Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Chapter 130 [part 3 of 5]

[Of Gandalin’s quest, and how Amadis resolved it to everyone’s contentment.] 

[The ruins of the thermal baths of Cluny, at the National Museum of the Middle Ages, in Paris, France. Photo by Eviatar Bach.]

Then Amadis and Grasandor went out into the part of that plain that seemed to them to have been the most densely populated, and they found some very large wells next to fountains, some baths in ruins, some small and very well made shrines with images of metal or stone, along with many other ancient things.

And as they were doing that, as ye hear, they saw a knight approaching in all-white armor, with his sword in hand, who must have come up the same way as they had, since there was only one way. As he approached them, he greeted them and they greeted him, and the knight told them:

“Knights, are ye from Firm Island?”

“Yes,” they said. “Why do ye ask?”

“Because down at the foot of this peak I found some men in a ship who told me that up here were two knights from Firm Island, but I could not learn their names. And because I am also from Firm Island, I do not wish to have an encounter with anyone from there except in peace. I come in search of a vile knight and have been told that he is taking shelter here with a damsel he has abducted.”

Amadis, when he heard this, said:

“Knight, as a courtesy, I ask you to say your name or to take off your helmet.”

“If ye,” he said, “give me assurance by your faith that ye are from Firm Island, I shall tell you, but otherwise there is no need to ask me.”

“I tell you,” Grasandor said, “on our faith that we are from where they say we are.”

Then the knight took the helmet from his head and said:

“Now ye can see if what I have said is true.”

Seeing him thus, they recognized him as Gandalin. Amadis came to him with his arms open and said:

“Oh, my good friend and brother! What great good fate it is for me to find you!”

Gandalin was very surprised because he still had not recognized him, and Grasandor said:

“Gandalin, Amadis is embracing you.”

When he heard that, he knelt and took his hands and kissed them again and again, but Amadis raised him up and embraced him again as someone he loved with all his heart. Then Amadis and Grasandor took off their helmets and asked him what adventure had brought him there. He told them:

“My good lords, I could ask you the same thing, given where I saw you last and the distant and disagreeable place where I find you now, but I wish to answer what you asked. Know that when I was with Agrajes and the other knights with him in the conquests ye know of, after winning a great battle in which many men perished that we had with a nephew of King Arabigo, when we drove them into a the great city of Arabia, one day a lady dressed all in black from the Kingdom of Norway entered Agrajes’ tent. She threw herself at his feet imploring him to try to help her in her great tribulation.

“Agrajes had her rise and sit next to him, and asked her to tell him about her plight, and if he could justly remedy it, he would do so. The lady said:

“ ‘My lord Agrajes, I am from the Kingdom of Norway, where your wife Olinda is from. Being born there and a vassal of her father the King, I come to you for the familial love ye have for those lords to ask you for the help of a good knight who can return to me a damsel, my daughter, who by force was taken from me by an evil knight, the lord of the great Seaside Tower, because she would not become his wife. He is not of the same level of lineage or blood as my daughter, and instead is of little rank and has only managed to become lord of that tower, with which he subjugates many of the people who live there. My husband was first cousin of Sir Grumedan, Queen Brisena’s foster father. Not for anything I have done has that knight been willing to return my daughter to me. And he says that except by force of arms, in no other way can I expect to see her in my company.’

“Agrajes told her:

“ ‘My lady, why does your lord the King not do you justice?’

“ ‘My lord,’ she said, ‘the King is now very old and ill, so he cannot govern himself nor anyone else.’

“ ‘Then,’ Agrajes said, ‘is that knight very far from here?’

“ ‘No,’ she said, ‘for he can be reached in a day and night with good weather by sea.’

“When I heard this, I urged Agrajes to give me permission to go with the lady, and if God gave me victory, I would return immediately with that knight. Agrajes gave me permission and ordered me not to become involved in any other adventure but this one. I promised to do so. Then I took my arms and horse and with the lady boarded the ship that had brought her there, and we traveled for all that remained of that day, and the night. The next day at noon we went ashore and the lady came with me to guide me to the place of the knight’s tower.

“When we arrived, I called at the gate, and a man responded from a window, asking what I wanted. I told him to tell the knight of that tower to immediately return a damsel he had taken from the lady I brought with me, or to say why he could and should keep her. If he did not do so, it would be certain that no one could leave the tower who would not be killed or captured. The man answered me:

“ ‘We here would give little regard for what thou couldst do, but wait and thou shalt soon have what thou askest for.’

“Then I backed up a ways from the tower and an enormous knight came out in bright yellow arms on a large horse, and he said:

“ ‘Threatening knight, with what few brains thou hast, what is it that thou seekest?’

