Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Chapter 123 [part 2 of 2]

[Of the arrival of a great dragon from the sea, and whom it bore within.] 

[Lithograph from an 1838 edition of Amadis de Gaula printed in Madrid by M. Pita.]

The day after they arrived was spent resting from the journey, then the Kings met with great pleasure to arrange the manner in which the weddings would be performed, and to plan the return to their lands, where they had much to do, some of them to go to win the kingdoms of their enemies, and others to lend them help.

As they were meeting beneath some trees next to the fountains that ye have been told of, they heard shouting from outside of the garden, and a great deal of outcry. They asked what it was about, and they were told that the most terrifying and strange thing ever seen was coming by sea. Then all the Kings called for their horses and mounted, as did all the other knights, and they went to the port. And the Queens and all the ladies climbed to the height of the tower, where they could see a great deal of the land and sea.

They spotted a great cloud of smoke, the darkest and most frightening they had ever seen, coming over the water. They all stood still waiting to learn what it could be. And soon the smoke began to clear, and they saw in its center a dragon much larger than the largest ship or galley in the world, and it had great wings longer than the flight of an arrow from a bow, and a tail spiraling upwards much taller than a great tower. Its head and mouth and teeth were so large, and its eyes so terrifying, that no one dared to look at it, and from time to time it blew black smoke from its nostrils that rose up to the sky and covered it. It made snorts and hisses so loud and so frightful that it seemed that the sea was about to collapse, and it spit so much water from its mouth so hard and so far that no ship, no matter how large it was, could approach it without being sunk.

The Kings and knights, regardless of how brave they were, looked at each other and did not know what to say, for against such a fearful and ghastly thing they did not believe or imagine that any resistance could suffice, but they stood their ground. The great dragon, as it drew closer, rose up from the water three or four times, showing its ferocity and flapping its wings so hard that the clatter of its scales could be heard from half a league.

When those lords’ horses saw it, no rider was able to contain his mount, and they fled away through the fields until the lords were able to force them to let them dismount. Some said that it would be good to arm themselves against it, and others said that since it was a wild beast of the water, it would not dare to come onto land, and in case it did, they would have time to take shelter within the island, for already, having seen the land, it had begun to slow.

As they stood in astonishment at such a thing, the likes of which they had never heard nor seen, they saw that from the side of the dragon was launched a skiff covered with rich golden cloth. A  lady was in it with young noblemen on either side, all richly dressed, whose shoulders she held for support. Two very ugly and strange-looking dwarves were rowing, and they brought the skiff toward land. The lords were very amazed to see such an extraordinary thing, but King Lisuarte said:

“If I am not wrong, this is Urganda the Unrecognized. And ye should recall,” he said to Amadis, “the fear it gave us when we were in my town of Fenusa and we saw those flames coming across the sea.”

“I also thought so after I saw that skiff,” Amadis said, “but earlier I was sure that dragon was some devil against which we would have a difficult struggle.”

At this time the skiff neared the shore, and as it did, they knew that the lady was Urganda the Unrecognized, for she had chosen to show her real form, which she rarely did. Instead she would often appear in strange bodies, sometimes exceptionally old, other times as a small child, as has been told in many places in this story.

So she arrived with her very handsome and well-dressed young noblemen, and their clothing was adorned in many places and worked with precious stones of great value. The Kings and lords came forward on foot, as they were, to the part of the beach where she landed. And when she arrived, she left the skiff holding the hands of her handsome youths, and immediately went to King Lisuarte to kiss his hands, but the King embraced her and did not wish to give them, as did King Perion and King Cildadan. Then she turned to the Emperor and told him:

“My good lord, although ye do not know me nor have I ever seen you, I know a lot about your estate and who ye are and the great worth of your noble personage and your great state. And because of this and for the service that ye shall receive from me soon, along with the Empress, I wish to have your love and consideration so that ye shall remember me when ye are in your empire and shall send me news about anything in which I may serve you, for although it may seem to you that the lands where I live are very far from yours, it would not be a great effort for me to travel the entire distance in a single day.”

The Emperor told her:

“My good friend and lady, I am more content to have won your love and goodwill than to have won most of my empire. And since by your virtue ye have invited me to make use of it, do not forget what ye have promised, for if my heart and will are prepared to thank you with all my ability, ye know better than I do.”

Urganda told him:

“My lord, I shall see you at a time when through me the first fruit of your engenderment shall be restored to you.”

Then she looked at Amadis, with whom she had not had time to speak, and she said:

“Of you, noble knight, no embrace should be forsaken, but given how favorable fortune has raised you into such grandeur and heights, ye may no longer have much consideration for the few services and pleasures that we can provide, because these mundane things, given the nature of the world, with or without cause may come and go quickly. It may seem that now ye may enjoy your life without care, especially since ye have the thing that ye most desired in the world in your power, without which all the rest left you with painful loneliness. Yet now it is more necessary than ever to sustain them with redoubled effort, for fortune is even more content to attack and show its strength at such heights because a much larger loss and disgrace to your great honor may be caused by losing what ye have won than it would have been before ye had won it.”

Amadis told her:

“Given the great benefits that I have received from you, my good lady, with the great love that ye have always had for me, although I now find myself in a powerful position and with the satisfaction of my will, I would find it very poor to place such matters in my own hands that involve your honor and that should be placed in yours. What I have cannot be so much, even if it were the whole world, that it would be unreasonable to risk it that way.”

Urganda told him:

“The great love that I have for you makes me speak foolishly and give advice where there is none needed.”

Then all the knights arrived and greeted her. And she said to Sir Galaor:

“And to you, my good lord, nor to King Cildadan shall I say anything now, for I shall dwell here with you for some days, and we shall have time to speak.”

Turning to her dwarves, she ordered them to return to the Great Dragon and bring her palfrey in a boat, and a horse for each of her young noblemen, and so it was immediately done. The horses of the Kings and lords were some distance away, and the fear of that fierce beast did not permit them to be brought near. They left men there to put her on her palfrey, and they went on foot to get their mounts.

She asked the men to agree that no one should escort her besides those two youths, who were her beloved, and so it was done, and they all went on to the castle, she in the rear with her company. They rode until they reached the garden where the Queens and great ladies were, for she did not wish to be lodged anywhere else.

