Thursday, December 18, 2014

The truth about good King Wenceslaus

“Good King Wenceslaus looked out on the Feast of Stephen, when the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even...” 

According to legend, Wenceslaus was holding this church door handle when he was struck down. Photo by Sue Burke.

Christmas was an important holiday in the Middle Ages, and not just Christmas Day but all the time around it, starting with Advent in November and ending with the visit of the Magi in January. People feasted and drank, gave gifts, danced, and sang carols.

The carol about “Good King Wenceslaus” is only somewhat medieval. It was published in 1853 by John Mason Neale in Great Britain, the words inspired by medieval legends that described the king as pious and generous, constructing and visiting churches and giving to the poor. But Neale set it to a tune that was entirely medieval, originally for a 13th-century spring carol.

Wenceslaus was born in about 907 in Prague, son of the Duke of Bohemia. Legends say his family struggled between Christianity and paganism, but his Christian faith never wavered. He became the Duke at age 18 in 924 or 925.

In September 935, his brother Boleslav the Cruel and other nobles quarreled with him on the way to church and he was killed – legend says with his hand on the door of the church where he sought shelter from the attack.

Wenceslaus immediately became a saint and martyr with followers in Bohemia and England, extolled as a righteous king whose power arose in part from his piety. Holy Roman Emperor Otto I soon awarded him the posthumous title of king. Today he is the patron saint of the Czech Republic.

So although the words to the Christmas carol about Wenceslaus are modern, the tune and the sentiment in it come straight from the Middle Ages. Sing and celebrate during the holidays.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Chapter 75 [part 2 of 3]

[How the Knight of the Green Sword found his dear friend Sir Bruneo of Bonamar injured and dying.] 

[A statue of a knight from about 1350 to 1450 in England, possibly a depiction of St. George. On display at the British Museum, with a detailed on-line description.]

After the Knight of the Green Sword had rested for two days, he felt the urge to hunt in the forest and hills, for when he did not need to use arms, he spent his time that way. He brought with him some local knights and huntsmen who knew the area, and went to a very dense forest two leagues form the town, where there were many deer. He was provisioned with two fine dogs and placed himself amid a line of beaters between a densely wooded mountain and a nearby forest frequented by game.

It did not take him long to kill two large bucks, and the huntsmen killed another one. Since it was now close to nightfall, the huntsmen blew their horns. Although he was about to leave with them, the Knight of the Green Sword saw a marvelously handsome buck leave some thick brush. He set the dogs on it, and they pursued the buck until it jumped into a large lake to save itself. The dogs followed eagerly and captured it, and the Knight of the Green Sword arrived and killed it.

Gandalin was with him and was as happy as he was. The knight had spoken a lot about leaving soon to go where his lady was, and he found great comfort from the idea, for he had not seen her for a long time, as ye have heard. He jumped from his horse and fed the dogs, who were well trained, for he had great experience in such things.

At this time, night had fallen and almost nothing could be seen. They quickly put the deer over some bushes, covered it with green branches, and mounted their horses. Soon they lost their way due to the dense brush. They did not know what to do or where to go, so they rode for a while through the woods hoping to come across some road or someone from their party. Although they did not find that, they happened to come upon a spring. There they let their horses drink, and without hope of finding other lodging, they dismounted. They took off the saddles and reins and let the horses graze on the green grass that was next to the fountain.

But he of the Green Sword ordered Gandalin to wait and went to some large trees nearby where he could be alone and would be better able to think about his life and his lady. When he neared them, he saw a dead white horse, marked by great blows, and heard someone among the trees groaning painfully, but could not see anyone because the night was dark and the trees were very dense.

He sat beneath a tree, listening to find out who it might be, and soon he heard someone say with great anguish and pain:

“Oh, miserable wretch, Bruneo de Bonamar, now has come the time when thy mortal desires shalt perish and die with thee, from which thou hast always been tormented! Thou shalt never again see thy great friend Amadis of Gaul, for whom thou hast carried out so much toil and labor in foreign lands, he who more than everyone else in the world valued and loved thee. Without him nor family nor friends to mourn thee, thou shalt pass from this life to cruel death, which has come nigh!”

