Friday, April 11, 2008


"God has given us fair weather, but the heat will be brutal," said the duke’s courtiers.

"No matter," answered the man of Dlugolas. "we will sleep in the abbey, and will reach Krakow around evening."

"Sure just in time for another feast."

"There is a feast every day now, and after the pregnancy confinement and tournaments, there will be still greater ones."

"We shall see how Danusia's brave knight will do."

"Those fellows are tough! Did you hear what they said about that fight for four knights on each side?"

"Perhaps they will join our court because they are consulting with each other now."

In fact, they were conferring, since the older one, Macko, was not too happy about past events. Walking at the rear he was intentionally slowing down to have open discussion. He said:

"In truth, you don't need it. I will somehow reach the king, maybe with this court, and maybe he will give us something. I would be very glad to get to some small castle or fortified village. Well we shall see. We will redeem Bogdaniec from our pledge anyhow, because we must hold that which our forefathers held. But how can we get some peasants to work on it? The land is worth nothing without peasants. Therefore, listen to what I am going to tell you: you make vows to anyone you please, but still go with the Lord of Mielsztyn to Prince Witold to fight against the Tatars. If they proclaim the expedition before the queen's confinement, then do not wait either for the tournaments, just go, because there will be rewards. Prince Witold is generous, as you know; and he knows you. If you prove yourself, he will reward you handsomely. Above all, with God’s help, you will bring back many slaves. There is a lot of Tatars in the world. In case of victory, every knight may get even threescore (60) of them."

At this, Macko being greedy for land and serfs, began to fancy:

"If we could get 50 men and put them in Bogdaniec. We could clear up quite a chunk of forest. And you know that nowhere else can you get as many as there."

But Zbyszko started to shake his head in disagreement.

"Well! All I will get is some horse riders who eat horsemeat and don’t know first thing about farming. What use will they be in Bogdaniec? Not to mention that I vowed to capture three German crests. Where will I find them among the Tatars?"

"You made a vow because you are stupid, besides your vows don’t mean anything."

"What about my honor?

"And how was it with Ryngalla?"

"Ryngalla poisoned the prince, and the hermit gave me absolution from the vow."

"Then, in Tyniec, the abbot will absolve you from this vow also. The abbot is greater than a hermit."

"I don't want it!"

Macko stopped and asked with evident anger:

"Then, how will it be?"

"Go to Witold yourself, because I won’t."

"You knave! And who will go to the king to pay respects? Don't you have pity for my old bones?"

"Even if a tree should fall on your bones, it would not crush them; and even if I pity you, I will not go to Witold."

"What will you do then? Will you turn into performer or falconer at the Masovia court?"

"It's not a bad thing to be a falconer. But if you would rather grumble than to listen to me, then grumble."

"Where will you go? Don't you care for Bogdaniec? Will you plow with your nails and farm without helpers?"

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