Home  |  Authors  |  Books  |  Stories  |  What's New  |  How to Get Involved 
   T h e   B a l d w i n   P r o j e c t
     Bringing Yesterday's Classics to Today's Children                 @mainlesson.com
Search This Site Only
 
 
Heroes Every Child Should Know by  H. W. Mabie


 

 

CHAPTER XI

THE CID

[144]

A
FTERWARDS the Castillians arrived, and they kissed his hands in homage, all, save only my Cid. And when King Don Alfonso saw that the Cid did not do homage and kiss his hand, as all the other chief persons had done, he said, "Since now ye have all received me for your Lord, and given me authority over ye, I would know of the Cid Ruydiez why he will not kiss my hand and acknowledge me; for I would do something for him, as I promised unto my father King Don Ferrando, when he commended him to me and to my brethren." And the Cid arose and said, "Sir, all whom you see here present, suspect that by your counsel the King Don Sancho your brother came to his death; and therefore I say unto you that, unless you clear yourself of this, as by right you should do, I will never kiss your hand, nor receive you for my lord." Then said the King, "Cid, what you say pleases me well; and here I swear to God and to St. Mary, that I never slew him, nor took counsel for his death. And I beseech ye therefore all, as friends and true vassals, that ye tell me how I may clear myself." And the chiefs who were present said, that he and twelve of the knights who came with him from Toledo, should make this oath in the church at St. Gadea at Burgos, and that so he should be cleared.

So the King and all his company took horse and went to Burgos. And when the day appointed for the oath [145] was come, the King came forward upon a high stage that all the people might see him, and my Cid came to him to receive the oath; and my Cid took the book of the Gospels and opened it, and laid it upon the altar, and the King laid his hands upon it, and the Cid said unto him, "King Don Alfonso, you come here to swear concerning the death of King Don Sancho your brother, that you neither slew him nor took counsel for his death; say now you and these hidalgos, if ye swear this." And the King and the hidalgos answered and said, "Yea, we swear it." And the Cid said, "If ye knew of this thing, or gave command that it should be done, may you die even such a death as your brother the King Don Sancho, by the hand of a villain whom you trust; one who is not a hidalgo, from another land, not a Castillian"; and the King and the knights who were with him said "Amen." And the King's colour changed; and the Cid repeated the oath unto him a second time, and the King and the twelve knights said "Amen" to it in like manner, and in like manner the countenance of the King was changed again. And my Cid repeated the oath unto him a third time, and the King and the knights said "Amen." But the wrath of the King was exceedingly great, and he said to the Cid, "Ruydiez, why dost thou thus press me, man? To-day thou swearest me, and to-morrow thou wilt kiss my hand." And from that day forward there was no love toward my Cid in the heart of the King.

After this King Don Alfonso assembled together all his power and went against the Moors. And the Cid should have gone with him, but he fell sick and perforce therefore abode at home. And while the King was going through Andalusia, having the land at his mercy, [146] a great power of the Moors assembled together on the other side, and entered the land, and did much evil. At this time the Cid was gathering strength; and when he heard that the Moors were in the country, laying waste before them, he gathered together what force he could, and went after them; and the Moors, when they heard this, began to fly. And the Cid followed them as far as Toledo, slaying and burning, and plundering and destroying, and laying hands on all whom he found, so that he brought back seven thousand prisoners, men and women; and he and all his people returned rich and with great honour. But when the King of Toledo heard of the hurt which he had received at the hands of the Cid, he sent to King Don Alfonso to complain thereof. And the King was greatly troubled. And he went with all speed to Burgos, and sent from thence to bid the Cid come unto him.

Now my Cid knew the evil disposition of the King toward him, and when he received his bidding he made answer that he would meet him between Burgos and Bivar. And the King went out from Burgos and came nigh unto Bivar; and the Cid came up to him and would have kissed his hand, but the King withheld it, and said angrily unto him, "Ruydiez, quit my land." Then the Cid clapt spurs to the mule upon which he rode, and vaulted into a piece of ground which was his own inheritance, and answered, "Sir, I am not in your land, but in my own." And the King replied full wrathfully, "Go out of my kingdoms without any delay." And the Cid made answer, "Give me then thirty days' time, as is the right of the hidalgos"; and the King said he would not, but that if he were not gone in nine days' time he would come and look for him. The counts were well [147] pleased at this; but all the people of the land were sorrowful. And then the King and the Cid parted. And the Cid sent for all his friends and his kinsmen and vassals, and told them how King Don Alfonso had banished him from the land, and asked of them who would follow him into banishment, and who would remain at home. Then Alvar Fañez, who was his cousin-german, came forward and said, "Cid, we will all go with you, through desert and through peopled country, and never fail you. In your service will we spend our mules and horses, our wealth and our garments, and ever while we live be unto you loyal friends and vassals." And they all confirmed what Alvar Fañez had said; and the Cid thanked them for their love, and said that there might come a time in which he should guerdon them.

