Chapter 129 [part 3 of 4]

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[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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Chapter 129 [part 2 of 4]

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[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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