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- Journeys Through Bookland - 6/71 -

they came on confidently, thinking to lay hands on him. Now my Cid was returning with much spoil, and had descended from the Sierra into the valley when tidings were brought him that Count Don Ramon Berenguer and the King of Denia were at hand, with a great power, to take away his booty, and take or slay him. And when the Cid heard this he sent to Don Ramon saying, that the booty which he had won was none of his, and bidding him let him go on his way in peace; but the Count made answer, that my Cid should now learn whom he had dishonoured, and make amends once for all.

Then my Cid sent the booty forward, and bade his knights make ready. "They are coming upon us," said he, "with a great power, both of Moors and Christians, to take from us the spoils which we have so hardly won, and without doing battle we cannot be quit of them; for if we should proceed they would follow till they overtook us; therefore let the battle he here, and I trust in God that we shall win more honour, and something to boot. They came down the hill, drest in their hose, with their gay saddles, and their girths wet; we are with our hose covered and on our Galician saddles; a hundred such as we ought to beat their whole company. Before they get upon the plain ground let us give them the points of our lances; for one whom we run through, three will jump out of their saddles; and Ramon Berenguer will then see whom he has overtaken to-day in the pine-forest of Tebar, thinking to despoil him of the booty which I have won from the enemies of God and of the faith."

While my Cid was speaking, his knights had taken their arms, and were ready on horseback for the charge. Presently they saw the pendants of the Frenchmen coming down the hill, and when they were nigh the bottom, my Cid bade his people charge, which they did with a right good will, thrusting their spears so stiffly that by God's good pleasure not a man whom they encountered but lost his seat. So many were slain and so many wounded that the Moors were dismayed forthwith, and began to fly. The Count's people stood firm a little longer, gathering round their Lord; but my Cid was in search of him, and when he saw where he was, he made up to him, clearing the way as he went, and gave him such a stroke with his lance that he felled him down to the ground. When the Frenchmen saw their Lord in this plight they fled away and left him; and the pursuit lasted three leagues, and would have been continued farther if the conquerors had not had tired horses. So they turned back and collected the spoils, which were more than they could carry away. Thus was Count Ramon Berenguer made prisoner, and my Cid won from him that day the good sword Colada, which was worth more than a thousand marks of silver.

That night did my Cid and his men make merry, rejoicing over their gains. And the Count was taken to my Cid's tent, and a good supper was set before him; nevertheless he would not eat, though my Cid besought him so to do. And on the morrow my Cid ordered a feast to be made, that he might do pleasure to the Count, but the Count said that for all Spain he would not eat one mouthful, but rather die, since he had been beaten in battle by such a set of ragged fellows.

And Ruydiez said to him, "Eat and drink, Count, of this bread and of this wine, for this is the chance of war; if you do as I say you shall be free; and if not you will never return again into your own lands." And Don Ramon answered, "Eat you, Don Rodrigo, for your fortune is fair and you deserve it; take you your pleasure, but leave me to die." And in this mood he continued for three days, refusing all food.

But then my Cid said to him, "Take food, Count, and be sure that I will set you free, you and any two of your knights, and give you wherewith to return into your own country." And when Don Ramon heard this, he took comfort and said, "If you will indeed do this thing I shall marvel at you as long as I live." "Eat then," said Ruydiez, "and I will do it; but mark you, of the spoil which we have taken from you I will give you nothing; for to that you have no claim, neither by right nor custom, and besides we want it for ourselves, being banished men, who must live by taking from you and from others as long as it shall please God."

Then was the Count full joyful, being well pleased that what should be given him was not of the spoils which he had lost; and he called for water and washed his hands, and chose two of his kinsmen to be set free with him; the one was named Don Hugo, and the other Guillen Bernalto.

And my Cid sate at the table with them, and said, "If you do not eat well, Count, you and I shall not part yet." Never since he was Count did he eat with better will than that day! And when they had done he said, "Now, Cid, if it be your pleasure let us depart." And my Cid clothed him and his kinsmen well with goodly skins and mantles, and gave them each a goodly palfrey, with rich caparisons, and he rode out with them on their way. And 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 this twelvemonths, and shall not be coming to see you again so soon."

Then Count Ramon pricked on more than apace, and many times looked behind him, fearing that my Cid would repent what he had done, and send to take him back to prison, which the Perfect one would not have done for the whole world, for never did he do disloyal thing.


