Sunday, March 30, 2008


There was a moment of silence. Zbyszko again looked at Danusia, then he asked:

"And you said, sir, that she has no knight who would serve her?"

But he didn’t get an answer, because at that moment the singing stopped. One of the musicians, a fat and heavy man, suddenly rose, and the bench tilted to one side. Danusia swayed and stretched out her hands, but before she could fall or jump, Zbyszko rushed up with cat like move and caught her in his arms.

The duchess, who at first screamed from fear, laughed happily and began to shout:

"Here is Danusia's knight! Come here young knight and give us back our dear friend!"

"He caught her swiftly," some among the courtiers were saying.

Zbyszko walked toward the duchess, holding Danusia to his chest. She put one arm around his neck and raised the other holding the lute so she would not break it. Her face was smiling happily, although a little bit frightened.

In the meanwhile the youth approached the duchess, put Danusia down before her, kneeled, raised his head and said with remarkable boldness for his age:

"Let it be according to your words, my lady! It is time for this gracious young lady to have her knight, and it is time for me to have my lady, whose beauty and virtues I shall praise. With your permission, I wish to make a vow and I will remain faithful to her under all circumstances until death."

The duchess was surprised, not on account of Zbyszko's words, but because everything had happened so suddenly. The custom of making vows was not Polish but since Masovia was situated on the German frontier, and was often visited by the knights from other countries, its people were familiar with that custom and imitated it very often. The duchess had also heard about it in her father's court, where all western customs were considered as good examples for the noble warriors. Therefore she did not see in Zbyszko's actions anything that could offend either herself or Danusia. She was even glad that her dear girl had attracted hearts and eyes of the knights.

Therefore with joy she faced the girl.

"Danusia! Danusia! Do you wish to have your own knight?"

The fair-haired Danusia in her red shoes first jumped three times in the air, then seized the duchess by the neck and began to scream with joy, as though they were promising her some play permitted only to older then her.

"I wish, I wish----!"

The duchess' eyes were filled with tears from laughing and the whole court laughed with her; then the lady said to Zbyszko:

"Well, make your vow! Make your vow! What will you promise her?"

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