“I told him:

“ ‘I shall not threaten nor challenge thee until I know thy reason for taking by force a damsel, daughter of this lady, who tells me that thou hast abducted her.’

“ ‘Even if the lady is telling the truth,’ he said, ‘what can thou doest about it?’

“ ‘Take satisfaction for it from thee,’ I said, ‘if it is the will of God.’

“The knight said:

“ ‘Then I wish to give thee her by the point of this lance.’

“And he immediately came at me without hesitation, and I at him. Our battle lasted for a large part of the day, but in the end, since I sought truth and he defended the opposite, God wished to give me victory, so I had him lying at my feet so I could cut off his head. And he asked for the mercy of not killing him, and he would do everything I wished. I ordered him to give the damsel to her mother and to swear he would never again take any woman against her will, and he agreed.

“That being done, I let him go, and he asked permission to enter the tower, for he himself would bring out the damsel. I trusted him and let him go, and shortly after he entered the tower he left by another door that faced the sea, and, still armed, he got into a boat with the damsel and told me:

“ ‘Knight, do not be surprised that I did not keep my word. The great power of love makes me do so, for without this damsel I could not live another hour. And since I cannot subjugate nor control myself, I beg thee not to blame me for what thou seest in me. And so that thou shalt lose hope of ever seeing her again, as shall her mother, ye can see that I am going out to sea to someplace where for a long time no one shall hear about me or her.’

“And as he said this, with an oar he held in his hands, he pushed off from the shore as fast as he could and went out into the sea, with the damsel weeping painfully. When I saw this, I felt great pain and sorrow and wished more for death than life, because before me the lady was tearing her veils and dress in the greatest mourning in the world, which was very painful to see. She said she had received more harm from me than from any other knight because when her daughter was in that tower, she always had hope of recovering her, but now she had none because she had watched her go off to someplace where her eyes would never see her, which was my fault.

Although I knew how to defeat that knight, I did not have sufficient discretion to give her the justice she had hoped for. Not only would she not thank me for what I had done, she would denounce me to everyone. I consoled her as best I could and I told her:

“ ‘Lady, I feel very guilty since I did not know how to carry out the purpose ye brought me here for. I should have realized that a knight so treacherous as to take your daughter by force would have little virtue in all other things. But since that is what happened, I promise you that I will never rest nor take repose until by sea or by land I find him and bring ye the damsel or die in the quest. I only ask, since ye shall stay in your land, to help me by giving me the ship in which we came and one of your men to come with me.’

“The lady, somewhat consoled by this, said I should take the ship and ordered one of her men to come with me and to note carefully what I had promised and what I would be doing about it. With that I bid her farewell and returned down the road on which I had come. When I reached the ship, night had fallen, so I had to wait until morning, and when it came, I went in the direction I had seen the knight take the damsel.

“I traveled all day without learning any news about him, and so I have traveled another five days to everywhere that fate took me. This morning I found some men who were fishing, and they told me they had seen an armed knight come in a boat, and they were headed toward the island that was called the Peak of the Enchanting Damsel. When I learned that news, I ordered the man who guided me to take me here, and when I came to the foot of the peak, I found your company and an empty ship a distance away, and I asked for news about the knight and the damsel. They told me they had not seen them, only that empty boat that was there.

“For that reason I climbed up here, and I am sure that the treacherous knight has taken shelter here. And I also want to test an adventure that the fishermen told me about concerning an enchanted chamber on this peak, to see if I can pass it. And if not, I could tell about it to those who do not know about it.”

Grasandor told him, laughing:

“My good friend Gandalin, try to make right the matter involving the knight and the damsel, and let what ye say about the adventure be for another time, for it is not so easy to accomplish.”

Then they told him everything that had happened to them, with which Gandalin was very amazed. Amadis told him:

“We have walked through a great portion of this plain and these buildings, but we have not seen anyone. But he may be here, and we shall search through everything to satisfy thy will.”

Then the three began to search through all the ruined buildings, and in a short while in a bath they found the knight with the damsel, and when he saw them, he immediately came out holding her by the hand, and said:

“My lord knights, whom are ye seeking?”

“My deceitful lord,” Gandalin said, “thy treachery and lies can no longer offer thee a means to avoid paying for the trick thou didst to me and the labor I undertook to find you.”

The knight immediately recognized by his white armor that he was the knight who had defeated him, and he said:

“Knight, I have already told thee that the great love I feel for this damsel does not let me control what I do. And if thou or any of these knights know what true love is, ye shall not blame me for what I do. Thou mayst do what thou wilt, but except by death I shall not be separated from this damsel.”