And as he was about to depart he looked back upon his own home, and when he saw his hall deserted, the household chests unfastened, the doors open, no cloaks hanging up, no seats in the porch, no hawks upon the perches, the tears came into his eyes, and he said, "My enemies have done this. God be praised for all things." And he turned toward the East and knelt and said, "Holy Mary Mother, and all Saints, pray to God for me, that He may give me strength to destroy all the Pagans, and to win enough from them to requite my friends therewith, and all those who follow and help me." Then he called for Alvar Fañez and said unto him, "Cousin, the poor have no part in the wrong which the King hath done us; see now that no wrong be done unto them along our road," and he called for his horse.

My Cid Ruydiez entered Burgos, having sixty streamers in his company. And men and women went forth to see him, and the men of Burgos and the women of Burgos [148] were at their windows, weeping, so great was their sorrow; and they said with one accord, "God, how good a vassal if he had but a good Lord!" and willingly would each have bade him come in, but no one dared so to do. For King Don Alfonso in his anger had sent letters to Burgos, saying that no man should give the Cid a lodging; and that whosoever disobeyed should lose all that he had, and moreover the eyes in his head. Great sorrow had these Christian folk at this, and they hid themselves when he came near them because they did not dare speak to him; and my Cid went to his Posada, and when he came to the door he found it fastened, for fear of the King. And his people called out with a loud voice, but they within made no answer. And the Cid rode up to the door, and took his foot out of the stirrup, and gave it a kick, but the door did not open with it, for it was well secured. A little girl of nine years old then came out of one of the houses and said unto him, "O Cid, the King hath forbidden us to receive you. We dare not open our doors to you, for we should lose our houses and all that we have, and the eyes in our head. Cid, our evil would not help you, but God and all His saints be with you." And when she had said this she returned into the house. And when the Cid knew what the King had done he turned away from the door and rode up to St. Mary's, and there he alighted and knelt down, and prayed with all his heart; and then he mounted again and rode out of the town and pitched his tent near Arlanzon, upon the sands. My Cid Ruydiez, he who in a happy hour first girt on his sword, took up his lodging upon the sands, because there was none who would receive him within their door. He had a good company round about him, and there he lodged.

[149] Moreover the King had given orders that no food should be sold them in Burgos, so that they could not buy even a pennyworth. But Martin Antolinez, who was a good Burgalese, he supplied my Cid and all his company with bread and wine abundantly. "Campeador," said he to the Cid, "to-night we will rest here, and to-morrow we will be gone: I shall be accused for what I have done in serving you, and shall be in the King's displeasure; but following your fortunes, sooner or later, the King will have me for his friend, and if not, I do not care a fig for what I leave behind." Now this Martin Antolinez was nephew unto the Cid, being the son of his brother, Ferrando Diaz. And the Cid said unto him, "Martin Antolinez, you are a bold lancier; if I live I will double you your pay. You see I have nothing with me, and yet must provide for my companions. I will take two chests and fill them with sand, and do you go in secret to Rachel and Vidas, and tell them to come hither privately; for I cannot take my treasures with me because of their weight, and will pledge them in their hands. Let them come for the chests at night, that no man may see them. God knows that I do this thing more of necessity than of wilfulness; but by God's good help I shall redeem all." Now Rachel and Vidas were rich Jews, from whom the Cid used to receive money for his spoils. And Martin Antolinez went in quest of them, and he passed through Burgos and entered into the Castle; and when he saw them he said, "Ah Rachel and Vidas, my dear friends! now let me speak with ye in secret." And they three went apart. And he said to them, "Give me your hands that you will not discover me, neither to Moor nor Christian! I will make you rich men for ever. The Campeador went for the tribute and he took great [150] wealth, and some of it he has kept for himself. He has two chests full of gold; ye know that the King is in anger against him, and he cannot carry these away with him without their being seen. He will leave them therefore in your hands, and you shall lend him money upon them, swearing with great oaths and upon your faith, that ye will not open them till a year be past." Rachel and Vidas took counsel together and answered, "We well knew he got something when he entered the land of the Moors; he who has treasures does not sleep without suspicion; we will take the chests, and place them where they shall not be seen. But tell us with what will the Cid be contented, and what gain will he give us for the year?" Martin Antolinez answered like a prudent man, "My Cid requires what is reasonable; he will ask but little to leave his treasures in safety. Men come to him from all parts. He must have six hundred marks." And the Jews said, "We will advance him so much." "Well then," said Martin Antolinez, "ye see that the night is advancing; the Cid is in haste, give us the marks." "This is not the way of business," said they; "we must take first, and then give." "Ye say well," replied the Burgalese: "come then to the Campeador, and we will help you to bring away the chests, so that neither Moors nor Christians may see us." So they went to horse and rode out together, and they did not cross the bridge, but rode through the water that no man might see them, and they came to the tent of the Cid.

