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

The King of Zaragoza


The Cid remained a while in Alcocer, and when King Fariz got well of his wound, the Cid sent word to him and the Moors that if they would give him three thousand marks of silver he would leave Alcocer and go elsewhere. At this the Moors were pleased, and they sent the Cid the money, which he divided among his men. But the Moors of Alcocer were sorry to see him go away, as he had been to them a kind master, and the men and women wept as he raised his banner and departed.

The Cid rode on until he came to a high hill above Monte Real, and there he pitched his tents; and from that place he did much harm to the Moors of Medina, and of the country round about, and he made many towns pay him tribute. When this news reached the king of Zaragoza, he was much displeased. And that hill was always called afterward, "The Hill of the Cid."

After the Cid had waited a long time for Alvar, and he did not come, he removed by night and pitched his camp in the pine forest of Tebar; and from there he fought the Moors of Zaragoza and made them pay him tribute. When this agreement was made, Almundafar, the king of Zaragoza, became his friend and received him into his town. In three weeks after this Alvar came from Castile. And with him came two hundred knights of good families, every one with a sword at his side, and foot-soldiers in great numbers. When the Cid saw Alvar coming, he rode to meet him and kissed him on the mouth and on his eyes. Alvar told him all that he had done, and the face of the Cid brightened, and he said, "It will go well with me, as long as you live." The whole host rejoiced to see Alvar, for he brought them messages from their wives and families. The Cid, with the fleecy beard, was most joyful that he had tidings of his wife and daughters.

While the Cid tarried in Zaragoza, the King Almundafar died, and left his kingdom to be divided between his two sons, Zulema and Abenalfange, and Zulema took the kingdom of Zaragoza, and Abenalfange the kingdom of Denia. And Zulema put his kingdom under the protection of the Cid and bade all his people obey him even as they would himself.

Soon after these two brothers became enemies and made war on each other, and King Don Pedro of Aragon, and the Count Don Ramon Berenguer of Barcelona, helped Abenalfange, and they became enemies of the Cid because he defended Zulema. Then the Cid took two hundred horsemen and went out by night and spoiled the land of Alcaniz; and he was away three days on this expedition, and he brought away great spoil. This stirred up much excitement among the Moors of Monzon and Huesca, but those of Zaragoza rejoiced, for they paid tribute to the Cid and were safe. The Cid divided this spoil among his companions, and said: "Ye know, my friends, that for all who live by their arms as we do, it is not good to remain long in one place. Let us be off again to-morrow." So on the next day they moved to Puerto de Alucant, and from there spoiled Huesca and Montalban, and were ten days on this adventure. And the news went everywhere that this banished man was overrunning the country.

When Don Ramon Berenguer heard this, he was very angry, and held that he was dishonored, because that part of the land of the Moors was in his keeping, and he declared that he would have vengeance. So he and King Abenalfange gathered a great host of Moors and Christians, and went in pursuit of the Cid, and came up with him in the pine forest of Tebar. They came on bravely, thinking to lay hands on him.

Now the Cid was coming back with much spoil, when news came to him that Count Don Ramon and the king of Denia were at hand with a great force to take his booty and capture or slay him. Then the Cid sent word to Don Ramon that the booty was his own and bidding the Count to go on his way in peace. But the Count answered that the Cid should learn whom he had dishonored, and make amends once for all.

Then the Cid sent his spoil to a safe place, and ordered his knights to make ready to fight, saying: "They have come upon us with a great force, to take the booty we have fairly won, and we cannot get rid of them without fighting. If we should proceed, they would follow us. Therefore let the battle be here, and we shall win more honor, and spoils beside. A hundred such as we ought to be equal to their whole company. Before they get upon the even ground let us give them the points of our lances. For one whom we run through, three will jump out of their saddles. And Don Ramon will see whom he has overtaken to-day."

While the Cid was speaking, the knights had taken their arms and were ready for the charge. Presently they saw the banners of their foes coming down the hill, and had not set their feet upon the plain, when the Cid ordered his men forward. They rode the charge with such good will that every man hurled another from his horse. So many were slain and wounded that the Moors were terrified and began to fly. The Count's people stood firm a little longer, gathering about their master. But the Cid was looking for Don Ramon, and when he saw where he was, he rode up to him and gave him such a stroke with his lance that he felled him to the ground. When the Count's followers saw their master in this plight, they fled and left him. The Cid's men then followed the fleeing troops for nine miles, until they had tired their horses.

Then they turned about and collected the spoils, which were more than they could carry. Don Ramon was made prisoner, and the Cid took his sword Colada, which was worth a thousand marks in silver. That night the Cid and his men made merry, rejoicing over their gains.

The Count was taken to the Cid's tent, and supper was set before him, but he would not eat. On the next day the Cid ordered a feast for the Count, but Don Ramon said that for all Spain he would not eat a mouthful, but would rather die, having been beaten in battle by such a set of ragged fellows. Then the Cid urged him, saying, "Eat and drink, Count, for this is the chance of war; if you do as I say, you shall be free; and if not, you will never again return to your own lands." But Don Ramon said, "Eat you, Cid, for your fortune is fair and you deserve it; take your pleasure, but leave me to die." In this mood he continued for three days, refusing all food. Then the Cid said to him, "Take food, Count, and be sure I will set you free, you and any two of your knights, and give you horses to return to your own country." When Don Ramon heard this, he was comforted, and said, "If you will indeed do this thing, I shall admire you as long as I live." "Eat, then," said the Cid, "and I will do it. But I will not give you any of the spoil we have taken from you, for we are banished men and must live by what we can take."

