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

The Final Victory


Now Alvar led his host against the Moors, while the Bishop and Gil Diaz led away the body of the Cid and his wife and the baggage. First he attacked the tents of the negress queen, and this onset was so sudden that they killed a hundred and fifty Moors before they had time to arm. But the queen was the first that got on horseback, and with fifty of her company she did hurt to the Cid's people; but they at last slew her, and her people fled. So great was the confusion that there were few who took arms, but they turned their backs and fled to the sea. When Bucar and his kings saw this, they were astonished. And it seemed to them as if seventy thousand knights, all white as snow, came against them. Before them they saw a knight of great stature upon a white horse, with a bloody cross, who bore in one hand a white banner and in the other a sword that seemed to be of fire, and he made a great mortality among the flying Moors.

King Bucar and the other kings were so dismayed that they never checked their horses until they had ridden into the sea, and the company of the Cid rode after them, smiting and slaying. When they came to the sea, there was such great crowding to get to the ships that more than ten thousand perished in the waters. Of the six and thirty kings twenty and two were slain. And King Bucar and those who escaped hoisted sails and went their way.

Then Alvar and his people spoiled the field, and there was so much booty that they could not carry it away. They loaded camels and horses with the noblest things they found, and went after the Bishop and his company. When they had all met together, they took the road toward Castile.

The Moors of the suburbs thought that the Cid had gone out alive, as they saw his sword in his hand; but when they saw him go toward Castile, they were astonished. All that day they remained in amazement and did not dare go to the tents of King Bucar nor into the town, as they thought the Cid did this for a stratagem. On the next morning they looked toward the town and heard no noise there. Then the governor took a horse and a man with him and went to the town, where he found all the gates shut except the one through which the Cid's party had come out. And he went into the city and found no one. Then he went and called the Moors from the suburbs and told them the Christians had deserted the city. But they were so amazed that they did not venture in until midday.

When they saw no one return, a great company went into the city and looked through it and found no one; but they saw written upon the wall in Arabic letters that the Cid was dead, and that they had carried him away to conquer Bucar, and that none might oppose their going. When the Moors saw this they were exceeding glad, and they came with their families into the city, each to the house he had before the Cid won it. From that day on Valencia remained in the hands of the Moors till King Don Jayme of Aragon took it.

On the next day the Moors went into the tents of King Bucar and found there many arms; but the tents were deserted except by a few women who had hidden themselves, and they told of the defeat of Bucar. They saw no ships in the port, and they began to gather up the spoils so that they had enough to provide for the city of Valencia for two years.

Whenever the Cid's company halted, they took his body off his horse, and when they went forward again, they placed it in like manner upon the horse. When they had come into Castile, they sent messengers to their friends bidding them come to the funeral. And they wished to put the body in a coffin, but Ximena said that while his countenance remained so fresh she would not have this done. Presently the Prince of Aragon with his wife came, and as they drew nigh they wept. When Doņa Sol saw her father, she unloosed her hair and began to tear it, but her mother held her and said, "Daughter, you do ill, for your father commanded that none should lament in this way for him."

Then a great multitude assembled, for they had never seen so strange a sight; for with the body of no man had so strange a thing been done before. After a few days, the king of Navarre came with his wife, for this Prince's father had died and he had become king. Greatly did they marvel to see the body of the Cid, for he seemed alive and not dead. When King Don Alfonso heard of this, he came to take part in the funeral to Cardena; and as he saw the company coming with the Cid sitting nobly on his horse, he was amazed. Then they told him of what they had done, and he did not think it so wonderful, for he had heard that in Egypt they had so done for their kings.

When they had all come to the monastery, they took the Cid from off his horse and set the body upon a frame and placed it before the altar, where holy services were held. On the third day after that they would have buried the body of the Cid, but when Alfonso heard what Doņa Ximena had said that she would not have it buried while it looked so fair, he held that what she said was good. He sent for the ivory chair and gave order that it be placed on the right of the altar, and he laid a cloth of gold upon it, bearing the arms of the king of Castile and Leon, and the king of Navarre, and the Prince of Aragon, and of the Cid himself. Then he himself helped the Bishop take the body from between the boards and they found that the body was firm and erect, and they clothed it in purple and set it in the ivory chair; and in his left hand they placed the sword Tizona in its scabbard, and put the strings of his mantle in his right hand. In this fashion the body of the Cid remained there for ten years.

For three weeks did the king and the company stay there doing honor to the Cid, and then they departed to their homes, the Cid's knights dividing themselves between the service of the king, Alfonso, and the king of Navarre and the Prince of Aragon. Doņa Ximena remained in the monastery in the care of Gil Diaz, according to the will of the Cid.

Gil Diaz delighted in caring for the horse Bavieca, and led him to water with his own hand. From that day on no man rode upon Bavieca. But his noble race was perpetuated, that they might remain in Castile. This good horse lived two years and a half after the death of the Cid, and then he died at a good old age and was buried before the gate of the monastery. Gil Diaz planted two elms upon the grave, one at the head and another at the feet, and he gave orders that he himself should be buried after his death by that good horse which he loved so well.

The Cid's wife lived four years after him, and her daughters came with their husbands and a great company, and they buried her at the Cid's feet. Then the Cid's daughter, Doņa Elvira, having no son, asked her sister to let her adopt one of her sons; and she gave her Don Garcia Ramerez, who after the death of his father became king of Navarre.

The body of the Cid remained in this position for ten years, and then, as it began to be discolored, a vault was made and it was placed therein. Thus lived and died the great Cid Campeador of Spain, most wonderful of heroes, who was never defeated, and who became the ancestor of kings.