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

The Cid Goes to Toledo for Justice


Alvar and Pero went on their way to Valladolid, where they found the king. He received them right well, and they kissed his hand, and said: "Sir, the Cid has had a good battle with King Bucar and has defeated him and twenty-nine kings who came with him, and has gained great spoil, and slain many and taken many prisoners. In acknowledgment of you as his lord he sends you two hundred horses and a hundred black Moors, and many saddles and swords, beseeching you to accept them in token of his desire to do you service."

King Don Alfonso answered that he took the present of the Cid with a right good will, and from the truest and most honorable vassal that a king ever had. Then he bade Alvar and Pero to seat themselves at his feet. After a while Alvar arose, and said: "Sir, when we departed from the Cid we left him in great honor and prosperity. But on our way we met Felez Munoz, and he has told us of the dishonor which the Cid and we endure from the villany that the Infantes of Carrion have done upon his daughters. You have already heard of this crime, and you know how nearly it touches you, for I gave the ladies to the Infantes by your command. You have heard that the ladies were dead, as the messenger then believed them to be; but we know they are alive, having been wounded by spurs and bridles and stripped of their garments. Now, therefore, we beseech you to take justice for yourself and give us and the Cid ours."

To this the king answered: "I am troubled by this dishonor for many reasons, and the more I hear of it the more it troubles me. But as they are alive, they may be rightfully avenged by the Cortes. It is a grief to me that my vassals the Infantes should have done this wrong; but since it hath been, I cannot but do justice. I will therefore assemble the Cortes in Toledo three months from this day; and do you tell the Cid to come there with such of his people as he thinks good." Alvar and Pero were glad at this decision, and they kissed the king's hand and departed with mules and noble trappings of gold and cloth of gold and of wool that the king sent for the Cid's daughters.

Then Pero Sanchez went with them, and they came to the Oak-forest of Corpes, and he showed them the place where the crime had been committed; and they lamented there as if the ladies were dead before them. They went on to the village where the good man lived who had taken the wounded women to his home, and they gave him a large reward for his kindness. And they took with them the two sons and two daughters of this man that they might recompense them, for the good deeds of their father; and the Cid's daughters gave them in marriage and made them rich and treated them as brothers and sisters.

When it was known at Santesteban that Alvar was coming for his kinswomen, the men of the town welcomed him and his company and offered him tribute. But Alvar would not take it, saying, "Thanks, men of Santesteban, for what you have done, and the Cid will thank and reward you." Then they went to visit the Cid's daughters, and lamented and rejoiced at the same time. That night they rested, and on the next day they set forward and came to Molina, where Abengalvon came out to welcome them, for love of the Cid. There the ladies rested some days, and sent Pero Bermudez to let the Cid know what had been done.

When Pero arrived at Valencia, he found the Cid and his knights just risen from dinner, and he welcomed them right well; but he could not refrain from weeping, for Felez had before this told him all. Then he stroked his beard, and said, "By this beard, which no one has ever cut, the Infantes of Carrion shall not triumph in this." Then he was comforted when he heard what Don Alfonso had done in calling the Cortes. He took Pero Bermudez by the hand and led him to Doņa Ximena, who wept at seeing him, and said, "Ah, Pero, what news do you bring me of my daughters?" And he comforted her, saying: "Weep not, lady, for I left them alive and well at Molina, and Alvar Fanez with them. And you shall have good vengeance for their wrongs."

Then the Cid seated himself near his wife, and Pero took a seat before them and told them all that had been done. And the Cid said: "I thank my lord King Don Alfonso for the answer which he gave you and for appointing the Cortes, to which I will go in such a manner as shall gall those who wish me ill. Do you now return to Molina and bring my daughters. I will talk with them of the whole matter, that I may know all when I go to the court of the king to demand vengeance."

Pero returned the next day to Molina, and brought away the ladies and their company and Abengalvon with them, for he would not leave them until he had brought them to Valencia to his lord the Cid. When the Cid knew they were coming near, he rode out a great way to meet them, and they all made great lamentations. But the Cid embraced them and smiled, and said: "You are come, my children, and God will heal you. I accepted this marriage for you, but I could not do otherwise. By God's pleasure you shall be better mated hereafter." When they reached Valencia and went into the Alcazar to their mother, who can tell the lamentation that was made by their mother over her daughters and the daughters over their mother? And the Cid thanked Abengalvon for the honor he had shown his children, and promised to protect him from all enemies, and Abengalvon returned to his home well pleased.

