LEGEND OF THE MOOR'S LEGACY
 JUST within the fortress of the Alhambra, in front of the royal palace, is a broad open esplanade, called the
Square of the Cisterns, so called from being undermined by reservoirs of water, hidden from sight, and which
have existed from the time of the Moors. At one corner of this esplanade is a Moorish well, cut through the
living rock to a great depth, the water of which is cold as ice and clear as crystal. The wells made by the
Moors are always in repute, for it is well known what pains they took to penetrate to the purest and sweetest
springs and fountains. The one of which we now speak is famous throughout Granada, insomuch that
water-carriers, some baring great water-jars on their shoulders, others driving asses before them laden with
earthen vessels, are ascending and descending the steep woody avenues of the Alhambra, from early dawn until a
late hour of the night.
Fountains and wells, ever since the scriptural days, have been noted gossiping-places in hot climates; and at
the well in question there is a kind of perpetual club kept up during the livelong day, by the invalids, old
women, and other curious do-nothing folk of the fortress, who sit here on the stone benches, under an awning
spread over the well to shelter the toll-gatherer from the sun, and dawdle
 over the gossip of the fortress, and question every water-carrier that arrives about the news of the city, and
make long comments on everything they hear and see. Not an hour of the day but loitering housewives and idle
maid-servants may be seen, lingering, with pitcher on head or in hand, to hear the last of the endless tattle
of these worthies.
Among the water-carriers who once resorted to this well, there was a sturdy, strong-backed, bandy-legged
little fellow, named Pedro Gil, but called Peregil for shortness, who had begun business with merely a great
earthen jar which he carried upon his shoulder. By degrees he rose in the world, and was enabled to purchase a
stout shaggy-haired donkey. On each side of this his long-eared aid-de-camp, in a kind of pannier, were slung
his water-jars, covered with fig-leaves to protect them from the sun. There was not a more industrious
water-carrier in all Granada, nor one more merry withal. The streets rang with his cheerful voice as he
trudged after his donkey, singing forth the usual summer note that resounds through the Spanish towns:. "Who
wants water—water colder than snow? Who wants water from the well of the Alhambra, cold as ice and clear
as crystal?" When he served a customer with a sparkling glass, it was always with a pleasant word that caused
a smile; and if, perchance, it was a comely dame or dimpling damsel, it was always with a compliment to her
beauty that was irresistible. Thus Peregil was noted throughout all Granada for being one of the civilest,
pleasantest, and happiest of mortals. Yet it
 is not he who sings loudest and jokes most that has the lightest heart. Under all this air of merriment,
honest Peregil had his cares and troubles. He had a large family of ragged children to support, who were
hungry and clamorous as a nest of young swallows, and beset him with their outcries for food whenever he came
home of an evening. He had a helpmate, too, who was anything but a help to him. She had been a village beauty
before marriage, noted for her skill at dancing the bolero and rattling the castanets; and she still retained
her early propensities, spending the hard earnings of honest Peregil in frippery, and laying the very donkey
under requisition for junketing parties into the country on Sundays and those innumerable holidays, which are
rather more numerous in Spain than the days of the week. With all this she was a slattern and a gossip of the
first water; neglecting house, household, and everything else, to loiter slipshod in the houses of her gossip
Peregil bore all the heavy dispensations of wife and children with as meek a spirit as his donkey bore the
water-jars; and, however he might shake his ears in private, never ventured to question the household virtues
of his slattern spouse.
He loved his children, too, even as an owl loves its owlets, seeing in them his own image multiplied and
perpetuated; for they were a sturdy, long-backed, bandy-legged little brood. The great pleasure of honest
Peregil was, whenever he could afford himself a scanty holiday, and had a handful of pennies to spare, to take
the whole family forth with him, some in his arms, some tugging at his skirts, and some trudging at his heels,
and to treat
 them to a gambol among the orchards of the Vega, while his wife was dancing with her holiday friends.
