LEGEND OF DON MUNIO SANCHO DE HINOJOSA
 IN the cloisters of the ancient Benedictine convent of San Domingo, at Silos, in Castile, are the mouldering yet
magnificent monuments of the once powerful and chivalrous family of Hinojosa. Among these reclines the marble
figure of a knight, in complete armor, with the hands pressed together, as if in prayer. On one side of his
tomb is sculptured in relief a band of Christian cavaliers, capturing a cavalcade of male and female Moors; on
the other side, the same cavaliers are represented kneeling before an altar. The tomb, like most of the
neighboring monuments, is almost in ruins, and the sculpture is nearly unintelligible, excepting to the keen
eye of the antiquary. The story connected with the sepulchre, however, is still preserved in the old Spanish
chronicles, and is to the following purport.
IN old times, several hundred years ago, there was a noble Castilian cavalier, named Don Munio Sancho de
Hinojosa, lord of a border castle, which had stood the brunt of many a Moorish foray. He had seventy horsemen
as his household troops, all of the ancient Castilian proof; stark warriors, hard riders, and men of iron;
with these he scoured the Moorish lands, and made his name terrible throughout the borders. His castle-hall
cov-  ered with banners, cimeters, and Moslem helms, the trophies of his prowess. Don Munio was, moreover, a keen
huntsman, and rejoiced in hounds of all kinds, steeds for the chase, and hawks for the towering sport of
falconry. When not engaged in warfare his delight was to beat up the neighboring forests; and scarcely ever
did he ride forth without hound and horn, a boar-spear in his hand, or a hawk upon his fist, and an attendant
train of huntsmen.
His wife, Doņa Maria Palacin, was of a gentle and timid nature, little fitted to be the spouse of so hardy and
adventurous a knight; and many a tear did the poor lady shed, when he sallied forth upon his daring
enterprises, and many a prayer did she offer up for his safety.
As this doughty cavalier was one day hunting, he stationed himself in a thicket, on the borders of a green
glade of the forest, and dispersed his followers to rouse, the game, and drive it toward his stand. He had not
been here long, when a cavalcade of Moors of both sexes, came pranking over the forest-lawn. They were
unarmed, and magnificently dressed in robes of tissue and embroidery, rich shawls of India, bracelets and
anklets of gold, and jewels that sparkled in the sun.
At the head of this gay cavalcade rode a youthful cavalier, superior to the rest in dignity and loftiness of
demeanor, and in splendor of attire: beside him was a damsel, whose veil, blown aside by the breeze, displayed
a face of surpassing beauty, and eyes cast down in maiden modesty, yet beaming with tenderness and joy.
Don Munio thanked his stars for sending him such a
 prize, and exulted at the thought of bearing home to his wife the glittering spoils of these infidels. Putting
his hunting-horn to his lips, he gave a blast that rung through the forest. His huntsmen came running from all
quarters, and the astonished Moors were surrounded and made captives.
The beautiful Moor wrung her hands in despair, and her female attendants uttered the most piercing cries. The
young Moorish cavalier alone retained self-possession. He inquired the name of the Christian knight who
commanded this troop of horsemen. When told that it was Don Munio Sancho de Hinojosa, his countenance lighted
up. Approaching that cavalier, and kissing his hand, "Don Munio Sancho," said he, "I have heard of your fame
as a true and valiant knight, terrible in arms, but schooled in the noble virtues of chivalry. Such do I trust
to find you. In me you behold Abadil, son of a Moorish official of rank. I am on the way to celebrate my
nuptials with this lady; chance has thrown us in your power, but I confide in your magnanimity. Take all our
treasure and jewels; demand what ransom you think proper for our persons, but suffer us not to be insulted nor
When the good knight heard this appeal, and beheld the beauty of the youthful pair, his heart was touched with
tenderness and courtesy. "God forbid," said he, "that I should disturb such happy nuptials. My prisoners in
troth shall ye be, for fifteen days, and immured within my castle, where I claim, as conqueror, the right of
celebrating your espousals."
 So saying, he despatched one of his fleetest horsemen in advance, to notify Doņa Maria Palacin of the coming
of this bridal party; while he and his huntsmen escorted the cavalcade, not as captors, but as a guard of
honor. As they drew near to the castle, the banners were hung out, and the trumpets sounded from the
battlements; and on their nearer approach, the drawbridge was lowered, and Doņa Maria came forth to meet them,
attended by her ladies and knights, her pages and her minstrels. She took the young bride, Allifra, in her
arms, kissed her with the tenderness of a sister, and conducted her into the castle. In the meantime, Don
Munio sent forth missives in every direction, and had viands and dainties of all kinds collected from the
country round; and the wedding of the Moorish lovers was celebrated with all possible state and festivity. For
fifteen days the castle was given up to joy and revelry. There were tiltings and jousts at the ring, and
bull-fights, and banquets, and dances to the sound of minstrelsy. When the fifteen days were at an end, he
made the bride and bridegroom magnificent presents, and conducted them and their attendants safely beyond the
borders. Such, in old times, were the courtesy and generosity of a Spanish cavalier.