Then was the Count glad at the prospect of liberty, and he washed his hands, and chose two of his kinsmen to be set free with him. And the Cid sat at the table with them, and said, "If you do not eat well, Count, you and I shall not part yet." Never in his life did the Count eat better than on that day; and when they had finished, he said, "Now, Cid, if it is your pleasure, let us depart." The Cid then clothed him and his kinsmen with fine skins and mantles, and gave them each a good horse, with rich caparisons, and he rode with them on their way. When he took leave of the Count he said to him: "Now go freely, and I thank you for what you have left behind. If you wish to play for it again, let me know, and you shall either have something back in its stead, or leave what you bring to be added to it." The Count answered, "Cid, you jest safely now, for I have paid you and all your company for a year, and shall not be coming to see you soon again." Then Count Ramon spurred his horse, and looked back many times for fear the Cid would repent and take him again. But the Cid would not have done a disloyal thing for the world.

Then the Cid returned to Zaragoza and divided the spoil, which was so great that none of his men knew how much they had. And the Moors of this town rejoiced in his good luck, for he protected them so well that they were safe from all harm. Again the Cid went out from Zaragoza, and rode over the country. King Pedro of Aragon came out against him, but the Cid took the Castle of Monzon before his eyes. Then he went to Tamarit, and one day as he was hunting with twelve of his knights, he met one hundred and fifty of the people of the king of Aragon, and he fought with them, and put them to flight, and took seven knights prisoners, but let them go again.

Then he turned toward the seacoast, and won many towns, and the people of Valencia were dismayed by his great deeds. When he had spoiled all that country, he went back to Tamarit, where Zulema was. Zulema had sent for the Cid for the following reason: His brother, the king of Denia, had agreed with Count Ramon and the Count of Cordova and with others that they should lay siege to the Castle of Almenar, which the Cid had fortified by command of King Zulema. And they went to attack it while the Cid was away besieging the Castle of Estrada, which he took by force. These men fought against the Castle of Almenar, and cut off the water supply.

When the Cid came by his request to Zulema at Tamarit, the king asked him to go and fight with the army that was besieging Almenar; but the Cid said it would be better to pay King Abenalfange a price to go away, as his army was too numerous for them to fight with. Then Zulema sent to his brother and offered him a reward if he would break up the siege, but he refused to do this.

Then the Cid, seeing they could not be persuaded to go away in this manner, decided to give them battle. To this end he armed his people, and fell upon the host about Almenar. Then there was a great battle, and both sides fought well, but the Cid, who never was conquered, at last won the day.

Then Abenalfange and Count Ramon fled, and the Cid with his men followed for many miles, killing many and taking prisoners. The Cid returned with great glory and much spoil, and gave his prisoners to King Zulema, who kept them for eight days, and then the Cid begged that they might be set free, and this was done. The Cid and Zulema then returned to Zaragoza, and were received with shouts of welcome; and Zulema gave the Cid great honor and power in his kingdom.

Almofalez, a Moor of Andalusia, took the Castle of Rueda, which belonged to King Don Alfonso. There he held prisoner the brother of Adefir, another Moor, and Adefir sent to Don Alfonso asking him to come to rescue his brother, and to regain the castle. The king sent his cousin, Don Ramiro, and Don Sancho, son of the king of Navarre, and Count Don Gonzalo Salvadores, and Count Don Nuno Alvarez, with many knights; and when they came to the castle, Almofalez said he would not open the gates to them, but if Don Alfonso would come he would open them to him.

When Alfonso heard this, he came at once to Rueda, and Almofalez asked him to enter and partake of a feast he had prepared. But the king would not go in, neither would his followers have permitted him to risk such a danger. But Don Sancho, Don Nuno, Don Gonzalo, and fifteen other knights entered; and as soon as they were inside the gates the Moors threw down great stones upon them and killed them all.

The king, Don Alfonso, was much grieved at this treacherous crime, and he sent for the Cid, who was not far away; and the Cid came with many followers. Alfonso told him of this villany and treated him very courteously, and told him he could return with him into Castile. The Cid thanked him, but said he would not go unless the king would promise that hereafter a banished knight should have thirty days to leave the country, and not nine as in his case; and that every accused man should have the chance to be fairly and lawfully heard; and that the king should not go against the charters, customs, or privileges of any town or place; or impose taxes against their right; and that if he did, it should be lawful for the land to rise against him.

To all this the king agreed, and said the Cid should go back with him to Castile; but the Cid said he would not go back till he had taken the Castle of Rueda, and punished these Moors. So the king thanked him, and returned to his country, while the Cid laid siege to the Castle of Rueda. The Cid stayed so long about this castle, that the food of the Moors failed, and they offered to yield if they should be permitted to leave the place and go wherever they desired; but he wished to carry them as prisoners to the king. When they could make no other terms, most of the Moors came out and were made prisoners. Then the Cid stormed the castle, and took Almofalez and all the others, and he sent all of these to the king, who punished all the guilty ones, and then sent word to the Cid, thanking him for avenging him.

Then the Cid went with the King Zulema into Aragon, slaying and plundering, and they retired to the Castle of Monzon with much spoil. The Cid then went into the country of Abenalfange and overcame all in his path, and destroyed the Castle of Morilla. Now Abenalfange sent to King Pedro of Aragon, asking him to come and help him against the Cid. As Pedro was very angry, he was glad to do this, so he gathered a great host, and he and Abenalfange came against the Cid and attacked him. A great battle was fought that day, but the Cid won, and Abenalfange fled, and Don Pedro was taken prisoner with many of his knights. So the Cid returned to Zaragoza with his prisoners, but soon after he set them free. In a few days he left Zaragoza and set forth for Castile with great riches and full of honors.