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

The Cid's Family Arrives in Valencia


That night the Cid talked with Alvar Fanez and Pero Bermudez and all the others of his council in regard to the manner in which they should live among the Moors. On the next day the chief men of the Moors came again to the Alcazar, and the Cid took his seat, and he said to them: "Good men of Valencia, you know how I served and defended your king Yahia and you also until his death. I had great sorrow for him and tried to revenge him, and endured great hardships in winning Valencia. Now I will have it for myself and those who have helped me, under the sovereignty of my king Don Alfonso. You are all now in my power to do with you whatever I will. But I will do you no harm. I will that the honorable men among you who have always been loyal shall remain in their dwellings with all their families, and that none of you keep more than one beast, which shall be a mule, and that you shall not use arms, nor have them in your possession except when I permit you. All the rest of the people shall go out of the city and dwell in the suburb Alcudia. You shall have two Mosques, one in the city and one in the suburb. You shall have your Alfaquis, and follow your own law. You shall have your Cadis and your Guazil. You shall have your inheritances and pay me a tenth, and the power of justice shall be mine. Do you therefore who wish to dwell here stay, and let those who wish depart, and good luck go with them; but they shall take only their own persons."

When the Moors of Valencia heard this, they were very sorrowful; however, this was no time to do anything but obey. So they began to go from the city into Alcudia, and as the Moors went out, the Christians came in. So great was the multitude that left the city that it took two whole days for them to remove. From that day the Cid was called "My Cid the Campeador, Lord of Valencia."

Now the news spread everywhere how the Cid had won the noble city of Valencia. When Ali Abenaxa, the chief of the Almoravides, knew this, he sent his son-in-law, the king of Seville, with thirty thousand men to besiege the Cid in his city; and the Cid made ready with all his people, and went out to fight him. The battle took place near Valencia, by the Cid's garden. It was a hard fight, but in the end the Cid, who was called "He of Good Fortune," conquered, and he pursued the enemy as far as Xativa, smiting and slaying. At the passage of the river Xucar, the chroniclers say the Moors drank plenty of water without liking it. They say that fifteen thousand Moors were drowned there, and the king of Seville fled after having received three great blows.

On that day the knight Martin Pelaez, who had once been a coward, fought most bravely, so that there was no one who carried away such honor as he. When the pursuit was ended, the Cid returned to the field of battle, and ordered the spoils of the field and of the tents to be collected. There was such great spoil that every foot-soldier received a hundred marks of silver that day. And the Cid returned with great joy to Valencia. The Cid had now allowed his beard to grow until it was of great length, and he said of his chin, "For the love of King Don Alfonso, who has banished me from his land, no scissors shall come upon it, nor shall a hair be cut away, and Moors and Christians shall talk of it."

That night the Cid advised with Alvar Fanez, who never left his side, and with the others of his council concerning what should be done. For now that all his people were rich, he feared that they would wish to return to their own country, since he had no way of preventing them, as they were free men. Then Alvar advised that a proclamation should be made through the city, that no man should depart without the permission of the Cid, and that if any one went without his permission and having kissed his hand, he should be pursued and overtaken, and should lose all that he had and be fastened to a stake. And in order to make certain that no one should depart without his knowledge, the Cid said he would take a census of his men. Then Pero Bermudez and Martin Antolinez made the roll; and there were found a thousand knights of good families, and five hundred and fifty other horsemen, and four thousand foot-soldiers, beside boys and others. When he found he had so many people the Cid rejoiced, smiling and saying, "We had a smaller company when we left Bivar."

At this time there came the Bishop Don Hieronymo, a very learned man and also a great soldier. He came asking for the Cid, and saying that he was anxious to fight the Moors in the field as he thought it a good deed to fight the Mahometans who were the enemies of the Christian church. He said he desired to have his fill of fighting and slaying these men. When the Cid heard this it pleased him greatly, and he took his horse and went to visit the Bishop, resolving to make a bishopric of Valencia and give it to this man.

Then they took counsel together, and it was decided that on the next day the Bishop and his clergy should turn the Mosques into churches, wherein they might worship according to their belief. So nine parish churches were made, the greatest of which was called St. Pedro's, and another was called St. Mary of the Virtues. Rents were appointed for the table of the Bishop and for his Canons and for all the clergy of Valencia. After this manner the Cid ordered that his city should be a bishopric, for the honor of Christianity. Then all Christendom was joyful that there was a Lord Bishop in the land of Valencia.