Several years after this event, the king of Castile summoned his nobles to assist him in a campaign against
the Moors. Don Munio Sancho was among the first to answer to the call, with seventy horsemen, all stanch and
well-tried warriors. His wife, Doņa Maria, hung about his neck. "Alas, my lord!" exclaimed she, "how often
 tempt thy fate, and when will thy thirst for glory be appeased!"
"One battle more," replied Don Munio, "one battle more, for the honor of Castile, and I here make a vow, that
when this is over, I will lay by my sword, and repair with my cavaliers in pilgrimage to the sepulchre of our
Lord at Jerusalem." The cavaliers all joined with him in the vow, and Doņa Maria felt in some degree soothed
in spirit; still, she saw with a heavy heart the departure of her husband, and watched his banner with wistful
eyes, until it disappeared among the trees of the forest.
The king of Castile led his army to the plains of Almanara, where they encountered the Moorish host. The
battle was long and bloody; the Christians repeatedly wavered and were as often rallied by the energy of their
commanders. Don Munio was covered with wounds, but refused to leave the field. The Christians at length gave
way, and the king was hardly pressed, and in danger of being captured.
Don Munio called upon his cavaliers to follow him to the rescue. "Now is the time," cried he, "to prove your
loyalty. Fall to, like brave men! We fight for the true faith, and if we lose our lives here, we gain a better
Rushing with his men between the king and his pursuers, they checked the latter in their career, and gave time
for their monarch to escape; but they fell victims to their loyalty. They all fought to the last gasp. Don
Munio was singled out by a powerful Moorish knight, but having been wounded in the right arm, he fought to
disadvantage, and was slain. The battle being over, the
 Moor paused to possess himself of the spoils of this redoubtable Christian warrior. When he unlaced the
helmet, however, and beheld the countenance of Don Munio, he gave a great cry and smote his breast. "Woe is
me!" cried he, "I have slain my benefactor! The flower of knightly virtue! the most magnanimous of cavaliers!"
While the battle had been raging on the plains of Almanara, Doņa Maria Palacin remained in her castle, a prey
to the keenest anxiety. Her eyes were ever fixed on the road that led from the country of the Moors, and often
she asked the watchman of the tower, "What seest thou?"
One evening, at the shadowy hour of twilight, the warden sounded his horn. "I see," cried he, "a numerous
train winding up the valley. They are mingled Moors and Christians. The banner of my lord is in the advance.
Joyful tidings!" exclaimed the old seneschal; "my lord returns in triumph, and brings captives!" Then the
castle courts rang with shouts of joy; and the standard was displayed, and the trumpets were sounded, and the
drawbridge was lowered, and Doņa Maria went forth with her ladies, and her knights, and her pages, and her
minstrels, to welcome her lord from the wars. But as the train drew nigh, she beheld a sumptuous bier, covered
with black velvet, and on it lay a warrior, as if taking his repose: he lay in his armor, with his helmet on
his head, and his sword in his hand, as one who had never been conquered, and around the bier were the
escutcheons of the house of Hinojosa.
 A number of Moorish cavaliers attended the bier, with emblems of mourning, and with dejected countenances; and
their leader cast himself at the feet of Doņa Maria, and hid his face in his hands. She beheld in him the
gallant Abadil, whom she had once welcomed with his bride to her castle; but who now came with the body of her
lord, whom he had unknowingly slain in battle!
The sepulchre erected in the cloisters of the convent of San Domingo, was achieved at the expense of the Moor,
Abadil, as a feeble testimony of his grief for the death of the good knights Don Munio, and his reverence for
his memory. The tender and faithful Doņa Maria soon followed her lord to the tomb. On one of the stones of a
small arch, beside his sepulchre, is the following simple inscription: "Here lies Maria Palacin, wife of Munio
Sancho de Hinojosa."
The legend of Don Munio Sancho does not conclude with his death. On the same day on which the battle took
place on the plains of Almanara, a chaplain of the Holy Temple at Jerusalem, while standing at the outer gate,
beheld a train of Christian cavaliers advancing, as if in pilgrimage. The chaplain was a native of Spain, and
as the pilgrims approached, he knew the foremost to be Don Munio Sancho de Hinojosa, with whom he had been
well acquainted in former times. Hastening to the patriarch, he told him of the honorable rank of the pilgrims
at the gate. The patriarch, therefore, went forth with a grand procession of priests and monks, and received
the pilgrims with all due honor. There were seventy cavaliers beside their leader,—all stark and lofty
warriors. They carried their helmets in their hands, and their
 faces were deadly pale. They greeted no one, nor looked either to the right or to the left, but entered the
chapel, and kneeling before the sepulchre of our Saviour, performed their orisons in silence. When they had
concluded, they rose as if to depart, and the patriarch and his attendants advanced to speak to them, but they
were no more to be seen. Every one marvelled what could be the meaning of this prodigy. The patriarch
carefully noted down the day, and sent to Castile to learn tidings of Don Munio Sancho de Hinojosa. He
received for reply, that on the very day specified, that worthy knight, with seventy of his followers, had
been slain in battle. These, therefore, must have been the blessed spirits of those Christian warriors, come
to fulfil their vow of pilgrimage to the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem. Such was Castilian faith in the olden
time, which kept its word, even beyond the grave.
Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics