Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Chapter 129 [part 1 of 4]

How Darioleta lamented the great danger Amadis was in. 

[Petronilla of Aragon (1136-1173), Queen of Aragon from 1137 to 1164. From The Portuguese Genealogy, made in Lisbon, Portugal, between 1530 and 1534. At the British Library.]

Darioleta, the lady who had caused Amadis to come there, when she saw him surrounded by all his enemies without any chance or hope for rescue from any source, began to lament passionately and to curse her fate, which had brought her so much suffering and pain, saying:

“Oh, misfortunate wretch! What will become of me if the best knight ever born were to die because of me? How will I dare to appear before his father and mother and brothers knowing that I was the cause of his death? At the time of his birth, I labored to save his life, using my knowledge to make and build the ark so he could escape, from which I have received great rewards, but if he were to die now, he would die with nothing to his advantage, and not only would I have lost my past efforts, I would be worthy of dying with more sorrow and torment than any other person because I have brought death to him, the flower and height of the world.

“Oh, such is my affliction, because I did not give him time at the seashore when I arrived to let him return to Firm Island and bring some knights who could have aided him, or at least could have rightly died with him! But what can I say but that my rashness and passion were due to womanhood?”

So as ye hear Darioleta lamented beneath the entrance to a church with great anguish in her heart and no other expectation but to see Amadis die soon, and to see herself and her husband and daughter placed in a prison from which they would never leave.

Amadis was within the fissure between those rocks as we have told you, and he saw what the lady was doing because, with the large fire before him, he could watch the entire plaza although it was exceedingly large. He felt great sorrow to see her weeping and raising her hands to heaven as if to ask for mercy, and his rage grew so great that it drove him from his senses.

He thought that he would be in much more danger when day came than during the night, because at night most of the people of the island were resting and he would only have to protect himself from those before him, and when morning came many more men could attack him, so he could not escape being killed. Although they could not harm him there, sleep and hunger would overcome him and would place him in their hands.

With this rage he thought to risk everything, and gripping his shield, with his sword in hand, he prepared to attack his enemies. But the knight from Prince Island, who was very worried that he might be harmed and his promise broken despite the assurances he had given to him on behalf of the giant, was among them to make sure the men would not come at him until the health of the giant was determined, because he believed that when the giant regained his senses, he would correctly apply his will to the situation, and his promise would be kept.

When he saw that Amadis was preparing to come out and attack, he came to him as fast as he could and said:

“My lord knight, I ask you for the courtesy of listening to me a little before ye come out.”

Amadis remained still, and the knight told him everything he had discussed with Bravor, the giant’s son, and how nothing would happen until morning came, and by then the giant would be much better and conscious. Beyond all doubt Amadis could believe that the giant would fulfill everything he had obliged himself to, even if he were close to death. If Amadis would wait until then, he had faith that God would solve and take care of everything.

Amadis listened to him speak and believed it was all true because in the brief time that he had known him, he had come to consider him a good man. He said:

“For your love I shall wait this time, but I tell you, knight, that all the effort ye place in this will be lost if the first thing he does is not to make amends to the lady.”

The knight told him:

“He shall do this and much more, or I cannot consider myself a knight nor this giant to be who I have always thought he was. Ye may believe that he possesses great virtue and truth.”

Amadis remained quietly in place where he was. And so, as ye hear, he was surrounded by his enemies, trapped between rough rocks, and both he and they were waiting for morning.

Now the story says that after the giant’s men had carried him to the castle as stunned as if he were dead, they placed him in his bed, where he spent most of the night unable to speak and only laid his hand directly over his heart to show that this was where the pain came from. When his mother and wife saw that, they had the doctors examine him, and they immediately found his trouble, and they gave him so many potions and tended to him in other ways that before dawn he was completely conscious.

When he could speak, he asked where he was. The doctors told him he was in his bed.

“Then, the battle that I had with that knight,” he said, “how did it go?”

They told him the entire truth, for they did not dare lie about anything, as is right to speak to truthful men, telling him everything that had happened, and how when the knight from Firm Island had him on the ground, his son Bravor, thinking he was dead, had come out with his men from the castle, and they had the knight surrounded between some rocks in the plaza where the battle had been, and were waiting for his orders.

