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The Knights of the Cross by Henryk Sienkiewicz

Part 7 out of 14

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"There are also servants, women, in the Order, who, although they do not
make any vows, and are allowed to marry, are obliged to perform certain
duties for the Order, according to the brothers' commands. The one who
meets such favor and honor, receives a pious kiss from a brother-knight
as a sign that from that moment she is to serve the Order with words and
deeds. Ah! _panienko_!--I was going to receive that great favor, but in
sinful obduracy instead of receiving it with gratitude, I committed a
great sin and was punished for it."

"What did you do?"

"Brother Danveld came to me and gave me the kiss of the Order; but I,
thinking that he was doing it from pure license, raised my wicked hand
against him----"

Here she began to strike her breast and repeated several times:

"God, be merciful to me, a sinner!"

"What happened then?" asked Danusia.

"Immediately my hand became motionless, and from that moment I have been
crippled. I was young and stupid--I did not know! But I was punished. If
a woman fears that a brother of the Order wishes to do something wicked,
she must leave the judgment to God, but she must not resist herself,
because whosoever contradicts the Order or a brother of the Order, that
one will feel God's anger!"

Danusia listened to these words with fright and uneasiness; the sister
began to sigh and to complain.

"I am not old yet," said she; "I am only thirty years old, but besides
the hand, God has taken from me my youth and beauty."

"If it were not for the hand," said Danusia, "you need not complain."

Then there was silence. Suddenly the sister, as if she had just
remembered something, said:

"I dreamed that some knight wrapped you with a white mantle on the snow.
Perhaps it was a Krzyzak! They wear white mantles."

"I want neither Krzyzaks nor their mantles," answered the girl.

But further conversation was interrupted by the _ksiondz_ Wyszoniek, who
entering the room, nodded to Danusia and said:

"Praise God and come to Zbyszko! He has awakened and has asked for
something to eat. He is much better."

In fact it was so. Zbyszko was a great deal better, and the _ksiondz_
Wyszoniek was almost sure that he would recover, when an unexpected
accident upset all his expectations. There came envoys from Jurand with a
letter to the princess, containing dreadful news. In Spychow, half of
Jurand's _grodek_ had been burned, and he himself during the rescue was
struck by a beam. It is true that the _ksiondz_ Kaleb, who wrote the
letter, said that Jurand, would recover, but that the sparks had burned
his remaining eye so badly that there was very little sight left in it,
and he was likely to become blind.

For that reason, Jurand asked his daughter to come to Spychow as soon as
possible, because he wished to see her once more, before he was entirely
encompassed by darkness. He also said that she was to remain with him,
because even the blind, begging on the roads, had some one to lead them
by the hand and show them the way; why should he be deprived of that
pleasure and die among strangers? There were also humble thanks for the
princess, who had taken care of the girl like a mother, and finally
Jurand promised that, although blind, he would go to Warszawa once more,
in order to fall at the lady's feet and beg her for further favor for

The princess, when the _ksiondz_ Wyszoniek had finished reading the
letter, could not say a word for some time. She had hoped that when
Jurand came to see his daughter and her, she would be able by the
prince's and her own influence to obtain his consent for the wedding of
the young couple. But this letter, not only destroyed her plans, but in
the meanwhile deprived her of Danusia whom she loved as well as she did
her own children. She feared that Jurand would marry the girl to some
neighbor of his, so as to spend the rest of his life among his own
people. It was no use to think about Zbyszko--he could not go to Spychow,
and then who knew how he would be received there. The lady knew that
Jurand had refused to give him Danusia; and he had said to the princess
herself that on account of some secret reason, he would never consent to
their marriage. Therefore in great grief she ordered the principal
messenger to be brought to her, as she desired to ask him about the
Spychowski misfortune, and also to learn something about Jurand's plans.

She was very much surprised when a stranger came instead of the old
Tolima, who used to bear the shield after Jurand and usually carried his
messages; but the stranger told her that Tolima had been seriously
injured in the last fight with the Germans and that he was dying in
Spychow; Jurand being very ill himself, asked her to send his daughter
immediately, because every day he saw less and less, and perhaps in a few
days he would become blind. The messenger begged the princess to permit
him to take the girl immediately after the horses were rested, but as it
was already dusk she refused; especially as she did not wish to distress
Zbyszko and Danusia by such a sudden separation.

Zbyszko already knew all about it, and he was lying like one stricken by
a heavy blow; when the princess entered, and wringing her hands, said
from the threshold:

"We cannot help it; he is her father!" he repeated after her like an
echo: "We cannot help it----" then closed his eyes, like a man who
expects death immediately.

But death did not come; but in his breast there gathered a still greater
grief and through his head ran sad thoughts, like the clouds which driven
by the wind, obstruct the sun and quench all joy in the world. Zbyszko
understood as well as the princess did, that if Danusia were once in
Spychow, she would be lost to him forever. Here everybody was his friend;
there Jurand might even refuse to receive him, or listen to him,
especially if he were bound by a vow, or some other unknown reason as
strong as a religious vow. Then how could he go to Spychow, when he was
sick and hardly able to move in bed. A few days ago, when the prince
rewarded him with the golden spurs, he had thought that his joy would
conquer his illness, and he had prayed fervently to God to be permitted
to soon rise and fight with the Krzyzaks; but now he had again lost all
hope, because he felt that if Danusia were not at his bedside, then with
her would go his desire for life and the strength to fight with death.
What a pleasure and joy it had been to ask her several times a day: "Do
you love me?" and to see how she covered her smiling and bashful eyes, or
bent and answered: "Yes, Zbyszko."

But now only illness, loneliness and grief would remain, and the
happiness would depart and not return.

Tears shone in Zbyszko's eyes and rolled slowly down on his cheeks; then
he turned to the princess and said:

"Gracious lady, I fear that I shall never see Danusia again."

And the lady being sorrowful herself, answered:

"I would not be surprised if you died from grief; but the Lord Jesus is

After a while, however, wishing to comfort him, she added:

"But if Jurand die first, then the tutelage will be the prince's and
mine, and we will give you the girl immediately."

"He will not die!" answered Zbyszko.

But at once, evidently some new thought came to his mind, because he
arose, sat on the bed and said in a changed voice:

"Gracious lady----"

At that moment Danusia interrupted him; she came crying and said from the

"Zbyszku! Do you know about it already! I pity _tatus_, but I pity you
also, poor boy!"

When she approached, Zbyszko encircled his love with his well arm, and
began to speak:

"How can I live without you, my dearest? I did not travel through rivers
and forest, I did not make the vow to serve you, that I might lose you.
Hej! sorrow will not help, crying will not help, bah! even death itself,
because even if the grass grow over me, my soul will not forget you, even
if I am in the presence of the Lord Jesus or of God the Father--I say,
there must be a remedy! I feel a terrible pain in my bones, but you must
fall at the lady's feet, I cannot--and ask her to have mercy upon us."

Danusia hearing this, ran quickly to the princess' feet, and having
seized them in her arms, she hid her face in the folds of the heavy
dress; the lady turned her compassionate but also astonished eyes to
Zbyszko, and said:

"How can I show you mercy? If I do not let the child go to her sick
father, I will draw God's anger on myself."

Zbyszko who had been sitting on the bed, slipped down on the pillows and
did not answer for a time because he was exhausted. Slowly, however, he
began to move one hand toward the other on his breast until he joined
them as in prayer.

"Rest," said the princess; "then you may tell me what you wish; and you,
Danusia, arise and release my knees."

"Relax, but do not rise; beg with me," said Zbyszko.

Then he began to speak in a feeble and broken voice:

"Gracious lady--Jurand was against me in Krakow--he will be here also,
but if the _ksiondz_ Wyszoniek married me to Danusia, then--afterward she
may go to Spychow because there is no human power that could take her
away from me----"

These words were so unexpected to the princess, that she jumped from the
bench; then she sat down again and as if she had not thoroughly
understood about what he was talking, she said:

"For heaven's sake! the _ksiondz_ Wyszoniek."

"Gracious lady! Gracious lady!" begged Zbyszko.

"Gracious lady!" repeated Danusia, embracing the princess' knees.

"How could it be done without her father's permission?"

"God's law is the stronger!" answered Zbyszko.

"For heaven's sake!"

"Who is the father, if not the prince? Who is the mother, if not you,
gracious lady?"

And Danusia added:

"Dearest _matuchna_!"[104]

"It is true, that I have been and am still like a mother to her," said
the princess, "and Jurand received his wife from my hand. It is true! And
if you are once married--everything is ended. Perhaps Jurand will be
angry, but he must be obedient to the commands of the prince, his lord.
Then, no one need tell him immediately, only if he wanted to give the
girl to another, or to make her a nun; and if he has made some vow, it
will not be his fault that he cannot fulfill it. Nobody can act against
God's will--perhaps it is God's will!"

"It cannot be otherwise!" exclaimed Zbyszko.

But the princess, still very much excited, said:

"Wait, I must collect my thoughts. If the prince were here, I would go to
him immediately and would ask him: 'May I give Danusia to Zbyszko or
not?' But I am afraid without him, and there is not much time to spare,
because the girl must go to-morrow! Oh, sweet Jesus, let her go
married--then there will be peace. But I cannot recover my senses
again--and then I am afraid of something. And you Danusia, are you not

"I will die without that!" interrupted Zbyszko.

Danusia arose from the princess' knees; she was not only really on
confidential terms with the good lady, but also much spoiled by her;
therefore she seized her around the neck, and began to hug her.

But the princess said:

"I will not promise you anything without Father Wyszoniek. Run for him

Danusia went after Father Wyszoniek; Zbyszko turned his pale face toward
the princess, and said:

"What the Lord Jesus has destined for me will happen; but for this
consolation, may God reward you, gracious lady."

