And then, at this time in his life, a new adventure came to pass. 2150 Across the sea from Norwegen came a single trading ship, just one, to the country of Parmenie, and having made its landfall there came to port at Canoel, before that very castle where the marshal stayed and saw to his business with the young lord Tristan. No sooner had these foreign traders laid their wares out for inspection than everyone at court was hearing all about what was for sale. One enticement there would be to Tristan's ill: on sale were many falcons and other birds used in sport. So much talk was heard of these that two other of the marshal's sons (for such things boys are always eager) first agreed among themselves to make common cause with Tristan, their foster brother, and go together to their father and ask him earnestly to send them to buy the falcons for Tristan. The noble Rual did so, nor could he have denied them anything they would have done if it was to be for Tristan, the boy he favored so and tried more to please than any other person, be it relative or landsman. He was not more diligent even toward his own children. In this he showed to all the world his unreserved faithfulness, his inborn sense of honor and worth. At once he rose and made ready, taking Tristan by the hand like any true father, and attended by his other sons and many of his retinue, he went down to the boat. Some went on business, some for fun, and whatever anyone might fancy or happen to have a liking for, he would find it there for sale. 2200 Jewelry, silk, elegant dress, all was there in rich supply, also the finest hunting birds, many a swift peregrine, sparrow hawks and merlins, goshawks fully fledged and young as yet in rufous plumage— several specimens of each were offered there in rich selection. Servants were sent to buy for Tristan the merlins and the larger falcons. Also for his foster brothers purchases were made, because he wished it so. All three received what each desired. Now when each one had been given the things that he had wanted and the time had come to leave, it came to pass, just by chance, that in the boat Tristan's eye fell upon a chess set, well and ornately made, the squares precisely framed, a fine piece of workmanship. The nearby set of chessmen were carved of pure ivory, masterfully engraved. Tristan the many-skilled regarded it long and carefully. "Ah," he exclaimed, "noble merchants, may God reward you, tell me now, do you know the game of chess?" This he said in their own tongue. They looked at the boy now with much closer attention when he began to speak their language which hardly another there could do. And then they started to consider everything else about him too, and when they did, it seemed that never had they seen so fine a youth with such well-polished manners. "Oh, yes, my friend," said one of them, "there are not a few of us who can do it. If you wish, we can have a little game. Come on, young sir, I'll take you on!" "Indeed, so be it," Tristan said. And so the two sat down to play. The marshal interrupted. "Tristan, 2250 I'm returning to the castle. Stay here, if you wish, and play. The other boys are going with me. I'll leave you here in the care of your tutor, who will stay." Thereupon the marshal left, and all his people with him, leaving Tristan alone with his schoolmaster, of whom, as I can truly tell you, and the story lets us know, that never was any squire better ennobled by courtliness or of nobler heart by nature. Curvenal was his name. He had mastered many a skill, befitting him to be the teacher of him, who following his guidance learned also many a skillful thing. This young master of many skills, Tristan, the model of education, sat absorbed in his play, and played so well and elegantly that all the foreign traders again regarded him intently and said to themselves that never had they seen a youth who did so many things so well. But what he was doing at the moment while making his moves in the game seemed slight to them in comparison to how it was that a mere child knew so many languages— they poured out of his mouth such as they never had heard in any place they had been. This courtliest of courtiers let fall now and then remarks of general courtly knowledge and foreign terminology-- so many and all pronounced correctly— as a running ornament to his play. Also, he could sing— chansons and melodies, refloites and estampies. These arts of courtliness he kept up in such profusion that soon the merchants and the traders were taking counsel privately. If, without his noticing, 2300 they could manage to abduct him, surely they could ransom him for great profit and acclaim. And so without delay they commanded their rowers to be ready at the oars, and themselves quietly weighed anchor without attracting undue attention. They pushed off and made way so casually, that neither Tristan nor Curvenal took any notice until they had put a good mile between themselves and their landing. So intent had the two of them been upon their game that they thought of nothing else but how it was going. As they finished now, and Tristan found himself the winner, suddenly he looked around