In the stories here given, Southey's rich and descriptive English has been retained, the condensation being secured by omitting long, tedious passages.
WHY DON SANCHO ATTACKED HIS NEIGHBORS
By Robert Southey
History relates that after the death of King Don Ferrando of Spain, the three kings, his sons, Don Sancho, Don Alfonso and Don Garcia, reigned each in his kingdom, according to the division made by their father. Don Ferrando had divided into five portions (one for each of the sons and one for each of the two daughters, Donya Urraca and Donya Elvira) that which should all by right have descended to Don Sancho as the eldest son.
Now, the kings of Spain were of the blood of the Goths, which was a fierce blood, for it had many times come to pass among the Gothic kings, that brother had slain brother. From this blood was King Don Sancho descended, and he thought that it would be a reproach to him if he did not join together the three kingdoms under his own dominion, for he was not pleased with what his father had given him, holding that the whole ought to have been his. And he went through the land setting it in order, and what thing soever his people asked, that did he grant them freely, to the end that he might win their hearts.
When King Don Sancho of Navarre, nephew of Don Ferrando, saw that there was a new king in Castille, he thought to recover the lands which had been lost when the king, his father, was defeated and slain in the mountains of Oca. And now seeing that the kingdom of Ferrando was divided, he asked help of his uncle Don Ramiro, King of Aragon; and the men of Aragon and of Navarre entered Castille together. But King Don Sancho gathered together his host, and put the Cid at their head; and such account did he give of his enemies, that he of Navarre was glad to lay no farther claim to what his father had lost. The King of Castille was wroth against the King of Aragon, that he should thus have joined against him without cause; and in despite of him he marched against the Moors of Zaragoza, and laying waste their country with fire and sword, he came before their city, gave orders to assault it, and began to set up his engines. The Moors seeing that they could not help themselves, made such terms with him as it pleased him to grant, and gave him hostages that they might not be able to prove false. They gave him gold and silver and precious stones in abundance, so that with great riches and full honourably did he and all his men depart from the siege.
Greatly was the King of Aragon displeased at this which King Don Sancho had done. He required he should yield unto him all the spoil which the King of Zaragoza had given him, else should he not pass without battle. King Don Sancho, being a man of great heart, made answer that he was the head of the kingdoms of Castille and Leon, and all the conquests in Spain were his. Wherefore he counselled him to waive his demand, and let him pass in peace. But the King of Aragon drew up his host for battle, and the onset was made, and heavy blows were dealt on both sides, and many horses were left without a master. And while the battle was yet undecided, King Don Sancho riding right bravely through the battle, began to call out Castille!
Castille! and charged the main body so fiercely that by fine force he broke them; and when they were thus broken, the Castillians began cruelly to slay them, so that King Don Sancho had pity, and called to his people not to kill them, for they were Christians. Then King Don Ramiro being discomfited, retired to a mountain, and King Don Sancho beset the mountain round about, and made a covenant with him that he should depart, and that the King of Zaragoza should remain tributary to Castille; and but for this covenant the King of Aragon would then have been slain, or made prisoner.
In all these wars did my Cid demean himself after his wonted manner; and because of the great feats which he performed the king loved him well, and made him his Alfarez, [Footnote: A standard bearer] so that in the whole army he was second only to the king. And because when the host was in the field it was his office to choose the place for encampment, therefore was my Cid called the Campeador. [Footnote: One who is remarkable for his exploits]
DON GARCIA DEFIES DON SANCHO
By Robert Southey
While King Don Sancho was busied in these wars, King Don Garcia of Galicia took by force from Donya Urraca his sister a great part of the lands which the king their father had given her. When King Don Sancho heard what his brother had done he was well pleased thereat, thinking that he might now bring to pass that which he so greatly desired; and he assembled together his Ricos-omes [Footnote: Noblemen, grandees.] and his knights, and said unto them, The king my father divided the kingdoms which should have been mine, and therein he did unjustly; now King Don Garcia my brother hath broken the oath and disherited Donya Urraca my sister; I beseech ye therefore counsel me what I shall do, and in what manner to proceed against him, for I will take his kingdom away from him. Upon this Count Don Garcia Ordonez arose and said, There is not a man in the world, sir, who would counsel you to break the command of your father, and the vow which you made unto him. And the king was greatly incensed at him and said, Go from before me, for I shall never receive good counsel from thee. The king then took the Cid by the hand and led him apart, and said unto him, Thou well knowest, my Cid, that when the king my father commended thee unto me, he charged me upon pain of his curse that I should take you for my adviser, and whatever I did that I should do it with your counsel, and I have done so even until this day; and thou hast always counselled me for the best, and for this I have given thee a county in my kingdom, holding it well bestowed. Now then I beseech you advise me how best to recover these kingdoms, for if I have not counsel from you I do not expect to have it from any man in the world.