It was a late hour one summer night, and most of the water-carriers had desisted from their toils. The day had
been uncommonly sultry; the night was one of those delicious moonlights which tempt the inhabitants of
southern climes to indemnify themselves for the heat and inaction of the day, by lingering in the open air,
and enjoying its tempered sweetness until after midnight. Customers for water were therefore still abroad.
Peregil, like a considerate, painstaking father, thought of his hungry children. "One more journey to the
well," said he to himself, "to earn a Sunday's dinner for the little ones." So saying, he trudged manfully up
the steep avenue of the Alhambra, singing as he went, and now and then bestowing a hearty thwack with a cudgel
on the flanks of his donkey, either by way of cadence to the song, or refreshment to the animal; for dry blows
serve instead of provender in Spain for all beasts of burden.
When arrived at the well, he found it deserted by every one except a solitary stranger in Moorish garb, seated
on a stone bench in the moonlight. Peregil paused at first and regarded him with surprise, not unmixed with
awe, but the Moor feebly beckoned him to approach. "I am faint and ill," said he; "aid me to return to the
city, and I will pay thee double what thou couldst gain by thy jars of water."
The honest heart of the little water-carrier was touched with compassion at the appeal of the stranger. "God
forbid," said he, "that I should ask fee or reward for
 doing a common act of humanity." He accordingly helped the Moor on his donkey, and set off slowly for Granada,
the poor Moslem being so weak that it was necessary to hold him on the animal to keep him from falling to the
When they entered the city, the water-carrier demanded whither he should conduct him. "Alas!" said the Moor,
faintly, "I have neither home nor habitation; I am a stranger in the land. Suffer me to lay my head this night
beneath thy, roof and thou shalt be amply repaid."
Honest Peregil thus saw himself unexpectedly saddled with an infidel guest, but he was too humane to refuse a
night's shelter to a fellow-being in so forlorn a plight; so he conducted the Moor to his dwelling. The
children, who had sallied forth open-mouthed as usual on hearing the tramp of the donkey, ran back with
affright when they beheld the turbaned stranger, and hid themselves behind their mother. The latter stepped
forth intrepidly, like a ruffling hen before her brood when a vagrant dog approaches.
"What infidel companion," cried she, "is this you have brought home at this late hour?"
"Be quiet, wife," replied Peregil; "here is a poor sick stranger, without friend or home; wouldst thou turn
him forth to perish in the streets?"
The wife would still have remonstrated, for although she lived in a hovel, she was a furious stickler for the
credit of her house; the little water-carrier, however, for once was stiff-necked, and refused to bend beneath
the yoke. He assisted the poor Moslem to alight, and spread a mat and a sheep-skin for him, on the ground, in
the coolest part of the house; being the only kind of bed that his poverty afforded.
 In a little while the Moor was seized with violent convulsions, which defied all the ministering skill of the
simple water-carrier. The eye of the poor patient acknowledged his kindness. During an interval of his fits he
called him to his side, and addressing him in a low voice, "My end," said he, "I fear is at hand. If I die, I
bequeath you this box as a reward for your charity:" so saying, he opened his cloak, and showed a small box of
sandal-wood, strapped round his body. "God grant, my friend," replied the worthy little water-carrier, that
you may live many years to enjoy your treasure, whatever it may be." The Moor shook his head; he laid his hand
upon the box, and would have said something more concerning it, but his convulsions returned with increasing
violence, and in a little while he expired.
The water-carrier's wife was now as one distracted. "This comes," said she, "of your foolish good-nature,
always running into scrapes to oblige others. What will become of us when this corpse is found in our house?
We shall be sent to prison as murderers; and if we escape with our lives, shall be ruined by notaries and
Poor Peregil was in equal tribulation, and almost repented himself of having done a good deed. At length a
thought struck him. "It is not yet day," said he; "I can convey the dead body out of the city, and bury it in
the sands on the banks of the Xenil. No one saw the Moor enter our dwelling, and no one will know anything of
So said, so done. The wife aided him; they rolled the body of the unfortunate Moslem in the mat on which he
 had expired, laid it across the ass, and Peregil set out with it for the banks of the river.