Before she entered, she said to Esplandian:

“Very handsome youth, I commend to you my treasure to guard, for none so fine shall be found in many lands.”

Then she delivered the two youths by the hand, and she entered the garden, where she was received by all the ladies there better than any woman anywhere. When she saw so many Queens, Princesses, and an infinite number of other ladies of great esteem and worth, she looked at them all with great pleasure and said:

“Oh, my heart! What canst thou see ever again that could not cause thee more melancholy? For in one day thou hast seen the best and most virtuous and courageous knights in the world, and the most honorable and beautiful queens and ladies ever born. Truly, I can say that of the one and the other, here is perfection. And I can say even more, that just as here is brought together all height at arms and all beauty of the world, so love is upheld with greater loyalty than could be found at any other time.”

So she entered the tower with the ladies, and she asked permission from the Queens to be able to lodge with Oriana and with the ladies who were with her, and they brought her up to their quarters. When she was in her chamber, she could not take her eyes from Oriana and Queen Briolanja, and from Melicia and Olinda, for their beauty could not be equaled, and she merely embraced them one after another. And so she was with them as if she were out of her mind with pleasure, and they did her such honor as if she were the lady reigning over them all.


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Chapter 123 [part 1 of 2]

How King Lisuarte, his wife Queen Brisena, and his daughter Leonoreta arrived at Firm Island, and how the lords and ladies came out to receive them. 

[Mosaic depicting Empress Zoe of Constantinople, from the Hagia Sophia.]

As has been said, after King Lisuarte arrived in Windsor, he ordered the Queen to make ready everything necessary for herself and their daughter Leonoreta, and he ordered his chief majordomo, King Arban of North Wales, to prepare what he needed. And when everything was readied and done according to their grandeur, he left with his accompaniment. He only wished to bring King Cildadan, Sir Galvanes and his wife Madasima, who earlier at his orders had arrived from the Island of Mongaza, and a few of his other knights, richly dressed, for Gasquilan, the King of Suesa, had returned to his kingdom.

With great pleasure they traveled each day until they finally arrived to spend the night only four leagues from the island, which Amadis and all the other princes and knights with him promptly learned about, and who agreed that together, the ladies with them, should go out to receive them two leagues from the island. And so it was done, and the next day they all left with the women behind Queen Elisena. Of their clothes and the adornments worn by themselves and their palfreys, memory is not enough to recount nor hands to write. This much I tell you: that neither before nor after was there known in all the world of a company of so many knights of such high lineage and great courage, and of so many ladies, queens, princesses, and other women of high estate, so beautiful and so well-attired.

They traveled together through meadows until they could see King Lisuarte, who when he saw so many people coming toward him, immediately knew who it was, and with all his company continued on until he met King Perion and the Emperor and all the other knights who rode ahead. There they all stopped to embrace each other.

Amadis came farther behind speaking with his brother Sir Galaor, who was still very weak and could barely ride on horseback, and when he neared the King, Amadis dismounted. The King shouted for him not to, but he did not stop and arrived on foot, and although the King did not wish it, he kissed his hands. He went on to the Queen, whose reins were carried by the handsome young noble Esplandian. The Queen dismounted from her palfrey to embrace him, but Amadis took her hands and kissed them.

Sir Galaor came to King Lisuarte, who when he saw him so weak, went to embrace him, and tears came to both their eyes. The King held him for a while but neither was able to speak for so long that some said that this showed the pleasure that they had in seeing each other, but others held that they were thinking about recent events and of not having been together in them as their hearts wished, and this brought those tears. Ye may take the side that ye choose, but in any case it was because they loved each other so much.

Oriana came to her mother after Queen Elisena had greeted her. When her mother saw her, as the thing that she loved most, she took her in her arms. They both would have fallen if knights had not held them up, and she began to kiss her eyes and face and said:

“Oh, my daughter! May God be pleased to grant His mercy! May the labors and fatigues that thy great beauty has given us now be the means for now and in the future to remedy them with peace and joy!”

Oriana could only weep for pleasure and did not answer. At this time the Queens Briolanja and Sardamira came and took her from her arms, and they spoke to the Queen, and then to all the other ladies came to her with great courtesy, for they considered this lady one of the best and most honorable queens in the world. Leonoreta came to kiss Oriana’s hands, and she embraced her and kissed her many times, and so did all the ladies and damsels of her mother the Queen, who loved her from their hearts more than they loved themselves, for as we have told you, this Princess was the most noble and most moderate in her time who did honor to everyone, and for this reason she was very well loved by all the men and women who knew her.

And so after this welcome, not as it was, which would be impossible to describe, but as is more suited to this book, they all went together to the island.

When Queen Brisena saw so many knights and so many ladies and damsels of high estate whom she knew well and where their great worth came from, all at the will and orders of Amadis, she was so astonished she did not know what to say. Until then she had believed that in all the world there was no house nor court equal to that of her husband the King, but when she saw what I tell you of, his estate seemed to be that of a mere count. As she looked around, she saw that everyone followed Amadis and treated him as a lord, and that the one closest to him considered himself the most honored, and where ever Amadis went, everyone went.

She was amazed at what heights a knight could reach who had never owned more than his arms and horse, and although she considered him her daughter’s husband, and he had been fully committed to her service, she could not help but feel great envy because she wished that estate for her husband, which Amadis would inherit through their daughter. She saw that things were the opposite, and she could not be happy about them.

But as she was very wise, she pretended not to see nor notice it, and with a happy face and troubled heart she spoke and laughed with all the knights and ladies around her, for the King, after he had spoken with Sir Galaor, never left him during all the entire journey until they reached the island.

As they were traveling, Oriana could not take her eyes off Esplandian, whom she deeply loved, as was only reasonable. And her mother the Queen, when she saw that, said:

“My daughter, take this young man to lead your horse.”

Oriana paused, and the youth came with great humility to kiss her hands. Oriana had a deep desire to kiss him, but embarrassment kept her from doing that. Mabilia came to him and said:

“My good friend, I also wish to share in your embraces.”

He turned his face toward her with a look so gracious that it was amazing to see, and he immediately recognized her, and he spoke to her with great courtesy. And so they rode with him between them, speaking with him about what gave them the most contentment, and they were very taken with how he answered, very happy with his gracious speech and gentle ways. Oriana and Mabilia looked at each other and at the young nobleman, and Mabilia said.