Greatly troubled at this was the Cid, and he answered and said, Ill, sir, would it behove me to counsel you that you should go against the will of your father. You well know that when I went to him, after he had divided his kingdoms, how he made me swear to him that I would always counsel his sons the best I could, and never give them ill counsel; and while I can, thus must I continue to do. But the king answered, My Cid, I do not hold that in this I am breaking the oath made to my father, for I ever said that the partition should not be, and the oath which I made was forced upon me. Now King Don Garcia my brother hath broken the oath, and all these kingdoms by right are mine: and therefore I will that you counsel me how I may unite them, for from so doing there is nothing in this world which shall prevent me, except it be death.
Then when the Cid saw that he could by no means turn him from that course, he advised him to obtain the love of his brother King Don Alfonso, that he might grant him passage through his kingdom to go against Don Garcia: and if this should be refused he counselled him not to make the attempt. And the king saw that his counsel was good, and sent his letters to King Don Alfonso beseeching him to meet him at Sahagun. When King Don Alfonso received the letters he marvelled to what end this might be: howbeit he sent to say that he would meet him. And the two kings met in Sahagun. And King Don Sancho said, Brother, you well know that King Don Garcia our brother hath broken the oath made unto our father, and disherited our sister Donya Urraca: for this I will take his kingdom away from him, and I beseech you join with me. But Don Alfonso answered that he would not go against the will of his father, and the oath which he had sworn. Then King Don Sancho said, that if he would let him pass through his kingdom he would give him part of what he should gain: and King Don Alfonso agreed to this. And upon this matter they fixed another day to meet; and then forty knights were named, twenty for Castille and twenty for Leon, as vouchers that this which they covenanted should be faithfully fulfilled on both sides.
Then King Don Sancho gathered together a great host. He sent Alvar Fanez, the cousin of the Cid, to King Don Garcia, to bid him yield up his kingdom, and if he refused to do this to defy him on his part.
When King Don Garcia heard this he was greatly troubled, and he said to Alvar Fanez, Say to my brother that I beseech him not to break the oath which he made to our father; but if he will persist to do this thing I must defend myself as I can. He called his chief captains together and they advised him that he should recall Don Rodrigo Frojaz, for having him the realm would be secure, and without him it was in danger to be lost. So two hidalgos [Footnote: A man belonging to the lower nobility, a gentleman by birth] were sent after him, and they found him in Navarre, on the eve of passing into France. But when he saw the king's letters, and knew the peril in which he then stood, setting aside the remembrance of his own wrongs, like a good and true Portuguese, he turned back, and went to the king. In good time did he arrive, for the captains of King Don Sancho had now gained many lands in Galicia and in the province of Beira, finding none to resist them.
When Don Rodrigo heard this and knew that the Castillians were approaching he promised the king either to maintain his cause, or die for it. He ordered the trumpets to be sounded, and the Portugueze sallied, and a little below the city the two squadrons met. The Portugueze fought so well, and especially Don Rodrigo, and his brothers, that at length they discomfited the Castillians, killing of them five hundred and forty, of whom three hundred were knights, and winning their pennons and banners. Howbeit this victory was not obtained without great loss to themselves; for two hundred and twenty of their people were left upon the field, and many were sorely wounded, among whom, even to the great peril of his life, was Don Rodrigo Frojaz, being wounded with many and grievous wounds.
DON GARCIA TAKES DON SANCHO PRISONER
By Robert Southey
A sorrowful defeat was that for King Don Sancho, and he put himself at the head of his army and hastened through Portugal to besiege his brother in Santarem.
The Portugueze and Galegos took counsel together what they should do.
