Sunday, August 24, 2008


"O, Jesus!"

"Got it?" asked Zbyszko.

"Yes. I have a cold sweat all over, but I have it, look!"

Having said this, he showed to Zbyszko a long splinter, which had separated from the spear and remained in his body for several months.

"Glory be to God and to Queen Jadwiga! Now you will get well."

"Perhaps I am better, but it pains me greatly," said Macko, pressing the wound from which blood and fluids began to flow. "Jagienka said that now I ought to dress the wound with beaver grease."

"We will go tomorrow and get a beaver."

Macko felt considerably better the next day. He slept till morning, and when he awoke, immediately asked for something to eat. He would not even look at the bear's grease; but they cooked twenty eggs for him. He ate them voraciously, also a big loaf of bread, and drank about four quarts of beer; then he demanded that they call Zych, because he felt jovial.

Zbyszko sent one of the Turks, given to him by Zawisza, after Zych who right away mounted a horse and came in the afternoon, just when the young people were ready to go to the lake to catch a beaver.

At first there was plenty of laughter and singing, while they drank mead; but later the old knights began to talk about the children, each praising their own.

"What a man Zbyszko is!" said Macko; "there is no other like him in the world. He is brave and as agile as a wildcat. Do you know that when they conducted him to the scaffold in Krakow, all the girls standing at the windows were crying, daughters of knights and of castellans, not to mention beautiful townswomen."

"They may be beautiful and the daughters of castellans, but they are not better than my Jagienka!" answered Zych of Zgorzelice.

"Did I say they were better? It will be difficult to find a better girl than Jagienka."

"I do not say anything against Zbyszko either; he can stretch a crossbow without a crank."

"He can kill a bear too. Did you see how he cut that bear? He cut the head and one paw off."

"He cut the head off, but he did not underprop it alone. Jagienka helped him."

"Did she? He did not tell me about that."

"Because he promised her not to tell anyone. It is a shame for a virgin to the woods alone at night. Others would lie but she told me all about it; she never hides the truth. Frankly speaking, I was not pleased because who knows what might have happened. I wanted to scold her, but she said, 'If I wouldn’t be able to protect myself, how could you protect me? So dad, do not fear; also, Zbyszko knows what knightly honor is.'"

"That is true. They have gone alone today also."

"They will be back in the evening. But during the night, the devil is worse and the girl does not feel ashamed because of the darkness."

Macko thought for a while; then he said as if to himself:

"But they are fond of each other."

"Yes! It is a pity he made a vow to another!"

"That is, as you know, a knightly custom. They don’t respect the one who has no lady. He also made a vow to capture some peacocks' tufts, and those be must get because he swore by his knightly honor; he must also challenge Lichtenstein; but from the other vows, the abbot can release him."

"The abbot is coming soon."

"Do you expect him?" asked Macko; then he said again: "And what does such a vow amount to? Jurand told him positively that he could not give the girl to him! I do not know whether he had promised her to someone else, or whether he had destined her for God."

"Have I told you that the abbot loves Jagienka as much as if she were his own? The last time I saw him he said: 'I have no relations except those from my mother's side; and they will receive nothing from me.'"

Here Macko looked at Zych suspiciously and after awhile he answered:

"You don’t want to wrong us…"

"Jagienka will get Moczydoly," said Zych evasively.


"Immediately. I would not give it to another; but I will do it for her."

"Half of Bogdaniec belongs to Zbyszko, and if God restore my health, I will improve the estate. Do you like Zbyszko?"

Zych began to wink and said:

"When anybody mentions Zbyszko's name in the presence of Jagienka, she immediately turns away."

"And when you mention another?"

"When I mention another, she only laughs and says: 'What about?'"

"Well, you see. God will help us and Zbyszko will forget about the other girl. I am old and I will forget also. Will you have some more mead?"

"Yes, I will."

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