Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Chapter 50

How Guilan the Pensive took Amadis's shield and arms, which he had found without anyone watching over them at the Spring of the Meadow, and brought them to the court of King Lisuarte. 

[The tower of the 12th-century castle at the Ucero River near Soria, Spain. Photo by AnTeMi.] 

After Sir Guilan the Pensive left the spring where he had found the arms of Amadis, as has been told to you, he traveled for seven days on the road to the court of King Lisuarte, and he always wore Amadis's shield on his neck. He never took it off, except twice when he was forced to fight, then he gave it to his squires and took his own.

Once was when he met two knights who were cousins of Arcalaus. They recognized the shield and wanted to take it, saying that they would either bring it or the head of the knight who wore it to their uncle. But Sir Guilan, when he learned they belonged to the family of such an evil man, said:

"Now I hold you for less."

And then they fought bravely, for the two knights were young and hardy, but Sir Guilan, though older, was more valiant and experienced at arms. Although the battle lasted some time, in the end he killed one of them and the other fled toward a mountain. Sir Guilan was injured but not badly, and continued down the road as before.

That night he lodged in the house of a knight he knew, who did him many honors and in the morning gave him a lance, for his had been broken in the joust he had just had. And then Guilan traveled down the road until he came to a river called Guinion. It was wide, and it had a wooden bridge broad enough that two knights on horseback could pass each other. At its near end he saw a knight who wanted to cross the bridge who had a green shield with a white bar on it, and he knew it was Ladasin, his cousin. At the far end was a knight who defended the bridge and who shouted:

"Knight, do not get on the bridge unless ye wish to joust."

"Even if I must joust with you," Ladasin said, "I shall not fail to cross."

Then, raising his shield, he rode onto the bridge. The other knight who guarded the bridge rode a large bay horse and wore a white shield with a brown lion on it, with a matching lion on his helmet. The knight was big of body and rode very well. When he saw Ladasin on the bridge, he charged at him as fast as his could and they met at the entrance of the bridge. Ladasin and his horse fell from the bridge into the water, but as he fell he reached for one of the willows and grabbed it, and with great difficulty he got to the riverbank, for he had fallen far and his armor was heavy.

The knight who had knocked him down turned around and returned to where he had been. Sir Guilan went to his cousin, and he and his squires pulled him from the water and took off his shield and helmet. Guilan told him:

"Truly, cousin, ye would have died except that your great courage saved you when ye grabbed for these branches. All knights ought to avoid jousts on bridges because those who guard them have already trained their horses for it, and they win honor more because of that than because of their courage. I would prefer to go around and look for another road, but due to what has happened to you, I must avenge you if I can."

Meanwhile Ladasin's horse had swum to the other side and the knight ordered his men to put it into a tower in a beautiful fortress in the middle of the river, reached by a stone bridge.

Sir Guilan took off Amadis's shield and gave it to his squires, took his and his lance and went to the bridge. The other knight who guarded it immediately came at him, and both charged as fast as their horses could go.

They struck each other so hard that the knight was knocked from his saddle and fell into the river, and Guilan fell on the bridge and would have fallen in the water if he had not held onto the timbers. The knight who had fallen into the water grabbed Guilan's horse, which had fallen on him, and pulled it out. Guilan's squires took the knight's horse, and Guilan looked and saw the knight at the end of the bridge, and he had Guilan's horse by the reins, which was shaking off the water. Guilan said:

"Order your squires to give me to give me my horse, and we will go."

"What?" said the knight. "Do ye think you can leave here with just that?"

"With that," Guilan said, "because we have jousted with each other as we ought to."

"That cannot be," he said, "because we both fell, so the battle is not finished until we have at each other with swords."

"What?" said Sir Guilan. "First you forced me to fight with you, and the offense ye did us is not enough, since bridges are common for all to cross?"

"I do not care about that," he said, "Ye still must feel how my sword cuts, either by agreement or by force."

Then he jumped onto the horse without putting a foot in a stirrup, so easily that it was amazing to see, and quickly straightened his helmet and went to place himself in the road where Guilan would have to pass, and told him:

"Lowly knight, tell me before we fight if ye are from the land of King Lisuarte or in his retinue."

"Why do ye ask?" Guilan said.

"May God grant that I had King Lisuarte where I have you!" the knight said. "For I swear on my head that he would reign no more."

This made Sir Guilan angry, and he said:

"Truly, if my lord King Lisuarte were here as I am, he would quickly punish your madness. As for myself, I tell you that I am his subject and dwell in his court, and for what ye just said, I want to fight you, though I did not before, and if I can, I shall make it so that the King shall receive no further offence or disloyalty from you."

The knight laughed disdainfully and said:

"And I promise thee that before noon thou shalt be put in such straits that I shall dispatch thee with great dishonor. I want thee to know who I am and what gifts thou shalt be given from me."

Sir Guilan, who was furious and wanted to fight, forced himself to wait and find out who he was.

"Now," the other knight said, "know thou that my name is Gandalod, and I am the son of Barsinan, the lord of Saxony, whom King Lisuarte killed in London, and the gifts that thou shalt bring are the heads of four other knights of his court that I have imprisoned in my tower, one of them being his nephew Giontes, along with thy right hand cut off and hanging from thy neck."

Sir Guilan put his hand on his sword and said:

"Thou art brave in thy threats, if those could frighten me."

And he charged, as did the other knight, and they met with great wrath and began their battle with such bravery and cruelty that it was amazing to see. They attacked each other on all sides with such hard and fierce blows that they could take no moment's respite at all. Ladasin and his squires watched, frightened, and thought that neither of them would escape death, even if he were to win. But what saved them was that while both were well experienced in arms, they fended off many blows, and although their weapons cut, their flesh did not feel it.

