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Chapter 20

CHAPTER XX.
DEATH OF RINALDO.

THE distress in Rinaldo's castle for want of food grew more severe
every day, under the pressure of the siege. The garrison were forced
to kill their horses, both to save the provision they would consume,
and to make food of their flesh. At last, all the horses were killed
except Bayard, and Rinaldo said to his brothers, "Bayard must die, for
we have nothing else to eat." So they went to the stable and brought
out Bayard to kill him. But Alardo said, "Brother, let Bayard live a
little longer; who knows what God may do for us."
Bayard heard these words, and understood them as if he was a man,
and fell on his knees, as if he would beg for mercy. When Rinaldo
saw the distress of his horse his heart failed him, and he let him
live.
Just at this time, Aya, Rinaldo's mother, who was the sister of
the Emperor, came to the camp, attended by knights and ladies, to
intercede for her sons. She fell on her knees before the king, and
besought him that he would pardon Rinaldo and his brothers; and all
the peers and knights took her side, and entreated the king to grant
her prayer. Then said the king, "Dear sister, you act the part of a
good mother, and I respect your tender heart, and yield to your
entreaties. I will spare your sons their lives, if they submit
implicitly to my will."
When Charlot heard this, he approached the king and whispered in his
ear. And the king turned to his sister and said, "Charlot must have
Bayard, because I have given the horse to him. Now go, my sister,
and tell Rinaldo what I have said."
When the Lady Aya heard these words, she was delighted, thanked
God in her heart, and said, "Worthy king and brother, I will do as you
bid me." So she went into the castle, where her sons received her most
joyfully and affectionately, and she told them the king's offer.
Then Alardo said, "Brother, I would rather have the king's enmity than
give Bayard to Charlot, for I believe he will kill him." Likewise said
all the brothers. When Rinaldo heard them, he said, "Dear brothers, if
we may win our forgiveness by giving up the horse, so be it. Let us
make our peace, for we cannot stand against the king's power." Then he
went to his mother, and told her they would give the horse to Charlot,
and more, too, if the king would pardon them, and forgive all that
they had done against his crown and dignity. The lady returned to
Charles and told him the answer of her sons.
When the peace was thus made between the king and the sons of Aymon,
the brothers came forth from the castle, bringing Bayard with them,
and, falling at the king's feet, begged his forgiveness. The king bade
them rise, and received them into favor in the sight of all his
noble knights and counsellors, to the great joy of all, especially
of the Lady Aya, their mother. Then Rinaldo took the horse Bayard,
gave him to Charlot, and said, "My lord and prince, this horse I
give to you; do with him as to you seems good." Charlot took him, as
had been agreed on. Then he made the servants take him to the
bridge, and throw him into the water. Bayard sank to the bottom, but
soon came to the surface again and swam, saw Rinaldo looking at him,
came to land, ran to his old master, and stood by him as proudly as if
he had understanding, and would say, "Why did you treat me so?" When
the prince saw that, he said, "Rinaldo, give me the horse again, for
he must die." Rinaldo replied, "My lord and prince, he is yours
without dispute," and gave him to him. The prince then had a millstone
tied to each foot, and two to his neck, and made them throw him
again into the water. Bayard struggled in the water, looked up to
his master, threw off the stones, and came back to Rinaldo.
When Alardo saw that, he said, "Now must thou be disgraced
forever, brother, if thou give up the horse again." But Rinaldo
answered, "Brother, be still. Shall I for the horse's life provoke the
anger of the king again?" Then Alardo said, "Ah, Bayard! what a return
do we make for all thy true love and service!" Rinaldo gave the
horse to the prince again, and said, "My lord, if the horse comes
out again, I cannot return him to you any more, for it wrings my heart
too much." Then Charlot had Bayard loaded with the stones as before,
and thrown into the water; and commanded Rinaldo that he should not
stand where the horse would see him. When Bayard rose to the surface
he stretched his neck out of the water and looked round for his
master, but saw him not. Then he sunk to the bottom.
Rinaldo was so distressed for the loss of Bayard, that he made a vow
to ride no horse again all his life long, not to bind a sword to his
side, but to become a hermit, He resolved to betake himself to some
wild wood, but first to return to his castle, to see his children, and
to appoint to each his share of his estate.
So he took leave of the king and of his brothers, and returned to
Montalban, and his brothers remained with the king. Rinaldo called his
children to him, and he made his eldest born, Aymeric, a knight, and
made him lord of his castle and of his land. He gave to the rest
what other goods he had, and kissed and embraced them all, commended
them to God, and then departed from them with a heavy heart.
He had not travelled far when he entered a wood, and there met
with a hermit, who had long been retired from the world, Rinaldo
greeted him, and the hermit replied courteously, and asked him who
he was and what was his purpose. Rinaldo replied, "Sir, I have led a
sinful life; many deeds of violence have I done, and many men have I
slain, not always in a good cause, but often under the impulse of my
own headstrong passions. I have also been the cause of the death of
many of my friends, who took my part, not because they thought me in
the right, but only for love of me. And now I come to make
confession of all my sins, and to do penance for the rest of my