“My lady, does it seem to you that this was fine food for the lioness and her cubs?”

“Oh, my lady and my friend,” Oriana said, “by God do not remind me of that, for even now it afflicts my heart to think about it.”

“As I understand,” Mabilia said, “no less danger happened to his father, as young has he was, in the sea. But God protected him for what ye see now, and so, if it pleases Him, He shall protect this boy, who will surpass him and all others in the world in excellence.”

Oriana laughed wholeheartedly and said:

“My true sister, it seems as if ye wish to tempt me to see which of the two I prefer. But I do not wish to say, and may it please God that between them neither shall have a peer, just as each one has not had at his own age so far.”

In this and other things they spoke with great pleasure, and they all arrived at Firm Island’s castle. King Lisuarte and his wife the Queen were lodged very comfortably where Oriana had been, and King Perion and his wife where Queen Sardamira had been. Oriana and all the other women who were going to be brides took the highest rooms of the tower.

Amadis had ordered very fine tables be placed under the arcades of the garden, and there all the company ate very well with a great abundance of foods and wine and fruit of all types, and it was wonderful to behold, each one seated as their estate merited, and everything done in a very orderly way.

Sir Cuadragante left with King Cildadan, whom he dearly loved, and every knight escorted one of the King’s men, according to their preference. Amadis took with him King Arban of North Wales, Sir Grumedan, and Sir Guilan the Pensive. Norandel lodged with his great friend Sir Galaor. And so that day passed with all the pleasure ye can imagine.

But what Agrajes did with his uncle and with Madasima can not be told in any way nor even thought. He had always held his uncle with as much respect and reverence as he had always held his father the King, and he had Madasima stay with Oriana and the queens and great ladies that were there, and he took Sir Galvanes with him to his lodging.

Esplandian immediately came to the King of Dacia, who was his age and seemed very compatible, and from the moment they first saw each other they shared such great esteem that it lasted their whole lives. For a long time they traveled together after they became knights, and they achieved many great deeds at arms as courageous knights in great peril to their lives. This King knew all the secrets of Esplandian’s love, and by his good advice he was often saved from great anguish and mortal cares that brought him to the edge of death over his lady. This King I speak of made tremendous efforts to speak with this lady and tell her of the love that this knight suffered and ask her to have pity on his deathly affliction.

These two princes that I tell you of, for the love of this lady, taking with them Talanque, son of Sir Galaor, and Maneli the Moderate, son of King Cildadan, whom the nieces of Urganda bore when the men were prisoners, as the second book of this story has told at greater length; and Ambor, son of Angriote d’Estravaus, all of them novice knights, crossed the sea to Constantinople and from there to pagan lands, and they fought great battles against mighty giants and against foreigners of different customs, and achieved great honor from them.

Because of these high deeds and great acts of chivalry, they were proclaimed throughout the world, as we shall tell you at more length in the continuation of this story which is named after Esplandian and which speaks of his great deeds and the love he had for the flower and greatest beauty of the world, who was the shining star before whom all other beauty paled: Leonorina, daughter of the Emperor of Constantinople, she who had been a girl when his father Amadis took leave of Greece when he passed through there and killed the mighty Endriago, as ye have told you.

But we shall leave this now until its time, and we shall return to the purpose of this story.


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Some refreshers to help with the coming chapter

About the engenderment of the sons of Sir Galaor and King Cildadan, and what the Endriago was. 

View of the Lindajara garden in the Palace of the Nazaríes at the Alhambra. Photo by Sue Burke.

I’d like to refresh readers’ memories about a couple of references coming in the next chapter, Chapter 123. It talks about events in Book II, specifically in Chapter 59.

In it, King Cildadan of Ireland had challenged King Lisuarte of Great Britain to a war, and the fighting force was limited to 100 knights on either side. Amadis of Gaul took part, disguised as Beltenebros. He rescued King Lisuarte when he was captured by a giant in battle, and helped win the war.

However, Sir Galaor and King Cildadan were badly injured, and when they were found after the battle was over, they seemed likely to die. Then twelve maidens arrived from the sea and carried the two men away, unconscious.

Sir Galaor awoke in a beautiful room in a garden. King Cildadan awoke in a tower. Both were receiving expert treatment for their injuries. Soon they realized they were in the custody of Urganda the Unrecognized, the powerful sorceress. Each was cared for by a beautiful damsel, nieces of Urganda and the descendants of a king, and in the course of the care, the damsels became pregnant.

Galaor’s son would be called Talanque and Cildadan’s Maneli, and as adults they would be very valiant and brave knights.

Chapter 123 also mentions that Amadis visited the court of the Emperor of Constantinople after he killed the fearsome Endriago. This horrible demon-monster was introduced in Book III, Chapter 73. He had taken over an island in the realm of the Emperor and had killed or driven off all its inhabitants.

Amadis had been traveling by ship and was blown off course to the island. When he learned about the monster, he decided to fight him as a service to God. After a fierce battle, Amadis killed him, but was badly injured. The demon’s “strong, sharp claws tore open all the armor on his back and the flesh and bones down to his entrails.” Only the services of the good doctor Elisabad saved Amadis’s life.

After Amadis was well, he traveled to the court of the Emperor of Constantinople, who welcomed him as a hero. There he met the Emperor’s young, charming daughter, Leonorina.

I hope this refresher helps you enjoy the coming chapter with a little less befuddlement.


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Chapter 122 [part 2 of 2]

[How Sir Bruneo urged the people of the town to fight, and how the Prince became King of Dacia.] 

[Coronation of Henry the Young King by the Archbishop Roger of York in 1170. A page from the Becket Leaves, four surviving pages from the 13th-century Vie de Seint Thomas de Cantorbéry, written in French verse.]

When Sir Bruneo looked for the Prince, he saw him at some distance, for the guide, who did not have much confidence in his skill, had moved them back. He gestured with his sword for them to come, and they did, and when the Prince arrived, he was astounded by what Sir Bruneo had done. And as he was a boy who had never seen such things, his face became white.

Sir Bruneo told him:

“Young man, have these enemies of yours killed, although it will be a small vengeance for the great treachery that was done by their lord to your father.”

