|The Story of Roland|
|by James Baldwin|
|Here are related the daring feats and great exploits of Roland, worthiest of the barons of France in the time of Charlemagne, and those of Oliver and Reinold and Ogier the Dane, all heroes who were his companions in arms and who rivalled him in the number and greatness of their exploits. The story is culled from the works of song-writers and poets of five centuries and in as many languages. Ages 11-14 |
MALAGIS THE WIZARD
 FOR a whole month the host of Charlemagne lay encamped
in the neighborhood of Montalban. But the proud white
castle which shone so clear upon the mountain top was
so strongly fortified, and the roads which led to it
were so steep and narrow, that it was impossible to
reach even its outer walls. Nor could they by any means
shut up the garrison, or hinder them from getting food
and recruits from their Pagan friends on the other side
of the mountains.
"It is folly to besiege the eagle in his eyry," said
"You speak wisely," answered the king. "And
while we are here idly watching this stronghold, where
four rebels lie secure, a score of other traitors are
plotting mischief in other parts of our kingdom.
To-morrow we will try a stratagem; and, if then we
fail, we will give up this undertaking, and hie us back
The next morning the watchman who stood above the gates
of Montalban saw the French army on the move.
 A long
line of steel-clad warriors, with the golden Oriflamme
at their head, filed slowly past the foot of the
mountain, and turned down the valley road which led
back into France.
"Up, Reinold!" cried Allard. "Our enemies have
abandoned the siege! Outwitted and ashamed, they go
back to their homes. Let us saddle our steeds, and
follow in their wake, and harass them on the road."
"Do no such thing!" said the dwarf Malagis. "They would
draw you away from your safe stronghold, and lead you
into an ambush. Let them march away quietly; and, when
they see that you are too wise to fall into their trap,
they will return into France, and annoy you no more.
The king has enough to do to attend to his affairs at
Paris, without wasting the whole summer here."
Through all their troubles, Malagis had been the firm
friend of his cousins, the four sons of Aymon. And he
was able sometimes to be of great use to them; for men
looked upon him as a being of more than human power and
knowledge, and he was allowed to pass from place to
place, and from camp to camp, without question and
without hinderance. Sometimes he was with Charlemagne,
sometimes he was with the brothers; but oftener he was
wandering hither and thither in company, as men
believed, with his kinsfolk,—the wood sprites and the
"Thou sayest wisely, my elfin cousin," said Reinold.
"But, now that our foes have left us once more in
 there is one duty that I must do without delay.
It is full ten years since I saw my mother, the
Princess Aya. Above all things else in life, I long to
see her once more; and I know that her tender heart
yearns to meet her wayward sons again. I will dress me
in a pilgrim's garb; and I will go now to the old home
at Dordon, and make myself known to her."
"We will go with you!" cried all three of his brothers.
A few days after this, four humble pilgrims stood at
the gate of the castle at Dordon. So poor they were,
that there was scarcely a whole thread of cloth on
their backs; and they seemed footsore with their long
journeying, and weak from much fasting. They begged,
that, for the love of Him who died on the cross, they
might be given a crust of bread, and be allowed to rest
for the night on the hard stones of the kitchen floor.
The gentle Aya, when she was told how they stood at the
gate, bade them to be brought into her presence. Much
affrighted was she at their haggard faces, and bold,
"These are no common pilgrims," said she; and yet her
heart was strangely moved toward them. And she gave
them food and clothing, and saw that every thing was
done that could add to their comfort.
"This I do," said she, "for the love of God, the Gentle
Father, who I pray may save my sons from danger and
death. For I have not seen them these ten years."
 "How is that?" asked one of the pilgrims. "Tell us
about your sons."
Then Aya began to tell the story of the sad misfortunes
that had driven her sons into exile and caused her so
many years of anxiety and sorrow. But, as she spoke,
the tallest of the four pilgrims withdrew his cowl from
his head, and displayed a strange scar in the middle
of his forehead. The princess started with surprise.
"Reinold!" she cried. "Fair son, if it be indeed thou,
tell it me at once."
The great heart of the hero was too full for speech. He
wept. The gentle mother knew now that these were her
sons who stood before her. Weeping with great joy, she
fell into Reinold's arms: tenderly they kissed her a
hundred times over. Not one of them could speak a word,
for aught that lives.
