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As soon as May appeareth, with her days so clear,
The queen now endeavours to dissuade her son, but finding her efforts vain, resolves to aid him as far as she can. She gives him a ring, and desires him to ride towards Rome till he comes to where a linden stands before a hill, from which runs a brook, and there he will meet an adventure. She farther tells him to keep the ring uncovered, and the stone of it will direct him.
Obeying his directions, Otnit rides alone from his palace at Garda, continually looking at his ring:
Unto a heath he came then, close by the Garda lake,
The sun over the mountains and through the welkin shone,
Them followed he downwards, the rocky wall boldly,
The birds were loudly singing, each other rivalling,
sprang down from his courser, he held him by the head.
And when the Lombarder had looked on the lindèn
Who had himself full firmly rolled in the grass ;
This child was Elberich, whom the ring rendered visible. After a hard struggle, Otnit overcomes him. As a ransom, Elberich promises him a magnificent suit of armour
“I'll give thee for my ransom the very best harness That either young or old in the world doth possess.
“ Full eighty thousand marks the harness is worth well, A sword too I will give thee, with the shirt of mail, That every corslet cuts through as if steel it were not; There ne'er was helm so strong yet could injure it a jot.
“ I ween in the whole world no better sword there be,
“ The sword I will name to thee, it is bright of hue,
“ With all the other harness I give thee leg armour, In which there no ring is, my own hand wrought it sure ; And when thou hast the harness thou must it precious hold, There's nothing false within it, it all is of pure gold.
“ With all the armour rich I give thee a helmet, Upon an emperor's head none a better e'er saw yet ; Full happy is the man who doth this helmet bear, His head is recognized, a mile off though he were.
“And with the helmet bright I will give to thee a shield, So strong and so good too, if to me thanks thou 'lt yield; It never yet was cut through by any sword so keen, No sort of weapon ever may that buckler win.”
Elberich persuades the king to lend him his ring; when he gets it he becomes invisible, and amuses himself by telling him of the whipping he will get from his mother for having lost it. At last, when Otnit is on the point of going away, Elberich returns the ring, and, to his no small surprise, informs him that he is his father, promising him, at the same time, if he is kind to his mother, to stand his friend, and assist him to gain the heathen maid.
When May arrives Otnit sails from Messina with his troops. As they approach Sunders, they are a little in dread of the quantity of shipping they see in the port, and the king regrets and bewails having proceeded without his dwarf-sire. But Elberich has, unseen, been sitting on the mast. He appears, and gives his advice, accompanied by a stone, which, by being put into the mouth, endows its possessor with the gift of all languages. On the heathens coming alongside the vessel, Otnit assumes the character of a merchant, and is admitted to enter the port. He forthwith proposes to murder the inhabitants in the night, an act of treachery which is prevented by the strong and indignant rebukes of the Dwarf.
Elberich sets off to Muntabur, the royal residence, to demand the princess. The Soldan, enraged at the insolence of the invisible envoy, in vain orders his men to put him to death; the “ little man” returns unscathed to Otnit, and bids him
prepare By the aid of Elberich, Otnit wins, after great slaughter on both sides, the city of Sunders. He then, under the Dwarf's advice, follows up his conquest by marching for Muntabur, the capital. Elberich, still invisible, except to the possessor of the ring, offers to act as guide.
66 Give me now the horse here they lead by the hand, And I will guide thine army unto the heathens land ; If any one should ask thee, who on the horse doth ride? Thou shalt say nothing else, but, an angel is thy guide.”
The army, on seeing the horse and banner advancing as it were of themselves, blessed themselves, and asked Otnit why he did not likewise.
“ It is God's messenger !” Otnit then cried: “ Who unto Muntabur will be our trusty guide ; Him ye should believe in, who like Christians debate, Who in the fight them spare not, he leads to heaven straight.”
Thus encouraged, the troops cheerfully follow the invisible standard-bearer, and soon appear before Muntabur, where Elberich delivers the banner to king Elias, and directs them to encamp. He, meanwhile, enters the city, Alings down the artillery from the walls, and when the Soldan again refuses to give his daughter, plucks out some of his majesty's beard * and hair, in the midst of his courtiers and guards, who in vain cut and thrust at the viewless tormentor. A furious battle ensues. The
and princess resort to prayers to their gods A pollo and Mahomet for the safety of the Soldan. The princess is thus described :
This may have suggested the well-known circumstance in Huon de Bordeaux,