The childe told him:

“My lord knight, perhaps these men bear no guilt for that treachery, and it may be better, if ye please, to take them alive rather than kill them.”

Sir Bruneo considered that good, pleased by what the Prince had said, and thought he would be a good man if he lived. Then he ordered the man who came with them to help the other knight and put the one who was barely conscious across the saddle of his horse, and the other to mount his horse so they could go to the town, and so they did.

When they arrived there, many people came out to see them, who were surprised that they brought those two knights who had left there that morning. Sir Bruneo and the others rode down the town’s main street to the plaza, where many people had assembled. When they saw the Prince, they came to kiss his hands weeping, and they told him:

“Lord, if our hearts had dared to do what we desired and if we had the weapons for it, we would all be in your service unto death. But we did not know what to do, since among us there is no leader or mayor who knows what to tell us.”

Sir Bruneo told them:

“Oh people of little courage, although ye have behaved honorably, do ye not recall that ye are vassals of the King, the father of this youth and of his brother the Prince, who shall be King? How do ye repay what as subjects and natives of this land ye owe, seeing your lord murdered with such great treason and his sons surrounded and besieged by their enemy, that traitorous Duke?”

“My lord knight,” said one of the most honorable men of the town, “ye have spoken a great truth, but as we have no one to guide us and lead us, and we are all people who live more for farming than for bearing arms, we did not know how to respond as our loyalty called us to. But now that our lord is here and ye are protecting him, tell us what we ought and can do, and it shall immediately be put underway with all our ability.”

“Ye have spoken as a good man,” Sir Bruneo said, “and it is right that the King grant favors to you and all those who follow your vow and action. I have come to guide you and to live or die with you.”

Then he told them about the precautions that had been taken in the town where the other Prince was, and how he had come with their lady the Queen, and where they had left her, and how they had found her as they were traveling to Firm Island in the sea. He told them to have no fear, for with a little of their help, their enemies would be promptly destroyed and dead. When those people heard this, they were greatly encouraged and took heart, and they said:

“Lord knight from Firm Island, there never has been a knight who was not well-fated from that land since the famous knight Amadis of Gaul won it, so order and direct us in everything we must do, and we shall immediately begin our labors.”

Sir Bruneo thanked them deeply, and had the Prince thank them, and he told them:

“Then order the gates to this town be closed, and place guards, so that no one from here may warn our enemies. And I shall tell you what ye ought to do.”

This was immediately carried out, and he told them:

“Go to your homes and eat, prepare your arms, whatever they be, and be ready to guard your town. Do not be afraid of those evil men, for they shall have enough to do, since the Prince is well protected. And when we have eaten and our horses have rested, the Prince and I shall move on to another town with this guide whom we have brought and who tells us is three leagues from here. We will take all the people from there and come back here, and I will lead you in such a way that your enemies, if they remain, shall be lost and defeated and put into your power.”

They told him they would do so, and they immediately all went eager to do what he had ordered. And they gave the Prince and Sir Bruneo something to eat, very good food, in a palace that had belonged to the King. After they had eaten, when it was already midday and they were about to mount their horses and leave, two men on foot arrived as fast as they could to the town gate, and they told the guards to let them in for they brought good news. The guards took them to the Prince and Sir Bruneo, who asked them what they had to say.

They answered:

“My lords, we came to this town not knowing if the Prince or ye had arrived, for we had never seen you. And the news that we bring is such that ye and the people of the town shall take great pleasure in learning it. Know now that last night many men left the town and attacked the guards, and they killed and took prisoner many of the Duke’s men. When the Duke learned this, he came there and found two foreign knights, of whom could be said amazing things, for they were killing his men. To help them he fought with one of them, who with one blow knocked the Duke from his horse. He was captured by the people of the town, and it is not known if he is dead or alive.

“All the men in the encampment do not know what to do except to wander about in groups sharing counsel, and it seemed to us that they were preparing to leave there in terror of those foreign knights whom we told you of. We are from a town near there, and we were in the camp to provision it. When we saw this, we agreed to tell it to the leaders of this town so that they might place guards and the men who come fleeing cannot do them any harm or rob them.”

Sir Bruneo, when he heard this, went out on horseback with the Prince to the plaza, and they had the men on foot tell the news to everyone who had gathered there so they would take courage and heart, and he told them:

“My good friends, I have decided that I should not continue to the next town, for given this good news, ye and I are enough to do what I had ordered. For that reason, ye should all arm yourselves, and tonight we should leave here, for it would be a great injustice if those in the main town were to take all the glory of this defeat without any part of it for us.”

“It shall all be done immediately as ye order, lord,” they said.

So they spent the entire day preparing their arms with such will that they imagined the time when they would be fighting because they already considered their enemy defeated, and they wished to avenge themselves for the evils and harm they had received.

When night came, Sir Bruneo armed himself, mounted his horse, and took all the men out to a field. He asked the Prince to wait for him in town, but instead the Prince wished to go with him. And so as ye hear, they all headed for the encampment. After part of the night had passed, Sir Bruneo ordered the guide with him to go and make the signal to those in the town from a place where they would see it, as had been agreed, and so he did. And when they saw it, they believed that Sir Bruneo had been successful, and they quickly prepared to go out before dawn to attack the camp.

But those in the camp had decided something else. They had seen how their lord the Duke had fallen into the hands of their enemies, and they had seen those fires lit as signals in the night. They had lost all hope in recovering him; in fact they believed that if they stayed there longer, they would be in great danger. They spent part of the night assembling all their people and equipment and injured men, and, very stealthily, they struck camp and took to the road to their own land, so that before their departure had been noticed, they had traveled a good distance.

When the time came for those in the town to leave and attack, and Sir Bruneo arrived at the other side of town, they found nothing. Instead, as it was night, if they had not recognized each other, there would have been a great battle, each side thinking that the others were their opponents, since no troops were between them. But once they did recognize each other, they were very sorry to learn their opponents had left. They immediately followed their trail, but with great difficulty because it was night, and they felt their way until dawn came. Then they saw them very clearly, so those on horseback rushed to reach the pack train and foot soldiers and injured men; the rest, who already considered themselves defeated, had not wished to wait until sunrise and had ridden ahead because they were still traveling in the land of their enemies.