"Do not bless me yet," answered the princess, "because we do not know
what will happen. You must swear to me upon you honor, that if you are
married, you will not prevent the girl from going to her father, or else
you will draw his curse upon her and yourself.

"Upon my honor!" said Zbyszko.

"Remember then! And the girl must not tell Jurand immediately. We will
send for him from Ciechanow, and make him come with Danusia, and then I
will tell him myself, or I will ask the prince to do it. When he sees
that there is no remedy, he will consent. He did not dislike you?"

"No," said Zbyszko, "he did not dislike me; perhaps he will be pleased
when Danusia is mine. If he made a vow, it will not be his fault that he
could not keep it."

The conversation was interrupted by the entrance of Danusia and the
_ksiondz_ Wyszoniek. The princess immediately asked his advice and began
to tell him with great enthusiasm about Zbyszko's plan; but as soon as he
heard about it, he made the sign of the cross from astonishment and said:

"In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost! How can
I do it? It is advent!"

"For God's sake! That is true!" exclaimed the princess.

Then there was silence; only their sorrowful faces showed what a blow
those words of the _ksiondz_ Wyszoniek were to all of them.

Then he said after a while:

"If you had a dispensation, then I would not oppose it, because I pity
you. I would not ask for Jurand's permission, because our gracious lady
consents and, vouches for the prince's consent--well! they are the mother
and the father for the whole of Mazowsze. But without a bishop's
dispensation, I cannot. Bah! if the _ksiondz_ bishop of Kurdwanow were
with us, he would not refuse a dispensation, although he is a severe
priest, not like his predecessor, Bishop Mamphiolus, who used always to
answer: _Bene! Bene!_"

"Bishop Jacob of Kurdwanow loves the prince and myself very much," said
the lady.

"Therefore I say he would not refuse a dispensation, more so because
there are some reasons for one: the girl must go to her father and that
young man is ill and may die--Hm! _in articulo mortis!_ But without a
dispensation I cannot."

"I could obtain it afterward from Bishop Jacob; no matter how severe he
may be, he will not refuse me this favor. I guarantee, he will not
refuse," said the princess.

To this the _ksiondz_ Wjszoniek who was a good and easy man, replied:

"A word of the Lord's anointed is a great word. I am afraid of the
_ksiondz_ bishop, but that great word! Then the youth could promise
something to the cathedral in Plock. Well, as long as the dispensation
will not come, there will be a sin--and nobody's but mine. Hm! It is
true that the Lord Jesus is merciful and if any one sin not for his own
benefit, but on account of mercy for human misery, he forgives more
easily! But there will be a sin, and suppose the bishop should refuse,
who will grant me pardon?"

"The bishop will not refuse!" exclaimed Princess Anna.

And Zbyszko said:

"That man Sanderus, who came with me, has pardons ready for everything."

The _ksiondz_ Wyszoniek probably did not believe entirely in Sanderus'
pardons; but he was glad to have even a pretext so that he could help
Danusia and Zbyszko, because he loved the girl, whom he had known from
childhood. Then he remembered that at the worst, he would be punished
with church penitence, therefore turning toward the princess he said:

"It is true, I am a priest, but I am also the prince's servant. What do
you command, gracious lady?"

"I do not wish to command but to beg," answered the lady. "If that
Sanderus has pardons----"

"Sanderus has. But there is the question about the bishop. He is very
severe with the canons in Plock."

"Do not be afraid of the bishop. I have heard that he has forbidden the
priest to carry swords and crossbows and has forbidden different
licenses, but he has not forbidden them to do good."

The _ksiondz_ Wyszoniek raised his eyes and his hands, and said:

"Let it be according to your wish!"

At this word, joy filled their hearts. Zbyszko again sat on the bed and
the princess, Danusia and Father Wyszoniek sat round it and began to plan
how they should act.

They decided to keep it secret so that not a soul in the house should
know anything about it; they also decided that Jurand must not know until
the princess herself told him in Ciechanow about everything.

In the meanwhile, the _ksiondz_ Wyszoniek was to write a letter from the
princess to Jurand and ask him to come to Ciechanow, where he could find
better medicine and where he will not weary. Finally, they decided, that
Zbyszko and Danusia will go to confession, that the wedding ceremony will
be performed during the night, when everybody will retire.

The thought came to Zbyszko to have his shield-bearer, the Czech, as a
witness of the wedding; but he gave up the idea when he remembered that
he had received him from Jagienka. For a moment she stood in his memory
as though present, so that it seemed to him that he saw her blushing face
and her eyes full of tears, and heard her pleading voice say: "Do not do
that! Do not repay me with evil for good, nor with misery for love!" Then
at once great compassion for her seized him, because he felt that a great
wrong would be done her, after which she would find no consolation under
the roof of Zgorzelice, nor in the depths of the forest, nor in the
fields, nor in the abbot's gifts, nor in Cztan and Wilk's courtship.
Therefore he said inwardly: "Girl, may God give you the best of
everything, for although I am willing to bend the sky for you, I cannot."
In fact, the thought that he could not help it, immediately brought him
relief, and tranquillity returned, so that immediately he began to think
only about Danusia and the wedding.

But he was obliged to call the Czech to help him; therefore although he
determined not to say a word to him about what was going to happen, he
summoned him and said:

"To-day I am going to confession as well as to the Lord's table;
therefore you must dress me in my best clothing as if I were going to the
king's palace."

The Czech was a little afraid and began to look into his face; Zbyszko
having noticed this, said:

"Do not be alarmed, people do not go to confession only when they expect
to die; the holy days are coming, Father Wyszoniek and the princess are
going to Ciechanow, and then there will be no priest nearer than in

"And are you not going?" asked the shield-bearer.

"If I recover my health, then I will go; but that is in God's hands."

Therefore the Czech was quieted; he hurried to the chests, and brought
that white _jaka_ embroidered with gold, in which the knight used to
dress for great occasions, and also a beautiful rug to cover the bed;
then having lifted Zbyszko, with the help of the two Turks, he washed
him, and combed his long hair on which he put a scarlet zone; finally he
placed him on red cushions, and satisfied with his own work, said:

"If Your Grace were able to dance, you could celebrate even a wedding!"

"It will be necessary to celebrate it without dancing," answered Zbyszko,

In the meanwhile the princess was also thinking how to dress Danusia,
because for her womanly nature it was a question of great importance, and
under no consideration would she consent to have her beloved foster child
married in her everyday dress. The servants who were also told that the
girl must dress in the color of innocence for confession, very easily
found a white dress, but there was great trouble about the wreath for the
head. While thinking of it, the lady became so sad that she began to

"My poor orphan, where shall I find a wreath of rue for you in this
wilderness? There is none here, neither a flower, nor a leaf; only some
green moss under the snow."

And Danusia, standing with loosened hair, also became sorrowful, because
she wanted a wreath; after awhile, however, she pointed to the garlands
of immortelles, hanging on the walls of the room, and said:

"We must weave a wreath of those flowers, because we will not find
anything else, and Zbyszko will take me even with such a wreath."

The princess would not consent at first, being afraid of a bad omen; but
as in this mansion, to which they came only for hunting, there were no
flowers, finally the immortelles were taken. In the meanwhile, Father
Wyszoniek came, and received Zbyszko's confession; afterwards he listened
to the girl's confession and then the gloomy night fell. The servants
retired after supper, according to the princess' order. Some of Jurand's
men lay down in the servants' room, and others slept in the stables with
the horses. Soon the fires in the servants' room became covered with
ashes and were quenched; finally everything became absolutely quiet in
the forest house, only from time to time the dogs were heard howling at
the wolves in the direction of the wilderness.

But in the princess', Father Wyszoniek's and Zbyszko's rooms, the windows
were shining, throwing red lights on the snow which covered the
court-yard. They were waiting in silence, listening to the throbbing of
their own hearts--uneasy and affected by the solemnity of the moment
which was coming. In fact, after midnight, the princess took Danusia by
the hand and conducted her to Zbyszko's room, where Father Wyszoniek was
waiting for them. In the room there was a great blaze in the fireplace,
and by its abundant but unsteady light, Zbyszko perceived Danusia; she
looked a little pale on account of sleepless nights; she was dressed in a
long, stiff, white dress, with a wreath of immortelles on her brow. On
account of emotion, she closed her eyes; her little hands were hanging
against the dress, and thus she appeared like some painting on a church
window; there was something spiritual about her; Zbyszko was surprised
when he saw her, and thought that he was going to marry not an earthly,
but a heavenly being. He still thought this when she kneeled with crossed
hands to receive the communion, and having bent her head, closed her eyes
entirely. In that moment she even seemed to him as if dead, and fear
seized his heart. But it did not last long because, having heard the
priest's voice repeat: "_Ecce Agnus Dei_," his thoughts went toward God.
In the room there were heard only the solemn voice of Father Wyszoniek:
"_Domine, non sum dignus_," and with it the crackling of the logs in the
fireplace and the sound of crickets playing obstinately, but sadly, in
the chinks of the chimney. Outdoors the wind arose and rustled in the
snowy forest, but soon stopped.

Zbyszko and Danusia remained sometime in silence; the _ksiondz_ Wyszoniek
took the chalice and carried it to the chapel of the mansion. After a
while he returned accompanied by Sir de Lorche, and seeing astonishment
on the faces of those present, he placed his finger on his mouth, as if
to stop the cry of surprise, then he said:

"I understand; it will be better to have two witnesses of the marriage; I
warned this knight who swore to me on his honor and on the relics of
Aguisgranum to keep the secret as long as necessary."

