Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Macko began to rub his forehead.

"I will go, but will the castellan permit?"

"I will give my knightly word. For twelve weeks, I do not need more."

"No use to talk; twelve weeks! And if you are wounded and cannot return, what will they think then?"

"I will return if I have to crawl. But don't be afraid! In the meanwhile the king may return and you will be able to ask him for clemency."

"That is true," answered Macko.

But after awhile he added:

"The castellan also told me this: Because of the queen's death, we forgot about your nephew, but let’s finish it.'"

"He will permit," answered Zbyszko, hopefully. "He knows that a nobleman will keep his word, and it is just the same to me, whether they behead me now, or after St. Michael's day."

"Yes! I will go today."

"Today you better go the inn and get some rest. Have your wounds looked at and re-dressed, and tomorrow you can go to the castellan."

"Then, God be with you!"

"God be with you!"

They hugged each other and Macko turned toward the door, then he stopped on the threshold and frowned as if he remembered something.

"But you do not yet have the girdle of a knight, Lichtenstein will tell you that he will not fight with someone without it, what can you do then?"

Zbyszko was thought about it a moment, then he said:

"How is it during a war? Is it necessary that a knight choose only knights?"

"War is war, a single combat is quite different."

"True, but wait. You must find some way. Well, there is a way! Prince Janus will dub me a knight. If the princess and Danusia ask him, he will do it. In the meantime I will fight in Masovia with the son of Mikolaj of Dlugolas."

"What for?"

"Because Mikolaj, the same who is with the princess and whom they call Obuch, called Danusia, 'goblin.'"

Macko looked at him in amazement. Zbyszko, wishing to explain better about what had occurred, continued:

"I cannot forgive that, but I cannot fight with Mikolaj, because he must be nearly eighty years old."

To this Macko said:

"Listen! It is a pity that you should lose your head; but there will not be a great loss of brains, because you are stupid like a goat."

"Why are you so angry?"

Macko did not answer, but started to leave. Zbyszko sprang toward him and said:

"How is Danusia? Is she well yet? Don't be angry for a trifle. You have been away for so long!"

Again he bowed to old man who shrugged his shoulders and said mildly:

"Jurandowna is well, only they will not let her go out of her room yet. Stay well!"

Zbyszko remained alone, but he felt as if he had been regenerated. He rejoiced to think that he might be allowed to live another three months. He could go to remote lands; he could find Lichtenstein, and engage in deadly combat with him. Even the thought about that filled him with joy.

He would feel fortunate, to be able to ride a horse, even for twelve weeks; to be able to fight and not perish without vengeance. And then, let happen what would happen, it would be a long time anyhow! The king might return and forgive him. War might break out, and the castellan himself when he see the victor of the proud Lichtenstein, might say: "Go now to the woods!"

So, a great hope entered his heart. He did not think that they would refuse to grant him those three months. He thought that perhaps they would grant him more.

Therefore when Macko came to the prison, the next day toward evening, Zbyszko, who could hardly sit quiet, sprang toward him and asked:

"Did he grant it?"

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