Now the Cid determined to send for his wife and daughters and have them brought to him, as he hoped to live many years in his new city. So he called for Alvar Fanez and Martin Antolinez and asked them to go to Castile to the King Don Alfonso and take him a present of a hundred horses, bridled and saddled; and that they would kiss the king's hand for him, and beseech him to send him his wife and daughters, and that they would tell him how he had become lord of a great city, and that he was at the king's service with Valencia and all that he had. He told them also to take much silver to the Monastery of St. Pedro, and give them to the Abbot, and gold for his wife and daughters, that they might come in a manner suited to their station.

The Cid also told them to take gold and silver sufficient to redeem the chests of sand that he had left with the Jews in Burgos, and to ask Rachel and Vidas to forgive him the deception, as he had at that time been in great need, and to tell them that they should have more interest than they had asked. He sent with them two hundred and fifty knights, that his wife might be escorted with honor and safety.

Alvar and Martin soon went on their journey and arrived safely at Palencia, where they found the king. When they came, the king was at church, and seeing this goodly company he stopped in the church porch and asked who they were. He was told that they were the people of the Cid, and that they had come with a great present. Then Alvar and Martin alighted, and went to the king and kissed his hand, and he received them well, and said, "What tidings do you bring me of the Cid, my true vassal, the most honorable knight that was ever knighted in Castile?" Then Alvar was well pleased at this reception, and said: "We have come to ask a boon, Sir King Don Alfonso. My Cid bade me kiss your hands and your feet, as his natural lord, at whose service he is. You banished him from the land, but, though in another country, he has done you only service. Five pitched battles has he won since that time, some with Moors and some with bad Christians. He has taken Xerica, and Ondra, and Almenar, and Monviedro, and Cebola, and Castrejon, and Bena Cadiella, and withal the right noble city of Valencia. He has made Valencia a bishopric and made Don Hieronymo bishop of it. Behold, here are a hundred horses of the spoils he has taken; they are great and swift, and are all bridled and saddled, and he kisses your hand and beseeches you as his lord to receive them."

When the king heard this he was greatly astonished, and he said, "I rejoice in the good fortune of the Cid, and willingly receive his gift." But though this pleased the king it did not please Garcia Ordonez, who said, "It seems there is not a man left in the land of the Moors, that the Cid can do as he wishes." But the king said, "Hold thy peace, for in all things he serves me better than you."

Then Alvar kissed the king's hand again, and said, "Sir, the Cid beseeches you that he may have his wife Doņa Ximena and his two daughters, that they may go to Valencia to him, for it is many days since he saw them, and if it please you this would rejoice him." The king answered, "It pleases me well, and I will give them a guard to conduct them to the borders of my kingdom; after that the Cid must look after them." And he said: "All those who have lost their property for following the Cid shall have it again. All who wish to serve him have my permission to go and join him. And I grant him Valencia and all that he has won or shall win hereafter, that he shall be called Lord thereof, and he shall hold it under no lordship but mine, as I am his liege lord."

Alvar and Martin again kissed the king's hand for this, in the Cid's name. The king gave orders that they should have all that they needed while they were in his dominions. Then Alvar and Martin went on their way to Burgos; and when they had reached that place, they sent for the Jews Rachel and Vidas, and demanded of them the chests, and paid them the money, and asked them to forgive the deception of the sand, for it was done in a time of great need. They said they forgave him heartily, and held themselves well paid, and prayed God to grant him long life and good health, and to give him power to put down the pagans. When it was known in Burgos that the Cid had redeemed the chests of sand, the people held it for a great wonder, and throughout the town they talked of the gentleness and loyalty of the Cid.

Then Alvar and Martin went to the Monastery, where Doņa Ximena and her daughters were like people beside themselves with the great joy they had, and they came out running on foot, weeping plenteously for joy. When the men saw them coming, they jumped off their horses, and Alvar embraced his cousins, and their pleasure was unspeakable.

Then Doņa Ximena asked how the Cid fared. Alvar said he had left him safe and sound in Valencia, and that he had won many castles from the Moors, and lastly the noble city of Valencia, to which he was now to carry her and her daughters, as the Cid had sent for them. When Doņa Ximena heard this, she and her daughters fell on their knees and thanked God for the favor he had shown to the Cid and to them.

While they were getting ready for the journey Alvar sent three knights to the Cid to tell him how kindly they had been received by the king, and that he now waited only until Doņa Ximena could be ready. Then Alvar began to deck the ladies with the best trappings that could be found in Burgos, and he provided a great company of damsels and good riding horses and mules. He gave the Abbot the silver the Cid had sent for the Monastery, and to pay all the expense they had been at for Doņa Ximena and her daughters.

