Friday, June 4, 2021

Gesta 24: De Paradiso Ficto

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Centum Verba: De Paradiso Ficto

Magus erat qui habuit ortum pulcherrimum, in quo erant tot flores redolentes, tot fructus suaves, tot divitiae et deliciae quod valde delectabile fuit ibi esse. 
Hunc locum numquam volebat ostendere, nisi fatuis et inimicis suis. Et cum essent introducti, viderunt tot et tanta gaudia, quod mirabantur et instanter quaerebant, ut in illo poterant manere. 
Ille vero nulli consentiebat, nisi qui hereditatem ejus ei concederet. Fatui vero credebant quod esset paradisus in quo semper deberent permanere, et ei hereditatem illorum concesserunt. 
Magus vero de nocte surgebat, et eos dormientes invenit et occidit, et sic per ortum istum quasi infinita mala perpetravit.

Notes: You can find this story in Sir John Mandeville (see below). There is an English version in Swan: Of the Suggestions of the Devil. Normally I include the full version from the Latin Gesta, but this story was only 103 words to start with; I just had to remove a few words to make it fit! So, instead of the Latin Gesta here, I'll include the version of this same legend in The Voyage and Travels of Sir John Mandeville (online at Project Gutenberg).

90. Of a rich man in Prester Johan's lande named Catolonapes and of his gardeine. IN an yle of Prester Johans land yt men call Miscorach, there was a rich man yt was called Catolonapes, he was ful rich & had a fair castel on a hil & strong, & he made a wal all about ye hill right strong & fayre, within he had a faire gardeine wherein were many trees bearing all maner of fruits yt he might find, & he had planted therein al maner of herbes of good smel and that bare flowers, & ther wer many faire wels, & by them was made many hals & chambers wel dight with gold & asure, & he had made there dyverse stories of beastes and birds yt song & turned by engin and orbage, as they had been quick, & he had in his gardeine al thing that might be to man solace & comfort, he had also in that gardeine maydens within ye age of xv yeare, ye fairest yt he myght find, & men children of the same age, & they were clothed with clothes of gold, & he sayd that they were aungels and he caused to be made certain hils, & enclosed them about with precious stones of Jaspy & christal & set in gold & pearls and other maner of stones, and he had made a coundute under ye earth, so that when he wold ye walls ran somtime with milke, somtime with wine, somtime honey, & this place is called Paradise & when any yong bacheler of ye countrey, knight or sqyer, cometh to him for solace and disport, he ledeth him into his paradise & sheweth them these things, as the songs of birds & his damosels and wels, & he did strike diverse Instruments of musyke, in a high tower that might be sene, and sayde they were the aungels of God, & that place was Paradise, that God hath graunted to those that beleved, when hee sayde thus, Dabo vobis terram fluentam lac & mel. That is to say, I shall giue you land flowing with mylk and hony. 
And then this rych man dyd these men drinke a maner of drinke, of which they were dronken, & he said to them if they wold dye for his sake & when they were dead they shold come to his paradise, and they should be of the age of those maydens, and shold dwell alway with them, and he shold put them in a fayrer paradise where they shold se god in his joy, and in his majesty & then they graunted to do that he wold, and he bad them go and sleay such a lord, or a man of the countrey that he was wroth with, and that they should haue no dread of no man and if they were slaine themselfe for his sake, he shold put them in his paradise when they were dead. 
And so went those bachelers to sleay great lordes of the countrey, & were slaine themselfe in hope to haue that Paradise, and thus was he avenged of his enimies through his desert, and when rich men of the countrey perceived this cautell and malice and the will of this Catolonapes, they gathered them to gither & assayled the castel & slew hym & destroyed all his goods and his faire places and riches that were in his paradise, and the place of the wales are there yet, and it is not long ago since it was destroyed.