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

Valencia Surrenders to the Cid


On the next day the messengers from Valencia to the king of Zaragoza and to Ali came out of the city, and it was decided that they could carry only a small sum of money with them, and they were to go as far as Denia by sea in a vessel of the Christians. These messengers, ten in number, got on board with their company, and the Cid sent word to the master not to sail until he came. Presently the Cid arrived, and gave orders that the messengers should be searched to see if they carried more money than had been agreed upon. Then there was found upon them great riches in gold and in silver and in pearls and in precious stones; part belonged to them, and part to other merchants who wished to send their money away and then to leave Valencia. All this the Cid took, leaving them no more than the amount that had at first been allowed.

The Christians now ceased to make war upon the people, but they kept guard as before. When the fifteen days had expired, the messengers had not returned, and Abeniaf asked for three days more; but the people of the town themselves said they could endure the famine no longer. And the Cid sent to them demanding that they yield up the town, as they had agreed to do; and he declared that if they delayed a single hour after the time was expired, he would not keep the terms which he had made, and moreover that he would slay the hostages.

Nevertheless, they let a day pass over and above the time. Then those who had made the agreement with the Cid went out to him and said they were ready to yield the city to him. But the Cid said angrily that he was not bound to keep the terms, as they had let the appointed time pass. Then they yielded themselves into his hands to do as he pleased; but he was moved with compassion, and had pity upon them; and Abeniaf and other leading men came out, and the agreement was confirmed. The gates of the city were opened at noon on Thursday, the last day of June. When the gate was opened, Abeniaf was there within, with a great company round about him, both of his own people and those of the town.

All the people of Valencia gathered together like men risen from the grave. Hucksters came from Alcudia and brought bread to sell, and others of the town went out to Alcudia to buy food. The poor, who had nothing with which to buy, went out into the fields and ate green herbs, and they thought themselves rich that they could go in and out again without fear. Those who were wise took food only little by little after their long fast, but those who ate greedily died in great numbers.

On the next day, the Cid entered the town with a large company, and he ascended the highest tower of the wall, and beheld all the city; and the Moors came and kissed his hand. His followers took possession of the towers on the walls; and the Cid gave orders that all the windows of the towers which looked in upon the town should be closed up, that the Christians might not see what the Moors did in their houses, and the Moors thanked him much for this. The Cid also commanded his men that they should show honor to the Moors, and greet them when they met. And the Moors thanked the Cid for the honor which the Christians did them, saying they had never seen so good a man, nor one so honorable, nor one who had his people under such obedience.

Now Abeniaf thought to gain the friendship of the Cid by making him a present of the money he had made by selling the food he had taken from the people during the siege, but the Cid would not accept his gifts. Then the Cid caused a proclamation to be made through the town and all that region that the chief men should assemble in his garden. When they were all there he went to them, to a place made ready with carpets and mats, and he made them take their seats before him, and he began to speak to them, saying: "When I first beheld this city, I desired that I might be its lord. When I laid siege to Juballa, I had but four loaves of bread, and now I have won Valencia. If I administer right and justice here, God will let me enjoy it; but if I do evil and act proudly and wrongfully, I know that he will take it away. Now let every one go to his lands and possess them and cultivate them. I have given orders that they who collect my dues take from you no more than a tenth. I have resolved to hear your complaints two days in the week; but if causes arise that need haste, come to me when you will and I will give judgment, for I do not shut myself up with women to sing and to drink as your lords have done, but will watch over you as friend over friend and kinsman over his kinsman." When he had said these things, they all replied that they prayed God to preserve him through long and happy years, and four of the chief men stood up and kissed his hand, and the Cid bade them take their seats again.

Then the Cid continued: "It is told me that Abeniaf has done much evil and wronged many of you, and that he has taken great riches from you to give them to me, saying that he did this because you sold food for a great price during the siege. But I will accept no such gift; for if I were so disposed, I could take your riches and ask no one for them. Let those from whom Abeniaf has taken go to him, for I will order him to restore the whole amount. Here are the riches that I took from the messengers; they are mine by right, for I took them in war when they broke the agreement and would have deceived me; nevertheless I will restore them all. You shall promise me that you will abide in this place and will obey me, and never break the agreement you make with me. For I love you, and am grieved at the evil and misery you endured during the famine. If you had done before that which you have done now, you would not have been brought to these sufferings.

"Be now secure in your lands, and till your fields and rear cattle, for I have given my men orders that they do you no wrong. My people shall carry on all their dealings in Alcudia that you may not be disturbed. I have commanded my people not to take a captive into the town; but if this should be done, do you lay hands on the captive and set him free; and if any one resist, kill him and fear not. I myself will not enter your city nor dwell there." When he had said these things, he dismissed the men, and they went away marvelling at the greatness of his promises, and they put away all fear.

Then the Cid sent Abdalla Adiz to the Custom House to collect the rents of the town for him. The Moors wished to take possession again of their property, as the Cid had promised, but they found that the Christians were cultivating their fields, and would not give them up. The Moors waited until Thursday, for the Cid had appointed Mondays and Thursdays as the days when he would hear complaints, and the chief men went to his garden; but the Cid sent word to them that he could not hear them on that day because of other matters, and asked them to come again on Monday. He did this to show that they were in his power.

