At last Charles himself raised a great army, and went in person to compel the paladin to submit. He ravaged all the country round about Montalban, so that supplies of food should be cut off, and he threatened death to any who should attempt to issue forth, hoping to compel the garrison to submit for want of food.
Rinaldo's resources had been brought so low that it seemed useless to contend any longer. His brothers had been taken prisoners in a skirmish, and his only hope of saving their lives was in making terms with the king.
So he sent a messenger, offering to yield himself and his castle if the king would spare his and his brothers' lives. While the messenger was gone, Rinaldo, impatient to learn what tidings he might bring, rode out to meet him. When he had ridden as far as he thought prudent he stopped in a wood, and, alighting, tied Bayard to a tree. Then he sat down, and, as he waited, he fell asleep. Bayard meanwhile got loose, and strayed away where the grass tempted him. Just then came along some country people, who said to one another, "Look, is not that the great horse Bayard that Rinaldo rides? Let us take him, and carry him to King Charles, who will pay us well for our trouble." They did so, and the king was delighted with his prize, and gave them a present that made them rich to their dying day.
When Rinaldo woke he looked round for his horse, and, finding him not, he groaned, and said, "O unlucky hour that I was born! how fortune persecutes me!" So desperate was he, that he took off his armor and his spurs, saying, "What need have I of these, since Bayard is lost?" While he stood thus lamenting, a man came from the thicket, seemingly bent with age. He had a long beard hanging over his breast, and eyebrows that almost covered his eyes. He bade Rinaldo good day. Rinaldo thanked him, and said, "A good day I have hardly had since I was born." Then said the old man, "Signor Rinaldo, you must not despair, for God will make all things turn to the best." Rinaldo answered, "My trouble is too heavy for me to hope relief. The king has taken my brothers, and means to put them to death. I thought to rescue them by means of my horse Bayard, but while I slept some thief has stolen him." The old man replied, "I will remember you and your brothers in my prayers. I am a poor man, have you not something to give me?" Rinaldo said, "I have nothing to give," but then he recollected his spurs. He gave them to the beggar, and said, "Here, take my spurs. They are the first present my mother gave me when my father, Count Aymon, dubbed me knight. They ought to bring you ten pounds."
The old man took the spurs, and put them into his sack, and said, "Noble sir, have you nothing else you can give me?" Rinaldo replied, "Are you making sport of me? I tell you truly if it were not for shame to beat one so helpless, I would teach you better manners." The old man said, "Of a truth, sir, if you did so, you would do a great sin. If all had beaten me of whom I have begged, I should have been killed long ago, for I ask alms in churches and convents, and wherever I can." "You say true," replied Rinaldo, "if you did not ask, none would relieve you." The old man said, "True, noble sir, therefore I pray if you have anything more to spare, give it me." Rinaldo gave him his mantle, and said, "Take it, pilgrim. I give it you for the love of Christ, that God would save my brothers from a shameful death, and help me to escape out of King Charles's power."
The pilgrim took the mantle, folded it up, and put it into his bag. Then a third time he said to Rinaldo, "Sir, have you nothing left to give me that I may remember you in my prayers?" "Wretch!" exclaimed Rinaldo, "do you make me your sport?" and he drew his sword, and struck at him; but the old man warded off the blow with his staff, and said, "Rinaldo, would you slay your cousin, Malagigi?" When Rinaldo heard that he stayed his hand, and gazed doubtingly on the old man, who now threw aside his disguise, and appeared to be indeed Malagigi. "Dear cousin," said Rinaldo, "pray forgive me. I did not know you. Next to God, my trust is in you. Help my brothers to escape out of prison, I entreat you. I have lost my horse, and therefore cannot render them any assistance." Malagigi answered, "Cousin Rinaldo, I will enable you to recover your horse. Meanwhile, you must do as I say."
Then Malagigi took from his sack a gown, and gave it to Rinaldo to put on over his armor, and a hat that was full of holes, and an old pair of shoes to put on. They looked like two pilgrims, very old and poor. Then they went forth from the wood, and, after a little while, saw four monks riding along the road. Malagigi said to Rinaldo, "I will go meet the monks, and see what news I can learn."
Malagigi learned from the monks that on the approaching festival there would be a great crowd of people at court, for the prince was going to show the ladies the famous horse Bayard that used to belong to Rinaldo. "What!" said the pilgrim; "is Bayard there?" "Yes," answered the monks; "the king has given him to Charlot, and, after the prince has ridden him, the king means to pass sentence on the brothers of Rinaldo, and have them hanged." Then Malagigi asked alms of the monks, but they would give him none, till he threw aside his pilgrim garb, and let them see his armor, when, partly for charity and partly for terror, they gave him a golden cup, adorned with precious stones that sparkled in the sunshine.
Malagigi then hastened back to Rinaldo, and told him what he had learned.
The morning of the feast-day Rinaldo and Malagigi came to the place where the sports were to be held. Malagigi gave Rinaldo his spurs back again, and said, "Cousin, put on your spurs, for you will need them." "How shall I need them," said Rinaldo, "since I have lost my horse?" Yet he did as Malagigi directed him.
When the two had taken their stand on the border of the field among the crowd, the princes and ladies of the court began to assemble. When they were all assembled, the king came also, and Charlot with him, near whom the horse Bayard was led, in the charge of grooms, who were expressly enjoined to guard him safely. The king, looking round on the circle of spectators, saw Malagigi and Rinaldo, and observed the splendid cup that they had, and said to Chariot, "See, my son, what a brilliant cup those two pilgrims have got. It seems to be worth a hundred ducats." "That is true," said Chariot; "let us go and ask where they got it." So they rode to the place where the pilgrims stood, and Chariot stopped Bayard close to them.
The horse snuffed at the pilgrims, knew Rinaldo, and caressed his master. The king said to Malagigi, "Friend, where did you get that beautiful cup?" Malagigi replied, "Honorable sir, I paid for it all the money I have saved from eleven years' begging in churches and convents. The Pope himself has blessed it." Then said the king to Chariot, "My son, these are right holy men; see how the dumb beast worships them."
Then the king said to Malagigi, "Give me a morsel from your cup, that I may be cleared of my sins." Malagigi answered, "Illustrious lord, I dare not do it, unless you will forgive all who have at any time offended you. You know that Christ forgave all those who had betrayed and crucified him." The king replied, "Friend, that is true; but Rinaldo has so grievously offended me, that I cannot forgive him, nor that other man, Malagigi, the magician. These two shall never live in my kingdom again. If I catch them, I will certainly have them hanged. But tell me, pilgrim, who is that man who stands beside you?" "He is deaf, dumb, and blind," said Malagigi. Then the king said again, "Give me to drink of your cup, to take away my sins." Malagigi answered, "My lord king, here is my poor brother, who for fifty days has not heard, spoken, nor seen. This misfortune befell him in a house where we found shelter, and the day before yesterday we met with a wise woman, who told him the only hope of a cure for him was to come to some place where Bayard was to be ridden, and to mount and ride him; that would do him more good than anything else." Then said the king, "Friend, you have come to the right place, for Bayard is to be ridden here to-day. Give me a draught from your cup, and your companion shall ride upon Bayard." Malagigi, hearing these words, said, "Be it so." Then the king, with great devotion, took a spoon, and dipped a portion from the pilgrim's cup, believing that his sins should be thereby forgiven.
When this was done, the king said to Chariot, "Son, I request that you will let this sick pilgrim sit on your horse, and ride if he can, for by so doing he will be healed of all his infirmities." Chariot replied, "That will I gladly do." So saying, he dismounted, and the servants took the pilgrim in their arms, and helped him on the horse.
When Rinaldo was mounted, he put his feet in the stirrups, and said, "I would like to ride a little." Malagigi, hearing him speak, seemed delighted, and asked him whether he could see and hear also. "Yes," said Rinaldo, "I am healed of all my infirmities." When the king heard it, he said to Bishop Turpin, "My lord bishop, we must celebrate this with a procession, with crosses and banners, for it is a great miracle."
When Rinaldo remarked that he was not carefully watched, he spoke to the horse, and touched him with the spurs. Bayard knew that his master was upon him, and he started off upon a rapid pace, and in a few moments was a good way off. Malagigi pretended to be in great alarm. "O noble king and master," he cried, "my poor companion is run away with; he will fall and break his neck." The king ordered his knights to ride after the pilgrim, and bring him back, or help him if need were. They did so, but it was in vain. Rinaldo left them all behind him, and kept on his way till he reached Montalban. Malagigi was suffered to depart, unsuspected, and he went his way, making sad lamentation for the fate of his comrade, who he pretended to think must surely be dashed to pieces.
Malagigi did not go far, but, having changed his disguise, returned to where the king was, and employed his best art in getting the brothers of Rinaldo out of prison. He succeeded; and all three got safely to Montalban, where Rinaldo's joy at the rescue of his brothers and the recovery of Bayard was more than tongue can tell.
HOW THE CHILD OF THE SEA WAS MADE KNIGHT
[Footnote: The young Amadis, son of King Perion of Gaul, was called by his father the Child of the Sea because he was born on the sea.]