Of those who were overtaken, they killed many men and took others prisoner, and they recovered many things great value, so with great joy and glory they returned to the town. They immediately sent knights to bring the Queen. When she came and saw her sons safe and sound, and their enemy a prisoner, who could speak of the great pleasure that she felt?

Angriote and his companions, who knew of the arrangements at Firm Island and how they were awaiting great lords there, asked the Queen for permission to leave, saying that on an appointed day they would have to be at Firm Island, and since they were no longer needed, they wished to continue on their way.

The Queen asked them by their love for her to wait for two days because in their presence she wished to have her son Garinto proclaimed King and to do justice to that very cruel traitor the Duke. They said that they would be pleased to be there for her son, but not for the justice for the Duke, and since he was in her power, she could do what she wished after they had left.

The Queen ordered a large stage to be built of wood in the plaza covered by very fine and well-wrought fabric of gold and silk, and ordered all the leaders of the kingdom who were in the area to come.

Prince Garinto and the three knights came on the stage and they brought the Duke, injured as he was, on a hackney without a saddle, and before him many trumpets sounded, naming the Prince as King of Dacia. Angriote and Sir Bruneo put on his head a very fine crown of gold with many pearls and precious stones.

They remained at the festivities most of the day, to the great suffering and anguish of the Duke, who was watching and to whom people addressed many insults and abuse. But the knights asked the Queen to have him taken from there or they would leave, for they did not wish to see any man, defeated and a prisoner, receive such abuse in their presence. The Queen ordered him taken to prison, for she saw how much it hurt them to be there, and asked them to take some fine jewels she had brought to give them. But they, no matter how much she asked, only wished to take one thing because they knew that those lands had very fine hounds that hunted by sight or scent, and asked her for the favor of ordering some given to them for hunting in the hills at Firm Island. Quickly more than forty were brought so they might select the most handsome ones they wished.

When the Queen saw that they wished to go, she told them:

“My friends and good lords, although ye did not wish to take any of my jewels, ye must take one, and it is the one I love most in this world, which is my son the King, to give on my behalf to Amadis so that in the company of him and his friends he may be raised to acquire the good manners a knight must have, for with worldly goods he is well provided. And if God allows him to reach the age of adulthood, it would be better at Amadis’ hand than at any other to be made a knight. And tell him that through his fame and your skills, this kingdom that ye gained for me was won by him and by yourselves.”

They agreed, since they saw with how much affection she wished it to be done, and because it would be a great honor to have in their company a King like that, for being of such high estate he still sought their presence to be made more worthy.

The Queen had a ship very richly decorated as was suited to a king, with great adornments and with very fine and precious jewels that her son could give to knights and to other people as he wished, and his guardian and servants. She went with them to the sea, and from there she returned, and when she arrived at the town, she ordered the Duke to be hung with great dishonor, so everyone could see the fruits borne of the flowers of treason.

They boarded their ships and sailed until they arrived at the great port of Firm Island, where many people eagerly awaited them. When they entered the port, they sent word to Amadis that they brought with them the King of Dacia and why he was there, and that he should come to give him the welcome such a prince deserved. Amadis mounted his horse and brought with him only Agrajes, and halfway down the hill below the castle they met those knights and the King, who was richly attired and rode an exceptionally well-decorated palfrey.

Amadis went to him and greeted him, and the boy greeted him with great courtesy, for he had already been told who he was. Then they all embraced with much laughter and pleasure, and together they all went to the castle, where the King was lodged in the company of Sir Bruneo until other young noblemen whom they were expecting would arrive.

And so all those lords were at the island waiting for King Lisuarte, and to speak of him we shall leave the others until their proper time.


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Chapter 122 [part 1 of 2]

What happened to Sir Bruneo of Bonamar, Angriote d’Estravaus, and Branfil as they went on a mission of rescue with the Queen of Dacia. 

[The postern gate at Denbigh Castle in northeast Wales. Photo from the glossary of castle terminology at the Castles of Wales website.]

The story says that Angriote d’Estravaus, Sir Bruneo of Bonamar, and his brother Branfil, after they left Queen Elisena, continued by sea, where they were guided by those who knew the way. The Queen, due to her distress and the pleasure of having found help for her danger, never even asked them where they were from nor who they were.

And as they sailed, one day she said:

“My good lords and friends, although I have you in my company, I know nothing more about you than I did before I found you and saw you the first time. I ask you, if ye please, to tell me so I will know how to treat you according to your honor and my own.”

“My good lady,” Angriote said, “learning our names, given what little ye know about us, would not increase nor decrease your relief nor aid, but since it would please you, we ought to tell you. Know that these two knights are brothers, and one is called Sir Bruneo of Bonamar and the other Branfil. Sir Bruneo is a brother-in-law of Amadis of Gaul, whom ye went seeking. And I am named Angriote d’Estravaus.”

When the Queen heard him say who they were, she said:

“Oh, my good lords! I give many thanks to God for finding you at such a time, and to you for the relief and pleasure ye have given my afflicted spirit in letting me know who ye are. Although I do not know you and had never seen you, news about you is heard everywhere, for those knights from Greece whom I spoke of to Queen Elisena and who were passing through my land had told and recounted to my husband the King the great battles that occurred between King Lisuarte and Amadis.

“As they spoke of things they had seen, they told him the names of all the most principal knights in the battles and many of the great deeds of chivalry they had done. And I recall that ye were recounted among the best, for which I thank our Lord, for truly I had been very concerned coming with you because ye were so few and I did not know if ye would suffice for the great purpose I have. But now I shall continue with more hope that my sons will be rescued and defended from that traitor.”

Angriote said:

“My lady, since this is now our responsibility, no more could be put into it than all our efforts and our lives.”

“May God thank you,” she said, “and may I be granted a time when my sons and I shall repay you with the enlargement of your estates.”

So they sailed through the sea with no obstruction until they reached the Kingdom of Dacia. When they arrived, they agreed that the Queen should remain in her ship at sea until she saw how things were faring for them. They had their horses brought from the ship and armed themselves, and with their squires and the two unarmed knights who had been with the Queen when they went out to sea, who guided them, they took the road directly to the city where the Princes were, for it was equal to a long day’s ride to get there. And they ordered their squires to carry something to eat and barley for their horses because they would not be entering any towns.

