Tuesday, July 29, 2008

1.8.2


While thus speaking, they arrived at the gate. The captain of the archers, the same who led Zbyszko to the scaffold, now saluted them. After passing the guards, they entered the courtyard and turned to toward the part of the castle occupied by the duchess.

In the doorway the courtier asked the servant:

"Where is Jurand of Spychow?"

"In the 'crooked room' with his daughter."

"It’s there," said the courtier, pointing at the door.

Zbyszko crossed himself, raised the curtain in the doorway, and entered with throbbing heart. But he did not see Jurand and Danusia right away, because the room was not only "crooked" but also dark. But after a while he saw the fair head of the girl, who was sitting on her father's lap. They did not hear him when he entered; therefore he stopped near the door, and finally he said:

"May He be blessed!"

"For ages and ages," answered Jurand, rising.

At that moment Danusia sprang toward the young knight and after seizing him with both hands, called:

"Zbyszko! Daddy is here!"

Zbyszko kissed her hands; then he approached Jurand, and said:

"I came to bow to you; do you know who I am?"

And he bent slightly, making a movement with his hands as if he wished to seize Jurand by his knees. But Jurand grasped his hand, turned him toward the light and began to look at him.

Zbyszko had already regained his self-control; therefore he looked with curiosity at Jurand. He saw a gigantic man with fallow hair and moustache, with a face pitted with smallpox and one eye of iron-like color. It seemed to him as if this eye would pierce him, and he again became confused. Finally, not knowing what to say, but wishing to say something to break the silence, he asked: "Then you are Jurand of Spychow, Danusia's father?"

But the other only pointed to an oak bench, standing beside the chair on which he sat himself and continued to look at Zbyszko, who finally became impatient, and said:

"It is not pleasant for me to sit as though I were in a court."

Then Jurand said:

"You wanted to fight with Lichtenstein?"

"Yes!" answered Zbyszko.

There was a flash in the eyes of the man from Spychow and his stern face brightened a little. Then he looked at Danusia and asked:

"And was it for her?"

"Who else? My uncle had to tell you that I made a vow to her to tear the peacock tufts from German heads. But now there shall be not only three of them, but at least as many as I have fingers on both hands. In that way I will help you to avenge the death of Danusia's mother."

"Woe to them!" answered Jurand.

Then there was silence again. But Zbyszko, noticed that by showing his hatred toward Germans, he would capture Jurand's heart, said:

"I will not forgive! Even though they nearly had my neck."

Here he turned to Danusia and added:

"She saved me."

"I know," said Jurand.

"Are you angry?"

"Since you made a vow to her, you must serve her, because such is the knightly custom."

Zbyszko hesitated; but after awhile, he began to talk with evident uneasiness:

"Do you know that she covered my head with her veil? All the knights and also the Franciscan who was with me holding the cross, heard her say: 'He is mine!' Therefore I will be loyal to her until death, so help me God!"

Having said that, he kneeled, and wishing to show that he was familiar with the customs of chivalry, he kissed both of Danusia's shoes with great reverence. Then he arose and trurning to Jurand, he asked:

"Have you ever seen another as fair as she?"

Jurand suddenly put his hands behind his head, and closing his eyes, he said loudly:

"I have seen one other; but the Germans killed her."
"Then listen," said Zbyszko, enthusiastically; "we have the same wrong and the same vengeance. Those dogs also killed my people from Bogdaniec. You cannot find a better man for your work. It’s nothing new to me! Ask my uncle. I can fight either with spear or axe, short sword or long sword! Did my uncle tell you about those Fryzjans? I will slaughter the Germans for you like sheep; and as for the girl, I vow to you on my knees that I will fight for her even with the lord of hell himself, and that I will give her up neither for lands nor for herds, nor for any other thing! Even if someone offered me a castle with glass windows in it but without her, I would refuse the castle and follow her to the end of the world."

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