By Robert Southey
King Falangiez reigned in Great Britain, and died without children. He left a brother Lisuarte, of great goodness in arms, and much discretion, who had married Brisena, daughter of the King of Denmark; and she was the fairest lady that was to be found in all the islands of the sea. After the death of the king the chief men of his land sent for Lisuarte to be their king.
When King Lisuarte heard this embassage he set sail with a great fleet, and on their way they put into Scotland, where he was honorably received by King Languines. Brisena, his wife, was with him, and their daughter Oriana, born in Denmark and then about ten years old, the fairest creature that ever was seen, wherefore she was called the one without a peer. And because she suffered much at sea it was determined to leave her there. Right gladly did King Languines accept this charge, and his queen said: "Believe me, I will take care of her like her own mother." So Lisuarte proceeded. * * *
The Child of the Sea was now twelve years old, but in stature and size he seemed fifteen, and he served the queen; but now that Oriana was there the queen gave her the Child of the Sea that he should serve her, and Oriana said that it pleased her; and that word which she said the child kept in his heart, so that he never lost it from his memory, and in all his life he was never weary of serving her, and his heart was surrendered to her, and his love lasted as long as they lasted, for as well as he loved her did she also love him. But the Child of the Sea, who knew nothing of her love, thought himself presumptuous to have placed his thoughts on her, and dared not speak to her; and she who loved him in her heart was careful riot to speak more with him than with another; but their eyes delighted to reveal to the heart what was the thing on earth that they loved best. And now the time came that he thought he could take arms if he were knighted, and this he greatly desired, thinking that he could do such things that, if he lived, his mistress would esteem him. With this desire he went to the king, who was at that time in the garden, and fell upon his knees before him, and said, "Sire, if it please you, it is time for me to receive knighthood." "How, Child of the Sea?" said Languines, "are you strong enough to maintain knighthood? it is easy to receive, but difficult to maintain; and he who would keep it well, so many and so difficult are the things he must achieve, that his heart will often be troubled; and if, through fear, he forsakes what he ought to do, better is death to him than life with shame." "Not for this," replied he, "will I fail to be a knight; my heart would not require it, if it were not in my will to accomplish what you say. And since you have bred me up, complete what you ought to do in this; if not, I will seek some other who will do it." The king, who feared lest he should do this, replied, "Child of the Sea, I know when this is fitting better than you can know, and I promise you to do it, and your arms shall be got ready; but to whom did you think to go?" "To King Perion, who they say is a good knight, and has married the sister of your queen. I would tell him how I was brought up by her, and then he would willingly fulfil my desire." "Now," said the king, "be satisfied, it shall be honourably done." And he gave orders that the arms should be made, and sent to acquaint Gandales thereof.
When Gandales heard this, he greatly rejoiced; and sent a damsel with the sword and the ring and the letter in the wax, which he had found in the ark. The Child of the Sea was with Oriana and the ladies of the palace, discoursing, when a page entered and told him there was a strange damsel without who brought presents for him, and would speak with him. When she who loved him heard this her heart trembled, and if any one had been looking at her he might have seen how she changed; and she told the Child of the Sea to let the damsel come in, that they might see the presents. Accordingly she entered, and said, "Sir Child of the Sea, your good friend Gandales salutes you as the man who loves you much, and sends you this sword and this ring and this wax, and he begs you will wear this sword while you live for his sake." He took the presents, and laid the ring and the wax in his lap, while he unrolled the sword from a linen cloth in which it was wrapt, wondering that it should be without a scabbard. Meantime Oriana took up the wax, and said, "I will have this," not thinking that it contained anything: it would have better pleased him if she had taken the ring, which was one of the finest in the world. While he was looking at the sword, the king came in and asked him what he thought of it. "It seems a goodly one, sir," said he, "but I marvel wherefore it hath no scabbard." "It is fifteen years," said the king, "since it had one"; and, taking him by the hand, he led him apart, and said, "You would be a knight, and you know not whether of right you should be one. I therefore tell you all that I know concerning you." And with that he told him all that Gandales had communicated. The Child of the Sea answered, "I believe this; for the damsel said my good friend Gandales had sent her, and I thought she had mistaken, and should have called him my father; but am nothing displeased herewith, except that I know not my parents, nor they me, for my breast tells me I am well born; and now, sir, it behoves me more to obtain knighthood, that I may win honour and the praise of prowess, since I know not my lineage, and am like one whose kindred are all dead." When the king heard him speak thus, he believed that he would prove a hardy and good knight.
As they were thus conversing, a knight came to inform the king that King Perion was arrived. Languines went to welcome him, as one who knew how to do honour to all, and, after they had saluted, he asked how it was that he came so unexpectedly. "I come to seek for friends," replied Perion, "of whom I have more need than ever; for King Abies of Ireland wars upon me, and is now, with all his power, in my country; and Daganel, his half-brother, is with him; and both together have collected such a multitude against me that I stand in need of all my friends and kinsmen; for I have lost many of my people in battle already, and others whom I trusted have failed me." "Brother," replied Languines, "your misfortunes grieve me not a little, and I shall aid you the best I can." Agrayes, who was already knighted, now came and knelt before his father, saying, "Sir, I beg a boon." The which being granted,—for King Languines loved him as himself,—he pursued, "I request that I may go to defend the queen, my aunt." "And I grant it," answered Languines; "and you shall be as honourably and well accompanied as may be."
This while had the Child of the Sea been looking earnestly at Perion, not as his father, for of that he knew nothing, but because of his great goodness in arms, of which he had heard the fame; and he desired to be made a knight by his hand, rather than by any man in the world. To attain this purpose, he thought best to entreat the queen; but her he found so sad that he would not speak to her, and going to where Oriana was, he knelt before her, and said, "Lady Oriana, could I know by you the cause of the queen's sadness?" Oriana's heart leaped at seeing him whom she most loved before her, and said to him, "Child of the Sea, this is the first thing ye ever asked of me, and I shall do it with a good will."—"Ah, lady! I am neither so bold nor worthy as to ask anything from one like you, but rather to obey what it pleases you to command." "What!" said she. "Is your heart so feeble?"—"So feeble, that in all things towards you it would fail me, except in serving you like one who is not his own, but yours." "Mine!" said she. "Since when?"—"Since it pleased you." "How since it pleased me?"—"Remember, lady, the day whereon your father departed, the queen took me by the hand, and leading me before you, said, 'I give you this child to be your servant'; and you said it pleased you. And from that time I have held and hold myself yours to do your service: yours only, that neither I nor any other, while I live, can have command over me." "That word," said she, "you took with a meaning that it did not bear; but I am well pleased that it is so." Then was he overcome with such pleasure that he had no power to answer; and Oriana, who now saw the whole power that she had over him, went to the queen, and learnt the cause of her sadness, and, returning to the Child of the Sea, told him that it was for the queen, her sister, who now was so distressed. He answered, "If it please you that I were a knight, with your aid, I would go and aid the queen, her sister." "With my leave! And what without it? Would you not then go?"—"No," said he; "for without the favour of her whose it is, my heart could not sustain itself in danger." Then Oriana smiled, and said, "Since I have gained you, you shall be my knight, and you shall aid the sister of the queen." The Child of the Sea kissed her hand—"The king, my master, has not yet knighted me; and I had rather it should be done by King Perion at your entreaty." "In that," said she, "I will do what I can; but we must speak to the Princess Mabilia, for her request will avail with her uncle."
Mabilia, who loved the Child of the Sea with pure love, readily agreed. "Let him go," said she, "to the chapel of my mother, armed at all points, and we and the other damsel will accompany him; and when King Perion is setting off, which will be before daybreak, I will ask to see him; and then will he grant our request, for he is a courteous knight." When the Child of the Sea heard this, he called Gandalin, and said to him, "My brother, take all my arms secretly to the queen's chapel, for this night I think to be knighted; and, because it behoves me to depart right soon, I would know if you wish to bear me company." "Believe me," quoth Gandalin, "never, with my will, shall I depart from ye." The tears came in the eyes of the Child at this, and he kissed him on the face, and said, "Do, now, what I told you." Gandalin laid the arms in the chapel, while the queen was at supper; and, when the cloths were removed, the Child of the Sea went there, and armed himself, all save his head and his hands, and made his prayer before the altar, beseeching God to grant him success in arms, and in the love which he bore his lady.
When the queen had retired, Oriana and Mabilia went with the other damsels to accompany him, and Mabilia sent for Perion as he was departing; and, when he came, she besought him to do what Oriana, the daughter of King Lisuarte, should request. "Willingly," said King Perion, "for her father's sake." Then Oriana came before him; and when he saw her how fair she was, he thought there could not be her equal in the world. She begged a boon, and it was granted. "Then," said she, "make this my gentleman knight." And she showed him to Perion kneeling before the altar. The king saw him how fair he was, and approaching him, said, "Would you receive the order of knighthood?"—"I would."— "In the name of God, then! And may He order it that it be well bestowed on you, and that you may grow in honour as you have in person." Then, putting on the right spur, he said, "Now are you a knight, and may receive the sword." The king took the sword, and gave it to him, and the Child girded it on. "Then," said Perion, "according to your manner and appearance, I would have performed this ceremony with more honours; and I trust in God that your fame will prove that so it ought to have been done." Mabilia and Oriana then joyfully kissed the king's hands, and he, commending the Child of the Sea to God, went his way.
