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The knights of the cross


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Title:TheKnightsoftheCross
Author:HenrykSienkiewicz

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THEKNIGHTSOFTHECROSS
or,KRZYZACY


HistoricalRomance


ByHENRYKSIENKIEWICZ
AuthorOf“QuoVadis,”“TheDeluge,”“WithFireAndSword,”“PanMichael,”
Etc.,Etc.
TranslatedFromTheOriginalPolishBySamuelA.Binion
AuthorOf“AncientEgypt,”Etc.TranslatorOf“QuoVadis,”Etc.

[Illustration:BUSTOFHENRYKSIENKIEWICZ]

HON.WILLIAMT.HARRIS,LL.D.


CommissionerofEducation
MyDearDoctor:—
Thistranslation,ofoneofthegreatestnovelsofPoland’sforemostmodern
writer,HenrykSienkiewicz,Ibegtodedicatetoyou.Apartformyhighpersonal
regardforyou,myreasonforselectingyouamongallmyliteraryfriends,is:that
youareahistorianandphilosopher,andcanthereforebestappreciateworksof
thiskind.


SAMUELA.BINION,
NewYorkCity.

TotheReader.
Hereyouhave,gentlereader—oldwritersalwayscalledyougentle—something
verymuchmorethananoveltoamuseanidlehour.Toreaditwillbeenjoyable
pastime,nodoubt;butthebrilliantromanceofthebrilliantauthorcallsuponyou
forsomeexerciseofthefinestsympathyandintelligence;sympathyfora
gloriousnationwhich,withonlyoneexception,hassufferedbeyondallother
nations;intelligence,ofthesourcesofthatunspeakableandimmeasurablelove
andofthegreatthingsthatmayyetbefallbeforethosewoesareatonedforand
duepunishmentforthemmetedouttotheirguiltyauthors.
Poland!Poland!Theverynamecarrieswithitsighingsandgroanings,nationmurder,brilliance,beauty,patriotism,splendors,self-sacrificethrough
generationsofgallantmenandexquisitewomen;indomitableenduranceof
bandsofnoblepeoplecarryingthroughworld-wideexilethesacredfireofwrath
againsttheoppressor,andutteringineveryclimeacryofappealtoHumanityto
rescuePoland.
Itwasindeedaterriblemomentinhistory,whenthethreemilitarymonarchiesof
Europe,Russia,AustriaandPrussia,swoopeddownuponthegloriousbut
unhappycountry,tornbyinternaltrouble,anddeterminedtokillitanddivideup
itsdominions.Allwerealikeguilty,asfarasmotivewent.ButHolyRussia—
Holy!—sincethathorribletimehastakenuponherselfbyfarthegreatestburden


ofpoliticalcrimeinherdealingswiththatnoblenation.Everyevilpassionbred
ofdespotism,oftheologicalhatred,ofrancorousancientenmities,andthe
ghastliestofficialcorruption,havecombinedinRussianactionformorethanone
hundredandfiftyyears,toturnPolandintoahellonearth.Herverylanguage
wasproscribed.
Thisisnottheplacetogivedetailsofthatunhappycountry’swoes.Butsufficeit
tosay,thatPoland,inspiteoffatuousprohibitions,hashadagreatliterature
sincethelossofherindependence,andthatliteraturehassokeptalivethesoul
ofthenation,thatwithjusticePolandsingshergreatpatrioticsong:
“PolandisnotyetlostAslongaswelive….”
Thenationisstillaliveinitswritersandtheirworks,theirsplendidpoetryand
prose.
Itisapitythatsofewofthesegreatwritersarewidelyknown.Butmostpeople
haveheardofJanKochanowski,ofMikolajRey,ofRubinski,ofSzymanowicz,
ofPoland’sgreatgeniusinthiscentury,oneofthesupremepoetsoftheworld,
AdamMickiewicz,ofJosephIgnac,ofKraszewski,whoisasprolificinliterary
andscientificworksasAlexandervonHumboldt,andofhundredsofothersin
allbranchesofscienceandart,toonumeroustomentionhere.
Anditisremarkablethattheauthorofthisbook,HenrykSienkiewicz,shouldof
latehaveattainedsuchprominenceinthepubliceyeandfoundaplaceinthe
heartofmankind.Itisofgoodomen.Thus,Poland,inspiteofherfetters,is
keepingstepintheveryvanofthemostprogressivenations.
TheromanceofSienkiewiczinthisvolumeisperhapsthemostinterestingand
fascinatinghehasyetproduced.Itisintheveryfirstrankofimaginativeand
historicalromance.Thetimeandsceneofthenoblestoryarelaidinthemiddle
agesduringtheconquestofPaganLithuaniabythemilitaryandpriestlyorderof
the“Krzyzacy”KnightsoftheCross.Andthestoryexhibitswithsplendidforce
thecollisionofracepassionsandfierce,violentindividualitieswhich
accompaniedthatstruggle.Thosewhoreaditwill,inadditiontotheirthrilling
interestinthetragicalandvariedincidents,gainnolittleinsightintotheorigin
andworkingoftheinextinguishableracehatredbetweenTeutonandSlav.Itwas
anunfortunatethingsurely,thattheconversionoftheheathenLithuaniansand
Zmudzianswascommittedsolargelytothatcuriousvarietyofthemissionary,


thearmedknight,bandedinbrotherhood,sacredandmilitary.Tosaytheleast,
hisswordwasaweapondangeroustohisevangelizingpurpose.Hewasalways
indoubtwhethertopresenttotheheathentheoneendofit,asacrossfor
adoration,ortheother,asapointtokillwith.Andso,ifPolandwasmadea
Catholicnation,shewasalsomadeanundyingandunalterablehaterofthe
German,theTeutonicnameandperson.
Andsothisnoble,historicaltale,surpassedperhapsbynoneinliterature,is
commendedtothethoughtfulattentionandappreciationofthereader.
SAMUELA.BINION.
NEWYORK,May9,1899.

