AD VENTURES OF WILLIAM SHORT NOSE 259
Then the Count rode down into the field of the Aliscans, and found his nephew Vivian lying under a tree.
' Ah ! my God,' cried William, ' what sorrow for me! To the end of my life I shall mourn this day. Earth, do thou open and swallow me ! Lady Gibourc, await me no longer, for never more shall I return to Orange !'
So he lamented, grieving sore, till Vivian spoke to him. The Count was full of joy to hear his words, and, kneeling beside the youth, took him in his arms, and bade him, as no priest was there, confess his sins to him, as to his own father. One by one Vivian remembered them all, then a mist floated before his eyes, and, murmuring a farewell to the Lady Gibourc, his soul left the world.
William laid him gently down on his shield, and took another shield for covering, and turned to mount his horse, but at this his heart failed him.
'Is it you, William, that men look to as their leader, and whom they call Fierbras, who will do this cowardly deed ?' he said to himself, and he went back to his nephew's side, and lifted the body on to his horse, to bury it in his city of Orange.
He had done what he could to give honour to Vivian, but he might as well, after all, have left him where he fell, for in a fierce combat with some Pagans on the road the Count was forced to abandon his nephew's body and fight for his own life. He knew the two Saracens well as brave men, but he soon slew one, and the other he unhorsed after a struggle.
"' Come back, come back,' cried the Unbeliever; ' sell me your horse, for never did I behold his like! I will give you for him twice his weight in gold, and set free besides all your nephews that have been taken prisoners.' But William loved his horse, and would not have parted with him to Charles himself; so he cut off the Saracen's head with his sword, and mounted his horse Folatisse, taking the saddle and bridle off Bausant so that he might the more easily escape from the Pagans.