As ill luck would have it, there lived opposite to the water-carrier a barber named Pedrillo Pedrugo, one of
the most prying, tattling, and mischief-making of his gossip tribe. He was a weasel-faced, spider-legged
varlet, supple and insinuating; he had a, universal knowledge of the affairs of others, and he had no more
power of retention than a sieve. It was said that he slept but with one eye at a time, and kept one ear
uncovered, so that even in his sleep he might see and hear all that was going on. Certain it is, he was a sort
of scandalous chronicle for the quidnuncs of Granada, and had more customers than all the rest of his
This meddlesome barber heard Peregil arrive at an unusual hour at night, and the exclamations of his wife and
children. His head was instantly popped out of a little window which served him as a lookout, and he saw his
neighbor assist a man in Moorish garb into his dwelling. This was so strange an occurrence, that Pedrillo
Pedrugo slept not a wink that night. Every five minutes he was at his loophole, watching the lights that
gleamed through the chinks of his neighbor's door, and before daylight he beheld Peregil sally forth with his
donkey unusually laden.
The inquisitive barber was in a fidget; he slipped on his clothes, and, stealing forth silently, followed the
water-carrier at a distance, until he saw him dig a hole in the sandy bank of the Xenil, and bury something
that had the appearance of a dead body.
 The barber hied him home, and fidgeted about his shop, setting everything upside down, until sunrise. He then
took a basin under his arm, and sallied forth to the house of his daily customer the judge.
The judge was just risen. Pedrillo Pedrugo seated him in a chair, threw a napkin round his neck, put a basin
of hot water under his chin, and began to mollify his beard with his fingers.
"Strange doings!" said Pedrugo, who played barber and newsmonger at the same time,—"strange doings!
Robbery, and murder, and burial all in one night!"
"Hey!—how!—what is that you say?" cried the judge.
"I say," replied the barber, rubbing a piece of soap over the nose and mouth of the dignitary, for a Spanish
barber disdains to employ a brush,—"I say that Peregil the water-carrier has robbed and murdered a
Moorish Mussulman, and buried him, this blessed night. Accursed be the night for the same!"
"But how do you know all this?" demanded the judge.
"Be patient, Seņor, and you shall hear all about it," replied Pedrillo, taking him by the nose and sliding a
razor over his cheek. He then recounted all that he had seen, going through both operations at the same time,
shaving his beard, washing his chin, and wiping him dry with a dirty napkin, while he was robbing, murdering,
and burying the Moslem.
Now it so happened that this judge was one of the most overbearing, and at the same time most griping and
corrupt curmudgeons in all Granada. It could not be denied, however, that he set a high value upon justice,
for he sold it at its weight in gold. He presumed the case in point
 to be one of murder and robbery; doubtless there must be a rich spoil; how was it to be secured into the
legitimate hands of the law; for as to merely entrapping the delinquent—that would be feeding the
gallows; but entrapping the booty—that would be enriching the judge, and such, according to his creed,
was the great end of justice. So thinking, he summoned to his presence his trustiest constable—a gaunt,
hungry-looking varlet, clad, according to the custom of his order, in the ancient Spanish garb, a broad black
beaver turned up at its sides; a quaint ruff; a small black cloak dangling from his shoulders; rusty black
underclothes that set off his spare, wiry frame, while in his hand he bore a slender white wand, the dreaded
insignia of his office. Such was the legal bloodhound of the ancient Spanish breed, that he put upon the
traces of the unlucky water-carrier, and such was his speed and certainty, that he was upon the haunches of
poor Peregil before he had returned to his dwelling, and brought both him and his donkey before the dispenser
The judge bent upon him one of the most terrific frowns. "Hark ye, culprit!" roared he, in a voice that made
the knees of the little water-carrier smite together,—"hark ye, culprit! there is no need of denying thy
guilt, everything is known to me. A gallows is the proper reward for the crime thou hast committed, but I am
merciful, and readily listen to reason. The man that has been murdered in thy house was a Moor, an infidel,
the enemy of our faith. It was doubtless in a fit of religious zeal that thou hast slain him. I will be
indulgent, therefore; render up the property of which thou hast robbed him, and we will hush the matter up."
 The water-carrier related the whole story of the dying Moor with the straightforward simplicity of truth, but
it was all in vain. "Wilt thou persist in saying," demanded the judge, "that this Moslem had neither gold nor
jewels, which were the object of thy cupidity?"
"As I hope to be saved, your worship," replied the water-carrier, he had nothing but a small box of
sandal-wood, which he bequeathed to me in reward for my services."
"A box of sandal-wood; a box of sandal-wood?" exclaimed the judge, his eyes sparkling at the idea of precious
"And where is this box? where have you concealed it?"
"An' it please your grace," replied the water-carrier, "it is in one of the panniers of my mule, and heartily
at the service of your worship."
He had hardly spoken the words, when the keen constable darted off, and reappeared in an instant with the
mysterious box of sandal-wood. The judge opened it with an eager and trembling hand; all pressed forward to
gaze upon the treasure it was expected to contain; when, to their disappointment, nothing appeared within, but
a parchment scroll, covered with Arabic characters, and an end of a waxen taper.
When there is nothing to be gained by the conviction of a prisoner, justice, even in Spain, is apt to be
impartial. The judge, having recovered from his disappointment, and found that there was really no booty in
the case, now listened dispassionately to the explanation of the water
 carrier, which was corroborated by the testimony of his wife. Being convinced, therefore, of his innocence, he
discharged him from arrest; nay, more, he permitted him to carry off the Moor's legacy, the box of sandal-wood
and its contents, as the well-merited reward of his humanity; but he retained his donkey in payment of costs
Behold the unfortunate little Peregil reduced once more to the necessity of being his own water-carrier, and
trudging up to the well of the Alhambra with a great earthen jar upon his shoulder.
As he toiled up the hill in the heat of a summer noon, his usual good-humor forsook him. "Dog of a judge!"
would he cry, "to rob a poor man of the means of his subsistence, of the best friend he had in the world!" And
then at the remembrance of the beloved companion of his labors, all the kindness of his nature would break
forth. "Ah, donkey of my heart!" would he exclaim; resting his burden on a stone, and wiping the sweat from
his brow,—"ah, donkey of my heart! I warrant me thou thinkest of thy old master! I warrant me thou
missest the water-jars—poor beast."
To add to his afflictions, his wife received him, on his return home, with whimperings and repinings; she had
clearly the vantage-ground of him, having warned him not to commit the egregious act of hospitality which had
brought on him all these misfortunes; and, like a knowing woman, she took every occasion to throw her superior
sagacity in his teeth. If her children lacked food, or needed a new garment, she could answer with a sneer,
 to your father—he is heir to king Chico of the Alhambra: ask him to help you out of the Moor's strong
Was ever poor mortal so soundly punished for having done a good action? The unlucky Peregil was grieved in
flesh and spirit, but still he bore meekly with the railings of his spouse. At length, one evening, when,
after a hot day's toil, she taunted him in the usual manner, he lost all patience. He did not venture to
retort upon her, but his eye rested upon the box of sandal-wood, which lay on a shelf with lid half open, as
if laughing in mockery at his vexation. Seizing it up, he dashed it with indignation to the floor. "Unlucky
was the day that I ever set eyes on thee," he cried, "or sheltered thy master beneath my roof!"
As the box struck the floor, the lid flew wide open, and the parchment scroll rolled forth.
Peregil sat regarding the scroll for some time in moody silence. At length rallying his ideas, "Who knows,"
thought he, "but this writing may be of some importance, as the Moor seems to have guarded it with such care?"
Picking it up therefore, he put it in his bosom, and the next morning, as he was crying water through the
streets, he stopped at the shop of a Moor, a native of Tangiers, who sold trinkets and perfumery, and asked
him to explain the contents.
The Moor read the scroll attentively, then stroked his beard and smiled. "This manuscript," said he, "is a
form of incantation for the recovery of hidden treasure that is under the power of enchantment. It is said to
have such virtue that the strongest bolts and bars, nay the hardest rock itself, will yield before it!"