Meantime the Cid had taken two chests, which were covered with leather of red and gold, and the nails which fastened down the leather were well gilt; they were ribbed with bands of iron, and each fastened with three locks; they were heavy, and he filled them with sand. [151] And when Rachel and Vidas entered his tent with Martin Antolinez, they kissed his hand; and the Cid smiled and said to them, "Ye see that I am going out of the land, because of the King's displeasure; but I shall leave something with ye." And they made answer, "Martin Antolinez has covenanted with us, that we shall give you six hundred marks upon these chests, and keep them a full year, swearing not to open them till that time be expired, else shall we be perjured." "Take the chests," said Martin Antolinez; "I will go with you, and bring back the marks, for my Cid must move before cock-crow." So they took the chests, and though they were both strong men they could not raise them from the ground; and they were full glad of the bargain which they had made. And Rachel then went to the Cid and kissed his hand and said, "Now, Campeador, you are going from Castille among strange nations, and your gain will be great, even as your fortune is. I kiss your hand, Cid, and have a gift for you, a red skin; it is Moorish and honourable." And the Cid said, "It pleases me: give it me if ye have brought it; if not, reckon it upon the chests." And they departed with the chests, and Martin Antolinez and his people helped them, and went with them. And when they had placed the chests in safety, they spread a carpet in the middle of the hall, and laid a sheet upon it, and they threw down upon it three hundred marks of silver. Don Martin counted them, and took them without weighing. The other three hundred they paid in gold.

When Martin Antolinez came into the Cid's tent he said unto him, "I have sped well, Campeador! you have gained six hundred marks. Now then strike your tent and be gone. The time draws on, and you may be with your Lady Wife at St. Pedro de Cardeña, before the cock crows."

[152] The cocks were crowing amain, and the day began to break, when the good Campeador reached St. Pedro's. The Abbot Don Sisebuto was saying matins, and Doña Ximena and five of her ladies of good lineage were with him, praying to God and St. Peter to help my Cid. And when he called at the gate and they knew his voice, God, what a joyful man was the Abbot Don Sisebuto! Out into the courtyard they went with torches and with tapers, and the Abbot gave thanks to God that he now beheld the face of my Cid. And the Cid told him all that had befallen him, and how he was a banished man; and he gave him fifty marks for himself, and a hundred for Doña Ximena and her children. "Abbot," said he, "I leave two little girls behind me, whom I commend to your care. Take you care of them and of my wife and of her ladies: when this money be gone, if it be not enough, supply them abundantly; for every mark which you spend upon them I will give the monastery four." And the Abbot promised to do this with a right good will. Then Doña Ximena came up weeping bitterly, and she said to her husband, "Lo now you are banished from the land by mischief-making men, and here am I with your daughters, who are little ones and of tender years, and we and you must be parted, even in your life-time. For the love of St. Mary tell me now what we shall do." And the Cid took the children in his arms, and held them to his heart and wept, for he dearly loved them. "Please God and St. Mary," said he, "I shall yet live to give these my daughters in marriage with my own hands, and to do you service yet, my honoured wife, whom I have ever loved, even as my own soul."

Now hath my Cid left the kingdom of King Don Alfonso, and entered the country of the Moors. And at [153] day-break they were near the brow of the Sierra, and they halted there upon the top of the mountains, and gave barley to their horses, and remained there until evening. And they set forward when the evening had closed, that none might see them, and continued their way all night, and before dawn they came near to Castrejon, which is upon the Henares. And Alvar Fañez said unto the Cid, that he would take with him two hundred horsemen, and scour the country and lay hands on whatever he could find, without fear either of King Alfonso or of the Moors. And he counselled him to remain in ambush where he was, and surprise the castle of Castrejon: and it seemed good unto my Cid. Away went Alvar Fañez, and the two hundred horsemen; and the Cid remained in ambush with the rest of his company. And as soon as it was morning, the Moors of Castrejon, knowing nothing of these who were so near them, opened the castle gates, and went out to their work as they were wont to do. And the Cid rose from ambush and fell upon them, and took all their flocks, and made straight for the gates, pursuing them. And there was a cry within the castle that the Christians were upon them, and they who were within ran to the gates to defend them, but my Cid came up sword in hand; eleven Moors did he slay with his own hand, and they forsook the gate and fled before him to hide themselves within, so that he won the castle presently, and took gold and silver, and whatever else he would.

