Sunday, March 23, 2008


"No wonder. I thought she was an angel from heaven; I can't look at her enough. What is her name?"

"You didn’t hear it? Danusia. Her father is Jurand of Spychow, a mighty and gallant count."

"Hey! Human eyes never saw such a girl before!"

"Everybody loves her for her singing and her beauty."

"And who is her knight?"

"She is still a child!"

Her singing stopped further conversation. Zbyszko looked at her fair hair, her uplifted head, her half-closed eyes, and at her whole figure lighted by the glare of the wax candles and by the glare of the moon light entering through the windows, and he wondered more and more. He wondered if he had seen her before, but he could not remember whether it was in a dream, or somewhere in Krakow on the pane of a church window.

And again he touched the courtier and asked in a low voice:

"Is she from your court?"

"Her mother came from Lithuania with duchess Anna who married her to Count Jurand of Spychow. She was pretty and came from a powerful family, the duchess liked her more than any of the other young girls and she loved the duchess. For that reason she named her daughter, Anna Danuta. Five years ago, when the Germans attacked our court near Zlotoryja she died from fear. The duchess took the girl, and she has taken care of her since. Her father often visits the court, he is glad that the princess is bringing his child up healthy and in happiness. But every time he looks at her, he cries, remembering his wife; then he returns to avenge on the Germans his loss. He loved his wife more dearly than any one in the whole Masovia has ever loved, and he killed a lot of Germans."

Zbyszko’s eyes brightened and the veins on his forehead swelled.

"The Germans killed her mother?" he asked.

"Killed and not killed. She died from fright. Five years ago there was peace, nobody was thinking about war and everybody felt safe. The duke went without soldiers, only with the court as usual during the peace, to build a tower in Zlotoryja. Those traitors fell upon them without any declaration of war, without any reason. Without fear of God they seized the prince himself, forgetting long friendship with his house and it’s great benefits, they bound and kidnapped him, and slaughtered his people. The prince was a prisoner a long time, and only when King Wladyslaw threatened them with war they released him. During this attack Danusia’s mother died, her heart stopped."

"And you, sir, were you there? I forgot what do they call you?"

"My name is Mikolaj of Dlugolas (Long Woods) and they call me Martel. I was there. I saw a German with peacock feathers on his helmet, bound her to his saddle and then she died. They cut me with a halberd from which I still have a scar."

Having said that he showed a deep scar on his head coming from beneath his hair to his eyebrows.

No comments: