Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Chapter 132

Which tells of Agrajes’ reply to the giant Balan. 

[The city walls of Ávila, Spain. Photo by Elena F D.]

Agrajes answered him and said:

“My good lord Balan, I wish to respond to what ye said about your enmity with my lord and cousin Amadis, now that these lords and I have rendered thanks for what ye have promised, and if my answer does not conform to your will, accept it as a knight, for although I may not be your equal in matters of arms, perhaps by being older and having used them longer, I know more than you about how to use them.

“And I say that knights who with just cause enter into confrontations and in them do their duty without failing in anything that reason requires of them, thereby fulfilling what they swore to do, are to be much praised because they lack nothing in their will and deed. But those who seek to go beyond the limits of reason and into fantasy will be judged as more arrogant and delusional than strong and courageous by those who have achieved honor.

“It is well-known to all, and, my lord, it cannot be unknown to you, the manner of death of your father, for had fate consented to his daring to take King Lisuarte as he did, he would have been famous and praised to the heavens, and the dishonor and disdain for those who served and aided that King would have been placed in the abysm. And so ye should not have been surprised that Amadis, envious of the glory that your father hoped to reach, wished it for himself, as all good men should and ought to do.

“Thus a death such as this, considering that each man sought to do what he ought and with it to achieve great praise, should not be the cause for vengeance by anyone, for a great deal of honor is put forth to pardon deeds done faithfully.

“So, my lord, regarding your father, and regarding what happened with you and Amadis, no just cause for complaint can be found, since ye and he fully complied with everything knights ought to do. And if any blame can be made, it is to fate, which was pleased to favor him with more help and preference than to you.

“Finally, my dear friend, consider it good that while your honor has remained complete and faultless, ye have won the friendship of that noble knight and all these lords and brave knights that ye see here and many others that ye could see if ye found yourself to be in need of them.”

When the giant Balan heard this, he said:

“My lord Agrajes, although no admonishment was necessary for the satisfaction of my will, I thank you deeply for what ye have said to me because, although in this case it could have been excused, that is no reason for future cases to be given such an excuse. And ceasing to speak more of this as a forgotten thing of the past, it would be good if we were to reach agreement in how to bring an end to this confrontation with the courage and care that men must have who leave the safety of their homes to conquer distant lands.”

Sir Galvanes said:

“My good lord, these knights should go to their lodgings, for it is time to sup, and ye should rest tonight. Tomorrow, when your tents have been put up and your men settled, then with your advice the order shall be given for what should be done.”

And so all those lords went to their camps, and Sir Galvanes and King Galaor remained with the giant, and that night he supped pleasantly with them in the great and fine tent ye have heard of. And when supper was over, the King went to his tents and they remained and slept in fine beds.

When morning came, the giant told Sir Galvanes that he wished to mount and circle the city to see how it was laid out and where it would be best to fight. Sir Galvanes made this known to King Galaor, and the both went with him. Because of the city’s large population, it had many great towers and fortified walls. It was the capital of all that great realm including the Islands of Landas, and the main residence of the kings as they ruled in succession and strove to make it grow in population and to fortify it as much as they could. Thus it was exceptionally grand and strong.

When they had examined it, Balan said to them:

“My lords, how do ye think we can undertake such a great thing as this?”

Sir Galaor said:

“There is nothing greater nor stronger in the world than a man’s heart, and if those inside are courageous, I greatly doubt that we could take the city by force. But since whenever there are many men there always comes great discord, especially when fortune goes against them, and weakness comes quickly to those in discord, I have no doubt that just as other impregnable places are lost for this reason, this city shall be lost.”

As they were speaking of these and other things, all three went together to the encampments of Sir Cuadragante and Sir Bruneo and their other companions, where they were considering where they could best launch an attack. When they had neared Agrajes’ tents, the good and courageous Enil came to them and said:

“My lord Balan, Agrajes asks you to see King Arabigo, whom I hold prisoner in my tent and who wishes to speak with you, for when he was told about your arrival, he sent with great affection and love to ask Agrajes to give him permission and to beg you to see him.”

The giant told him:

“Good knight, I am very happy to do so, and it may be that this visit will obtain better results than great confrontations from which more is expected.”