KNIGHTSOFTHECROSS.


PARTFIRST
CHAPTERI.
InTyniec,[1]intheinnunder“DreadfulUrus,”whichbelongedtotheabbey,a
fewpeopleweresitting,listeningtothetalkofamilitarymanwhohadcome
fromafar,andwastellingthemoftheadventureswhichhehadexperienced
duringthewarandhisjourney.
Hehadalargebeardbuthewasnotyetold,andhewasalmostgiganticbutthin,
withbroadshoulders;heworehishairinanetornamentedwithbeads;hewas
dressedinaleatherjacket,whichwasmarkedbythecuirass,andheworeabelt
composedofbrassbuckles;inthebelthehadaknifeinahornscabbard,andat
hissideashorttravelingsword.
Nearbyhimatthetable,wassittingayouthwithlonghairandjoyfullook,
evidentlyhiscomrade,orperhapsashield-bearer,becausehealsowasdressedas
forajourneyinasimilarleatherjacket.Therestofthecompanywascomposed
oftwonoblemenfromthevicinityofKrakowandofthreetownsmenwithred
foldingcaps,thethintopsofwhichwerehangingdowntheirsidestotheir
elbows.
Thehost,aGerman,dressedinafadedcowlwithlarge,whitecollar,was
pouringbeerforthemfromabucketintoearthenmugs,andinthemeanwhilehe
waslisteningwithgreatcuriositytothemilitaryadventures.
Theburgherswerelisteningwithstillgreatercuriosity.Inthesetimes,thehatred,
whichduringthetimeofKingLokietekhadseparatedthecityandthe
knighthood,hadbeenverymuchquenched,andtheburgherswereprouderthan
inthefollowingcenturies.Theycalledthemstilldesallerdurchluchtigsten
KunigesundHerrenandtheyappreciatedtheirreadinessadconcessionem
pecuniarum;thereforeonewouldveryoftenseeintheinns,themerchants
drinkingwiththenoblemenlikebrothers.Theywereevenwelcome,because
havingplentyofmoney,usuallytheypaidforthosewhohadcoatsofarms.
Thereforetheyweresittingthereandtalking,fromtimetotimewinkingatthe
hosttofillupthemugs.


“Nobleknight,youhaveseenagoodpieceoftheworld!”saidoneofthe
merchants.
“NotmanyofthosewhoarenowcomingtoKrakowfromallparts,haveseenas
much,”answeredtheknight.
“Therewillbeplentyofthem,”saidthemerchant.“Thereistobeagreatfeast
andgreatpleasureforthekingandthequeen!Thekinghasorderedthequeen’s
chambertobeupholsteredwithgoldenbrocade,embroideredwithpearls,anda
canopyofthesamematerialoverher.Therewillbesuchentertainmentsand
tournaments,astheworldhasneverseenbefore.”
“UncleGamroth,don’tinterrupttheknight,”saidthesecondmerchant.
“FriendEyertreter,Iamnotinterrupting;onlyIthinkthathealsowillbegladto
knowaboutwhattheyaretalking,becauseIamsureheisgoingtoKrakow.We
cannotreturntothecityto-dayatanyrate,becausetheywillshutthegates.”
“Andyouspeaktwentywords,inreplytoone.Youaregrowingold,Uncle
Gamroth!”
“ButIcancarryawholepieceofwetbroadclothjustthesame.”
“Greatthing!thecloththroughwhichonecansee,asthroughasieve.”
Butfurtherdisputewasstoppedbytheknight,whosaid:
“Yes,IwillstayinKrakowbecauseIhaveheardaboutthetournamentsandI
willbegladtotrymystrengthinthelistsduringthecombats;andthisyouth,my
nephew,whoalthoughyoungandsmoothfaced,hasalreadyseenmanycuirasses
ontheground,willalsoenterthelists.”
Theguestsglancedattheyouthwholaughedmirthfully,andputtinghislong
hairbehindhisears,placedthemugofbeertohismouth.
Theolderknightadded:
“Evenifwewouldliketoreturn,wehavenoplacetogo.”
“Howisthat?”askedoneofthenobles.