And the princess made a feast for her sons in the
banquet hall. And she set before them all that was
rarest and best in the way of meat and drink,—venison
and fish and fowl, and white wine and red in a great
cup. And she herself waited on them at table. While
they were eating, Duke Aymon came home from hunting.
"Who are these men who eat like lords, but who are
dressed like holy pilgrims?" he asked as he walked
suddenly into the banquet room.
The Princess Aya, weeping, answered,—
"They are your
sons, the long-lost heroes of our
 house. They have
braved every danger to see their mother once again. And
I have given them shelter this one night, and food such
as the sons of Duke Aymon should eat. When the morning
dawns they will go away, and I know not if in all my
life I shall see them again."
The iron-hearted duke was in truth pleased to see his
sons, but with him duty was stronger than love. He
tried to forget that he was a father, and to remember
only that he was a knight, and a loyal vassal of the
king. Roughly he spoke to the young men.
"Out upon you, you traitors!" he cried. "My castle is
no abiding place for men who make war upon Charlemagne
and his knights. You are no sons of mine. No favors
shall ye seek of me."
Right angry was the courteous Reinold to hear these
words from his father's lips. He sprang from the table.
Had any other knight spoken thus, he would have made
him rue it. But he checked his fiery temper.
"Baron," said the hero, "it is hard to hear one who
should keep us and help us, through bad report as well
as good, talk thus harshly and unreasonably. It is
maddening to know that you thus disherit us for the
sake of the most selfish of kings."
Duke Aymon's love now got the better of his loyalty.
For a time he could not speak for weeping. Then he
said, "Reinold, very worthy son of baron art thou. I
know not thy peer on earth. But for my oath's sake I
dare not give you aught of aid or comfort."
 And very sorrowfully the duke turned away, and left the
hall. And he mounted his steed, and rode away. And he
came not back to Dordon until he heard that the king
had pardoned his sons.
After he had gone, Reinold and his brothers laid aside
their pilgrim garbs, and dressed themselves in apparel
befitting their rank. And their mother gave them of her
gold and silver, which she had in great abundance. And
messengers were sent out into the city and into the
countryside, to make it known to all men who were
dissatisfied with the king and his doings, that the
four sons of Aymon were resting for the night in their
"Let all who would aid them against the tyranny of
Charlemagne," said the messengers, "arm themselves,
and join them, without delay."
At dawn the heroes rode boldly out of Dordon, and
behind them followed seven hundred noble knights who
had vowed to see them safe again in their mountain home
of Montalban. On their way they were overtaken by the
dwarf Malagis, who had with him four sumterloads of
gold and silver. He had just come from the king's court
at Paris. But, when he was asked where he had gotten
the treasure which he brought, he said—
"The mountain goblins and the wood sprites have sent a
part of their secret hoard to the heroes of Montalban."
 When Charlemagne learned that the sons of Aymon had so
boldly visited their mother at Dordon, and that they
had gone back to their mountain stronghold with so
great a following, his wrath waxed very hot, and he
called his peers together to ask their advice. Duke
Namon and Roland were in favor of peace.
"Grant the four knights your forgiveness," said they,
"and you will gain four very powerful vassals, who will
be of great help to you in your wars against the
But Ganelon, the cunning mischief-maker, arose and
said, "The king will scarcely humble himself by making
terms with traitors. It would be better to try one more
stratagem at least, ere we acknowledge ourselves
outwitted by them. Now, there is the old Moorish chief,
lvo, the father-in-law of Reinold. He loves nothing so
much as money. He would sell his own children for
gold. If we could only gain his friendship, he might be
persuaded to betray the four brothers into our hands."
Charlemagne was delighted with this cunning suggestion:
it pleased him better than the wiser plans for peace
which Roland and Duke Namon had proposed. Secret
messengers were at once sent to Chief Ivo with rich
presents of gold and jewels, and promises of much more,
if he would betray the four sons of Aymon. Ganelon was
right when he had spoken of Ivo's great love of money.
He listened eagerly to the offers of the king's
messengers; and his heart grew black, and
 his long
fingers itched for the promised rewards. And, without
a single twitch of conscience, he agreed to sell
Reinold and his brothers, and their mountain fortress,
to the king.
One day the faithless Ivo went to Montalban, as he had
been wont to do, to see his daughter Clarissa, and to
talk with the hero brothers. He had just come from
Paris, he said, and he brought glad news.
