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Calvin Dill Wilson

The Cid Avenges King Yahia

The Cid makes ready to avenge Yahia. He takes his army toward Valencia. He captures a suburb. He punishes a false friend.

W hen once Abeniaf had slain his master, King Yahia, he began to act as if he were now king himself. He put guards round about his houses day and night. He appointed secretaries who should write his secret letters. He chose a body of the better men to be his guard. When he rode out he took with him many knights and huntsmen, all armed, who guarded him like a king; and when he went through the streets, the women came out to gaze at him, and shouted and rejoiced in him. All this made him so arrogant that he assumed in every respect the manners of a king. He did whatever he could to debase a kinsman of his own who was a chief officer of the city, and who was wiser and better than he. He made no account of the governor of the Almoravides, who held the chief castles, declined to counsel with him, and did nothing for him except to supply him and his men with their money.

When King Yahia had been slain, his servants and other members of his household fled to the Castle of Juballa, while others went to Zaragoza and told the Cid what had been done. The Cid was greatly troubled, and went as fast as he could to Juballa, and met those who had fled from Valencia. These besought him to revenge the death of their master, and promised that they would follow him for life or for death. Then the Cid sent letters to Abeniaf, letting him know that he was aware what he had done, and reproaching him for casting the king's body into a pond, and letting the body be buried shamefully. He also bade him give him the corn which he had left in the granaries at Valencia.

Abeniaf replied that the granaries had all been plundered, and that the city now belonged to the king of the Almoravides; and that if the Cid would serve that king, he would help him get his good will. When the Cid read this letter, he saw that Abeniaf was a fool, that he had written about one matter and the man had answered about another; and he knew that Abeniaf was not a man to keep the power which he had gained. So he sent other letters, calling him and all who were with him traitors, and saying that he would make war on him until he had avenged the death of Yahia.

The Cid also sent letters to all the castles in that region, ordering them to supply his men with food at once or he would destroy them all. All obeyed his commands, except Aboeza. This man sent word that he would obey the Cid; but at the same time he sent also to Abenrazin, the lord of Albarrazin, saying that he would give him Monviedro and the other castles which he held, and bidding him make terms with the Cid. Then Abenrazin went with all speed to Monviedro, and took possession of that castle. Now twenty-six days had passed since Yahia was slain.

When Abenrazin had possession of the Castle of Monviedro, he went to the Cid and made an agreement with him that his castles should provide food for the Cid's men, and that the Cid should not make war upon him. Then Abenrazin returned to his own land, leaving one of his men in charge of the Castle of Monviedro; and Aboeza went with him, glad to have escaped with his life from the power of the Cid.

The Cid lay before Juballa, and sent out his men twice a day toward Valencia, and they slew many Moors, and made many prisoners, and took all the flocks that they found outside the walls. But the Cid protected the land and those who labored to produce bread and wine, thinking that what was thus raised could be used by him when he should besiege the town.

Now Abeniaf gathered about him more than three hundred knights, and he took no counsel with the governor of the Almoravides; and when the Almoravides saw that he followed only his own will, they were offended. The sons of Aboegib were offended also, and they made friends with the Almoravides. Now the Cid was lying in front of Juballa, and his men every day scoured the country up to the gates of Valencia. And the three hundred knights of Abeniaf, with men from the town, went out against the Cid's men, but the Cid's men slew many of them. In one of these skirmishes, the Cid's followers captured a rich Moor, and they forced him to give them a large sum of silver money; and he gave them the houses that he owned in Valencia, to be theirs if they could take the town.

When the Cid knew there was strife between the various parties in Valencia, he strove to make this difference greater. And he sent secretly to Abeniaf, offering him his friendship if he should expel the Almoravides from the town, and saying he would befriend him if he did this. Abeniaf was well pleased, thinking he would now be king of Valencia, and he denied the Almoravides their supplies, pretending he had nothing for them.

At this time Abeniaf received word from Ali, who was in Denia, saying that he should send some of the treasure he had taken from Yahia to the Miramamolin, the great chief of the Moors in Africa, with which he could get him to send a great army and come and fight the Cid. So Abeniaf took part of the treasure, and hid the rest, and sent it away secretly lest the Cid should know. But Abenalfarax, who was the governor whom the Cid had placed in Valencia, sent a messenger to the Cid, who at once sent horsemen who took the treasure and brought it to the Cid. Greatly did he thank Abenalfarax for this deed, and he made him chief over all the Moors who were his subjects.

At this time, the Castle of Juballa surrendered, and the Cid took his army and went toward Valencia and encamped in a village called Deroncada. And as seed-time was now over, he burned all the villages round about, and burned the mills and the boats on the river. He beset the city on all sides, and pulled down the houses that were outside, and sent the wood and stone to build a town near Juballa.

Presently the governor of the king of Zaragoza came to the Cid with treasures that the king had sent for the ransom of captives. He also came to counsel with Abeniaf and advise him to give up the city to the king of Zaragoza, and then the king would protect him; but Abeniaf would not heed this advice. On the second day after this governor had come, the Cid attacked a suburb of Valencia and slew many, and took it and pulled down the houses, and put a guard there that the Moors might not recover it.