Then he said:

“Oh, my lady Melicia, paragon and example above all women in the world, now your loyal vassal Bruneo de Bonamar shall no longer see you nor serve you, he who in word and deed never failed to love you more than he loved himself! My lady, ye lose that which ye could never have, and truly, my lady, ye shall never find another who loves you as loyally as I. Ye were she whose sweet memory maintained me and made me happy, the source of my valor and courage as a knight without ever having been able to serve you. And now that I have placed my service in the search of this brother whom ye love so much, a quest I shall never give up except through failure, not daring to come before you, my hard fate has not given me the chance to do this service for you and has brought me death, which I always feared would come to me because of you.”

Then he said,

“Oh, my good friend Angriote d’Estravaus, where are ye now? We spent so long on this quest, but at the end of my days shall I receive no aid or help? Cruel has been my fate when it wished us to split up last night. Sad and troubling has been that separation, for we shall not see each other again as long as the world shall last. But may God receive my soul, and may your great loyalty receive what it deserves.”

Then he was quiet, moaning and breathing painfully. The Knight of the Green Sword, who had heard all that, wept fiercely, and once he had grown quiet, went to him and said:

“Oh, my lord and good friend Bruneo de Bonamar, do not be troubled, have faith in the very merciful God, who wished me to find you now to help you with whatever ye may need, and that shall be the medicine for the illness ye suffer. And believe, my lord Sir Bruneo, that if any man may get remedy and health from the wisdom of a mortal person, ye shall have it with the help from our Lord God.”

Sir Bruneo thought because of how fiercely the knight was weeping that it was his squire Lasindo, whom he had sent to find a priest so he could confess, and said:

“My friend Lasindo, thou hast been away long, and my death is near. Now I ask that as soon as thou takest me from here, that thou goest directly to Gaul to kiss the hands of the princess for me, and give her this part of my shirt-sleeve where seven letters have been written with a stick dipped in my blood, for I had no energy for more. And I trust that in her great discretion she shall have some pity for me in my death, which I did not get to sustain my life, and I found death in her service searching with struggle and labor for the brother whom she loved so much.”

The Knight of the Green Sword told him:

“My friend Sir Bruneo, I am not Lasindo. Rather I am he for whom ye have undergone such trouble. I am your friend Amadis of Gaul, so I am as sad as you over your danger. Do not fear, for God will attend to you, and I, with the help of a doctor to help, shall restore your health, since your soul has not yet left your flesh.”

Sir Bruneo, although he was very confused and weak from the loss of blood, recognized the voice and held his arms out toward him, took him, and held him close, tears falling abundantly down his face. But he of the Green Sword, also holding him and weeping, shouted to Gandalin to come immediately, and when he came, he said:

“Oh, Gandalin, thou seest here my lord and loyal friend Sir Bruneo, who has searched long for me and now has come to the point of death. Help me remove his armor.”

They carefully disarmed him and placed him on Gandalin’s tabard, covering him with the Knight of the Green Sword’s tabard. He ordered Gandalin to ride as fast as he could to an outcrop and wait there until morning, and go to the town and to tell doctor Elisabad that for the great faith the Knight of the Green Sword had in him to take everything he might need and come immediately to care for a knight who was badly injured, and to know that it was one of the best friends he had. Gandalin should also ask Grasinda to send men and equipment to take him to town, as one ought for a knight of such high lineage and great skill at arms.

He of the Green Sword stayed there with him, holding his head in his lap and consoling him, and Gandalin left promptly with those orders. He rode up a high peak in the forest, and when day came, he immediately saw the town, spurred his horse, and rode there. He traveled with such speed that he did not stop to answer any questions, and everyone thought had something that happened to his lord.

He arrived at the home of the doctor Elisabad. When he heard the orders from the Knight of the Green Sword and saw the great haste of Gandalin, he knew that the situation was grave, and he took everything he might need and mounted his horse, waiting for Gandalin to guide him, while Gandalin told Grasinda what had happened to his lord and what he had asked her to provide.

He left and they took the road to the mountains, and soon they had arrived at the place where the knights were. When the doctor Elisabad saw how his loyal friend the Knight of the Green Sword held the head of the other knight on his lap and was fiercely weeping, he well understood that he loved him dearly.

He arrived laughing and said:

“My lords, do not fear, for God shall soon give you council that will make you happy.”