"Would you like to make peace with your uncle the
"Nothing would gladden our hearts more," said Reinold.
"It is hard to live thus outlawed and hunted down by
our own kinsmen and those who should be our friends."
Then Ivo, with smooth, lying words, told them that the
king had offered to let all bygones be bygones, and to
receive them into the highest favor at his court, if
they would only prove their sincerity by a single act
"What is it?" asked they. "We will sacrifice every
thing except our lives and our knightly honor, in order
that there may be peace between us and the king."
"It is only this," said the cunning Ivo. "It is that
you dress yourselves in the garb of pilgrims, like that
which you wore when you visited your mother at Dordon,
and that, bare-footed and unarmed, you ride to the
fortress of Falkalone, and there do homage to the king,
begging his forgiveness."
"That is easily done," said Reinold. "It is not half
hard a penance as we have suffered these ten years
past. You may tell the king that we will do as he
desires, for we are sadly tired of this strife."
A few weeks after this, a messenger came to Montalban,
bringing word that the king with his peers had come to
the castle of Falkalone, and that he waited there the
submission of Reinold and his brothers. The four
knights at once made ready to obey the summons. They
donned their pilgrims' garbs, and, barefooted and
unarmed, mounted the donkeys which were to carry them
across the mountains. Then Clarissa, the wife of
Reinold, prayed them not to go.
"My father, Chief Ivo," said she, "would stoop to any
deed of treachery for the sake of gold. And my heart
tells me that he is luring you to Falkalone to betray
you. I beg you not to go thus unarmed into the lion's
But Reinold would not listen to his fair wife.
"An ungrateful daughter you are," said he, "thus to
accuse your father of the basest crime of which a
warrior can be guilty. I have ever found him
trustworthy, and I will not now believe him to be
With these words he turned, and rode out through the
castle gate, not even bidding Clarissa good-by.
Richard and Guichard followed him, but Allard tarried
a few moments in the courtyard.
"Take these good friends with you," said Clarissa; "you
will have need of them, if I mistake not." And she
handed him four swords, among which was Reinold's
 Allard thanked the lady; and, taking the good weapons,
he hid them carefully beneath his penitent's robe. Then
giving whip to his donkey, he followed his brothers
down the steep mountain road which led toward
As the heroes were passing through a narrow glen not
more than a league from Falkalone, they were set upon
by a party of horsemen who lay in ambush there. Then it
was that Reinold thought of fair Clarissa's warning
words, and bitterly he repented that he had not
hearkened to her advice. But Allard quickly divided the
swords among them; and, when Reinold saw his old friend
Flamberge once more in his hand, his fears vanished,
and he stood boldly on guard against his foes. But how
could four men, mounted only on donkeys, and armed only
with swords, defend themselves from the onset of
three score steel-clad knights on horseback? Allard,
Guichard, and Richard were soon overthrown, and made
prisoners. What would Reinold not have given for a
stout lance, and his trusty war steed, Bayard, at that
moment? Yet bravely he fought, and more than one of his
foes bit the dust. At last night came on; and, while
the others were groping in the dusk, he turned his
donkey about, and, as he knew the road well, he made
his way safely back to Montalban.
Reinold expected that Charlemagne would again lay siege
to his mountain castle, and try to gain by force what
he had partly failed to gain by guile. He
there-  fore doubled the guards on the walls, and sent out companies
of armed men to watch every turn of the narrow road
which led from the valley up to the fortress; and on
the rocks and high places he caused great heaps of
stones and other missiles to be piled, ready to be
thrown down on the heads of any foes who should dare
approach too near. But, at the very moment when the
king was ready to begin the assault on Montalban,
messengers came to him from Paris, bringing news which
made it necessary for him to return home without
"Let the three rebels whom we have taken," said he, "be
carried back with us in chains to Paris. As soon as our
leisure serves us, they shall be hanged like so many
thieves. Their fate will be a warning to all other
Then Reinold, when he heard it, resolved that he would
at all hazards save the lives of his brothers. So he
mounted his good steed Bayard, and set out alone for
Paris. One day, at the noontide hour, he stopped to
rest in the cool shade of a great oak. The sun shone
very hot; the grass upon which he reclined was green
and soft; the bees hummed drowsily among the leaves
overhead; every thing was so calm and still, that,
before Reinold knew it, he had fallen asleep. And
Bayard, pleased with the pasturage which spread around,
left his master's side, and wandered hither and
thither, grazing the sweetest clover and the freshest
leaves of grass. It so happened that some country folk
 passing that way saw the horse; and one of
them, who had been at Dordon, said—
"See there! I verily believe that steed is Bayard."
the others laughed at him.