And as I say to you, these three knights rode all day until it was late. They rested at the edge of a forest with thick brush, and there they and their horses ate. Immediately they remounted and rode so fast through the night that they arrived an hour before dawn at the camp, which they approached as hidden as they could to see where most of the men were so they could avoid them and go to the weakest area to enter the town. And so they did, and ordered their squires and the two knights traveling with them to stand guard while they tried to make their way.

All three attacked some ten knights they found before them, and at the first meeting each one knocked down his man, and their lances broke. Then they put their hands on their swords and struck so bravely that not only because of the great blows but because their opponents thought more men were attacking, they began to flee, shouting for help.

Angriote said:

“It would be good to let them go and for us to reinforce those under siege.”

And so they did, and with their companions they reached the walls, where some of those inside had come because of the noise of their skirmish. The two knights coming with them called out and were immediately recognized, and those inside opened the postern gate from which they sometimes came out to attack their enemies, and through which Angriote and his companions entered. The Princes came there, because they had been awoken by the shouting, and they learned that those knights were coming to their aid and that their mother the Queen, whom they did not know if she were a prisoner or dead, was safe and sound, which gave them great pleasure.

Everyone there was especially encouraged by their arrival when they learned who they were, and they had them lodge with the Princes in their palace, where they were disarmed and they rested for a long time.

The Duke’s camp had been in an uproar from the shouts made by the knights who were fleeing, and with haste all the men both on foot and horseback came, but they did not know what the concern was, and before they were calmed, the day came. The Duke learned from his knights what had happened, and how they had seen no more than eight or ten men on horseback, although they had thought there were more, and that they had entered the town.

The Duke said:

“They could only be some locals who dared to go inside. I shall give orders to find out who they are, and if I learn it, they will lose all they have out here.”

Then he ordered everyone to disarm and go to their lodgings, as he did himself.

Angriote and his companions, after they had slept and rested, got up and heard Mass with the young Princes, who were waiting for them. And immediately they told them to order all their most important men to come there, and they did. The knights wished to learn how many men they had, to see if they were enough to go forth from the town and fight their enemies, and they urged those men to have everyone be armed and brought together in a large plaza so they could review them, and so they did.

When all had come, and when they knew for certain how many men the Duke had, they saw well that they were in no way disposed to take on the Duke’s men unless they were to employ some maneuver often used in war. All three took counsel and decided that in the coming night they would go out to attack their enemies with great caution, and that Sir Bruneo with the younger Prince, who was almost twelve years old, would leave in another part of town, attempt to get past their opponents, and go to some towns that were nearby. Because their inhabitants knew that the King was dead and their lords besieged and the Queen fled, they had not dared to come earlier to help. Instead, much against their will, they were sending food to the Duke’s encampment.

With their arrival, when the inhabitants saw the Prince and were encouraged by Sir Bruneo, some men might come to aid those who were besieged. And if that plan succeeded, they would make certain signals by night. Those in the city would come out to attack the camp, and Sir Bruneo would come with the men at another side of the town where they had no fear of attack, and in that way they could do great harm to their enemies.

This seemed like a good plan to them, and they consulted with some of the knights who seemed most worthy and in whom they could place the most confidence that they would serve the Princes in that attack despite the great danger that they were in. They all considered the plan worthy to carry out.

When night fell and most of it had passed, Angriote and Branfil, with all the men of the town, sallied forth to attack their enemies, and Sir Bruneo left in another place with the Prince, as we have told you. Angriote and Branfil, who rode ahead of the rest, passed down a walled road they had seen between some orchards during the day that led to the main encampment. It had been unprotected during the day, but at night it was guarded by fully twenty men. Angriote and Branfil attacked so bravely that the guards were immediately reduced to confusion, and the two knights  chased the guards down as they fled. Some were killed and others injured, and as they were men of low degree and the knights were so skilled, they were quickly overcome and destroyed.

The shouts and noise from the injured were great, but Angriote and Branfil did nothing but continue on and attack more men who came from the camp and from other guard posts, and they left many of them in the power of their own men, for they did nothing but attack and kill until they reached the field containing the main encampment.

By then the Duke was on horseback, and when he saw his men being overcome by so few of his enemies, he was irate. He spurred his horse and went to attack them with all the troops that were with him, so fiercely that it seemed the entire camp was in battle. The men from the city were terrified and took shelter in the road by which they had come, so the only ones out fighting were those two knights, Angriote and Branfil. The entire fury of the Duke awaited them. So many men attacked them that although they gave extraordinary blows to those in the lead and they knocked the Duke from his horse, they were forced to retreat to the road where their men had taken shelter, and there, since the road was narrow, they stopped.

The Duke was not injured, although he had fallen, and immediately he was helped by his men and put back on his horse. He saw his opponents in that narrow road, and when he came to them, he felt anguish that only two knights could defend themselves against all the men he had brought and hold them at bay.

He shouted so that all could hear:

“Oh, what vile knights-errant to whom I give all I have! What shame is this that ye have not the strength to defeat two lone knights, for ye do not fight against more than two!”

Then he attacked and many others came with him, so many so fast that Angriote and Branfil and all their men unwillingly had to retreat a ways up the road. The Duke thought that they were already defeated and that in the press of men many could be killed, and he could take the town. As if he were already the victor he rode ahead of his men and came with his sword in his hand to Angriote, whom he found before him, and gave him a great blow on top of his helmet. But it did not take long for him to be repaid, because Angriote had been looking out for him after he heard him speak ill to his own men. He raised his sword and with all his strength struck him on the helmet with such a blow that he left him helpless and knocked him down to lay at the feet of his horse.

And when Angriote saw that, he shouted to his men to take him, for he was the Duke. He and Branfil rode ahead against the rest and attacked with great and weighty blows. The other men did not dare wait for them, but as the place was narrow, they could only attack to the front. In the meantime the Duke was taken prisoner by the men from the town, but he was so stunned and senseless that he did not know if he was being taken by his own men or by his opponents.

When his men saw him thus, they thought he was dead, and they retreated from that narrow road. Angriote and Branfil, when they saw that, because they knew the Duke was dead or prisoner and because their opponents were numerous and it would not be wise to attack them in a wide place, decided to return and consider it sufficient that their first assay had achieved so much. And so they did, and very slowly they returned to their men, very content at how the incident had gone, even though they had suffered some injuries, none of them great, and their arms were damaged.

