Chronicle of the Cid, by Robert Southey

HERE BEGINNETH THE TENTH BOOK
of the

CHRONICLE OF THE CID

How the King went to Carrion i. Now King Alfonso misdoubted the Infantes of Carrion that they would not appear at the time appointed, and therefore he said that he would go to Carrion, and the battle should be fought there. And he took with him the Counts whom he had appointed Alcaldes, and Pero Bermudez and Martin Antolinez and Muño Gustioz went with the Count Don Remond, to whose charge the King had given them. And on the third day after the Cid departed from Toledo the King set forth for Carrion; but it so chanced that he fell sick upon the road, and could not arrive within the three weeks, so that the term was enlarged to five. And when the King’s health was restored he proceeded and reached Carrion, and gave order that the combat should be performed, and appointed the day, and named the plain of Carrion for the place thereof. And the Infantes came there with a great company of all their friends and kindred, for their kinsmen were many and powerful; and they all came with one accord, that if before the battle they could find any cause they would kill the knights of the Cid: nevertheless, though they had determined upon this they dared not put it in effect, because they stood in fear of the King.

How the Infantes sent to desire that Colada and Tizona might not be used against them ii. And when the night came of which the morrow was appointed for the combat, they on one side and on the other kept vigil in the Churches, each in that Church to which he had the most devotion. Night is past away, and the dawn is now breaking; and at day-break a great multitude was assembled in the field, and many Ricos-omes came there for the pleasure which they would have in seeing this battle, and the King sent and commanded the champions to make ready. Moreover he made the two Counts his sons-inlaw, Don Anrrich and Don Remond, and the other Counts and their people, arm themselves and keep the field, that the kinsmen of the Infantes might not make a tumult there. Who can tell the great dole and sorrow of Count Gonzalo Gonzalez for his sons the Infantes of Carrion, because they had to do battle this day! and in the fullness of his heart he curst the day and the hour in which he was born, for his heart divined the sorrow which he was to have for his children. Great was the multitude which was assembled from all Spain to behold this battle. And there in the field near the lists the champions of the Cid armed themselves on one side, and the Infantes on the other. And Count Don Remond armed the knights of the Cid, and instructed them how to do their devoir, and Count Garci Ordoñez helped arm the Infantes of Carrion and their uncle Suero Gonzalez, and they sent to ask the King of his favour that he would give command that the swords Colada and Tizona should not be used in that combat. But the King would not, and he answered that each must take the best sword and the best arms that he could, save only that the one should not have more than the other. Greatly were they troubled at this reply, and greatly did they fear those good swords, and repent that they had taken them to the Cortes of Toledo. And from that hour the Infantes and Suero Gonzalez bewrayed in their countenances that they thought ill of what they had done, and happy men would they have thought themselves if they had not committed that great villainy, and he if he had not counselled it; and gladly would they have given all that they had in Carrion so it could now have been undone.

How they entered the lists iii. And the King went to the place where the Infantes were arming, and said unto them, If ye feared these swords ye should have said so in the Cortes of Toledo, for that was the place, and not this; . . . there is now nothing to be done but to defend yourselves stoutly, as ye have need against those with whom ye have to do. Then went he to the knights of the Cid, whom he found armed; and they kissed his hand and said unto him, Sir, the Cid hath left us in your hand, and we beseech you see that no wrong be done us in this place, where the Infantes of Carrion have their party; and by God’s mercy we will do ourselves right upon them. And the King bade them have no fear for that. Then their horses were brought, and they crost the saddles, and mounted, with their shields hanging from the neck; and they took their spears, each of which had its streamer, and with many good men round about they went to the lists; and on the other side the Infantes and Count Suero Gonzalez came up with a great company of their friends and kinsmen and vassals. And the King said with a loud voice, Hear what I say, Infantes of Carrion! . . . this combat I would have had waged in Toledo, but ye said that ye were not ready to perform it there, and therefore I am come to this which is your native place, and have brought the knights of the Cid with me. They are come here under my safeguard. Let not therefore you nor your kinsmen deceive yourselves, thinking to overpower them by tumult, or in any other way than by fair combat; for whosoever shall begin a tumult, I have given my people orders to cut him in pieces upon the spot, and no enquiry shall be made touching the death of him who shall so have offended. Full sorrowful were the Infantes of Carrion for this command which the King had given. And the King appointed twelve knights who were hidalgos to be true-men and place the combatants in the lists, and show them the bounds at what point they were to win or to be vanquished, and to divide the sun between them. And he went with a wand in his hand, and saw them placed on both sides; then he went out of the lists, and gave command that the people should fall back, and not approach within seven spears-length of the lines of the lists.