"At any rate," said he, "he is a rich prize. See the
gold-red saddle on his back, the golden stirrups at his
sides, and the silken reins that rest upon his neck. He
belongs to no common knight. I mean to take him to
Paris, and claim a reward for having found him. He
would be a handsome gift to present to the king."
Now, this man was no common countryman, or he would not
have dared think of touching so rare and rich a prize;
nor could he, without the help of magic, have come near
the horse. But he had seen something of the world; and
in his youth he had lived some time with an old wizard,
from whom he had learned something of witchery and
enchantment. So, as he drew near the grazing horse, he
mumbled many strange, uncouth words, and scattered a
fine white powder to the winds. Yet, even with all
these precautions, it was with the greatest difficulty
that he caught hold of the reins of Bayard, and seated
himself on his back. The horse at once set off at a
full gallop toward Paris; and so swift was his passage,
that early the next morning he stood in the courtyard
of the king's palace.
When word was brought to Charlemagne, that Bayard, the
matchless steed of the Montalban hero, was at the door,
he could not believe it. But when he went out, and saw
for himself that horse, the like of which there
none on earth, his joy was greater than if it had been
"Verily, this horse is worth more than a province!"
And he at once conferred the honor of
knighthood upon the countryman, loading him with rich
presents of gold and silver, and giving him as a fief
the lands and castles of the dead Duke Gilmer of
Now let us go back to Reinold, whom we left sleeping in
the shade of the friendly oak. When he awoke, the sun
was sloping far down toward the west. He had never
before slept so long and so carelessly by the roadside.
He arose and looked around. His steed was nowhere to be
seen. He called him, at first softly, then very loudly,
"Bayard!" He listened to hear the shrill whinny with
which the horse always answered his call. And when no
sound came back save the echo of his own anxious voice,
then Reinold knew that Bayard was lost, and he threw
himself in despair upon the ground.
"What need to live longer," said he, "when I have lost
every living being that I loved? False fealty, force,
and fraud have deprived me of a father's love, of a
mother's caresses, of my brothers' companionship. I
have not kith nor kin to whom I may go for sympathy and
fellowship. And now my horse, whom I loved as a fourth
brother, has been stolen from me."
As he spoke, his
eyes fell upon his golden spurs, the
 symbol of his
knighthood. He seized them in his hands, and wrenched
them from his ankles.
"What need of these, when Bayard is gone!" he cried.
"Without a horse, I am no longer a knight."
"Good-day to you, my lord!" said a shrill, harsh voice
at his elbow.
He looked up, and saw a little old man, bent almost
double with the infirmities of age, standing very close
to him, and gazing at him with a strange, quizzical
look on his little dried-up features. The old man was
dressed in the garb of a begging pilgrim, his long
white beard fell in tangled masses halfway to his feet,
and his twinkling gray eyes were almost hidden beneath
his heavy white eyebrows.
"Good-day to you, my lord!" he said a second time,
bowing very low.
"It may be a good day to you, old man," said Reinold.
"But, as for me, I have scarcely known a good day in
all my life."
"My lord," said the pilgrim, "why should your heart
lose hope? Do but give me a present as a token of your
faith, and I will pray Heaven to help you. Prayer is
the poor man's defence, and it has sometimes relieved
the rich and the great from their distresses."
"Your prayers may do me much good," answered Reinold;
"but I have no faith in them, nor indeed in aught else.
Yet no beggar has ever gone away from me empty-handed.
Here are my spurs, the priceless gifts that my mother
buckled to my ankles on the day
 that I was dubbed a
knight. Take them: I shall never wear them again."
The pilgrim took the spurs, and, bowing low, said, "My
lord, these spurs may be worth ten pounds; but my
prayers are worth much more. Have you nothing else to
Reinold's down-heartedness began now to give place to
anger. "A fig for your prayers!" answered he. "If it
were not for your gray hairs, I would give you a sound
drubbing for a present."