and realized what was happening. You've never seen a mother's son so upset as he was then. He sprang up and confronted them. "Ah," he cried, "noble merchants, what, in God's name, are you doing? Where, I ask, are you taking me?" "See here, my friend," said one of them, "there's no help for it now, I think you'll have to go with us. Just behave, and take it easy." Then poor Tristan started to weep, raising such an anxious clamor that his companion Curvenal also began to cry and make such commotion that the ship's entire crew, because of the two of them, was much disturbed and quite unhappy. So they took Curvenal and put him in a small skiff along with minimum provisions, an oar and a few crusts of bread to stave off hunger on his voyage, and told him to lay a course for any port he pleased, but Tristan would have to stay with them. With this farewell they sailed away and left him there adrift alone with his own troubles. 2350 Curvenal drifted on the sea. Many regrets filled his mind: regret for the affliction of distress that he had watched poor Tristan suffer; regret of his own real peril, the threat of approaching death, for he couldn't sail or row, skills he hadn't learned; and he said to himself in deep depression, "God in heaven, what shall I do? Never was I in such trouble. Here I am, all alone-- sail or row? I donít know how! Dear God, I pray, preserve me now, be always with me on my way! I throw myself upon your mercy, as I have failed to do before— guide me out of this!" With this he laid to at the oar, and calling God to help, he paddled. It didn't take him long (for God had so provided) to get back home and tell the tale of how it all had happened. The marshal with his excellent wife were struck to the very core of their beings with such extreme distress that had their foster son lain dead, the pain they would have felt could have gone no deeper. The two went together in common suffering with all their followers to weep at the ocean shore for the child that they had lost. Many a tongue prayed faithfully for God to help him then. Many a cry of grief was heard, some for this, some for that— and as darkness began to fall, so that soon they must depart, the sound of their subdued laments swelled into a single voice, and that with but a single theme: here they called, there they cried, never varying the supplication: "beas Tristant, curtois Tristant, tun cors, ta vie a de commant! Thy handsome body and living soul commend we into God's control!" 2400 In the meantime, far at sea, the Norwaegan traders sailed on, thinking to themselves the while how successful they had been and looking forward to their profits. But he made vain their plans who regulates all things, correcting the irregular, before whom forces of wind and sea tremble in obedience. By his will and his commandment there arose so dangerous and powerful a storm at sea that by no efforts of the crew could they make headway against it, and were forced to let the ship be driven wherever the vicious winds would take it, and they themselves gave up all hope of coming through it with their lives— they had surrendered, one and all, to that capricious directing might: chance, the engine of adventure. They left it up to destiny as to whether they survived or not, for now they could do nothing more than ride the wildness of the sea, first rising up to heaven, then sinking down again as though into the abyss. The raging torrent bore them one moment up, the next down, in one direction, and then the other. Not a man on board was able to stand upright even for a moment. Their lives continued in this state for perhaps eight days and eight nights, until their strength was entirely gone and they were left nearly senseless. One of them at last spoke up: "Fellows, shipmates, so help me God, I think it must be God's command that we now fear for our lives— we're scarcely able to keep afloat in the midst of these raging waves, and that's because of our sins and because of our treachery in kidnapping this boy Tristan and taking him from his friends." "You"re right," they all agreed, 2450 "that must be the cause of it." And so together they formed a plan. If the weather moderated and the sea and winds subsided enough for them to land, they would gladly release him and let him go wherever he wished. No sooner had they thought of this and all of them were in agreement than the stress and labors of their voyage at once were greatly lessened. The winds and high seas began to slacken and abate, the heavy swells became more gentle, the sun came out, as bright as ever. Seeing this, they lost no time; within those eight days of storm the winds and sea had driven them far to the land of Curnewal, where now they found themselves already so close to shore that it was plainly visible, and so they headed for the beach. At once they laid hold of Tristan and put him off the boat, on shore, giving him a little bread and a few other things to eat. "God save and keep you, friend," they said, "We leave your life now in his hands." Having thus given him their blessing, they lost no time in sailing away.
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