Alvar Fañez meantime scoured the country along the Henares as far as Alcala, and he returned driving flocks and herds before him, with great stores of wearing apparel, and of other plunder. And when the Cid knew that he was nigh at hand he went out to meet him, and praised him greatly for what he had done, and gave [154] thanks to God. And he gave order that all the spoils should be heaped together, both what Alvar Fañez had brought, and what had been taken in the castle; and he said to him, "Brother, of all this which God hath given us, take you the fifth, for you well deserve it"; but Minaya would not, saying, "You have need of it for our support." And the Cid divided the spoil among the knights and foot-soldiers, to each his due portion; to every horseman a hundred marks of silver, and half as much to the foot-soldiers: and because he could find none to whom to sell his fifth, he spake to the Moors telling them that they might come safely to purchase the spoil, and the prisoners also whom he had taken, both men prisoners and women. And they came, and valued the spoil and the prisoners, and gave for them three thousand marks of silver, which they paid within three days: they bought also much of the spoil which had been divided, making great gain, so that all who were in my Cid's company were full rich. And the heart of my Cid was joyous, and he sent to King Don Alfonso, telling him that he and his companions would yet do him service upon the Moors.

Then my Cid assembled together his good men and said unto them, "Friends, we cannot take up our abode in this castle, for there is no water in it, and moreover the King is at peace with these Moors, and I know that the treaty between them hath been written; so that if we should abide here he would come against us with all his power, and with all the power of the Moors, and we could not stand against him. If therefore it seem good unto you, let us leave the rest of our prisoners here, that we may be free from all encumbrance, like men who are to live by war." And it pleased them well that it should [155] be so. And he said to them, "Ye have all had your shares, neither is there anything owing to any one among ye. Now then let us be ready to take horse betimes on the morrow, for I would not fight against my Lord the King." So on the morrow they went to horse and departed, being rich with the spoils which they had won: and they left the castle to the Moors, who remained blessing them for this bounty which they had received at their hands. Then my Cid and his company went up the Henares as fast as they could go; great were the spoils which they collected as they went along. And on the morrow they came against Alcocer. There my Cid pitched his tents upon a round hill, which was a great hill and a strong; and the river Salon ran near them, so that the water could not be cut off. My Cid thought to take Alcocer: so he pitched his tents securely, having the Sierra on one side, and the river on the other, and he made all his people dig a trench, that they might not be alarmed, neither by day nor by night.

When my Cid had thus encamped, he went to look at the Alcazar, and see if he could by any means enter it. And the Moors offered tribute to him, if he would leave them in peace; but this he would not do, and he lay before the town. And news went through all the land that the Cid was come among them. And my Cid lay before Alcocer fifteen weeks; and when he saw that the town did not surrender, he ordered his people to break up their camp, as if they were flying, and they took their way along the Salon, with their banners spread. And when the Moors saw this they rejoiced greatly, and they praised themselves for what they had done in withstanding him, and said that the Cid's bread and barley had failed him, and he had fled away, and left one of his [156] tents behind him. And they said among themselves, "Let us pursue them and spoil them." And they went out after him, great and little, leaving the gates open and shouting as they went; and there was not left in the town a man who could bear arms. And when my Cid saw them coming he gave orders to quicken their speed, as if he was in fear, and would not let his people turn till the Moors were far from the town. But when he saw that there was a good distance between them and the gates, he bade his banner turn, and spurred toward them crying, "Lay on, knights, by God's mercy the spoil is our own." God! what a good joy was theirs that morning! My Cid's vassals laid on without mercy; in one hour, and in a little space, three hundred Moors were slain, and my Cid won the place, and planted his banner upon the highest point of the castle. And the Cid said, "Blessed be God and all His saints, we have bettered our quarters both for horses and men." And he said to Alvar Fañez and all his knights, "Hear me, we shall get nothing by killing these Moors—let us take them and they shall show us their treasures which they have hidden in their houses, and we will dwell here and they shall serve us." In this manner did my Cid win Alcocer, and take up his abode therein.

In three weeks time after this returned Alvar Fañez from Castille. And my Cid rode up to him, and embraced him without speaking, and kissed his mouth and the eyes in his head. God, how joyful was that whole host because Alvar Fañez was returned! for he brought them greetings from their kinswomen and their brethren and the fair comrades whom they had left behind. God, how joyful was my Cid with the fleecy beard, that Minaya had purchased the thousand masses, and had brought [157] him the biddings of his wife and daughters! God, what a joyful man was he!