"Ah, good sir," said the old man, "it is not thus that
Christians give alms to pious pilgrims. If every one of
whom I have begged had beaten me, the churches and the
convents would have been but poorly furnished. But some
have shared their last crust with me, and great has
been their reward. Therefore, I ask thee again, if
thou hast any thing to spare, give it me."
Then Reinold took off his mantle,—a beautiful garment
of velvet, embroidered with silk and gold,—and gave it
to the pilgrim.
"Take this," said he. "It is the last gift of my wife,
the charming Clarissa, the fair Pagan, whose love for
me is, I fear, greater and more sincere than I
The old man folded the mantle carefully, and put it in
his wallet. Then, with another low bow, he said, "My
lord, have you nothing else that you would give me for
the sake of kind remembrance?"
Reinold's wrath now got the better of him. Fiercely he
drew Flamberge from his scabbard. He seized the
by the beard. "Wouldst thou rob me?" he cried. "Even
thy age shall not save thee!"
The old man quietly pushed back his hood. His long
beard fell off in Reinold's grasp. He looked at the
hero with a smile.
"Good Sir Remold," said he, "wouldst thou slay thy
It was indeed the wizard dwarf Malagis, who, for some
reason best known to himself, had chosen to come
before Reinold in this disguise.
"Cheer up, brave cousin!" said he. "Faith and hope have
brought about greater wonders than the wizard's wand
ever accomplished. But despair has never yet gained a
victory. Your brothers are prisoners in the king's
castle, and Bayard is on his way to Paris. But, if you
will trust me, all will yet be well."
He then took from his wallet an old gown, like that
which he himself wore, and bade Reinold put it on over
his armor, instead of the rich mantle which he had just
given away. He unlaced his helmet, and hid it in a
clump of shrubs, and, instead of it, he drew over his
head a ragged gray hood, which hid more than half his
face beneath its folds. A false beard and a few touches
of paint were all that was needed now to change the
hero into the likeness of a pious pilgrim.
"Malagis," said Reinold, embracing the wizard, "thou
art truly a godsend! I believe in thee."
A few days after this, two pilgrims, old and lame,
limped through the streets of Paris, begging alms of
 good people whom they met. They stood on the bridge
over the Seine, and watched a grand procession of lords
and ladies crossing the river, on their way to a
tournament which was to be held in the meadows on the
"Put on your spurs, cousin," said the wizard; "for,
believe me, you will soon need them."
By and by a great shouting was heard; and the king was
seen riding toward the bridge, with Roland and the
other peers in his train. In front of him was the great
war steed Bayard, led by four stout grooms. The horse
was most richly apparelled. The bridle was of silver
and gold, with reins of fine sable and silk-covered
leather; the saddle was wonderfully wrought of leather
and cloth and rare metals; and over all were trappings
of crimson velvet bordered with cloth-of-gold, on which
fair ladies' fingers had deftly embroidered the white
lilies of France. It was hard to tell which the people
applauded more,—the grand old king who sat so proudly
on his own charger, or the noble steed who walked
before him like the monarch of his kind.
"They are leading the horse to the lists," said a monk
who stood near. "The knights are there to make trial of
their skill in mounting and riding him, and he who
succeeds best is to have him as a present from the
"When will kings cease to give away the things that do
not belong to them?" asked Malagis.
All at once the horse was noticed to stop. He had
the poor pilgrims on the bridge. With a sudden toss of
the head he jerked away from the grooms; and, neighing
joyfully, he ran forward, and laid his head on
"Never saw I such a horse as Bayard," said Roland to
the king. "He seems to scorn our company, and to like
those ragged beggars better than knights and noblemen."
"Come, Bayard," said the king, riding forward and
laying his hand on the reins. "Thou shouldst be more
choice of thy comrades."
"And is this, indeed, Bayard!" asked one of the
pilgrims. "How lucky we are to happen here at this
Then, turning to Charlemagne, he said, "Most gracious
king, I pray you to grant us a boon. This my poor
brother has been deaf and dumb and blind these many
days, and there is in life no joy for him. He wanders
with me from place to place in great distress; and, do
what he will, he can find no relief. But yesterday a
wizard told me, that, if he could be allowed to ride
even ten steps on the great steed Bayard, he should be
The king and his courtiers laughed.
"I have half a mind to let him try," said Charlemagne;
"for, although I have heard of miracles, I have never
yet seen one."
"Even if he should not be healed," said Roland, "it
would be equally a miracle. It would be as wonderful
 to see a cripple ride the great Bayard as to see the
blind restored to sight."