And while they were fighting, thinking only of killing the other, a horn sounded from the top of the tower. Gandalod was startled and tried harder to bring the battle to an end to find out what had happened. He came close to Sir Guilan, reached out and grabbed him so hard that both were pulled from their saddles and fell from their horses onto the ground. They spent some moments grappling with each other and rolling on the ground, but each one held tight to his sword with his hand.

Sir Guilan broke free, stood up first, and gave him two blows. But the knight stood up and began to fight more fiercely and dangerously than before because, on foot, they could reach each other much more easily than on horseback, and both wanted to finish the fight. Sir Guilan thought that the horn had sounded to call for help for Gandalod, and Gandalod thought that some treachery was underway in the tower.

So each one, without pausing or resting, tested all his strength against the other. But now that they were on foot, Sir Guilan began to fight much better, which gave great pleasure to Ladasin and the squires who watched because Gandalod could not cover himself as well with what remained of his shield nor fend off damaging blows with his sword because he was too tired.

Sir Guilan, when he saw this, waited for his chance, struck him on his open arm, and cut off his hand, which fell to the ground along with the sword he held in it. Gandalod shouted and tried to flee to the tower, but Guilan reached him and pulled so hard on his helmet that he tugged it from his head and threw him on the ground. He put the sword in his face and said:

"Ye must to go to King Lisuarte with these gifts ye told me about, but they will be different from what ye had planned, and if ye do not, your head will be separated from your body."

"I shall do it," said Gandalod, "for I would prefer the mercies of the King to dying here and now."

Guilan took that promise. He heard a great revolt at the tower and went there, mounted and with Ladasin. They found that the imprisoned knights had gotten loose and left the dungeon, and had armed themselves with the weapons they found at the top of the tower. They had sounded the horn, and one of them stayed with it while the others descended and killed all that they could reach.

When Sir Guilan and Ladasin arrived, they saw their companions at the tower gate and a knight with seven footmen fleeing the tower to take refuge in a woods. The knights in the tower told Guilan and Ladasin to kill them, especially the knight, so they immediately went after them, and soon they had killed four footmen and the other three escaped, but the knight was taken prisoner and brought to the knights who had escaped from the dungeon.

Sir Guilan told them:

"My lords, I cannot stay here for I am going to the Queen, but stay with my cousin Ladasin, and take these knights to King Lisuarte so he may do with them as he thinks best. Put the tower under my command."

"We shall do so," they said.

Then Sir Guilan took off his shield, which now was worthless for it had been cut in many places, and took Amadis's, weeping silently. The knights, who recognized the shield and saw him weeping, were surprised and asked him how he came to have it. He told them how he had found it at the Fountain of the Meadow with all Amadis's other arms, and how he had looked for Amadis throughout the entire region and could learn nothing about him. They felt deeply sorry to think that something very bad had happened to him.

With that, Guilan departed, and without incident he soon arrived to where the King was, who had already learned how Amadis had passed in all the tests of Firm Island and won lordship of it, and how he had departed secretly in great sorrow, but no one knew why, except for those whom ye have already been told about. When Sir Guilan arrived, all came to see Amadis's shield and learn some news about him. The King said:

"By God, Sir Guilan, tell us what ye know about Amadis!"

"My lord," he said, "I do not know a thing and did not hear a thing, but how I came to find the shield I shall tell before the Queen, if ye please."

Then the King went with him to see the Queen, and when Guilan arrived, he knelt before her, weeping, and said:

"My lady, I found all the arms of Amadis at a spring called the Spring of the Meadow, where this shield was unguarded, which gave me great sorrow to see. I put it in a tree, leaving some damsels who I had in my company to guard it, and traveled all about the region looking for Amadis. It was not my fate to find him nor hear news of him, and I, knowing the valor of that knight and that his desire was to be in your service until death, thought that if I could not bring him, then his arms would give testimony to you of what I am obligated to do for you and for him. Order them to be put somewhere where all may see them, so that when people from all parts come to your court they can learn something about their owner. They can be an example to those who wish to be fine knights, for they should seek the great fame that their master in his time won among so many other knights."

The Queen said:

"I am very sorry at the loss of such a man who shall leave the world so much diminished. And I deeply thank you, Sir Guilan, for what ye have done, and I shall do so with all who bear arms if they labor to find Amadis, for the order of chivalry and ladies and damsels were so esteemed and defended by him."

This news weighed heavy on the King and all those of the court, believing that Amadis was dead, but above all on Oriana, who could not remain there with her mother and went to her room, where with many tears she cursed her fate for having caused so much evil that nothing but death awaited her. But all Mabilia's consolation, and the hope that when her damsel returned she would bring good news, gave her some solace.

Five days later the knights and damsels that Sir Guilan had taken from prison arrived at the court, and they went to the King and Queen to ask their favor to thank Guilan for freeing them. And the damsels came who told of the mourning they had seen Gandalin make, and while they did not know his name, they said he was a squire who had asked about the owner of the shield and the arms.

Then the knights arrived who brought Gandalod as prisoner, and they told the King about the battle between him and Sir Guilan and why they had fought, and all the words that had been spoken between them, and how he had held them prisoner and how they had gotten free.

The King told Gandalod:

"This is the place where I killed thy father for the great treachery he did me, and here thou shalt die for the treachery thou hast wished to do to me."

Then he ordered both him and the knight who had fled to be thrown from the tower at the foot of which Barsinan, his father, had been burned, as the first book has recounted.

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