Sunday, September 28, 2008


Zbyszko breathed more freely.

"No, that was not her! Danusia is as white as snow, but has pink cheeks."

To this Sanderus replied:

"One of them, dark as an agate, remained with the duchess; the others were almost all married."

"You say 'almost all,' therefore not all. For God's sake, if you wish to get anything from me, then try to remember."

"In two or three days I could recollect; the best way will be to give me a horse, on which I can carry my holy wares."

"You will get it only when you tell me the truth."

At that moment the Czech, who was listening to the conversation and was smiling under the cover of his palm said:

"The truth will be known at the Masovian court."

Sanderus looked at him for a while; then he said:

"Do you think that I am afraid of the Masovian court?"

"I do not say you are afraid of the Masovian court; but neither now, nor after three days will you go away with the horse. But if it is proven that you were lying, then you will not be able to go on your feet either, because my lord will order me to break them."

"Be sure of that!" said Zbyszko.

Sanderus now thought that it would be wiser to be more careful, and said:

"If I wanted to lie, I would have said immediately whether she was married or not; but I said: 'I don't remember.' If you had common sense, you would recognize my virtue by that answer."

"My common sense is not a brother of your virtue, because that is the sister of a dog."

"My virtue does not bark, as your common sense does; and the one who barks when alive, may howl after death."

"That is true! Your virtue will not howl after your death; it will gnash its teeth, provided it does not lose its teeth in the service of the devil while living."

Thus they quarreled; the Czech's tongue was ready, and for every word of the German, he had two. While, after asking around for a route to the town of Lenczyca, Zbyszko ordered his retinue to get on the road.

Beyond Sieradz, they entered thick forests, which covered the greater part of the country; but the highways through these forests, had been paved with logs and ditches dug along the sides, by the order of King Casimir. After his death, during the disturbances, the roads were neglected; but during Queen Jadwiga's reign, when peace was restored to the kingdom, shovels were again busy in the marshes, and axes in the forests; soon everywhere between the important cities, merchants could conduct their loaded wagons in safety. The only danger was from wild beasts and robbers; but against the beasts, they had lanterns for night, and crossbows for defense during the day; then there were fewer highway robbers than in other countries, and one who traveled with an armed retinue, did not need to fear anything.

Zbyszko was not afraid of robbers nor of armed knights; he did not even think about them. But he was filled with great anxiety, and longed with his whole soul to be at the Masovian court. Would he find Danusia still a lady-in-waiting of the duchess, or the wife of some Masovian knight? Sometimes it seemed to him impossible that she would forget him; then sometimes he thought that perhaps Jurand went to the court from Spychow and married the girl to some neighbor or friend. Jurand had told him in Krakow, that he could not give Danusia to him; therefore it was evident that he had promised her to somebody else; evidently he was bound by an oath, and now he had fulfilled his promise. Zbyszko called Sanderus and questioned him again; but the German was more and more evasive. Several times he remembered girl, Jurand’s daughter, getting married and then he would change his mind saying: “No, that’s not her.” The wine that was supposed to help him remember, didn’t, so he kept young knight in uncertainty.

Therefore, Zbyszko was riding along, sad, unhappy and uncertain. He did not think about Bogdaniec, or about Zgorzelice, but only what he should do. First, he had to go to Masovian court to find out the truth; therefore, he rode hastily, only stopping for a short time at the houses of noblemen, in the inns and in the cities to rest the horses. He had never ceased to love Danusia; but while in Bogdaniec and Zgorzelice, chatting almost every day with Jagienka and admiring her beauty, he had not thought about Danusia often. Now she was constantly in his thoughts, day and night. Even in his sleep, he saw her standing before him, with a lute in her hands and a garland on her head. She stretched her hands toward him, and Jurand drew her away. In the morning, when the dreams disappeared, a greater longing came, and he loved this girl more than ever now, when he was uncertain whether they had taken her from him or not.

Sometimes he feared that they had married her against her will; therefore, he was not angry with her, as she was only a child and could not have her own will. But he was angry with Jurand and with Duchess. He determined that he would not cease to serve her; even if he found her somebody else's wife, he would deposit the peacocks' crests at her feet.
Sometimes he was consoled by the thought of a great war. He felt that during the war, he would forget about everything and that he would escape all sorrows and grieves. The great war seemed suspended in the air. It was not known where the news were coming from, because there was peace between the king and the Order; nevertheless, wherever Zbyszko went, nothing else was talked about. The people thought that it would come, and some of them said openly: "Why were we united with Lithuania, if not against those wolves, the Knights of the Cross? Therefore we must finish with them once for all, or they will destroy us." Others said: "Crazy monks! Battle of Plowce is not enough for them! Death is over them, and still they have taken the land of Dobrzyn."

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