Then, by the king's command, the grooms lifted the
supposed pilgrim into the saddle. Men wondered why the
horse should stand so gently, and allow himself to be
backed by the awkward, ragged beggar, when he had
refused to let the noblest barons put feet in his
stirrups. But their wonder grew to astonishment when
the dumb pilgrim spoke the word "Bayard!" and the
horse, with his rider sitting gracefully in the saddle,
dashed across the bridge and galloped away more swiftly
than horse had ever before been known to gallop. The
king and all his peers put spurs to their steeds, and
followed. But in less than a minute the wonderful
Bayard was out of sight, and none of his pursuers saw
him again. More swiftly than a bird could fly through
the air, he sped southward over hill and dale and
forest and stream, and stopped not once until he had
carried his master safely back to Montalban.
"Fools that we are!" said the king. "Again have we been
outwitted by that villain Reinold and his cunning
cousin, Malagis. If ever the wizard comes within my
reach, he shall suffer for this."
But Malagis had taken care to slip away during the
confusion; and, though the king ordered that search
should everywhere be made for him, he was not to be
found in Paris.
That same night a little man dressed in gray made his
way, silent and unseen, to the prison tower of the
 king's castle. The guards before the doors were asleep,
and the sentinels who stood on the ramparts above
nodded at their posts. He touched the great oaken
doors. The iron bolts flew back with a faint click; the
chains were unfastened without a rattle; the doors
turned silently on their hinges. Some men say that the
cunning wizard, for it was Malagis, did all this
through magic: others say that he had bribed the
watchmen. Be this as it may, he had no trouble in
finding his way to a narrow dungeon, where the air
seemed heavy and cold, and the water oozed and trickled
through the ceiling, and the horrible gloom of the
grave seemed to brood over all. There three men were
chained to the wall. They were Allard, Guichard, and
Richard. When they heard him enter, they supposed it
was the jailer, come to lead them out to their death.
And they were glad, for death in any shape would have
been better than life in such a place. The wizard
touched them, and their chains fell from their limbs.
He must have had the jailer's keys.
"Up, cousins!" he cried. "You are saved. I am Malagis.
Silently they groped their way out of the prison. At
the castle gate four fleet horses, ready saddled,
waited for them. They mounted them, and, ere the
morning dawned, were many leagues away from Paris,
riding straight for Montalban.
Very angry was the king when he learned, next day,
he had been again outwitted, and that the sons of Aymon
had escaped. He vowed that he would not rest, nor cease
his efforts, until he had dined in the broad feast
hall of Montalban. And he called together his host, and
marched with all haste back, for the third time, to the
country of the Pyrenees.
The mountain stronghold was surrounded on every side by
the men of Charlemagne. Every road and every pass
leading to it were carefully guarded. The king knew
that he could never reach the walls, or hope to carry
the place by assault, and therefore that the only way
to capture it was to starve the garrison into
surrender. Yet week after week passed by, and neither
party seemed to gain any advantage over the other. Once
a company of knights, under Reinold, made a sally into
the plain below, and had a brief passage-at-arms with
some of Charlemagne's men. Roland and Reinold measured
their lances with each other; and Roland, for the first
and only time in his life, was unhorsed.
"Ah, good cousin!" cried Reinold, "that was your
horse's failure, and no fault of yours."
And he at once called off his men, and rode back to the
castle. Roland was very much grieved at the disgrace of
his fall: but, instead of feeling angry, he cherished
the warmest feelings of friendship for his gallant
cousin; and he vowed, that, if ever the king should
forgive Reinold, he would love him next to Oliver, and
Ogier the Dane.
 It happened one night, that Malagis—as, indeed, he had
often done before—went out as a spy into Charlemagne's
camp. The soldiers were sleeping quietly in their
tents; and, as the wizard crept stealthily from one
place to another, he threw a white sleeping powder into
the air, which caused even the most watchful sentinels
to close their eyes. Thus he made his way into the very
heart of the camp; and, without any fear of awakening
the sleepers, he stood in the door of the king's tent.
Suddenly, and to his great surprise, he felt himself
seized by the collar, and lifted from the ground. He
looked around, and saw that he was in the strong grasp
of Oliver, who, from some reason which the wizard could
never understand, was not made drowsy by the
sleeping powders. Malagis earnestly begged the knight
to set him free. But Oliver would not listen to a word.
