THE CHRISTIANS OF NORTHERN SPAIN
 IT is time that I should tell you something about the Christians who lived in Northern Spain
and made unending war upon the Moors.
If you look at the map of Spain, you will see that the northern part is divided into five
provinces, thus following each other from west to east—Galicia, Asturias, the Basque
country, Navarre, and Catalonia—and that south of these the two provinces of Leon
and Old Castile dovetail into them and are geographically part of them. This part of Spain
is much broken by mountain ranges, and is cold and windy. It is not barren, for it grows
wheat, barley, and flax in abundance, and on the mountain slopes the cork-tree flourishes.
But the climate is harsher than in the valleys of the South, where the vine and the orange
and the lemon and the fig luxuriate in an almost perpetual summer.
The Moors were never able to conquer this northern country. They made raids into it,
fought battles, won victories, and built forts; but after the victories were won the
natives were ready to fight again next year; and when the forts were finished they were
often taken by the races against which they had been built. These native races were
Christians, of a mixed Gothic and Spanish stock; with them were allied some Berbers, whom
the Moors of Arab race had driven into Galicia from the fertile valleys of Andalusia, and
who professed to be Christians, though at that time I do not think their Christianity was
You remember old Pelayo, who with thirty men and ten
 women took refuge in a cave in a cleft of the Asturian Mountains and defied the Moors.
When this old warrior had driven the Moors out of his province he took the name of King of
the Asturias, and the people round about agreed to accept him as their king. When he died
his son became king after him, and reigned until a bear ate him. After him his son, who
was named Alfonso the First, succeeded to the throne, and, being a famous warrior,
extended his kingdom from Galicia to the borders of Navarre. This was about the year 750,
just at the time when your ancestors in England were first enabled to read the Lord's
Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and the Creed in their own language.
It was in the time of one of Pelayo's immediate successors that Bernardo, the champion of
Spain, and one of the heroes of the Spanish legends, is said to have lived. He was the son
of Sancho Diaz, Count of Saldaila; this count the king, from jealousy, had imprisoned and
most cruelly maltreated. Bernardo, being unable to bear the tyranny of the king and the
sight of his father's misery, fled to the woods, and at the head of a party of outlaws
barricaded himself in a castle. The king besieged him there; but being unable to make a
breach in the walls, he bethought himself of offering to Bernardo to set Don Sancho free
if the castle were surrendered. The offer was accepted. The treacherous king forthwith had
Sancho done to death in the prison. Bernardo came out of his castle, and cried:
"Where is my father, the Count of Saldana?"
"There he comes," said the king; and sure enough, in the distance a horse ridden by a
knight in Don Sancho's armor was seen approaching.
Bernardo ran forward to seize his hand to kiss it; but the hand was cold, and the son
perceived that his father was dead.
"What have I done?" cried he; "Don Sancho, in an it hour didst thou beget me!" For nearly
a hundred years after that other kings reigned
 over the Asturias. Sometimes their dominions were large, and sometimes they were small;
but whether they were large or small, the Asturians were always fighting, both with Moors
and with their Christian neighbors. They must have been unpleasant fellows to live near.
About the year 942 there was a king named Ramiro, who was fierce and bold. He burned
witches, and put out the eyes of robbers; but he swept the Moors out of his country,
reclaimed the fields they had laid desert, rebuilt the churches they had pulled down,
mended the forts they had wrecked. The old legend says of him:
"A cry went through the mountains
When the proud Moor drew near,
And trooping to Ramiro
Came every Christian spear;
The blessed San Iago
They called upon his name:
That day began our freedom,
And wiped away our shame."
He was king when the Moorish caliph demanded the payment of a tribute which the Christians
had once, after a defeat, agreed to pay to Cordova. The tribute consisted of one hundred
Christian maidens, the fairest of the Asturias. For an answer to the demand, Ramiro called
out his fighting men, and went to meet the Moors near a village in Leon. The fight lasted
two days, and the first day the Moors had the advantage. But in the night, says the
legend, the blessed San Ingo appeared to the king and bade him be of good cheer, that he
would be with him on the morrow. Sure enough, as the armies engaged, the saint appeared in
a suit of white armor; on a milk-white steed, and scattered the Moors so that they threw
their arms away in their flight. Thus the horrid tribute was abolished forever.