Don Rodrigo Frojaz said unto the king that it behoved him above all things to put his kingdom upon the hazard of a battle; for his brother being a greater lord of lands than he, and richer in money and more powerful in vassals, could maintain the war longer than he could, who peradventure would find it difficult another year to gather together so good an army as he had now ready. For this cause he advised him to put his trust in God first, and then in the hidalgos who were with him, and without fear give battle to the king his brother, over whom God and his good cause would give him glorious victory. Now when the two hosts were ready to join battle, Alvar Fanez came to King Don Sancho and said to him, Sir, I have played away my horse and arms; I beseech you give me others for this battle, and I will be a right good one for you this day; if I do not for you the service of six knights, hold me for a traitor. And the king ordered that horse and arms should be given him. So the armies joined battle bravely on both sides, and it was a sharp onset; many were the heavy blows which were given on both sides, and many were the horses that were slain at that encounter, and many the men. Now my Cid had not yet come up into the field.
Now Don Rodrigo Frojaz and his brethren and the knights who were with them had resolved to make straight for the banner of the King of Castille. And they broke through the ranks of the Castillians, and made their way into the middle of the enemy's host, doing marvellous feats of arms. Then was the fight at the hottest, for they did their best to win the banner, and the others to defend it; the remembrance of what they had formerly done, and the hope of gaining more honours, heartened them; and with the Castillians there was their king, giving them brave example as well as brave words. The press of the battle was here, and the banner of King Don Sancho was beaten down, and the king himself also, and Don Rodrigo made way through the press and laid hands on him and took him. But in the struggle he lost much blood, and perceiving that his strength was failing, he sent to call the King Don Garcia with all speed. And as the king came, the Count Don Pedro Frojaz met him and said, An honourable gift, sir, hath my brother Don Rodrigo to give you, but you lose him in gaining it. And tears fell from the eyes of the king, and he made answer and said, It may indeed be that Don Rodrigo may lose his life in serving me, but the good name which he hath gained, and the honour which he leaveth to his descendants, death cannot take away. Saying this, he came to the place where Don Rodrigo was, and Don Rodrigo gave into his hands the King Don Sancho his brother, and asked him three times if he was discharged of his prisoner; and when the king had answered Yes, Don Rodrigo said, For me, sir, the joy which I have in your victory is enough; give the rewards to these good Portugueze, who with so good a will have put their lives upon the hazard to serve you, and in all things follow their counsel, and you will not err therein. Having said this he kissed the king's hand, and lying upon his shield, for he felt his breath fail him, with his helmet for a pillow, he kissed the cross of his sword in remembrance of that on which the Son of God had died for him, and rendered up his soul into the hands of his Creator. This was the death of one of the worthy knights of the world, Don Rodrigo Frojaz. In all the conquests which King Don Ferrando had made from the Moors of Portugal, great part had he borne, insomuch that that king was wont to say that other princes might have more dominions than he, but two such knights as his two Rodrigos, meaning my Cid and this good knight, there was none but himself who had for vassals.
King Don Garcia being desirous to be in the pursuit himself, delivered his brother into the hands of six knights that they should guard him, which he ought not to have done. And when he was gone King Don Sancho said unto the knights, Let me go and I will depart out of your country and never enter it again; and I will reward ye well as long as ye live; but they answered him, that for no reward would they commit such disloyalty, but would guard him well, not offering him any injury, till they had delivered him to his brother the King Don Garcia. While they were parleying Alvar Fanez came up, he to whom the king had given horse and arms before the battle; and he seeing the king held prisoner, cried out with a loud voice, Let loose my lord the king: and he spurred his horse and made at them; and before his lance was broken he overthrew two of them, and so bestirred himself that he put the others to flight; and he took the horses of the two whom he had smote down, and gave one to the king, and mounted upon the other himself, for his own was hurt in the rescue; and they went together to a little rising ground where there was yet a small body of the knights of their party, and Alvar Fanez cried out to them aloud, Ye see here the king our lord, who is free; now then remember the good name of the Castillians, and let us not lose it this day. And about four hundred knights gathered about him. And while they stood there they saw the Cid Ruydiez coming up with three hundred knights, for he had not been in the battle, and they knew his green pennon. And when King Don Sancho beheld it his heart rejoiced, and he said, Now let us descend into the plain, for he of good fortune cometh: and he said, Be of good heart, for it is the will of God that I should recover my kingdom, for I have escaped from captivity, and seen the death of Don Rodrigo Frojaz who took me, and Ruydiez the fortunate one cometh. And the king went down to him and welcomed him right joyfully, saying, In happy time are you come, my fortunate Cid; never vassal succoured his lord in such season as you now succour me, for the king my brother had overcome me. And the Cid answered, Sir, be sure that you shall recover the day, or I will die; for wheresoever you go, either you shall be victorious or I will meet my death.
