miércoles, 26 de octubre de 2016

LE CHEVALIER ET LA DAMOISELLE

(This is my own translation; not directly from the French original, but from the Catalan and Castilian)


Marie Diaz

(La Reine des Neiges)

QUATRIÈME HISTOIRE


Le Chevalier et la Damoiselle



Miss Clara's illustration of the damsel (la Damoiselle) in Marie Diaz's retelling.
The author made her a daughter of the landed gentry because she dislikes the baroque style.
She appears poised and mature, learned on account of the books, globe, and spectacles,
and dark-haired to appear mature as well. A truly beautiful figurine in an equally beautiful diorama.

In the heart of this shire, there is a wooden fortress, where the menu is most exquisite! In the highest story of the fortress, in the tower of the keep, there lives a damsel: she is charming, and so clever that she's read all the books in the world, but she was bored to death and she didn't even have a single friend. She's so learned that no one knew what to say to her in conversation. Thus, the damsel decided to wed the first man who would talk to her about something else than her beauty.
Her parents, the lord and lady of the shire, organized an audience for all the young men in the land. The best eligible bachelors presented themselves, even woodcutters and farmers, since everyone would have a chance.
The dashing suitors crowded the staircase, cheerfully talking to each other. They spoke eloquently, yet none of them passed the test. Upon entering the damsel's bedchamber, as they saw her before her rows of ornate picture books, the young men were seized by some kind of trance: they turned pale, they stuttered, and they could hardly recitate a single poem in praise of the damsel's fair visage, or of her beautiful complexion.
On the third day in the evening, a young knight without entourage or carriage presented himself, and he marched confidently up the staircase: he kept his hair long, and his eyes sparkled. He was carrying a knapsack...
The stranger passed beneath the brocades and the golden dragons of the great hall without even flinching; he saluted, with a smile, the lord and his vassals with their shining swords; and then, he greeted the lady and her maids, who were looking with scorn at his torn garments. His boots creaked and clinked in the silent room...
He passed before the armed and breastplated guards, and he finally arrived in the presence of the damsel, who was reading, sitting by the music stand she used to hold her books: she was reading a thousand-page book, as eagerly as if she were relishing the most delicious among desserts. She was so tired of listening to so much foolishness in a row that she didn't hear him come, nor notice that he had arrived.
All those who have seen the damsel dream of wedding her!
The strangest thing by far was that the young knight hadn't come to court her: he only felt curious about her knowledge. He asked her a question in some unknown foreign language, and the damsel replied immediately, looking rather pleased. That overjoyed her. She liked the knight so much, and he liked the damsel as well! She was overjoyed with him, and he was overjoyed with her too!
The fortress, which towered in the middle of the heath, was surrounded by a high palisade. Beyond the fence, the streets were deserted that night. In the tavern, the suitors that the damsel had scorned were drowning their sorrows in tankards of hot chocolate.
The bedchamber was sumptous: there were two wooden beds with golden carvings, covered in velvet brocade. Under the white canopy slept the damsel, and under the crimson one slept the knight. The young man was dashing.
In the stables, there were the best steeds, brought over from all corners of the world. 

Later on, when autumn had given way to winter and winter had changed into spring, the knight and the damsel took a trip abroad. They loved to speak Pig Latin.

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EASTER EGG #EasterEgg: Interview with Marie Diaz, in which she explains the setting change!

...dans la forteresse de la Damoiselle… qui était à l’origine un palais baroque, dégoulinant de stucs, avec Prince et Princesses en dentelles ! 
J’ai du mal avec l’imagerie précieuse du XVII ou XVIII° siècle, (…sauf lorsque c’est Miss Clara qui l’illustre!) et j’ai une allergie au mot prince (sauf s’il est associé à ‘noir’, mais ceci est une autre histoire.) Le côté rugueux, organique, de l’imagerie médiévale me parle davantage : aussi Chevalier, Damoiselle et forteresse de bois sur la lande se sont-ils imposés d’eux-mêmes, en hommage spontané au Rohan de Tolkien, aux récits des cycles Arthuriens et aux peintures romantiques des Préraphaélites. Un peuple de cavaliers m’arrangeait bien pour la présence du Renne, même s’il est une monture insolite, car j’avais aussi supprimé le carrosse - trop connoté ‘grand siècle’ à mon goût. Je voulais une chevauchée plus rude et épique.

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