Timo Kinnunen
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Three brown armour knights


Well, now I am going to tell you a shortened version of my Finnish Kolme ruskeahaarniskaista ritaria story. I have written this story in Finnish already in 1967, as an young man, and now I want to give it to you a form in a kind of English, too. This is not a direct translation, but instead I have tried to make available similar echoes of my thought, as I had at the end of 1960's, or I have tried to create afterward a wave of thought, or rhythm, whatever.

A story of three brown armour knights (1967)

Many, too many years ago, or more than that, there were three very strange men wandering around Europe, notwithstanding that there was not yet a place called Europe. During that stormy time, when they spent their lousy, and also short life, they couldn't recognize even past, or future, but just present. For them time was just a silent background companion, and not a concept, or something like that. It might be true that time continued its strange way of being, and becoming, or doing some peculiar things like that, but nobody knew about it. Most people were just near to starve, and die. Those strange men who were walking ahead that narrow, and almost disappearing highway (a highway of that time), were starving, too, and perhaps also they were also near to die. They were soldiers, and it was quite possible to give one's life suddenly, and without any warnings beforehands. That dusty, and narrow "highway" just witnessed how those men were marching along it, and they couldn't help the very feeling that they were just thrown into that lousy world.

Dust of that "highway" irritated their lungs, but fortunately they had no knowledge of those organs, or if they even existed inside their bodies, and therefore they couldn't have the very feeling of irritated lungs, but instead they had a sense of being irritated by something(s). One in turn they just lifted their legs into direct angle, and then right down - with left-right-left-right -style, because had the knowledge of just marching around with other marching men. It was the knowledge of the rhythm of war, or the very feeling of just dancing the dance of death. If we were watching them in bushes, and we had a watch on out wrist, wee should certainly see - and also measure - how accurate they were when marching ahead. In his own turn, everyone of them was saying his left-right-left-right - message mail after mail - and all people hanging around could see, how they lifted their legs to direct angle, and people could hear how a thin voice untiringly gave that stupid left-right-left-right information. It was a kind of man-machine, or something like that.

Their swords were old, but their hilts were full of cuts - as a signals of how many enemies they had killed with their swords. Hundreds of years later this funny custom was common with gunfighters in Northern America, who made just similar cuts when one shot somebody to death. Their cloths were made from iron, and made by a smith, who made those iron cloths, and all kinds of iron hardware for men of war. There didn't exist any iron-cloth-factories but there were many of those professional men of duty who made them in their smithies. They knew that earlier some german tribes were fond of Lederhose -style (the meaning of the word is the same that if one just used trousers which were made of leather, with short pants), and tapped themselves to their bellies with both hands, when trying to make their enemies afraid. Nobody was afraid of those "hostile" gestures, and there was only one tiny village where those Lederhose men tried to maintain their silly manner of tapping their bellies when the moon was high. There was only a one alternative when talking about trousers for soldiers, and it was iron bikini.

Our dear knights were just going far away to distant battles, because there where they just were marching was nothing but just hunger and peace. Suddenly they could see that they were approaching an inn, and a hope to get some drinks just drop into their empty minds (they were always empty). They got what they were asking, and drunk silently, and certainly without left-right-left-right. Von Franz, who was the oldest of them, just asked that Jack-of-all-trades, who was an innkeeper if he knew somebody owning horses, and being willing to sell them; it was just a shame that knights like them were just marching by foot, and people didn't respect them enough when seeing them marching around. Therefore they must get horses.

- Well, there is a man breeding horses, and he has some excellent individuals for all kinds of different purposes.

- Do you know his name, man?

- Well, he is a dear lord Artellus, and he is very good with breeding horses. I know him pretty well, and I have had some of his best creatures.

- You are lying, man, and because there is not a single horse galloping around, as we can see - said von Franz.

- Well, that is true, but we have made a contract that I send people who need horses right to his place, and he can get more customers, and I get some other goods.

- We are not disappointed whether you tried to manipulate us, or not, man, but we must teach you a little, and that is: you loose that gold what you expected to have from us for these drinks, and because we are now in a good mood, and jolly good fellow, that is just enough

Replied von Franz, and soon after that they just walked out from that inn without paying a nickel, and just started that marching ahead again, as they used to do. Then von Franz gave his final opinion concerning that horse-matter.

- Dear knights, and my best companions. Notwithstanding that we have been manipulated, and being fooled like lousy folks, and dogs of Sevilla: we must visit that noble Artellus, and get the horses we need, and then we can make more tall tales to be spoken by folk, and have little bit more adventures, and fear. Lets go, dear brothers of soul, and bests of the bests.

There was a long silent moment, and then von Greuz (who was as brave as knight as knights just happen to be, although he has no experience of battles) replied to von Franz.

Well, my dear knight companions, who really know horses, if anyone does. Despite that I am only an armourbearer when just thinking my war inexperience, I dear to be an advocate of that point of view advocated by von Franz.

- Okay, man, let us march again using that dear, and familiar left-right-left-right -style and soon we are hosted by Artellus.

Then they marched two days, but marching in step only when passing by villages, or castles but otherwise marching just an ease, and they were sweating like pigs (if they sweat). It wan an afternoon when they arrived to Artellus' manor. They were irritated and tired because of their long marching, and for the reason von Greuz killed with his sword a stable boy, who was just smiling, and that was an extra experience for battles, or course. And what for a little stable boy, anyway; he should never rise to a noble man, and becoming to be known as a man of honor. Anyway, Artellus welcomed them quite well, and smiling like sun in the sky, and his face was rosy, and he was very fat, and busy, too.

- Dear knights, and men of honor, what can I do for you?

- As you see, man, we are going by foot, because our horses got bloat when eating to much of grass, and we are going to buy three horses from you, I you have nothing against it.

- Of course I can sell you what you want, but where is that devil's son, that stable boy?

- I am a terrible sorry, but it just took place that I killed him, man, because he was laughing at us, but we can pay some gold for him, if you please.

- It doesn't matter, because he was just a lazy boy, but also a clever young man - which is not very good thing when thinking just a role of stable boys, in general.

- Well, well, that's good, but if you introduce us the horses we are looking for.

- Just follow me, please.

All right. They tried to choose a horse, and tried to evaluate saddles, and other also things which are necessary when riding horse for a long time. After that Artellus asked them to stay, and sleep there in his manor for the night. Our brave knights didn't dare to refuse, because it started just raining, and they didn't know anything worse than raining. It could rust their armours. No knight could even think to be hanging around as a clown with his rusted armour. They retired to their common shared, but large room, and checked their swords, and their other tools of war, and soon they were just sleeping, and just started to let one go, and the room was full of dust, or something thick. In the morning they waked up, and they tried to remember something about the horses which they have chosen yesterday. Von Greutz was fond of a horse with a good figure, and beautiful appearance, and von Franz liked to have a horse who was neighting when being tapped with hand, and Zaar de Castello was fond of a horse who was a Perche by his race. But they felt themselves also tired, and they had some pain in their legs because they had weared their armours for the whole night long, just for sure. They made a little conversation with each other.

- Good morning, let us suppose that everyone of us has chosen a horse one wants to have, and now we can tell about our decisions to Artellus.

- This is true, as far as I know, man, and we should have an anger of gods themselves towards us if we let us to be fooled when making this deal.

- Dear knights, dear knights - we are not gonna be fooled, because we certainly know horses, if ant, and our knowledge concerning them is very high, as everybody knows. We have certain LEVEL OF KNOWLEDGE, and not just elementary knowledge, as all the people know, too.

- But we should give some gold also for that stable boy, if we are gonna to be men of honor, but we should give to Artellus just a reasonable among of gold for that, and not too much, and let us not pay more than necessary for horses, either.

In the farmyard they saw Artellus, just smiling, and laughing, and knights went to him.

- Well, if I have just guessed right, there you can see horses you want to have, just over there, you see.

Just there was a horse with a good figure that Von Greutz was fond of, and a horse who was neighting when tapped with hand - the horse which von Franz liked to have, and then there was a horse who was a Perche by his race that Zaar de Castello was fond of. Artellus had made a good guess, indeed. But von Greutz , who had a serious lack of humor, seized his sword shouting:

- Artellus, you are a disgusting fellow becuase you have beeb spying us, or got your knowledge with similar, unfair manner. Size your sword, and duel with me, just now! I am ready, are you?

- Immediately, dear Mister who-ever-you-are, if any. I am very good with these tools of war, because I have been a knight before I retired, and began to spend the life I spend now. You take your change now, because you are loosing your stinking, and lousy life just now!

