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The Story of Amis and Amile: A Medieval Legend
From BIBLIOTHECA ELZEVIRIANA

Translated by William Morris


This story concerns the devotion of two medieval knights. Friendship?

Amis and Amile were devoted friends, twins in resemblance and life. On one occasion, having strayed apart, they ceased not to seek each other for two whole years. And when at last they met "they lighted down from their horses, and embraced and kissed each other, and gave thanks to God that they were found. And they swore fealty and friendship and fellowship perpetual, the one to the other, on the sword of Amile, wherein were relics." Thence they went together to the court of "Charles, king of France."

Here soon after, Amis took Amile's place in a tournament, saved his life from a traitor, and won for him the King's daughter to wife. But so it happened that, not long after, he himself was stricken with leprosy and brought to Amile's door. And when Amile and his royal bride knew who it was they were sore grieved, and they brought him in and placed him on a fair bed, and put all that they had at his service. And it came to pass one night "when as Amis and Amile lay in one chamber without other company, that God sent to Amis Raphael his angel, who said to him: 'Sleepest thou, Amis?' And he, who deemed that Amile had called to him, answered: 'I sleep not, fair sweet fellow.' Then the angel said to him: 'Thou hast answered well, for thou art the fellow of the citizens of heaven, and thou hast followed after Job, and Thoby in patience. Now I am Raphael, an angel of our Lord, and am come to tell thee of a medicine for thine healing, whereas he hath heard thy prayers. Thou shalt tell to Amile thy fellow, that he slay his two children and wash thee in blood, and thence thou shalt get the healing of thy body.' "

Amis was shocked when he heard these words, and at first refused tell Amile; but the latter had also heard the angel's voice, and pressed him to tell. Then, when he knew, he too was sorely grieved. But at last determined in his mind not even to spare his children for the sake of friend, and going secretly to their chamber he slew them, and bring some of their blood washed Amis-who immediately was healed. then arrayed Amis in his best clothes and, after going to the church give thanks, they met Amile's wife who (not knowing all) rejoiced greatly too. But Amile, going apart again to the children's chamber to watch over them, found them at play in bed, with only a thread of crime round their throats to mark what had been done!

The two knights fell afterwards and were killed in the same battle; " even as God had joined them together by good accord in their life- and so in their death they were not sundered." And a miracle was added even when they were buried apart from each other the two coffins lay together in the night and were found side by side in the morning.


HTML, Paul Halsall