Then Sir de Lorche first kneeled before the princess, then before
Danusia; then he arose and stood silently, clad in his armor, on which
the red light of the fire was playing. He stood motionless, as if plunged
in ecstasy, because for him also, that white girl with a wreath of
immortelles on her brow seemed like the picture of an angel, seen on the
window of a Gothic cathedral.

The priest put her near Zbyszko's bed and having put the stole round
their hands, began the customary rite. On the princess' honest face the
tears were dropping one after another; but she was not uneasy within,
because she believed she was doing well, uniting these two lovely and
innocent children. Sir de Lorche kneeled again, and leaning with both
hands on the hilt of his sword, looked like a knight who beholds a
vision. The young people repeated the priest's words: "I ... take you
..." and those sweet quiet words were accompanied again by the singing of
the crickets in the chimney and the crackling in the fireplace. When the
ceremony was finished, Danusia fell at the feet of the princess who
blessed them both, and finally intrusted them to the tutelage of heavenly
might; she said to Zbyszko:

"Now be merry, because she is yours, and you are hers."

Then Zbyszko extended his well arm to Danusia, and she put her little
arms round his neck; for a while one could hear them repeat to each

"Danuska, you are mine!"

"Zbyszku, you are mine!"

But soon Zbyszko became weak, because there were too many emotions for
his strength, and having slipped on the pillow, he began to breathe
heavily. But he did not faint, nor did he cease to smile at Danusia, who
was wiping his face which was covered with a cold perspiration, and he
did not stop repeating:

"Danuska, you are mine!" to which every time she nodded her fair head in

This sight greatly moved Sir de Lorche, who declared that in no other
country had he seen such loving and tender hearts; therefore he solemnly
swore that he was ready to fight on foot or on horseback with any knight,
magician or dragon, who would try to prevent their happiness. The
princess and Father Wyszoniek were witnesses of his oath.

But the lady, being unable to conceive of a marriage without some
merriment, brought some wine which they drank. The hours of night were
passing on. Zbyszko having overcome his weakness, drew Danusia to him and

"Since the Lord Jesus has given you to me, nobody can take you from me;
but I am sorry that you must leave me, my sweetest berry."

"We will come with _tatulo_ to Ciechanow," answered Danusia.

"If only you do not become sick--or--God may preserve you from some bad
accident.--You must go to Spychow--I know! Hej! I must be thankful to God
and to our gracious lady, that you are already mine--because we are
married and no human force can break our marriage."

But as this marriage was performed secretly during the night and
separation was necessary immediately afterward, therefore from time to
time, not only Zbyszko, but everybody was filled with sadness. The
conversation was broken. From time to time, also the fire was quenched
and plunged all heads in obscurity. Then the _ksiondz_ Wyszoniek threw
fresh logs on the charcoal and when something whined in the wood, as
happens very often when the wood is fresh, he said:

"Penitent soul, what do you wish?"

The crickets answered him and the increasing flames which brought out
from the shadow the sleepless faces, were reflected in Sir de Lorche's
armor, lighting in the meanwhile Danusia's white dress and the
immortelles on her head.

The dogs outside again began to howl in the direction of the forest, as
they usually do, when they scent wolves.

As the hours of the night flew on, oftener there was silence; finally the
princess said:

"Sweet Jesus! We had better go to bed if we are going to sit like this
after a wedding, but as it was determined to watch until morning, then
play for us, my little flower, for the last time before your departure,
on the little lute--for me and for Zbyszko."

"What shall I play?" asked she.

"What?" said the princess. "What else if not the same song which you sang
in Tyniec, when Zbyszko saw you for the first time."

"Hej! I remember--and shall never forget it," said Zbyszko. "When I heard
that song somewhere else--I cried."

"Then I will sing it!" said Danusia.

And immediately she began to thrum on the lute; then, having raised her
little head, she sang:

"If I only could get
The wings like a birdie,
I would fly quickly
To my dearest Jasiek!
I would then be seated
On the high enclosure;
Look, my dear Jasiulku,
Look on me, poor orphan."

But at once her voice broke, her mouth began to tremble and from beneath
the closed eyelids the tears began to flow down her cheeks. For a moment
she tried not to let them pass the eyelashes, but she could not keep them
back and finally she began to cry, exactly as she did the last time she
sang that song to Zbyszko in the prison in Krakow.

"Danuska! what is the matter, Danuska?" asked Zbyszko.

"Why are you crying? Such a wedding!" exclaimed the princess. "Why?"

"I do not know," answered Danusia, sobbing. "I am so sad! I regret
Zbyszko and you so much."

Then all became very sorrowful; they began to console her, and to explain
to her that she was not going to remain in Spychow a long time, but that
they would surely be with Jurand in Ciechanow for the holy days. Zbyszko
again encircled her with his arm, drew her to his breast and kissed the
tears from her eyes; but the oppression remained in all hearts, and thus
the hours of night passed.

Finally from the court-yard there resounded such a sudden and dreadful
noise, that all shivered. The princess, having rushed from the bench,

"For God's sake. The sweeps of the wells! They are watering the horses!"

And the _ksiondz_ Wyszoniek looked through the window, in which the glass
balls were growing gray and said:

"The night grows white and the day is coming. _Ave Maria, gratia

Then he left the room but having returned after a while, he said:

"The day breaks, but the day will be dark. Jurand's people are watering
their horses. Poor girl, you must be ready!"

The princess and Danusia began to cry very loudly and both, together with
Zbyszko, began to lament, as simple people do when they have to separate;
it was half lamenting and half singing, which flowed from full souls, in
a natural way, as the tears flow from the eyes.

"Hej! there is no use of lamenting,
We must separate, my darling,

Zbyszko nestled Danusia for the last time on his breast and kept her for
a long time, as long as he could breathe and until the princess drew her
from him, in order to dress her for the journey.

In the meanwhile it was broad daylight.

In the mansion everybody was up and moving round. The Czech came to
Zbyszko to ask about his health and to ascertain what were his orders.

"Draw the bed to the window," said the knight to him.

The Czech drew the bed to the window, very easily; but he was surprised
when Zbyszko told him to open it. He obeyed, however, only he covered his
master with his own fur coat, because it was cold outside, although
cloudy, and snow was falling.

Zbyszko began to look; in the court-yard, through the flakes of the
falling snow, one could see lights, and round them, on steaming horses,
Jurand's people were standing. All were armed. The forest was entirely
covered with the snow; one could hardly see the enclosures and the gate.

Danusia, all wrapped up in furs, rushed once more into Zbyszko's room;
once more she put her arms around his neck and bade him farewell:

"Although I am going, still I am yours."

He kissed her hands, her cheeks and her eyes, and said:

"May God protect you! May God lead you! You are mine, mine until death!"

When they again separated them, he raised himself as much as he could,
leaned his head on the window and looked out; consequently, through the
flakes of the snow, as through a veil, he saw Danusia sitting in the
sleigh, the princess holding her a long time in her arms, the ladies of
the court kissing her and the _ksiondz_ Wyszoniek making the sign of the
cross for the journey. Before the departure, she turned once more toward
him, stretched out her arms and exclaimed:

"Zbyszku, remain with God!"

"May God permit me to see you in Ciechanow!"

But the snow was falling abundantly, as though to deaden every sound, and
to cover everything; therefore those last words came muffled to their
ears, so that it seemed to each of them that they were already calling to
each other from afar.




After abundant snowfalls, heavy frost and dry, clear days set in. By day
the wood sparkled in the rays of the sun, the ice fettered the rivers and
hardened the marshes; serene nights followed in which the frost was
intensified to such a degree that the wood in the forest cracked loudly.
The birds approached the dwelling-places. Wolves rendered the roads
unsafe, gathering in packs and attacking not only solitary people, but
also villages. The people however enjoyed themselves at the firesides in
their smoky shanties, presaging from the intensely cold winter an
abundant year, and they waited gladly for the approaching holidays. The
princely Forest Court was deserted. The princess with the court and
priest Wyszoniek left for Ciechanow. Zbyszko, who, though considerably
improved, was not yet strong enough to ride on horseback, remained in the
Forest Court together with Sanderus, his Bohemian armor-bearer and the
servants of the place, who were under the superintendence of a
noble-woman fulfilling the household duties.

But the knight greatly yearned after his young wife. It is true, it was
an immensely consoling thought to him that Danusia was already his, and
that no human power could take her from him; but, on the other hand, that
same thought intensified his longing. For whole days he hoped for that
moment when he should be able to leave the court, and pondered on what he
should then do, where to go, and how to appease Jurand. He had, likewise,
bad and restless moments. But on the whole the future appeared joyful to
him. To love Danusia and pluck peacock plumes from helmets--such a life
would he lead. Many a time he desired to speak of it to his Bohemian whom
he loved, but he reflected, since the Bohemian, he thought, was with his
whole soul Jagienka's, it would be imprudent to speak to him about
Danusia, but he, bound to secrecy, could not tell everything that

However, his health improved daily. A week before Vigil (Christmas Eve)
he mounted his horse for the first time, and although he felt that he
could not do this in his armor, nevertheless he gathered confidence.
Besides, he did not expect soon to be obliged to put on the coat of mail
and helmet. At the worst he hoped soon to be strong enough to do that
too. Indoors, in order to kill time, he attempted to lift up the sword,
which he accomplished well, but the wielding of the axe seemed to him yet
a difficult task. Nevertheless, he believed that if he grasped the axe
with both hands he would be able to wield it effectively.