“Whereareyoufrom,andwhatdotheycallyou?”
“IamMackoofBogdaniec,andthislad,thesonofmybrother,callshimself
Zbyszko.OurcoatofarmsisTempaPodkowa,andourwar-cryisGrady!”
“WhereisBogdaniec?”
“Bah!betterask,lordbrother,whereitwas,becauseitisnomore.Duringthe
warbetweenGrzymalczyksandNalenczs,[2]Bogdaniecwasburned,andwe
wererobbedofeverything;theservantsranaway.Onlythebaresoilremained,
becauseeventhefarmerswhowereintheneighborhood,fledintotheforests.
Thefatherofthislad,rebuilt;butthenextyear,afloodtookeverything.Then
mybrotherdied,andafterhisdeathIremainedwiththeorphan.ThenIthought:
‘Ican’tstay!’IheardaboutthewarforwhichJaskoofOlesnica,whomtheking,
Wladyslaw,senttoWilnoafterhesentMikolajofMoskorzowo,wascollecting
soldiers.Iknewaworthyabbot,JankoofTulcza,towhomIgavemylandas
securityforthemoneyIneededtobuyarmorandhorses,necessaryforawar
expedition.Theboy,twelveyearsold,Iputonayounghorseandwewentto
JaskoofOlesnica.”
“Withtheyouth?”
“Hewasnotevenayouththen,buthehasbeenstrongsincechildhood.Whenhe
wastwelve,heusedtorestacrossbowontheground,pressitagainsthischest
andturnthecrank.NoneoftheEnglishmen,whomIhaveseeninWilno,could
dobetter.”
“Washesostrong?”
“Heusedtocarrymyhelmet,andwhenhepassedthirteenwinters,hecould
carrymyspearalso.”
“Youhadplentyoffightingthere!”
“BecauseofWitold.TheprincewaswiththeKnightsoftheCross,andevery
yeartheyusedtomakeanexpeditionagainstLithuania,asfarasWilno.
Differentpeoplewentwiththem:Germans,Frenchmen,Englishmen,whoare
thebestbowmen,Czechs,SwissandBurgundians.Theycutdowntheforests,
burnedthecastlesontheirwayandfinallytheydevastatedLithuaniawithfire
andswordsobadly,thatthepeoplewhowerelivinginthatcountry,wantedto


leaveitandsearchforanotherland,eventotheendoftheworld,evenamong
Belial’schildren,onlyfarfromtheGermans.”
“Weheardhere,thattheLithuanianswantedtogoawaywiththeirwivesand
children,butwedidnotbelieveit.”
“AndIlookedatit.Hej!IfnotforMikolajofMoskorzowo,forJaskoof
Olesnica,andwithoutanyboasting,ifnotforus,therewouldbenoWilnonow.”
“Weknow.Youdidnotsurrenderthecastle.”
“Wedidnot.AndnownoticewhatIamgoingtosay,becauseIhaveexperience
inmilitarymatters.Theoldpeopleusedtosay:‘furiousLitwa’[3]—andit’strue!
Theyfightwell,buttheycannotwithstandtheknightsinthefield.Whenthe
horsesoftheGermansaresunkinthemarshes,orwhenthereisathickforest—
that’sdifferent.”
“TheGermansaregoodsoldiers!”exclaimedtheburghers.
“Theystaylikeawall,manbesideman,intheirironarmor.Theyadvanceinone
compactbody.Theystrike,andtheLitwaarescatteredlikesand,orthrow
themselvesflatonthegroundandaretrampleddown.Therearenotonly
Germansamongthem,becausemenofallnationsservewiththeKnightsofthe
Cross.Andtheyarebrave!Oftenbeforeabattleaknightstoops,stretcheshis
lance,andrushesaloneagainstthewholearmy.”
“Christ!”exclaimedGamroth.“Andwhoamongthemarethebestsoldiers?”
“Itdepends.Withthecrossbow,thebestistheEnglishman,whocanpierceasuit
ofarmorthroughandthrough,andatahundredstepshewillnotmissadove.
Czechowie(Bohemians)cutdreadfullywithaxes.Forthebigtwo-handedsword
theGermanisthebest.TheSwissisgladtostrikethehelmetswithanironflail,
butthegreatestknightsarethosewhocomefromFrance.Thesewillfighton
horsebackandonfoot,andinthemeanwhiletheywillspeakverybravewords,
whichhoweveryouwillnotunderstand,becauseitissuchastrangelanguage.
Theyarepiouspeople.TheycriticiseusthroughtheGermans.Theysayweare
defendingtheheathenandtheTurksagainstthecross,andtheywanttoproveit
byaknightlyduel.AndsuchGod’sjudgmentisgoingtobeheldbetweenfour
knightsfromtheirside,andfourfromourside,andtheyaregoingtofightatthe
thecourtofWaclaw,theRomanandBohemianking.”[4]


