Sunday, March 2, 2008

1.1.04


Here the curiosity so increased among the noblemen and merchants, that they stretched their necks in the direction of Macko and asked:

"And who are the best from our side? Speak quickly!" Macko raised the mug to his mouth, drank and then answered:

"Don't worry about them. There is Jan of Wloszczowa, governor of Dobrzyn castle, Mikolaj of Waszmuntow, Jasko of Zdakow and Jarosz of Czechow: all glorious knights and tough guys. No matter which weapons, spears, swords or axes, nothing is new to them! It will be worthy for human eyes to see it and ears to hear it - because, as I said, even if you press Frenchman’s throat with your foot, he will still reply with knightly words. Therefore so help me God and Holy Cross they may outtalk us, but our guys will beat them."

"There will be glory, if God will bless us," said one of the nobles.

"And Saint Stanislaw!" added another. Then turning toward Macko:

"Well! tell us! You praised the Germans and other knights because they are valiant and beat Lithuania easily. Was it harder for them with you? Did they go against you readily? How did it go? Praise our knights.!"

But evidently Macko of Bogdaniec was not a bragger, because he answered modestly:

"Those who had just arrived from foreign lands, attacked us readily; but after they tried once or twice, they attacked us with less assurance, because our people are hardened and they reproached us for that hardness: 'You are not afraid to die' they used to say ', but you help the Saracens, and you will be damned for it.' And we fought even harder, because is not true! The king and the queen have christened Lithuania and everyone there worships the Lord Christ although not everyone knows how. And it is also known, that our gracious lord, when in the cathedral of Plock they threw down the devil, ordered them to put a candle before him until the priests were forced to tell him that he ought not to do it. No wonder then about an ordinary man! Many of them say to themselves: "The prince ordered us to be baptized, so I did; he ordered us to bow before the Christ, and I do; but why shouldn’t I throw a little piece of cheese to the old heathen devils, or why shouldn’t I throw them some turnips or pour them foam off of the beer? If I don’t my horses will die or my cows will get sick, or their milk will have blood in it, or there will be trouble with the harvest.'

And many of them do this and become suspect. But they are doing it because of their ignorance and their fear of the devils. Those devils were better off in times now gone. They used to have their own sacred groves and their own tithes. But today, the groves are cut down and they have nothing to eat, the town’s bells ring, therefore the devils are hiding in the thickest forest, and they howl there from loneliness. If a Lithuanian goes to the forest, they pull him by his overcoat and they say: 'Give!' Some of them give, but there are also courageous guys, who won’t give them anything, they will even catch some devils. One guy put some beans in an ox bladder and immediately thirteen devils entered there. He plugged the bag with wooden peg and brought them to Wilno and sold to Franciscan priests, who paid him well for destroying the enemies of Christ's name. I have seen that bladder with my own eyes; a dreadful stench came from it, that’s the way those dirty spirits manifested their fear before the holy water."

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