Now it came to pass that the days of King Almudafar were fulfilled: and he left his two sons Zulema and Abenalfange, and Zulema had the kingdom of Zaragoza, and Abenalfange the kingdom of Denia. And Zulema put his kingdom under my Cid's protection, and bade all his people obey him even as they would himself. Now there began to be great enmity between the two brethren, and they made war upon each other. And the Count Don Ramon Berenguer of Barcelona helped Abenalfange, and was enemy to the Cid because he defended Zulema. And my Cid chose out two hundred horsemen and went out by night, and fell upon the lands of Alcañiz and brought away great booty. Great was the talk among the Moors; how my Cid was over-running the country.

When Don Ramon Berenguer the Count of Barcelona heard this, it troubled him to the heart, and he held it for a great dishonour, because that part of the land of the Moors was in his keeping. And he spake boastfully saying, "Great wrong doth that Cid of Bivar offer unto me; he ravages the lands which are in my keeping, and I have never renounced his friendship; but since he goes on in this way I must take vengeance." So he and King Abenalfange gathered together a great power both of Moors and Christians, and went in pursuit of the Cid, and after three days and two nights they came up with him in the pine-forest of Tebar. And when the Cid heard this he sent to Don Ramon saying, that the booty which he had won was none of his, and bidding him let him go on his way in peace: but the Count made answer, that my Cid should now learn whom he had dis- [158] honoured. Then my Cid sent the booty forward, and bade his knights make ready. "They are coming upon us," said he, "with a great power both of Moors and Christians, to take from us the spoils which we have so hardly won, and without doing battle we cannot be quit of them; for if we should proceed they would follow till they overtook us: therefore let the battle be here, and I trust in God that we shall win more honour, and something to boot. They come down the hill, drest in their hose, with their gay saddles, and their girths wet. Before they get upon the plain ground let us give them the points of our lances; and Ramon Berenguer will then see whom he has overtaken to-day in the pine-forest of Tebar, thinking to despoil him of booty won from the enemies of God and of the faith."

While my Cid was speaking, his knights had taken their arms, and were ready on horseback for the charge. Presently they saw the Frenchmen coming down the hill, and when they had not yet set foot upon the plain ground, my Cid bade his people charge, which they did with a right good will, thrusting their spears so stiffly, that by God's good pleasure not a man whom they encountered but lost his seat. The Count's people stood firm round their Lord; but my Cid was in search of him, and when he saw where he was, he made up to him, clearing the way as he went, and gave him such a stroke with his lance that he felled him. When the Frenchmen saw their Lord in this plight they fled away and left him; and the pursuit lasted three leagues, and would have been continued farther if the conquerors had not had tired horses. Thus was Count Ramon Berenguer made prisoner, and my Cid won from him that day the good sword Colada, which was worth more than a thousand marks of silver. That [159] night did my Cid and his men make merry, rejoicing over their gains. And the Count was taken to my Cid's tent, and a good supper was set before him; nevertheless he would not eat, though my Cid besought him so to do. And on the morrow my Cid ordered a feast to be made, that he might do pleasure to the Count, but the Count said that for all Spain he would not eat one mouthful, but would rather die, since he had been beaten in battle by such a set of ragged fellows. And Ruydiez said to him, "Eat and drink, Count, for this is the chance of war; if you do as I say you shall be free; and if not you will never return again into your own lands." And Don Ramond answered, "Eat you, Don Rodrigo, for your fortune is fair and you deserve it; take you your pleasure, but leave me to die." And in this mood he continued for three days, refusing all food. But then my Cid said to him, "Take food, Count, and be sure that I will set you free, you and any two of your knights, and give you wherewith to return into your own country." And when Don Ramond heard this, he took comfort and said, "If you will indeed do this thing I shall marvel at you as long as I live." "Eat then," said Ruydiez, "and I will do it: but mark you, of the spoil which we have taken from you I will give you nothing; for to that you have no claim neither by right nor custom, and besides we want it for ourselves, being banished men, who must live by taking from you and from others as long as it shall please God." Then was the Count full joyful, being well pleased that what should be given him was not of the spoils which he had lost; and he called for water and washed his hands, and chose two of his kinsmen to be set free with him. And my Cid sate at the table with them, and said, "If you do not eat well, Count, you and [160] I shall not part yet." Never since he was Count did he eat with better will than that day! And when they had done he said, "Now, Cid, if it be your pleasure let us depart." And my Cid clothed him and his kinsmen well with goodly skins and mantles, and gave them each a goodly palfrey, with rich caparisons, and he rode out with them on their way. And when he took leave of the Count he said to him, "Now go freely, and I thank you for what you have left behind; if you wish to play for it again let me know, and you shall either have something back in its stead, or leave what you bring to be added to it." The Count answered, "Cid, you jest safely now, for I have paid you and all your company for this twelve-months, and shall not be coming to see you again so soon."

Then Count Ramond pricked on more than apace, and many times looked behind him, fearing that my Cid would repent what he had done, and send to take him back to prison, which the perfect one would not have done for the whole world, for never did he do disloyal thing.

At last after long and pitiful fighting it was bruited abroad throughout all lands, how the Cid Ruydiez had won the noble city of Valencia.

And now the Cid bethought him of Doña Ximena his wife, and of his daughters Doña Elvira and Doña Sol, whom he had left in the monastery of St. Pedro de Cardeña and he called for Alvar Fañez and Martin Antolinez of Burgos, and spake with them, and besought them that they would go to Castille, to King Don Alfonso and take him a present from the riches which God had given them; and the present should be a hundred horses, saddled and bridled; and that they would kiss the King's hand for him, and beseech him to send to him his wife Doña [161] Ximena, and his daughters; and that they would tell the King all the mercy which God had shown him, and how he was at his service with Valencia and with all that he had. Moreover he bade them take a thousand marks of silver to the monastery of St. Pedro de Cardeña, and give them to the Abbot, and thirty marks of gold for his wife and daughters, that they might prepare themselves and come in honourable guise. And he ordered three hundred marks of gold to be given them, and three hundred marks of silver, to redeem the chests full of sand which he had pledged in Burgos to the Jews; and he bade them ask Rachel and Vidas to forgive him the deceit of the sand, for he had done it because of his great need.

Then Alvar Fañez and Martin Antolinez dispeeded themselves of the King, and took their way toward Burgos. When they reached Burgos they sent for Rachel and for Vidas, and demanded from them the chests, and paid unto them the three hundred marks of gold and the three hundred of silver as the Cid had commanded, and they besought them to forgive the Cid the deceit of the chests, for it was done because of his great necessity. And they said they heartily forgave him, and held themselves well paid; and they prayed God to grant him long life and good health, and to give him power to advance Christendom, and put down Pagandom. And when it was known through the city of Burgos the goodness and the gentleness which the Cid had shown to these merchants in redeeming from them the chests full of sand and earth and stones, the people held it for a great wonder, and there was not a place in all Burgos where they did not talk of the gentleness and loyalty of the Cid; and they besought blessings upon him, and prayed that he and his people might be advanced in [162] honour. When they had done this, they went to the monastery of St. Pedro de Cardeña, and the porter of the King went with them, and gave order everywhere that everything which they wanted should be given them. If they were well received, and if there was great joy in St. Pedro de Cardeña over them, it is not a thing to ask, for Doña Ximena and her daughters were like people beside themselves with the great joy which they had, and they came running out on foot to meet them, weeping plenteously.

After a long life-time of adventure the Cid sickened of a malady. And the day before his weakness waxed great, he ordered the gates of Valencia to be shut, and went to the Church of St. Peter; and there the Bishop Don Hieronymo being present, and all the clergy who were in Valencia, and the knights and honourable men and honourable dames, as many as the church could hold, the Cid Ruydiez stood up, and made a full noble preaching, showing that no man, however honourable or fortunate he may be in this world, can escape death, to which, said he, "I am now full near; and since ye know that this body of mine hath never yet been conquered, nor put to shame, I beseech ye let not this befall it at the end, for the good fortune of man is only accomplished at his end." Then he took leave of the people, weeping plenteously, and returned to the Alcazar, and betook himself to his bed, and never rose from it again; and every day he waxed weaker and weaker. He called for the caskets of gold in which was the balsam and the myrrh which the Soldan of Persia had sent him; and when these were put before him he bade them bring him the golden cup, of which he was wont to drink; and he took of that balsam and of that myrrh as much as a little spoonful, [163] and mingled it in the cup with rose-water, and drank of it; and for the seven days which he lived he neither ate nor drank aught else than a little of that myrrh and balsam mingled with water. And every day after he did this, his body and his countenance appeared fairer and fresher than before, and his voice clearer, though he waxed weaker and weaker daily, so that he could not move in his bed.