Now Zulema had sent for my Cid, and the cause was this. His brother, the King of Denia, had taken counsel with Count Ramon Berenguer, and with the Count of Cardona, and with the brother of the Count of Urgel, and with the chiefs of Balsadron and Remolin and Cartaxes, that they should besiege the Castle of Almenar, which my Cid had fortified by command of King Zulema. And they came up against it while my Cid was away, besieging the Castle of Estrada, which is in the rivers Tiegio and Sege, the which he took by force. And they fought against it and cut off the water. And when my Cid came to the king at Tamarit, the king asked him to go and fight with the host which besieged Almenar; but my Cid said it would be better to give something to King Abenalfange that he should break up the siege and depart; for they were too great a power to do battle with, being as many in number as the sands on the sea shore. And the King did as he counselled him, and sent to his brother King Abenalfange, and to the chiefs who were with him, to propose this accord, and they would not.

Then my Cid, seeing that they would not depart for fair means, armed his people, and fell upon them. That was a hard battle and well fought on both sides, and much blood was shed, for many good knights on either party were in the field; howbeit he of good fortune won the day at last, he who never was conquered. King Abenalfange and Count Ramon and most of the others fled, and my Cid followed, smiting and slaying for three leagues; and many good Christian knights were made prisoners. Ruydiez returned with great honour and much spoil, and gave all his prisoners to King Zulema, who kept them eight days, and then my Cid begged their liberty and set them free. And he and the king returned to Zaragoza, and the people came out to meet them, with great joy, and shouts of welcome. And the king honoured my Cid greatly, and gave him power in all his dominions.

At this time it came to pass that Almofalez, a Moor of Andalusia, rose up with the Castle of Rueda, which was held for King Don Alfonso. And because he held prisoner there the brother of Adefir, another Moor, Adefir sent to the King of Castille, beseeching him to come to succour him, and recover the Castle. And the King sent the Infante Don Ramiro his cousin, and the Infante Don Sancho, son to the King of Navarre, and Count Don Gonzalo Salvadores, and Count Don Nuņo Alvarez, and many other knights with them: and they came to the Castle, and Almofalez said he would not open the gates to them, but if the king came he would open to him. And when King Don Alfonso heard this, incontinently he came to Rueda. And Almofalez besought him to enter to a feast which he had prepared; howbeit the King would not go in, neither would his people have permitted him so to have risked his person. But the Infante Don Sancho entered, and Don Nuņo, and Don Ganzalo, and fifteen other knights; and as soon as they were within the gate, the Moors threw down great stones upon them and killed them all. This was the end of the good Count Don Gonzalo Salvadores, who was so good a knight in battle that he was called "He of the Four Hands." The bodies were ransomed, seeing that there was no remedy, the Castle being so strong, and Don Gonzalo was buried in the Monastery of Ona, according as he had appointed in his will; and the Infante Don Sancho with his forefathers the Kings of Navarre, in the royal Monastery of Naxara.

Greatly was King Don Alfonso troubled at this villainy, and he sought for the Cid, who was in those parts; and the Cid came to him with a great company. And the king told him the great treason which had been committed, and took the Cid into his favour, and said unto him that he might return with him into Castille. My Cid thanked him for his bounty, but he said he never would accept his favour unless the king granted what he should request; and the king bade him make his demand. And my Cid demanded that when any hidalgo should be banished, in time to come, he should have the thirty days, which were his right, allowed him, and not nine only, as had been his case; and that neither hidalgo nor citizen should be proceeded against till they had been fairly and lawfully heard: also, that the king should not go against the privileges and charters and good customs of any town or other place, nor impose taxes upon them against their right; and if he did, that it should be lawful for the land to rise against him, till he had amended the misdeed.

And to all this the king accorded, and said to my Cid that he should go back into Castille with him; but my Cid said he would not go into Castille till he had won that castle of Rueda, and delivered the villainous Moors thereof into his hands, that he might do justice upon them.

So the king thanked him greatly, and returned into Castille, and my Cid remained before the castle of Rueda. And he lay before it so long, and beset it so close, that the food of the Moors failed, and they had no strength to defend themselves; and they would willingly have yielded the castle, so they might have been permitted to leave it and go whither they would; but he would have their bodies, to deliver them up to the king. When they saw that it must be so, great part of them came out, and yielded themselves prisoners; and then my Cid stormed the castle and took Almofalez and them who held with him, so that none escaped; and he sent him and his accomplices in the treason to the king. And the king was right glad when they were brought before him, and he did great justice upon them, and sent to thank my Cid for having avenged him.

[Illustration: The Defeat of Almofalez]

After my Cid had done this good service to King Don Alfonso, he and King Zulema of Zaragoza entered Aragon, slaying, and burning, and plundering before them, and they returned to the Castle of Monzon with great booty. Then the Cid went into King Abenalfange's country, and did much mischief there: and he got among the mountains of Moriella, and beat down everything before him, and destroyed the Castle of Moriella. And King Zulema sent to bid him build up the ruined Castle of Alcala, which is upon Moriella; and the Cid did so. But King Abenalfange, being

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