Then he went to Sir Bruneo and studied his wounds, finding them swollen and inflamed from the night’s cold. He put such medicines on them that soon the pain had been taken away, and so sleep overcame him, which was a great aid and rest. When he of the Green Sword saw how the doctor held Sir Bruneo to be in so little danger, he joyfully embraced him and said:

“Oh, doctor Elisabad, my good lord and my friend, on a good day I was placed in your company, for so much goodness and advantage has followed for me! I ask God for the mercy that some time I may reward you, for although ye see me now as a poor knight, it may be that before much time has passed, ye shall find my otherwise.”

“So help me God, Knight of the Green Sword,” he said, “I am more content and find it more agreeable to serve you and help your life than I would be for you to give me a reward, for I am certain that I lack none of your gratitude. Let us speak no more of this and go to eat, for it is time.”

And so they did, for Grasinda had ordered him to be very well provided, since besides being a great lady, she was very careful to give pleasure to the Knight of the Green Sword in everything she offered. As they ate, they spoke about how beautiful the beech trees were that they saw there, which seemed to be the tallest trees they had ever seen.

As they were looking at them, they saw a man arrive on a horse with the heads of two knights hanging from its harness, and he carried a battle ax covered with blood. When he saw the people at the trees, he stopped and wished to turn back. But the Knight of the Green Sword and Gandalin recognized him. He was Lasindo, Sir Bruneo’s squire, and they feared that if he approached, he would innocently say who they were, so he of the Green Sword said:

“Be still everyone, and I shall see who he is, since he is afraid to approach us, and find out why he is carrying those heads.”

Then, mounted on a horse and with a lance, he rode toward him, and told Gandalin to come with him.

“And if that man does not wait for me, follow him.”

The squire, when he saw them coming toward him, pulled back into the forest out of fear, and he of the Green Sword followed him. But when they came to a valley, where the others could not see or hear them, he began to call him, saying:

“Wait, Lasindo. Do not fear me.”

When Lasindo heard this, he looked and recognized Amadis, and with great pleasure he came and kissed his hands, and said:

“Oh, my lord, ye do not know of the misfortune and sad news of my lord Bruneo, who has suffered so much danger looking for you in foreign lands.” He began to mourn, saying: “My lord, these two knights told Angriote that they left him dead near this forest, so he cut off their heads and ordered me to put them next to Sir Bruneo if he were dead or to present them to him on his behalf if he were alive.”

“Oh, God,” said the Knight of the Green Sword, “what is this that thou sayest? I found Sir Bruneo, but in such a state that he could tell me nothing. Wait a bit now, and take Gandalin with thee as if he has caught up with thee, and he shall tell thee the news about thy lord, and when thou art before me, call me the Knight of the Green Sword.”

“I have already been advised to do this,” he said.

“And there thou shalt tell us the news that thou knowest.”

Then he turned back and told his companions that Gandalin was coming behind him with the squire, and soon they saw them coming together. When Lasindo arrived and saw the Knight of the Green Sword, he promptly dismounted and knelt before him and said:

“Blessed be God to bring us to this place, because ye have saved the life of my lord Sir Bruneo, who loved you so.”

He of the Green Sword lifted him up by the hand and said:

“My friend Lasindo, thou art welcome, and thou shalt find thy lord in a good state. But now tell us why thou bringest these men’s heads.”

“My lord,” he said, “show me Sir Bruneo, and there I shall tell you, for such are my orders.”

They went to where he was in a small tent that Grasinda had ordered brought with the other things. Lasindo knelt before him and said:

“My lord, ye see here the heads of the knights who did you such great harm, and they were sent by your loyal friend Angriote d’Estravaus. He knew of the infamy they had done to you, and he fought and killed them. He shall be here soon, for he stopped at a convent next to the forest to have a wound on his leg tended to, and when the blood flow is stopped, he shall come here.”

“God help him!” Sir Bruneo said, “how shall he know where to go?”

“He told me to come to the tallest trees in this forest, where I would find you dead, and he knew that because of what one of those traitors had told him before he killed him. The mourning he made for you cannot be recounted or told.”

“Oh, God!” the Knight of the Green Sword said, “protect him from evil and danger. Tell me,” he said to Lasindo, “dost thou know how to guide me to this convent?”

“I do,” he said.

