Sunday, October 5, 2008

1.19.8


Then they began to bow; Zbyszko told his name, who he was, what his coat of arms was, what his war-cry was and that he was going to the Masovian court. The long-haired knight said that his name was Jendrek of Kropiwnica and that he was escorting duke’s guests: Brother Godfried, Brother Rotgier, also Sir Fulko de Lorche of Lorraine, who being with the Knights of the Cross, wished to see the duke and especially the duchess, the daughter of the famous "Kestutis," the ruler the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

While they were conversing, the foreign knights sat erect on their horses, occasionally bending their heads, which were covered with iron helmets ornamented with peacocks' tufts. Judging from Zbyszko's splendid armor, they thought that the prince had sent someone important, perhaps his own son, to meet them. Jendrek of Kropiwnica said further:

"The komtur from Jansbork is at our prince's castle; he told the prince about these knights; that they desired to visit him, but that they did not dare, especially this knight from Lorraine, who being from a far country, thought that the Saracens lived right beyond the frontier of the Knights of the Cross, and that there was continual war with them. The duke immediately sent me to the
border, to bring them safely to his castle."

"Could they not come without your help!"

"Our people are very angry with the Teutonic Knights, because of their great treacherousness; a Teutonic Knight will hug and kiss you, but he is ready in the same moment to stab you with a knife from behind; and such conduct is odious to us Masurs. Nevertheless anyone will welcome even a German in his house, and will not wrong his guest; but he would stop him on the road. There are many who do this for vengeance, or for glory."

"Who among you is the most famous?"

"There is one whom all Germans fear the meet; his name is Jurand of Spychow."

The heart of the young knight throbbed when he heard that name; immediately he decided to question the knight.

"I know!" he said; "I heard about him; his daughter Danuta was girl-in-waiting with the princess; afterward she was married."

Having said this, he looked sharply into the eyes of the Mazowiecki knight, who answered with great astonishment:

"Who told you that? She is very young yet. It is true that it sometimes happens that very young girls are married, but Jurand’s daughter is not married. I left Ciechanow six days ago and I saw her then with the princess. How could she marry during advent?"

Hearing this Zbyszko wanted to seize the knight by the neck and shout: "May God bless you for the news!" but he controlled himself, and said: "I heard that Jurand gave her to some one."

"It was the princess who wished to give her, but she could not do it against Jurand's will. She wanted to give her to a knight in Krakow, who made a vow to the girl, and whom she loves."

"Does she love him?" exclaimed Zbyszko.

At this Jendrek looked sharply at him, smiled and said:

"You know, you are too inquisitive about that girl."

"I am asking about my friends to whom I am going."

One could hardly see Zbyszko's face under the helmet; but his nose and cheeks were so red that the Mazur said jokingly:

"I am afraid that the cold makes your face red!"

The young man grew still more embarrassed, and answered:

"It must be that."

They moved forward and rode silently for some time; but after a while Jendrek of Kropiwnica asked:

"What do they call you? I did not catch your name."

"Zbyszko of Bogdaniec."

"For heaven's sake! The knight who made a vow to Jurand’s daughter had the same name."

"Do you think that I will deny that?" answered Zbyszko, proudly.

"There is no reason for doing so. Gracious Lord, then you are that Zbyszko whom the girl covered with her veil! After the retinue returned from Krakow, the women of the court talked about nothing else, and many of them cried while listening to the story. So, that’s you! How happy they will be to see you at the court; even the princess is very fond of you."
"May the Lord bless her, and you also for the good news. I suffered greatly when I heard that Danusia was married."

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