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the properties of stones and of the waters; those of herbs; the qualities belonging to every species of animal created by God in this world. I also know all that pertains to music. I can sing and play on various instruments-figure and dance better than any one in the world.
How the king marvelled at the things which were told him by the damoiselle Theodora, and how he sent for all the wise men that they might enter into a discussion with her.
When the wise men were come, the king commanded them to argue sharply against the damoiselle, since as she had boasted of knowing so many things, he desired to know the truth of it. And among all the sages present, he selected three of them more learned than all the others put together; these immediately addressed the damoiselle, and entered into discussion with her. The first who spoke to her, began speaking to her in a disdainful way, as if he had to do with a simple ignorant girl, “Damoiselle, will you answer what I am about to ask of you?"
She replied :—“ Discreet and learned lord, I will answer you with God's assistance, and my lord the king's good pleasure (whom God maintain), and who is here present with all his knights as well as the noble men of his crown. Let him give me commandment and licence.
The king answered that she must immediately reply to the sage's questions, and that without delay.
The damoiselle told him that she was prepared and willing. The sage began in the following fashion.
Of the first dispute that the first sage had with the damoiselle.
The wise man then began thus :-" Damoiselle, in the first place I beg of
our lord. It is ne
Being all of us well which shall be van
thee not to agitate thyself; we are here before the king cessary every point should be examined with diligence. known wise and lettered men, it is important to know quished, thou or I.”
The damoiselle repeated to him that so it pleased her. "You must reply then to what I shall ask of you. Tell me what are the things that the almighty and powerful God has created in the most secret part of the heavens ?"
The wise and discreet 'damoiselle immediately replied to this question :"My master, you ought to know that the Lord has created in the highest skies seven planets, whose names I will tell you: the Sun, the Moon; and the stars, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, and Mercury; and besides twelve signs the Ram, the Bull, the Twins, the Crab, the Lion, the Virgin, the Balance, the Scorpion, the Archer, the Goat, the Waterpot, and the Fishes; and our Lord after he had created his immense heaven, composed the four parts of the world.
The sage asked :-"Tell me, damoiselle, in what month reigns each sign, and what are the properties it has ?"
She answered:-"In the month of January the Waterpot reigns. It influences the reflection of stones; it is of the nature of air; whoever is born under this sign will be little, and of a sorrowful complexion, and he must never allow himself to rise from the table being thirsty."
"What is the sign of the month of February?"
"It is that of Fishes. It reigns over the feet; it is assigned to the planet Jupiter; it is of the nature of water; its quality is cold; him who is born under this planet will be well-formed bodily. Care must be taken not to bleed at this time."
"Speak of the month of March," said the sage.
"In the month of March the Ram reigns. He influences the head; it is assigned to the planet Mars; because when the sun was first born, he appeared in the fourth part of this sign; he is very changeable, analogous to fire, and hot in its nature. Those born under this influence lose their temper for the slightest cause."
"And of the month of April ?".
"The sign of the Bull is assigned to the planet Venus. It is a fixed, permanent sign; its properties are cold and dry; and according to true astrology, persons born under this sign frequently fall sick."
The sage asked what was to be thought about the month of May, and the damoiselle answered :-"The sign which reigns in this month is the Twins; it influences the arms. We assign it to the planet Mercury; its qualifications are hot and wet. He who is born under this sign will be a man of frank character; he will follow the king in his court, and will inhabit the palaces of the great."
"What dost thou say of the month of June ?"
"The Crab is master of the month of June, a sign submissive to the moon; its qualities are cold and wet. Those born under it will be valiant, and fearless of their persons; but I tell you to take care of diseases of the chest, for they are then very perilous."
"What will you teach us of the month of July ?"
"The sign of the month of July is called the Lion. It penetrates the heart by its strength; it is assigned to the Sun; its nature is that of fire; its qualities are cold and dry. He who is born under this sign will be a man of probity and honour, but obstinate and unchangeable in his reasons.”"
"What is the doctrine on the month of August?"
"In this month reigns the sign of the Virgin; it is submitted to the influence of Mercury; its nature is terrestrial. Him who is born under this sign will be prodigal, but a great musician. At this period you must above all avoid sleeping or bathing about the middle of the day."
"And of the month of September ?"
"The Scales reign in this qualities are hot and wet. a happy influence; he will number of friends."
month; it is assigned to the planet Venus; its He who is born beneath this sign is born under become a great workman, and will make a great
When it was a question of the month of October, the damoiselle said that its sign was the Scorpion, and given to Mars; that those born under it were talkative and full of passions. In the month of November she named the Archer, observed that its influence was exercised on the legs, and stated that this sign was of the nature of fire. The children of those born at this period were, according to her, disobedient to their parents. The month of December did not embarrass her she said the sign was Capricorn; that it had influence over the knees; that it belonged to the planet Saturn; she added, those who shall be born under this sign will be inclined to think badly of their neighbours; they will nevertheless possess politeness; frankness and melancholy will be their portion.