Then he told the doctor Elisabad to take Sir Bruneo on a stretcher to the town. He put on Sir Bruneo’s armor, mounted his horse, and entered the forest with Lasindo, who carried his helmet and lance. They reached the place where the night before they had left the buck under a tree and saw Angriote coming on his horse, his head down as if he were in mourning, and he of the Green Sword was very pleased to see him.

Then he saw four well-armed knights coming behind him who shouted:

“Wait, Sir False Knight, ye ought to lose your head in exchange for the ones you cut off. They were worth much more than ye are.”

Angriote turned his horse toward them, raised his shield, and meant to defend himself from them even before he had seen the Knight of the Green Sword, who had already taken up his arms and rode as fast as his horse could carry him to Angriote, reaching him before the others arrived.

He said:

“My good friend, do not fear, for God shall be with you.”


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Chapter 75 [part 1 of 3]

How the Knight of the Green Sword left Constantinople to fulfill the promise he had made to the very beautiful Grasinda, deciding to leave with her for Great Britain to carry out her orders, and how he found Sir Bruneo de Bonamar badly injured while he was out hunting; and the adventure by which Angriote d’Estravaus encountered them, and how they all went together to the house of the beautiful Grasinda.

[A view of the Bran Castle bailey in Romania. From 1438 to 1442, this castle in a mountain valley between Transylvania and Wallachia was used to defend against the Ottoman Empire.]

When the Knight of the Green Sword left the port of Constantinople, the weather was good and the wind was right for his trip, which in time would lead to the land where his lady Oriana was. This made him joyful, although at the time he was more anxious and tormented than ever over her because he had lived for three years in Germany and two in Romania and Greece, and in that time he had not only received no message from her, he had not heard any news about her at all.

So he found it agreeable that in twenty days they made port in the town where Grasinda was. When she learned they had arrived, she was very happy for she already knew how he had slain the Endriago and defeated and killed the mighty giants in the Romanian islands. She adorned herself in her best to receive them, being a great and rich lady, and ordered horses be brought to him and to the doctor Elisabad when they left the galley.

He of the Green Sword dressed in fine clothing. He was mounted on a handsome horse and the doctor on a palfrey, and they rode to the town, where his rare and famous deeds were already known, and he was regarded at and honored by all as a marvel, and the doctor as well, who was of an illustrious and rich family in that land. Grasinda came out to meet them in the courtyard with all her ladies and damsels.

He dismounted and knelt deeply to her and she to him, as those who shared a fine love for each other.

Grasinda told him:

“My lord knight of the Green Sword, God has made you constant in all things, for having surpassed many dangers and accomplished amazing things, He has wished that your great good fortune bring you here to fulfill and complete the promise that ye gave me, for five days from today is the end of the year that ye had promised. May it please Him to give your heart so completely to fulfill the other boon that I have yet to ask of you.”

“My lady,” he said, “God willing, never would I fail to do what I have promised, especially to such a fine lady as yourself who has done me so much good, and if I place myself in your service, ye ought not thank me, for you gave me the doctor Elisabad, and because of that I still have my life.”

“His service is well-employed,” she said, “since it is so well appreciated. And now come to eat, for I have desire to ask nothing of you that your great valor cannot fulfill.”

Then she took him to a courtyard with beautiful trees where he had once been treated for his injuries, as ye have been told. There he and the doctor Elisabad were served as was fitting in a house of a lady who loved them so, and the Knight of the Green Sword lodged in a chamber adjacent to the courtyard for the night.

Before he went to bed, he spoke for a long while with Gandalin, telling how his heart was joyful to travel toward the place where his lady was, if the boon of that lady did not stop him.

Gandalin told him:

“My lord, take pleasure when it comes, and leave the rest to our Lord God, for it may be that the lady’s boon will serve to increase your pleasure.”

So he slept that night more peacefully, and in the morning he arose and went to hear Mass with Grasinda in her chapel, which she attended with her ladies and damsels. After it was said, she ordered everyone outside, took him by the hand, and sat next to him on a stone bench set into the wall. At his side, she said:

“Knight of the Green Sword, know ye that a year before ye came here, all the ladies of this land who were by far the most beautiful of all were together at a wedding for the Duke of Vaselia, where I went accompanied by the Marques Saluder, my brother, whom ye know. And when we were together, including myself, all the noblemen who had come to that wedding entered the hall. My brother the Marques, whether for his convictions or for madness, proclaimed loudly so that all would hear that my beauty was so great that it exceeded all the other ladies there, and if someone were to disagree, he would make them say it was true so by force of arms.