He aroused the sleepers in the tent, and carried the
struggling dwarf into the king's presence.
"Ah, thou cunning wizard!" cried the king, "I have thee
at last! And, even though the unseen powers be on thy
side, thou shalt not get off easily."
Then he ordered Malagis to be bound and carried out of
the camp and thrown from the top of a precipice.
"My lord," said the wizard, "I have but one favor to
ask of you. Let me live long enough to sit once more
with you and your peers at the banquet table."
"It shall be as thou desirest," said the king; "but thy
life shall not be much the longer thereby."
Then he ordered a feast to be made ready at once,
he sent out and invited the noblest of his barons to
come and eat with him. It was midnight when the king
and his knights sat down to supper, and much did they
enjoy the good food and the rich wine which were placed
before them. But soon they began to feel drowsy. One by
one they closed their eyes, and fell back in their
seats fast asleep. In a short time not a single person
in all the camp, save Malagis, was awake. His eyes
twinkled merrily; and he could not help jumping upon
the table, and dancing about in glee, as he saw how the
magic powder had again cast a spell of slumber over
all. Then he stepped softly to the side of the sleeping
Charlemagne; and, after giving him an extra pinch of
the snuff, he lifted him on his shoulders, and carried
him out of the tent. It was a great burden for the
little man to carry, but we must believe that his magic
increased his strength tenfold as he toiled up the
narrow mountain paths with his kingly burden on his
When he reached the castle, the gate was opened; and he
carried the king, still fast asleep, into the broad
hall. Great was the astonishment of Reinold and his
brothers when they saw what kind of a prisoner the
dwarf had brought them.
"Your troubles are at an end, my cousins," said he.
"You may now make peace on your own terms."
The king was carried to the best guest chamber in the
castle, and every thing was done that could add to his
comfort. But he did not awaken until noon the
 next day.
You may imagine his surprise when he opened his eyes,
and found himself, not, as he supposed, in his tent,
but in a sumptuous castle, furnished as grandly as his
own palace. For a long time he would not believe but
that it was all a dream; and not until Reinold and
Malagis came into his presence, and told him where he
was, and how he came there, did he recover from his
bewilderment. At first he was very angry, and harshly
upbraided them for their treason. But Reinold did not
once forget the courtesy that is due from a knight to
his king. As Charlemagne was very hungry after his long
sleep, he was persuaded to sit down with the sons of
Aymon at the banquet table, and partake of the choice
food and the rare wines with which Montalban was well
supplied. But when the brothers spoke to him of peace,
and prayed that he would let bygones be bygones, and
receive them again into his kingly favor, he grew angry
and morose, and bade them open the castle gates, and
let him go back to his friends, who were anxiously
seeking him in the valley below.
"Never will I make
peace with you!" he cried.
"It shall not be said that I have dealt harshly with
the king," said Reinold. "He shall have his freedom;
and, if our kindness has no power to touch his heart,
then we must still defend ourselves in Montalban."
And the king went out of the castle, and back to his
own camp, without a word of forgiveness for his unhappy
 As Reinold passed through the courtyard soon
afterward, he saw Malagis the wizard burning a great
heap of papers and boxes and odd mixtures, and making
strange motions and gestures over them, as the flames
"What are you doing, cousin?" he asked.
"I am burning all the tools of my trade," said Malagis
sadly. "The wizard's art is thrown away upon such men
as you. I am going to leave Montalban, never to return
again. Had you been wise, you would have kept the king
a prisoner, and forced him to grant you peace."
After Charlemagne had gone back to his camp, he began
to think more seriously about this long and
profitless war with his nephews.
"Why not bring it to a close by granting them your
forgiveness?" asked Roland.
"But my oath," said Charlemagne. "I dare not forget my
"True," answered Roland. "But what was your oath?—that
you would not make peace, nor grant your forgiveness,
until you had dined in the banquet hall of Montalban?"
"That was my oath, and it shall be remembered."
"But have you not dined to-day in the banquet-hall of
The king was silent, and he went and shut himself up
alone in his tent. The next day he sent a messenger to
the heroes of Montalban, offering to make peace with
them on their own terms, to grant them full
par-  don for all past offences, and to restore to them all the
honors, fiefs, and dignities which were theirs by
right. And thus the sorrowful wars with Duke Aymon's
sons were ended.
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