So they all went to Enil’s tent. King Galaor and Sir Galvanes left to join Sir Bruneo, and the giant dismounted and entered the room where King Arabigo was, which was decorated with fine carpets and drapery, and he was dressed nobly, for Agrajes had ordered him to be served as a king. But he wore such strong and heavy shackles that he could not take a single step. When the giant saw him, he knelt before him and wished to kiss his hands, but the King pulled him close and embraced him, weeping, and said:

“My friend Balan, how do I seem to thee? Am I that great king whom thy father and thou often visited, finding me in court accompanied by high princes and knights and my other royal friends, as thou often didst, expecting to conquer and reign over a large part of the world? Truly, I rather think thou wouldst consider me a lowly man, a prisoner, captive, dishonored, placed under the power of my enemies, as thou well seest. And what brings the greatest pain to my sad heart is that those from whom I hoped for the greatest aid, such as thee and other mighty giants whom I considered friends, instead I see coming to put an end and finish to my total destruction.”

Having said that, he could no longer speak due to the many tears that overcame him. Balan told him:

“Manifest it is to me, for my eyes had seen it so, that it was true what thou, good King Arabigo, have said about seeing thee well accompanied and honored with much preparation and expectation to conquer great realms. And if now I see thee so changed and altered, do not doubt that my spirit has also felt a great alteration, because although my estate is much different in greatness compared to thine, I do not fail to feel the cruel and heavy blows of fortune, for thou already knowest, good King, how the very courageous Amadis of Gaul killed my father Madanfabul.

“And when I most hoped vengeance to come for that death, my adverse and contrary fortune wished that by this same Amadis I was defeated and subjugated by force of arms, he having the liberty to give me death or life. And because the great degree of anguish and sadness that subjugates thee does not put thee in a situation to listen to such a long account about it as I could tell thee, be it enough to know that by being defeated by he whom I so much wished to defeat and kill with my own hands if I could have, I have come here where with such legitimate cause that I could match or exceed thy tears with those my presence could cause thee to spill, for no less than thou would I need consolation.

“But knowing the great and varied turns the world takes, and how discretion is given to follow reason, I undertook to befriend the man who was my greatest mortal enemy, for I could not do otherwise since I had just cause and left no obligations undone by weakness. And if thou, noble King, takest my counsel, thou shalt do so because I know very well it would be good for thee, and I, as he whom in rigor and discord must be thine enemy, could be in concord thy loyal friend.”

He, when he heard this, said:

“What concord could I make over losing my kingdom?”

“To content thyself,” the giant said, “with the best thou couldst obtain.”

“Would it not be better,” he said, “to die than to see myself diminished and dishonored?”

“Because death takes away all hope,” Balan said, “and often with life and the passage of time desires are satisfied and great losses are remedied, it is a much greater advantage to procure life than to desire death among those who can make from their losses greater advantage than dishonor.”

“Balan, my friend,” the King said, “I wish to be guided by thy counsel, and I place everything that thou seest to do about it in thy hands. And I ask thee that although outside thou provest to be my enemy in my absence, when thou comest to my presence in this prison thou seest and advisest me as a friend.”

“So I shall do,” the giant said, “without fail.”

Then he bid him farewell, took Enil, and went to Sir Bruneo of Bonamar’s tent, where he found King Galaor, Agrajes, Sir Galvanes, and many other knights of great estate, who received him and welcomed him with much pleasure. He told them that because he had talked with King Arabigo about things they ought to know of, they should decide if it was necessary to have some other men there. Agrajes told him it would be good to call for Sir Cuadragante, Sir Brian of Monjaste, and Angriote d’Estrauvas, and so they came with other knights of great renown.

Then, the giant told them everything that had happened with King Arabigo, leaving nothing out. Although Balan pledged to remain and help those men through life and death, he thought that if King Arabigo would be content with one of the most distant of the Islands of Landas and would deliver the rest without any more loss of men, such an agreement and ceasing of hostilities would be good, especially since the Kingdom of Sansuena was still to be won, where its troops and fortresses would prove difficult.

