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JOHN LORD DE JOINVILLE Memoirs of Louis IX, King of France

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JOHN LORD DE JOINVILLE
Memoirs of Louis IX, King of France
page 106



with him, who bado him descend. He replied, he would willingly descend, if they would answer for his safety ; but they replied that they would make him come down by force, for that he was not yet arrived at Damietta. They then discharged some Greek fire into the tower, which being made only of fir and linen cloth, as I have before said, the whole was in a blase ; and I promise you, I never beheld so fine nor so sudden a bonfire. When the sultan saw the fire gaining ground on all sides, he descended into the lawn, of which I have spoken, and ran for the river ; but in his flight one of the Hauleca struck him a severe blow on the ribs with a sword, and then he flung himself, with the sword in him, into the Nile. Nine other knights pursued and killed him while in the water, near the side of the galley.* One of the foresaid knights, whose name was Faracataic, seeing the sultan dead, cut him in twain, and tore the heart from his body. On coming to the king with his hands all bloody, he said, "What wilt thou give me who have skin thine enemy, who, had he lived, would have put thee to death ?" But the good king St. Louis made no answer whatever to this demand. The deed being done, about thirty of them entered our galley with their swords drawn, and their battle-axes on their necks. I asked Sir Baldwin d'Ebelin, who understood Saracenic, what they were saying. And he replied, that they said they were come to cut off our heads ; and shortly after I saw a large body of our men on board confessing themselves to a monk of La Trinité, who had accompanied the count of Flanders. With regard to myself, I no longer thought of any sin or evil I bad done, but that I was about to receive my death : in consequence, I fell on my knees at the feet of one of * A Chronicle, published by M . Catel, of the year 1249, says, that the sultan was killed by his own people, in a dispute about the ransom of St. Louis. The lord de Joinvillc writes, that he was slain by those of the Haulequa. Matt. Paris says, that he was poisoned by his chamberlaine. Aython, in ch. 52, says it was done by the Contains ; and the Oriental Chronicle, by the Mamelukes. This difference is easily reconciled, for the lord de Joinrille has before said, that the knights of the Haulequa formed part of the military force of the sultans of Egypt, composed of children sent as tribute ; and Aython adds, that these tributary children were from Comania. These foreign soldiers were, in the Arabian language, celled Mamelukes, as we learn from William of Tyre, L 2, ch. 23.


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