Saturday, July 19, 2008


"Why wouldn’t I think about it?"

"Because your head will be filled with thoughts of battles and of love."

"Did you not think yourself about war? I have planned what I must do; in the first place, I will rebuild the fort."

"Do you mean to do that?" asked Macko, "Well, and when the fort finished?"

"When the fort is rebuilt, then I will go to Warsaw to the duke's court, or to Ciechanow."

"After my death?"

"If you die soon, then after your death; but before I go, I will bury you properly; if the Lord Jesus restore your health, then you will remain in Bogdaniec. The duchess promised me that there I will receive my knightly girdle from the duke. Otherwise Lichtenstein will not fight with me."

"Then afterward you will go to Marienburg?"

"To Marienburg, or even to the end of the world to get Lichtenstein."

"I do not blame you for it! Either he or you must die!"

"I will bring his girdle and his gloves to Bogdaniec; do not be frightened!"

"You must look out for treachery. There is plenty of that among them."

"I will bow to Prince Janusz and ask him to send to the grand master for a writ of protection. There is peace now. I will go to Marienburg, where there are always many knights. Then you know? In the first place, Lichtenstein; then I will look for those who wear peacock's tufts, and I will challenge them in turn. If the Lord grants me victory, then I will fulfill my vow."

While speaking, Zbyszko smiled at his own thoughts; his face was like that of a lad who tells what knightly deeds he will perform when he is a man.

"Well!", said Macko, "if you defeat three knights belonging to good families, then you will not only fulfill your vow, but you will bring some booty!"

"Three!" exclaimed Zbyszko. "In the prison I promised myself, that I would not be selfish with Danusia. As many knights as I have fingers on both hands!"

Macko shrugged his shoulders.

"Are you surprised?" said Zbyszko. "From Marienburg I shall go to Jurand of Spychow. Shouldn’t I pay my respects to Danusia's father? With him I shall raid the Germans. You told me yourself that in the whole of Masovia there was no greater enemy of Germans."

"And if he will not give you Danusia?"

"Why not? He is seeking his vengeance. I am searching for mine. Can he find a better man? And then, the duchess has given her consent for the engagement; he will not refuse."

"I see one thing," said Macko, "you will take all the people from Bogdaniec in order to have a retinue, as is proper for a knight, and the land will remain without hands to work it. As long as I live, I will not let you do it; but after my death, I see, you will take them."

"The God will help me to get a retinue; Janko of Tulcza is a relative of ours and he will help."

At that moment the door opened, and as though to prove that the Lord would help Zbyszko get a retinue, two men entered. They were of dark complexion, short, dressed in Jewish-like yellow caftans, red caps and very wide trousers. They stopped in the doorway and touched their fingers to their foreheads, to their mouths, and then to their chests; then they bowed to the ground.

"Who are these strange looking guys?" asked Macko. "Who are you?"

"Your slaves," answered the newcomers in broken Polish.

"How? Where from? Who sent you here?"

"Lord Zawisza sent us here as a present to the young knight, to be his slaves."

"O for God's sake! two men more!" exclaimed Macko, joyfully.

"Of what nationality are you?"

"We are Turks!"

"Turks?" repeated Zbyszko. "I will have two Turks in my retinue. Have you ever seen Turks?"

He jumped toward them, and began to turn them around and looked at them with curiosity. Macko said:

"I have never seen them; but I have heard, that Lord of Garbow has Turks in his service whom he captured while fighting on the Danube with the Roman emperor. How is it? Are you heathens?"

"The lord ordered us to be baptized," said one of the slaves.

"Did you have no money for ransom?"

"We are from far lands, from Asiatic shores, from Bursa."

Zbyszko, who always listened gladly to war stories, and especially when there was anything told about the deeds of the famous Zawisza of Garbow, began to inquire how they were captured. But there was nothing extraordinary in their narration; Zawisza attacked them in a ravine, part of them perished and part were captured; and he sent the prisoners as presents to his different friends. Zbyszko and Macko's hearts were joyful at such great gift, especially as it was difficult to get men in those days and the possession of them constituted true wealth.

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