When Amadis heard him say this, he understood in his heart due to the great love he always had for his lady that this knight was without guilt for he did not have the power to control himself no matter how he tried, and he said:

“Knight, although what ye say excuses somewhat your weighty blame, it does not mean this other knight can cease to seek what rightly is due to this damsel’s mother, and if he does not act, he would be justly blamed by honorable men.”

The knight told him:

“My good lord, I understand that, and if it pleases him, I will place myself in his power so that he may take me to the lady ye speak of at whose challenge he fought with me, so that she may do her will. And he should help me because the daughter is content with me, so her mother ought to also be content to give me her as my wife.”

Amadis asked the damsel if the knight spoke the truth. She answered that he did, that although until then she had been taken from him against all her will, when she saw the great love he had for her and what he had done to have her, she had given her heart to him to love and hold, and to take him for her husband.

Amadis said to Gandalin:

“Take them both and put them in the hands of the lady, and as much as ye are able, make her agree to let him marry her, since it pleases the damsel.”

With that, they all descended the peak, sleeping that night in the hermitage with the metal statue, and there they dined on what the knight and damsel had brought for themselves. The next day they climbed down to where the ships were, and Gandalin said farewell and left with the knight and the damsel. But first Amadis and Grasandor spoke with him and told him to bring his greetings to Agrajes and his friends, and if they needed men, to make it known at Firm Island and they would go themselves or send them immediately.

So they parted, and when Gandalin arrived at the lady’s home, he put the knight and her daughter in her hands, and since the damsel had, with the knight’s love, changed her intentions as women are accustomed to do, the mother, fortunately being of the same nature as her daughter, changed her own intentions given what Gandalin and some others said who wished to persuade her, so that to the pleasure and contentment of all, they were wed.

This done, Gandalin returned to Agrajes, who was very pleased by the news of what Amadis had said. Gandalin found that they were all very happy with the good fortune that had come to them with the siege. After their enemies had been surrounded in that city, as ye have heard, there were some great battles in which most of the best knights among those inside were wounded or killed. They were also happy with the arrival of Sir Galaor and Sir Galvanes, who after they left Dragonis as King of Deep Island, without delay they promptly boarded their fleet and came to help them.

So it happens that those who have been ill, when they arise after great ailments and begin to recover their health, only think about the things they most wish and are eager to do, with it hoping to leave behind all that remains of their ailments, thus Sir Galaor, King of Sobradisa, finding himself free of that great illness in which he often came close to death, thought not in contenting his will nor in mending his health but doing those things that his brave and mighty heart sought. In it was all his delight and great pleasure, as a man who from the day his brother Amadis made him a knight before the Castle of the Causeway in the presence of Urganda the Unrecognized could never remember not wishing to learn everything about the order of knighthood and put it to work, as this story recounts in every part that mentions him.

He put no consideration into now being a powerful King with the very beautiful Queen Briolanja, and given the feats he had achieved in the past, with good and just cause he could have spent a great deal of time giving rest and repose to his spirit. Instead considering that honor has no end and is so delicate that with very little neglect it can begin to lose its luster, especially for those who fortune has placed at their height, setting all aside, this courageous King wished to take up the labor of helping his cousin Dragonis, as ye have heard, and not being content with carrying out those difficulties and labors, he immediately went as fast as he could to help those other knights, his great friends.

Oh, how those who were born into this world to follow the deeds of chivalry ought to ponder this, and how they should consider that although they have given good account of their honor for some time, if they were to forget the great obligation they have, not only would their armor become tarnished, so would their fame, and it could not be burnished again for a great deal of time! Just as those who work in any sort of craft with diligence are according to their status placed in honor and are without want, but when they forsake their work with negligence and carelessness, they lose what they had gained and come to misery and poverty, so knights can suffer the same, and by failing to do what they ought, their honor, fame, and virtues are battered and brought down to discredit and misery.

And this noble King, Sir Galaor, to avoid falling into this error, always following the examples of his father King Perion and his brother, as soon as the matter of Deep Island was finished, as ye have been told, with Sir Galvanes to help him, left to bring about victory elsewhere. And their arrival gave such courage to those on his side and such fear in his opponents that from the day that they came the enemy never again dared to venture outside of the walls, so that in a short space of time Agrajes and his friends hoped to win the entire kingdom.

But now we shall leave them in their encampments deciding how to attack their enemies, who did not dare to come forth, because we ought to tell you the story of Amadis and Grasandor, who after they left the Peak of the Enchanting Damsel, headed to Firm Island.


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