and concern, she would have considered as nothing if all the world were against her and she had on her side such a leader with the men whom he expected to command.
She told him:
“My lord, what thanks can be given to you for this which ye have told me from the poor, wretched, disinherited damsel that I am? Truly, no other thanks except those that all the ladies have given you until now whom ye have rescued despite great danger, which are to serve God in return for the great fame and praise ye have won among all people. I ask for one thing to be done for me in addition to the great benefits that I am receiving from you, my good lord, which is that peace may be made in all this with my father the King, because not only would our Lord be served in preventing the death of many men, but I would consider myself the most blessed woman in the world if things could end that way.”
The King told her:
“Things have come to such a state that it would be very difficult to find agreement between the two sides, but oftentimes it happens that at the greatest extent of rupture is found the peace that until then could not be accomplished with great labor, and so it might happen with this. And if it can be found, my good lady, ye may be sure that both in the service of God and of you, my will shall be given entirely for that, such is my desire to serve you.”
Oriana thanked him with great humility as she in whom all virtue reigned more than in any other woman.
And while King Perion was speaking with Oriana, Agrajes and Grasandor were speaking with Queen Briolanja, Queen Sardamira, Olinda, and the other ladies. And when Grasandor saw how extremely more beautiful and gracious Oriana and all those ladies were than all the others he had seen or heard of, he was so astonished that he did not know what to say, and could only believe that God had made them with His own hand. And although the beauty of Oriana and Queen Briolanja and Olinda could never be equaled unless by Melicia, who was soon to arrive, the charm and grace and gentility of Princess Mabilia, and her great modesty, seemed so fine to him that from that moment on his heart was given to serve and love no other woman but her. And thus his heart was taken prisoner, and the more he looked at her the more affection he had for her, as in such times and events so often happens.
And as he stood there almost overcome, as a young knight who had never been outside of his father’s kingdom, he asked Agrajes for the courtesy of telling him the names of those ladies who were there with Oriana. Agrajes told him who everyone was in the grandeur of their estates, and although Mabilia was still with King Perion and Oriana, he also asked about her. Agrajes told him that she was his sister, and that he should believe that there was no woman in the world with greater goodwill nor better loved by everyone who knew her. Grasandor said nothing and was quiet, but his heart knew that Agrajes had spoken the truth, and so he had, for everyone who knew Princess Mabilia loved her for her great humility and graciousness.
And as they were there to share their great pleasure with Oriana, who could not be made happy, Queen Briolanja said to Agrajes:
“My good lord and great friend, I need to speak with Sir Cuadragante and Brian of Monjaste in front of you about something, and I ask you to have them come here before ye go.”
Agrajes told her:
“My lady, this shall be done at once.”
He ordered one of his men to call them, and they came. The Queen took them aside with Agrajes and told him:
“My lords, ye know the danger in which I found myself where, after God, your skills saved me, and how ye put my cousin Trion into my power, whom I still hold prisoner. I have been thinking a lot about what to do with him, for on one hand I know he is the son of my uncle Abiseos, who did such a great injustice to my father and killed him treasonously, and the seed of such an evil man ought to die because if it is sown in other places, only similar treachery could be born.
“On the other hand, I am constrained by the close kinship I have with him, and often it happens that sons are very different from their fathers. He attacked as a young man with some very bad advisers, as I have come to learn. I do not know what to do. And this is why I had ye called so that, as people who in this and everything your great discretion will arrive at what should be done, ye could tell me what ye think.”
Sir Brian of Monjaste told her:
“My good lady, your fine intelligence has covered everything that can be said about this case, and there is nothing to advise except to remind you that one of the reasons that princes and great men are praised and their estates and persons are assured is for clemency, because with this they follow the doctrine of He whose ministers they are, and when done as it ought to be, nothing more can be said. So that your questions can be answered to determine which route to take of those ye have described, my lady, it would be good to have him called here to speak to him about many things so that ye may judge something that, by not seeing him, could never be defined in his absence.”
They all consider that good, and so it was done, and the Queen asked King Perion to remain for a while until, with those knights, she could reach a conclusion about a matter of such importance to her.