VI. A Royal Wedding in Cyprus
Having parted from Agrippina, Andolosia was a happy man. He put his Hat on and wished himself from one land to another, until he arrived in Bruges; and in this city, where obliging ladies and many other kinds of recreation are to be found, he dispelled the discontent he had been under. And he appointed himself in honourable attire, bought forty mettlesome steeds, and took many sturdy lads into his service, whom he clothed in his livery. Then he began to joust and pursue knightly pastimes once again; and he rode through Germany, viewing the beautiful cities of the Holy Roman Empire, before heading for Venice, Florence and Genoa, where he sent for the dealers whose jewels he had purloined and paid them in ready money.
Then, with his horses and his servants, he joyfully sailed to Famagusta and rode home to his brother, who received him handsomely, being highly glad to see Andolosia riding in such lordly state. After they had eaten, Ampedo took his brother into a chamber and asked him how he had fared. Andolosia narrated how he had lost the Hat as well as the Purse, at which Ampedo was so thunderstruck that he fell down in a swoon. Andolosia poured water over him, and when Ampedo had returned to his senses he proceeded to tell him how he had lost both treasures, but regained them afterwards through cunning: “So don’t be so despondent.” And he unbound the Purse from his jerkin, took the Hat out of a gripsack, and laid them out before Ampedo, saying: “Dear brother, now take both treasures and fare well with them! Enjoy yourself to your heart’s content! I wish you joy of them with all my heart, and I shall raise no objections.”
Ampedo replied, “I want nothing of that Purse, for he who carries it must bear fear and anxiety at all times. I have read about the pain and distress it caused our father of blessed memory”
These words were music to Andolosia’s ears, and he thought, ‘If he had taken the Purse in his hands, it would not have been long before I had to ask for it back. And now, without further ado, it’s mine’. He did not dare tell his brother how he had bought exquisite jewels without paying, lost Purse, Hat and jewels in one blow – and in a wilderness to boot, where there was nothing to eat or drink –, or how he had wished to throttle him before hanging himself. ‘Better not to mention that,’ he thought, ‘the shock might kill him, or plunge him into a grave illness’.
So Andolosia began to make merry with jousts, and he organised dances to give pleasure to all. He was generosity personified, so that the whole town sang his praises; everyone revered him, and the common people asked him to be with them always.
When he had been in Famagusta for some time, he rode with his retinue to the King’s Court, some sixty miles away, to divert himself there. The King and his courtiers received him with distinction, and His Majesty asked where he had been all this time. Andolosia told of the many Kingdoms he had passed through. The King then asked him more questions than he would have put to another, for Andolosia was his subject, and his father Fortunatus had also found special favour at Court; and he wondered if he had not lately been in England.
“Yes, Your Majesty,” replied Andolosia.
“The King of England has a beautiful daughter, an only child, called Agrippina. I had wanted her as a wife for my son, but I have been informed that she has disappeared. Tell me: have you heard any news of her? Is she still missing, or has she been found?”
“Your Majesty, I can certainly inform you on this matter. He does indeed have a beautiful – an extremely beautiful – daughter, who has been transported to Hibernia by a necromancer’s arts. She is residing there in a convent for noble ladies, where I conversed with her a short while ago.”
“Could she not be brought back to her father?” asked the King. “I am old, and I would dearly like to settle my son on the throne before my death.”
“Gracious Majesty, for your sake and for your son – who is deserving of every honour – I shall essay what I can in this affair. With God’s help, I should soon return her to her father’s palace.”
The King requested that Andolosia do this and spare no expense; he and his would enjoy the royal favour and gratitude.
“Your Majesty, prepare a distinguished Embassy and send them out a fortnight after I leave; they will find the Princess in her father’s palace in London. If the King promises her to your son, he will send her to you with honour.”
“Andolosia, my good friend,” urged the King, “be sure to make a success of this matter. I shall be sending an Embassage in great pomp and splendour; let their journey not be made in vain.”