CHURCH AT VALENCIA.
It was about these times that Fernando Gonzales was Count of Castile, and in love with
Saneha, the daughter of
 Garcia, the King of Navarre. He was on his way to Navarre to court her when her father
treacherously seized him and thrust him into a dungeon. A Norman knight heard of his
capture, and the old ballad tells what happened:
"They have borne into Navarre
The great Count of Castile,
And they have bound him sorely
They have hound him hand and heel:
There is great joy and feasting
Because that lord is ta'en;
King Garcia in his dungeon
Holds the doughtiest lord in Spain,
The Moors may well be joyful,
But great should be our grief,
For Spain has lost her guardian,
When Castile lost her chief;
The Moorish host is pouring
Like a river o'er the land;
Curse on the Christian fetters
That hind Gonzales's hand."
The knight bade Sancha try to set him free, for her love's sake.
"The lady answered little,
But at the dead of night,
When all her maids are sleeping,
She bath risen and ta'en her flight:
She hath tempted the Alcayde
With her jewels and her gold,
And unto her his prisoner
That jailer false bath sold."
Then she married her true love, and years afterwards, when he was made prisoner in the
wars and again locked up in a dungeon, she prayed leave to visit him just once. The favor
granted, she changed clothes with him. He escaped in the gown of a woman, and when the
jailer came round he found the countess in the cuirass and boots of a knight.
 Other kings followed Ramiro, but nothing happened in their reigns which you would care to
hear. The provinces waged incessant war against each other; and in one of the wars the
King of Leon, whose name was Garcias, overthrew the King of the Asturias, and annexed his
kingdom. He and his descendants held the throne for a quarter of a century, and then the
King of Navarre, Sancho Mayor, swooped down upon Leon and Asturias, conquered both, and
extended his kingdom from the Pyrenees to the Atlantic. He left his dominions to his son
Ferdinand, who in 1035 became monarch of all Northern Spain except Catalonia.
That fine province, which is separated from Aragon by the river Ebro, is one of the
richest portions of Spain. It contains the City of Barcelona, which was a famous place of
trade in the time of the Carthaginians, and is a lively seaport to-day. Eight hundred and
fifty years ago it was ruled by a family named Berenguer, who called themselves counts,
and were independent of Moor, Christian, Spaniard, and Frank. You hear much of them in the
history of the Crusades. Two of them, father and son, both named Raymond Berenguer, went
to the Crusades at the head of their fighting men, and both died in Palestine. One of them
was a Knight Templar, whose exploits made much noise at the time. These counts set King
Ferdinand at defiance, and he did not care to molest them. So Catalonia was the only
northern province of Spain which did not form part of the Christian league against the
Ferdinand, King of Northern Spain from 1035 to 1065, led a life of toil and strife; when
he felt his end approaching he had himself carried to a church, where he prayed and
confessed to the priests, took off his royal robes, put on the garment of repentance, and
laid down and died.
Before we begin the long story of the death grapple between Moor and Christian, you may
care to hear something of what was happening in other countries at that time.
 In the year following the death of Ferdinand, William, Duke of Normandy, fought the battle
of Hastings and conquered England, which was then a wild country, without learning, or
wealth, or trade, or good roads, or fine buildings, except monasteries and churches. In
France, about the same time, a Church decree forbade the marriage of priests, and this,
among other things, caused the separation of the Catholic and the Greek Churches. In Italy
a love for letters broke out, schools and colleges were founded, and interesting works
were written; the courts of the Pope and of some of the nobility were polished, and were
frequented by learned men. At this time the Empire of the East, of which Constantinople
was the capital, began . to be molested by Moslem raids; the long fight between Moslem and
Christian, which, after lasting four hundred years, was destined to end thirty-seven years
before the same fight in Spain—though in a different way—had fairly begun.
And, finally, thirty-four years before Ferdinand became king, a Norman or Norwegian
sea-rover named Leif, is said to have crossed the Atlantic and to have landed in Rhode
Island. This story is legend, and you are not required to believe it if you think it
improbable—though it may quite possibly be true.
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