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Book III, Canto IX

May 15, 2011

The castle won’t let them in. It’s because the lord, Malbecco, is a greedy one-eyed old man with a hoard of treasure and a beautiful young wife who likes to be social. Because of his jealousy, he keeps her locked up in the castle and won’t allow any knights to visit for fear of cuckolding. The three discuss the situation. Paridell suggests they attack the castle and kill Malbecco. Styrane suggests that they try asking nicely, then threatening, then breaking in only if necessary.

Their attempts at diplomacy are rudely denied. It starts hailing, so the three men run into a little shed nearby to hide from the storm. Then another knight rides up to ask shelter in the castle. He also is told no, and he also seeks shelter in the shed, but there is no room. Paridell jousts with the knight and is defeated. They begin to fight, but Satyrane redirects their aggression toward the castle.

Malbecco overhears the plot to burn his castle down, so he rushes out to apologize and let the knights enter. As they undress in front of the fire it is revealed that it was Britomart who unseated Paridell. The men are amazed to see a woman knight.

At dinnertime Malbecco tries to make excuses to keep his wife Hellenore away, but she comes to dinner anyway. Paridell sits on Malbecco’s blind side and makes suggestive looks at her throughout dinner and they have some sort of silent communication through a wine goblet to affirm that they are going to see each other later. He tells a brief story about his Trojan ancestry. We discover that he is descended from Paris. He summarizes the story of Aeneas and the founding of Rome. Britomart chimes in to remind everyone about Brutus, also a Trojan, who conquered Albion and began the third incarnation of Troy- London.

It is now bedtime, and Malbecco insists they go to their rooms.


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