The lords thanked the giant sincerely for what he had said, and they considered him very sensible, for they would not have thought nor believed a man of his lineage would have such discretion. And that was reasonable to think, because previously giants’ great and oversized arrogance had left no place where discretion and reason could find a home. But the difference between Balan and other giants was that his mother Madasima was so very noble, as this story has told, and having only this one son from her husband Madanfabul, she worked very hard, although against the will of her husband, who was vile and arrogant, to raise him under the discipline of a great and wise man she brought from Greece. With that upbringing and with the one provided by his mother, who was very noble in all things, he became so gentle and discreet that few men could have been more reasonable than him, nor have had such veracity.

Those lords reached an agreement among themselves, and they decided that if what that giant had said could be put into effect, it would be an advantage and much relief to them, although King Arabigo would retain a portion of that kingdom. They told Balan that knowing the love and goodwill he had come there with and discussing their situation, rather by him than by anyone else they would conform their wills to make a treaty with the King.

Here it should be noted that if in great divisions there are no people of goodwill who seek to find a remedy, the result is a recrudescence of deaths, prisoners, theft, and other things of infinite evil.

When the giant heard this, he spoke with King Arabigo, and while the recounting of the agreements and discussions must be omitted both for their length and to avoid straying from the purpose of the story, it was agreed that King Arabigo would relinquish that great city and the surrounding territory within his realm, and of the three Landas Islands, he would take for himself the most distant and northerly, which was called Liconia, and he would be its King. The other islands would be relinquished with the rest, and Sir Bruneo would become the King of Arabia.

This was carried out and approved by King Arabigo’s nephew, who was defending the kingdom, as ye have heard, and by all the city’s other leaders, relinquishing everything as had been agreed. King Arabigo was freed, who, with great fatigue and anguish in his heart, left by sea to the island of Liconia, and Sir Bruneo was proclaimed King of Arabigo with great pleasure and rejoicing, both by his own supporters and by his opponents, who when they came to know of his excellence and great courage, expected to receive many honors and protection from him.

When this was done, as the story has recounted, for a brief time they remained there to rest and relax with King Bruneo, organize their battalions, and do all the other things that would be necessary for their journey. Then they left on their way to the town of Califan, which was the closest to their camp.

But the people of Sansuena, when they learned the city of Arabia had been taken and King Arabigo had reached an agreement with those troops, feared what it meant, and they united a great many troops, both knights and footmen, because that kingdom was great and the forces in it numerous and well-armed and experienced at war, which arrogant and scandalous kings always have for their use in frequent confrontations. When they saw so many men united, their hearts grew with great arrogance and daring. They organized their battalions led by captains who were the leading men of the kingdom, and they left to meet their enemies before they could reach the town of Califan.

The two sides met each other and there was a very brave and cruel battle, and many men on both sides were harmed. During it occurred amazing feats of arms, and many knights and other men were killed. But what those outstanding knights and the brave and valiant giant did there could not in any way be fully recounted, and both by their great deeds and by the courage of their brave hearts the men of Sansuena were defeated and destroyed in such a way that most of them were killed or wounded in the field, and the others so beaten that even in places like fortresses they did not dare to defend themselves. And so Sir Cuadragante and all the other lords and men, although many were dead or injured, remained and controlled the battlefield without encountering any defenders or resistance.

If this story does not tell you more extensively the great acts of knighthood and the brave and mighty deeds that occurred in all those conquests and battles, the reason for it is because this story is about Amadis, and if the great deeds are not by him, there is no cause to tell about those of others except almost in summary. By any other means not only would the writing, being long and prolix, make its readers angry and annoyed, but the readers could not rightly follow what happened to both sides. So with greater reason it must fulfill its main purpose, which is the courageous and valiant knight Amadis, rather than dwelling on others who regarding the story should only be mentioned.

For this reason, nothing more will be said, except that when this great and dangerous battle had been won, soon the great realm of Sansuena was subjugated, so the places where the weakest wills had no hope for any aid, and the strongest were obtained by great combat, and all were required to take Sir Cuadragante as their lord.

But now we shall leave them very content and satisfied by their victories, and we must tell you the story about King Lisuarte, who has not been mentioned for a long while.


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