“I do not know if it was because of his courage or because the others agreed, but no one responded, and I stood judged as the most beautiful lady of all the beauties of Romania, which is a great land, as ye know. My heart has always been joyful and flattered by this, and it would be even more so and held more highly if ye can achieve what my heart desires so much. I would not hesitate to do what it might involve nor to spend money from my estate, no matter how much.”

“My lady,” he said, “ask for what would please you most, and if it is anything that I can do, I shall immediately execute it.”

“My lord,” she said, “what I ask for you as a boon is this: I know for certain that the court of King Lisuarte, Lord of Great Britain, holds the most beautiful women in the world. I ask that ye bring me there, and by force of arms if it cannot be by other means, ye have me win the glorious victory of beauty over all the damsels there in the same way that here I was victorious over all the ladies, as I told you, saying in his court that there is no damsel as beautiful as is the lady that ye bring. And if anyone were to contradict you, ye shall have them recognize the truth by force of arms. I shall bring a fine crown for you to wager for me, and the knight whom you might fight shall wager another, and the victor shall take both crowns to show that he has the most beautiful lady.

“If God has us leave there in honor, ye must take me to a place they call Firm Island, where they say there is a forbidden chamber where no woman, be she lady or damsel, may enter unless her beauty exceeds that of the very beautiful Grimanesa, who in her time had no par. This is the boon that I ask for.”

When the Knight of the Green Sword heard this, he grew pale, and he said with a mournful face:

“Oh, my lady, ye have killed me. If ye have done me well in the past, now ye have placed me in greater trouble.”

And so he was shocked senseless. He thought that if he were to go to the court of King Lisuarte for that reason, he would lose his lady Oriana, which he feared more than death. He knew well that there were many good knights who would defend her, and they would have righteousness and reason entirely on their side. So great was the difference in the beauty of Oriana and all other women in the world that he could not carry out that boon without dishonor or death.

He also thought that if he failed to comply with his word to that lady, even without considering all the honors and gifts that he had received from her, his honor and fame would be lost. Thus he was placed in the greatest confrontation since he had left Gaul. He cursed himself and his fate and the hour when he was born and when he had come to the lands of Romania.

But then he thought of a great remedy to the situation, which was that Oriana was not a damsel, and whoever fought over her would not have justice on his side. Afterwards he could see Oriana and make her understand what had happened. Having found this remedy, he ceased to worry over what had placed him in a more difficult position than he thought he would ever be in.

He became very happy, as could be seen on his face, as if nothing had happened. He told Grasinda:

“My good lady, I ask pardon for the affront I have done you, for I wish to fulfill all that ye ask of me, if it is the will of God. And if I hesitated, it was not due to my will but due to the lady of my heart, whom I cannot resist and for whom I had wished to travel elsewhere. That was the reason for what I said, for in all things she holds me subjugated. But the honors that I have received from you are so great that they overcome hers and leave me free to do what I can to bring about what ye wish without obstacle.”

Grasinda told him:

“Truly, my good lord, I fully believe what ye tell me. But I say that I was very upset when I saw you thus.”

And she reached out with her very beautiful arms, put them on his shoulders, and forgave what had happened, saying:

“My lord, when shall I see the day when your great skill at arms shall place on my head the crown that ye shall win from the most beautiful damsels in Great Britain, and I shall return to my lands with a great glory that shall set me apart from all the ladies of Romania?”

He told her:

“My lady, whoever is to travel that road must be careful, for ye shall have to pass through many foreign lands and people who speak unintelligible languages, suffering great travail and danger. If my boon had not been promised, and ye were to ask my advice, it would be none other than this: someone of such honor and high estate as yourself ought not to face such a challenge to win that without which she can still have glory due to her great loveliness and beauty.”

“My lord,” she said, “I am more impressed by your valor to travel than your advice, since having such help as yours, without any concern I hope to satisfy my desire, which for a long time I have ached to fulfill. And these strange lands and people that you speak of may be avoided, since we shall travel better by the sea rather than the land, according to what I have been told by many who know the way.”

“My lady,” he said, “I shall protect and serve you. Order me to do what shall best satisfy your will, and I shall labor to do so.”

“I deeply thank you,” she said, “and ye may expect to have such attire and company that a leader like you deserves.”