 "Bah!" cried Peregil, "what is all that to me? I am no enchanter, and know nothing of buried treasure." So
saying, he shouldered his water-jar, left the scroll in the hands of the Moor, and trudged forward on his
That evening, however, as he rested himself about twilight at the well of the Alhambra, he found a number of
gossips assembled at the place, and their conversation, as is not unusual at that shadowy hour, turned upon
old tales and traditions of a supernatural nature. Being all poor as rats, they dwelt with peculiar fondness
upon the popular theme of enchanted riches left by the Moors in various parts of the Alhambra. Above all they
concurred in the belief that there were great treasures buried deep in the earth under the tower of the seven
These stories made an unusual impression on the mind of the honest Peregil, and they sank deeper and deeper
into his thoughts as he returned alone down the dark avenues. "If, after all, there should be treasure hid
beneath that tower: and if the scroll I left with the Moor should enable me to get at it!" In the sudden
ecstasy of the thought he had well-nigh let fall his water-jar.
That night he tumbled and tossed, and could scarcely get a wink of sleep for the thoughts that were
bewildering his brain. Bright and early he repaired to the shop of the Moor, and told him all that was passing
in his mind. "You can read Arabic," said he; "suppose we go together to the tower, and try the effect of the
charm; if it fails, we are no worse off than before; but if it succeeds, we will share equally all the
treasure, we may discover."
"Hold," replied the Moslem; "this writing is not sufficient of itself; it must be read at midnight, by the
light of a taper singularly compounded and prepared, the
ingre-  dients of which are not within my reach. Without such a taper the scroll is of no avail."
"Say no more!" cried little Peregil; "I have such a taper at hand, and will bring it here in a moment." So
saying, he hastened home, and soon returned with the end of yellow wax taper that he had found in the box of
The Moor felt it and smelt of it. "Here are rare and costly perfumes," said he, "combined with this yellow
wax. This is the kind of taper specified in the scroll. While this burns, the strongest walls and most secret
caverns will remain open. Woe to him, however, who lingers within until it be extinguished. He will remain
enchanted with the treasure."
It was now agreed between them to try the charm that very night. At a late hour, therefore, when nothing was
stirring but bats and owls, they ascended the woody hill of the Alhambra, and approached that awful tower,
shrouded by trees and rendered formidable by so many traditionary tales. By the light of a lantern they groped
their way through bushes, and over fallen stones, to the door of a vault beneath the tower. With fear and
trembling they descended a flight of steps cut into the rock. It led to an empty chamber, damp and drear, from
which another flight of steps led to a deeper vault. In this way they descended four several flights, leading
into as many vaults, one below the other, but the floor of the fourth was solid; and though, according to
tradition, there remained three vaults still below, it was said to be impossible to penetrate further, the
residue being shut up by strong enchantment. The air of this vault was damp and chilly, and had an earthy
smell, and the light scarce cast forth any rays. They.
 paused here for a time, in breathless suspense, until they faintly heard the clock of the watch-tower strike
midnight; upon this they lit the waxen taper, which diffused an odor of myrrh and frankincense and storax.
The Moor began to read in a hurried voice. He had scarce finished when there was a noise as of subterraneous
thunder. The earth shook, and the floor, yawning open, disclosed a flight of steps. Trembling with awe, they
descended, and by the light of the lantern found themselves in another vault covered with Arabic inscriptions.
In the centre stood a great chest, secured with seven bands of steel, at each end of which sat an enchanted
Moor in armor, but motionless as a statue, being controlled by the power of the incantation. Before the chest
were several jars filled with gold and silver and precious stones. In the largest of these they thrust their
arms up to the elbow, and at every dip hauled forth handfuls of broad yellow pieces of Moorish gold, or
bracelets and ornaments of the same precious metal, while occasionally a necklace of Oriental pearl would
stick to their fingers. Still they trembled and breathed short while cramming their pockets with the spoils;
and cast many a fearful glance at the two enchanted Moors, who sat grim and motionless, glaring upon them with
unwinking eyes. At length, struck with a sudden panic at some fancied noise, they both rushed up the
staircase, tumbled over one mother into the upper apartment, overturned and extinguished the waxen taper, and
the pavement again closed with a thundering sound.