On the next day, the Cid attacked another suburb, and he also sent a part of his host to attack the gate of the city. The Cid and his company rode among the great multitude of the Moors, smiting and slaying without mercy, and the Cid's horse stumbled over the dead and fell, and the Cid fought on foot. His friends soon brought him another horse, and he continued smiting them so fearfully that the Moors were amazed at the number that fell, and they strove to flee into the town. Those who had been sent against the gate would have succeeded had it not been for the boys and women who were upon the walls and in the towers, and threw stones down upon them. Then many horsemen came forth from the city and fought with the Christians, and the battle lasted from morning until midday. Then the Cid returned to his camp, and when he had taken food, he returned to the attack on the suburb.

This attack was so vigorous that those who dwelt in this part thought they would be taken, and cried out, "Peace, peace," being in great fear. The Cid then bade his men cease fighting, and the leading men of this suburb came out, and the Cid granted them the terms they asked; and he took possession of the suburb that night and set his guards there. On the next day, the Cid went to these people who had surrendered, and promised them his favor, and told them to cultivate their fields and tend their flocks securely, saying that he would take only a tenth of the fruit. He placed a Moor there named Yucef, to be his receiver. He gave orders that all Moors who would live there might dwell securely, and they could bring food and merchandise for sale. So much food and merchandise were brought there from all parts that that suburb became like a city.

Since the Cid had possession of the suburbs, he cut off Valencia so that no one could go out nor in, and the people of the city knew not what to do, and were sorry that they had not listened to the offer of the king of Zaragoza. The Almoravides were also in bad circumstances, for they had no one to look to, and were not receiving any pay. All this time Abeniaf secretly pretended friendship for the Cid. Then the men of the town and the Almoravides talked together as to a way by which they could make peace with the Cid until the Miramamolin could send them help from beyond the sea. They therefore sent word to the Cid that they wished to make a treaty with him, but he answered that he would not do this until they had sent the Almoravides out of the town. These Africans were well pleased at this message, for they were very weary of being in that place, and said they would count it the happiest day of their lives when they were able to depart. So the men of the town made a treaty with the Cid that the Almoravides should be permitted to depart in peace, and they agreed to pay him for all the corn that was in his granaries when Yahia was slain, and that they should pay him the amount that had been promised every week while they had been in arms, and also from that time forth. They agreed, also, that the suburb that he had won should be his, and that his troops should remain in Juballa as long as they stayed in that part of the land. Then the Africans departed from Valencia, and horsemen were sent with them to conduct them in safety.

Then the Cid went with all his army to Juballa, leaving only men to collect his rents. Abeniaf now made ready to pay the Cid for his corn, and he made terms with the castles about Valencia that they should pay him one-tenth of all their fruits and of all their other rents. As this was the harvest, he appointed a Moor and a Christian in each place to see the corn gathered into the granaries; and thus the Cid was well paid.

At this time news came to Valencia that the Almoravides were approaching with a great force, and the Cid planned how he could keep them from coming, or fight them if they succeeded in reaching that land. He sent to Abeniaf telling him to forbid the Africans from marching into that region, saying that if the Africans entered Valencia, he would cease to be lord of Valencia; but if they did not come, the Cid would protect him from all his enemies.

Abeniaf was well pleased with this plan, that he should continue to be lord of Valencia and have the protection of the Cid; and he talked with the governors of some of the castles, and they agreed to what the Cid had said. So they came to Valencia, and the Cid to his suburb; and they made friendship with him in great secrecy. But the governor of the Castle of Algezira would not take part in this treaty, so the Cid sent his troops into his land and cut down his corn and brought it to Juballa, which the Cid had made into a great town, and where he kept his corn and other supplies and had his rents brought, so that men marvelled that in so short a time he had made so prosperous a town.

Now Abenrazin, the lord of Albarrazin, made an agreement with the king of Aragon that the king should help him win Valencia, and he would give him great treasures, and as a guarantee of what he would do he gave him the Castle of Toalba; but in this he gained nothing, but lost the castle. This Abenrazin had before made a treaty with the Cid, so that they were friends, and the Cid had never done him any injury. But when the Cid knew of his agreement with the king of Aragon, he felt that he had been dealt with falsely; but he said nothing of his anger until the corn had been gathered into Juballa.

When the harvest was over, the Cid told his men to get ready for a campaign, but did not tell them where he intended to lead them, and he set forward by night toward Albarrazin. As that land was at peace, the inhabitants did not keep watch; so the Cid's men fell upon them, and slew many and took many prisoners, and drove off great flocks and herds, sheep and kine and horses and prisoners all together, and carried away the corn. And they sent the spoil to Juballa, and it was so great that Valencia and Juballa and all their dependencies were rich with cattle and other supplies.

The Cid besieged Albarrazin, and on one day he rode forth with five of his knights, and there came twelve knights out of the town, thinking to kill him or capture him. But he spurred his horse forward and slew two, cast two others from their horses so that they were taken, and put the rest to flight. But in this encounter the Cid received a wound in his throat from a spear, and it was thought he would die; and it was three weeks before the wound was healed.