Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Chapter 128 [part 3 of 3]

[Of the greater danger that befell Amadis after defeating the giant.]

[Targe and pavise shields of Lluís Cornell, from the end of the 14th century, in the Fine Arts Museum of Castellón, Spain.]

When the giant fell, Amadis immediately came to him, took off his helmet, put the point of his sword in his face, and said:

“Balan, thou art dead if thou dost not satisfy the lady for the harm that thou didst to her.”

But Balan did not respond or understand what he had said, for he was as if dead. Then the knight from Prince Island, who had come with Amadis, drew near and said:

“My lord knight, is the giant dead?”

“I do not believe so,” Amadis said, “but the giant cannot breathe, as ye see, and I did not observe any mortal blow at all.”

And he said the truth, for the blow to the giant’s chest that impaired his breathing he had not noticed or felt himself give. The knight said:

“My lord, out of courtesy I ask you not to kill him until he has regained consciousness and sufficient judgement to satisfy this lady by his free will. As well, you should not kill him because if he dies, no one will be powerful enough to save your life.”

“For that reason,” Amadis said, “although I shall not fail to do as I wish with him, because of your love for him and because he is related to Gandalac, I shall refrain from killing him until he knows whether he wishes to agree to what I asked.”

As they were speaking, they saw the son of the giant and as many as thirty armed men leaving the castle, and they came shouting:

“Die, die traitor!”

When Amadis heard this, ye may understand what kind of hope he had for his life seeing them all coming furiously to kill him. But he decided not to seek their mercy, and if death came to him it would be after having done everything in his power without failing in a single thing. He looked to one side and the other around him, and he saw a crack between some rocks that surrounded the plaza, for it had been made by removing all of its stones and rocks, but many of them still remained around it.

He ran there and raised up the giant’s shield, which was large and strong, and put it at the entrance to that crack, so they could only hurt him except from the front, and not from above because there was an overhang. When the men arrived, some went to the giant to see if he was dead, and others charged at Amadis. Three men came up to him and attacked with their lances, but they could not do him harm because as we have told you, the shield was very large and strong and covered most of his body and legs, and it, after God, saved his life.

One of the three attacked him with his sword, and when Amadis saw him approaching, he came at him and gave him a blow on the top of his head, which sunk down to his neck and knocked him dead at his feet.

When the other guards saw that he had left the rocks, they all tried to kill him, but he quickly went back, and to the first one who arrived he gave a blow on the shoulder. That man’s armor did him no good, and his arm fell to the ground and he next to it, dead. This made the rest so wary that none dared to come close. They surrounded him at the front and sides, which were the only parts they could, and they threw so many lances, darts, and stones that half his body was covered, but they could do him no harm because his shield protected him from everything.

In the meanwhile they took the giant to the castle in deep mourning and placed him in his bed as if he were dead and senseless, and they immediately returned to help their companions. When they arrived, they saw that no one was approaching him and he had two dead men next to him, and as they were rested and enraged, and they had not seen or heard about his mighty blows, they came to attack him with their lances. But Amadis remained where he was, well covered by his shield, and when one of them came forward and struck his shield hard with his lance, Amadis gave him such a blow that his head flew some distance away. The men immediately backed off to join the others, and no one dared to get close.

So as they stood there with nothing to do but throw many darts and an infinite number of rocks at him, the knight from Prince Island took great pity to see him thus, and believed that if they killed him, the best knight who ever bore arms would die. He immediately went to the son of the giant, who was unarmed due to his tender age, and told him:

“Bravor, why dost thou do this, contrary to the word and promise of thy father, which never before today has been broken? Consider that thou art his son, and thou shouldst resemble him in his good conduct. And consider that thy father had assured that knight’s safety from all his subjects except for himself, and if thou lettest them kill him, it will never be proper for thee to appear before good men, who will always hold this in thy account and will hold thee in great disrespect.”

The boy told him:

“How can I stand to see my father dead before me and not take vengeance against the one who killed him?”

“Thy father,” he said, “is not dead and has no mortal blow on him, for I looked at him when he was on the ground at the request of that knight. He told me that he esteemed thy father for being in the family of Gandalac, and he did not kill him when it was in his hand to do so.”

“Then what shall I do?” the boy said.

“I shall tell thee,” the knight said. “Keep him surrounded that way all night without suffering any harm, and between now and the morning we shall see how thy father is, and depending on that, thou shalt decide, for at thy hand and will is the life or death of that knight, who cannot leave except at thy orders.”

The boy said:

“I thank thee deeply for thy advice, for if the knight were to die and my father live, I could not survive anywhere in the world if my father knew, for I am certain that he would seek me out to kill me.”

“Since thou knowest this,” he said, “do as I have advised thee.”

“Let me speak first with my grandmother and mother to get their counsel.”

“I think that is wise,” the knight said, “and in the meantime order thy men to do no more than they have done.”

The boy said:

“That order will serve for little, since it seems to me that the knight can protect his life from everything except hunger, and I see no other way to kill him, but I shall do what thou hast offered as advice.”

Then he ordered them to stay there and guard the knight well so he could not leave, and to do him no harm, while he went to the castle. They all did as he ordered, and he left and spoke with those ladies, and despite their great passion and sadness, since the knight could not escape, and the giant was breathing better and recovering consciousness, they feared to break his promise. They told him to do what the knight from Prince Island had advised. It greatly helped when the boy’s mother learned that the knight loved her father Gandalac, for she had feared he might be Sir Galaor, whom her father had raised and who had returned to him his reign over the Peak of Galtares by killing Albadan, the brave giant who was holding it by force, as the first book of this story has recounted at greater length.

She knew Sir Galaor well and loved him with all her heart because they had been raised together, and if it would not have been a great impropriety because her husband was in such condition and he might learn of it, she herself in person would have gone to find out whether that knight was Sir Galaor or one of his brothers. She had seen them all when she was in the court of King Lisuarte, where she had spent some time during the battle King Lisuarte fought with King Cildadan, in which her father and brother fought, and they did amazing feats at arms in the service of King Lisuarte out of love for Sir Galaor, as the second book of this story has told at greater length.

With that agreement, the boy returned after night had already fallen and ordered a large fire be built in front of where Amadis was, who knew nothing about the agreement, and told his men to keep careful watch over him, well armed, so the knight could not get out and do them any harm, for he frightened them to death.

Amadis remained in the place where he had been, with the point of the shield on the ground and one hand on the handle and the other on his sword, expecting to die before he would let them take him prisoner. He thought that despite Balan’s promise, those men were trying to kill him, so no other promise they gave him would be kept. He would not consider asking for mercy even if he knew he would die a thousand times, except to ask for mercy from God, to Whom he always commended everything regarding himself with his whole heart, and even more that night when he had no other aid or help and expected none except from Him.


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