“In the name of God,” he said, “may it all be so.”

And that was what they decided.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Chapter 74 [part 3 of 3]

[How Amadis spent his final days in Constantinople, and how Emperor Patin's delegation traveled to Great Britain.] 

[Detail of the Hagia Sophia. Photo by Sue Burke.]

So as ye have heard, the Knight of the Green Sword spent six days in the court of the Emperor receiving the highest possible honors from him, the Empress, and the beautiful Leonorina. But he remembered that he had promised Grasinda to be with her within a year, and the date was nearing, so he spoke with the Emperor, saying that he needed to leave. He asked the Emperor by his grace to order him to serve him wherever he might be, for he would never be anywhere in such honor or pleasure or need that he would not leave it all behind to serve him, and if the knight were to learn that the Emperor needed his service, he would not wait for orders but would go where he needed to be.

The Emperor told him:

“My good friend, I am not pleased to have ye leave so soon, but ye may be excused so ye do not fail to fulfill your word.”

“My lord,” he said, “it cannot be avoided without greatly diminishing my honor and word, so as the doctor Elisabad knows, I have to be at a certain place and time as I promised.”

“If that is so,” he said, “I ask ye to rest here for three days.”

He said he would as he was ordered. At that moment, he was in the presence of the beautiful Leonorina, who took the edge of his cloak and said:

“My good friend, if at the request of my father ye shall be here for three days, I wish that by my request ye spend two with me, and these as the guest of myself and my damsels where I and they dwell, because we wish to speak with you without anyone interfering besides two knights whom ye would choose to give you company as ye eat and sleep. And I ask ye to give this boon with pleasure. If not, I shall have these damsels seize you, and I will not need to thank you for anything.”

Then he was surrounded by more than twenty very beautiful and finely attired damsels, and with pleasure and laughter, Leonorina said:

“Leave him be until he answers.”

He was delighted by what that beautiful lady did, holding it as the highest honor that had been done to him there, and he said:

“Blessed and beautiful lady, who would dare to fail to grant your will, since if he were not to, he would be placed in such a miserable prison? I grant what ye order, in this and any other service your father and mother and yourself may need. And, my good lady, I pray to God and His mercy that the time shall come when my lineage may properly thank and return the honors and gifts I receive from you.”

This would be entirely fulfilled not by the Knight of the Green Sword but by his son Esplandian, who would rescue the Emperor at a place and time when he needed help, as Urganda the Unrecognized will prophecy in the fourth book, and as shall be told in due time.

The damsels told him:

“Ye have made the right decision. Otherwise, ye could not escape a danger greater than the Endriago was.”

“I believe, my ladies,” he said, “that greater harm may come to me by angering angels than the devil, which it was.”

All this gave great pleasure to the Emperor and Empress and all the noblemen who were there, and the answers from the Knight of the Green Sword to everything that was said to him seemed very witty. This, even more than his great courage, convinced them he was high born, because courage and bravery are often found in people of low lineage and common judgement, but honest restraint and exquisite comportment are rarely found there, because this is due those who come from clean and noble blood. I do not affirm that all attain this, but I say that they are obliged to try to reach it, as the Knight of the Green Sword did, who surrounded his mighty heart with a border of great patience and loving kindness, protecting it so arrogance and ire would find no means to harm his high virtue.

So he of the Green Sword rested three days with the Emperor, who had his nephew Gastiles and the Marques of Saluder take him through the city to show him the amazing sites it held as the head and center of all Christendom. In the palace he spent the rest of his time in the chamber of the Empress speaking with her and the other great ladies who accompanied and waited on her.

Then he went to the rooms of the beautiful Leonorina, where he found many daughters of kings and dukes and counts and other great men, with whom he passed the most honored and amusing time he had spent in his life anywhere outside the presence of his lady Oriana. They happily asked him to tell them of the marvels of Firm Island where he had been, especially about the arch of the loyal lovers and the forbidden chamber, and who and how many had been able to see the wonderful images of Apolidon and Grimanesa, and to tell them about the ways of the ladies and damsels in the court of King Lisuarte, and the names of the most beautiful. He told them everything he knew with great discretion and humility, as he who had seen it and been there so many times, as this story has told.