All this caused a great stir in that region; and when the people learned of the permission the king had granted that as many as chose could join the Cid, sixty knights came to the Monastery, and a great number of squires on foot. These Alvar was glad to welcome, and he promised them the friendship of the Cid. The Abbot wept when Alvar departed, and bade him kiss the Cid's hand, and say that the Monastery would never forget him and would pray for him every day in the year. Then Alvar departed with his company, and after five days they came to Medina Celi.

Now the three knights that Alvar had sent came to the Cid and delivered the message. When the Cid heard this he rejoiced, and said, "Blessed be God, since King Don Alfonso rejoices in my good fortune." Then he called for certain of his knights and for the Bishop, and bade them take a hundred knights and go to Molina, to Abencano, who was his friend, and bid him take another hundred knights and go with them as fast as they could to Medina. "There," said he, "you will find Alvar and my wife and daughters; bring them to me with great honor. I will remain here in Valencia, which has cost me so much. It would be folly for me to leave it."

These men accordingly set off, and when they came to Molina, Abencano received them honorably and took with him two hundred knights. On the next day they took horse, and they crossed the mountains, which are great and wild, and passed Mata without fear, and they thought to go through the valley of Arbuxedo. The knights at Medina were keeping a good lookout, and Alvar sent a messenger to ask who these were who were coming. When he learned that men of the Cid had come to meet them, Alvar cried, "This instant let us to horse." Then all mounted, and they rode on goodly horses with bells and trappings of silk, and they had their shields round their necks, and lances with streamers in their hands. It was a brave sight to see Alvar with the ladies leave Castile.

The other party now came on spurring their horses, couching their spears and then raising them. When Abencano came up he kissed Alvar on the shoulder, for that was his custom, and he said, "On a good day, do you bring these ladies, the wife and daughters of the Cid, whom we all honor. Whatever ill we may wish him, we can do him none. In peace or in war, he will have our wealth, and he must be a fool who does not acknowledge this truth."

At this Alvar smiled, and told him he should lose nothing by this service which he had done the Cid. Then they asked them to partake of supper, and Abencano said he was well pleased to eat with them, and that within three days he would return the entertainment twofold. Then they entered Medina, and Alvar served them.

On the next morning, they all took horse and left Medina, passed the river Saloj, spurred up the valley of Acbuedo, and crossed the plain of Torancio. The ladies rode between the Bishop and Alvar. When they came to Molina they were lodged in a rich house, and Abencano served them. He also had their horses new shod, and did for them all the honor that he could. On the next day they left Molina, and Abencano went with them.

When they were within nine miles of Valencia, news of their coming was brought to the Cid. Never had he such joy as then, for tidings had come of what he loved best. He ordered two hundred knights to go out to meet them, and he bade others keep the Alcazar and the other high towers and all the gates and entrances. Then he ordered them to bring him his horse Bavieca, one that he had won a short time before, and he had never yet tried him. Then they saddled Bavieca and threw on his trappings. The Cid wore light armor and his surcoat over it; and his long beard seemed very beautiful. Then the Cid put spurs to Bavieca and ran a career with him, and all marvelled at his speed, so that from that day Bavieca was famous all over Spain.

At the end of the course, the Cid alighted and went toward his wife and daughters. Who can tell the joy of that meeting? They fell at his feet, and their joy was such that they could not speak. He raised them up and embraced them and kissed them many times, weeping for joy that he saw them alive. Then he said, "You dear and honored wife, and ye my daughters, my heart and my soul, enter with me into Valencia, the inheritance which I have won for you.

While they were thus rejoicing, the Bishop, who had gone rapidly into the city and brought out the priests, came with the procession to meet them and make them welcome. Thus they entered the city. Then there were games in their honor and bull fights and all manner of sports. The Cid led them to the Alcazar, and took them to the highest tower of it, and there they looked about and saw Valencia, how it lay before them, and the great garden with its thick shade, and the sea on the other side.

On that day the Cid did great honor to Abencano for all the service he had done to Doņa Ximena. Then Abencano said, "This, Sir, I was bound to do, for since I have been your vassal I have always been protected from all my enemies and kept in safety. How then should I do otherwise than serve you? If I did not, I should lack understanding." Then the Cid thanked him for what he had done, and what he had said, and promised him his favor in the future. After this Abencano took his leave and returned to Molina.