Of the combat between Pero Bermudez and Ferrando Gonzalez iv. Now were the six combatants left alone in the lists, and each of them knew now with whom he had to do battle. And they laced their helmets, and put shield upon the arm, and laid lance in rest. And the knights of my Cid advanced against the Infantes of Carrion, and they on their part against the champions of the Campeador. Each bent down with his face to the saddle-bow, and gave his horse the spur. And they met all six with such a shock, that they who looked on expected to see them all fall dead. Pero Bermudez and Ferrando Gonzalez encountered, and the shield of Pero Bermudez was pierced, but the spear past through on one side, and hurt him not, and brake in two places; and he sat firm in his seat. One blow he received, but he gave another; he drove his lance through Ferrando’s shield, at his breast, so that nothing availed him. Ferrando’s breast-plate was threefold: two plates the spear went clean through, and drove the third in before it, with the velmes and the shirt, into the breast, near his heart; . . . and the girth and the poitral of his horse burst, and he and the saddle went together over the horse’s heels, and the spear in him, and all thought him dead. Howbeit Ferrando Gonzalez rose, and the blood began to run out of his mouth, and Pero Bermudez drew his sword and went against him; but when he saw the sword Tizona over him, before he received a blow from it, he cried out that he confessed himself conquered, and that what Pero Bermudez had said against him was true. And when Pero Bermudez heard this he stood still, and the twelve true-men came up and heard his confession, and pronounced him vanquished. This Ferrando did thinking to save his life; but the wound which he had got was mortal.

Of the battle between Martin Antolinez and Diego Gonzalez v. Martin Antolinez and Diego Gonzalez brake their lances on each other, and laid hand upon their swords. Martin Antolinez drew forth Colada, the brightness of which flashed over the whole field, for it was a marvellous sword; and in their strife he dealt him a back-handed blow which sheared off the crown of his helmet, and cut away hood and coif, and the hair of his head and the skin also: this stroke he dealt him with the precious Colada. And Diego Gonzalez was sorely dismayed therewith, and though he had his own sword in his hand he could not for very fear make use of it, but he turned his horse and fled; and Martin Antolinez went after him, and dealt him another with the flat part of the sword, for he mist him with the edge, and the Infante began to cry out aloud, Great God, help me and save me from that sword! And he rode away as fast as he could, and Martin Antolinez called out after him, Get out, Don Traitor! and drove him out of the lists, and remained conqueror.

Of the battle between Muño Gusticz and Suero Gonzalez vi. Muño Gustioz and Suero Gonzalez dealt each other such strokes with their spears as it was marvellous to behold. And Suero Gonzalez being a right hardy knight and a strong, and of great courage, struck the shield of Muño Gustioz and pierced it through and through; but the stroke was given aslant, so that it passed on and touched him not. Muño Gustioz lost his stirrups with that stroke, but he presently recovered them, and dealt him such a stroke in return that it went clean through the midst of the shield, and through all his armour, and came out between his ribs, missing the heart; then laying hand on him he wrenched him out of the saddle, and threw him down as he drew the spear out of his body; and the point of the spear and the haft and the streamer all came out red. Then all the beholders thought that he was stricken to death. And Muño Gustioz turned to smite again. But when Gonzalo Ansures his father saw this, he cried out aloud for great ruth which he had for his son, and said, For God’s sake do not strike him again, for he is vanquished. And Muño Gustioz, like a man of good understanding, asked the true-men whether he were to be held as conquered for what his father said, and they said not, unless he confirmed it with his own mouth. And Muño Gustioz turned again to Suero Gonzalez where he lay wounded, and lifted his spear against him, and Suero Gonzalez cried out, Strike me not, for I am vanquished. And the judges said it was enough, and that the combat was at an end.

