Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Chapter 129 [part 3 of 4]

[How Grasandor rescued Landin from a treacherous knight and his brothers.] 

[Miniature of the Castle of Jealousy, from Roman de la Rose, created around 1490 in Bruges, the Netherlands. In the British Library.]

Grasandor entered the forest, and after a while he found a deep valley with thick trees, and at its end he saw a small monastery amid the thickest part of the trees, and he went there. When he arrived, he found the gate open, and he dismounted and tied his horse to a hitch and entered. He went directly to the church and prayed as best he knew, asking God to guide him on that trip since it was being undertaken in His honor, and to lead him to where he could find Amadis.

While he was on his knees, he saw a Cistercian monk coming, and he called to him and said:

“Father, what land is this and who reigns here?”

The monk said:

“This is the kingdom of Ireland, but here it is not now much within the rule of the King because there is a knight here named Galifon with two brothers, who are also mighty knights like himself, and he has a fortified castle for protection. He has subjugated this entire mountain, with its fine land and amazingly wealthy towns, and he does great harm to knights-errant who pass through here. All three ride together, and if they find some knight, two of them hide and only one attacks. If the knight from the castle wins, they remain hidden, but if the battle goes poorly for him, all three attack. The two come out and easily defeat or kill the lone knight-errant.

“Yesterday it happened that when two monks from this house went to ask for alms in those towns, they saw all three brothers defeat a knight and injure him very badly. And those two fathers asked and begged them for the love of God not to kill him and to give him to them, since he could not defend himself at all. They exhorted the brothers so much that they had to do it, and they brought him here on an donkey, and here we have him.

“Then shortly after that another knight arrived, his companion, and when he learned about this, he left here a little before ye arrived with the intention of killing or avenging the knight here, who is injured. And truly, the knight who left is in great danger to his person.”

When Grasandor heard this, he asked the monk to show him the injured knight. He took him to where they had placed the knight in a cell where there was a bed. When he saw him, he immediately recognized him as Eliseo, cousin of Landin, the nephew of Sir Cuadragante. And the knight also recognized him, for they had often seen each other and spoken during the war between King Lisuarte and Amadis.

When Eliseo saw him, he told him:

“Oh, my good lord Grasandor! I beg you for the kindness to aid my cousin Landin, who is in great danger, and later I shall tell you my fate as it befell me, for if ye were to delay while I told it, ye would not be able to give any help at all.”

Grasandor said:

“Where can I find him?”

“After ye pass through this valley,” Eliseo said, “ye shall see a great plain, and in it a mighty castle, and ye shall find him there, going to seek the knight who is its lord and from whom I received this injury.”

Grasandor immediately realized that what the monk had told him was true. He commended him to God and mounted his horse and rode as fast as he could in the direction the monk told him he could best see the castle. When he rode through the valley, he soon saw it on a peak higher than any around it, and as he rode toward it, reaching the top of a ridge, he saw Landin, who was in front of the gate of the castle shouting. But he could not hear what he said due to the distance.

He stopped his horse amid some thick brush because he did not wish to make himself known until Landin needed help. As he was waiting, soon he saw an extraordinarily large and well-armed knight leave the gate of the castle where Landin was. They immediately separated a bit and then attacked as fast as their horses could gallop. They struck each other so hard with their lances and horses that both men fell heavily onto the ground. But the knight from the castle fell much harder and was stunned. Still, he got up as fast as he could and put his hand on his sword to defend himself.

Landin got up as one who was very lively and valiant, and saw that his enemy was ready to receive him. He put his hand on his sword, his shield in front of himself, and attacked him, and the other knight came at him. They gave each other such great blows with their swords on top of their helmets that sparks flew, and they hacked apart their shields and cut their chain mail in many places, allowing the swords to reach their flesh. Thus they spent some time doing all the harm they could to each other.

But soon Landin began to fight better and was able to control the knight from the castle, who could no longer try to do anything besides protect himself from the blows, unable to deliver one himself. When he understood his situation, he began to gesture with his sword for the knights in the castle to help him, for they had delayed. Then the two knights came out as fast as their horses could gallop, with their lances in their hands, and they said:

“Evil traitor, do not kill him!”

When Landin saw them coming, he prepared to meet them like a good knight without becoming upset, because he had already been told that when the first knight was in trouble, the other two would come to rescue him. He told them:

“Ye are evil and traitors, and ye freely kill good and loyal knights!”

Grasandor had been watching it all, and when he saw the two coming, he spurred his horse as hard as he could and came at them shouting:

“Leave the knight alone, ye villains and criminals!”

He struck one of them with his lance so bravely on his shield that he was immediately pushed over the haunches of his horse and landed on the field, which was hard, in such a great fall that his right arm, over which he fell, was broken, and he was so stunned he could not get up.

The other knight came to strike Landin with his lance held high, or to trample him with his horse, but he could not because Landin dodged him with such speed and agility that he could not catch him. The knight rushed past so fast he could not injure Landin, but Landin tried to cut the legs of the horse.

Grasandor told him:

“Stay with this knight on foot, and leave that knight on horseback to me.”

When Landin saw this, he was very happy, and he could not guess who that knight could be who had come to help him at such a time. He immediately turned to the knight he was fighting and gave him great and dangerous blows with his sword. And although the knight tried to protect himself as best that he could, he could not help himself, and Landin could do to him whatever he wished. Grasandor attacked the knight on horseback, and they gave each other great blows with their swords, for Grasandor had cut apart his lance and injured his hand.

