Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Chapter 129 [part 2 of 4]

[How Amadis confronted Balan and what he demanded of him, and how Grasandor came to search for Amadis.]

[Lancelot crossing the sword-bridge. Detail from the Church of Saint-Pierre, Caen, France. Photo by Roi.dagobert.]

And so as the story tells you, Amadis went with the giantess who was the wife of Balan into the castle, and when he was inside, they had the giant told that the knight whom he had fought was there and wished to speak to him. Balan ordered them to bring Amadis to his bed, and it was done. When Amadis was in the chamber, he said:

“Balan, I am very vexed with thee, for I came here looking for thee and placed myself in thy power, trusting thy word, to fight thee with the assurances thou gavest to the lady for whom I came and then to the knight from Prince Island, yet thy men broke thy promise and tried to kill me vilely. I fully believe that this did not please thee nor didst thou order it, but that did not keep me from danger, for I came very close to death. Yet however it was, I am content by what thou didst with thy son.

“I ask thee, Balan, to make amends to the lady who brought me here. If not, I cannot release thee from the battle until it is over, although it has already concluded, for it was up to me to kill thee or save thee. I love thee and esteem thee more than thou knowest for being a relative of Gandalac, the giant of the Peak of Galtares, for I have learned that thou art wed to his daughter. But although I hold this volition, I cannot permit myself to fail to make thee give this lady her justice.”

The giant answered him:

“Knight, although the pain and sorrow I find myself in for being defeated by a single knight is so great and so strange that I have never felt it before today, and it hurts more than death, it is nothing compared to what I feel over what my son and my men did to thee. And if my strength gave me the chance to carry it out myself, thou wouldst see how far the strength of my word could extend. But I can do no more than deliver to thee he who did it, although he be the only mirror in which his mother and I see ourselves. If thou desirest more, ask for it and thy will shall be satisfied.”

Amadis told him:

“I am content with what thou didst. Now tell me what thou shalt do regarding the lady.”

“Thou shalt see what I will do,” the giant said, “but I cannot make amends for the son of this lady, who is dead. I urge thee to ask of me what is possible.”

“So I shall,” Amadis said, “for otherwise would be madness.”

“Then say what thou wishest,” he said.

“What I wish,” Amadis said, “is that immediately thou shall release the husband of this lady, and her daughter, and all their company, and shall restore to them all their goods and their ship, and in exchange for the son thou killed, thou shall give thine own, who shall be wed to that daughter. Although thou art a great lord, I tell thee that of lineage and all goodness she owes thee nothing, because they are hardly lacking in estate and grandeur, for besides their great possessions and income, they are governors of one of my father’s kingdoms.”

When he heard this, the giant looked at him more closely than ever, and he said:

“I ask thee for the courtesy to tell me who thou art, for thou has placed thyself high, and tell me who thy father is.”

“Know,” Amadis said, “that my father is King Perion of Gaul, and I am his son Amadis.”

When the giant heard this, he immediately raised up his head as best he could, and he said:

“What is this? Is it true that thou art the Amadis who killed my father?”

“I am,” he said, “he who to rescue King Lisuarte, who was at the point of death, killed a giant, and they tell me he was thy father.”

“Then I tell thee, Amadis,” the giant said, “that I do not know to what to attribute this great daring to come to my lands, whether to thy great courage or to the reputation of my being true to my word.  But thy great heart has been the reason, which never feared nor failed to act and to defeat all dangers. And since fortune is so favorable to thee, it is not reasonable for me to contradict its efforts from here on, since it has shown me that my own efforts are not enough to harm thee. And as for what thou sayest about my son, I give him to thee to do thy will with him, and not for the goodness I had hoped of him but for the badness, for of he who does not keep his word no praise may be made. And likewise I release the knight and his daughter and their companions, as thou hast ordered, and I wish to become thy friend to do thy orders in all things that thou findest necessary for me.”

Amadis thanked him for this and said:

“I take thee as my friend for who thou art to Gandalac, and as a friend I ask thee from here on to abandon this bad custom on this island, for if thou dost not conform to the service of God, following His holy doctrines in all other things, although they may bring thee some hope of honor and advantage, in the end they cannot keep thee from falling into great misfortune. And thou canst see it is so: He wished to guide me here, where I had not meant to travel, and to give me strength to overcome and defeat thee, which given the great size of thy body and the oversized courage of thy valiant heart, I could not have prevailed and done thee harm without His mercy. But let us speak no more of this, for I believe thou shalt do what I ask. Forgive thy son for his young age, which was the cause of his error, because I love his mother like a sister. And have him and the damsel come here so that they may immediately be betrothed.”

“Since I am determined to be thy friend,” the giant said, “everything shall be done that thou considerest good.”

Then he ordered the knight to be brought there who was the husband of the lady, and their daughter and all their companions. Darioleta, like them, was as pleased to see the matter brought to such an end as if she were made lady of the world. And before them and the mother and grandmother of the boy they were betrothed, and Amadis ordered that the wedding be arranged promptly.

Now the story wishes to show you the reason for this wedding. First it would have ye know how Amadis ended that great adventure to his honor and to the satisfaction of that lady who brought him there to defeat the mighty Balan, and although he was his enemy because he had killed his father, he had dared to go to that island where he was put in great danger, as ye have heard.

The second reason is for ye to know that to Bravor, son of Balan, and to the daughter of Darioleta was born a son named Galeote, who took after his mother, for he was not so large nor so out of proportion as giants were. Galeote was lord of that island after his father Bravor’s life was over, and he married a daughter of Sir Galvanes and his wife, the beautiful Madasima. And from them was born another son who was named Balan like his great-grandfather. Thus one son succeeded the other, reigning over that island, for so long that from them was descended the valiant and courageous Sir Segurades, first cousin of the elderly knight who came to the court of King Arthur, 120 years old, and although for the 40 previous years he had ceased to bear arms due to his age, without a lance he brought down all the knights of great renown who were found in the court at that time.