THE SPANISH CHRONICLE OF THE CID
The Cid, who was as actual individual, is the Arthur and Roland of the Spaniards, the great hero of mediaeval Spain. The Chronicles, based on heroic songs and national traditions of the struggle with the Moors, pictures for us the life of an old and haughty nation, proud in arms. It was compiled in the reign of King Alfonso the Wise, who reigned between 1252 and 1284, and was translated into English by Robert Southey in 1808.
In the stories here given, Southey's rich and descriptive English has been retained, the condensation being secured by omitting long, tedious passages.
WHY DON SANCHO ATTACKED HIS NEIGHBORS
By Robert Southey
History relates that after the death of King Don Ferrando of Spain, the three kings, his sons, Don Sancho, Don Alfonso and Don Garcia, reigned each in his kingdom, according to the division made by their father. Don Ferrando had divided into five portions (one for each of the sons and one for each of the two daughters, Donya Urraca and Donya Elvira) that which should all by right have descended to Don Sancho as the eldest son.
Now, the kings of Spain were of the blood of the Goths, which was a fierce blood, for it had many times come to pass among the Gothic kings, that brother had slain brother. From this blood was King Don Sancho descended, and he thought that it would be a reproach to him if he did not join together the three kingdoms under his own dominion, for he was not pleased with what his father had given him, holding that the whole ought to have been his. And he went through the land setting it in order, and what thing soever his people asked, that did he grant them freely, to the end that he might win their hearts.
When King Don Sancho of Navarre, nephew of Don Ferrando, saw that there was a new king in Castille, he thought to recover the lands which had been lost when the king, his father, was defeated and slain in the mountains of Oca. And now seeing that the kingdom of Ferrando was divided, he asked help of his uncle Don Ramiro, King of Aragon; and the men of Aragon and of Navarre entered Castille together. But King Don Sancho gathered together his host, and put the Cid at their head; and such account did he give of his enemies, that he of Navarre was glad to lay no farther claim to what his father had lost. The King of Castille was wroth against the King of Aragon, that he should thus have joined against him without cause; and in despite of him he marched against the Moors of Zaragoza, and laying waste their country with fire and sword, he came before their city, gave orders to assault it, and began to set up his engines. The Moors seeing that they could not help themselves, made such terms with him as it pleased him to grant, and gave him hostages that they might not be able to prove false. They gave him gold and silver and precious stones in abundance, so that with great riches and full honourably did he and all his men depart from the siege.
Greatly was the King of Aragon displeased at this which King Don Sancho had done. He required he should yield unto him all the spoil which the King of Zaragoza had given him, else should he not pass without battle. King Don Sancho, being a man of great heart, made answer that he was the head of the kingdoms of Castille and Leon, and all the conquests in Spain were his. Wherefore he counselled him to waive his demand, and let him pass in peace. But the King of Aragon drew up his host for battle, and the onset was made, and heavy blows were dealt on both sides, and many horses were left without a master. And while the battle was yet undecided, King Don Sancho riding right bravely through the battle, began to call out Castille! Castille! and charged the main body so fiercely that by fine force he broke them; and when they were thus broken, the Castillians began cruelly to slay them, so that King Don Sancho had pity, and called to his people not to kill them, for they were Christians. Then King Don Ramiro being discomfited, retired to a mountain, and King Don Sancho beset the mountain round about, and made a covenant with him that he should depart, and that the King of Zaragoza should remain tributary to Castille; and but for this covenant the King of Aragon would then have been slain, or made prisoner.
In all these wars did my Cid demean himself after his wonted manner; and because of the great feats which he performed the king loved him well, and made him his Alfarez, [Footnote: A standard bearer] so that in the whole army he was second only to the king. And because when the host was in the field it was his office to choose the place for encampment, therefore was my Cid called the Campeador. [Footnote: One who is remarkable for his exploits]
DON GARCIA DEFIES DON SANCHO
By Robert Southey
While King Don Sancho was busied in these wars, King Don Garcia of Galicia took by force from Donya Urraca his sister a great part of the lands which the king their father had given her. When King Don Sancho heard what his brother had done he was well pleased thereat, thinking that he might now bring to pass that which he so greatly desired; and he assembled together his Ricos-omes [Footnote: Noblemen, grandees.] and his knights, and said unto them, The king my father divided the kingdoms which should have been mine, and therein he did unjustly; now King Don Garcia my brother hath broken the oath and disherited Donya Urraca my sister; I beseech ye therefore counsel me what I shall do, and in what manner to proceed against him, for I will take his kingdom away from him. Upon this Count Don Garcia Ordonez arose and said, There is not a man in the world, sir, who would counsel you to break the command of your father, and the vow which you made unto him. And the king was greatly incensed at him and said, Go from before me, for I shall never receive good counsel from thee. The king then took the Cid by the hand and led him apart, and said unto him, Thou well knowest, my Cid, that when the king my father commended thee unto me, he charged me upon pain of his curse that I should take you for my adviser, and whatever I did that I should do it with your counsel, and I have done so even until this day; and thou hast always counselled me for the best, and for this I have given thee a county in my kingdom, holding it well bestowed. Now then I beseech you advise me how best to recover these kingdoms, for if I have not counsel from you I do not expect to have it from any man in the world.
Greatly troubled at this was the Cid, and he answered and said, Ill, sir, would it behove me to counsel you that you should go against the will of your father. You well know that when I went to him, after he had divided his kingdoms, how he made me swear to him that I would always counsel his sons the best I could, and never give them ill counsel; and while I can, thus must I continue to do. But the king answered, My Cid, I do not hold that in this I am breaking the oath made to my father, for I ever said that the partition should not be, and the oath which I made was forced upon me. Now King Don Garcia my brother hath broken the oath, and all these kingdoms by right are mine: and therefore I will that you counsel me how I may unite them, for from so doing there is nothing in this world which shall prevent me, except it be death.
Then when the Cid saw that he could by no means turn him from that course, he advised him to obtain the love of his brother King Don Alfonso, that he might grant him passage through his kingdom to go against Don Garcia: and if this should be refused he counselled him not to make the attempt. And the king saw that his counsel was good, and sent his letters to King Don Alfonso beseeching him to meet him at Sahagun. When King Don Alfonso received the letters he marvelled to what end this might be: howbeit he sent to say that he would meet him. And the two kings met in Sahagun. And King Don Sancho said, Brother, you well know that King Don Garcia our brother hath broken the oath made unto our father, and disherited our sister Donya Urraca: for this I will take his kingdom away from him, and I beseech you join with me. But Don Alfonso answered that he would not go against the will of his father, and the oath which he had sworn. Then King Don Sancho said, that if he would let him pass through his kingdom he would give him part of what he should gain: and King Don Alfonso agreed to this. And upon this matter they fixed another day to meet; and then forty knights were named, twenty for Castille and twenty for Leon, as vouchers that this which they covenanted should be faithfully fulfilled on both sides.
Then King Don Sancho gathered together a great host. He sent Alvar Fanez, the cousin of the Cid, to King Don Garcia, to bid him yield up his kingdom, and if he refused to do this to defy him on his part. When King Don Garcia heard this he was greatly troubled, and he said to Alvar Fanez, Say to my brother that I beseech him not to break the oath which he made to our father; but if he will persist to do this thing I must defend myself as I can. He called his chief captains together and they advised him that he should recall Don Rodrigo Frojaz, for having him the realm would be secure, and without him it was in danger to be lost. So two hidalgos [Footnote: A man belonging to the lower nobility, a gentleman by birth] were sent after him, and they found him in Navarre, on the eve of passing into France. But when he saw the king's letters, and knew the peril in which he then stood, setting aside the remembrance of his own wrongs, like a good and true Portuguese, he turned back, and went to the king. In good time did he arrive, for the captains of King Don Sancho had now gained many lands in Galicia and in the province of Beira, finding none to resist them. When Don Rodrigo heard this and knew that the Castillians were approaching he promised the king either to maintain his cause, or die for it. He ordered the trumpets to be sounded, and the Portugueze sallied, and a little below the city the two squadrons met. The Portugueze fought so well, and especially Don Rodrigo, and his brothers, that at length they discomfited the Castillians, killing of them five hundred and forty, of whom three hundred were knights, and winning their pennons and banners. Howbeit this victory was not obtained without great loss to themselves; for two hundred and twenty of their people were left upon the field, and many were sorely wounded, among whom, even to the great peril of his life, was Don Rodrigo Frojaz, being wounded with many and grievous wounds.
DON GARCIA TAKES DON SANCHO PRISONER
By Robert Southey
A sorrowful defeat was that for King Don Sancho, and he put himself at the head of his army and hastened through Portugal to besiege his brother in Santarem.
