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.


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