“Have no fear. Order your son’s portrait painted, and send it with the Embassy; you will see that it will please the King and Queen and make them all the more eager to wed their beautiful daughter to so handsome a youth.”
When the Prince heard of the planned transaction, he made his way to Andolosia and urged him to work in earnest to bring the affair to a successful conclusion; he had heard a great deal about Agrippina’s beauty and perfection. Andolosia promised to do his utmost, and taking his leave, he rode back to Famagusta with his retinue. He asked his brother to lend him the Hat, saying that he would soon return; and Ampedo was agreeable. Then he ordered his bursar to be generous to his servants, for they should make merry while he was away.
So Andolosia took the Hat, travelled from one land to the other, and wished himself in the wilderness with the magic apples. The trees were full of fair fruit, but he could not tell which apples were which, and he was reluctant to eat one. However, he did not want to leave without the means to release Agrippina from her horns. So, after due consideration, Andolosia reached for an apple, ate it, and a horn grew on his head; then he ate another, and the horn disappeared. Filling his pockets with some of both kinds, he atravelled to the convent and knocked on the doors. He was presently admitted, and arriving before the Abbess, he asked for Agrippina, for he wished to have a word with her. The Abbess, recognising him, was only too happy to summon her charge; but when the Princess arrived, she received Andolosia badly, for she did not know the reason for his visit, and she was frightened.
“Dear lady, allow Agrippina to hold some private converse with me,” said Andolosia.
She willingly gave her assent, and Andolosia withdrew with the Princess to a quiet place.
“Agrippina, do you still loathe those horns as deeply as when I took my leave of you?”
“Yes. The longer I bear them, the harder I hate them,” she said.
“If you were free and rid of them, where would you like to be?”
“Where should I wish to be but in London with my dear parents the King and Queen?”
“Agrippina, God has hearkened to your prayer. Your wish will be granted.”
Then he gave her half an apple to eat and told her to rest awhile; and by the time he roused her, there was no trace of the horns. The maid she had been allotted plaited her hair and dextrously arranged her head-dress; then they came before the Abbess. At the sight of Agrippina in her complete beauty, the Abbess called all the nuns out of their cells to witness the miracle that had effected so sudden a transformation. The nuns were astonished that she had become free of the horns in so short a time, but Andolosia said:
“Do not be amazed. God can do anything; nothing is impossible to Him. So you see: when He means well by somebody, no one may harm them. Agrippina is a Princess, born of the blood, and I shall deliver her to her mother and father. Before a month has passed, she will be married to a young Prince – the most handsome youth alive on Earth.”
Agrippina listened closely to his words.
Then Andolosia gave the Abbess and the nuns a hundred crowns as a parting present, with expressions of his gratitude for their honourable maintenance of the Princess, and Agrippina thanked them very decorously. They took their leave, and once they were in the field, Andolosia equipped himself with the Hat and bore the Princess to the street before the King of England’s palace – for he shied away from entering the place where he had been the victim of such great infidelity. Then he returned to his brother and servants in Famagusta.
The King, the Queen and their entourage were overjoyed to find that Agrippina had come back; they hosted a tremendous feast and had their daughter exquisitely attired in gorgeous and luxurious garments. In their midst of their merriment, a herald announced to His Majesty that the King of Cyprus’s messengers were on their way with a large cavalcade, and they had been sent to ask him to give Agrippina’s hand in marriage to the young Prince of Cyprus.
When the Embassy arrived in London, they were given an excellent reception and provided with luxurious accommodation, where their every need was catered for. After four days the King sent for them, and they rode to the Palace arrayed in brilliant clothes, each according to his rank. There were a Duke, two Counts, and numerous knights and squires. They began to discuss the wedding. When the Queen understood that Agrippina’s hand was being courted, she was sorely reluctant to marry her beautiful, beloved daughter, to lose her to a distant land, and to a man who could be hunchbacked, lame or blind. When her laments reached the Cypriots’ ears, they requested the King to send for the Queen. The royal couple now being together, the Embassy produced the portrait of the Prince. The King asked if this was a true likeness? if the Prince was really so handsome? The envoys swore an oath that he had a much finer figure, was very tall and upright, and no older than twenty-four; and the King and Queen were content.
