V. Lupoldus

Now when Fortunatus was free, he did not dare to dip his hand into his purse to take money for food, but went begging for two days; he was afraid that he would be imprisoned again, if it were discovered that he had money. And he arrived at the port of Nantes, the capital of Brittany, where a great crowd of princes and nobles was assembled, in attendance on the Princess. They were passing their time in jousting, dancing, and every pleasurable and delightful recreation. This was a sweet sight to Fortunatus’s eyes, and he thought: ‘Now I have and I own as much ready money as the whole assemblage – but I cannot use it as I wish. I mark only too well: they have lands and liegemen; what they command, their vassals must execute. Whereas if I were to act like them, it might not be to everyone’s liking, and I would have no one to lend me support.’ Therefore he said to himself: “it does not become me to act the junker here, or to swan around in splendour.” He felt in his mind the treatment the Count of the Wood had accorded him – giving him innocent to torture.

Nonetheless he bought two fine horses and engaged a servant; he apparrelled himself and his man very stylishly, and he had the horses exquisitely attired. Then he rode into the best inn in Nantes, intending to witness the wedding celebrations to the end, for he saw that the festivities would be splendid, and many princes and lords would be riding thither. There is no need for me to detail the magnificence of this event; after all, nowadays one sees so many petty burghers throwing weddings at which they cannot parade enough extravagance, and spending so much as they will later come to regret. But the Duke held a superb wedding, which lasted for six weeks and three days following the arrival of the Princess. Need I describe the majesty of her reception? She came by sea, accompanied by many large sailing-ships and galleys; and a host of ships was sent out to receive her with honour. But she was greeted with even greater honour and ceremony, by her lord and husband and by other princes and lords, when she arrived on land.

Fortunatus observed all of this with delight. Now it was his habit to ride towards the Court, leaving nothing behind in the inn. This was not to the innkeeper’s liking, for he did not know Fortunatus, and he was afraid that he would ride off without paying, as had often happened to him in the past; and this still occurs at such festivities. Therefore he said to his guest: “Dear friend, I don’t know you. Be so good as to pay me every day?” Laughing, Fortunatus replied: “Dear host, I shall not ride away without paying!” Then he drew 100 shining crowns out of his purse, gave them to the innkeeper, and said: “Take this, and when it seems to you that I, or whoever is with me, has used up more than this amount covers, then I shall give you more. You need not show me any reckoning.” The innkeeper took the money with delight; and from that moment on, he treated Fortunatus with the greatest respect. Whenever he met this guest, he would doff his cap; he placed him among the best seats at table; and he moved him to a better chamber.

In the Nantes inn

And when Fortunatus, some nobles and other gentlemen were at their food, many kinds of poem-reciter and minstrel would come to the high table to entertain the sitters, and to earn some money. Now on one occasion an old nobleman appeared and bewailed his poverty to the lords. He said that he was a noble born of Hibernia; he had been on the wander for seven years and had passed through two Empires and twenty Christian Kingdoms, which was as much to say as all the Kingdoms in the Christian world. Having travelled to the bottom of his purse, he requested that they provide him with the means to return to his homeland.

There was an Earl at the table. He asked the man, “What are the names of all these Kingdoms?”

The good nobleman counted them off, one after the other, and continued, “Every Kingdom has three or four Duchies, and temporal and spiritual lords owning land and lieges; and I have visited all. Where a land has its own, distinctive tongue, I have grasped enough of the language to communicate what is expedient. I also have in writing the name of each King whose Court I visited and the distance between the Kingdoms.”

“I wish that I had been at all those places with you,” said the Earl, “and that I had returned. And I think it not unlikely that anyone who wished to visit every country would need a great deal of fortitude and money.”

“Yes, my Lord,” replied the good nobleman, “you see both good and evil, and you have to overnight in many squalid inns and suffer deep humiliation.”

The Earl gave him four crowns and declared that the old man could stay for the duration of the festival, if he wished, and he would cover his expenses.

The good nobleman thanked him warmly, but said that he was longing to return home to his friends; he had been long away. And he gave profuse thanks for the gift. Now Fortunatus had been listening closely to the old nobleman’s words, and he thought: ‘If this man became my servant, and led me through various countries, I would reward him generously.’ So as soon as the meal was done, he sent for the old man to come to his chamber, where he asked him his name.

“Lupoldus,” was the reply.

“I understand that you have travelled far and seen many Royal Courts. Now, I am a young man, and I would like to travel while I am young and able. And if it pleased you to be my guide, I would furnish you with a fine horse and hire you a personal servant, and I would hold you as a brother. Furthermore, I would award you a wage as substantial as you desired.”

“I could certainly bear being treated with respect and given sufficient money,” said Lupoldus. “But I am old; I have a wife and child, who have had no news of me for years, and natural love is pulling me towards them, to breathe out my life with my loved ones.”

“Lupoldus, if you consent to execute my intention, I shall go to Hibernia with you; and if your wife and child are still alive, I shall endow them richly. And when our journeying is over, and we have returned with God’s help to Famagusta, in Cyprus, I shall provide you with your own house, maid and servant, if you decide to wind down your life with me.”

Lupoldus thought: ‘The young man is promising me much. If I could only be certain… how good it would be to find such fortune in my twilight years.” And although he doubted that Fortunatus could cover the costs, for he knew all too well the expenses that such travel incurred, he said: “I shall comply with your will, on condition that you have the means to make good what you promise, and you do not undertake this enterprise unless you have a great supply of ready money; for without money, it cannot be accomplished.”

“Have no fears,” replied Fortunatus, “I know how to raise enough money in every land we visit. Therefore plight yourself to be my companion and to complete the journey with me.”

“Then give me your assurance that you will fulfil what you have promised me.”

And they both made solemn and binding pledges, to the effect that neither would desert the other under any circumstances.

The Pact

Once this had been finalised, Fortunatus drew out 200 crowns and handed them to Lupoldus with the words: “Go and buy two handsome horses, and spare no expense; also hire yourself a servant, and if he is not satisfactory, then hire another. And when you run out of money, I shall supply you with more, so as not to leave you empty-handed.”

Lupoldus was more than satisfied with this; considering it to constitute an auspicious beginning, he made his preparations with great zeal. Fortunatus did likewise, engaging two servants and a serving-lad, so that there were six in all in the company; and having reached agreement on the route they would follow through the various lands and kingdoms, they set off for the Holy Roman Empire.

CHAPTER 6, Travels through Europe and Purgatory

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