Monday, March 17, 2008


Duchess glanced at Zbyszko’s powerful body but further conversation was interrupted by the arrival of a monk from the monastery who after greetings began to humbly reproach her, because she had not sent a courier with the news that she was coming, and because she had not stopped at the monastery but in an ordinary inn which was not worthy of her position. After all there are plenty of houses and buildings in the monastery where even an ordinary man will find hospitality, much more majesty, especially the wife of the duke whose ancestors and relatives have provided the abbey with so many benefits.

But the duchess answered happily:

"We came here only to stretch our legs. We have to be in Krakow first thing in the morning. We slept during the day and traveled at the night to stay cool. Since roosters were already crowing, I did not wish to awaken the pious monks, especially with such a company which cares more about singing and dancing than about rest."

But when the monk still insisted, she added:

"No. We will stay here. We will spend the time well on listening to songs, but we will come to the church first thing in the morning to start the day with God."

"There will be a mass for the welfare of the gracious duke and the gracious duchess," said the monk.

"My husband, will come no sooner than four or five days."

"The God is able to grant happiness even from afar, and in the meanwhile, let us poor monks at least bring some wine from the monastery."

"We will gladly repay your kindness,” said the duchess.

When the monk left, she called:

"Hey, Danusia! Danusia! Get on the bench and make our hearts merry with the same song you sang in Zator."

Hearing that the courtiers put a bench in the center of the room. The musicians sat down on the ends, and between them stood that young girl who carried the lute into the inn. On her head she had a small garland, her hair falling on her shoulders, and she wore a blue dress and red shoes with long points. Standing on the bench she looked like a child, a beautiful child, like a figurine from a church. It was evident that she was not singing for the first time before the duchess, because she was not embarrassed.

"Sing, Danusia, sing!" the young court girls shouted. She seized the lute, raised her head like a bird which begins to sing, and having closed her eyes, she began with a silvery voice:

"If I only could get
The wings like a birdie,
I would fly
To my Johnny from Silesia!"

The musicians accompanied her, one on the violin, the other on a big lute. The duchess, who loved the folk music better than anything else in the world, began to move her head back and forth, and the young girl sang further with a sweet, childish voice like a bird singing in the forest:

"I would then sit down
On Silesian fence:
Take a good look Johnny,
At the poor orphan."

And then the musicians played. Zbyszko, who was accustomed from a childhood to war and its dreadful sights, had never in his life heard anything like it; he asked a man standing beside him:

"Who is she?"
"She is a from the duchess' court. We have plenty of performers who cheer up the court, but she is the sweetest one of them all, and there is no one else whom the duchess will listen so gladly."

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