How the Infantes of Carrion were declared traitors vii. Then the King entered the lists, and many good knights and hidalgos with him, and he called the twelve true-men, and asked them if the knights of the Cid had aught more to do to prove their accusation; and they made answer that the knights of the Cid had won the field and done their devoir, and all the hidalgos who were there present made answer, that they said true. And King Don Alfonso lifted up his voice and said, Hear me, all ye who are here present: inasmuch as the knights of the Cid have conquered, they have won the cause; and the twelve true-men made answer, that what the King said was the truth, and all the people said the same. And the King gave command to break up the lists, and gave sentence that the Infantes of Carrion and their uncle Suero Gonzalez were notorious traitors, and ordered his seneschal to take their arms and horses. And from that day forth their lineage never held up its head, nor was of any worth in Castille; and they and their uncle fled away, having been thus vanquished and put to shame. And thus it was that Carrion fell to the King after the days of Gonzalo Gonzalez, the father of the Infantes. Great was their shame, and the like or worse betide him who abuseth fair lady, and then leaveth her.

Of the great joy which was made in Valencia viii. Then the King went to meat, and he took the knights of the Cid with him; and great was the multilude which followed after them, praising the good feat which they had atchieved. And the King gave them great gifts, and sent them away by night, and with a good guard to protect them till they should be in safety; and they took their leave of the King, and travelled by night and day, and came to Valencia. When the Cid knew that they drew nigh, he went out to meet them, and did them great honour. Who can tell the great joy which he made over them? And they told him all even as it had come to pass, and how the King had declared the Infantes of Carrion and their uncle to be notorious traitors. Great was the joy of the Cid at these tidings, and he lifted up his hands to heaven, and blest the name of God because of the vengeance which he had given him for the great dishonour which he had received. And he took with him Martin Antolinez and Pero Bermudez and Muño Gustioz, and went to Doña Ximena and her daughters, and said to them, Blessed be the name of God, now are you and your daughters avenged! and he made the knights recount the whole unto them, even as it had come to pass. Great was the joy of Doña Ximena and her daughters, and they bent their knees to the ground, and praised the name of Jesus Christ, because he had given them this vengeance for the dishonour which they had received; and Doña Elvira and Doña Sol embraced those knights many times, and would fain have kissed their hands and their feet. And the Cid said unto Doña Ximena, Now may you without let marry your daughters with the Infantes of Aragon and Navarre, and I trust in God that they will be well and honourably married, better than they were at first. Eight days did the great rejoicings endure which the Cid made in Valencia, for the vengeance which God had given him upon the Infantes of Carrion, and their uncle Suero Gonzalez, the aider and abettor in the villainy which they had committed.