Finally, two days before the Vigil, he gave orders to repair the
carriage, saddle the horses, and notified the Bohemian that they were
going to Ciechanow. The faithful armor-bearer was somewhat anxious, the
more so on account of the intense frost out-of-doors. But Zbyszko said to

"Glowacz,[105] it concerns not your head, there is nothing for us in this
court, and even should I happen to be sick, I would not miss seeing the
old gentleman in Ciechanow. Moreover, I shall not ride on horseback, but
in a sleigh, up to the neck in hay and under furs, and only when quite
near Ciechanow shall I mount my horse."

And so it happened. The Bohemian knew his young master and was aware that
it was not good to oppose him, and still worse not to attend scrupulously
to his orders. Therefore they started at an early hour. At the moment of
departure, Zbyszko seeing Sanderus placing himself and his boxes in the
sleigh, said to him: "Why are you sticking to me like burs to sheep's
wool?... You told me you wished to go to Prussia."

"Yes, I said so," Sanderus replied. "But can I get there alone in such
snows? The wolves would devour me before the first star made its
appearance, and I have nothing to stay here for. I prefer the town, to
edify the people in godliness, and bestow upon them my holy wares and
rescue them from the devil's grasp, as I have sworn to the father of all
Christendom in Rome. Besides this, I am exceedingly attached to your
grace, whom I shall not leave before my return to Rome, for it may happen
that I may be enabled to render you some service."

"He is always for you, sir! He is ready to eat and drink for you," said
the Bohemian. "Such service he would be too glad to render, but if a pack
of wolves should happen to attack us in the forests near Przasnysz then I
shall feed the wolves with him, for he is unfit for anything else."

"Better take care that the sinful words don't freeze to your moustache,"
replied Sanderus, "for such icicles can only melt in hellfire."

"Owa!" replied Glowacz, reaching with his gauntlet to his incipient
moustache, "I shall first try to warm some beer for refreshment, but I'll
give none to you."

"But it is forbidden there to give drink to the thirsty,--another sin."

"I shall give you a pail full of water, but meanwhile take what I have in
my hand!" Thus saying he gathered as much snow as he could hold with both
gauntlets and threw it at Sanderus' beard, but the latter bent aside and

"There is nothing for _you_ in Ciechanow, for there is already a grown-up
bear that plays with snow."

Thus they loved to tease each other. But Zbyszko did not forbid Sanderus
to ride with him because that strange man amused him, and at the same
time it seemed to him that the man was really attached to him.

They moved from the Forest Court in the bright morning. The frost was so
intense that they had to cover the horses. The whole landscape was under
snow. The roofs of the cottages were covered and hardly visible. Smoke
seemed to issue directly from white hills, shooting up skyward, red-hued
in the morning, widening out on the roof like a brush, and looking like
the plumes on helmets.

Zbyszko sat in the sleigh, first to gather strength, secondly on account
of the severe cold, against which it was easy to protect oneself; he
commanded Glowacz to sit down beside him so as to be ready with the
crossbow against an attack of wolves, meanwhile he chatted with him

"In Przasnysz, we shall only feed the horses and warm ourselves a little
and then immediately continue our journey."

"To Ciechanow?"

"First to Ciechanow, to pay homage to the court and attend worship."

"After that?" inquired Glowacz.

Zbyszko smiled and replied,

"Afterward, who knows, may be to Bogdaniec."

The Bohemian looked at him with astonishment, the thought crossed his
mind: Maybe he has quarrelled with Jurandowna, and this seemed to him
most likely, because she had gone away. The Bohemian had also heard in
the Forest Court that the lord of Spychow was opposed to the young
knight, therefore the honest armor-bearer was glad although he loved
Jagienka, but he looked upon her as upon a star in heaven for whose
happiness he was willing even to shed his blood. He therefore loved
Zbyszko, and from his very soul he longed to serve both of them even unto

"Then your grace thinks to settle down on the estate," he exultingly

"How can I settle down on my estate," replied Zbyszko, "when I challenged
those Knights of the Cross, and even before that, I challenged
Lichtenstein. De Lorche said that the Master would invite the king to
visit Torun. I shall attach myself to the king's retinue, and I think
that at Torun, either _Pan_ Zawisza of Garbow or Powala of Taczew will
ask permission from our lord to allow me to fight those monks. They will
certainly come to fight accompanied by their armor-bearers; in that case
you will also have to meet them."

"If I were to kill any one, I should like him to be a monk," said the

Zbyszko looked at him with satisfaction. "Well, he will not fare well who
happens to feel your steel. God has given you great strength, but you
would act badly if you were to push it to excess, because humility is
becoming in the worthy armor-bearer."

The Bohemian shook his head as a sign that he would not waste his
strength, but would not spare it against the Germans.

Zbyszko smiled, not on account of what the armor bearer had said, but at
his own thoughts.

"The old gentleman will be glad when we return, and in Zgorzelice there
will also be joy."

Jagienka stood before Zbyszko's eyes as though she were sitting with him
in the sleigh. That always happened, whenever he thought of her he saw
her very distinctly.

"Well," he said to himself, "she will not be glad, for when I shall
return to Bogdaniec it will be with Danusia. Let her take somebody
else...." Here, the figures of Wills of Brzozowa, and young Cztan of
Rogow passed through his mind, and suddenly a disagreeable feeling crept
over him, because the girl might fall into the hands of one of them, and
he said to himself: "I wish I could find some better man, for those
fellows are beer-gulpers and gourmands, and the girl is upright." And he
thought of this and of that; of his uncle when he should learn what had
happened, it would be irksome, no matter how it turned out; but he
immediately consoled himself with the thought that with his uncle,
matters concerning kinship and wealth were always paramount, and these
could advance the interest of the family. Jagienka was indeed nearer, but
Jurand was a greater land owner than Zych of Zgorzelice. Moreover the
former could easily foresee that Macko could not be long opposed to such
a liaison, the more so when he should behold his nephew's love for
Danusia and her requital. He would grumble for a while, then he would be
glad and begin to love Danuska as his own daughter.

Suddenly his heart was moved with tenderness and yearning toward that
uncle who although a severe man, loved him like the pupil of his own eye;
that uncle cared for him on the battlefield more than for himself, he
took booty for him, and for his sake he was driven out from his estate.
Both of them were lonely in the world without near relatives, with only
distant ones like the abbot. Moreover, when the time arrived to separate
from each other, neither of them knew what to do, particularly the older
one, who no more desired anything for himself.

"Hej! he will be glad, he will be glad!" repeated Zbyszko to himself.
"Only one thing I should like,--that he should receive Jurand and me as
well as he would receive me by myself."

Then he attempted to imagine what Jurand would say and do when he learned
of the marriage. There was some alarm in this thought, but not too much
of it, for the simple reason that it was an accomplished fact. It would
not do for Jurand to challenge him to fight, and even should Jurand
oppose, Zbyszko could answer him thus: "Forbear, I ask you; your right to
Danuska is human, but mine is divine; she is therefore no more yours, but
mine." He once heard from a certain clergyman who was versed in the
Scriptures that the woman must leave her father and mother and go with
her husband. He felt therefore that the greater part of strength was in
his favor; nevertheless he did not expect that intense strife and passion
would arise between Jurand and himself, for he counted upon Danusia's
petition which would be granted, and quite as much, if not more, upon
that which would be obtained by the intercession of the prince under whom
Jurand was serving and that of the princess whom Jurand loved as the
protectress of his child.

Owing to the severe frosts, wolves appeared in such great packs, that
they even attacked people traveling together. Zbyszko was advised to
remain over night at Przasnysz, but he took no notice of it, because it
happened that, at the inn, they met some Mazovian knights with their
trains who were also on their way to meet the prince at Ciechanow, and
some armed merchants from that very place convoying loaded wagons from
Prussia. There was no danger to travel with such a great crowd; they
therefore started toward evening, although a sudden wind arose after
nightfall which chased the clouds, and snow began to fall. They traveled
keeping close to one another, but they advanced so slowly that it
occurred to Zbyszko that they would not arrive in time for the Vigil.
They were obliged to dig through the drift in some places where it was
impossible for the horses to pass through. Fortunately the road in the
woods was not obliterated. It was already dusk when they saw Ciechanow.

Were it not for the fire on the heights where the new castle stood, they
would not have known that they were so close to town, and would have
strayed much longer in the midst of the blinding snowstorm and gust of
wind. They were not sure whether fire was burning there in honor of the
guests at Christmas Eve, or whether it was put there according to some
ancient custom. But none of Zbyszko's companions thought about it, for
all were anxious to find a place of shelter in town as quickly as

Meanwhile the snowstorm constantly increased, the keen, freezing wind
carried immense snowclouds; it dragged at the trees, it howled, maddened,
it tore whole snowdrifts, carrying them upward, it shifted, heaved up,
and almost covered the sleighs and horses and struck the faces of the
occupants like sharp gravel; it stifled their breath and speech. The
sound of the bells fastened to the poles of the sleighs could not be
heard at all, but instead of it there were audible, in the midst of the
howling and whistling of the whirlwind, plaintive voices like the howling
of wolves, like distant neighing of horses, and at times like human
voices in great distress, calling for help. The exhausted horses began to
pant, and gradually slacken their pace.

"Hej! what a blizzard! what a blizzard!" said the Bohemian in a choking
voice. "It is fortunate, sir, that we are already near the town, and that
yonder fires are burning; if it were not for that we should fare badly."

"There is death for those who are in the field," answered Zbyszko, "but
even the fire I don't see there any more. The gloom is so thick that even
the fire is invisible; perhaps the wood and coal were swept away by the

The merchants and knights in the other wagons were saying: that should
the snowstorm carry off anybody from the seat, that one would never hear
the morning bell. But Zbyszko became suddenly alarmed and said:

"God forbid that Jurand should be anywhere on the road!"

The Bohemian, although entirely occupied in looking toward the fire, on
hearing the words of Zbyszko, turned his head and asked:

"Is the knight of Spychow expected?"


