Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Then he rushed forward; but before he could make his horse gallop, Zbyszko saw a most wonderful spectacle: He saw a girl riding like a man, on a swift piebald horse, rushing toward them; she had a crossbow in one hand and a spear on her shoulders. Her hair was floating in the wind; her face was bright like the dawn. Her shirt was opened on the bosom, and she wore a sheepskin on top. Having reached them, she reined in her horse; for a while, her face expressed surprise, hesitation, joy; finally, being scarcely able to believe her own eyes, she began to cry in a childish voice:

"Daddy, daddy dearest!"

In the blink of an eye, she jumped from her horse, and when Zych dismounted too, she threw her arms around his neck. For a long time, Zbyszko heard only the sounds of kisses and these two words: " Daddy! Jagna! Daddy! Jagna!" repeated in a joyful outburst.

Both retinues now approached, and Macko arrived also; they continued to repeat: "Daddy!_ Jagna!” and still kissed each other. Finally Jagienka asked:

"Then you decided to return from the war? Are you well?"

"From the war. Why should I not be well? And you? And the boys? Are they well also? Yes, otherwise you would not run in the forest. But, my girl, what are you doing here?"

"Don't you see that I am hunting?" answered Jagienka, laughing.

"In somebody else's woods?"

"The abbot gave me permission. He even sent me experienced huntsmen and a pack of hounds."

Here she turned to the servants:

"Chase the dogs away, they will tear the skin!"

Then to Zych:

"O, how glad I am to see you!" And they again kissed each other. When they were through, Jagna said:

"We are far from home; we followed the beast. I am sure it must be more than ten miles; the horses are exhausted. What a large urus! Did you notice? There must be at least three of my arrows in it, the last one killed it."

"It was killed by the last, but it was not yours; this knight killed it."

Jagienka threw her hair back and looked at Zbyszko sharply, but not very friendly.

"Do you know who he is?" asked Zych.

"I do not."

"No wonder you do not recognize him, because he has grown. Perhaps you will recognize old Macko of Bogdaniec?"

"For God's sake! is that Macko of Bogdaniec?" exclaimed Jagienka.

Having approached the wagon, she kissed Macko's hand.

"It is you?"

"Yes, it is I, but I have to ride on the wagon, because the Germans shot me."

"What Germans? The war was with the Tatars?"

"There was a war with the Tatars, but we were not in that war; we fought in the war in Lithuania, Zbyszko and I."

"Where is Zbyszko?"

"Then you did not recognize Zbyszko?" said Macko smiling.

"Is that man Zbyszko?" exclaimed the girl, looking again at the young knight.

"Of course."

"Give you old acquaintance a kiss" said Zych, mirthfully.

Jagienka turned toward Zbyszko; but suddenly she retreated, and having covered her eyes with her hand, she said:

"I am bashful."

"But we have known each other since we were children," said Zbyszko.

"Ha! We know each other well. I remember when you made us a visit with Macko about eight years ago, and my mom gave us some nuts with honey. You as soon as elders left the room, hit me in the nose and then ate all the nuts yourself."

"He will not act like that now!" said Macko. "He has been with Duke Witold, and with the court in Krakow, and he has learned courtly manners."

But Jagienka was already thinking about something else, so turning toward Zbyszko, she asked:

"Then you killed the urus?"


"We must see where the arrow is."

"You cannot see it, it disappeared under the shoulder bone."

"Give it a rest; do not dispute," said Zych. "We all saw him shoot the urus, and we saw something still better, he bent the bow without a crank."

Jagienka looked at Zbyszko for the third time, but now with astonishment.

"You bent the crossbow without a crank?"

Zbyszko, detecting some doubt in her voice, rested the crossbow on theground, and bent it in the twinkling of an eye; then wishing to show that he was familiar with knightly manners, he kneeled on one knee and handed the bow to Jagienka. But the girl, instead of taking it from him, suddenly blushed, she did not know why herself, and began to fasten the shirt, which, during the swift riding, had become opened on her bosom.

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