Herethecuriositysoincreasedamongthenoblemenandmerchants,thatthey
stretchedtheirnecksinthedirectionofMackoofBogdaniecandtheyasked:
“Andwhoaretheknightsfromourside?Speakquickly!”Mackoraisedthemug
tohismouth,drankandthenanswered:
“Ej,don’tbeafraidaboutthem.ThereisJanofWloszczowa,castellanof
Dobrzyn;there’sMikolajofWaszmuntow;thereareJaskoofZdakowandJarosz
ofCzechow:allgloriousknightsandsturdyfellows.Nomatterwhichweapons
theychoose,—swordsoraxes—nothingnewtothem!Itwillbeworthwhilefor
humaneyestoseeitandforhumanearstohearit—because,asIsaid,evenif
youpressthethroatofaFrenchmanwithyourfoot,hewillstillreplywith
knightlywords.ThereforesohelpmeGodandHolyCrosstheywillouttalkus,
butourknightswilldefeatthem.”
“Thatwillbeglory,ifGodwillblessus,”saidoneofthenobles.
“AndSaintStanislaw!”addedanother.ThenturningtowardMacko,heasked
himfurther:
“Well!tellussomemore!YoupraisedtheGermansandotherknightsbecause
theyarevaliantandhaveconqueredLitwaeasily.Didtheynothaveharderwork
withyou?Didtheygoagainstyoureadily?Howdidithappen?Praiseour
knights.”
ButevidentlyMackoofBogdaniecwasnotabraggart,becauseheanswered
modestly:
“Thosewhohadjustreturnedfromforeignlands,attackedusreadily;butafter
theytriedonceortwice,theyattackeduswithlessassurance,becauseourpeople
arehardenedandtheyreproachedusforthathardness:‘Youdespise,’theyused
tosay,‘death,butyouhelptheSaracens,andyouwillbedamnedforit.’And
withusthedeadlygrudgeincreased,becausetheirtauntisnottrue!Thekingand
thequeenhavechristenedLitwaandeveryonetheretriestoworshiptheLord
Christalthoughnoteveryoneknowshow.Anditisknownalso,thatourgracious
lord,wheninthecathedralofPlocktheythrewdownthedevil,orderedthemto
putacandlebeforehim—andthepriestswereobligedtotellhimthatheought
nottodoit.Nowonderthenaboutanordinaryman!Thereforemanyofthemsay
tothemselves:


“‘Thekniaz[5]orderedustobebaptized,thereforeIwasbaptized;heorderedus
tobowbeforetheChrist,andIbowed;butwhyshouldIgrudgealittlepieceof
cheesetotheoldheathendevils,orwhyshouldInotthrowthemsometurnips;
whyshouldInotpourthefoamoffofthebeer?IfIdonotdoit,thenmyhorses
willdie;ormycowswillbesick,ortheirmilkwillturnintoblood—ortherewill
besometroublewiththeharvest.’Andmanyofthemdothis,andtheyare
suspected.Buttheyaredoingitbecauseoftheirignoranceandtheirfearofthe
devils.Thosedevilswerebetteroffintimesofyore.Theyusedtohavetheirown
grovesandtheyusedtotakethehorseswhichtheyrodefortheirtithe.Buttoday,thegrovesarecutdownandtheyhavenothingtoeat—inthecitiesthebells
ring,thereforethedevilsarehidinginthethickestforest,andtheyhowlthere
fromloneliness.IfaLitwin[6]goestotheforest,thentheypullhimbyhis
sheepskinovercoatandtheysay:‘Give!’Someofthemgive,buttherearealso
courageousboys,whowillnotgiveandthenthedevilscatchthem.Oneofthe
boysputsomebeansinanoxbladderandimmediatelythreehundreddevils
enteredthere.Andhestuffedthebladderwithaservice-treepeg,broughtthem
toWilnoandsoldthemtotheFranciscanpriests,whogavehimtwenty
skojcow[7]hedidthistodestroytheenemiesofChrist’sname.Ihaveseenthat
bladderwithmyowneyes;adreadfulstenchcamefromit,becauseinthatway
thosedirtyspiritsmanifestedtheirfearbeforeholywater.”
“Andwhocountedthem,thatyouknowtherewerethreehundreddevils,”asked
themerchantGamroth,intelligently.
“TheLitwincountedthem,whenhesawthementeringthebladder.Itwas
evidentthattheywerethere,becauseonewouldknowitfromthestench,and
nobodywishedtotakeoutthepegtocountthem.”
“Whatwonders,whatwonders!”exclaimedoneofthenobles.
“Ihaveseenmanygreatwonders,becauseeverythingispeculiaramongthem.
Theyareshaggyandhardlyanykniazcombshishair;theyliveonbakedturnips,
whichtheyprefertoanyotherfood,becausetheysaythatbraverycomesfrom
eatingthem.Theyliveintheforestswiththeircattleandsnakes;theyarenot
abstinentineatingnordrinking.Theydespisethemarriedwomen,butgreatly
respectthegirlstowhomtheyattributegreatpower.Theysaythatifagirlrubsa
manwithdriedleaves,itwillstopcolic.”
“It’sworthwhiletohavecolic,ifthewomenarebeautiful!”exclaimedUncle