Filled with dismay, they did not pause until they had
 groped their way out of the tower, and beheld the stars shining through the trees. Then seating themselves
upon the grass, they divided the spoil, determining to content themselves for the present with this mere
skimming of the jars, but to return on some future night and drain them to the bottom. To make sure of each
other's good faith, also, they divided the talismans between them, one retaining the scroll and the other the
taper; this done, they set off with light hearts and well-lined pockets for Granada.
As they wended their way down the hill, the shrewd Moor whispered a word of council in the ear of the simple
"Friend Peregil," said he, "all this affair must be kept a profound secret until we have secured the treasure,
and conveyed it out of harm's way. If a whisper of it gets to the ear of the judge, we are undone!"
"Certainly," replied Peregil, "nothing can be more true."
"Friend Peregil," said the Moor, "you are a discreet man, and I make no doubt can keep a secret; but you have
"She shall not know a word of it," replied the little water-carrier, sturdily.
Enough," said the Moor, "I depend upon thy discretion and thy promise."
Never was promise more positive and sincere; but, alas! what man can keep a secret from his wife? Certainly
not such a one as Peregil the water-carrier, who was one of the most loving and tractable of husbands. On his
return home, he found his wife moping in a corner. "Mighty well," cried she as he entered, "you've come at
last, after rambling about until this hour of the night. I wonder you have not brought home another Moor as a
 house-mate." Then bursting into tears, she began to wring her hands and smite her breast. "Unhappy woman that
I am!" exclaimed she, "what will become of me? My house stripped and plundered by lawyers and constables; my
husband a do-no-good, that no longer brings home bread to his family, but goes rambling about day and night,
with infidel Moors! O my children! my children! what will become of us? We shall all have to beg in the
Honest Peregil was so moved by the distress of his spouse, that he could not help whimpering also. His heart
was as full as his pocket, and not to be restrained. Thrusting his hand into the latter he hauled forth three
or four broad gold pieces, and slipped them into her hand. The poor woman stared with astonishment, and could
not understand the meaning of this golden shower. Before she could recover her surprise, her husband drew
forth a chain of gold and dangled it before her, capering with exultation, his mouth distended from ear to
"What hast thou been doing, Peregil?" exclaimed the wife; "surely thou hast not been committing murder and
The idea scarce entered the brain of the poor woman, than it became a certainty with her. She saw a prison and
a gallows in the distance, and a little bandy-legged water-carrier hanging pendent from it; and, overcome by
the horrors conjured up by imagination, fell into violent hysterics.
What could the poor man do? He had no other means of pacifying his wife, and dispelling the phantoms of her
fancy, than by relating the whole story of his good fortune. This, however, he did not do until he had exacted
 from her the most solemn promise to keep it a profound secret from every living being.
To describe her joy would be impossible. She flung her arms round the neck of her husband, and almost
strangled him with her caresses. "Now, wife," exclaimed the little man with honest exultation, "what say you
now to the Moor's legacy? Henceforth never abuse me for helping a fellow-creature in distress."
The honest Peregil retired to his sheep-skin mat, and slept as soundly as if on a bed of down. Not so his
wife; she emptied the whole contents of his pockets upon the mat, and sat counting gold pieces of Arabic coin,
trying on necklaces and earrings, and fancying the figure she should one day make when permitted to enjoy her
On the following morning the honest water-carrier took a broad golden coin, and repaired with it to a
jeweler's shop to offer it for sale, pretending to have found it among the ruins of the Alhambra. The jeweler
saw that it had an Arabic inscription, and was of the purest gold; he offered, however, but a third of its
value, with which the water-carrier was perfectly content. Peregil now bought new clothes for his little
flock, and all kinds of toys, together with ample provisions for a hearty meal, and returning to his dwelling,
set all his children dancing around him, while he capered in the midst, the happiest of fathers.