- I am not afraid at all, because I have got MY KNOWLEDGE from the experts from Frankish Emipire, and they KNOW about swords all what man must know about them.

Then Artellus went in, and drunk a glass of water, and then a glass of wine, took his old sword from the wall, and put his iron armour on, and then he was ready to duel with von Greutz. It was almost midday when they started, and soon they were both buffing and blowing, because working with swords is very heavy duty, indeed. But then von Greuz stuck his sword trough the wall of the stable, and couldn't take it off. Artellus didn't know the concept of mercy, and he killed the poor knight at once with his sword.

Very soon after that von Franz gave his opinion:

- Well, he was a weak knight, and it is a good thing that this truth revealed us before we went to the real battle with real enemies far away from there. You know, dear Artellus, that if his inability should come into sight later, and in a more concrete situation, it could mean the end to all of us. But you, dear Artellus, have you willing to join us, because it is not possible that we have only two members, according the God Dumas.

- I'm been thinking that very much during past years, but nowadays all the remarkable battles are far away, and there are left only the storms of mind, and future to be waited is only a silent life in old people's castle, where they have their scaffolds in heavy use, reminding those old people that they are living too long anyway.

- But where we are now going, there are only fresh battles, and all the time cuts the sword of death heads off, and many of us are bleeding, and horses are afraid, and restless, and lot of enemies are flying our iron suited troops.

- I'm almost home, when you are describing those distant lands of luck, because I', happy only when I can see men bleeding, and all the agony of men of war. Therefore, be granted that I'm following you like your shadow, and you can get the horses what you want to have. Eat and rest, too. Tomorrow I'm ready.

It was another night with Artellus, and they had lost one of their members, and there was left only von Franz, and Zaar de Castello. They were not very sorry about the death of von Greuz, because they were professionals, and one day was like this, and another day was like that. Nobody knew what was one's destiny. These two men discussed in a low voice before going to sleep:

- Dare I say...

- What?

- It is possible that the companion we got is worse than we just lost. It was not a real duel but instead a joke, or something like that., and we cannot get from Artellus a joy but a month, or less, because he has very soon said what he has to say, and then he shall repeat his stories over and over again, to the end of the world.

- Who knows about his jokes, but we cannot keep on laughing when thinking the result of that duel, because if we think laughing as a phenomena, it is not good if we loose every time a man, or two. When we are gonna to laugh next time, it is possible that we have lost Artellus, or one of us. Do you know that story of ten little Saracens?

- We laughed to Saracens, try just to remember?

- That is true, but only when their troops were decreasing, and there is that truth that you can laugh to diminishing only when you are growing, and growing, and see other people decreasing.

- We can only hope that the second candidate is that Artellus.

- Quite right, Zaar de Castello, but reckon that thing that we have got horses by nothing, and a knight, too, and we can thank him for a lot, and therefore we are inviting him with, despite his fat body, and his rosy cheeks.

- When he has his helmet on, nobody knows about his rosy cheeks, of about his fat body.

- But we cannot take him to war party, or triumphs, because of his fatty appearance most women shall be scared to death, and most women try to avoid him

- You are right, the real knight is pale, and only pale knights are brave ones. We must test his use of sword again, and let us do it tomorrow. Oh, I have a better idea. If we try to test his skills in the use of lance.

- Well, I want to duel with him, too, and with lance, if possible, dear Zaar de Castello. I shall kill him as easy as i could kill a mouse, because when knight, always knight, and the real knight do not become a farmer, or a man who sells horses to other knights.

- All right, von Franz, he shall be killed tomorrow, in a way or another, but painfully, that he shall know that he is not a knight but instead a country boy.

Then they cleaned their swords, and other things, and then they just fell asleep. Artellus had been listening their conversation, and he went to asked his servant to put his dear rooster to sing two hours earlier than usually, and he rose up when rooster began his song, and went our to farmyard, and tried to exercise with his lance. He was sweating a lot, but he succeed to stick his lance better and better to his target. But then he must exercise with his horse, and it was rather difficult to find the same target with his lance, especially when trying to do that with a higher speed. It is no wonder that his quests also waked up to watch his training. Von Franz said to him:

- Dear Artellus, I want to give some advice to you, because you make terrible mistakes with your lance, and especially when trying to use it with horse.