The Portugueze and Galegos took counsel together what they should do. Don Rodrigo Frojaz said unto the king that it behoved him above all things to put his kingdom upon the hazard of a battle; for his brother being a greater lord of lands than he, and richer in money and more powerful in vassals, could maintain the war longer than he could, who peradventure would find it difficult another year to gather together so good an army as he had now ready. For this cause he advised him to put his trust in God first, and then in the hidalgos who were with him, and without fear give battle to the king his brother, over whom God and his good cause would give him glorious victory. Now when the two hosts were ready to join battle, Alvar Fanez came to King Don Sancho and said to him, Sir, I have played away my horse and arms; I beseech you give me others for this battle, and I will be a right good one for you this day; if I do not for you the service of six knights, hold me for a traitor. And the king ordered that horse and arms should be given him. So the armies joined battle bravely on both sides, and it was a sharp onset; many were the heavy blows which were given on both sides, and many were the horses that were slain at that encounter, and many the men. Now my Cid had not yet come up into the field.
Now Don Rodrigo Frojaz and his brethren and the knights who were with them had resolved to make straight for the banner of the King of Castille. And they broke through the ranks of the Castillians, and made their way into the middle of the enemy's host, doing marvellous feats of arms. Then was the fight at the hottest, for they did their best to win the banner, and the others to defend it; the remembrance of what they had formerly done, and the hope of gaining more honours, heartened them; and with the Castillians there was their king, giving them brave example as well as brave words. The press of the battle was here, and the banner of King Don Sancho was beaten down, and the king himself also, and Don Rodrigo made way through the press and laid hands on him and took him. But in the struggle he lost much blood, and perceiving that his strength was failing, he sent to call the King Don Garcia with all speed. And as the king came, the Count Don Pedro Frojaz met him and said, An honourable gift, sir, hath my brother Don Rodrigo to give you, but you lose him in gaining it. And tears fell from the eyes of the king, and he made answer and said, It may indeed be that Don Rodrigo may lose his life in serving me, but the good name which he hath gained, and the honour which he leaveth to his descendants, death cannot take away. Saying this, he came to the place where Don Rodrigo was, and Don Rodrigo gave into his hands the King Don Sancho his brother, and asked him three times if he was discharged of his prisoner; and when the king had answered Yes, Don Rodrigo said, For me, sir, the joy which I have in your victory is enough; give the rewards to these good Portugueze, who with so good a will have put their lives upon the hazard to serve you, and in all things follow their counsel, and you will not err therein. Having said this he kissed the king's hand, and lying upon his shield, for he felt his breath fail him, with his helmet for a pillow, he kissed the cross of his sword in remembrance of that on which the Son of God had died for him, and rendered up his soul into the hands of his Creator. This was the death of one of the worthy knights of the world, Don Rodrigo Frojaz. In all the conquests which King Don Ferrando had made from the Moors of Portugal, great part had he borne, insomuch that that king was wont to say that other princes might have more dominions than he, but two such knights as his two Rodrigos, meaning my Cid and this good knight, there was none but himself who had for vassals.
King Don Garcia being desirous to be in the pursuit himself, delivered his brother into the hands of six knights that they should guard him, which he ought not to have done. And when he was gone King Don Sancho said unto the knights, Let me go and I will depart out of your country and never enter it again; and I will reward ye well as long as ye live; but they answered him, that for no reward would they commit such disloyalty, but would guard him well, not offering him any injury, till they had delivered him to his brother the King Don Garcia. While they were parleying Alvar Fanez came up, he to whom the king had given horse and arms before the battle; and he seeing the king held prisoner, cried out with a loud voice, Let loose my lord the king: and he spurred his horse and made at them; and before his lance was broken he overthrew two of them, and so bestirred himself that he put the others to flight; and he took the horses of the two whom he had smote down, and gave one to the king, and mounted upon the other himself, for his own was hurt in the rescue; and they went together to a little rising ground where there was yet a small body of the knights of their party, and Alvar Fanez cried out to them aloud, Ye see here the king our lord, who is free; now then remember the good name of the Castillians, and let us not lose it this day. And about four hundred knights gathered about him. And while they stood there they saw the Cid Ruydiez coming up with three hundred knights, for he had not been in the battle, and they knew his green pennon. And when King Don Sancho beheld it his heart rejoiced, and he said, Now let us descend into the plain, for he of good fortune cometh: and he said, Be of good heart, for it is the will of God that I should recover my kingdom, for I have escaped from captivity, and seen the death of Don Rodrigo Frojaz who took me, and Ruydiez the fortunate one cometh. And the king went down to him and welcomed him right joyfully, saying, In happy time are you come, my fortunate Cid; never vassal succoured his lord in such season as you now succour me, for the king my brother had overcome me. And the Cid answered, Sir, be sure that you shall recover the day, or I will die; for wheresoever you go, either you shall be victorious or I will meet my death.
By this time King Don Garcia returned from the pursuit, singing as he came full joyfully, for he thought that the king his brother was a prisoner, and his great power overthrown. But there came one and told him that Don Sancho was rescued and in the field again, ready to give him battle a second time. Bravely was that second battle fought on both sides; and if it had not been for the great prowess of the Cid, the end would not have been as it was: in the end the Galegos and Portugueze were discomfited, and the King Don Garcia taken in his turn. And the King Don Sancho put his brother in better ward than his brother three hours before had put him, for he put him in chains and sent him to the strong castle of Luna.
When King Don Sancho had done this he took unto himself the kingdom of Galicia and of Portugal, and without delay sent to his brother King Don Alfonso, commanding him to yield up to him the kingdom of Leon, for it was his by right. At this was the King of Leon troubled at heart; howbeit he answered that he would not yield up his kingdom, but do his utmost to defend it. Then King Don Sancho entered Leon, slaying and laying waste before him, as an army of infidels would have done; and King Don Alfonso sent to him to bid him cease from this, for it was inhuman work to kill and plunder the innocent: and he defied him to a pitched battle, saying that to whichsoever God should give the victory, to him also would he give the kingdom of Leon: and the King of Castille accepted the defiance, and a day was fixed for the battle. Both kings were in the field that day, and full hardily was the battle contested, and great was the mortality on either side, for the hatred which used to be between Moors and Christians was then between brethren.
Nevertheless the power of King Don Alfonso was not yet destroyed, and he would not yield up his kingdom: and he sent to his brother a second time to bid him battle, saying that whosoever conquered should then certainly remain King of Leon. The two armies met and joined battle, and they of Leon had the victory, for my Cid was not in the field. And King Don Alfonso had pity upon the Castillians because they were Christians, and gave orders not to slay them; and his brother King Don Sancho fled. Now as he was flying, my Cid came up with his green pennon; and when he saw that the king his lord had been conquered it grieved him sorely: howbeit he encouraged him saying, This is nothing, sir! to fail or to prosper is as God pleases. But do you gather together your people who are discomfited, and bid them take heart. The Leonese and Galegos are with the king your brother, secure as they think themselves in their lodging, and taking no thought of you; for it is their custom to extol themselves when their fortune is fair, and to mock at others, and in this boastfulness will they spend the night, so that we shall find them sleeping at break of day, and will fall upon them. And it came to pass as he had said. The Leonese lodged themselves in Vulpegera, taking no thought of their enemies, and setting no watch; and Ruydiez arose betimes in the morning and fell upon them, and subdued them before they could take their arms. King Don Alfonso fled to the town of Carrion, which was three leagues distant, and would have fortified himself there in the Church of St. Mary, but he was surrounded and constrained to yield.
Now the knights of Leon gathered together in their flight, and when they could not find their king they were greatly ashamed, and they turned back and smote the Castillians; and as it befell, they encountered King Don Sancho alone and took him prisoner, for his people considered the victory as their own, and all was in confusion. And thirteen knights took him in their ward and were leading him away,—but my Cid beheld them and galloped after them: he was alone, and had no lance, having broken his in the battle. And he came up to them and said, Knights, give me my lord and I will give unto you yours. They knew him by his arms, and they made answer, Ruydiez, return in peace and seek not to contend with us, otherwise we will carry you away prisoner with him. And he waxed wroth and said, Give me but a lance and I will, single as I am, rescue my lord from all of ye: by God's help I will do it. And they held him as nothing because he was but one, and gave him a lance. But he attacked them therewith so bravely that he slew eleven of the thirteen, leaving two only alive, on whom he had mercy; and thus did he rescue the king. And the Castillians rejoiced greatly at the king's deliverance: and King Don Sancho went to Burgos, and took with him his brother prisoner.
Great was the love which the Infanta Donya Urraca bore to her brother King Don Alfonso, and when she heard that he was made prisoner, she feared lest he should be put to death: and she took with her the Count Don Peransures, and went to Burgos. And they spake with the Cid, and besought him that he would join with them and intercede with the king that he should release his brother from prison, and let him become a monk. Full willing was the Cid to serve in any thing the Infanta Donya Urraca, and he went with her before the king. And she knelt down before the king her brother, and besought him that he would let their brother Don Alfonso take the habit of St. Benedict, in the royal Monastery of Sahagun. And the king took my Cid aside, and asked counsel of him what he should do; and the Cid said, that if Don Alfonso were willing to become a monk, he would do well to set him free upon that condition, and he besought him so to do. Then King Don Sancho, at my Cid's request, granted to Donya Urraca what she had asked. And Don Alfonso became a monk in the Monastery at Sahagun, more by force than of free will. And being in the monastery he spake with Don Peransures, and took counsel with him, and fled away by night from the monks, and went among the Moors to King Alimaymon of Toledo. And the Moorish king welcomed him with a good will, and did great honour to him, and gave him great possessions and many gifts.