"With the young lady?"

"And the fire is really gone," answered Zbyszko.

And indeed the fire was extinguished, but, instead, several horsemen
appeared immediately in front of the horses and sleighs.

"Why dost thou follow?" cried the watchful Bohemian, grasping his
crossbow; "Who are you?"

"The prince's people, sent to assist the travelers."

"Jesus Christ be praised!"

"Forever and ever."

"Lead us to town," said Zbyszko.

"Is there nobody left behind?"


"Whence do you come?"

"From Przasnysz."

"Did you not meet other travelers on the road?"

"We met nobody, but they may be on other roads."

"People are searching on all roads, come with us, you lost your route! To
the right."

They turned the horses, and for some time nothing was perceptible but the
blast of the storm.

"Are there many guests in the castle?" asked Zbyszko, after a while.

The nearest horseman, who did not hear the question bent toward him.

"What did you say, sir?"

"I asked whether there were many guests at the prince's?"

"As customary: there are enough."

"But is the lord of Spychow there?"

"He is not there, but they expect him. People ware dispatched to meet him

"With torches?"

"If the weather permits."

They were unable to continue their conversation, for the boisterous
snowstorm was increasing in force.

"Quite a devil's marriage," said the Bohemian. Zbyszko, however, told him
to keep quiet, and not to conjure up the evil name.

"Dost thou not know," he said, "that on such a Holy Day, the devil's
power is subdued, and the devils hide themselves in the ice-holes? Once
the fishermen near Sandomierz on Christmas Eve found him in their net, he
had a pike in his mouth, but when the sound of the bells reached his
ears, he immediately fainted; they pounded him with their clubs till the
evening. The tempest is certainly vehement, but it is with the permission
of the Lord Jesus, who desires that the morrow shall be the more joyful."

"Bah! we were quite near the city," said Glowacz. "Yet if it were not for
these people, we should have strayed till midnight, since we had deviated
from the right path."

"Because the fire was extinguished."

Meanwhile they arrived in town. The snowdrifts in the streets were
larger, so big that in some places they even covered the windows, so much
so that the wayfarers could not see the light from within. But the storm
was not so much felt here. The streets were deserted. The inhabitants
were already celebrating the Christmas Eve festival. In front of some
houses, boys with small cribs and goats, in spite of the snowstorm, were
singing Christmas hymns. In the market-place there were seen men wrapped
up in pease straw imitating bears; otherwise the streets were deserted.
The merchants who accompanied Zbyszko and the noblemen on the road,
remained in town, but they continued their journey toward the prince's
residence in the old castle, and, as the windows of the castle were made
of glass, the bright light, notwithstanding the blizzard, cast its rays
upon the advancing party.

The drawbridge over the moat was lowered, because the Lithuanian
incursions of old had diminished, and the Knights of the Cross, who
carried on war against the King of Poland, were now themselves seeking
the friendship of the Prince of Mazowsze. One of the prince's men blew
the horn and immediately the gate was opened. There were in it several
archers, but upon the walls and palisades there was not a living soul
when the prince permitted the guard to go out. Old Mrokota, who had
arrived two days before, went out to meet the guests, and greeted them in
the name of the prince and brought them into the house where they could
prepare themselves properly for table.

Zbyszko immediately asked him for news of Jurand of Spychow, but he
replied that he had not arrived, but was expected because he promised to
come, and that if he were very ill he would send word. Nevertheless
several horsemen were sent out to meet him, for even the oldest men did
not remember such a blizzard.

"Then he may soon be here."

"I believe he will soon be here. The princess ordered dishes for them
near the common table."

But Zbyszko, although he was somewhat anxious about Jurand, was
nevertheless glad in his heart, and said to himself: "Though I do not
know what to do, yet one thing is certain, my wife is coming, my woman,
my most beloved Danuska." When he repeated those words to himself, he
could hardly believe his own happiness. Why, he reflected, it may be that
she has already confessed all to her father, she may have moved him to
pity and begged him to give her up at once. "In truth, what else could he
do? Jurand is a clever fellow, he knows, that although he keeps her from
me, I shall nevertheless take her away, for my right is stronger."

Whilst he was dressing himself he conversed with Mrokota, inquiring after
the prince's health and specially that of the princess, whom he loved
like his mother since that time when he sojourned in Krakow. He was glad
to learn that everybody in the castle was well and cheerful, although the
princess greatly yearned after her beloved songstress. Jagienka now
played the lute for her and the princess loved her much, but not as much
as the songstress.

"Which Jagienka?" inquired Zbyszko with astonishment.

"Jagienka of Wielgolasu, the granddaughter of the old lord of Wielgolasu.
She is a fine girl. The Lotarynczyk[106] fell in love with her."

"Then is Sir de Lorche here?"

"Where then should he be? He has been here since he arrived from the
Forest Court, for it is well to be here. Our prince never lacks guests."

"I shall be glad to see him, he is a knight with whom none can find

"And he also loves you. But let us go, their Highnesses will soon be at
the table."

They went into the dining hall where big fires burned in the two
fireplaces and they were taken care of by the servants.

The room was already filled with guests and courtiers. The prince entered
first accompanied by the Voyevode and several life guards. Zbyszko knelt
and kissed his hands.

The prince pressed Zbyszko's head, then he took him aside and said:

"I know it all already, I was displeased at first, because it was done
without my permission, but there was no time, for I was then in Warsaw
where I intended to spend the holidays. It is a well-known fact that, if
a woman desires anything, opposition is useless, and you gain nothing by
it. The princess wishes you well like a mother, and I always desire to
please rather than to oppose her wishes, in order to spare her trouble
and tears."

Zbyszko bowed again to the prince's knees.

"God grant that I may requite your princely love."

"Praise His name that you are already well. Tell the princess how I
received you with good wishes, so that she may be pleased. As I fear God,
her joy is my joy! I shall also say a good word in your behalf to Jurand,
and I think that he will consent, for he too loves the princess."

"Even if he refused to give her to me, my right stands first."

"Your right stands first and must be acknowledged, but a blessing might
fail you. Nobody can forcibly wrest her from you, but without a father's
blessing God's is also lacking."

Zbyszko felt uneasy on hearing these words, for he had never before
thought about it; but at that moment the princess entered, accompanied by
Jagienka of Wielgolasu and other court ladies; he hastened to bow before
her, but she greeted him even more graciously than the prince had done,
and at once began to tell him of the expectation of Jurand's arrival.
"Here are the covers ready for him, and people have been dispatched to
guide them through the snowdrifts. We shall not wait any longer for them
with the Christmas Eve supper, for the prince does not approve of it, but
they will be here before supper is over."

"As far as Jurand is concerned," continued the princess, "he will be here
in God's good time. But I shall tell him all to-day or to-morrow after
the shepherd service (pasterce), and the prince also promised to say a
word in your behalf. Jurand is obstinate but not with those whom he
loves, nor those to whom he owes obedience."

Then she began to instruct Zbyszko how he should act with his
father-in-law, and that God forbid he should anger him or rouse his
obstinacy. It was apparently good advice, but an experienced eye looking
at Zbyszko and then at her could discern in her words and looks a certain
alarm. It may be because the lord of Spychow was not an accommodating
man, and it may also be that the princess was somewhat uneasy at his
non-appearance. The storm increased in strength, and all declared that if
any one were caught in the open country he would not survive. The
princess, however, concluded that Danuska had confessed to her father her
marriage to Zbyszko, and he being offended, was resolved not to proceed
to Ciechanow. The princess however, did not desire to reveal her thoughts
to Zbyszko; there was not even time to do so, for the servants brought in
the viands and placed them on the table. Nevertheless Zbyszko endeavored
to follow her up and make further inquiries.

"And if they arrive, what will happen then, beloved lady? Mrokota told me
that there are special quarters set apart for Jurand; there will be hay
enough for bedding for the chilled horses. How then will it be?"

The princess laughed and tapped him lightly on the face with her glove
and said: "Be quiet, do you see him?"

And she went toward the prince and was assisted to a chair. One of the
attendants placed before the prince a flat dish with thin slices of cake,
and wafers, which he was to distribute among the guests, courtiers and
servants. Another attendant held before the prince a beautiful boy, the
son of the castellan of Sokhochova. On the other side of the table stood
Father Wyszoniek who was to pronounce a benediction upon the fragrant

At this moment, a man covered with snow entered and cried: "Most Gracious

"What is it?" said the prince. "Is there no reverence; they have
interrupted him in his religious ceremonies."

"Some travelers are snowbound on the road to Radzanow, we need people to
help us to dig them out."

On hearing this all were seized with fear--the prince was alarmed, and
turning toward the castellan of Sokhochova, he commanded:

"Horses and spades! Hasten!"

Then he said to the man who brought the news: "Are there many under the

"I could not tell, it blew terribly; there are a considerable number of
horses and wagons."

"Do you not know who they are?"

"People say that they belong to Jurand of Spychow."


When Zbyszko heard the ill tidings, he did not even ask the prince's
permission, but hastened to the stable and ordered his horse to be
saddled. The Bohemian, being a noble-born armor-bearer, met Zbyszko in
the hall before he returned to the house, and brought him a warm fur
coat, yet he did not attempt to detain his young master, for he possessed
strong natural sense; he knew that detention would be of no avail, and
only loss of time, he therefore mounted the second horse and seized some
torches from the guard at the gate, and started at once together with the
prince's men who were under the management of the old castellan.
Impenetrable darkness enveloped them beyond the gate, but the storm
seemed to them to have moderated; were it not for the man who notified
them of the accident, they would have lost their way at once; but he had
a trained dog with him which being acquainted with the road, enabled him
to proceed safely and quickly. In the open field the storm again
increased and began to cut their faces. It may be because they galloped.
The road was filled with snow, so much so that in some places they were
obliged to slacken their speed, for the horses sank up to their bellies
in snow. The prince's people lighted their torches and fire-pots and
moved on amid smoke and flames; the wind blew with such force as though
it endeavored to tear the flames from the torches and carry them over the
field and forest. It was a long journey. They passed the settlement near
Ciechanow, then they passed Niedzborz, then they turned toward Radzanow.

The storm began really to subside beyond Niedzborz; the gusts of wind
were less frequent and no longer carried immense snowclouds. The sky
cleared. Some snow yet drifted from the hills, but it soon ceased. The
stars appeared here and there between the broken clouds. The horses began
to snort, the horsemen breathed freely. The stars came out by degrees and
it began to freeze. In a short time the storm subsided entirely.

Sir de Lorche who rode beside Zbyszko began to comfort him, saying, that
Jurand undoubtedly in moments of peril thought of his daughter's safety
above everything, and although all those buried in the snow should be
found dead, she undoubtedly would be discovered alive, probably sleeping
in her fur robes. But Zbyszko understood him not, in fact he had no time
to listen to him. When, after a little while, the guide who was riding in
front of them turned from the road, the young knight moved in front and

"Why do we deviate from the road?"

"Because they are not covered up on the road, but yonder! Do you observe
that clump of alders?"

And he pointed with his hand to the darkening in the distant thicket
which could be seen plainly on the white snow-covered expanse, when the
clouds unveiled the moon's disk and the night became clear.

"They have apparently wandered from the road; they turned aside and moved
in a small circle along the river; in the wind and drifting snow, it is
quite easy to go astray. They moved on and on as long as the horses did
not give out."

"How did you find them?"

"The dog led us."

"Are there any huts near here?"

"Yes, but they are on the other side of the river. Close here is Wkra."

"Whip up the horses," commanded Zbyszko.

But the command was easier than the execution of the order. The piled up
snow upon the meadow was not yet frozen firm, and the horses sank
knee-deep in the drifts; they were therefore obliged to move slowly.
Suddenly they heard the barking of a dog; directly in front of them there
was the deformed thick stump of a willow-tree upon which glistened in the
light of the moon a crown of leafless twigs.

"They are farther off," said the guide, "they are near the alder clump,
but it seems that here also there might be something."

"There is much drift under the willow-tree. Bring a light."

Several attendants dismounted and lit up the place with their torches.
One of them soon exclaimed:

"There is a man under the snow, his head is visible. Here!"

"There is also a horse," said another.

"Dig them out!"

They began to remove the snow with their spades and throw it aside.

In a moment they observed a human being under the tree, his head upon his
chest, and his cap pulled down over his face. One hand held the reins of
the horse that lay beside him with its nostrils buried in the snow. It
was obvious that the man must have left the company, probably with the
object of reaching a human habitation as quickly as possible in order to
secure help, and when the horse fell he had then taken refuge under the
lee of the willow-tree.

"Light!" shouted Zbyszko.

The attendant brought the torch near the face of the frozen man, but his
features could not be distinguished. Only when a second attendant lifted
the head from the chest, they all exclaimed with one accord:

"It is the lord of Spychow!"

Zbyszko ordered two of his men to carry him to the nearest hut and try to
resuscitate him, but himself lost no time but hastened with the rest of
the attendants and the guide to rescue the rest of the retinue. On the
way it crossed Zbyszko's mind that perhaps he might find his wife Danuska
dead, and he urged on his horse who waded up to his breast in snow, to
his last breath.

Fortunately it was not distant, a few furlongs at most. In the darkness
voices were heard exclaiming: "_Byway_."[107] They were those who had
been left with the snow-covered people.

Zbyszko rushed in and jumped from his horse and shouted:

"To the spades!"

Two sleighs were dug out before they reached those in the rear. The
horses and the people in the sleighs were frozen to death, and past all
hope of reviving. The place where the other teams were could be
recognized by the heaps of snow, though not all the sleighs were entirely
covered with snow; in front of some of the sleighs were the horses up to
their bellies, in the posture of their last effort to run. In front of
one team there stood a man up to his belt in snow, holding a lance and
motionless as a post; in front of the others were dead attendants holding
the horses by their muzzles. Death had apparently overtaken them at the
moment when they attempted to extricate the horses from the drifts. One
team, at the very end of the train, was not at all in the drift. The
driver sat in front bent, his hands protecting his ears, but in the rear
lay two people, who, owing to the continuous, long snow-fall, were
completely covered. On their breasts, to escape the drift, they lay
closely side by side, and the snow covered them like a blanket. They
seemed to be sleeping peacefully. But others perished, struggling hard
with the snow-drift to the last moment, their benumbed position
demonstrated the fact. A few sleighs were upset, others had their poles
broken. The spades now and then uncovered horses' backs, bent like bows,
and jaws biting the snow. People were within and beside the sleighs. But
there was no woman in any of the sleighs. At times even Zbyszko labored
with the spade till his brow was covered with perspiration, and at others
he looked with palpitating heart into the eyes of the corpses, perchance
to discover the face of his beloved. But all in vain. The faces which the
torchlight revealed were those of whiskered soldiers of Spychow. Neither
Danusia nor any other woman was there.

"What does it mean?" the young knight asked himself with astonishment.

He hailed those working at a distance and inquired whether they had come
across anything else, but they too only found the corpses of men. At last
the work was finished. The servants hitched their own horses to the
sleighs, placed the corpses in them and drove to Niedzborz, to make an
attempt there in the warm mansion, to restore some of the dead to life.
Zbyszko, the Bohemian and two attendants remained. It crossed his mind
that the sleigh containing Danusia might have separated from the train,
or that Jurand's sleigh, as might be supposed, was drawn by his best
horses and had been ordered to drive in front; and it might also be that
Jurand had left her somewhere in one of the huts along the road. Zbyszko
did not know what to do. In any case he desired to examine closely the
drifts and grove, and then return and search along the road.

But nothing was found in the drifts. In the grove he only saw several
glistening wolves' eyes, but nowhere discovered any traces of people or
horses. The meadow between the woods and road now sparkled in the shiny
light of the moon, and upon its white mournful cover he really espied
dark spots, but those were only wolves that quickly vanished at the
approach of people.

"Your grace!" finally said the Bohemian. "Our search is in vain, for the
young lady of Spychow was not in the train."

"To the road!" replied Zbyszko.

"We shall not find her there either. I looked well in the sleighs for any
baskets containing ladies' finery, but I discovered none. The young lady
remained in Spychow."

This supposition struck Zbyszko as correct, he therefore said:

"God grant it to be as you say!"

But the Bohemian penetrated further into his thoughts, and proceeded with
his reasoning.

"If she were in one of the sleighs the old gentleman would not have
separated from her, or when he left the train he would have taken her
with him on horseback, and we should have found her with him."

"Come, let us go there once more," said Zbyszko, in a restless voice. It
struck him that the Bohemian might be right, perhaps they had not
searched enough where the old man was discovered, perhaps Jurand had
taken Danusia with him on horseback, and when the horse fell, she had
left her father in search of assistance, in that case she might be
somewhere under the snow in the neighborhood.

But Glowacz as though divining his thoughts, said:

"In such a case ladies' apparel would have been found in the sleighs,
because she would not have left for the court with only her traveling

In spite of these reasonable suppositions they returned to the
willow-tree, but neither there nor for a furlong around did they discover
anything. The prince's people had already taken Jurand to Niedzborz, and
the whole neighborhood was a complete desolation. The Bohemian observed
further, that the dog that ran ahead of the guide and found Jurand would
also have discovered the young lady. Then Zbyszko breathed freely, for he
was almost sure that Danusia had remained at home. He was even able to
explain why she did so. Danusia had confessed all to her father, and he
was not satisfied with the marriage, and so purposely left her at home,
and went by himself to see the prince and bring an action, and ask for
his intercession with the bishop. At this thought Zbyszko could not help
feeling a certain sense of relief, and even gladness, when he
comprehended that by reason of Jurand's death all hindrances had
vanished. "Jurand was unwilling, but the Lord Jesus wants it," said the
young knight to himself, "and God's will is always the strongest." Now,
he had only to go to Spychow and fetch Danuska as his own and then
complete the nuptials. It is even easier to marry her on the frontier
than there in the distant Bogdaniec. "God's will! God's will!" he
repeated in his soul. But suddenly he felt ashamed of this premature joy
and turned to the Bohemian and said:

"Certainly I am sorry for him and I proclaim it aloud."

"They say that the Germans feared him like death," replied the Bohemian.

Presently he inquired:

"Shall we now return to the castle?"

"By way of Niedzborz," answered Zbyszko. When they called at Niedzborz
and then left for the court, where the old proprietor Zelech received
them, they did not find Jurand, but Zelech told them good news.

"They first rubbed him with snow almost to the bones, then poured wine
into his mouth and then put him in a scalding bath where he began to

"Is he alive?" joyfully asked Zbyszko, who on hearing the news forgot his
own interests.

"He lives, but as to his continuing to live God only knows, for the soul
that has arrived half way is unwilling to return."

"Why did they remove him?"

"The prince sent for him, and they have wrapped him up in as many feather
blankets as they could find in the house and carried him away."

"Did he say anything about his daughter?"

"He only began to breathe but did not recover speech."

"And the others?"

"They are already with God, and the poor fellows will no more be able to
attend the _pasterce_ (Christmas Eve feast) unless at that which the Lord
Jesus Himself will prepare in heaven."

"None else survived?"