Eyertreter.
“AskZbyszkoaboutit,”answeredMackoofBogdaniec.
Zbyszkolaughedsoheartilythatthebenchbegantoshakebeneathhim.
“Therearesomebeautifulones,”hesaid.“Ryngallawascharming.”
“WhoisRyngalla?Quick!”
“What?youhaven’theardaboutRyngalla?”askedMacko.
“Wehavenotheardaword.”
“ShewasWitold’ssister,andthewifeofHenryk,PrinceMazowiecki.”
“Youdon’tsay!WhichPrinceHenryk?TherewasonlyonePrinceMazowiecki,
elect[8]ofPlock,buthedied.”
“Thesameone.HeexpectedadispensationfromRome,butdeathgavehimhis
dispensation,becauseevidentlyhehadnotpleasedGodbyhisaction.Jaskoof
OlesnicasentmewithalettertoPrinceWitold,whenPrinceHenryk,electof
Plock,wassentbythekingtoRyterswerder.Atthattime,Witoldwastiredofthe
war,becausehecouldnotcaptureWilno,andourkingwastiredofhisown
brothersandtheirdissipation.ThekinghavingnoticedthatWitoldwasshrewder
andmoreintelligentthanhisownbrothers,sentthebishoptohim,topersuade
himtoleavetheKnightsoftheCross,andreturntohisallegiance,forwhichhe
promisedtomakehimruleroverLitwa.Witold,alwaysfondofchanging,
listenedwithpleasuretotheembassy.Therewerealsoafeastandtournaments.
Theelectmountedahorse,althoughtheotherbishopsdidnotapproveofit,and
inthelistsheshowedhisknightlystrength.AlltheprincesofMazowszeare
verystrong;itiswellknown,thateventhegirlsofthatbloodcaneasilybreak
horseshoes.Inthebeginningtheprincethrewthreeknightsfromtheirsaddles;
thesecondtimehethrewfiveofthem.Hethrewmefrommysaddle,andinthe
beginningoftheencounter,Zbyszko’shorserearedandhewasthrown.The
princetookalltheprizesfromthehandsofthebeautifulRyngalla,beforewhom
hekneeledinfullarmor.Theyfellsomuchinlovewitheachother,thatdining
thefeasts,theclerici[9]pulledhimfromherbyhissleevesandherbrother,
Witold,restrainedher.Theprincesaid:‘Iwillgivemyselfadispensation,and
thepope,ifnottheoneinHome,thentheoneinAvignon,willconfirmit,butI


mustmarryherimmediately—otherwiseIwillburnup!’Itwasagreatoffence
againstGod,butWitolddidnotdaretoopposehim,becausehedidnotwantto
displeasetheembassador—andsotherewasawedding.Thentheywentto
Suraz,andafterwardtoSluck,tothegreatsorrowofthisyouth,Zbyszko,who,
accordingtotheGermancustom,hadselectedthePrincessRyngallatobethe
ladyofhisheartandhadpromisedhereternalfidelity.”
“Bah!”suddenlyinterruptedZbyszko,“it’strue.Butafterwardthepeoplesaid
thatRyngallaregrettedbeingthewifeoftheelect(becausehe,althoughmarried,
didnotwanttorenouncehisspiritualdignity)andfeelingthatGod’sblessing
couldnotbeoversuchamarriage,poisonedherhusband.WhenIheardthat,I
askedapioushermit,livingnotfarfromLublin,toabsolvemefromthatvow.”
“Hewasahermit,”answeredMacko,laughing,“butwashepious?Idon’tknow;
wewenttohimonFriday,andhewassplittingbear’sboneswithanaxe,and
suckingthemarrowsohard,thattherewasmusicinhisthroat.”
“Buthesaidthatthemarrowwasnotmeat,andbesideshehadreceived
permissiontodoit,becauseaftersuckingmarrow,heusedtohavemarvelous
visionsduringhissleepandthenextdayhecouldprophesyuntilnoontime.”
“Well,well!”answeredMacko.“AndthebeautifulRyngallaisawidowandshe
maycallyoutoherservice.”
“Itwouldbeinvain,becauseIamgoingtochooseanotherlady,whomIwill
servetilldeath,andthenIwillfindawife.”
“Youmustfirstfindthegirdleofaknight.”
“Owa![10]Therewillbeplentyoftournaments.Andbeforethatthekingwill
notdubasingleknight.Icanmeasuremyselfagainstany.Theprincecouldnot
havethrownmedown,ifmyhorsehadnotreared.”
“Therewillbeknightsherebetterthanyouare.”
Herethenoblemenbegantoshout:
“Forheaven’ssake!Here,inthepresenceofthequeen,willfightnotsuchas
you,butonlythemostfamousknightsintheworld.HerewillfightZawiszaof
GarbowandFarurej,DobkoofOlesnica,PowalaofTaczew,PaszkoZlodzieof