The wife of the water-carrier kept her promise of secrecy with surprising strictness. For a whole day and a
half she went about with a look of mystery and a heart swelling almost to bursting, yet she held her peace,
though surrounded by her gossips. It is true, she could not help giving herself a few airs, apologized for her
 and talked of ordering a new basquina all trimmed with gold lace and bugles, and a new lace mantilla. She
threw out hints of her husband's intention of leaving off his trade of water-carrying, as it did not
altogether agree with his health. In fact she thought they should all retire to the country for the summer,
that the children might have the benefit of the mountain air, for there was no living in the city this sultry
The neighbors stared at each other, and thought the poor woman had lost her wits; and her airs and graces and
elegant pretensions were the theme of universal scoffing and merriment among her friends, the moment her back
If she restrained herself abroad, however, she indemnified herself at home, and putting a string of rich
Oriental pearls round her neck, Moorish bracelets on her arms, and an aigrette of diamonds on her head, sailed
backwards and forwards in her slattern rags about the room, now and then stopping to admire herself in a
broken mirror. Nay, in the impulse of her simple vanity, she could not resist, on one occasion, showing
herself at the window to enjoy the effect of her finery on the passers-by.
As the fates would have it, Pedrillo Pedrugo, the meddlesome barber, was at this moment sitting idly in his
shop on the opposite side of the street, when his ever-watchful eye caught the sparkle of a diamond. In an
instant he was at his loophole reconnoitring the slattern spouse of the water-carrier, decorated with the
splendor of an eastern bride. No sooner had he taken an accurate inventory of her ornaments, than he posted
off with all speed to the judge. In a little while the hungry constable
 was again on the scent, and before the day was over the unfortunate Peregil was once more dragged into the
presence of the judge.
"How is this, villain!" cried the judge, in a furious voice. "You told me that the infidel who died in your
house left nothing behind but an empty coffer, and now I hear of your wife flaunting in her rags decked out
with pearls and diamonds. Wretch that thou art! prepare to render up the spoils of thy miserable victim, and
to swing on the gallows that is already tired of waiting for thee."
The terrified water-carrier fell on his knees, and made a full relation of the marvellous manner in which he
had gained his wealth. The judge, the constable, and the inquisitive barber listened with greedy ears to this
Arabian tale of enchanted treasure. The constable was dispatched to bring the Moor who had assisted in the
incantation. The Moslem entered half frightened out of his wits at finding himself in the clutches of the law.
When he beheld the water-carrier standing with sheepish looks and down-cast countenance, he comprehended the
whole matter. "Miserable animal," said he, as he passed near him, "did I not warn thee against babbling to thy
The story of the Moor coincided exactly with that of his colleague; but the judge affected to be slow of
belief, and threw out menaces of imprisonment and rigorous investigation.
"Softly, good Sir judge," said the Mussulman, who by this time had recovered his usual shrewdness and
self-possession. "Let us not mar fortune's favors in the scramble for them. Nobody knows anything of this
matter but ourselves; let us keep the secret. There is wealth
 enough in the cave to enrich us all. Promise a fair division, and all shall be produced; refuse, and the cave
shall remain forever closed."
The judge consulted apart with the constable. The latter was an old fox in his profession. Promise anything,"
said he, "until you get possession of the treasure. You may then seize upon the whole, and if he and his
accomplice dare to murmur, threaten them with the fagot and the stake as infidels and sorcerers."
The judge relished the advice. Smoothing his brow and turning to the Moor, "This is a strange story," said he,
"and may be true, but I must have ocular proof of it. This very night you must repeat the incantation in my
presence. If there be really such treasure, we will share it amicably between us, and say nothing further of
the matter; if ye have deceived me, expect no mercy at my hands. In the meantime you must remain in custody."
The Moor and the water-carrier cheerfully agreed to these conditions, satisfied that the event would prove the
truth of their words.
Towards midnight the judge sallied forth secretly, attended by the constable and the meddlesome barber, all
strongly armed. They conducted the Moor and the water-carrier as prisoners, and were provided with the stout
donkey of the latter to bear off the expected treasure. They arrived at the tower without being observed, and
tying the donkey to a fig-tree, descended into the fourth vault of the tower.