On the twenty-ninth day, being the day before he departed, he called for Doña Ximena, and for the Bishop Don Hieronymo, and Don Alvar Fañez Minaya, and Pero Bermudez, and his trusty Gil Diaz; and when they were all five before him, he began to direct them what they should do after his death; and he said to them, "Ye know that King Bucar will presently be here to besiege this city, with seven and thirty Kings whom he bringeth with him, and with a mighty power of Moors. Now therefore the first thing which ye do after I have departed, wash my body with rose-water many times and well, and when it has been well washed and made clean, ye shall dry it well, and anoint it with this myrrh and balsam, from these golden caskets, from head to foot, so that every part shall be anointed. And you, my Doña Ximena, and your women, see that ye utter no cries, neither make any lamentation for me, that the Moors may not know of my death. And when the day shall come in which King Bucar arrives, order all the people of Valencia to go upon the walls, and sound your trumpets and tambours and make the greatest rejoicings that ye can. For certes ye cannot keep the city, neither abide therein after they know of my death. And see that sumpter beasts be laden with all that there is in Valencia, so that nothing which can profit may be left. And this I leave espe- [164] cially to your charge, Gil Diaz. Then saddle ye my horse Bavieca, and arm him well; and apparel my body full seemlily, and place me upon the horse, and fasten and tie me thereon so that it cannot fall: and fasten my sword Tizona in my hand. And let the Bishop Don Hieronymo go on one side of me, and my trusty Gil Diaz on the other, and he shall lead my horse. You, Pero Bermudez, shall bear my banner, as you were wont to bear it; and you, Alvar Fañez, my cousin, gather your company together, and put the host in order as you are wont to do. And go ye forth and fight with King Bucar: for be ye certain and doubt not that ye shall win this battle; God hath granted me this. And when ye have won the fight, and the Moors are discomfited, ye may spoil the field at pleasure. Ye will find great riches."

And this noble Baron yielded up his soul, which was pure and without spot, to God, on that Sunday which is called Quinquagesima, being the twenty and ninth of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand and ninety and nine, and in the seventy and third year of his life. After he had thus made his end they washed his body and embalmed it as he had commanded. And then all the honourable men, and all the clergy who were in Valencia, assembled and carried it to the Church of St. Mary of the Virtues, which is near the Alcazar, and there kept their vigil, and said prayer and performed masses, as was meet for so honourable a man.

Three days after the Cid had departed King Bucar came into the port of Valencia, and landed with all his power. And there came with him thirty and six Kings, and one Moorish Queen, and she brought with her two hundred horsewomen, all negresses like herself, all having their hair shorn save a tuft on the top, and they were all armed [165] in coats of mail and with Turkish bows. King Bucar ordered his tents to be pitched round about Valencia. And his people thought that the Cid dared not come out against them, and they were the more encouraged, and began to think of making engines wherewith to combat the city.

All this while the company of the Cid were preparing all things to go into Castille, as he had commanded before his death; and his trusty Gil Diaz did nothing else but labour at this. And the body of the Cid was prepared and the virtue of the balsam and myrrh was such that the flesh remained firm and fair, having its natural colour and his countenance as it was wont to be, and the eyes open, and his long beard in order, so that there was not a man who would have thought him dead if he had seen him. And on the second day after he had departed, Gil Diaz placed the body upon a right noble saddle. And he took two boards and fitted them to the body, one to the breast and the other to the shoulders; these were so hollowed out and fitted that they met at the sides and under the arms, and these boards were fastened into the saddle, so that the body could not move. All this was done by the morning of the twelfth day; and all that day the people of the Cid were busied in making ready their arms, and in loading beasts with all that they had. When it was midnight they took the body of the Cid fastened to the saddle as it was, and placed it upon his horse Bavieca, and fastened the saddle well: and the body sate so upright and well that it seemed as if he was alive. And it had on painted hose of black and white, so cunningly painted that no man who saw them would have thought but that they were grieves, unless he had laid his hand upon them; and they put on it a surcoat of green [166] sendal, having his arms blazoned thereon, and a helmet of parchment, which was cunningly painted that every one might have believed it to be iron; and his shield was hung around his neck, and they placed the sword Tizona in his hand, and they raised his arm, and fastened it up so subtly that it was a marvel to see how upright he held the sword. And the Bishop Don Hieronymo went on one side of him, and the trusty Gil Diaz on the other, and he led the horse Bavieca, as the Cid had commanded him. And when all this had been made ready, they went out from Valencia at midnight, through the gate of Roseros, which is towards Castille. Pero Bermudez went first with the banner of the Cid, and with him five hundred knights who guarded it, all well appointed. Then came the body of the Cid with an hundred knights, all chosen men, and behind them Doña Ximena with all her company, and six hundred knights in the rear. All these went out so silently, and with such a measured pace, that it seemed as if there were only a score. And by the time that they had all gone out it was broad day.

