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Geoffrey de Vinsauf
Itinerary of Richard I and others to the Holy Land
brandishing his lance, bore down upon the soldier. What could the latter do, unarmed as he was? On foot, single-handed, and a ready prey for the foe, he called upon God, who is always by his grace present with his people, and seeing a stone by chance ready at hand, he aimed it at the face
of his enemy, which was exposed beneath his helmet, and it struck him on the temple. The Turk fell stunned from his horse, broke his neck, and died; the soldier caught the horse, mounted, and returned to his friends. One who saw the occurrence, related it; and it is well known as a fact in the camp.
Chapter LI. - How a woman on the point of death, while our men were filling the city trench with earth, threw herself in instead of earth.
On another occasion, amongst those who were carrying earth to make a mound in the ditch for assaulting the town more easily, was a woman who laboured with great diligence and earnestness, and went to and fro unceasingly, and encouraged others unremittingly, in order that the work might be accomplished; but her zeal put an end to her life and labours; for while a crowd of all sexes and ages were constantly coming and going to complete the work in question, and while the aforesaid woman was occupied in depositing what she had brought, a Turk, who had been lying wait for her, struck her a mortal blow with a dart. As she fell to the ground, writhing with the violence of her pain, she entreated her husband and many others who had come up to assist her, with tears in her eyes, and very urgently, saying, "By your love for me, my dearest lord, by your piety as my husband, and the faith of our marriage contracted of old, permit not my corpse to be removed from this place; but I pray and beseech you, that since I can do nothing more towards the fulfilment of the work, I may deem myself to have done some good, if you will allow my lifeless body to be laid in the trench instead of earth, for it will soon be earth." This she urged with supplications to all the multitude that stood around, and soon after gave up the ghost. Oh! wonderful faith of the weaker sex! Oh! zeal of woman, worthy of imitation, for she ceased not, even dead, to help those who laboured, and in her death continued to shew her zeal in the cause!
Chapter LII. - Of the Turk’s horse caught in a net.
Again, a common fellow of our camp was spreading his net outside the camp, either for the purpose of driving off the Turks or to catch them if they came on; one of them came rushing forward on horseback, and put the man to flight before he had finished what he was about; but unable to overtake him, he gave up the pursuit, when he saw him reach the camp, and in his excessive indignation, he began to pluck up the net. But after pulling up some poles by which the net was fixed with cords, his horse’s head was accidentally entangled and caught by the net, which he was trying to roll up in a hasty, incautious manner. The horse, being one of great beauty, was indignant at being thus hampered, and in his wild attempts to get free, became more and more entangled. Some of our men seeing this, rode down in haste toward him. The Turk, finding his horse entangled, quickly dismounted and fled on foot, and although deprived of his steed, escaped his pursuers, for fear added wings to his feet. His valuable horse, which had broken the net in many parts, was with difficulty disentangled, and became an object of Firstion, but was given to the man who had fixed the net, as compensation for his loss.
Chapter LIII. - Of the Turk’s horse that was caught in a foot-trap.
At another time, when, on account of the frequent and sudden sallies of the Turks, our chiefs ordered that foot-traps should be made and buried in the earth to escape being seen, it happened one day, that while some of our young men were exercising by appointment in the plain by throwing darts at a mark, some of the Turks, putting spurs to their horses, suddenly attacked them, upon which our young men, being unarmed and inferior in numbers, retreated to the camp. But one of the pursuers, as if trusting in the activity of his horse, too eagerly outstript the others, when the animal was suddenly stopped in its career by being caught in a foot-trap, and no effort or endeavour of his rider could extricate him. The Turk, preferring the loss of his horse to that of his head, escaped on foot uninjured, to his own friends. The horse was decreed to be given to him whose instrument caught it, viz. Robert Count of Dreux.
Chapter LIV. - How Ivo de Vipont stays eighty pirates with a handful of men.
On another occasion, as three sailors were conducting Ivo de Vipont with ten companions to Tyre, and had wandered too far from the port, some Turkish pirates, coming out in a galley from an eddy of the sea near the land, bore down upon them; they were about eighty in number, and
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