"None. Come into the entrance hall, the place to converse, and if you
wish to see them, they lie along the fireside in the servants' room. Come

But they were in a hurry and did not wish to enter, although old Zelech
insisted, for he was glad to get hold of people in order to chat with
them. There was yet, quite a considerable distance from Niedzborz to
Ciechanow, and Zbyszko was burning like fire to see Jurand as soon as
possible and learn something from him.

They therefore rode as fast as they could along the snow-covered road.
When they arrived it was already after midnight, and the Christmas feast
(lit-Shepherd ceremony) was just ended in the castle chapel. Zbyszko
heard the lowing of oxen and the bleating of goats, which voices were
produced in accordance with the ancient religious custom, in remembrance
that the nativity took place in a stable. After the mass, the princess
came to Zbyszko. She looked distressed and frightened, and began to
question him:

"And Danuska?"

"Is she not here, has Jurand said nothing, for according to what I
gathered she lives?"

"Merciful Jesus!... God's punishment and woe to us! Jurand has not spoken
and he lies like a log."

"Fear not, gracious lady. Danuska remained in Spychow."

"How do you know?"

"Because there is no trace of ladies' apparel found in any of the
sleighs; she could not have left with only her traveling dress."

"True, as God is dear to me!"

Her eyes immediately were lit up with joy and after a while she

"Hej! It seems that Christ the Infant, who was born to-day is not angry
with you, but has a blessing upon us!"

The only thing which surprised her was the presence of Jurand without his
daughter. Then she continued questioning him:

"What caused him to leave her at home?"

Zbyszko explained to her his own reason, which seemed to her just, but
she did not comprehend it sufficiently.

"Jurand will now be thankful to us for his life," she said, "and forsooth
he owes it to you because you went to dig him out. His heart would be of
stone if he were still to continue his opposition to you. In this there
is also God's warning to him not to oppose the holy sacrament. I shall
tell him so as soon as he comes to his senses and is able to speak."

"It is necessary for him first to recover consciousness, because we do
not yet know why he has not brought Danuska with him. Perhaps she is

"Do not say that something has happened I I feel so much troubled that
she is not here. If she were sick he would not have left her."

"True!" said Zbyszko.

They went to Jurand. The heat in the room was intense, as in a bath. It
was light, because there were big pine logs in the fireplace. Father
Wyszoniek kept watch over the patient, who lay in bed, covered with a
bear-skin; his face was pale, his hair matted with perspiration, and his
eyes closed. His mouth was open, and his chest laboring with difficulty,
but with such force that his breathing moved the bear-skin covering up
and down.

"How is he doing?" inquired the princess.

"I poured a mug of hot wine into his mouth," replied the priest, "and
perspiration ensued."

"Is he asleep, or not?"

"Probably not, for he labors heavily."

"Did you try to speak to him?"

"We tried, but he did not answer, and I believe that he will not speak
before dawn."

"We will wait till the dawn," said the princess.

The priest insisted that she should retire but she paid no attention, for
she always in everything wished not to fall short of the late Queen
Jadwiga, in Christian virtues, in caring for the sick and to redeem with
her merits her father's soul; she therefore did not omit any opportunity
to make the old Christian country appear no worse than others, and by
this means to obliterate the remembrance that she was born in a heathen

Besides that, she was burning with desire to hear from Jurand's own lips
about Danusia, for she was much concerned about her. She therefore sat by
his bedside and began to tell her beads, and then dozed. Zbyszko who had
not yet entirely recovered and was moreover greatly fatigued by the night
journey, followed her example; and as the hours passed on, both fell
asleep, so soundly that they might have slept on till daylight, if they
had not awakened by the ringing of the bell of the castle chapel.

But the same sound also awoke Jurand, who opened his eyes and suddenly
sat up in bed and began to stare about him with blinking eyes.

"Praised be Jesus Christ!... How do you feel?" said the princess.

But he apparently had not yet regained consciousness, for he looked at
her as though he knew her not, and after awhile he exclaimed:

"Hurry! Be quick! Dig open the snowdrift."

"In the name of God, you are already in Ciechanow!" again replied the

Jurand wrinkled his brow like one who with difficulty tries to collect
his thoughts, and replied:

"In Ciechanow?... The child is waiting ... and ... principality ...
Danuska! Danuska!"

Suddenly, he closed his eyes and again fell back on the pillow. Zbyszko
and the princess feared lest he was dead, but at the same moment his
breast began to heave and he breathed deeply like one who is fast asleep.

Father Wyszoniek put his finger to his lips and motioned not to awake
him, then he whispered:

"He may sleep thus a whole day."

"So, but what did he say?" asked the princess.

"He said that the child waits in Ciechanow," Zbyszko replied.

"Because he does not remember," explained the priest.


Father Wyszoniek feared that even at Jurand's next awakening, he might be
stupefied and might not recover consciousness for a long time. Meanwhile
he promised the princess and Zbyszko to let them know when the old knight
could speak, and himself retired after they left. In fact Jurand first
awoke on the second Holy Day just before noon, but fully conscious. The
princess and Zbyszko were present. Therefore, sitting on the bed, he
looked at and recognized her and said:

"Your Highness ... for God's sake, am I in Ciechanow?"

"And you overslept the Holy Day," replied the lady.

"The snows covered me. Who saved me?"

"This knight: Zbyszko of Bogdaniec. You remember him in Krakow...."

And Jurand gazed with his sound eye at the youth for a moment and said:

"I remember ... but where is Danusia?"

"She did not ride with you?" anxiously inquired the princess.

"How could she ride with me, when I did not go to her?"

Zbyszko and the princess looked at each other, believing him to be still
speaking under the influence of the fever. Then the lady said: "Wake up,
for God's sake! There was no girl with, you?"

"Girl? With me?" inquired Jurand in amazement.

"Because your people perished, but she could not be found among them."

"Why did you leave her in Spychow?"

He then again repeated, but now with alarm in his voice:

"In Spychow? Why, she is with you, Your Highness, not with me!"

"However you sent a letter for her to the Forest Court."

"In the name of the Father and Son!" replied Jurand. "I did not send for
her at all."

Then the princess suddenly became pale:

"What is that?" she said, "are you positive that you are speaking in your
right senses?"

"For God's mercy, where is the child?" exclaimed Jurand, starting up.

Father Wyszoniek, on hearing this, quickly left the room, while the
princess continued:

"Listen: There arrived an armed retinue and a letter from you to the
Forest Court, for Danusia. The letter stated that you were knocked down
in a conflagration by a falling beam ... that you were half blinded and
that you wished to see the child.... They took Danusia and rode away...."

"My head swims!" exclaimed Jurand. "As there is a God in Heaven, there
was no fire in Spychow, nor did I send for her!"

At that moment Father Wyszoniek returned with the letter, which he handed
to Jurand and inquired: "Is not this your clerkly writing?"

"I do not know."

"And the seal?"

"It is mine."

"What does the letter say?"

Father Wyszoniek read the letter while Jurand listened, tearing his hair
and finally saying: "The writing is counterfeited! ... the seal is
false!... my soul! They have captured my child and will destroy her!"

"Who are they?"

"The Teutons!"

"For God's sake! The prince must be informed! He shall send messengers to
the master!" exclaimed the princess. "Merciful Jesus, save her and help!"
... and she left the room screaming.

Jurand jumped out of bed and began hurriedly to clothe his gigantic
frame. Zbyszko sat as if petrified, but in a few moments his tightly set
teeth began to gnash with rage.

"How do you know that the Teutons captured her?" asked Father Wyszoniek.

"By the Passion of our Lord, I'll swear!"

"Wait! ... It may be so. They came to complain about you to the Forest

"They wanted to take revenge on you..."

"And they captured her!" suddenly exclaimed Zbyszko. Then he hurried out
of the room, and running to the stables he ordered horses to be saddled
and harnessed to wagons, not knowing well himself why he did so. He only
knew that it was necessary to go to Danusia's assistance--at once--and
as far as Prussia--and there to tear her out of the foe's hands or

He then returned to the room to tell Jurand that the weapons and horses
would soon be ready. He was sure that Jurand would accompany him. His
heart was burning with rage, pain and sorrow,--but at the same time he
did not lose hope; it seemed to him that he and the formidable knight of
Spychow together would be able to accomplish everything--and that they
were equal to attacking the whole Teutonic force.

In the room, besides Jurand, he met Father Wyszoniek and the princess,
also the prince and de Lorche, as well as the old knight of Dlugolas,
whom the prince, having heard of the affair, summoned also to council on
account of his wisdom and extensive knowledge of the Teutons, who had
kept him for a number of years in slavery.

"It is necessary to set about it prudently, so as not to commit a sin in
blind fury and so lose the girl," said the knight of Dlugolas.

"A complaint must be instantly filed with the master and I will ride
thither, if His Highness will give me a letter to him."

"I will give the letter, and go with it," said the prince. "We will not
allow the child to be lost, so help me God and Holy Cross! The master
dreads war with the Polish king, and he is anxious to win over Semka, my
brother and myself.... They did not capture her at his command--and he
will order her return."

"And if it was by his orders?" inquired Father Wyszoniek.

"Although he is a Teuton, there is more honesty in him than in the
others," replied the prince; "and, as I told you, he would rather
accommodate me than make me angry now. The Jagiellonian power is no
laughter. Hej! They poured hog's grease under our skin as long as they
could, but they did not perceive that if also we Mazurs should assist
Jagiello, then it would be bad...."

But the knight of Dlugolas said, "That is true. The Teutons do nothing
foolishly; therefore, I think that if they have captured the girl, it is
either to disarm Jurand, or to demand a ransom, or to exchange her." Here
he turned to the knight of Spychow:

"Whom have you now among your prisoners of war?"