On Monday they came once more, and the Cid took his seat, and the Moors made their complaints; and he said to them that he had to take care of his own men first, in order that they might be able to serve him, and that if they wished his friendship, they must deliver to him that traitor Abeniaf, who slew their King Yahia.

Then the Moors were dismayed; they knew that what he said of the death of the king was true, but they saw also that he was not willing to fulfil his promises to them. They asked the Cid to give them time to take counsel, and five of the most honorable of them went to Abdalla and stated their case to him, saying: "The Cid promised us many things, and now he says nothing of what he said before. You know his ways better than we do; therefore, tell us what is his wish, for although we may want something else, this is not a time when we can do anything except what he commands." Abdalla answered: "Good men, it is easy to understand what he would have and to do what should be done. We all know the treason of which Abeniaf has been guilty in killing your king, and you should by all means deliver him into the hands of the Cid. Fear not and take no thought for the rest; for though the Cid may do his own pleasure in some things, yet it is better to have him for your master than this traitor. Moreover, my heart tells me that we shall before long come from under the yoke of the Cid and of the Christians; for the Cid is now nearly at the fulness of his days, and we who remain alive after his death will be masters of our city."

These men thanked Abdalla for his advice, and thought it good, and said they would do as he bade them; and they returned to the Cid and said they would obey him. They at once returned to the city and gathered a large company of men, and went to the dwelling of Abeniaf and broke down the doors and took him and his son and all his company and carried them before the Cid. The Cid ordered Abeniaf to be cast into prison and all those who had conspired for the death of King Yahia.

When this was done the Cid said to these men: "I hold it good now to show you favor. Say, therefore, what you would have; but this I demand, that my dwelling shall be within Valencia, and that my men have all the fortresses in the city." When these men heard this they were much troubled, but they concealed their feelings, and said, "Sir Cid, command as you think good, and we will obey." Then he promised that he would observe the customs of their law, but that he would have all power, and that they should tend their flocks and cultivate their fields, and give him his tenth, and he would demand no more.

At this the Moors were well pleased, and since they were to remain in the town and retain their own customs, and that their mosques were not to be disturbed, they thought themselves not badly off. They asked the Cid to let their Guazil be the same as he had first appointed, and that he would give them for their Cadi the Alfaqui Alhagi, and let him appoint whom he would to assist him in doing justice; and thus the Cid would be relieved from the trouble of hearing them except when any great occasion might arise. The Cid granted these requests, and they kissed his hand and returned into the city.

When the Cid had made all these arrangements, which happened ten months after he had begun the siege, for he spent nine months in the siege and one month planning that Abeniaf be given into his hands, he took horse with all his company, his banner being carried before him and his arms behind, and in this manner, with great rejoicings, he entered the city of Valencia. He alighted at the Alcazar, and gave orders that his men should lodge round about it, and he bade them plant his banner upon the highest tower of the Alcazar. Glad was the Cid and all his company when they saw his banner in that place. Then was the Cid possessed of all the castles and fortresses in the kingdom of Valencia.

On the next day the Cid sent Abeniaf to Juballa, where he was put to torture until he was almost dead. They kept him there two days, and then brought him to the garden of the Cid, who commanded him to write with his own hand an account of all that he had. He did this, and wrote down the carkanets and rings and costly garments and rich apparel, and also many other precious household things, and the money that was owed him. This the Cid did that he might see if all was there which Abeniaf had taken when he slew Yahia.

Then the Cid sent for certain Moors who were prominent men, and made Abeniaf be brought before them, and demanded of him if he had anything more than what he had written down; and he answered that he had not. Then the Cid sent secretly to the houses of the friends of Abeniaf to make search, declaring to them that if they had anything of his and denied it, and it was afterward found, they should be put to death. When they heard this they were in great fear, and that they might find favor with the Cid they brought him great riches, saying, "Abeniaf gave us this in keeping that if it was saved he might share it with us."

The Cid then gave orders to search and dig in the houses of Abeniaf, and they found great treasure there in gold and in silver and in pearls and in precious stones, all of which a servant discovered for them. When the Cid saw it all before him, he was much pleased, and he called for the Moors who had been before him when Abeniaf had taken his oath, and he took his seat and ordered Abeniaf and the other prisoners to be brought in. He bade Alfaqui, whom he had made Cadi, and the others to judge by what death a man should die who had slain his king, according to their law, and who was also perjured. The Cadi and the Moors said that according to their law he and his accomplices should be stoned. Yet they asked mercy for his son, who was but a child. The Cid said that on account of his friendship for them he would pardon the child, but that he must go away from the city, as he would not have the child of a traitor dwell there.

Then he commanded that they should stone Abeniaf and all those who had conspired for the death of Yahia. The Moors kissed his feet and his hands for his mercy to the child, and they took Abeniaf and twenty-two others out to stone them.