The sage then changed the nature of his questions.
"Tell me," he said, "what are the things most certain to conduct us to Paradise?"
"Faith, Hope, and Charity !"
When the wise man had heard these last words he addressed himself to the king and all his chevaliers, saying with a loud voice :-"Our well beloved king, I truly say unto you this gentle damoiselle who is before you knows more than I do, and I confess myself vanquished."
Of the dispute she had with the second sage.
After that the first sage confessed himself conquered, the second rose and said,-“Damoiselle, understand one thing that I am not so simple as the sage thou hast just vanquished.”
The damoiselle answered him respectfully, and bowing to him as was becoming to a man advanced in age, and learned: "I will answer you with my lord the king's permission, who is present, and with that of all his knighthood."
Then the sage asked her to which of the twelve signs named was each member composing the human body assigned, and in what sign of the month might bleeding be good. The damoiselle replied,—“ Master, I will draw you a figure, in which you will see all the experiments that can be made upon the members of our body in respect to their corresponding signs; and moreover I will draw out a table for you by which you may see when blood-letting may be salutary, injurious, or indifferent. So soon as the sage saw the figure drawn and the table made out before him, he marvelled much; and he said that truly he had nothing more to ask of the damoiselle upon which she could not answer.
Of the dispute that the damoiselle Theodora had with the third sage, who was named Abraham the Troubador, and master of music.
History records that when the third wise man saw that the two first were vanquished, he had much in his heart. He thought they were but little skilful to have allowed themselves to be conquered by a young girl; and thinking to have an easy task, rose proudly, and said to her," Damoiselle, prepare thyself to answer me; for I am not quite so foolish as the other sages with whom you have disputed."
"Learned master," she replied in a very modest tone, with the respect due to the king and his knights, "I am astonished at the little opinion you entertain of the wise men who have already questioned me, and I am surprised that you have thought fit to imagine I have triumphed by false arguments. Since, however, you consider yourself so clever, let us make an agree ment before my lord the king, and in presence of all the learned men who are here, that in case I remain vanquished I shall become your slave during the rest of your life; but if by chance I should triumph, you must give me ten thousand doubloons of good red gold."
This proposition greatly pleased the learned Jew, because he thought he could easily reduce his adversary to silence. The thing was therefore agreed upon in presence of the king and his knights. And the damoiselle required that a document should be drawn up, so that no one could be ignorant of its nature. In consequence of this request, the king himself became security, and he engaged his royal word to make the loser pay according to the terms proposed.
Of the questions proposed to the damoiselle by the third sage, surnamed Abraham the Troubador.
The sage asked of the damoiselle Theodora what was the heaviest thing in the world?-She replied, debt; and the sage said it was well spoken. He then put the following questions:
What is the most penetrating thing in the world?-A man or woman's tongue.
What is it that is more rapid than the arrow's flight?-The damoiselle answered: It is thought.
What is more bitter than gall ?—An ungrateful child.
What is it harder than steel ?-The truth, she answered.
The sage continued: What is the pleasure of two hours only?-It is, she said, the profit an honest merchant gets upon his daily merchandize.
What is the pleasure of a month ?-It is that experienced by a man who returned from a long journey, in which he has experienced many delays, brings with him some advantage to his house, and finds his wife, his children, and all that is dear to him in good health.
Now tell me, added the sage,-What bird is it who goes on the mountains, and in which are found eight of the characters belonging to larger animals? —The damoiselle did not for a moment hesitate, but thus replied: The bird of which you speak is the grasshopper, it has two horns like the stag, its neck is similar to that of an ox, it has the chest of a horse, the muzzle of a cow, the wings of the eagle, the tail of the viper, the paw of the stork, its eyes resemble those of a ferocious beast which inhabits a place distant from these countries.
The sage immediately asked: What is woman?-It is a circle which contains much good, and a circle in which much evil is found. Alas! it is the image of man.
The wise man said he was satisfied, but he asked: What is sleep?—The image of death, was the answer.
Who was it that died without having ever been born ?-Adam, our first father.
Very well, said the sage, but tell me what does man in his youth resemble?
And what is old age?-An evil desired-
Oh! now tell me, what is the most difficult thing to be known?-The heart of man, and his thoughts, into which God alone can descend.
Tell me also what is the lightest thing here below ?-Always the heart and