"Herr von Bergow," replied Jurand.

"Is he important?"

"It seems so."

De Lorche, hearing the name von Bergow, began to inquire about him, and,
having found out, said: "He is a relative of the Duke of Geldryi, a great
benefactor of the Order, and devoted to the Order from his birth."

"Yes," said the knight of Dlugolas, translating his words to those
present. "Von Bergow held high rank in the Order."

"Danveld and von Loeve strongly demanded him," remarked the prince.

"Whenever they opened their mouths, they said that von Bergow must be
free. As God is in Heaven they undoubtedly captured the girl, in order to
liberate von Bergow."

"Hence they will return her," said the prince.

"But it would be better to know where she is," replied the knight of
Dlugolas. "But suppose the master asks: 'Whom shall I order to return
her?' what shall we say then?"

"Where is she?" said Jurand, in a hollow voice. "They certainly are not
keeping her on the border, for fear that I might recover her, but they
have taken her somewhere to a far secret hold or to the sea."

But Zbyszko said: "I will find and recover her."

The prince now suddenly burst out with suppressed anger: "Villains
carried her off from my court, disgracing me as well, and this shall not
be forgiven as long as I live. I have had enough of their treacheries!
enough of their assaults! I would rather have wolves for neighbors! But
now the master must punish these lords and return the girl, and send
messengers with apologies to me, otherwise I will send out a call to

Here he struck the table with his fist and added:

"Owa! The lord of Plock will follow me, and Witold and King Jagiello's
forces! Following enough! Even a saint would snort away his patience. I
have had enough!"

All were silent, waiting until his anger had quieted down; but Anna
Danuta rejoiced that the prince took Danusia's affair so to heart; she
knew that he was long-suffering, but stubborn also, and when he once
undertook anything he never relinquished it until he attained his object.

Then Father Wyszoniek rose to speak. "There was of old a rule in the
Order," he said, "that no lord was permitted to do anything on his own
responsibility without the permission of the assembly or the master.
Therefore God gave them such extensive territories that they almost
exceed all other earthly powers. But now they know neither obedience,
truth, honesty, nor belief. Nothing but greed and such ravage as if they
were wolves and not human beings. How can they obey the master's commands
or those of the assembly, if they do not even obey God's commandments?
Each one resides in his castle like an independent prince--and one
assists another in doing evil. I shall complain to the master--but they
will deny it. The master will order them to restore the girl, but they
will refuse to do so, or they will say: 'She is not here, because we have
not captured her.' He will command them to take oath and they will do so.
What shall we do then?"

"What to do?" rejoined the knight of Dlugolas. "Let Jurand go to Spychow.
If they did carry her off for ransom, or to exchange her for von Bergow,
then they must and will inform no one but Jurand."

"Those who used to visit the Forest Court captured her," said the priest.

"Then the master will submit them to trial, or order them to give Jurand
the field."

"They must give me the field," exclaimed Zbyszko, "because I challenged
them first!"

And Jurand removed his hands from his face and inquired: "Which of them
were in the Forest Court?"

"There were Danveld, old von Loeve, and two brethren, Godfried and
Rotgier," replied the priest.

"They made complaint and wished the prince to order you to release von
Bergow from imprisonment. But the prince, being informed by de Fourcy
that the Germans were the first to attack you, rebuked and dismissed them
without satisfaction."

"Go to Spychow," said the prince, "because they will apply to you there.
They failed to do it till now, because this young knight's follower
crushed Danveld's arm when bearing the challenge to them. Go to Spychow,
and if they apply, inform me. They will send your daughter back in
exchange for von Bergow, but I shall nevertheless take vengeance, because
they disgraced me also by carrying her off from my court."

Here the prince began to get angry again, for the Teutons had entirely
exhausted his patience, and after a moment he added:

"Hej! They blew and blew the fire, but they will end by burning their

"They will deny it," repeated the priest Wyszoniek.

"If they once inform Jurand that the girl is with them, then they will
not be able to deny it," somewhat impatiently replied Mikolaj of
Dlugolas. "He believes that they are not keeping her on the border, and
that, as Jurand has justly pointed out, they have carried her to some
distant castle or to the seashore, but if there be proof that they are
the perpetrators, then they will not disclaim it before the master."

But Jurand said in a strange and, at the same time, terrible tone:
"Danveld, von Loeve, Godfried and Rotgier."

Mikolaj of Dlugolas also recommended that experienced and shrewd people
be sent to Prussia, to find out whether Jurand's daughter was there, and
if not, whither she had been taken; then the prince took the staff in his
hand and went out to give the necessary orders; the princess again turned
to Jurand to speak encouraging words:

"How are you?" she inquired.

He did not reply for a moment, as if he had not heard the question, but
then he suddenly said:

"As if one had struck me in an old wound."

"But trust in God's mercy; Danusia will come back as soon as you return
von Bergow to them. I would willingly sacrifice my own blood."

The princess hesitated whether to say anything about the marriage now,
but, considering a little, she did not wish to add new worries to
Jurand's already great misfortunes, and at the same time she was seized
with a certain fear. "They will look for her with Zbyszko; may he find an
occasion to tell him," she said to herself, "otherwise he may entirely
lose his mind." She therefore preferred to discuss other matters.

"Do not blame us," she said. "People wearing your livery arrived with a
writing under your seal, informing us that you were ill, that your eyes
were closing, and that you wished to look once more upon your child. How
could we oppose it and not obey a father's command?"

But Jurand embraced her feet. "I do not blame anybody, gracious lady."

"And know also that God will return her to you, because His eye is upon
her. He will send her succor, as He did at the last hunt, when a fierce
wild bull attacked us--and Jesus inspired Zbyszko to defend us. He almost
lost his own life, and was ill for a long time afterward, but he saved
Danusia and me, for which he received a girdle and spurs from the prince.
You see!... God's hand is over her. Surely, the child is to be pitied! I,
myself, am greatly grieved. I thought she would arrive with you, and that
I should see the dear child, but meanwhile" ... and her voice trembled,
tears fell from her eyes, and Jurand's long repressed despair burst out
for a moment, sudden and terrible as a tempest. He took hold of his long
hair, and began to beat his head against the wall, groaning and repeating
in husky tones: "Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!"

But Zbyszko sprang to his side, and shaking him by the shoulders with all
his might, exclaimed:

"We must go! To Spychow!"


"Whose retinue is this?" inquired Jurand, suddenly starting from musing,
as if from sleep, beyond Radzanow.

"Mine," replied Zbyszko.

"And did all my people perish?"

"I saw them dead in Niedzborz."

"Have you no old comrades?"

Zbyszko made no reply, and they traveled on in silence, but hurriedly,
because they wanted to get to Spychow as quickly as possible, hoping
possibly to meet some Teutonic messengers there. To their good fortune
the frosts set in again, and the highways were firm, so that they could
make haste.

Toward evening Jurand spoke again, and began to inquire about those
brethren of the Order who were at the Forest Court, and Zbyszko narrated
everything--their complaints, their departure, the death of de Fourcy,
his follower's action in crushing Danveld's arm so terribly, and, as he
spoke, one circumstance recurred strikingly to his mind, namely the
presence in the Forest Court of that woman who brought the healing
balsams from Danveld. During the bait, he commenced therefore to inquire
of the Bohemian and Sanderus about her, but neither knew exactly what had
become of her. It seemed to them, that she had left either in company
with those people, who came for Danusia, or soon after them. It now
occurred to Zbyszko's mind, that this might have been some one sent for
the purpose of warning the people in case Jurand should happen to be at
the court in person. In that case they would not claim to have come from
Spychow, but could have prepared another missive to give to the princess
instead of Jurand's fictitious letter. All this had been arranged with
hellish dexterity, and the young knight, who so far had known the Teutons
only from the battlefield, thought for the first time, that the fist was
not sufficient for them, but that they must be overcome with the head as
well. This was a sullen thought for him, because his great sorrow and
pain had become concentrated into a desire for fight and blood. Even help
for Danusia in his mind took the form of a series of battles either in
troops or singly; and now he perceived that it might be necessary to
restrain his desire for revenge and splitting of heads, like a bear on a
chain, and seek new means of saving and recovering Danusia. While
thinking of this, he felt sorry that Macko was not with him. Macko was as
cunning as he was brave. He secretly determined to send Sanderus from
Spychow to Szczytno, in order to find that woman and to try to learn from
her what had happened to Danusia. He said to himself that, even if
Sanderus wished to betray him, he could do little harm in the matter, and
on the contrary might render great service, because his trade gained
admittance for him everywhere. However, he wished to consult Jurand
first, but postponed it until their arrival in Spychow, the more so
because night came on, and it seemed to him, that Jurand, sitting on a
knight's high saddle, had fallen asleep from fatigue, exhaustion and
great anxiety. But Jurand rode with a bowed head only because misfortune
weighed it down. And it was apparent that he was constantly thinking of
it, with a heart full of terrible dread, because he finally said:

"I would rather be frozen under Niedzborz! It was you that dug me out?"

"I, with others."

"And at the hunt, you saved my child?"

"What should I have done?"

"Will you help me now, too?"

And there burst forth in Zbyszko at the same time such love for Danusia
and such great hatred toward the Teuton wrongdoers, that he rose in his
saddle and began to speak through tightly set teeth, as though with

"Listen to what I say: even if I have to bite the Prussian castles with
my teeth, I will do it and get her."

Then followed a moment's silence.

The vengeful and uncontrollable nature of Jurand also seemed to awake in
full force under the influence of Zbyszko's words, because he began to
gnash his teeth in the darkness and after a while to repeat again the
names: Danveld, von Loeve, Rotgier and Godfried! And he thought in his

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