Now, while the Bishop Don Hieronymo and Gil Diaz led away the body of the Cid, and Doña Ximena, and the baggage, Alvar Fañez Minaya fell upon the Moors. First he attacked the tents of that Moorish Queen, the Negress, who lay nearest to the city; and this onset was so sudden, that they killed full a hundred and fifty Moors before they had time to take arms or go to horse. But that Moorish Negress, so skilful in drawing the Turkish bow, that they called her the Star of the Archers, was the first that got on horseback, and with some fifty that were with her, did some hurt to the company of the Cid; but in fine they slew her, and her people fled to the camp. And so great was the uproar and confusion, that few [167] there were who took arms, but instead thereof they turned their backs and fled toward the sea. And when King Bucar and his Kings saw this they were astonished. And it seemed to them that there came against them on the part of the Christians full seventy thousand knights, all as white as snow: and before them a knight of great stature upon a white horse. And King Bucar and the other Kings were so greatly dismayed that they never checked the reins till they had ridden into the sea; and the company of the Cid rode after them, smiting and slaying and giving them no respite. And when the Moors came to the sea, so great was the press among them to get to the ships, that more than ten thousand died in the water. And King Bucar and they who escaped with him hoisted sails and went their way, and never more turned their heads.

Then Alvar Fañez and his people went after the Bishop Don Hieronymo and Gil Diaz, who, with the body of the Cid, and Doña Ximena, and the baggage, had gone on till they were clear of the host, and then waited for those who were gone against the Moors. And so great was the spoil, gold, and silver, and other precious things that the poorest man among the Christians, horseman or on foot, became rich with what he won that day. And when they were all met together, they took the road toward Castille; and they halted that night in a village which is called Siete Aguas, that is to say, the Seven Waters, which is nine leagues from Valencia.

When the company of the Cid departed from the Siete Aguas, they held their way by short journeys. And the Cid went alway upon his horse Bavieca, as they had brought him out from Valencia, save only that he wore no arms, but was clad in right noble garments. Great [168] was the concourse of people to see the Cid Ruydiez coming in that guise. They came from all the country round about, and when they saw him their wonder was the greater, and hardly could they be persuaded that he was dead.

At this time King Don Alfonso abode in Toledo, and when the letters came unto him saying how the Cid Campeador was departed, and after what manner he had discomfited King Bucar, and how they brought him in this goodly manner upon his horse Bavieca, he set out from Toledo, taking long journeys till he came to San Pedro de Cardeña to do honour to the Cid at his funeral. And when the King Don Alfonso saw so great a company and in such goodly array, and the Cid Ruydiez so nobly clad and upon his horse Bavieca, he was greatly astonished. And the King beheld his countenance, and seeing it so fresh and comely, and his eyes so bright and fair, and so even and open that he seemed alive, he marvelled greatly.

On the third day after the coming of King Don Alfonso, they would have interred the body of the Cid, but when the King heard what Doña Ximena had said, that while it was so fair and comely it should not be laid in a coffin, he held that what she said was good. And he sent for the ivory chair which had been carried to the Cortes of Toledo, and gave order that it should be placed on the right of the altar of St. Peter; and he laid a cloth of gold upon it, and he ordered a graven tabernacle to be made over the chair, richly wrought with azure and gold. And he himself, and the King of Navarre and the Infante of Aragon, and the Bishop Don Hieronymo, to do honour to the Cid, helped to take his body from between the two boards, in which it had been fastened at Valencia. And when they had taken it out, the body was so firm [169] that it bent not on either side, and the flesh so firm and comely, that it seemed as if he were yet alive. And the King thought that what they purported to do and had thus begun, might full well be effected. And they clad the body in cloth of purple, which the Soldan of Persia had sent him, and put him on hose of the same, and set him in his ivory chair; and in his left hand they placed his sword Tizona in its scabbard, and the strings of his mantle in his right. And in this fashion the body of the Cid remained there ten years and more, till it was taken thence and buried.

Gil Diaz took great delight in tending the horse Bavieca, so that there were few days in which he did not lead him to water, and bring him back with his own hand. And from the day in which the dead body of the Cid was taken off his back, never man was suffered to bestride that horse, but he was alway led when they took him to water, and when they brought him back. And this good horse lived two years and a half after the death of his master the Cid, and then he died also, having lived full forty years. And Gil Diaz buried him before the gate of the monastery, in the public place, on the right hand; and he planted two elms upon the grave, the one at his head and the other at his feet, and these elms grew and became great trees, and are yet to be seen before the gate of the monastery.


 Table of Contents  |  Index  | Previous: King Alfred  |  Next: Robin Hood
Copyright (c) 2000-2017 Yesterday's Classics, LLC. All Rights Reserved.