The Queen now took the portrait to Agrippina and told her how it was intended to give her to this Prince, who was even more handsome in the flesh. With Andolosia’s words fresh in her memory, Agrippina trusted the painting as a likeness and promised obedience to whatever decision the King and Queen should make. Having heard their daughter’s sentiments, the King and Queen discussed the matter further with the Cypriots, until the arrangements for the wedding were finalised. Then the King had many ships loaded with provisions and manned with expert sailors, and the Princess attired in magnificent robes and jewellery, as befits a mighty King with a care for his honour. Agrippina was to be accompanied by many proud nobles, in particular a Count who had long since been a pirate; and the King threw a banquet for the company before they set sail.
When the ships were fully laden and ready to depart, the noble Princess took her leave of the King her father and the Queen her mother: “My gracious Lord King, and my gracious Lady Queen, may Almighty God in Heaven and his virtuous mother Mary have you in their care at all times and grant you health and long life.”
Then she knelt before her father, and sighing deeply, with tears in her eyes she said: “I request your blessing; for now I must part from you, and I know that I shall never see you or my mother again.”
“Agrippina, my dearest daughter,” said the King, “may the blessing of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, shield you from sorrow. And may the Holy Trinity grant you, and all who aid you, peace, health, long life, prosperity, and the goodwill of all men.”
The Queen could wish no more but: “May this come to pass. Amen.”
Then Agrippina stood up and walked, with her train, to her ship; and a large crowd followed to escort her to the sea, many of whom were sorrowful that the beautiful Princess was leaving and they should set eyes on her no more. Now when Agrippina and her retinue had boarded, the crew hoisted sail, and they set off in the name of God. He granted them good weather and a fortunate journey; whoever wishes to travel from England to Cyprus must cross the Spanish Sea, which is one of the cruellest of all water-passages, yet they came unharmed, with God’s help, to Cyprus.
When the beautiful young Princess Agrippina and her attendants arrived, safe and sound, they were met by a welcoming-party arranged by the King of Cyprus: a Duchess, four Countesses and many noble ladies, with their male equivalents, who executed their duties with fitting propriety. A banquet was held, with sumptuous dishes and vintage wines, and there was plenty for hosts and guests alike. Everyone, young and old, was happy that their Prince was going to have such a beautiful wife. Then many horses, wagons and carts were made ready, and ceremonious leave was taken.
Agrippina came to Medusa, where the King was holding court. He had assembled the mightiest nobles, male and female, in his whole Kingdom; and however splendid the reception at Famagusta had been, that at Medusa was ten times more dignified and laudable. The Queen rode towards Agrippina with a handsome train in stately apparel, followed by the Prince with a company in full armour that sparkled like mirrors in the sun. When the Prince greeted Agrippina, she recognised him from his portrait; and she thanked him with a smiling countenance and graceful gestures. Then they rode in great joy to the King’s Palace, which was majestically adorned with every kind of decoration, and the festivities began. The King’s Princes and Lords came riding up with great gentility, and all bore splendid gifts to present to the King, of a value to meet their means.
The wedding celebrations continued for six weeks and three days. Much were to write about the regality of the wedding-procession, the feats and displays, and the presents given to the Princess! But among the gifts was a shipload of malmsey and muscatel from Candia, courtesy of Andolosia, which was lapped up like wine from the Kehlheim1 slopes; there was enough to last the length of the revels and beyond.
And all the while the festivities lasted, the princes and lords did nought but joust, tourney and pursue courtly pastimes: the King and the Dukes jousted on the first day, the Counts, Barons and knights the day after, and the squires and servants on the third day. And every night, at the dance, Agrippina would crown the champion of the day with a handsome wreath; so that every competitor felt his courage stirred, and he gave his all to hunt honour and be rewarded by the beautiful Princess.