The scroll was produced, the yellow waxen taper lighted, and the Moor read the form of incantation. The earth
trembled as before, and the pavement opened with a thundering sound, disclosing the narrow flight of steps.
 The judge, the constable, and the barber were struck aghast, and could not summon courage to descend. The Moor
and the water-carrier entered the lower vault, and found the two Moors seated as before, silent and
motionless. They removed two of the great jars, filled with golden coin and precious stones. The water-carrier
bore them up one by one upon his shoulders, but though a strong-backed little man, and accustomed to carry
burdens, he staggered beneath their weight, and found, when slung on each side of his donkey, they were as
much as the animal could bear.
"Let us be content for the present," said the Moor; "here is as much treasure as we can carry off without
being perceived, and enough to make us all wealthy to our heart's desire."
"Is there more treasure remaining behind?" demanded the judge.
"The greatest prize of all," said the Moor, "a huge coffer bound with bands of steel, and filled with pearls
and precious stones."
"Let us have up the coffer by all means," cried the grasping judge.
"I will descend for no more," said the Moor, doggedly; "enough is enough for a reasonable man—more is
"And I," said the water-carrier, will bring up no further burden to break the back of my poor donkey."
Finding commands, threats, and entreaties equally vain, the judge turned to his two adherents. "Aid me," said
he, "to bring up the coffer, and its contents shall be divided between us." So saying, he descended the steps,
followed with trembling reluctance by the constable and the barber.
 No sooner did the Moor behold them fairly earthed than he extinguished the yellow taper; the pavement closed
with its usual crash, and the three worthies remained buried beneath it.
He then hastened up the different flight of steps, nor stopped until in the open air. The little water-carrier
followed him as fast as his short legs would permit.
"What hast thou done?" cried Peregil, as soon as he could recover breath. "The judge and the other two are
shut up in the vault."
"It is the will of Allah!" said the Moor, devoutly.
"And will you not release them?" demanded the water-carrier.
"Allah forbid!" replied the Moor, smoothing his beard. "It is written in the book of fate that they shall
remain enchanted until some future adventurer arrive to break the charm. The will of Allah be done!" so
saying, he hurled the end of the waxen taper far among the gloomy thickets of the glen.
There was now no remedy; so the Moor and the water-carrier proceeded with the richly laden donkey toward the
city, nor could honest Peregil refrain from hugging and kissing his long-eared fellow-laborer, thus restored
to him from the clutches of the law; and, in fact, it is doubtful which gave the simple-hearted little man
most joy at the moment, the gaining of the treasure, or the recovery of the donkey.
The two partners in good luck divided their spoil amicably and fairly, except that the Moor, who had a little
taste for trinketry, made out to get into his heap the most of the pearls and precious stones, but then he
always gave the water-carrier instead magnificent jewels of massy gold,
 of five times the size, with which the latter was heartily content. They took care not to linger within reach
of accidents, but made off to enjoy their wealth undisturbed in other countries. The Moor returned to Africa,
to his native city of Tangiers, and the water-carrier, with his wife, his children, and his donkey, made the
best of his way to Portugal. Here, under the admonition and tuition of his wife, he became a personage of some
consequence, for she made the worthy little man array his long body and short legs in doublet and hose, with a
feather in his hat and a sword by his side, and laying aside his familiar appellation of Peregil, assumed the
more sonorous title of Don Pedro Gil: his progeny grew up a thriving and merry-hearted, though short and
bandy-legged generation, while Seņor a Gil, befringed, belaced, and betasselled from her head to her heels,
with glittering rings on every finger, became a model of slattern fashion and finery.
As to the judge and his associates, they remained shut up under the great tower of the seven floors, and there
they remain spellbound at the present day. Whenever there shall be a lack in Spain of meddling barbers,
sharking constables, and corrupt judges, they may be sought after; but if they have to wait until such time
for their deliverance, there is danger of their enchantment enduring until doomsday
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