That's enough of this story. 3750 Let's put it aside for now and return once more to our former tale of Tristan's "father," Marshal Rual, li foitenant et li leal, of the deeds Rual accomplished after he had lost him. Dan Rual li foitenant at once took ship across the sea with plenty of supplies, because it was his firm intent never to return again unless he had some kind of news, something well established, as to where his young lord was. He first made port in Norwaege. There he searched high and low throughout the entire land for his cherished Tristan. What good was that? He was not there. All his efforts came to naught. Having discovered nothing there, he set sail for Irlant. But there he had no better luck, learning nothing in his search. He now began to doubt his purpose and so lose hope of finding him that he began to make his way on foot, told his men to sell his horse, and had them sail homeward with what goods remained. He paid no heed to his own comfort, even begging for his bread, but always persevering from one realm to the next, from this land to that land, searching for his Tristan, a good three years or more, until he declined so in body and appearance, having grown thin and pale, that any who saw him then never would have known that he ever was a lord.
But the worthy Rual bore this humiliating burden as does the roaming vagabond who never lets deprivation destroy his true spirit, as lesser men so often do. As the fourth year of his quest began 3800 he found himself in Tenemark, and searching there diligently, from place to place, here and there, by God's favor he encountered the very same two pilgrims who first had found Tristan wandering in the forest. He questioned them closely, and soon had the story of when and how long ago they had found a young boy, alerted by his whimpering, and then had taken him along, and how unusual he had seemed in hairstyle and countenance, in speech and comportment, in stature and in dress and what a number of languages and other skills he knew. At once Rual realized that the description fitted exactly. Earnestly he charged the pilgrims in God's name to tell him where it was they left him, to name the town or city, if indeed they knew. And so they told Rual it had been in Curnewal, near the town of Tintajel. He made them say the town's name over and over, and then asked, "Now, where exactly is Curnewal?" "Right next to Britanje," one replied, "which is on the other side of it." "Ah," thought Rual, "merciful God, surely this must be your grace. If I rightly understand it is to Curnewal Tristan came, there he has indeed come home, for Marke is his uncle. Now guide me to that place, dear God! Blessed lord, by your command, Grant to me the good fortune of seeing Tristan once again! At last, this story I have heard-- may it bring me better luck! It sounds to me--it must be--right. It has changed my heavy sorrow and given me new joy again. Fortunate brothers," he addressed them, 3850 the Son of the Maid bless and keep you! I set out now on my path to see if I can find him." --"May he who governs all the world guide you to the boy!" --"Mercy," was Rual's response. "At your behest, I tarry no longer." --"Friend," they said, "farewell, farewell."
So Rual set out on his way, never sparing for his body more that half a day's rest, until he came to the sea. There he rested, against his will, there being no ship ready to sail. But finding passage eventually he made his way to the land of Britanje. He roamed throughout the whole land with unflagging perseverance and never a day was too long that he didn't keep going after dark. What gave him the courage and the strength was the news that he had heard. That made for him all his toil softer, indeed endurable. When at last he got to Curnewal at once he asked eagerly where Tintajel was, and quickly was directed there. Again he set out on his travels and arrived at last in Tintajel early one sabbath evening just as all were going to mass. He went to stand before the church where everyone milled about, and watched carefully in all directions, looking this way and that, hoping to find someone there who might be right and suitable to put his questions to, because he thought, selfconsciously, "what fine people these all are! If I address one of them, he might pay no attention and disdain to tell me what I want, shabby traveler as I am. Dear God, now tell me what to do!"
At just this moment came King Marke with a splendid retinue. But the loyal Rual didn't see 3900 in him what he was looking for. Later, when the king emerged from mass on his way back to court, Rual ventured from his post to single out and take aside a courtier advanced in years. "Oh, sir," he said, "tell me please, by your kindness, do you know-- is there a boy, here at court-- it's said, he attends upon the king-- the boy's name is Tristan." "A boy?" the man quickly replied, "This isn't a boy we're talking about. An aspirant in the retinue soon will take the sword here, much the favorite of the king, who can do anything. He knows every trick and many a high courtly skill. A strapping youth he is, too, with curly, brown hair, and elegant deportment, although he is a refugee. Here we call him Tristan." "Ah, sir," replied Rual at once, "you're a courtier here?"--"Yes." "Sir, I ask it upon your honor: carry a short message for me-- it's a good deed you will be doing. Tell him there's an old man here who wants to talk to him and see him. And you can tell him also, please, that I'm from his own country."
The man informed Tristan that a countryman of his had come. Very soon Tristan came and the moment he laid eyes on him his speech came straight from the heart: "Now may the Lord God evermore be blessed, Father, that it's you I see!" And with these first words of greeting he quickly ran, laughing, to him and kissed that ever loyal man just as a son should kiss his father, which was only right and proper, for they were indeed father and son. All the fathers that now are or that ever have been before never treated any child 3950 more fatherly than he did Tristan. In him Tristan held at once father, mother, kin and household, all the family he ever knew, together in his fond embrace. Then he said, deeply touched, "Ah, my good, faithful father, tell me now--my sweet mother, and my brothers, do they live?" "I don't know, dear son," he said, "they were alive when I last saw them, although they were greatly troubled on account of you. But how they may have fared since then, of that I can tell you nothing, for it's many a day since I have met anyone at all familiar. Nor have I set foot in my land since that ill-begotten moment that went so wrong because of you." "Ah, dear Father," Tristan said, "What's this story you're telling me? What's happened to your fine appearance?" --"You, my son, robbed me of it." --"Then I'll give it back to you." --"May we live to see the day!" --"Yes, Father. Come with me to court." --"Nay, child, I can't go there with you. As you well see, I'm hardly fit to appear in noble company." "But Father, you must come," he said. "My lord the king has to see you." Rual, the courtly noble, said quietly to himself, "My nakedness needn't matter. Traveler though I appear to be, the king will be very glad to see me as soon as I start telling him about his nephew, standing here. Once he hears the whole story, all the way from the beginning, how I appear will seem splendid."
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