But when King Don Sancho heard how his brother had fled from the monastery, he drew out his host and went against the city of Leon. The Leonese would fain have maintained the city against him, but they could not, and he took the city of Leon, and all the towns and castles which had been under the dominion of his brother King Don Alfonso. And then he put the crown upon his head, and called himself king of the three kingdoms. He was a fair knight and of marvellous courage, so that both Moors and Christians were dismayed at what they saw him do, for they saw that nothing which he willed to take by force could stand against him. And he went forth with his army, and took from the Infanta Donya Elvira the half of the Infantazgo [Footnote: Inherited land] which she possessed, and also from Donya Urraca the other half. And he went against Toro, the city of Donya Elvira, and took it, and then he went to Zamora to Donya Urraca, bidding her yield him up the city, and saying that he would give her lands as much as she required in the plain country. But she returned for answer, that she would in no manner yield unto him that which the king her father had given her; and she besought him that he would suffer her to continue to dwell peaceably therein, saying that no disservice should ever be done against him on her part.
Then King Don Sancho went to Burgos, because it was the season for besieging a town, being winter. And he sent his letters through all the land, calling upon his vassals to assemble together upon the first day of March in Sahagun, upon pain of forfeiting his favour. And they assembled together in Sahagun on the day appointed; and when the king heard in what readiness they were, it gladdened him, and he lifted up his hands to God and said, Blessed be thy name, O Lord, because thou hast given me all the kingdoms of my father. And when he had said this he ordered proclamation to be made through the streets of Burgos, that all should go forth to protect the host and the body of the king their lord. They made such speed that in five days they arrived before Zamora, and pitched their tents upon the banks of the Douro. And he mounted on horseback with his bidalgos and rode round the town, and beheld how strongly it was situated upon a rock, with strong walls, and many and strong towers, and the river Douro running at the foot thereof; and he said unto his knights, Ye see how strong it is, neither Moor nor Christian can prevail against it; if I could have it from my sister either for money or exchange, I should be Lord of Spain.
Then the king returned to his tents, and sent for the Cid, and said unto him, Cid, you well know how manifoldly you are bound unto me. I have ever shown favour unto you, and you have ever served me as the loyalest vassal that ever did service to his lord. Now therefore I beseech you as my friend and true vassal, that you go to Zamora to my sister Donya Urraca, and say unto her again, that I beseech her to give me the town either for a price, or in exchange, and I will give to her Medina de Rioseco, with the whole Infantazgo, from Villalpando to Valladolid, and Tiedra also, which is a good Castle; and I will swear unto her, with twelve knights of my vassals, never to break this covenant between us; but if she refuseth to do this I will take away the town from her by force. And my Cid kissed the hand of the king and said unto him, This bidding, sir, should be for other messenger, for it is a heavy thing for me to deliver it; for I was brought up in Zamora by your father's command, with Donya Urraca and with his sons, and it is not fitting that I should be the bearer of such bidding. And the king persisted in requiring of him that he should go, insomuch that he was constrained to obey his will. And he took with him fifteen of his knights and rode towards Zamora, and when he drew nigh he called unto those who kept guard in the towers not to shoot their arrows at him, for he was Ruydiez of Bivar, who came to Donya Urraca with the bidding of her brother King Don Sancho. With that there came down a knight who had the keeping of the gate, and he bade the Cid enter. It pleased the Infanta well that he should be the messenger, and she bade him come before her that she might know what was his bidding. When the Cid entered the palace Donya Urraca advanced to meet him, and greeted him full well, and they seated themselves both upon the Estrado. And Donya Urraca said unto him, Cid, you well know that you were brought up with me here in Zamora, and when my father was at the point of death he charged you that you should always counsel his sons the best you could. Now tell me I beseech you what is it which my brother goes about to do, now that he has called up all Spain in arms, and to what lands he thinks to go, whether against Moors or Christians. Then the Cid answered and said, Lady, give me safe assurance and I will tell unto you that which the king your brother hath sent me to say. And she said she would do as Don Arias Gonzalo should advise her. And Don Arias answered that it was well to hear what the king her brother had sent to say. Donya Urraca then said to the Cid, that he might speak his bidding safely. Then said my Cid, The king your brother sends to greet you, and beseeches you to give him this town of Zamora, either for a price or in exchange; and he will give to you Medina de Rio-seco, with the whole Infantazgo, from Villalpando to Valladolid, and the good castle of Tiedra, and he will swear unto you, with twelve knights his vassals, never to do you hurt or harm; but if you will not give him the town, he will take it against your will.
When Donya Urraca heard this she lamented aloud, saying, Wretch that I am, many are the evil messages which I have heard since my father's death! He hath disherited my brother King Don Garcia of his kingdom, and taken him, and now holds him in irons as if he were a thief or a Moor: and he hath taken his lands from my brother King Don Alfonso, and forced him to go among the Moors, and live there exiled as if he had been a traitor; and he hath taken her lands from my sister Donya Elvira against her will, and now would he take Zamora from me also! Now then let the earth open and swallow me, that I may not see so many troubles! I am a woman, and well know that I cannot strive with him in battle; but I will have him slain either secretly or openly. Then Don Arias Gonzalo stood up and said, Lady, give order that all the men of Zamora assemble in St. Salvador's and know of them whether they will hold with you, seeing that your father gave them to you to be your vassals. If they will hold with you, then give not up the town, neither for a price, nor in exchange; but if they will not, let us then go to Toledo among the Moors, where your brother King Don Alfonso abideth.
And she did as her foster-father had advised, and it was proclaimed through the streets that the men of Zamora should meet in council at St. Salvador's. When they were all assembled, Donya Urraca arose and said, Don Sancho bids me give him Zamora, either for a price or in exchange. Now concerning this I would know whereunto ye advise me. Then by command of the Council there rose up a knight who was called Don Nuno, a man of worth, aged, and of fair speech; and he said, We beseech you give not up Zamora, neither for price nor for exchange, for he who besieges you upon the rock would soon drive you from the plain. The Council of Zamora will do your bidding, and will not desert you. Sooner, lady, will we expend all our possessions, and eat our mules and horses, than give up Zamora, unless by your command. And they all with one accord confirmed what Don Nuno had said. When the Infanta Donya Urraca heard this she was well pleased, and praised them greatly; and she turned to the Cid and said unto him, I beseech you help me now against my brother, and intreat him that he will not seek to disherit me; but if he will go on with what he hath begun, say to him that I will rather die with the men of Zamora and they with me, than give him up the town, either for price or exchange. And with this answer did the Cid return unto the king.
THE SIEGE OF ZAMORA
By Robert Southey
When King Don Sancho heard what the Cid said, his anger kindled against him, and he said, You have given this counsel to my sister because you were bred with her. And my Cid answered and said, Faithfully have I discharged your bidding, and as a true vassal. Howbeit, O king, I will not bear arms against the Infanta your sister, nor against Zamora, because of the days which are passed;—and I beseech you do not persist in doing this wrong. But then King Don Sancho was more greatly incensed, and he said unto him, If it were not that my father left you commended to me, I would order you this instant to be hanged. But for this which you have said I command you to quit my kingdom within nine days. The Cid went to his tent in anger, and called for his kinsmen and his friends, and bade them make ready on the instant to depart with him. He set forth with all the knights and esquires of his table, and with all their retainers horse and foot, twelve hundred persons, all men of approved worth, a goodly company;—and they took the road to Toledo, meaning to join King Don Alfonso among the Moors. That night they slept at Castro Nuno. But when the counts and Ricos-omes, and the other good men of the host saw this, they understood the great evil, which might arise to the king from the departure of the Cid. They went to the king and said unto him, Sir, wherefore would you lose so good a vassal, who has done you such great service? If he should go unto your brother Don Alfonso among the Moors, he would not let you besiege this city thus in peace. And the king perceived that they spake rightly, and he called for Don Diego Ordonez and bade him follow the Cid, and beseech him in his name to return; and whatever covenant he should make it should be confirmed unto him; and of this he ordered his letters of credence to be made out. And Don Diego Ordonez rode after the Cid, and delivered the king's bidding, and said that the king besought him not to bear in mind the words which he had spoken unto him in anger. Then the Cid called together his kinsmen and friends, and they counselled him that he should return to the king, for it was better to remain in his land and serve God, than to go among the Moors. He held their counsel good, and called for Don Diego, and said that he would do the will of the king. And when the Cid drew nigh unto the host, the king went out with five hundred knights to meet him, and received him gladly, and did him great honour. And the Cid kissed his hand and asked him if he confirmed what Don Diego had said; and the king confirmed it before all the knights who were there present, promising to give him great possessions. And when they came to the army great was the joy because of the Cid's return, and great were the rejoicings which were made: but as great was the sorrow in Zamora, for they who were in the town held that the siege was broken up by his departure. Nevertheless my Cid would not bear arms against the Infanta, nor against the town of Zamora, because of the days which were past.
The king ordered proclamation to be made throughout the host that the people should make ready to attack the town. They fought against it three days and three nights so bravely that all the ditches were filled up, and the barbicans thrown down, and they who were within fought sword in hand with those without, and the waters of the Douro, as they past below the town, were all discoloured with blood. And when Count Don Garcia de Cabra saw the great loss which they were suffering, it grieved him; and he went unto the king and told him that many men were slain, and advised him to call off the host that they should no longer fight against the town, but hold it besieged, for by famine it might soon be taken. Then the king ordered them to draw back, and he sent to each camp to know how many men had died in the attack, and the number was found to be a thousand and thirty. And when the king knew this he was greatly troubled for the great loss which he had received, and he ordered the town to be beleaguered round about, that none could enter into it, neither go out therefrom; and there was a great famine within the town. And when Don Arias Gonzalo saw the misery, and the hunger, and the mortality which were there, he said to the Infanta Donya Urraca, You see, lady, the great wretchedness which the people of Zamora have suffered, and do every day suffer to maintain their loyalty; now then call together the Council, and thank them truly for what they have done for you, and bid them give up the town within nine days to the king your brother. And we, lady, will go to Toledo to your brother King Don Alfonso, for we cannot defend Zamora; King Don Sancho is of so great heart and so resolute, that he will never break up the siege, and I do not hold it good that you should abide here longer. And Donya Urraca gave orders that the good men of Zamora should meet together in council; and she said unto them, Friends, ye well see the resoluteness of King Don Sancho my brother. Ye have done enough, and I do not hold it good that ye should perish, I command ye therefore give up the town to him within nine days, and I will go to Toledo to my brother King Don Alfonso. The men of Zamora when they heard this had great sorrow, because they had endured the siege so long, and must now give up the town at last; and they determined all to go with the Infanta, and not remain in the town.
When Vellido Dolfos heard this, he went to Donya Urraca and said, Lady, I came here to Zamora to do you service with thirty knights, all well accoutred, as you know; and I have served you long time, and never have I had from you guerdon for my service, though I have demanded it: but now if you will grant my demand I will relieve Zamora, and make King Don Sancho break up the siege. Then said Donya Urraca, Vellido, I do not bid thee commit any evil thing, if such thou hast in thy thought; but I say unto you, that there is not a man in the world to whom if he should relieve Zamora, and make the king my brother raise the siege, I would not grant whatsoever he might require. And when Vellido heard this he kissed her hand, and went to a porter who kept one of the gates of the town, saying, that he should open the gate unto him when he saw him flying toward it, and he gave him his cloak. Then he armed himself, and mounted his horse, and rode to the house of Don Arias Gonzalo, and cried with a loud voice, We all know the reason, Don Arias Gonzalo, why you will not let Donya Urraca exchange Zamora with her brother; it is because you deal with her like an old traitor. When Arias Gonzalo heard this, it grieved him to the heart. Then his sons arose and armed themselves hastily, and went after Vellido, who fled before them toward the gate of the town. The porter when he saw him coming opened the gate, and he rode out and galloped into the camp of the King Don Sancho, and the others followed him till they were nigh the camp, but farther they did not venture. And Vellido went to the king and kissed his hand, and said unto him these false words with a lying tongue: Sir, because I said to the Council of Zamora that they should yield the town unto you, the sons of Arias Gonzalo would have slain me, even as you have seen. And therefore come I to you, sir, and will be your vassal, if I may find favour at your hands. And I will show you how in a few days you may have Zamora, if God pleases; and if I do not as I have said, then let me be slain. And the king believed all that he said, and received him for his vassal, and did him great honour. And all that night they talked together of his secrets, and he made the king believe that he knew a postern by means of which he would put Zamora into his hands.
On the morrow in the morning, one of the knights who were in the town went upon the wall, and cried out with a loud voice, King Don Sancho, give ear to what I say; I am a knight, and they from whom I spring were true men and delighted in their loyalty, and I also will live and die in my truth. I say unto you, that from this town of Zamora there is gone forth a traitor to kill you; his name is Vellido Dolfos. Look to yourself therefore and take heed of him. I say this to you, that if evil should befall you by this traitor, it may not be said in Spain that you were not warned against him. And the men of Zamora sent also to the king to bid him beware of Vellido; nevertheless he gave no heed to the warning. And Vellido, when he heard this went to the king, and said, Sir, the old Arias Gonzalo is full crafty, and hath sent to say this unto you, because he knows that by my means you would have won the town. And he called for his horse, feigning that he would depart because of what had been said. But the king took him by the hand and said, Friend and vassal, take no thought for this; I say unto you, that if I may have Zamora, I will make you chief therein, even as Arias Gonzalo is now. Then Vellido kissed his hand and said, God grant you life, sir, for many and happy years, and let you fulfil what you desire. But the traitor had other thoughts in his heart.
After this Vellido took the king apart and said to him, If it please you, sir, let us ride out together alone; we will go round Zamora, and see the trenches which you have ordered to be made; and I will show unto you the postern which is called the queen's, by which we may enter the town, for it is never closed. When it is night you shall give me a hundred knights who are hidalgos, well armed, and we will go on foot, and the Zamorans because they are weak with famine and misery, will let us conquer them, and we will enter and open the gate, and keep it open till all your host shall have entered in. The king believed what he said, and they took horse and went riding round the town, and the king looked at the trenches, and that traitor showed him the postern. And after they had ridden round the town the king had need to alight; now he carried in his hand a light hunting spear which was gilded over, such as the kings from whom he was descended were wont to bear; and he gave this to Vellido to hold it while he went aside, to cover his feet. And Vellido Dolfos, when he saw him in that guise, took the hunting spear and thrust it between his shoulders, so that it went through him and came out at his breast. And when he had stricken him he turned the reins and rode as fast as he could toward the postern. Now it chanced that the Cid saw him riding thus, and asked him wherefore he fled, and he would not answer; and then the Cid understood that he had done some treason, and his heart misgave him and he called in haste for his horse, but while they were bringing it, Vellido had ridden far away; and the Cid being eager to follow him, took only his lance and did not wait to have his spurs buckled on. And he followed him to the postern and had well nigh overtaken him, but Vellido got in; and then the Cid said in his anger, Cursed be the knight who ever gets on horseback without his spurs. Now in all the feats of the Cid never was fault found in him save only in this, that he did not enter after Vellido into the town; but he did not fail to do this for cowardice, neither for fear of death, or of imprisonment; but because he thought that this was a device between him and the king, and that he fled by the king's command; for certes, if he had known that the king was slain, there was nothing which would have prevented him from entering the town, and slaying the traitor in the streets, thereright.
Now the history saith, that when Vellido Dolfos had got within the postern, he was in such fear both of those who were in the town and of those who were without, that he went and placed himself under the mantle of the Infanta Donya Urraca. And when Don Arias Gonzalo knew this, he went unto the Infanta and said, Lady, I beseech you that you give up this traitor to the Castillians, otherwise the Castillians will impeach all who are in Zamora, and that will be greater dishonour for you and for us. And Donya Urraca made answer, Counsel me then so that he may not die for this which he hath done. Don Arias Gonzalo then answered, Give him unto me, and I will keep him in custody for three days, and if the Castillians impeach us we will deliver him into their hands; and if they do not impeach us within that time, we will thrust him out of the town so that he shall not be seen among us. And Don Arias Gonzalo took him from thence, and secured him with double fetters, and guarded him well.
Meantime the Castillians went to seek their king, and they found him by the side of the Douro, where he lay sorely wounded, even unto death; but he had not yet lost his speech, and the hunting spear was in his body, through and through, and they did not dare to take it out lest he should die immediately. And a master of Burgos came up who was well skilled in these things, and he sawed off the ends of the spear, that he might not lose his speech, and said that he should be confessed, for he had death within him. Then Count Don Garcia de Cabra said unto him, Sir, think of your soul, for you have a desperate wound. And the king made answer, The traitor Vellido has killed me, and I well know that this was for my sins, because I broke the oath which I made unto the king my father. As the king was saying this the Cid came up and knelt before him and said, I, sir, remain more desolate than any other of your vassals, for for your sake have I made your brethren mine enemies, and all in the world who were against you, and against whom it pleased you to go. The king your father commended me to them as well as to you, when he divided his kingdoms, and I have lost their love for your sake, having done them great evil. And now neither can I go before King Don Alfonso, your brother, nor remain among the Christians before Donya Urraca your sister, because they hold that whatsoever you have done against them was by my counsel. Now then, sir, remember me before you depart. And the king said, I beseech all ye who are here present, that if my brother King Don Alfonso should come from the land of the Moors, ye beseech him to show favour unto you, my Cid, and that he always be bountiful unto you, and receive you to be his vassal. Then the Cid arose and kissed his hand, and all the chief persons who were there present did the like. And the king said unto them, I beseech ye intreat my brother King Don Alfonso to forgive me whatever wrong I have done him, and to pray to God to have mercy upon my soul. And when he had said this he asked for the candle, and presently his soul departed. And all who were there present made great lamentation for the king.
Now when the king was dead, the townsmen who were in the camp forsook their tents and fled, but the noble Castillians would not depart from Zamora, nor break up the siege thereof, but remained bravely before it, though they had lost their lord. And they took counsel together how they should proceed against the men of Zamora for this great treason which had been committed. Then Count Don Garcia de Cabra arose and said, Friends, if there be one here who will impeach them for this thing, we will do whatever may be needful that he may come off with honour, and the impeachment be carried through. Then Don Diego Ordonez arose, and he said unto them, If ye will all assent to this which ye have heard, I will impeach the men of Zamora for the death of the king our lord: and they all assented. Now my Cid did not make this impeachment against the people of Zamora, because of the oath which he had sworn.
Then Don Diego Ordonez went to his lodging and armed himself well and rode toward Zamora. And when he drew nigh unto the town he began to cry aloud, asking if Don Arias Gonzalo were there, for he would speak with him. And Don Arias Gonzalo went with his sons upon the wall to see who called for him, and he spake to the knight, saying, Friend, what wouldest thou? And Don Diego Ordonez answered, The Castillians have lost their lord; the traitor Vellido slew him, being his vassal, and ye of Zamora have received Vellido and harboured him within your walls. Now therefore I say that he is a traitor who hath a traitor with him, if he knoweth and consenteth unto the treason. And for this I impeach the people of Zamora, the great as well as the little, the living and the dead. If there be any one in Zamora to gainsay what I have said, I will do battle with him, and with God's pleasure conquer him, so that the infamy shall remain upon you. Don Arias Gonzalo replied, If I were what thou sayest I am, it had been better for me never to have been born; but in what thou sayest thou liest, and I will do battle with thee upon this quarrel, or give thee one in my stead. But know that you have been ill advised in making this impeachment, for the manner is, that whosoever impeacheth a council must do battle with five, one after another, and if he conquer the five he shall be held a true man, but if either of the five conquer him, the council is held acquitted and he a liar. When Don Diego heard this it troubled him; howbeit he dissembled this right well, and said unto Don Arias Gonzalo, I will bring twelve Castillians, and do you bring twelve men of Zamora, and they shall swear upon the Holy Gospel to judge justly between us, and if they find that I am bound to do battle with five, I will perform it. And Don Arias made answer that he said well, and it should be so. And truce was made for three times nine days, till this should have been determined and the combat fought.
Then when the truce was made they chose out twelve alcades on the one part, and twelve on the other, who should decide in what manner he was bound to perform combat who impeached a council. Two of them who were held the most learned in these things arose, the one being a Castillian and the other of Zamora, and said that they had found the law as it was written to be this: That whosoever impeacheth the council of a town which was a bishop's seat, must do battle with five in the field, one after another; and that after every combat there should be given unto him fresh arms and horse, and three sops of bread, and a draught either of wine or of water, as he chose. And in this sentence which the twain pronounced, the other twenty and two accorded.
On the morrow the four and twenty alcades marked out the lists upon the sand beside the river, and in the middle of the lists they placed a bar, and ordained that he who won the battle should lay hand on the bar, and say that he had conquered: and then they appointed a term of nine days for the combatants to come to those lists which had been assigned. And when all was appointed the Infanta Donya Urraca ordered a meeting to be called, at which all the men of the town assembled. And when they were gathered together, Don Arias Gonzalo said unto them, Friends, I beseech ye, if there be any here among ye who took counsel for the death of King Don Sancho, or were privy thereunto, that ye now tell me, and deny it not; for rather would I go with my sons to the land of the Moors, than be overcome in the field, and held for a traitor. Then they all replied, that there was none there who knew of the treason, nor had consented unto it. At this was Don Arias Gonzalo well pleased, and he went to his house with his sons, and chose out four of them to do combat, and said that he would be the fifth himself.
HOW DON DIEGO FOUGHT THE THREE BROTHERS
By Robert Southey
When the day appointed was come, Don Arias Gonzalo early in the morning armed his sons, and they armed him. As they rode through the gates of their house, Donya Urraca with a company of dames met them, and said to Don Arias, weeping, Remember now how my father, King Don Ferrando, left me to your care, and you swore between his hands that you would never forsake me; and lo! now you are forsaking me. I beseech you remain with me. And she took hold on him, and would not let him go, and made him be disarmed. Then came many knights around him, to demand arms of him, and request that they might do battle in his stead; nevertheless he would give them to none. And he called for his son Pedro Arias, who was a right brave knight, though but of green years, and Don Arias armed him completely with his own hands, and instructed him how to demean himself, and gave him his blessing with his right hand. Then went they into the field, where Don Diego Ordonez was awaiting them, and Pedro Arias entered the lists, and the judges placed them each in his place, and divided the sun between them, and went out, leaving them in the lists.
Then they turned their horses one against the other, and ran at each other full bravely, like good knights. Five times they encountered, and at the sixth encounter their spears brake, and they laid hand upon their swords, and dealt each other such heavy blows that the helmets failed; and in this manner the combat between them continued till noon. And when Don Diego Ordonez saw that it lasted so long, and he could not yet conquer him, he called to mind that he was there fighting to revenge his lord, who had been slain by a foul treason, and he collected together all his strength. And he lifted up his sword and smote Pedro Arias upon the helmet, so that he cut through it, and through the hood of the mail also, and made a wound in the head. And Pedro Arias with the agony of death bowed down to the neck of the horse; yet with all this he neither lost his stirrups, nor let go his sword. And Don Diego Ordonez seeing him thus, thought that he was dead, and would not strike him again; and he called aloud, saying, Don Arias, send me another son, for this one will never fulfil your bidding. When Pedro Arias heard this, grievously wounded as he was, he went fiercely against him: and he took the sword in both hands, and thought to give it him upon his head; but the blow missed, and fell upon the horse, and the horse immediately ran away because of the great wound which he had received. And Don Diego had no reins wherewith to stop him, and perceiving that he should else be carried out of the lists, he threw himself off. And while he did this, Pedro Arias fell down dead, just without the mark. And Don Diego Ordonez laid hand on the bar, and said, Praised be the name of God, one is conquered. And incontinently the judges came and took him by the hand, and led him to a tent and disarmed him, and gave him three sops, and he drank of the wine and rested awhile. And afterwards they gave him other arms, and a horse that was a right good one, and went with him to the lists.
Then Don Arias Gonzalo called for another son, whose name was Diego Arias, gave him his blessing and went with him to the lists. And the judges took the reins of the two champions and led them each to his place, and went out and left them in the lists. And they ran against each other with such force that both shields failed, and in another career they brake their lances. Then laid they hand on their good swords, and delivered such blows that their helmets were cut away, and the sleeves of the mail. And at length Diego Arias received such a blow near the heart that he fell dead. And Don Diego Ordonez went to the bar and laid hold on it, and cried out to Don Arias Gonzalo, Send me another son, for I have conquered two, thanks be to God. Then the judges came and said that the dead knight was not yet out of the lists, and that he must alight and cast him out. Don Diego Ordonez did as they had directed him, and then went and laid hand upon the bar again. And then the judges came to him, and led him to the tent, and disarmed him, and gave him the three sops and the wine, as they had done before.
Then Don Arias Gonzalo, in great rage called for his son Rodrigo Arias, who was a good knight, right hardy and valiant, the elder of all the brethren. And Don Arias said unto him, Son, go now and do battle with Diego Ordonez, to save Donya Urraca your lady, and yourself, and the Council of Zamora; and if you do this, in happy hour were you born. Then Rodrigo Arias kissed his hand and answered, Father, I thank you much for what you have said, and be sure that I will save them, or take my death. And he took his arms and mounted, and his father gave him his blessing, and went with him to the lists; and the judges took his reins and led him in. And when the judges were gone out, they twain ran at each other, and Don Diego missed his blow, but Rodrigo Arias, did not miss, for he gave him so great a stroke with the lance that it pierced through the shield, and broke the saddle-bow behind, and made him lose his stirrups, and he embraced the neck of his horse. But albeit that Don Diego was sorely bested with that stroke, he took heart presently, and went bravely against him, and dealt him so great a blow that he broke the lance in him; for it went through the shield and all his other arms, and great part of the lance remained in his flesh. After this they laid hand to sword, and gave each to the other great blows, and great wounds with them. And Rodrigo Arias gave so great a wound to Diego Ordonez, that he cut his left arm through to the bone. And Don Diego Ordonez, when he felt himself so sorely wounded, went against Rodrigo Arias and delivered him a blow upon the head which cut through the helmet and the hood of the mail, and entered into his head. When Rodrigo Arias felt himself wounded to death, he let go the reins and took his sword in both hands, and gave so great a blow to the horse of Don Diego that the horse ran out of the lists, and carried Don Diego out also, and there died. And Rodrigo Arias fell dead as he was following him. Then Don Diego Ordonez would have returned into the field to do battle with the other two, but the judges would not permit this, neither did they think good to decide whether they of Zamora were overcome in this third duel or not. And in this manner the thing was left undecided. Nevertheless, though no sentence was given, there remained no infamy upon the people of Zamora. Better had it been for Don Arias Gonzalo if he had given up Vellido to the Castillians, that he might have died the death of a traitor; he would not then have lost these three sons, who died like good men, in their duty. Now what was the end of Vellido the history sayeth not, but it is to be believed, that because the impeachment was not made within three days, Don Arias Gonzalo thrust him out of the town as Donya Urraca had requested, and that he fled into other lands, peradventure among the Moors.
In the meantime the Infanta Donya Urraca wrote letters secretly and sent messengers with them to Toledo to King Don Alfonso, telling him that King Don Sancho his brother was dead, and had left no heir, and that he should come as speedily as he could to receive the kingdoms.
As soon as King Don Alfonso arrived at Zamora, he took counsel with his sister. And the Infanta Donya Urraca, who was a right prudent lady and a wise, sent letters throughout the land, that a cortes should assemble and receive him for their lord. And when the Leonese and the Gallegos knew that their lord King Don Alfonso was come, they were full joyful, and they came to Zamora and received him for their lord and king. And afterwards the Castillians arrived, and they of Navarre, and they also received him for their lord and king, but upon this condition, that he should swear that he had not taken counsel for the death of his brother King Don Sancho. Howbeit they did not come forward to receive the oath, and they kissed his hands in homage, all, save only Ruydiez, my Cid. And when King Don Alfonso saw that the Cid did not do homage and kiss his hand, 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. 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, neither did it please me, though he had taken my kingdom from me. 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 was come, the king went to hear mass in the church of Gadea. And 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 exceeding 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 towards my Cid in the heart of the king.
After this was King Don Alfonso crowned King of Castille, and Leon, and Galicia, and Portugal; and he called himself King and Emperor of all Spain, even as his father had done before him.
TALES OF ROBIN HOOD
Robin Hood is said to have been born at Locksley in the County of Nottingham, in the reign of Henry II, about 1160. Some claim that he came of good family, and was in reality the Earl of Huntingdon.
Public performances of plays based on the tales became so common by 1550 that they had to be forbidden, "but the people would not be forbidden," said John Knox, the preacher. Bishop Latimer complained bitterly how, when he was one day ready to preach in a country church, he was told it was Robin Hood's day, a busy day with them, and they could not hear him.
You will find a lot about Robin Hood in Scott's Ivanhoe, some of which is in the volume "The Stories that never Grow Old."
ROBIN HOOD AND THE KNIGHT
Retold by Mary Macleod
In the days of Richard I there lived a famous outlaw who was known by the name of Robin Hood. He was born at Locksley in the county of Nottingham, and was of noble origin, for he is often spoken of as "Earl of Huntingdon." Robin was very wild and daring, and having placed his life in danger by some reckless act, or possibly through some political offence, he fled for refuge to the greenwood. His chief haunts were Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire, and Barnsdale in Yorkshire. Round him soon flocked a band of trusty followers. An old chronicler states that Robin Hood "entertained an hundred tall men and good archers." They robbed none but the rich, and killed no man except in self-defence. Robin "suffered no woman to be oppressed or otherwise molested; poor men's goods he spared, abundantly relieving them" with spoils got from abbeys or the houses of rich people.
Robin Hood's exploits were widely known, and although the poorer classes were all on his side, those in authority were naturally incensed against him. Many attempts were made to seize him, and large rewards were offered for his capture. He was often in danger of his life, and had many narrow escapes, but so daring was his courage, and so quick and clever his wit and resource that he always contrived to get clear away.
An old tradition says that the father of Robin was a forester, a renowned archer. On one occasion he shot for a wager against the three gallant yeomen of the north country—Adam Bell, Clym-of-the-Clough, and William of Cloudesly, and the forester beat all three of them.
The mother of Robin Hood was a niece of the famous Guy, Earl of Warwick, who slew the blue boar; her brother was Gamwel of Great Gamwel Hall, a squire of famous degree, and the owner of one of the finest houses in Nottinghamshire.
When the other outlaws flocked to Robin Hood they begged him to tell them what sort of life they were to lead, and where they were to go, what they were to take and what to leave, what sort of people they were to rob, and whom they were to beat and to bind—in short, how they were to act in every circumstance.
"Have no fear, we shall do very well," answered Robin. "But look you do no harm to any husbandman that tilleth with his plough, nor to any good yeoman that walketh in the greenwood, nor to any knight or squire who is a good fellow. And harm no folk in whose company is any woman.
"But fat rascals, and all who have got rich by pilfering, canting, and cheating, those you may beat and bind, and hold captive for ransom. And chiefly the Sheriff of Nottingham—look you, bear him well in mind."
And his followers promised to pay heed to his words, and carry them out carefully.
Chief among the band of outlaws known as "Robin Hood's merry men" was "Little John," so called because his name was John Little, and he was seven feet high. Robin Hood was about twenty years old when he first came to know Little John, and they got acquainted in this way. Robin was walking one day in the forest when coming near a brook he chanced to spy a stranger, a strong lusty lad like himself. The two met in the middle of a long narrow bridge, and neither would give way. They quarrelled as to which should be the master, and finally agreed to fight with stout staves on the bridge, and whichever fell into the water the other was to be declared to have won. The encounter was a stiff one, but finally the stranger knocked down Robin Hood, and tumbled him into the brook. Robin bore no malice, but owned at once the other had got the best of it, and seeing what a stout nimble fellow he was, persuaded him to join his band of archers, and go and live with them in the greenwood.
Next to Little John the chief man was Will Scarlet, who in reality was Robin's own cousin or nephew, young Gamwel of Gamwel Hall. Having slain his father's steward either by accident or in some brawl, young Will fled to his kinsman, Robin Hood, in Sherwood Forest, where, as in the case of Little John, he first made his acquaintance by fighting with him. As young Will on this occasion happened to be dressed very smartly in silken doublet and scarlet stockings Robin Hood dubbed him "Will Scarlet," by which name he was always afterwards known.
Besides these two famous outlaws there were many others of lesser note who from time to time joined the band. Among them may be mentioned "Gilbert of the white hand" who was almost as good an archer as Robin himself; Allen-a-Dale, whose bride Robin Hood helped him to secure; Much, the son of a miller; George-a-Green; Friar Tuck; Will Stutely, who was taken prisoner by the Sheriff of Nottingham and nearly hanged, but was rescued from the gallows by the gallant yeomen; Arthur-a-Bland, the sturdy tanner of Nottingham, who beat Robin when they fought with staves; the jolly tinker of Banbury who went out to arrest Robin, but ended by joining his band, and the chief ranger of Sherwood Forest, who did the same.
Lastly, there was the bonny maid of noble degree, who was known in the north country as Maid Marian. She had loved Robin Hood when they were young together, in the days when he was still the Earl of Huntingdon, but spiteful fortune forced them to part. Robin had to fly for refuge to the greenwood, and Maid Marian, unable to live without him, dressed herself like a page, with quiver and bow, sword and buckler, and went in search of him. Long and wearily she ranged the forest, and when the lovers met they did not know each other, for Robin, too, had been obliged to disguise himself. They fought as foes, and so sore was the fray that both were wounded, but Robin so much admired the valour of the stranger lad that he bade him stay his hand, and asked him to join his company. When Marian knew the voice of her lover she quickly made herself known to him, and great was the rejoicing. A stately banquet was quickly prepared, which was served in a shady bower, and they feasted merrily, while all the tall and comely yeomen drank to the health of Robin Hood's bride. So for many years they dwelt together with great content in the greenwood.
It happened one day as Robin Hood stood under a tree in Barnsdale that Little John went up to him, and said:
"Master, if you would dine soon, would it not be well?"
"I do not care to dine," answered Robin, "until I have some bold baron or stranger guest to eat with us, or else some rich rascal who will pay for the feast, or else some knight or squire who dwells in these parts."
"It is already far on in the day; now heaven send us a guest soon, so that we may get to dinner," said Little John.
"Take thy good bow in thy hand," said Robin, "and let Will Scarlet and Much go with thee, and walk up to the Sayles and so to Watling Street. There wait for some strange guest whom it may very well chance you will meet. Be it earl or baron, or abbot or knight, bring him here to lodge; his dinner shall be ready for him."
So these three good yeomen, Little John, Will Scarlet, and Much went off to the great high-road which is known as Watling Street, and there they looked east and they looked west, but not a man could they see. But as they looked in Barnsdale, by a little private path there came a knight riding, whom they soon met. Very dreary and woebegone seemed this traveller; one foot was in the stirrup, the other dangled outside; his hood hung down over his eyes; his attire was poor and shabby; no sorrier man than he ever rode on a summer's day.
Little John bent low in courtesy before him.
"Welcome, sir knight! Welcome to greenwood! I am right glad to see you. My master hath awaited you fasting these three hours."
"Who is your master?" asked the knight.
"Robin Hood, sir," answered Little John.
"He is a brave yeoman; I have heard much good of him," said the knight. "I will go in company with you, my comrades. My purpose was to have dined to-day at Blyth or Doncaster."
So the knight went with the yeomen, but his face was still sad and careworn, and tears often fell from his eyes. Little John and Will Scarlet brought him to the door of the lodge in Barnsdale, where the outlaws were staying at that time, and as soon as Robin saw him he lifted his hood courteously, and bent low in token of respect.