life, if perhaps the mercy of God will forgive me." The hermit said,
"Friend, I perceive you have fallen into great sins, and have broken
the commandments of God, but His mercy is greater than your sins;
and if you repent from your heart, and lead a new life, there is yet
hope for you that He will forgive you what is past." So Rinaldo was
comforted, and said, "Master, I will stay with you, and what you bid
me I will do." The hermit replied, "Roots and vegetables will be
your food; shirt or shoes you may not wear; your lot must be poverty
and want, if you stay with me." Rinaldo replied, "I will cheerfully
bear all this, and more." So he remained three whole years with the
hermit, and after that his strength failed, and it seemed as if he was
like to die.
One night the hermit had a dream, and heard a voice from heaven,
which commanded him to say to his companion that he must without delay
go to the Holy Land, and fight against the heathen. The hermit, when
he heard that voice, was glad, and, calling Rinaldo, he said, "Friend,
God's angel has commanded me to say to you that you must without delay
go to Jerusalem, and help our fellow-Christians in their struggle with
the Infidels." Then said Rinaldo, "Ah! master, how can I do that? It
is over three years since I made a vow no more to ride a horse, nor
take a sword or spear in my hand." The hermit answered, "Dear
friend, obey God, and do what the angel commanded." "I will do so,"
said Rinaldo, "and pray for me, my master, that God may guide me
right." Then he departed, and went to the seaside, and took ship and
came to Tripoli in Syria.
And as he went on his way his strength returned to him, till it
was equal to what it was in his best days. And though he never mounted
a horse, nor took a sword in his hand, yet with his pilgrim's staff he
did good service in the armies of the Christians; and it pleased God
that he escaped unhurt, though he was present in many battles, and his
courage inspired the men with the same. At last a truce was made
with the Saracens, and Rinaldo, now old and infirm, wishing to see his
native land again before he died, took ship and sailed for France.
When he arrived, he shunned to go to the resorts of the great, and
preferred to live among the humble folk, where he was unknown. He
did country work and lived on milk and bread, drank water and was
therewith content. While he so lived, he heard that the city of
Cologne was the holiest and best of cities, on account of the relics
and bodies of saints who had there poured out their blood for the
faith. This induced him to betake himself thither. When the pious hero
arrived at Cologne, he went to the monastery of St. Peter, and lived a
holy life, occupied night and day in devotion. It so happened that
at that time, in the next town to Cologne, there raged a dreadful
pestilence. Many people came to Rinaldo, to beg him to pray for
them, that the plague might be stayed. The holy man prayed
fervently, and besought the Lord to take away the plague from the
people, and his prayer was heard. The stroke of the pestilence was
arrested, and all the people thanked the holy man and praised God.
Now there was at this time at Cologne a Bishop, called Agilolphus,
who was a wise and understanding man, who led a pure and secluded
life, and set a good example to others. This Bishop undertook to build
the Church of St. Peter, and gave notice to all stone-masons and other
workmen round about to come to Cologne, where they should find work
and wages. Among others came Rinaldo; and he worked among the laborers
and did more than four or five common workmen. When they went to
dinner, he brought stone and mortar so that they had enough for the
whole day. When the others went to bed, he stretched himself out on
the stones. He ate bread only, and drank nothing but water; and had
for his wages but a penny a day. The head-workman asked him his
name, and where he belonged. He would not tell, but said nothing and
pursued his work. They called him St. Peter's workman, because he
was so devoted to his work.
When the overseer saw the diligence of this holy man, he chid the
laziness of the other workmen, and said, "You receive more pay than
this good man, but do not do half as much work." For this reason the
other workmen hated Rinaldo, and made a secret agreement to kill
him. They knew that he made it a practice to go every night to a
certain church to pray and give alms. So they agreed to lay wait for
him with the purpose to kill him. When he came to the spot, they
seized him, and beat him over the head till he was dead. Then they put
his body into a sack, and stones with it, and cast it into the
Rhine, in the hope the sack would sink to the bottom, and be there
concealed. But God willed not that it should be so, but caused the
sack to float on the surface, and be thrown upon the bank. And the
soul of the holy martyr was carried by angels, with songs of praise,
up to the heavens.
Now at that time the people of Dortmund had become converted to
the Christian faith; and they sent to the Bishop of Cologne, and
desired him to give them some of the holy relics that are in such
abundance in that city. So the Bishop called together his clergy to
deliberate what answer they should give to this request. And it was
determined to give to the people of Dortmund the body of the holy
man who had just suffered martyrdom.
When now the body with the coffin was put on the cart, the cart
began to move toward Dortmund without horses or help of men, and
stopped not till it reached the place where the church of St.
Rinaldo now stands. The Bishop and his clergy followed the holy man to
do him honor, with singing of hymns, for a space of three miles. And
St. Rinaldo has ever since been the patron of that place, and many
wonderful works has God done through him, as may be seen in the
legends.

Thomas Bulfinch

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