Segurades lived in the time of Uther Pendragon, father of King Arthur and lord of Great Britain, and he left a son and ruler of that island named Bravor the Brun, who was given that name because he was excessively brave, for in the language of the time “brun” meant brave. Tristan of Leonis killed Bravor in a battle at that island, where by fate the sea had cast him and Isolda the Blonde, daughter of King Languines of Ireland, and their entire company, who were bringing her to marry King Mares of Cornwall, his uncle.

From Bravor the Brun came the great and courageous Prince Galeote the Brun, lord of the Far-off Islands, a great friend of Lancelot of the Lake, and so from this ye can know, if ye have read or shall read the book about Sir Tristan and Lancelot where these Bruns are mentioned, how his lineage was founded. And because they were descended from that giant, son of Balan, they were always called giants although their bodies did not conform too their size on his mother’s side, as we have told you, and also because all those in that lineage were very mighty and valiant at arms, and with a great part of the arrogance and treachery from which they had been descended.

But now we shall leave Amadis at that island where he spent some days resting to recover from the wounds Balan had given him in that fight, and which the giant and his wife had insisted on, where he was served very well. We shall tell you the story about what Grasandor did after the huntsman gave him Amadis’s orders and he learned that Amadis had gone with the lady in that boat out to sea.

This story has told you that when Amadis departed at the seashore with the lady in that boat and armed himself with the armor of the dead knight, he ordered one of his men to tell Grasandor how he had left and to inter the knight and win Amadis forgiveness from his lady Oriana. This man went immediately to the place where Grasandor was hunting, who did not know that Amadis had left. Instead, he thought that like all the rest he was with his hunting dog and the beaters where he had been assigned.

The man gave him Amadis’s orders, and when Grasandor heard them, he wondered what cause could have made Amadis depart, especially having left without first getting permission from his lady Oriana. He immediately left the hunt and ordered the mountaineer to guide him to where the dead knight was.

When they arrived, he saw him lying on the ground, but he saw nothing in the sea, since the boat with Amadis was already too distant. He immediately had the knight loaded onto a palfrey, and he brought together all the company to return to Firm Island, thinking hard about what he would do. When he arrived at the foot of the hill, he ordered the men with him to inter the knight in the monastery there, which Amadis had established to honor the Virgin Mary when he left for Poor Rock, as the second book of this story has recounted.

He went to where Oriana and his wife Mabilia were. When they saw him alone, they asked where Amadis was. He told them everything that had happened and what he knew, and he left nothing out, but he spoke with a happy expression on his face so he would not trouble them. When Oriana heard this, for a while she could not speak because she was so upset, and when she had recovered, she said:

“I am sure that if Amadis left without you and without telling me about it, he must have had a good reason.”

Grasandor told her:

“My lady, I believe the same, but I ask pardon from you on his behalf, which he left word for me to say with the man who saw him go.”

“My good lord,” Oriana said, “it is more necessary to ask God in His mercy to protect him than to ask me to pardon him. I know well that he has never failed me at any time in the past, nor shall he do so in the future, out of the faith I have in the great and true love he holds for me. But what do ye think ought to be done?”

Grasandor told her:

“It seems to me, my lady, that it would be good if I went to look for him, and if I find him, to undergo the same good or trouble that he has, for I will not rest day or night until I find him.”

All those ladies agreed that Grasandor should do so immediately, but Mabilia never ceased to weep that night about it, thinking that during the voyage he could not avoid encountering great dangers and conflicts. But in the end, wishing more for honor for her husband than for satisfaction for her desires, she thought it best for him to go.

When morning came, Grasandor rose and heard Mass, bid farewell to Oriana and Mabilia and the other ladies, boarded a ship, and brought with him his arms, a horse, two squires with the necessary provisions, and a sailor to guide them. Then he went out to sea in the same direction that Amadis had gone.

Grasandor traveled on through the sea not knowing where he should go except where fate brought him, for he had no other certainty besides only knowing which way Amadis had gone. And so journeying as ye hear all that day and night and the next day, they sailed without finding a single person who could tell them any news, and his misfortune on the second night brought him to pass very close to Prince Island unable to see it in the darkness, for if he had put in port there, he could not have failed to find Amadis because he would have learned that Amadis had docked there and that the knight who governed that island had left in his company, and he would have immediately been sent to the Island of the Vermilion Tower.

But things happened differently, and he sailed on far that night, and the next day, and at night he found himself on the seashore at a large beach. There Grasandor ordered the ship to stop until morning to learn what that land was. And so they waited until day came and they could make out the land, and it seemed to them that it must be the mainland, filled with beautiful groves of trees.

Grasandor ordered his horse to be brought out, and he armed himself and told the sailor not to leave there until he returned or on his orders, because he wished to see where they had dropped anchor and to try to learn some news about whom he sought.

Then he mounted his horse, and with his squires on foot, for they had not bought palfreys so that the ship would travel lighter. So they went most of the day and did not find a single person, and they were very amazed that the land seemed unpopulated. He dismounted at the edge of a forest which lay alongside a spring he had found, and the squires gave food to him and his horse, and after they had eaten, they told him:

“My lord, let us go back to the ship, for this land seems uninhabited.”

Grasandor told them:

“Remain here, since ye cannot accompany me, and I shall ride on until I hear news. And if I do not find anything, I shall promptly return to you, and if ye see that I am late, return to the ship, and if I can, I shall be there.”

The squires, who were already tired and could not continue, commended him to God and told him that they would do as he ordered.


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