How the Soldán of Persia sent presents to the Cid ix. Now it came to pass after this, that the Great Soldan of Persia, having heard of the great goodness of the Cid, and of his great feats in arms, and how he had never been vanquished by mortal man, and how he had conquered many Kings, Moor and Christian, and had won the noble city of Valencia, and had defeated King Bucar Lord of Africa and Morocco, and twenty nine Kings with him, all these things made him greatly desirous of his love. And holding him to be one of the noble men of the world, he sent messengers to him with great gifts, which will be recounted hereafter, and with them he sent one of his kinsmen, a full honourable man, with letters of great love. When this kinsman reached the port of Valencia, he sent word to the Cid that he was arrived there with a message from the Great Soldan of Persia, who had sent a present by him; and when the Cid knew this he was well pleased. And in the morning the Cid took horse, and went out with all his company, all nobly attired, and his knights rode before him with their lances erect. And when they had gone about a league they met the messenger of the Soldan coming to Valencia: and when he beheld them in what order they came, he understood what a noble man the Cid Campeador was. And when he drew nigh, the Cid stopt his horse Bavieca, and waited to receive him. And when the messenger came before the Cid and beheld him, all his flesh began to tremble, and he marvelled greatly that his flesh should tremble thus; and his voice failed him, so that he could not bring forth a word. And the Cid said that he was welcome, and went towards him to embrace him; but the Moor made him, no reply, being amazed. And when he had somewhat recovered and could speak, he would have kissed the Cid’s hand; but the Cid would not give it him: and he thought this was done for haughtiness, but they made him understand that it was to do him honour; then was he greatly rejoiced, and he said, I humble myself before thee, O Cid, who art the fortunate, the best Christian, and the most honourable that hath girded on sword or bestrode horse these thousand years. The Great Soldan of Persia, my Lord, hearing of thy great fame and renown, and of the great virtue which is in thee, hath sent me to salute thee and receive thee as his friend, even as his best friend, the one whom he loveth and prizeth best. And he hath sent a present by me who am of his lineage, and beseecheth thee to receive it as from a friend. And the Cid made answer that he thanked him greatly.

Of the presents which the Soldán sent x. Then the Cid bade his people make way that the sumpter beasts which carried the present might pass, and also the strange animals which the Soldan had sent, the like whereof were not in that land. And when they were passed he and his company returned towards the town, and the messenger with him. And whensoever the messenger spake to the Cid, it came into his mind how his voice had failed and his flesh trembled when he beheld him; and he marvelled thereat, and would fain have asked the Cid why it should be. And when they entered Valencia, great was the crowd which assembled to see the sumpter beasts, and the strange animals, for they had never seen such before, and they marvelled at them. And the Cid gave order that the beasts should be taken care of, and he went to the Alcazar and took the Moor with him; and when they came to Doña Ximena the Moor humbled himself before her and her daughters, and would have kissed her hand, but she would not give it him. Then he commanded that the camels and other beasts of burthen should be unloaded in their presence, and he began to open the packages and display the noble things which were contained therein. And he laid before them great store of gold and of money, which came in leathern bags, each having its lock; and wrought silver in dishes and trenchers and basons, and pots for preparing food; all these of fine silver and full cunningly wrought, the weight whereof was ten thousand marks. Then he brought out five cups of gold, in each of which were ten marks of gold, with many precious stones set therein, and three silver barrels, which were full of pearls and of precious stones. Moreover he presented unto him many pieces of cloth of gold, and of silk, of those which are made in Tartary, and in the land of Calabria. And moreover, a pound of myrrh and of balsam, in little caskets of gold; this was a precious thing, for with this ointment they were wont to anoint the bodies of the Kings when they departed, to the end that they might not corrupt, neither the earth consume them: and with this was the body of the Cid embalmed after his death. Moreover he presented unto him a chess board, which was one of the noble ones in the world; it was of ivory riveted with gold, and with many precious stones round about it; and the men were of gold and silver, and the squares also were richly wrought with stones of many virtues. This was a full rich, and great and noble present, so that no man could tell the price thereof.

Of what passed between the messenscnger of the Soldán and the Cid xi. When the Moor had produced all these things before the Cid, he said unto him, All this, Sir, with the animals which thou hast seen, my Lord the Soldan of Persia hath sent unto thee, because of the great fame which he hath heard of thy goodness and loyalty; and, Sir, he beseecheth thee to accept it for the love of him. And the Cid thanked him, taking great pleasure therein, and said that he would fain do him greater honour than he had ever yet done to any one. And then he embraced him in the name of the Soldan, and said, that if he were a Christian he would give him the kiss of peace; and he asked whether among those things there was aught which had belonged to the person of the Soldan, that if so he might kiss it in his honour, and in token that if he were there present, he would kiss him on the shoulder, according to the custom of the Moors, for he knew that his Lord was one of the noblest men in all Pagandom. When the kinsman of the Soldan heard this he was greatly rejoiced, because of the great courtesy with which the Cid had spoken, and he perceived how noble a man he was. And he said unto him, Sir Cid, if you were present before my Lord the Soldan, he would do you full great honour, and would give you the head of his horse to eat, according to the custom of our country; but seeing that this is not the custom of this country, I give you my living horse, which is one of the best horses of Syria; and do you give order that he be taken in honour of my Lord the Soldan, and he will be better than his head would be boiled. And I kiss your hand, Sir Ruydiez, and hold myself more honoured and a happier man than ever I have been heretofore. And the Cid accepted the horse, and gave consent to the Moor that he should kiss his hand. And then he called for his Almoxarife, and bade him take with him this kinsman of the Soldan, and lodge him in the Garden of Villa Nueva, and do him even such honour and service as he would to himself.

Of the reason why the Soldán sent this great present xii. Great was the honour which the Almoxarife of the Cid Ruydiez did unto the kinsman of the Soldan, and he served him even as he would have served his Lord the Cid. And when they had disported and taken solace together, the kinsman of the Soldan asked him concerning the Cid, what manner of man he was. And the Almoxarife answered that he was the man in the world who had the bravest heart, and the best knight at arms, and the man who best maintained his law; and in the word which he hath promised he never fails; and he is the man in the world who is the best friend to his friend, and to his enemy he is the mortallest foe among all Christians; and to the vanquished he is full of mercy and compassion; and full thoughtful and wise in whatsoever thing he doeth; and his countenance is such that no man seeth him for the first time without conceiving great fear. And this, said the Almoxarife, I have many times witnessed, for when any messengers of the Moors come before him, they are so abashed that they know not where they are. When the messenger of the Soldan heard this he called to mind how it had been with him, and he said unto the Almoxarife, that as they were both of one law he besought him to keep secret what he should say, and he would tell him what had befallen him himself. And the Almoxarife said that he would do as he desired. And with that he began to say, that he marvelled greatly at what he had heard, for even as he had now told him that it happened unto other messengers, even so had he himself found it the first time that he had seen the Cid; for so great was the fear which he conceived at the sight of his countenance, that for long time he had no power of speech; and according to his thinking, this could only proceed from the grace of God towards the Cid, that none of his enemies might ever behold his face without fear. When the kinsman of the Soldan had said this, the Almoxarife perceived that he was a wary man, and one of good understanding; and he began to talk with him, and asked him whether he would tell him what he should ask, and the messenger replied that he would. Then the Almoxarife asked of him if he knew what was the reason which had moved his Lord the Soldan to send so great a present to the Cid Campeador, and why he desired to have his love when he was so far away, beyond sea. Now the messenger of the Soldan conceived that the Almoxarife sought to know the state of the lands beyond sea, and he feared that this had been asked of him by command of the Cid; and he made answer, that so great was the renown of the Cid, and the report which they had heard in the lands beyond sea of his great feats in arms, that it had moved the Soldan to send him that present and desire his love. But when the Almoxarife heard this, he said that he could not believe that this had been the reason, but that some other intention had moved him. And when the messenger perceived that the Almoxarife understood him, and that he desired to know the whole of the matter, he said that he would tell him, but he besought him to keep it secret. And the Almoxarife promised to do this. Then he told him that the land beyond sea was in such state that they weened it would be lost, and that the Christians would win it, so great a Crusade had gone forth against it from Germany, and from France, and from Lombardy, and Sicily, and Calabria, and Ireland, and England, which had won the city of Antioch, and now lay before Jerusalem. And my Lord the Great Soldan of Persia, hearing of the great nobleness of the Cid, and thinking that he would pass over also, was moved to send him this present to gain his love, that if peradventure he should pass there he might be his friend. And when the Almoxarife of the Cid heard this, he said that of a truth he believed it.