Biskupice,JaskoNaszanandAbdankofGora.AndrzejofBrochocice,Krystyn
ofOstrow,andJakobofKobylany!Canyoumeasureyourswordagainstthe
swordsofthose,withwhomneithertheknightshere,noroftheBohemiancourt,
noroftheHungariancourtcancompete?Whatareyoutalkingabout?Areyou
betterthenthey?Howoldareyou?”
“Eighteen,”answeredZbyszko.
“Everyoneofthemcouldcrushyoubetweenhisfingers.”
“Wewillsee.”
ButMackosaid:
“Ihaveheardthatthekingrewardedthoseknightsmunificentlywhoreturned
fromtheLithuanianwar.Speak,youbelonghere;isittrue?”
“Yes,itistrue!”answeredoneofthenobles.“Theking’smunificenceisknown
totheworld;butitwillbedifficulttogetnearhimnow,becausetheguestsare
swarmingtoKrakow;theyarecomingtobeintimeforthequeen’sconfinement
andforthechristening,wishingtoshowreverencetoourlordandtorenderhim
homage.ThekingofHungaryiscoming;theysaytheRomanemperorwillbe
herealso,andplentyofprinces,countsandknights,willcomebecausenotone
ofthemexpectstoreturnwithemptyhands.TheyevensaythatPopeBoniface,
himselfwillarrive,becausehealsoneedsfavorandhelpfromourlordagainst
hisadversaryinAvignon.Thereforeinsuchacrowd,itwillbedifficultto
approachtheking;butifonewouldbeabletoseehimandbowathisfeet,then
hewillliberallyrewardhimwhodeservesit.”
“ThenIwillbowbeforehim,becauseIhaveservedenough,andifthereis
anotherwar,Ishallgoagain.Wehavetakensomebooty,andwearenotpoor;
butIamgettingold,andwhenoneisold,andthestrengthhaslefthisbones,one
ispleasedtohaveaquietcorner.”
“ThekingwasgladtoseethosewhoreturnedfromLitwawithJaskoof
Olesnica;andtheyfeastwellnow.”
“YouseeIdidnotreturnatthattime;Iwasstillatthewar.Youknowthatthe
Germanshavesufferedbecauseofthatreconciliationbetweenthekingand
KniazWitold.Theprincecunninglygotthehostagesback,andthenrushed


againsttheGermans!Heruinedandburnedthecastleandslaughteredthe
knightsandagreatmanyofthepeople.TheGermanswantedrevenge,asdid
alsoSwidrygello,whowenttothem.Therewasagainagreatexpeditionstarted.
ThegrandmasterKondrathimselfwentwithagreatarmy;theybesiegedWilno,
andtriedfromtheirtowerstoruinthecastles;theyalsotriedtocapturethecity
bytreachery—buttheydidnotsucceed!Whileretreatingthereweresomany
killed,thatevenhalfofthemdidnotescape.ThenweattackedUlrichvon
Jungingen,thegrandmaster’sbrother,whoisbailiffinSwabja.Butthebailiff
wasafraidofthekniazandranaway.Onaccountofthisflightthereispeace,and
theyarerebuildingthecity.Onepiousmonk,whocouldwalkwithbarefeeton
hotiron,hasprophesiedsincethattime,thataslongastheworldexists,no
GermansoldierwillbeseenunderthewallsofWilno.Andifthatbeso,then
whosehandshavedoneit?”
Havingsaidthis,MackoofBogdaniec,extendedhispalms,broadandenormous;
theothersbegantonodandtoapprove:
“Yes,yes!It’struewhathesays!Yes!”
Butfurtherconversationwasinterruptedbyanoiseenteringthroughthe
windowsfromwhichthebladdershadbeentakenout,becausethenightwas
warmandclear.Fromafarthrumming,singing,laughingandthesnortingof
horseswereheard.Theyweresurprisedbecauseitwasquitelate.Thehost
rushedtotheyardoftheinn,butbeforetheguestswereabletodrinktheirbeer
tothelastdrop,hereturnedshouting:
“Somecourtiscoming!”
Amomentafterward,inthedoorappearedafootmandressedinabluejacket
andwearingaredfoldingcap.Hestopped,glancedattheguests,andthen
havingperceivedthehost,hesaid:
“Wipethetablesandpreparelights;theprincess,AnnaDanuta,willstopheretonight.”
Havingsaidthis,hewithdrew.Intheinnagreatcommotionbegan;thehost
calledhisservants,andtheguestslookedatoneanotherwithgreatsurprise.
“PrincessAnnaDanuta,”saidoneofthetownsmen,“sheisKiejstutowna,[11]
JanuszMazowiecki’swife.ShewasinKrakowtwoweeks,butshewenttoZator


tovisitPrinceWaclaw,andnowsheiscomingback.”
“UncleGamroth,”saidtheothertownsman,“letusgotothebarnandsleepon
thehay;thecompanyistoohighforus.”
“Idon’twondertheyaretravelingduringthenight,”saidMacko,“becausethe
daysareverywarm;butwhydotheycometotheinnwhenthemonasteryisso
near?”
HereheturnedtowardZbyszko:
“ThebeautifulRyngalla’sownsister;doyouunderstand?”
AndZbyszkoanswered:
“TheremustbemanyMazovianladieswithher,hej!”

CHAPTERII.
Atthatmomenttheprincessentered.Shewasamiddle-agedladywithasmiling
face,dressedinaredmantleandlightgreendresswithagoldengirdlearound
herhips.Theprincesswasfollowedbytheladiesofthecourt;somenotyet
grownup,someofthemolder;theyhadpinkandlilacwreathsontheirheads,
andthemajorityofthemhadlutesintheirhands.Someofthemcarriedlarge
bunchesoffresh,flowers,evidentlypluckedbytheroadside.Theroomwassoon
filled,becausetheladieswerefollowedbysomecourtiersandyoungpages.All
werelively,withmirthontheirfaces,talkingloudlyorhummingasiftheywere
intoxicatedwiththebeautyofthenight.Amongthecourtiers,thereweretwo
rybalts;[12]onehadaluteandtheotherhadagensla[13]athisgirdle.Oneof
thegirlswhowasveryyoung,perhapstwelveyearsold,carriedbehindthe
princessaverysmallluteornamentedwithbrassnails.
“MayJesusChristbepraised!”saidtheprincess,standinginthecentreofthe
room.
“Foragesandages,amen!”answeredthosepresent,inthemeanwhilesaluting
veryprofoundly.