And it happened that as he looked at the great and full beauty of the Princess and her damsels, he began to think about his lady Oriana and how if she were there, all the beauty in the world would be brought together in one place. And he thought about how far away she had been for so long and how he had no hope of seeing her, and he became faint and almost senseless. Thus the ladies realized that he was hearing nothing that they said. He spent some time that way until Queen Menoresa, who was lady of a great island named Gabasta, the most beautiful woman of all Greece besides Leonorina, took him by the hand and made him come back from where he had been lost in thought, which he left moaning and sighing as a man who felt great anguish. But when he was more self-aware, he felt great embarrassment, and realized that he ought to be reprehended by all those ladies.

He said:

“My ladies, do not consider it odd or surprising that he who sees the great beauty and grace, which God has placed in you, may think of some good fortune that he has experienced with great honor and pleasure, and remember its loss in such a way that I do not know when I may recover it either through desire or any labor I might do.”

He said this with the sadness that his tormented heart sent to his face, and all the ladies were moved to pity for him. But with great effort he retained the tears that his heart sent to his eyes and tried to return the lost happiness to himself and to them. In this way and others like it the Knight of the Green Sword spent the time he had promised there, and when he needed to say farewell, the ladies gave him very fine jewels. But he did not wish to take any of them besides the six swords that Queen Menoresa gave him, which were the most handsome and finely decorated that could be found in the world, and she said that she only gave them to him so that, when he gave them to his friends, he would think of her and those ladies and how much they loved him.

The beautiful Leonorina told him:

“My lord Knight of the Dwarf, I ask the courtesy of you that, if ye can, ye must come and see us again soon and be with my father, who esteems you highly. And I know that ye give him and all the nobles of his court great pleasure, and even more to us, because we find ourselves under your protection and defense if anyone were to trouble us. And if this cannot be done, I and all these ladies beg you to send us a knight of your lineage to serve us as may be necessary and whom we may speak to, thinking of you and forgetting some of the loneliness that your departure gives us. We fully believe from seeing you that ye must have relatives who would not cause you much shame.”

“My lady,” he said, “it can be said with truth that in my lineage there are such knights whose excellence makes mine look like nothing, and among them there is one whom I trust that if by the mercy of God he were to come to your service, he would return the great honors and gifts that I have received from your father and yourselves undeservedly, so that wherever I may be, I may believe that I am no longer in your debt.”

He said this thinking of having his brother Galaor come there to increase his honor, where his great skills would be appreciated as much as they ought to be. But that did not happen as the Knight of the Green Sword expected. Instead, in place of his brother, Sir Galaor, another knight of his lineage came there at such a time that he made the beautiful lady suffer so much anguish and worry that it would be hard to recount, because at sea and on land he had such amazing and dangerous adventures that not in his time nor for a long time afterwards could an equal be found, as shall be told in a branch of these books called The Exploits of Esplandian, as ye have already been told.

After the lady Leonorina earnestly begged him to return or send or the knight he spoke of, and he had promised to do so, she gave him permission to go. All the ladies went up to the windows, which they did not leave until they had lost sight of his galley in the sea.

Ye have been told earlier how the Emperor Patin sent his cousin Salustanquidio accompanied by a great many knights, and Queen Sardamira with many ladies and damsels, to King Lisuarte to ask for his daughter to marry. Now know that these messengers, wherever they went, sent letters from the Emperor to the princes and grandees they found on the way that asked them to honor and serve the Empress Oriana, daughter of King Lisuarte, whom he already considered his wife.

Although their words expressed their good will to do so, privately they prayed to God that such a fine lady, daughter of such a king, would not be taken by a man as scorned and despised by all those who knew him. They did that for good reason, for his immoderate behavior and arrogance was so overwhelming that, no matter how great anyone was within his realm or who had been conquered, none of them received any honor from him. Instead, he despised and vilified them, as if in that way he thought he could make himself more safe and lofty.

Oh, how mad is it for any prince to think that if he deserves to be despised by those whom he rules, he may be beloved by God! And if he is despised by God, what can he hope for in this world and the next? Truly, he can hope for nothing in one or the other except to be dishonored and destroyed and his soul forever sent to hell.

The ambassadors arrived at a port facing Great Britain called Zamando, and they waited there until they could find ships to carry them across. Meanwhile they sent word to King Lisuarte that they were coming to him with a message from their lord the Emperor that would please him greatly.