But soon their horses died from their wounds, and they collected their men and returned to the town. They found the Prince, named Garinto, at the gate, and when he saw them coming safe and with his enemy the Duke as a prisoner, ye may imagine the pleasure he felt. Then they all took refuge in the town with great joy because they had captured their mortal enemy, who, as has been said, was still not conscious, nor was he in what remained of the night nor the next day until noon.

Sir Bruneo, who had departed from another gate of the town, knew nothing of this except for the shouting and great noise he heard. And because all the men outside had rushed to help, no one was there except for a few men on foot who were spread out and lacked leadership, he killed some, but he left others behind and passed them without hindrance so he would not lose the Prince, for whom he was responsible.

They rode during what remained of the night behind a man who guided them and rode a nag. When morning came, they saw in the distance the town where the guide was taking them, which was extremely fine and was called Alimenta.

Coming from it were the two armed knights the Duke had sent to find out who the knights were who had entered the town. They had also gone to other towns, but they had found no trace or clue about them. They were returning to tell that to the Duke, and, as he had ordered, they had told the people of the town to send all the supplies they could to the camp at the threat of great penalties.

Sir Bruneo, when he saw them, asked the guide if he knew who those two knights were and where they came from.

“My lord,” the man said, “they come on behalf of the Duke, for I have seen that armor many times riding outside the town along with many companions.”

Then Sir Bruneo said:

“Then watch over this young man and do not leave him alone, for I wish to see what kind of knights serve such a bad lord.”

Then he rode ahead a bit to meet them, who were not worried about him because they thought he was from the camp. When he drew closer, he said:

“Vile knights who dwell with that treacherous Duke and are his friends, protect yourselves from me, for I challenge you unto death.”

They responded:

“Thy great arrogance shall be the payment for thy madness, for thinking that thou wert one of our own, we wished to leave thee pass. But now thou shalt pay with the death that thou speakest of for what a man of little sense as thou dares to attempt.”

They immediately galloped at each other as fast as their horses could go and struck each other mightily on their shields, and their lances flew into pieces, but one of the knights that Sir Bruneo struck fell to the ground at once with such a great crash on the field, which was hard, that neither his feet nor hands moved, and he lay as if he were dead.

Sir Bruneo put his hand on his sword with a very lively heart, and he attacked the other knight, who also had his hand on his sword and waited for him well covered by his shield, and they gave each other great and hard blows. But as Sir Bruneo was stronger and more experienced, he delivered so many blows that he made him drop the sword and lose both stirrups. The knight grabbed the horse’s neck and shouted:

“Oh, my lord knight, by God do not kill me!”

Sir Bruneo withheld his attack and said:

“Acknowledge your defeat.”

“I acknowledge it,” he said, “so I do not die and lose my soul.”

“Dismount the horse,” Sir Bruneo said, “and remain on foot until I order otherwise.”

He did so, but he was so dazed he could not stand up and fell to the ground. Sir Bruneo made him rise unwillingly and told him:

“Go to your companion and see if he is dead or alive.”

He did so as best he could, went to him and took the helmet from his head. And as the other knight got air, he recovered his breath and became more aware of himself.


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Chapter 121 [part 2 of 2]

[The tale of treachery that the Queen of Dacia recounted, and what the knights did when they heard it.] 

[Albert III of Mecklenburg (left), King of Sweden from 1364 to 1389, with his father, the Duke of Mecklenburg. From Die Mecklenburgische Reimchronik von 1378.]

The knight quickly returned to the ship, and when he told his lady what he had learned, they went directly to the ship were the Queen was, which seemed to them to be the most richly adorned. When they arrived, the lady came forward, her head and face covered with a black veil, and she asked who was traveling in that ship.

Angriote told her:

“My lady, the Queen of Gaul is here, going to Firm Island.”

“Then, my lord knight,” the lady said, “I ask you urgently, for which ye are by virtue obliged, to find a way that I may speak with her.”

“This shall be done right away. Come on board this ship. She is such a lady that she shall take pleasure in you, as she does with all those who ask to see her.”

The lady boarded the ship, and Angriote took her by the hand, brought her to the Queen, and said:

“My Queen, this lady wishes to see you.”

“She is welcome,” the Queen said, “and I ask you, Angriote, to tell me who she is.”

Then the lady came to her, greeted her, and said:

“My lady, this question the good knight will not be able to answer because he does not know. But ye shall learn it from me, and it will be no small thing to recount, given the disastrous adventure and the great labor that has come over me without deserving it. But I wish, my good lady, to get assurance from you that I and all my companions will be safe, in case what I say by chance moves you to anger instead of pity.”

The Queen answered that she could safely say what she wished. Then the lady began to weep bitterly and said:

“My good lady, although this may bring me no other help or repose than to tell my ill fortune to such a high lady as yourself, it will be some rest to my troubled heart. Know that I was married to the King of Dacia, and at his side I considered myself a very fortunate queen, and with him I had two sons and a daughter. This daughter, who to my ill fate was engendered by me, her father the King and I gave in marriage to the Duke of the province of Sweden, a great realm that bordered our own kingdom.

“Their wedding, which was celebrated with great pleasure, afterwards brought great weeping and sorrow, for the Duke was a young man greedy to rule in any way he could, and my husband the King was advanced in years. The Duke realized that by killing him and taking my two sons prisoner, who are boys, the older just fourteen years old, because of his wife he could quickly become king of the realm. And just as he planned, he began to act.

“He pretended to be traveling for relaxation to our kingdom and said that in our honor he would be accompanied by many men. When my husband the King came to receive him with great pleasure and healthy good will, the evil traitor killed him with his own hands. And God wished to protect the boys, who were coming behind him on palfreys, for they could take refuge in the city where they had come from, with them most of our knights, later joined other men who despite great confrontation and danger entered the town, because that traitor had immediately besieged it, and so he still does.

“At that time I was on a religious pilgrimage that I had promised to make to a very old church of Our Lady, which was on a rock half a league out to sea. There I was advised of the ill fate I had suffered without my knowledge, and seeing myself alone, I had no other choice but to board the ship that had brought me there.

“In it, my lady, I am coming now with the intention of going to Firm Island to see a knight called Amadis, who I am told is there with many other knights of great renown, and to tell them about this enormous treachery from which so much evil has come to me, and to ask them to have pity for those Princes and not let them be killed in such a great injustice. If only a few of them were to come and give courage to my people, those who came with such evil intents would not dare to remain much longer.”

Queen Elisena and those knights were astonished by such treachery and felt great pity for that Queen. Immediately Queen Elisena took her by the hand and had her sit beside her and told her:

“My good lady, if I have not attended to you as your royal estate deserves, forgive me, for I did not know you or the situation of your estate as I do now. And ye may believe that your loss and labors have moved me to great pity and anguish to see how contrary fortune respects no rank, no matter how high, and he who may consider himself content and exalted should most fear changing fortune because, when things seem most certain, then comes what has come to you, my good lady. And since God has brought you here, I hold it good for you to travel in my company to Firm Island, and there ye shall find the recourse that your will desires, as many others have found when they needed it.”

“I already know, my good lady,” said the Queen of Dacia, “for some knights who were going to Greece told my lord the King about the things that happened when Amadis rescued the daughter of King Lisuarte, who had disinherited her in favor of a younger daughter and was sending her to the Emperor of Rome to be his wife. And this made me decide to seek this blessed knight, who rescues those who are troubled by wrongdoing.”

When Angriote and his companions heard what Queen Elisena said, all three knelt before her to ask permission for them to give aid and vengeance to the Queen of Dacia for such great treachery, if it were the will of God, and this they could do because they were now close to Firm Island, where they expected no obstacle to their arrival. The Queen wished that they first arrive where her husband the King was, but they urged her so much that she finally had to grant what they asked.

They immediately had their arms and horses and servants placed on board the Queen of Dacia’s ship, and told her to give them someone to guide them and to go with Queen Elisena to Firm Island. She answered that she wished no such thing. Instead, she would go with them, and for her to be with them would greatly serve to repair and remedy the situation, so they took her with them when they saw her desire.

Queen Elisena and Sir Galaor continued on their way, and with nothing befalling them arrived one morning at the port of Firm Island. When her husband the King learned of her arrival, he and her sons with the Emperor mounted their horses and with all the other knights came to receive her. Oriana wished to go with them, accompanied by her ladies, but the King sent word urging her not to undergo such labors, for he would immediately bring the Queen to her, and she acquiesced.

And so the Queen and Sir Galaor disembarked on land, and there they were received with great pleasure. Amadis, after he kissed his mother’s hands, went to embrace Sir Galaor, who wished to kiss Amadis’s hands, but he would not let him. Instead, he spent a while asking him about his illness, and Sir Galaor said that he was much improved and would be even more so farther on, since the affronts and anger between Amadis and King Lisuarte had been solved.

After the Emperor and all those lords had greeted the Queen, they placed her on a palfrey and went to the castle where Oriana lodged and where she and the Queens and great ladies awaited in very fine attire to receive her at the garden gate. The Emperor carried the reins and would not let her dismount except in his arms, and she entered the garden where Oriana was, who was holding the hands of the Queens Sardamira and Briolanja. With them she came to Queen Elisena, and all three knelt before her with the obedience that a true mother is owed. The Queen embraced them and kissed them, and she raised them up by the hands.

Then Mabilia and Melicia and Grasinda approached, and all the other ladies, and they kissed her hands, and taking her among themselves, they went with her to their chambers. At this time Sir Galaor arrived, and ye cannot be told the love that Oriana showed him because after Amadis, there was no knight in the world she loved more, both because of her beloved, for she knew how much Amadis loved him, and because of the great and true love that her father the King had for him, and Sir Galaor’s desire to serve him against everyone in the world, and for the many times he had labored on his behalf. All the other ladies also received him very well.

Amadis took Queen Briolanja by the hand and told Sir Galaor:

“My lord brother, I entrust this beautiful Queen to you, whom ye have seen on other occasions and whom ye know.”

Sir Galaor looked at her without embarrassment, as a man who was not frightened or troubled by seeing women, and he said:

“My lord, I consider it a great favor for you to give me her, and for her to take me and want me to be hers.”

The Queen said nothing. Instead, she blushed, which made her even more beautiful. Galaor had not seen her since he had left Sobradisa when he had brought Sir Florestan there, and then later for a short time in the court of King Lisuarte when he came to seek Amadis. She had been a young girl then, but now she was at the perfection of her age and beauty, and he was so struck by her and she looked so good to him that although he had seen many women and had been intimate with them as this story has told, never was his heart given in true love to anyone besides this very beautiful Queen.

And she felt the same for him, knowing his great valor in arms and all other good things that the best knight in the world must possess, and all the great love she had felt for his brother Amadis she placed in this knight whom she already considered her husband.

And just as their wills were so completely united, they remained in that state after they went to her realms, where they had the most graced and honored lives with greater love than can be fully told to you. And they had sons, very handsome and outstanding knights, who performed great and perilous deeds at arms and won many lands and realms, as we shall recount in a continuation of this story called The Exploits of Esplandian, where this will be fully narrated, with their close companionship before and after Esplandian became the Emperor of Constantinople.

And so the noble Queen Elisena was received and came to reside with those ladies, where no man entered except for King Perion, as had been agreed, until King Lisuarte and Queen Brisena and his daughter would arrive to celebrate the marriage of Oriana and all the other ladies in their presence.

Afterwards, all the men went to their lodgings and to relax with the many pastimes that the island offered, especially to those who were partial to going hunting, because outside of the island a league inland on the mainland were the most beautiful forests and hills with thick brush. Since the land was well protected, it was full of deer, boars, rabbits, and other wild beasts, and they killed many of them both with nets and dogs and by chasing them on horseback until they captured them. They also went with falcons to hunt the many hares and partridges and other waterfowl there.

So it could be said in that small corner of the world was united all the height of knighthood of any land who maintained it to its greatest degree, and all the loveliness and beauty that could be found. And in addition there were the great pleasures and delights that we have described and infinite others that we could not, both natural and artificial, made by the enchantments of the wise and great Apolidon, who had lived there.

But now the story shall cease to speak of these lords and ladies who were awaiting King Lisuarte and his companions to tell what happened to Sir Bruneo and Angriote and Branfil, who had gone with the Queen of Dacia, as ye have heard.