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فصل 06

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PART SIX

Faustus and Mephostophilis returned to Wittenberg after their lengthy travels. His friends were happy to see Faustus again and they were astonished at his new knowledge. His reputation as a learned man grew and eventually he became famous throughout Germany. The Emperor, Charles V, heard of his extraordinary learning and sent for him.

Not all of the Emperor’s knights were happy that Faustus had been invited to the palace. Benvolio, in particular, was very sceptical about the magic powers that Faustus was rumoured to have.

‘Aren’t you coming to see Faustus the great magician?’ asked his friend Martino. ‘He says he’s going to perform magic tricks never seen before in Germany!’

‘I was out drinking last night,’ replied Benvolio, ‘and I’ve got a terrible headache. I can’t be bothered to watch this magician. I may look out of my window to see what happens, but I won’t come to the palace.’

The Emperor welcomed Faustus very warmly. He thanked him for rescuing Bruno from Pope Adrian and he promised Faustus his friendship. Faustus replied politely to the Emperor’s greeting and assured him of his loyalty. Then he promised to use his magic powers to amuse the Emperor.

‘I can make the dead appear,’ he offered grandly.

‘Then show me Alexander the Great and his mistress’ the Emperor said. ‘Show us what they really looked like!’

‘And do it quickly,’ Benvolio muttered to himself, as he looked out of the window of his house. ‘I’m tired already and if you don’t do something now, I’ll fall asleep!’

Faustus overheard Benvolio’s rude comment.

‘I’ll do something, don’t worry, my friend’ he said under his breath. Then he turned to Charles V. ‘When Alexander and his mistress appear,’ he advised him, ‘you must not ask them anything or touch them. They are spirits.’

‘If you can bring Alexander here, I’ll be Acteon and become a stag.’ Benvolio said sarcastically.

‘And I’ll give you the horns to play your part well’ Faustus muttered.

After a short time Alexander the Great appeared in front of the Emperor. Charles watched in astonishment as Alexander killed Darius and then moved towards his mistress. Alexander took Darius’ crown and placed it on his mistress head. Then he turned towards Charles and waved to him. Charles V moved forward as if he wanted to touch Alexander’s hand. Faustus put a hand on his shoulder.

‘You’re forgetting that these are not real people, sir,’ he said. ‘They’re spirits.’

‘You’re right. Faustus. They were so real, I wanted to touch them,’ the Emperor said.

Suddenly Faustus pointed to the window where Benvolio had been watching events. Everyone looked up. Benvolio was asleep at the window and there was a pair of horns on his head. They gasped in astonishment at the cleverness of the trick.

‘Benvolio, wake up!’ called the Emperor.

‘Who’s disturbing me?’ Benvolio asked sleepily. He put his hands to his head and rubbed it. ‘I’ve got such a headache,’ he complained.

Everyone laughed and pointed at the horns on the unfortunate man’s head. Benvolio was horrified when he realised what Faustus had done to him.

‘You deserve it.’ Faustus said to him. ‘Remember what you said: “If you can bring Alexander here, I’ll be Acteon and become a stag.” Now you have the horns! I think I’ll call some hounds to hunt you down!’

Benvolio was terrified now. He begged Faustus not to call the hounds.

The Emperor asked Faustus to remove the horns from the poor man’s head. Faustus agreed to do so.

Later that day several of the Emperor’s knights met to talk about Faustus. Benvolio wanted revenge for the trick that Faustus had played on him. He was determined to make Faustus suffer.

‘Think very carefully,’ Martino warned him. ‘Faustus is dangerous.’

‘He insulted me,’ Benvolio said. ‘If you’re a real friend of mine, you’ll help me to avenge that insult!’

‘Calm down,’ Frederick said. ‘We’ll help you. Why don’t we set an ambush for him?’ he suggested. ‘We’ll hide near the road and when Faustus comes along, we’ll kill him. He won’t have a chance!’

The three knights waited for Faustus to come along. They did not have to wait long. Soon they could see Faustus walking by himself along the road. They did not know that Faustus was wearing a false head.

‘He’s coming!’ Frederick cried in excitement. ‘Quickly, men, attack him with your swords!’

Benvolio was the first man to take out his sword. He ran up behind Faustus and struck him on the head with his weapon. Faustus gave a terrible groan and fell to the ground. Benvolio cut off his head.

‘He wasn’t so dangerous, after all,’ Frederick commented. ‘Where’s all his magic and power now when he really needs it?’

‘I’m going to put some horns on his head and hang it from the window where I was standing earlier,’ Benvolio said gleefully.

The three knights began to talk excitedly about what they would do to hide Faustus’ body. They were not looking at him while they were talking. Faustus quietly climbed to his feet and faced them.

Benvolio was the first to see the headless man stand up.

‘He’s alive!’ he screamed.

‘Give him back his head!’ Frederick shouted.

Faustus looked at the knights with contempt. He smiled grimly at them.

‘Fools,’ he said, ‘don’t you know that I was given twenty-four years of life by Lucifer? Nothing can kill me during that time.’

Faustus called Mephostophilis and some other devils. They arrived immediately and stood waiting for his orders.

‘We’ll make the world laugh at these men,’ he decided. ‘Take this one,’ he said, pointing at Benvolio. ‘Throw him into some filthy water.’ Then he pointed at Frederick. ‘And drag this one through the woods until his face bleeds.’ Finally he pointed at Martino. ‘Take this one,’ he commanded the devils, ‘and roll him down a steep cliff to break his bones.’

The Emperor’s court was astonished later in the day when three dirty, blood-stained men entered the palace. The three men were the Emperor’s knights, Martino, Benvolio and Frederick. It soon became known that the three knights had horns on their heads that they could not remove.

‘What can we do?’ Frederick asked his friends. ‘We can’t revenge ourselves on Faustus. He’s too clever for us.’

‘If we attack him again,’ Benvolio said, ‘he’ll just put asses’ ears on our heads. Everybody will laugh at us!’

‘What can we do?’ Martino wanted to know.

‘We must hide away from everyone,’ Benvolio said sadly. ‘I’ve got a castle deep in the country. Let’s go there, where no one will see us and laugh at our misfortune.’

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