The Cid now made ready to appear at the Cortes in Toledo, and he left the Bishop Don Hieronymo and Martin Pelaez in command in Valencia. The Cid took with him Alvar Fanez with two hundred knights, and Pero Bermudez with one hundred, and Martin Antolinez with fifty, and Martin Ferrandez with other fifty, and Felez Ferruz and Benita Sanchez with fifty each; these were five hundred knights. And there went under other leaders four hundred more; nine hundred knights in all. There went also five hundred squires on foot.

King Alfonso had sent letters through all his dominions summoning the Cortes in Toledo and declaring that those who did not appear, should no longer be accounted his vassals. At this the Infantes of Carrion were much troubled, for they feared the coming of the Cid. They took counsel with their kinsmen, and prayed the king to hold them excused from attendance; but the king answered that nothing but God could excuse them from attending, for the Cid was coming to demand justice from them, and those who did not appear must leave his dominions. When they found they must attend, they took counsel with the Count Don Garcia, the enemy of the Cid, and they gathered the greatest company they could, thinking to frighten the Cid, and they arrived at Toledo before him.

When the Cid came near Toledo, he sent Alvar forward to kiss the king's hand and let him know that he would be there that night. At this news the king was rejoiced, and he mounted his horse and went with a great company to meet him. When they came in sight, the Cid fell to the ground before the king, but the king cried out: "This must not be to-day. Mount, Cid, or I shall not be well pleased. I welcome you with my heart and soul, and my heart is grieved for your grief. God send that the court be honored by you."—"Amen," said the Cid, and he kissed his hand. And he added, "I thank God that I see you, sir."

So they rode toward Toledo. And the king said, "I have ordered you to be lodged in my palaces of Galiana that you may be near me." But the Cid answered: "Sir, God grant you a long and happy life, but none should be lodged in your palaces but you. When you hold your Cortes, let it be in those palaces of Galiana, for there is more room there than in the Alcazar. I will not cross the Tagus to-night, but will hold a vigil here. To-morrow I will enter the city and be in court before dinner." The king said this pleased him, and he went on into the city. The Cid then went to the Church of St. Ervans and ordered candles to be placed upon the altar, for he would keep a vigil there; and there he remained with Alvar and other knights in prayer. The tents of his company were pitched upon the hills round about.

When the king had entered the city, he bade his seneschal, Benito Perez, make ready the palaces of Galiana for the Cortes next day. He placed seats with carpets upon the ground, and hung the walls with cloth of gold. In the highest place he set the royal chair, one which the king had won in Toledo and which had belonged to the kings of that place. Round about it were noble seats for the counts and chief men. Now the Cid knew that they were fitting up the palaces, and he called for a squire and bade him take his ivory seat that he had won in Valencia, and which had belonged to the kings of that city, and to put it in the best place near the seat of the king. And he sent with him a hundred squires to guard this seat until the next day.

On the next day the king went into the palaces, where the Cortes was to assemble, and the Infantes of Carrion and the other counts and noblemen were with him, except the Cid, who had not yet come. When the enemies of the Cid saw his ivory seat, they began to make sport of it. Count Garcia said to the king: "I beseech you to tell me for whom that couch is spread beside your seat? For what lady is it made ready? How will she be dressed? Sir, a seat like that is fit for none but yourself; take it for yourself, or have it taken away." When the squire who was guarding the seat, named Ferran Alfonso, heard this, he said: "Count, you talk foolishly, and speak ill of a nobleman. He who is to sit on this seat is better than you or all your family; and he has always appeared as a man to all his enemies, not like a woman as you say. If you deny this, I will make you acknowledge it before the king who is here present. And I am of such a race that you cannot say I am not your equal; and I will give you the advantage of half your arms."

At these words the king was greatly troubled, as were the counts also. And Count Garcia, who was a man of high temper, wrapped his mantle under his arm, and would have struck Ferran Alfonso, saying, "Let me get at the boy who dares me." Ferran laid his hand upon his sword and came forward to meet him, saying that if it were not for the king he would punish him there for his foolish words. But the king interfered, and said: "None of you have a right to speak thus of the seat of the Cid; he won it like a good and brave knight as he is. There is not a king in the world who deserves this seat better than my vassal the Cid; and the better and more honorable he is, the more I am honored through him. This seat he won in Valencia, where it had belonged to the kings of that place. Much gold and silver has he won; and many a battle has he fought against Christians and Moors; and of all the spoil that he has won, he has always sent me a part, and many great and rich presents, such as no other vassal has sent his lord; and he has done this in acknowledgment that I am his lord. You who are talking here against him, which of you ever sent me such gifts as he? If any of you are envious of him, let him achieve such feats as he, and I will seat him with myself to do him honor."