Page images
PDF
EPUB

said he, take this child, whom you must bring up for me, and teach him all that is convenient for a knight, for he is the son of a king and queen ; and I forbid you ever to be his enemy. The good man asked him, why he had committed that great cruelty. That I will tell you, said he. I was about to embark to fight with Albadan, the fierce giant who slew my father, and has taken from me the rock Galtares, which is mine; but there came a damsel to me, and said, this which you want to do must be accomplished by the son of King Perion of Gaul, who will have more strength and activity than thou hast. I asked her, if that was true. That shalt thou see, said she, when two branches of a tree shall be joined, which now are separated. In this manner Galaor was left with the hermit.

While these things aforesaid past, King Falangriz reigned in Great Britain, who dying without children, left a brother named Lisuarte, of great goodness in arms, and much discretion ; who had married Brisena, daughter of the King of Denmark, and she was the fairest lady that was to be found in all the islands of the sea. So, after the death of Falangriz, the chief men of his land sent for Lisuarte to be their king.

CHAP. V.-How King Lisuarte sailing towards Great Britain took port in the kingdom of Scotland, and how the Child of the Sea was made Knight by King Perion, without their knowing each other. WHEN King Lisuarte heard this embassage he

set sail with a great fleet, and on their way

they put into Scotland, where he was honourably received by King Languines. Brisena his wife was with him, and their daughter Oriana, born in Denmark, and then about ten years old, the fairest creature that ever was seen, wherefore she was called the one without a peer. And because she suffered much at sea it was determined to leave her there. Right gladly did King Languines accept this charge, and his queen said, Believe me, I will take care of her like her own mother. So Lisuarte proceeded ; and, when he arrived at Great Britain, he found those who disturbed him, as is common in such cases, and for this cause he did not send for his daughter. And with great trouble that he took he was king at last, and he was the best king that had yet been, nor was there ever one, who better maintained chivalry till King Arthur reigned, who passed in goodness all kings that were before him.

The Child of the Sea was now twelve years old, but in stature and size he seemed fifteen, and he served the queen; but now that Oriana was there, the queen gave her the Child of the Sea that he should serve her, and Oriana said that it pleased her, and that word which she said the child kept in his heart, so that he never lost it from his memory, and in all his life he was never weary of serving her, and his heart was surrendered to her, and this love lasted as long as they lasted, for as well as he loved her did she also love him. But the Child of the Sea, who knew nothing of her love, thought himself presumptuous to have placed his thoughts on her, and dared not to speak to her; and she who loved him in her heart was careful not to speak more with him than with another ; but their eyes delighted to reveal to the heart what was the thing on earth that they loved best. And now the time came that he thought he could take arms if he were knighted, and this he greatly desired, thinking that he would do such things, that, if he lived, his mistress should esteem him. With this desire he went to the king, who was at that time in the garden, and fell upon his knees before him, and said, Sire, if it please you, it is time for me to receive knighthood. How, Child of the Sea ! said Languines, are you strong enough to maintain knighthood ? it is easy to receive, but difficult to maintain ; and he who would keep it well, so many and so difficult are the things he must achieve, that his heart will often be troubled ; and if, through fear, he forsakes what he ought to do, better is death to him than life with shame. Not for this, replied he, will I fail to be a knight: my heart would not require it, if it were not in my will to accomplish what you say. And since you have bred me up, compleat what you ought to do in this ; if not, I will seek some other who will do it. The king, who feared lest he should do this, replied, Child of the Sea, I know when this is fitting better than you can know, and I promise you to do it, and your arms shall be got ready; but, to whom did you think to go!—To King Perion, who they say is a good knight, and has married the sister of your queen. I would tell him how I was brought up by her, and then he would willingly fulfil my desire. Now, said the king, be satisfied, it shall be honourably done. And he gave orders that the arms should be made, and sent to acquaint Gandales thereof.

When Gandales heard this, he greatly rejoiced ; and sent a damsel with the sword, and the ring, and the letter in the wax, which he had found in the ark. The Child of the Sea was with Oriana and the ladies of the palace, discoursing, when a page entered, and

told him there was a stranger damsel without, who brought presents for him, and would speak with him. When she who loved him heard this, her heart trembled, and if any one had been looking at her they might have seen how she changed; and she told the Child of the Sea to let the damsel come in, that they might see the presents. Accordingly she entered, and said, Sir Child of the Sea, your good friend Gandales salutes you as the man who loves you much, and sends you this sword, and this ring, and this wax, and he begs you will wear this sword while you live for his sake. He took the presents, and laid the ring and the wax in his lap, while he unrolled the sword from a linen cloth in which it was wrapt, wondering that it should be without a scabbard. Meantime Oriana took up the wax, and said, I will have this, not thinking that it contained any thing: it would have better pleased him if she had taken the ring, which was one of the finest in the world. While he was looking at the sword, the king came in and asked him, what he thought of it. It seems a goodly one, sir, said he, but I marvail wherefore it hath no scabbard. It is fifteen years, said the king, since it had one; and, taking him by the hand, he led him apart, and said, You would be a knight, and you know not whether of right you should be one. I therefore tell you all that I know concerning you, and with that he told him all that Gandales had communicated. The Child of the Sea answered, I believe this, for that damsel said, my good friend Gandales had sent her, and I thought she had mistaken, and should have called him my father ; but I am nothing displeased herewith, except that I know not my parents, nor they me, for my heart tells me I am well born ; and now, Sir, it behoves me more to obtain knighthood, that I may win honour and the praise of prowess, since I know not my lineage, and am like one whose kindred are all dead. When the king heard him speak thus, he believed that he would prove a hardy and good knight.

As they were thus conversing, a knight came to inform the king, that King Perion was arrived. Languines went to welcome him as one who knew how to do honour to all; and, after they had saluted, he asked how it was that he came so unexpectedly, I come to seek for friends, replied Perion, of whom I have more need than ever, for King Abies of Ireland wars upon me, and is now with all his power in my country, and Daganel, his half-brother, is with him, and both together have collected such a multitude against me, that I stand in need of all my friends and kinsmen, for I have lost many of my people in battle already, and others whom I trusted have failed me. Brother, replied Languines, your misfortunes grieve me not a little, and I shall aid you the best I can. Agrayes, who was already knighted, now came and knelt before his father, saying, Sir, I beg a boon. The which being granted, for King Languines loved him as himself, he pursued,—I request that I may go to defend the queen my aunt. And I grant it, answered Languines, and you shall be as honourably and well accompanied as may be.

This while had the Child of the Sea been looking earnestly at Perion, not as his father, for of that he knew nothing, but because of his great goodness in arms, of which he had heard the fame; and he desired to be made a knight by his hand, rather than by any man in the world. To attain this purpose, he thought best to entreat the queen; but her he found so sad

« PreviousContinue »