Of the coming of the Infantes of Aragón and Navarre xiii. While yet that messenger of the Soldan of Persia abode in Valencia, tidings carne to the Cid that the Infantes of Aragon and Navarre were coming to celebrate their marriage with his daughters, according as it had been appointed at the Cortes of Toledo. He of Navarre hight Don Ramiro, and he was the son of King Don Sancho, him who was slain at Rueda; and he married with Doña Elvira, the elder: and the Infante of Aragon who married Doña Sol, the younger, hight Don Sancho, and was the son of King Don Pedro. This King Don Pedro was he whom the Cid Ruydiez conquered and made prisoner, as the history hath related; but calling to mind the great courtesy which the Cid had shown in releasing him from prison, and how he had ordered all his own to be restored unto him, and moreover the great worth and the great goodness of the Cid, and the great feats which he had performed, he held it good that his son should match with his daughter, to the end that the race of so good a man might be preserved in Aragon. Howbeit it was not his fortune to have a son by Doña Sol, for he died before he came to the throne, and left no issue. When the Cid knew that the Infantes were coming, he and all his people went out six leagues to meet them, all gallantly attired both for court and for war; and he ordered his tents to be pitched in a fair meadow, and there he awaited till they came up. And the first day the Infante Don Sancho of Aragon carne up, and they waited for the Infante Don Ramiro; and when they were all met they proceeded to Valencia. And the Bishop Don Hieronymo came out to meet them with a procession, full honourably. Great were the rejoicings which were made in Valencia because of the coming of the Infantes, for eight days before the marriage began. And the Cid gave order that they should be lodged in the Garden of Villa Nueva, and supplied with all things in abundance.

Of the marriage of the Infantes xiv. When eight days were overpast the Bishop Don Hieronymo married the Infantes of Aragon and Navarre to the daughters of the Cid in this manner: the Infante Don Ramiro of Navarre to Doña Elvira; and the Infante Don Sancho of Aragon to Doña Sol. And on the day after they had been espoused they received the blessing in the great Church of St. Peter, as is commanded by the law of Jesus Christ, and the Bishop said mass. Who can tell the great rejoicings which were made at those marriages, and the great nobleness thereof? Certes there would be much to tell; for during eight days that they lasted, there was feasting every day, full honourably and plentifully, where all persons did eat out of silver; and many bulls were killed every day, and many of those wild beasts which the Soldán sent; and many sports were devised, and many garments and saddles and noble trappings were given to the joculars. And the Moors also exhibited their sports and rejoicings, after such divers manners, that men knew not which to go to first. So great was the multitude which was there assembled, that they were counted at eight thousand hidalgos. And when the marriage was concluded, the Cid took his sons-inlaw and led them by the hand to Doña Ximena, and showed them all the noble things which the Soldan had sent him; and they when they beheld such great treasures and such noble things were greatly astonished, and said that they did not think there had been a man in Spain so rich as the Cid, nor who possessed such things. And as they were marvelling from whence such riches could have come, both of gold and silver, and of precious stones and pearls, the Cid embraced them and said, My sons, this and all that I have is for you and for your wives, and I will give unto you the noblest and most precious things that ever were given with women for their dowry: for I will give you the half of all that you see here, and the other half I and Doña Ximena will keep so long as we live, and after our death all shall be yours; and my days are now well nigh full. Then the Infantes made answer, that they prayed God to grant him life for many and happy years yet, and that they thanked him greatly, and held him as their father; and that they would ever have respect to his honour and be at his service, holding themselves honoured by the tie that there was between them. Three months these Infantes abode with the Cid in Valencia, in great pleasure. And then they dispeeded themselves of the Cid and of their mother-inlaw Doña Ximena, and took each his wife and returned into their own lands with great riches and honour. And the Cid gave them great treasures, even as he had promised, and gave them certain of those strange beasts which the Soldan had sent. And he rode out with them twelve leagues. And when they took leave of each other there was not a knight of all those who came with the Infantes to whom the Cid did not give something, horse, or mule, or garments, or money, so that all were well pleased; and he gave his daughters his blessing, and commended them to God, and then he returned to Valencia, and they went to their own country.

