h the sorry sight when in so sad a plight a yet sadder plight meets our pained sight! Such honor still was Riwalin's 1755 as he had practiced honorably so long as god willed that he should practice it. The pain and sorrow were all too great, surpassing ordinary pain; for all their faith and all their skill, their deeds and courtly accomplishment, all honor, all their worthiness, all of this had been struck down. As noble as his death had been, just so was hers pitiful. However great the burden that fell on land and people with the death of their beloved master, that was hardly so distressing as being powerless to help while his sweet lady lay in torment and at last died so piteously. Let every living person lament her despair and their hardship. Whoever has gained inspiration from woman, or ever hopes to, should carefully consider how easily disaster befalls good people in matters such as these, how quickly things can go sour for all the joys of life, and take care to ask God's favor on good womanhood, that his mercy and his will may comfort and support good women. And now let's tell about the child, fatherless and motherless, what God willed for it. emembrance good and true for a lost friend kept new keeps friendship ever new, the best of remaining true. orrow for a departed friend shows loyalty surpassing death. This is the highest recompense, the very summit of faithfulness. Indeed, the crown of loyalty would well befit, as I have read, 1800 the marshal and his good wife, who were as one in dedication to both God and the world, making of this an example before both world and God, practicing by God's command unswerving loyalty and continuing to do so entirely without fail to the ends of their lives. If anyone on earth deserved to be crowned king or queen of faithfulness, it very well might be they, as I will tell you truly of the two of them, how he acted, and what she did. When Blanscheflur, their lady, died, and Riwalin was laid to rest, the prospects for the little orphan seemed hardly promising, even for surviving long. The marshal together with his consort took the helpless orphan in and hid it away secretly so that no one knew or saw. They had the story put about that the child their lady had been carrying had perished with her, in the womb. And so the sorrowing land now had to bear a third great loss. Their mourning was greater than before— they mourned that Riwalin was dead, they mourned the ruin of Blanscheflur, and mourned also the lost child that was to be the land's protector but now had perished likewise. On top of all these troubles was the constant anxiety from the threat that Morgan posed, a concern as great as their master's death, for among the hardships of this world, this one seems hardest of all— when you confront, night and day, your mortal enemy, face to face, it's enough to grieve the soul, no better than a living death. In the midst of this ordeal, Blanscheflur was laid to rest. Keen were the cries of lamentation 1850 that filled the air above her grave. Dismay there, you may imagine, worsened into desperation. But it would be unwise of me to plague your ears any more with tales as pitiful as these, for ears can only bear so much of unrelieved grief and mourning, and there's hardly anything so good as doesn't pall in excess. Let's therefore cease this long lament and instead turn our attentions to the story of the orphan about whom wondrous tales are told. o it often goes in life, from weal to woes. But now to weal from woes— that's how it sometimes goes. ight-thinking men, even in sorrow, need to see to their own affairs, no matter what may come of it. While you still have life and breath, it's with the living you must live, and find the strength yourself to do so. Thus did the marshal Foitenant— when everything was going wrong, he considered what shame and harm his own death would cause his land. Resistance, he knew, was useless. If arms could not prevail against the present foe, he would use craft. At once he summoned every leader in all his former lord's country, and persuaded them to agree that they had no other recourse than to yield in subjugation. They had to render their land and lives in fealty to Morgan. The bitter hostility between Morgan and themselves they pretended now was reconciled, preserving thus their land and people. The faithful marshal Foitenant, returning home, commanded his wife as a matter of life and death to pretend to lie in, according to the custom of a woman who is with child, and when the proper time had passed 1900 to announce to everyone that she had borne the child who would become their master. The marshal's excellent wife, a woman steady and good, Floraete the virtuous, a fine example of wifely honor, indeed a perfect gem of goodness, was glad to do, with no great urging, what was in their own best interests. She set herself, both mind and body, to imitate the pains of a woman about to give birth to a child. She had her furnishings and chamber rearranged and made ready as though for this purpose. And since she knew very well how women behave in this event, she did a perfect imitation. She counterfeited great discomfort in both mood and body exactly like a woman making ready to bear the pains, who has summoned all her strength for the impending labor. Then the child was laid beside her with great care for secrecy so that no one knew what had happened excepting only a nurse. The story was ready, and quickly spread, that the marshal's good lady was confined with a son. This was true. She took the job, and became a mother to the son whose filial loyalty to her held to the end of both their days. That sweet child felt for her as true and ardent an affection as should any child for his mother. And this was altogether proper, for she in turn bestowed on him all the love of mothering, and did so as steadfastly as if she herself had carried him in her womb. As we hear this story told, never before, nor ever after, did a man and his wife bring up their master with such love as we will hear