Thursday, May 1, 2008

1.4.07

"How old was he?" asked Zbyszko.

"He was young!"

In the meantime, Powala of Taczew, while riding at the duchess' right hand, bent toward her and told her the truth about the importance of Zbyszko's adventure, and asked her to speak to the king on Zbyszko's behalf. The duchess being fond of Zbyszko, received this news with sadness and became worried.

"The Bishop of Krakow is a friend of mine," said Powala; "I will ask him and as well as the queen to intercede; but the more protectors he has, the better for the lad."

"If the queen will promise to say one word in his favor, not a hair will fall from his head," said Anna Danuta, "the king worships her for her piety, and especially now, when the shame of sterility has been taken from her. But the king's beloved sister, Princess Ziemowit lives in Krakow, you must go to her. For my part I will do anything I can, but the princess is his own sister, and I am only his first cousin."

"The king loves you to, my lady."

"Well, but not as much," she answered with a certain sadness, "for me a link, for her a whole chain; for me a fox skin, for her a sable. He loves none of his relatives as much as he loves Alexandra."

Thus talking, they approached Krakow. The highway which was crowded all the way from Tyniec, was still more crowded here. They met landowners going with their servants to the city, sometimes armed and sometimes in summer clothing and straw hats. Some of them were on horseback; some traveled in carriages, with their wives and daughters, who wished to see the tournaments. In some places the whole road was crowded with merchants' wagons which could not pass Krakow until the toll was paid. They carried in these wagons wax, grain, salt, fish, skins, hemp and wood. Others came from the city loaded with cloth, barrels of beer and different merchandise. One could now see Krakow very well, the king's gardens, lords' and burghers' houses that surrounded the city; beyond them were the walls and the towers of the churches. The nearer they came to the city the greater was the traffic and at the gates it was almost impossible to pass.

"What a city! There is probably no other like it in the world," said Macko.

"It is always like a fair," answered one of the musicians; "how long since you were here, sir?"

"A very long time ago. I wonder at it just as much as if I saw it now for the first time, because we are returning from a wild country."

"They say that Krakow has grown very much under King Jagiello."

This was true, after the grand duke of Litwa ascended the throne, countless Lithuanian and Russian states opened up for commerce, because of that the city had increased in population, richness and buildings, and had become one of the most important cities in the world.

"The cities of the Teutonic Order are great too," said the larger musician.

"If we could capture one of them, we could get a nice booty!" said Macko.

But Powala of Taczew was thinking about something else; namely that Zbyszko, who was guilty of being a hothead, was walking into wolf lair. The Lord of Taczew, fierce and implacable in the time of war, had in his powerful breast, a heart of a dove. Since he knew better than the others what punishment awaited the offender, he felt pity for him.

"I ponder and ponder," he said to the duchess, "whether to tell the king of the incident or not. If the Teutonic Knight does not complain, there will be no case; but if he should complain, perhaps it would be better to tell the king everything beforehand, so that he will not become angry."

"If the Teutonic Knight has an opportunity to ruin somebody, he will do it," answered the duchess; "but I will tell that young man to join our court. Perhaps the king will be more lenient to one of our courtiers."

She called Zbyszko, who after hearing what is going on, jumped from his horse, kissed her hands and became with the greatest pleasure one of her courtiers, not so much for greater safety, as to be closer to Danusia.

Powala asked Macko:

"Where will you stay?"

"In an inn."

"There is no room in any inn now."

"Then we will go to an acquaintance of mine who is a merchant, perhaps he will let us spend the night in his house."
"Stay in my house. Your nephew can stay with the duchess' courtiers in the castle; but it will be better for him not to be near the king. You will be more comfortable and safe in my place."

No comments: