Story of the Cid for Young People - C. D. Wilson

The Infantes Abuse the Cid's Daughters


One day the companions of the Cid were talking before him of this victory, and they were saying who were the young knights that had done well in the battle and who had not; but no mention was made of the Infantes; for though there were some who whispered about them, none would speak ill of them before the Cid. And the Infantes saw this, and took counsel with their uncle, and determined to quickly carry out their wickedness, for they began to think that their cowardice in the battle would soon be talked about.

So they went before the Cid, and Ferrando began to speak, saying: "Cid, thou knowest well what tie there is between you and us, for we hold you in the place of a father; from the day you gave us your daughters we have always abode with you and have always striven to serve you. If we have at any time failed in this, we have not done so wilfully, but for want of better understanding. Now as it is long time since we left Castile and our father and mother, we would now, if you and Doņa Ximena should think good, return to them and take our wives with us. So shall our kinsmen see how honorably we are mated, and how greatly to our profit; and our wives shall be put in possession of the towns which we have given them for their dower. Whenever you shall call upon us, we will be ready to come and serve you." Then the Cid, thinking they spoke sincerely, said: "My sons, I am troubled at what you say, for when you take my daughters you take my very heart-strings. Yet it is fitting that you do as you have said. Go when you will, and I will give you such gifts that it shall be known in Galicia and Castile and Leon with what riches I have sent my sons-in-law home."

Then the Cid rose from his seat and went to Doņa Ximena and told her and Alvar Fanez what had passed between him and the Infantes, and what answer he had given. His wife and cousin were greatly troubled that the Cid had consented to the request of the Infantes; and Doņa Ximena said, "I do not think it wisely done to let them take our daughters into another land; for our sons-in-law are false at heart, and if I read them rightly they will do our daughters some dishonor when there will be none to call them to account." Alvar was of the same mind; but the Cid, who was of a generous, unsuspicious nature, was displeased at them, and wondered greatly that they should think so much evil, and he bade them speak no more in this way. He said the Infantes were not of so base a family as to do such wrong, neither would it come into their minds to do it, as the king had made the marriage; but he said if they did any harm it would cost them dear.

So the Infantes made ready for their departure. The two sisters came and knelt before their father and mother, and said, "You send us to the lands of Carrion and we must obey. Now give us your blessing, and let us have some of your people in our new home." The Cid embraced them and kissed them, and the mother kissed them and embraced them twice as much, and they gave them their blessing.

The Cid gave his sons-in-law a great store of cloth of gold and of serge and of wool, and a hundred horses saddled and bridled, and a hundred mules with all their trappings, and ten cups of gold, and a hundred vessels of silver, and six hundred marks of silver in dishes and trenchers and other things. When all this was done, they took their departure and went out of Valencia, and the Cid rode three miles with them. He observed the flights of the birds, which were considered in those times to be omens, and he found the signs to be bad, and he thought these marriages would not be without some evil. His heart smote him, and he began to think of what Doņa Ximena had said, and to fear lest evil should come from these Infantes, for their manner of speech was not as it had been.

Then the Cid called his nephew Felez Munoz and said to him, "Go with my daughters to the land of Carrion and see the possessions that are given them, and bring me word of how they are treated." And Felez said he would do this. The Cid also bade him salute the Moor Abengalvon and bid him accompany his daughters as far as Medina, and to tell him that for all he would do the Cid would reward him. When the ladies came to take leave of their father and mother, great were the lamentations on both sides, as if they foresaw some evil; and the Cid tried to comfort them, saying that he would always think of them and care for them. He gave them his blessing and turned back, and they went their way with their husbands, the parting being like plucking the nail from the flesh.

So the Infantes went on until on the second day they came near Molina, the home of Abengalvon; and when that Moor knew that the daughters of the Cid were coming, he went out to meet them and took them food, and served them generously and carried them rich gifts and gave each of the Infantes a horse. He also took two hundred knights and accompanied them on their way, and lodged them in the place called Ansarera: all this he did for the love of the Cid.

Now the Infantes, seeing the riches of this Moor, said, "If we could kill this Abengalvon, we might have all these riches as safely as if we were in Carrion, and the Cid could never take vengeance on us." There was near by a Moor who understood their speech, and he went to Abengalvon, saying, "Take heed, Sir, for I heard the Infantes plotting to kill you." Abengalvon was a bold man, and when he was told this, he went with his two hundred men before the Infantes, and what he said did not please them. "Infantes," he said, "tell me, what have I done? I have served you well, and you take counsel for my death. If it were not for the sake of the Cid, you should never reach Carrion. I would take his daughters back to the loyal Cid, and so deal with you that it would be talked about over the whole world; but I leave you for the traitors that you are. Doņa Elvira and Doņa Sol, I go with your favor." Having said this, the good Moor returned to his home.

The company travelled on for some time, and after they had crossed the river Douro they came into the Oak-wood of Corpes. The mountains were high, and the trees thick and lofty, and there were wild beasts in that place. Then they came to a spot of green grass in the forest, where there was a spring of clear water, and there they made a camp. They passed the night there. Early in the morning the Infantes ordered the beasts to be loaded and the tents struck, and they sent all their company on, so that no one remained with them; they gave the excuse that their wives would enjoy the quiet and rest there for a little while.

Then Doņa Elvira asked her husband, "Why would you have us rest in this lonely place?" And he said, "Hold your peace, and you shall see." Then the Infantes tore away the mantles from their wives and all their garments but the inner one, and they held them by the hair of their heads, and with the other took the girths from their horses. And the women said: "Don Diego and Don Ferrando, you have strong swords with sharp edges, called Colado and Tizona, weapons that our father gave you; cut off our heads, and we shall become martyrs. But do us no dishonor, for that will be to shame yourselves."

But the Infantes paid no heed to what they said, but beat them cruelly with the saddle-girths, and kicked them with their spurs, so that their garments were torn and stained with blood. Oh if the Cid had come upon them in that hour! And the women cried out and called upon God to have mercy on them; but the more they cried the more did the Infantes beat and kick them till they swooned away. Then the Infantes took their mantles and their cloaks and their furs of ermine and left them for dead, saying, "Lie there, daughters of the Cid, for it is not fitting that you should be our wives. We shall see now how your father will avenge you, and we have now taken vengeance for the shame he did us with the lion." Saying this, they rode away, leaving the ladies to the mountain birds and to the beasts of the forest. Oh if the Cid had come upon them in that hour! These wretches rode off glorying in what they had done, for they said the daughters of the Cid were not worthy to be their wives.

When the Infantes, before they did this deed, had ordered their company to ride on, Felez rode on with the rest. But the order did not please him, and he went aside from his companions and struck into the forest, and there waited until the ladies should come. Presently he saw the Infantes coming alone, and heard what they said to each other. They passed without seeing him, and he rode back to the spring and found the women lying senseless. There he knelt by them and lamented greatly. By this time the women were recovering their senses, but they could not speak, for their hearts were breaking.

Then Felez called out to them, "Doņa Elvira, Doņa Sol, for the love of God rouse yourselves that we may get away before night comes or the wild beasts will devour us." Then they came to themselves and opened their eyes and saw that it was Felez who spoke to them, and he said, "Take heart and let us be gone from this place, for if the Infantes come back, we shall all be killed." But Doņa Sol cried for water, and Felez took his hat and filled it with water, and gave it to them; and he comforted them and bade them take courage. Then he placed them on his horse and covered them with his cloak and led them into the thicket of the forest, and made a bed of grass and leaves and laid them on it and covered them with his cloak and sat down to weep, for he knew not what to do. He had no food, and if he went to seek it, the wild beasts and birds would attack them. On the other hand, unless he went to the Cid, there could no vengeance be taken.

While Felez was in this great trouble, the Infantes joined their company, with bloody hands and spurs. When their people saw that their wives were not with them they thought some evil deed had been done; and the better men of the party, to the number of a hundred, went apart with one named Pero Sanchez, who said to them: "Friends, these Infantes have committed some crime upon the daughters of our lord, the Cid. They are our liege ladies; and the Cid made us knights, and we should discharge the duty we owe them. We must arm ourselves and demand of the Infantes what they have done with the ladies. If they will not deliver them to us, we must fight them to the death." This advice the others thought good. When the Infantes saw them coming, they were afraid and said: "Go to the Oak-forest, and there you may find them. We left them safe and sound, but we would not take them with us."—"Ill have you done," replied those knights, "to forsake such wives and the daughters of such a father. Henceforth we renounce all friendship for you, and defy you for the Cid and for ourselves and for all his people." And the Infantes made no reply. When they saw the Infantes would not answer, they said: "Get you gone for traitors. There is no way in the world by which you can escape the enemies you have now made." But to all this the Infantes made no reply, but went their way.

Then Pero and his men rode back to the spring, and they saw there blood; but the ladies were gone, and they knew not where to look for them. So they went about the forest calling aloud. Now Felez and the women heard their voices, but they were afraid to answer, thinking it was the Infantes and their company. So Pero and his men went about seeking them in vain. Then Martin Ferrandez said: "Friends, it will not do for us to turn back and go to the Cid without seeking vengeance. Rather must we follow the Infantes and give them battle. If we cannot overtake them, then we should go on to King Don Alfonso and tell him of this foul deed." The other knights thought this good counsel, and they followed the Infantes as rapidly as they could.

But the Infantes had ridden away so rapidly that they could not overtake them. When they saw this, they went on to Palencia to find the king, and they came before him and kissed his hands, and with sorrowful hearts told him of the dishonor of the daughters of the Cid. The king having heard this was greatly offended, as he had taken part in the marriage, and he said, "It must be that in a few days we shall receive tidings of this from the Cid, and upon his complaint we shall see justice done." Then Pero and his men kissed the king's hands, and waited at his court for word from the Cid.

When Felez heard that the voices in the forest had ceased, he went to a village near by to get food for the ladies; and in this manner he cared for them for seven days. In that village he found a kind man in whose house the Cid had often lodged, and he had heard of his great deeds. As Felez heard this man praise the Cid, he thought he could trust him, so he told him what had befallen the ladies. Then the good man took two mules and his two sons who were young men. When the ladies saw them, they were ashamed and would have hidden themselves, but they could not. But this good man bent his knees before them, and said: "Ladies, I am at the service of your father, who has many times lodged at my house, and he was always kind to me. Now I have come to carry you to my house, for you must not remain in this forest where there are wild beasts. When you are at my home, my wife and daughters will serve you as best they can. And you may send this squire to your father, and we will keep you secretly till your father shall send for you."

Then the ladies said to each other, "This good man says well, and it is better to go with him than remain here and die, for so we shall see our father revenge our wrongs." So they were set upon the beasts and taken to the village after dark, and no one knew of their coming. There, this man's wife and daughters ministered to them with great kindness.

On the next day the ladies wrote a letter to their father, that he should believe what Felez would tell him, and they wrote this letter with the blood from their wounds. So Felez went on to Valencia, and on the way he met Diego Tellez of the company of Alvar Fanez and told him the affair. He at once took horses and raiment and went for the ladies and brought them to Santesteban. The men of Santesteban were always gentlemen, the Chronicle says; and they comforted the daughters of the Cid, and healed their wounds.

In the meantime Felez proceeded on his way, and met Alvar Fanez and Pero Bermudez going to the King Alfonso with a present from the Cid; they were taking two hundred horses, won from King Bucar, and a hundred Moorish prisoners, and many good swords and rich saddles. When they saw Felez, they wondered greatly, for they had thought he was on his way to Carrion; and as they came near they lamented, fearing something was wrong. Then they alighted and asked what had befallen, and he quickly told them. Great were their lamentations, and they agreed that Alvar and Pero should proceed on their way to the king, and demand justice in the name of the Cid, and that Felez should continue to Valencia.