“Whereisthehost?”
TheGermanhavingheardthecall,advancedtothefrontandkneeled,inthe
Germanfashion,ononeknee.
“Wearegoingtostophereandrest,”saidthelady.“Onlybequick,becausewe
arehungry.”
Thetownsmenhadalreadygone;nowthetwonoblemen,andwiththemMacko
ofBogdaniecandyoungZbyszko,bowedagain,intendingtoleavetheroom,as
theydidnotwishtointerferewiththecourt.
Buttheprincessdetainedthem.
“Youarenoblemen;youdonotintrude,youareacquaintedwithcourtiers.From
wherehasGodconductedyou?”
Thentheymentionedtheirnames,[14]theircoatsofarms,theirnicknamesand
theestatesfromwhichtheyreceivedtheirnames.Theladyhavingheardfrom
wlodyka[15]MackothathehadbeentoWilno,clappedherhands,andsaid:
“Howwellithashappened!TellusaboutWilnoandaboutmybrotherandsister.
IsPrinceWitoldcomingforthequeen’sconfinementandforthechristening?”
“Hewouldliketo,butdoesnotknowwhetherhewillbeabletodoso;therefore
hesentasilvercradletothequeenforapresent.MynephewandIbroughtthat
cradle.”
“Thenthecradleishere?Iwouldliketoseeit!Allsilver?”
“Allsilver;butitisnothere.TheBasilianstookittoKrakow.”
“AndwhatareyoudoinginTyniec?”
“Wereturnedheretoseetheprocuratorofthemonasterywhoisourrelative,in
ordertodepositwiththeworthymonks,thatwithwhichthewarhasblessedus
andthatwhichtheprincegaveusforapresent.”
“ThenGodgaveyougoodluckandvaluablebooty?Buttellmewhymybrother
isuncertainwhetherhewillcome?”


“BecauseheispreparinganexpeditionagainsttheTartars.”
“Iknowit;butIamgrievedthatthequeendidnotprophesyahappyresultfor
thatexpedition,andeverythingshepredictsisalwaysfulfilled.”
Mackosmiled.
“Ej,ourladyisaprophetess,Icannotdeny;butwithPrinceWitold,themightof
ourknighthoodwillgo,splendidmen,againstwhomnobodyisabletocontend.”
“Areyounotgoing?”
“No,Iwassentwiththecradle,andforfiveyearsIhavenottakenoffmy
armor,”answeredMacko,showingthefurrowsmadebythecuirassonhis
reindeerjacket;“butletmerest,thenIwillgo,orifIdonotgomyselfthenI
willsendthisyouth,mynephew,Zbyszko,toPan[16]SpytkoofMelsztyn,under
whosecommandallourknightswillgo.”
PrincessDanutaglancedatZbyszko’sbeautifulfigure;butfurtherconversation
wasinterruptedbythearrivalofamonkfromthemonastery,whohavinggreeted
theprincess,begantohumblyreproachher,becauseshehadnotsentacourier
withthenewsthatshewascoming,andbecauseshehadnotstoppedatthe
monastery,butinanordinaryinnwhichwasnotworthyofhermajesty.There
areplentyofhousesandbuildingsinthemonasterywhereevenanordinaryman
willfindhospitality,androyaltyisstillmorewelcome,especiallythewifeofthat
princefromwhoseancestorsandrelatives,theabbeyhadexperiencedsomany
benefits.
Buttheprincessansweredmirthfully:
“Wecamehereonlytostretchourlimbs;inthemorningwemustbeinKrakow.
Wesleepduringthedayandwetravelduringthenight,becauseitiscooler.As
theroosterswerecrowing,Ididnotwishtoawakenthepiousmonks,especially
withsuchacompanywhichthinksmoreaboutsinginganddancingthanabout
repose.”
Butwhenthemonkstillinsisted,sheadded:
“No.Wewillstayhere.Wewillspendthetimewellinsinginglaysongs,butwe
willcometothechurchformatinsinordertobeginthedaywithGod.”


“Therewillbeamassforthewelfareofthegraciousprinceandthegracious
princess,”saidthemonk.
“Theprince,myhusband,willnotcomeforfourorfivedays.”
“TheLordGodwillbeabletogranthappinessevenfromafar,andinthe
meanwhileletuspoormonksatleastbringsomewinefromthemonastery.”
“Wewillgladlyrepay,”saidtheprincess.
Whenthemonkwentout,shecalled:
“Hej,Danusia!Danusia!Mountthebenchandmakeourheartsmerrywiththe
samesongyousanginZator.”
Havingheardthis,thecourtiersputabenchinthecentreoftheroom.The
rybaltssatontheends,andbetweenthemstoodthatyounggirlwhohadcarried
behindtheprincesstheluteornamentedwithbrassnails.Onherheadshehada
smallgarland,herhairfallingonhershoulders,andsheworeabluedressand
redshoeswithlongpoints.Onthebenchshelookedlikeachild,butatthesame
time,abeautifulchild,likesomefigurefromachurch.Itwasevidentthatshe
wasnotsingingforthefirsttimebeforetheprincess,becauseshewasnot
embarrassed.
“Sing,Danusia,sing!”theyoungcourtgirlsshouted.
Sheseizedthelute,raisedherheadlikeabirdwhichbeginstosing,andhaving
closedhereyes,shebeganwithasilveryvoice:
“IfIonlycouldgetThewingslikeabirdie,IwouldflyquicklyTomydearest
Jasiek!”
Therybaltsaccompaniedher,oneonthegensliks,theotheronabiglute;the
princess,wholovedthelaysongsbetterthananythingelseintheworld,beganto
moveherheadbackandforth,andtheyounggirlsangfurtherwithathin,sweet
childishvoice,likeabirdsingingintheforest:
“IwouldthenbeseatedOnthehighenclosure:Look,mydearJasiulku,Look
onme,poororphan.”