- YOU, you bloody old... I am ready immediately, but I must admit that I am not as good condition as I was few years ago.

- Well, do not say anything, because it is me, or you, who shall be left after all, and ready to go to battles which are far away from here, and whose beautiful call we both can hear.

- Step down, you lousy knight, my sword is waiting for you!

- You mean your sword, I think, but wait a minute, I'm coming so fort.

- Tarkoititte kai, peitsenne odottaa, minä tulen .

Von Franz went out direct from a window, just jumping down to the farmyard, and then he took his sword, and said:

- My dear sword, show me now what are you made from!

Artellus was standing with his lance, and didn't succeed to make any harm with it, and von Franz could find easily a hole from his rumour, and stuck his sword trough it in a speed, and with great skill. But it was not any duel, but instead a slaughter, but those little tricks of war are not beautiful, and they have nothing common with duels, anyway. The he asked his companion to hurry to choose his horse, because it was quite clear that soon there were all kinds of men with their local weapons, and perhaps an artillery, too, and whatever. Von Franz was quite right, and soon they saw many horses, and men right after them, and those men were servants, and alike, who had found their master dead, and tried to get our knights, who were responsible of that, and then servant should not be accused, and killed for the murder of their master. One of them was without shirt, and he seemed to be a leader of the gang. He was shouting with a loud voice:

"C'mon, c'mon, c'mon, c'mon, I'm a leader of the gang..."

But this does not mean anything yet, not in this time which we are describing, but some hundreds of years later it will have a certain meaning, and it shall belong t a certain person. Von Franz supposed that it could be a good idea to stop and accept that challenge. But the man without shirt said to them:

- We are coming in peace, you must believe us now.

Our knights were suspicious, despite that the man without shirt seemed to be an honest man. But nothing is so certain than uncertain, and von Franz said:

- You are just bluffing us, try your luck with your weapons, whatever you have.

- Not, that it not true, because you just killed our bad master, who was not a man of honor at all. We are not bluffing, believe that.

Zaar de Castello was thoughtful, and then he asked a question:

- What you think if you were knight, everyone of you?

The man without shirt considered this, and said:

- It is just a nice dream, and nothing more, if you mean that your offer is better than our life just now. But you must reckon this: We have not been able to read any book which is telling about adventures, because we can not read, and because our parents could not have that skill, they could not tell us tall tales about adventures of knights. Therefore, what is the concern of this topic?

Zaar de Castello told him that there was a God named Dumas, who had stated that there must be three knights, but there was any written documents, yet, but in time there could be find a book, and several researches concerning it. Because Dumas had that opinion, they must get a new member right now. Another important factor was that there is always a place where those three knights shall meet now, and forever, and ever. The man without shirt just listened, because he had never heard that there was that Dumas, who had the keys of future, and whatever at his sweet hands. But the man was not very enthusiast because he also thought that there are more urgent needs to be satisfied, first. Therefore he said:

- What do you mean with this introduction?

- We need a knight who is brave, and who never gives up, and who shall have a bath of glory, and honor.

- You mean one of us?

- Well, that is that, but first you must make clear which one of you could be the one.

The man without shirt realized quite well the idea behind that sentence, and then he shouted:

- Let us fight with each other, because is is an application, and also recommendation.

- Who is going to taste my sword!

- Who is willing to taste my fork?

- Let us have a discuss first - just for human values, whatever they are!

- Get away, you bloody old...

Then there was some fighting, and as the result of all there was only one man still left, namely that man without shirt. Zaar de Castello asked him:

- Why did you fight so hard? Do you think to become knight?

- I had many reasons, and one of them was that there are no witnesses left, and there are no relatives, either, demanding that place of Artellus, and therefore I shall be the one, who is going to have the whole stuff.

Our knights decided to save his life, because there is a need of those men of one time and place, too, and because that man without shirt was so witty. Then there was a fact that nobody could get any advance when going to tell about everything to other people, and there was a common interest to keep a secret as secret. I am not going to tell the whole story, because there is not much to tell about. Von Franz and Zaar de Castello went to a castle, where von Anti-Hero was living, and who was an uncle of von Franz. When they were in the castle, it was attacked by a troop of men, but our knight succeed to stop them. Zaar de Castello lived there for the rest of his life, and was married with a daughter of von Anti-Hero. But it is quite another kind of a story, indeed.