And so all four were doing the greatest harm they could to each other, but soon Landin knocked his opponent down before his feet. And when the other knight who was still on his horse saw this, he began to flee toward the castle as fast as he could with Grasandor right behind him, who would not let him get away. And because he rode stunned, he erred in his aim at the drawbridge and fell with his horse into the moat, which was very deep and full of water, so with the weight of the armor he was soon drowned, and the men in the castle could not rescue him because Grasandor was at the end of the bridge, along with Landin, who had come immediately on a horse he had taken from among those in the field.

And when they saw that the fight was over and there was nothing left to do, they both turned back toward where they had left the knights to see if they were dead. Landin said:

“My lord knight, who are ye to have helped me at such a time when I needed it so much?”

Grasandor told him:

“My lord Landin, I am Grasandor, your friend, and I give thanks to God that I found you when ye needed my help.”

When Landin heard this, he was amazed at how fate had been able to bring him to those lands, for he knew well that Grasandor had remained at Firm Island with Amadis when the fleet left there to go to Sansuena and to the Kingdom of King Arabigo. He told him:

“My good lord, who brought you to these lands, so far from where ye had remained with Amadis?”

Grasandor told him everything that ye have heard, and the circumstances that led him to leave to look for Amadis. He asked him if he knew something about Amadis. Landin told him:

“Know, my lord Grasandor, that my cousin Eliseo and I came from where my uncle Sir Cuadragante is, with Sir Bruneo and the knights that ye saw leave Firm Island, with a message from my uncle for King Cildadan to ask him for some men, for we fought a battle there with King Arabigo’s nephew who took over the land when he learned that his uncle the King had been defeated and taken prisoner. And although we were victorious and caused great losses to the enemy, we suffered a lot of harm and lost many men.

“For that reason we came to bring more, and we left Prince Island three days ago, and there we learned that a lady brought a single knight in a small boat and they said they were going to the Island of the Vermilion Tower to fight with the giant Balan. They could not tell me the reason why, only that the governor of that island went with the knight to see the battle because, from what they said, that giant is the most valiant of all in the islands. And since ye say that Amadis went out to sea with a lady, I think that must be him, for he would be appropriate for such an undertaking.”

“Your news has made me very happy,” Grasandor said, “but I cannot help feeling very sad not to find myself with him in a confrontation like that.”

“Do not feel troubled,” Landin said, “for God did not make him except to give such honor and fame to him alone that everyone else in the world together could not obtain.”

“Now tell me,” Grasandor said, “what has happened to you, for I found in a monastery over there in the end of a valley your cousin Eliseo badly wounded, and I could not learn from him anything except that he told me ye were coming to fight that knight. And the monks in that monastery told me the foul way in which he and his brothers would defeat and dishonor the knights they fought with, and I did not ask anything else so I would not be detained.”

Landin told him:

“Know that we left the sea yesterday to travel by land to where King Cildadan was, for we were very seasick from traveling by ship. And when we had neared the monastery that ye saw, we met a damsel who came weeping, and she asked for our help. I asked her why she was crying, for if it were something we could rightly remedy, we would do so. She told me that a knight held her husband prisoner unjustly to take from him a very fine inheritance that he had in his lands, and he was being held in chains in a tower, which was to the right of the monastery by a good two leagues.

“I asked the damsel to swear that she was telling me the truth, which she did right away. I told my cousin Eliseo to remain in that monastery because he was more seasick, while I went with the damsel, and if God directed me well, I would immediately return for him. But he begged me so much that I could not help but bring him in my company. And coming down the valley amid thick brush, we saw a knight coming up the plain armed and on horseback. Then Eliseo told me:

“ ‘Cousin, go with the damsel, and I shall go find out about that knight.’

“So he left me, and I went with the damsel, and I arrived at the tower where her husband was being held. I called to the knight who held him, and he came out unarmed to talk to me. And when he saw my face, he immediately recognized me and asked me what I wanted. I told him everything the damsel had told me, and that I wanted him to release her husband right away and not to do him any wrong and injustice in the future. He did so immediately out of love for me, because in no way did he wish to fight with me, and he promised to do as I had asked. And I reprimanded him, saying that a man of such good fortune ought not to do such things, which I could do because that knight was my friend, and we had traveled together when we had just been made knights and spent some time looking for adventure.

“With that being done, I returned to the monastery as we had agreed, and I found Eliseo badly injured, and I asked what had happened to him. He told me that as he was riding toward that knight after we had parted, shouting for him to turn around, after a while he did turn toward him, and there was a great battle, and he thought he had obtained a great advantage over him and had almost defeated him, when two other knights came out of the forest and attacked him so fiercely that they knocked down both him and his horse and injured him badly. And if God had not had those two monks from that monastery arrive when they did, who begged to save his life, they would have killed him. They desisted out of love for them, and the monks took him away.”

“I know all this about your cousin, for the monks told me about it,” Grasandor said, “but about you I only knew that ye had left the monastery to fight with those vile and treacherous knights. But what do ye believe we should do about those who are not dead?”

Landin told him:

“Let us find out how they are, and then we shall decide.”

Then they went to where Galifon, the lord of the castle, lay on the ground, for he had been unable to arise, but now he was breathing better and was more conscious than before. And they also found his brother, who was not dead but very badly injured. Landin called two squires, one of his and one of his cousin’s, who had come with them, to dismount from their palfreys and put those two knights across the saddles and for them to ride on the haunches, and they went to the monastery thinking that if Eliseo was dead or dangerously injured, they would kill those two knights, and if his health was improving, they would decide to do something else.


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