all about 1950 while I tell the story— what fatherly concern and how many the toils and troubles the faithful marshal bore for him. When it was time for the marshal's wife to have recovered from the birth, after the usual six weeks customary for a woman, and time to take her son to church as I have spoken of before, she took him in her own arms and carried him gently, with delight, with her into God's house. And having there with due ceremony received the blessing on her recovery, she finished her observances with her splendid attendants. Now the child was ready for holy baptism, attesting to its Christian birth, received in God's name, so that no matter what its fate, Christian it would be. When the officiating priest had all prepared for the event, following baptismal custom he inquired about the child, as to what its name should be. The courtly lady stepped aside to speak in private with her husband and asked him how he wished the child to be named. The marshal long was silent. He pondered most earnestly what name would suit him in such circumstances. In doing so he thought over all the events of the boy’s life, everything he so well knew of what had come to pass so far. "My lady," he said, "I have the tale from his father, the whole story about his Blanscheflur, in what deep sorrow her desire was fulfilled, in what sorrow she conceived this child, with how much sorrow she had to bear it— we will name him Tristan." Triste, of course, means "sorrowful," so according with events 2000 the child was named Tristan, and baptized Tristan, there and then. Tristan was his name, from triste. This was a name that suited him, fitting in every respect. We see it in his story, we see how sorrowful his birth, which his mother did not survive; see how soon it was that trouble and pain came to weigh him down; see how sorrowful a life it fell to his lot to live; we see the sorrow of his death, which finally put an end to all his heart's pain, a death that outdid all other deaths, the very gall of bitterness. This story--when you once have read it, well you know that his name fitted exactly with his life. He was the man his name described, his name told what he was: Tristan. And now, for those of you who ask what Foitenant's purpose was in putting out the story that Tristan the child had died in the throes of being born and was dead within his dead mother, here's the answer to your question: he did it out of loyalty. The loyal marshal acted thus because he feared Morgan's wrath— if Morgan knew of the child, he would destroy it, whether by force or trickery, to extinguish its inheritance. That is why this faithful man adopted the orphan as his own and raised it so carefully that all the world might have cause to wish God's blessing upon him— he surely earned it with the boy. Now that the child had been baptized with the blessing of Christianity, the marshal's wife, clever and good, took her child home with her into her close, loving care. She attended to his every need and made it her first concern to see to his comfort. 2050 This sweet mother was so careful and tended him with such concern that never did she let him at any time or place sustain a bruise or fall. And this she kept on doing until he reached his seventh year, when he had full understanding both of speech and of manners. His father, the marshal, took him then and put him in a teacher's care, and sent him often with this man to foreign lands to learn the language, and also saw to it now that he should learn from books and put this task ahead of all other learning. This was his first experience with limits on his freedom. Now first he entered into the cares of discipline, from which, until that time, he had been spared and shielded. In these tender years, the time of unrestricted pleasures, when he was ready to begin with the delights of living, such living was already over. On the early blossoms of his joy fell the frost of care and trouble that makes things hard for many a youth, and wilted the flower of his joy. Amid his first freedom all his freedom was removed. With the duties of books and learning his troubles had begun in earnest. And still, once he had made a start, he put his mind so well to it and worked so hard at it that in only a short time he had learned more of books than any child, before or since. Along with these two undertakings, studying books and languages, he spent many an hour also learning to play the strings. And this he did, morning and night, with so much care and industry, that he became a wonder at it. He studied constantly, 2100 this today, tomorrow that, well at first, then to perfection. In addition to all of this he learned to ride expertly carrying shield and lance, to touch his mount's sides lightly with his spurs, to put it boldly to a gallop, to gait it and to give it rein, or guide it with his legs as does the most accomplished horseman. He took pleasure and enjoyment in the sports of thrust and parry, running hard, leaping far, and throwing the javelin-- with these arts his strength grew. We also learn from the story how he learned to hunt and stalk better than any man before, no matter who it may have been. Every courtly art and game— he knew most, and performed them well. And also bodily was never a finer boy born of woman than was he. In all things, he was excellent, both in mind and in behavior, yet this good fortune was beclouded with lasting ill, as I have read, destined as he was for trouble. Now when he reached his fourteenth year, the marshal took him home again and bade him travel widely, to ride throughout the country, seeing land and people so that he might learn first-hand all the customs common there. This the worthy boy did so thoroughly that in his own age and time, in that entire realm, there lived no other boy so highly skilled as Tristan. All the world looked at him with friendly eyes and real affection, as of course we rightly should toward one who holds so true to virtue and turns his back on all that's base.
|Next Episode||Index of Episodes|