When the giant heard this, he said:

“Is the knight alive?”

“Yes,” they said.

“Then have my son come here and all the men who are with him, and let the knight go free.”

This was immediately done, and when the giant saw his son, he said:

“Traitor, why hast thou broken my promise? What honor and gain could come to thee from what thou hast done? For if I were dead, thou couldst do nothing to restore me, and much more dead would be thy honor, with greater loss to my lineage by that broken promise and thy deeds than my death as a knight, and nothing could be done about it. If I were to live, dost thou not know that thou canst not escape death from me anywhere for what thou wouldst have done? Thus thou and all those who do not keep their word stray far from their intent, for by thinking to avenge injuries, they fall into them with more shame and dishonor than ever. But I shall make thee suffer for what thou hast done wrong.”

Then he ordered him seized and tied hand and foot and placed before the knight from Firm Island, and he should be told how wrong his son had been in breaking his word, and the knight should take what amends he wished with him. And so they brought him before Amadis and placed him at his feet. The boy’s mother, when she saw this, was afraid that the knight, as a man done wrong, would do the boy some harm, and as a mother she came, without the giant knowing it, as fast as she could to where Amadis was.

At that time, Amadis had his helmet in his hand, which he had never removed from his head earlier when he was surrounded, and his sword in its sheath, and was untying the giant’s son to set him free. When the lady arrived and saw his face, she immediately recognized him as Amadis, and came to him, alone and weeping, and said:

“My lord, do ye recognize me?”

Amadis, although he immediately saw that she was the daughter of Gandalac, his brother Sir Galaor’s foster father, he answered her by saying:

“My lady, I do not know you.”

“Well,” she said, “my lord, I am well aware that you are Amadis, brother of my lord Sir Galaor. And if ye would prefer that your name be secret, I shall do so, and if ye wish it to be known, do not fear the giant, for he has given you his assurance. Ye shall see that he is willing to keep his word by what he does, for he has sent you his son and mine, who broke his promise, so that ye may take any vengeance on him that ye wish, and for which I ask mercy from you.”

“My good lady,” Amadis said, “ye already know how obliged we all are who are the brothers and sisters and friends of Sir Galaor to whatever involves your father and his children. I also wish to show you the same consideration in another matter very dear to you, and ye have no need to thank me for it, because without your request I was letting him go. I do not wish to take vengeance except against those who try to defend their evil deeds.

“And as for what ye say about my name and whether I would prefer to have it be made known or kept secret, I say that I would rather the giant know who I am and that ye tell him that I shall not leave here in any fashion until he makes the amends that I order him to do for the lady who brought me here.

“And if he is as truthful as everyone says, he should return and place himself here as he was when I had defeated him in this field so that I may do whatever I will, for if he was taken from here senseless he has some excuse, but now that he has consciousness, he has no honest reason to avoid it.”

The lady thanked him with great humility and said:

“My lord, do not doubt my husband, for he shall return here as ye say or fulfill everything ye order. And without any concern ye may come with me to see him.”

“My good lady and friend,” he said, “without concern I would trust you with my life, but I do fear the nature of giants, who are rarely governed by and submitted to reason, since their great fury and rage governs them in all things.”

“That is true,” the lady said, “but for what I know about this giant, I ask you to come with me without any fear.”

“If this pleases you,” Amadis said, “I consider it good.”

Then he put his helmet on his head, picked up his shield, put his hand on his sword, and went with her, considering that he could be more safe there than where he had been expecting death without any hope for aid, for even if he were to have killed all the men surrounding him, that would not have been enough to save himself. Before he could have set out to sea, because everything there was under the control of the giant’s men, the people of the island themselves would kill him; for although in other places where giants ruled, they were despised for their arrogance and cruelty, Balan was not hated by his people because he protected their safety without taking anything from them. So for Amadis to think he could withstand those people was impossible.

For those reasons he risked, without any more assurance than he had been given at first and that the lady had provided, to enter into that great castle armed as he was, and if they were doing that to trick him, he would do amazing things before they could kill him.


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