The Cid and part of his Knights visit Alfonso. The King arranges the marriage of the Cid's daughters. The Infantes return with the Cid to Valencia. The Great Wedding.
O n the next day, Alvar and Pero, with their company, left Valladolid and started for Valencia. When the Cid knew they were approaching his city, he went out to meet them, and embraced them, and asked tidings of King Alfonso. They told him how honorably they had been received, and how the king loved him; and they told of the proposed marriage, and that it seemed to them that the matter pleased the king.
When the Cid heard this, he became very thoughtful, and asked, "What do you think of this marriage?" And they answered, "What pleases you seems to us good." And the Cid said: "I was banished from my own country, and was dishonored, and I have gained what I possess by hard labor. And now I stand in the king's favor, and he asks of me my daughters for the Infantes of Carrion. They are of a great family and very haughty, and I have no liking for this match. But if the king advises it, I cannot oppose him."
So they entered Valencia, and the Cid spoke to Doña Ximena of the marriage, and it did not please her; yet she said if the king thought it good, they could do no otherwise. Then the Cid sent letters to the king saying that he would meet him as he commanded, and whatever the king wished he would do. When the king saw the letters, he was well pleased, and sent a reply appointing a meeting three weeks later upon the river Tagus.
The preparations for this meeting on both sides were of a splendid kind. The king sent a great supply of food to the Tagus; and he made ready his company upon the best horses and mules, and with streamers upon their spears, and shields adorned with gold and silver, and mantles and skins. The Infantes also made ready a great company, and they decked themselves richly. The Cid took with him many of his best knights; but he bade Alvar Salvadores and Galin Garcia and all those who were under them to remain and look with heart and soul after the safety of Valencia, and not open the gates of the Alcazar by day or night, for his wife and daughters were there. And he told these ladies that not one of them should stir out of the Alcazar till he returned. Then his company put spurs to their horses and set forth; more than a thousand knights, all ready for war, were in this company.
The king, Don Alfonso, arrived at the meeting place one day earlier than the Cid, and when he learned that the Cid was coming he went out more than three miles to meet him. When the Cid saw the king, he ordered his company to halt, and with fifteen of his best knights he alighted and took herbs from the ground and put them between his teeth as if he would have eaten them, weeping for great joy. Thus he knew how to humble himself before his king; and he approached the king's feet and would have kissed them, but the king said, "The hand, Cid, not the foot." And the Cid drew near upon his knees, and said, "In this manner give me your love, so that all may hear." The king then said that he forgave him, and granted him his love with his heart and soul. The Cid kissed both his hands, being still upon his knees; and the king embraced him and gave him the kiss of peace. At this sight, all were well pleased, except Alvar Diez and Garcia Ordonez, who hated the Cid.
Then all went together to the town, the king and the Cid talking together on the way. And the Cid asked the king to eat with him, but the king said: "We arrived yesterday, and you came but now. You are not prepared. Do you and your company eat with me to-day, and to-morrow we will do as pleases you." Now the Infantes of Carrion came up and humbled themselves before the Cid, and he received them well. Then the Cid's company came up and kissed the king's hand. So they alighted and went to the table. The king would have had the Cid sit at table with him, but he would not. Then the king ordered a high table to be placed for the Cid and Count Don Gonzalo, the father of the Infantes of Carrion.
All the while they were eating the king looked at the Cid and wondered at his great beard. On the next day, the king and his company were entertained by the Cid, and they agreed that they had not eaten better for three years. There was not a man there who did not eat upon silver, and the king and his chief men ate upon dishes and trenchers of gold. When the Infantes saw all this, they were more anxious than before for the marriage.
On the next day, after the Bishop had sung mass before the king, the king said to all who were assembled: "Counts and Infantes and knights, hear what I shall say to the Cid. Cid, I have appointed this meeting for two reasons. First, that I might see you, which I greatly desired, for I love you much for the many and great services you have done me, although I was at one time angry with you and banished you. But in spite of that you never did me a wrong, but on the other hand you have served me and have won Valencia and so enlarged Christendom. For these reasons I am bound to favor you and love you always. The second reason was that I might ask you for your two daughters, Doña Elvira and Doña Sol, that you would give them in marriage to the Infantes of Carrion, for I think this would be a suitable marriage and for your honor and good."
When the Cid heard this, he was in a manner bound to consent, having his daughters thus demanded of him; and he answered: "Sir, my daughters are of tender years, and if it might please you, they are yet too young for marriage. I do not say this as if the Infantes of Carrion were not worthy to match with them and not better than they." But the king bade him make no excuses, saying that he would think himself well served if the Cid gave his consent. Then the Cid said: "Sir, they are my daughters, and you give them in marriage. Both I and they are yours. Give them to whom you please, and I am pleased therewith." When the king heard this, he was well pleased, and he bade the Infantes kiss the hand of the Cid, and they did homage to him as sons-in-law to their father-in-law. Then the king turned to the Cid, and said: "I thank you that you have given me your daughters for the Infantes of Carrion. And I here give them to the Infantes to be their brides. The Infantes I put into your hands; they will go with you, and I order that three hundred marks of silver be given to them for their marriage, and they and your daughters will all be your children."
This meeting lasted for eight days; one day they all dined with the king and the other with the Cid. Then it was appointed that on the next morning at sunrise they should depart to their homes. The Cid then began to give to every one a gift, to many a great mule, to others a good palfrey or a rich garment; every one had what he asked, and he said no to none. Sixty horses the Cid gave away; and all were well pleased who went to that meeting. The king took the Infantes by the hand and delivered them to the Cid, saying, "See here your sons; from this day you will know what to make of them." And the Cid answered, "Sir, may it please you, seeing it is you who have made this marriage, to appoint some one to whom I may deliver my daughters, and who may give them, as from your hand, to the Infantes." Then the king called to him Alvar Fanez, and said: "You shall have charge of the damsels. I command you, when you come to Valencia, to take them with your own hands and give them to the Infantes, as I should do if I were present; and be you the brides' father." Then the Cid said: "Sir, you must accept something from me at this meeting. I bring for you twenty palfreys, these that are gayly trapped, and thirty horses fleet of foot, these that are well caparisoned. Take them, and I kiss your hand."—"Greatly have you bound me," said the king, Don Alfonso; "I receive this gift, and may God grant that it may be well requited. If I live, you shall have something from me." Then the Cid sprang upon Bavieca, and said; "Here I say before my lord the king that if any will go with me to the wedding, they shall receive something for it. And I ask the king to let any who desire go with me." And the king said they could go. And when they were ready to part, the company that went with the Cid was greater than that with the king. The Cid kissed the king's hand and received his favor, and the king returned to Castile.
When the Cid had returned to Valencia, he appointed Pero Bermudez and Muno Gustios to keep company with the Infantes, and be their guards and to spy out their habits. The Count Don Suero Gonzalez, the uncle of the Infantes, was with them; he had bred them up from childhood, and he had done it very badly; he was a man of great words, good of tongue, and of nothing else. He was a scornful and proud man, and the Cid was so little pleased with all of these men that he would gladly have broken off the marriage, but he could not, as the king had arranged it. The Cid lodged the Infantes and all the company that had come to the wedding in the suburb of Alcudia, and he himself went to the Alcazar.
On the next day, the Cid mounted his horse and rode into Alcudia and brought the Infantes from there into the city to the Alcazar that they might see their brides. Doña Ximena had her daughters ready to receive them in fine dress, for since midnight they had done nothing but arrange their toilet for this meeting. On that day the Alcazar was splendidly prepared with hangings of purple and rich cloth and samite.
The Cid entered between the Infantes, and all the company went in after them; and they went into the chief hall of the Alcazar where Doña Ximena and her daughters were. When they saw the Infantes, they rose up and welcomed them right well. Then the Cid took his seat upon the bench with one of the Infantes on each side of him. The other distinguished men seated themselves, each in the place where he ought to be; and they remained for a time.
Then the Cid rose and called for Alvar Fanez, and said: "You know what the king commanded. Do now his bidding, and take your cousins and deliver them to the Infantes, for it is the king who gives them in marriage, and not I." Alvar Fanez took the damsels one in each hand, and delivered them to the Infantes, saying: "Diego Gonzalez and Ferrando Gonzalez, I deliver to you these damsels, the daughters of the Cid, by command of the king, Don Alfonso. Receive them to be your helpmates."
The Infantes took each his bride by the hand, and went to the Cid and kissed his hand, and they did the same to Doña Ximena. Then they were espoused by the Bishop Don Hieronymo, and they exchanged rings. When this was done, the Cid went and seated himself with the ladies, he and Doña Ximena in the middle, and beside him he placed Doña Elvira, his eldest daughter, and by her her husband, Diego Gonzalez; and Doña Sol was seated on the other side by her mother, and Ferrando by her.
After a time the Cid said they would now partake of food, and that the marriage should be performed on the next day; and he commanded the Bishop to perform it in such a manner that no cost should be spared, that they who came from Castile to this wedding might always have something to tell of.
On the next day they went to the Church of St. Mary, and there the Bishop sat waiting for them, and he blessed them all four at the altar. Who can tell of the sports at the wedding, of the feasts and the bull-fights, and the throwing at the target, and the throwing canes? As soon as they came out of the church they took horse and rode to Glera. There there was a great tournament, and the Cid entered it, and three times that day he changed his horse. Seven targets were set up on the next day, and before they went to dinner all seven were broken.
Fifteen days did the feasts at this wedding continue. Then all who had come there to do honor to the Cid took leave of him and the Infantes. To all of these, great and little, the Cid gave gifts, to each according to his rank, vessels of gold and silver, rich cloth, cloaks, furs, horses, and money, so that all were well pleased. When it was told in Castile with what gifts they who had been to the wedding returned, there were many who repented that they had not also gone.