Sunday, July 20, 2008

1.7.3


In the meanwhile, Zawisza himself accompanied by Powala and Paszko of Biskupice arrived. As they had all worked hard to free Zbyszko, they were pleased when they succeeded; therefore everyone of them gave him some present. The generous Lord of Taczew gave him a beautiful large caparison embroidered with gold; Paszko, a Hungarian sword worth several pieces of silver. Then came Lis of Targowisko, Farurej and Krzon of Kozieglowy, with Marcin of Wrocimowice and finally Zyndram of Maszkow; everyone brought something.

Zbyszko welcomed them with a joyful heart, feeling double joy because of the presents and because the most famous knights in the kingdom were showing him their friendship. They asked him about his departure and Macko's health, recommending different remedies which would miraculously heal wounds.

But Macko recommended Zbyszko to their care, preparing himself for the other world. It was impossible for him to live with peace of iron between the ribs. He complained that he constantly spits blood and could not eat. A quart of shelled nuts, two spans of sausage and a dish of scrambled eggs were all he could eat for a day. Father Cybek had bled him several times, hoping to draw out the fever and restore his appetite; but it had not helped him any.

But he was so pleased with the presents given to his nephew, that at that moment he was feeling better, and when the merchant, Amylej, ordered a barrel of wine brought in honor of famous guests, Macko drank with them. They began to talk about Zbyszko's deliverance and about his engagement with Danusia. The knights did not doubt that Jurand of Spychow would give his consent, especially if Zbyszko avenged the death of Danusia's mother and captured the peacock tufts.

"As for Lichtenstein," said Zawisza, "I do not think he will accept your challenge, because he is a friar, and also one of the officers in the Order. I was told, that if he lives long enough he might become a grand master!"

"If he refuses to fight, he will lose his honor," said Lis of Targowisko.

"No," answered Zawisza, "because he is not a lay knight; and a friar is not permitted to fight in single combat."

"But it often happens that they do fight."

"Because the Order has become corrupt. The knights make different vows; but they often break them, thus setting a bad example to the whole Christian world. But a Tetonic Knight, especially a komtur, is not obliged to accept a challenge."

"Well! Then only in war you can reach him."

"But they say, that there will be no war," said Zbyszko, "because the Knights of the Cross are afraid of us."

To this Zyndram of Maszkow said:

"This peace will not last long. There cannot be a good understanding with the wolf, because he must live on others."

"In the meantime, perhaps we will be obliged to fight with Tymur the Lame," said Powala. "Prince Witold was defeated by Edyga; that is certain."

"Certain. Governor Spytko did not return," said Paszko of Biskupice.

“Many Lithuanian chieftains stayed on the fields there.

"The late queen prophesied it would be so," said the Lord of Taczew.

"Well! Then perhaps we will be obliged to go against Tymur."

Here the conversation turned to the Lithuanian expedition against the Tatars. There was no doubt that Prince Witold, the able commander, had been badly defeated at Vorskla, where a great number of the Lithuanian boyars and also a few Polish knights were killed. The knights gathered in Amylej's house, pitied especially young Spytek of Melsztyn, the greatest lord in the kingdom, who went with the expedition as a volunteer; and after the battle has disappeared. It was not certain yet, whether he had perished, or was in captivity. If he were a prisoner, he could pay his ransom himself, because his riches were enormous, and he also held in fief the whole Podole region.

But the defeat of Witold's army might prove ruinous to the whole of Jagiello's kingdom. Nobody knew if the Tatars, encouraged by the victory over Witold, might now invade the lands and cities belonging to the grand dukedom. In that case the kingdom of Poland would be involved in a war. Therefore many knights, who like Zawisza, Farurej, Dobko and even Powala, were accustomed to seek adventures and fights in foreign countries, remained in Krakow not knowing what might soon happen. And if Tamerlan, who was the ruler of twenty-seven states, moved the whole Mongolian world, then the danger to the kingdom would be great. And some people thought that it may happen.

"If it will be necessary, then we will measure our swords with the Lame himself. With us it will not be such an easy matter as it was with those other nations, which he conquered and exterminated. And the other Christian princes will help us."

To this Zyndram of Maszkow, who hated the Order, said bitterly:

"I do not know about the princes; but the Knights of the Cross are ready to become friends even with the Tatars and attack us from the other side."

"Then we shall have a war!" exclaimed Zbyszko.

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