Thursday, April 28, 2011

About King Herla, part one

Now that your nails are trimmed, it is time for a bedtime story from Walter Map. I am posting it in two parts because it is slightly long. Enjoy.

They tell of a similar story of our courts. They say King Herla of the most ancient Briton had been appointed on account of another king, who did not seem to be a pygmy, being of half height, who was not taller than a monkey. The manikin approached sitting on a great goat according to the story. The man was able to be described looking just like Pan, with a fiery face, large head, with a broad red beard, his chest was covered with a faun skin set with stars of great brightness, whose belly was shaggy and his legs ended with goat's feet. Herla was alone speaking with the man. The pygmy said, "I am a king of a great kingdom and a prince of an innumerable and infinite people, having been sent from them, I come to you willingly, indeed unknown to you, but having heard boasting about the reputation that you are above other kings, indeed, you are great and near to me in both place and blood, and it is fitting that you invite me as a glorious guest to your lovely wedding, when the King of the Franks gives his daughter to you, because it has been arranged with you not knowing, and (Behold!) the ambassadors come today. And let it be an eternal pact between us that I might first attend your wedding and you come to mine on the same day next year. " this having been said, he turned his back more swiftly than a tiger and vanished from his sight. Then, the king, returning from there with amazement, received ambassadors because he accepted their request. Whereby when settling down to the wedding feast, behold a pygmy appeared before the first course, with such a great multitude similar to himself that there were more reclining at full tables outdoors than inside in the pygmies' own tents which had been set up in a flash. Servants sprung up from among them with jars made of whole, precious stones and by inimitable arts. They filled up the palace and the tents with golden things which they carried. And everywhere they roasted eagerly, and the servants were not from the region but were strangers. All of the wine was served from their own stores, and everything they carried with them exceeded all prayers and vows. The things which Herla had prepared were spared, his servants sat in idleness, who were neither being sought nor served. The pygmies went around, followed by the esteem of all, lit up by costliness of clothes and of gems which were just as lights for the rest. No one was tedious in word or in deed either by their presence or by their absence. Therefore their king addressed King Herla in the middle of the ministering of his servants, "Best of Kings, Earthly Lord, I am present at your wedding according to our pact, if there are any greater arguments to be sought for you other than what you understand, I will supply them willingly. Now you must in turn honor me with what I sought." There was no response expected to these words, he suddenly returned the tents from whence they came and around break of day disappeared with his people.

4 comments:

anachronist said...

Oh please, do tell some more! A magical wedding of two kings! I wonder what the reaction of the bride was, seeing so many unusual guests.

The Red Witch said...

You know, I didn't pick this subject by design but it is perfect in view of Will and Kate's wedding.
Can you imagine having a bunch of dwarves show up at your wedding and take over the feast?

Tracy said...

I'm waiting to see how it ends.

anachronist said...

Can you imagine having a bunch of dwarves show up at your wedding and take over the feast?

Today they wouldn't have been admited due to security reasons!