Andthentherybaltsplayed.TheyoungZbyszkoofBogdaniec,whobeing
accustomedfromchildhoodtowaranditsdreadfulsights,hadneverinhislife
heardanythinglikeit;hetouchedaMazur[17]standingbesidehimandasked:
“Whoisshe?”
“Sheisagirlfromtheprincess’court.Wedonotlackrybaltswhocheerupthe
court,butsheisthesweetestlittlerybaltofthemall,andtothesongsofnoone
elsewilltheprincesslistensogladly.”
“Idon’twonder.IthoughtshewasanangelfromheavenandIcan’tlookather
enough.Whatdotheycallher?”
“Haveyounotheard?Danusia.HerfatherisJurandofSpychow,acomes[18]
mightyandgallant.”
“Hej!Suchagirlhumaneyesneversawbefore!”
“Everybodylovesherforhersingingandherbeauty.”
“Andwhoisherknight?”
“Sheisonlyachildyet!”
FurtherconversationwasstoppedbyDanusia’ssinging.Zbyszkolookedather
fairhair,herupliftedhead,herhalf-closedeyes,andatherwholefigurelighted
bytheglareofthewaxcandlesandbytheglareofthemoonbeamsentering
throughthewindows;andhewonderedmoreandmore.Itseemedtohimnow,
thathehadseenherbefore;buthecouldnotrememberwhetheritwasina
dream,orsomewhereinKrakowonthepaneofachurchwindow.
Andagainhetouchedthecourtierandaskedinalowvoice:
“Thensheisfromyourcourt?”
“HermothercamefromLitwawiththeprincess,AnnaDanuta,whomarriedher
toCountJurandofSpychow.Shewasprettyandbelongedtoapowerfulfamily;
theprincesslikedherbetterthananyoftheotheryounggirlsandshelovedthe
princess.Thatisthereasonshegavethesamenametoherdaughter—Anna
Danuta.Butfiveyearsago,whennearZlotorja,theGermansattackedthecourt,


—shediedfromfear.Thentheprincesstookthegirl,andshehastakencareof
hersince.Herfatheroftencomestothecourt;heisgladthattheprincessis
bringinghischilduphealthyandinhappiness.Buteverytimehelooksather,he
cries,rememberinghiswife;thenhereturnstoavengeontheGermanshisawful
wrong.HelovedhiswifemoredearlythananyoneinthewholeMazowszetill
nowhasloved;buthehaskilledinrevengeagreatmanyGermans.”
InamomentZbyszko’seyeswereshiningandtheveinsonhisforeheadswelled.
“ThentheGermanskilledhermother?”heasked.
“Killedandnotkilled.Shediedfromfear.Fiveyearsagotherewaspeace;
nobodywasthinkingaboutwarandeverybodyfeltsafe.Theprincewent
withoutanysoldiers,onlywiththecourt,asusualduringpeace,tobuildatower
inZlotorja.Thosetraitors,theGermans,felluponthemwithoutanydeclaration
ofwar,withoutanyreason.Theyseizedtheprincehimself,andremembering
neitherGod’sanger,northatfromtheprince’sancestor,theyhadreceivedgreat
benefits,theyboundhimtoahorseandslaughteredhispeople.Theprincewasa
prisoneralongtime,andonlywhenKingWladyslawthreatenedthemwithwar,
didtheyreleasehim.DuringthisattackDanusia’smotherdied.”
“Andyou,sir,wereyouthere?Whatdotheycallyou?Ihaveforgotten!”
“MynameisMikolajofDlugolasandtheycallmeObuch.[19]Iwasthere.Isaw
aGermanwithpeacockfeathersonhishelmet,bindhertohissaddle;andthen
shediedfromfear.TheycutmewithahalberdfromwhichIhaveascar.”
Havingsaidthisheshowedadeepscaronhisheadcomingfrombeneathhis
hairtohiseyebrows.
Therewasamomentofsilence.ZbyszkowasagainlookingatDanusia.Thenhe
asked:
“Andyousaid,sir,thatshehasnoknight?”
Buthedidnotreceiveanyanswer,becauseatthatmomentthesingingstopped.
Oneoftherybalts,afatandheavyman,suddenlyrose,andthebenchtiltedto
oneside.Danusiatotteredandstretchedoutherlittlehands,butbeforeshecould
fallorjump,Zbyszkorusheduplikeawild-catandseizedherinhisarms.


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