How the messenger of the Soldán was despatched xv. After the Cid had seen his sons-inlaw depart, he sent for the messenger of the Soldan, and gave him many of the rare things of his country to carry unto his Lord. And he gave him a sword which had the device of the Soldan wrought in gold, and a coat of mail and sleeve armour, and a noble gipion which was wrought of knots; and his letters of reply, which were full of great assurances of friendship. Much was the messenger of the Soldan pleased with the Cid for the great honour which he had shown him, and much was he pleased also at seeing how honourably the marriage of his daughters had been celebrated. So he departed and went to the port, and embarked on board his ship, and went to his Lord the Soldan.

How the Alcade of Valencia was baptized xvi. After this the Cid abode in Valencia, and he laboured a full year in settling all the Castles of the Moors who were subject unto him in peace, and in settling the Moors of Valencia well with the Christians; and this he did so that their tribute was well paid from this time till his death. And all the land from Tortoso to Origuela was under his command. And from this time he abode in peace in Valencia; and laboured alway to serve God and to increase the Catholic faith, and to make amends for the faults he had committed towards God, for he weened that his days now would be but few. And it came to pass one day, the Cid having risen from sleep and being in his Alcazar, there came before him an Alfaqui whom he had made Alcalde of the Moors; his name was Alfaraxi, and he it was who made the lamentation for Valencia, as is recorded in this history. This Alfaqui had served the Cid well in his office of Alcalde over the Moors of Valencia: for he kept them in peace, and made them pay their tribute well, being a discreet man and of great prudence, so that for this and for his speech he might have been taken for a Christian; and for this reason the Cid loved him and put great trust in him. And when the Cid saw him he asked him what he would have: and he like a prudent man bent his knees before him, and began to kiss his hand, and said, Sir Cid Ruydiez, blessed be the name of Jesus Christ who hath brought you to this state that you are Lord of Valencia, one of the best and noblest cities in Spain. What I would have is this. Sir, my forefathers were of this city, and I am a native hereof; and when I was a little lad the Christians took me captive, and I learnt their tongue among them, and then my will was to be a Christian, and to abide there in the land of the Christians; but my father and mother, being rich persons, released me. And God showed me such favour, and gave me such understanding and so subtle, that I learnt all the learning of the Moors, and was one of the most honourable and best Alfaquis that ever was in Valencia till this time, and of the richest, as you know, Sir; and you in your bounty made me Alcalde, and gave me your authority over the Moors, of which peradventure I was not worthy. And now, Sir, thinking in my heart concerning the law in which I have lived, I find that I have led a life of great error, and that all which Mahommed the great deceiver gave to the Moors for their law, is deceit: and therefore, Sir, I turn me to the faith of Jesus Christ, and will be a Christian and believe in the Catholic faith. And I beseech you of your bounty give order that I may be baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity, and give me what name you will. And from this time forward I will live the life of a Christian, and fulfil what is written in the Gospel, and forsake wife and children and kin, and all that there is in the world, and serve God, and believe in his faith and holy law, as far as the weakness of my body can bear. When the Cid Ruydiez heard this he began to smile for very pleasure; and he rose up and took Alfaraxi with him to Doña Ximena, and said, Here is our Alcalde, who will be a Christian, and our brother in the faith of Jesus Christ: I beseech you therefore give order to provide all things that may be needful. When Doña Ximena heard this she rejoiced greatly, and gave order that all things should be full nobly prepared. And on the morrow the Bishop Don Hieronymo baptized him, and they gave him the name of Gil Diaz: and his godfathers were Don Alvar Fañez, and Pero Bermudez, and Martin Antolinez of Burgos; and Doña Ximena, with other honourable dames, were his godmothers. And from that time forward Gil Diaz was in such favour with the Cid, that he trusted all his affairs to his hands, and he knew so well how to demean himself, both towards him and all those of his company, that they all heartily loved him.

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Last updated Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 22:30