By this time King Don Garcia returned from the pursuit, singing as he came full joyfully, for he thought that the king his brother was a prisoner, and his great power overthrown. But there came one and told him that Don Sancho was rescued and in the field again, ready to give him battle a second time. Bravely was that second battle fought on both sides; and if it had not been for the great prowess of the Cid, the end would not have been as it was: in the end the Galegos and Portugueze were discomfited, and the King Don Garcia taken in his turn. And the King Don Sancho put his brother in better ward than his brother three hours before had put him, for he put him in chains and sent him to the strong castle of Luna.
When King Don Sancho had done this he took unto himself the kingdom of Galicia and of Portugal, and without delay sent to his brother King Don Alfonso, commanding him to yield up to him the kingdom of Leon, for it was his by right. At this was the King of Leon troubled at heart; howbeit he answered that he would not yield up his kingdom, but do his utmost to defend it. Then King Don Sancho entered Leon, slaying and laying waste before him, as an army of infidels would have done; and King Don Alfonso sent to him to bid him cease from this, for it was inhuman work to kill and plunder the innocent: and he defied him to a pitched battle, saying that to whichsoever God should give the victory, to him also would he give the kingdom of Leon: and the King of Castille accepted the defiance, and a day was fixed for the battle.
Both kings were in the field that day, and full hardily was the battle contested, and great was the mortality on either side, for the hatred which used to be between Moors and Christians was then between brethren.
Nevertheless the power of King Don Alfonso was not yet destroyed, and he would not yield up his kingdom: and he sent to his brother a second time to bid him battle, saying that whosoever conquered should then certainly remain King of Leon. The two armies met and joined battle, and they of Leon had the victory, for my Cid was not in the field. And King Don Alfonso had pity upon the Castillians because they were Christians, and gave orders not to slay them; and his brother King Don Sancho fled. Now as he was flying, my Cid came up with his green pennon; and when he saw that the king his lord had been conquered it grieved him sorely: howbeit he encouraged him saying, This is nothing, sir! to fail or to prosper is as God pleases. But do you gather together your people who are discomfited, and bid them take heart. The Leonese and Galegos are with the king your brother, secure as they think themselves in their lodging, and taking no thought of you; for it is their custom to extol themselves when their fortune is fair, and to mock at others, and in this boastfulness will they spend the night, so that we shall find them sleeping at break of day, and will fall upon them. And it came to pass as he had said. The Leonese lodged themselves in Vulpegera, taking no thought of their enemies, and setting no watch; and Ruydiez arose betimes in the morning and fell upon them, and subdued them before they could take their arms. King Don Alfonso fled to the town of Carrion, which was three leagues distant, and would have fortified himself there in the Church of St.
Mary, but he was surrounded and constrained to yield.
Now the knights of Leon gathered together in their flight, and when they could not find their king they were greatly ashamed, and they turned back and smote the Castillians; and as it befell, they encountered King Don Sancho alone and took him prisoner, for his people considered the victory as their own, and all was in confusion.
And thirteen knights took him in their ward and were leading him away,--but my Cid beheld them and galloped after them: he was alone, and had no lance, having broken his in the battle. And he came up to them and said, Knights, give me my lord and I will give unto you yours. They knew him by his arms, and they made answer, Ruydiez, return in peace and seek not to contend with us, otherwise we will carry you away prisoner with him. And he waxed wroth and said, Give me but a lance and I will, single as I am, rescue my lord from all of ye: by God's help I will do it. And they held him as nothing because he was but one, and gave him a lance. But he attacked them therewith so bravely that he slew eleven of the thirteen, leaving two only alive, on whom he had mercy; and thus did he rescue the king. And the Castillians rejoiced greatly at the king's deliverance: and King Don Sancho went to Burgos, and took with him his brother prisoner.
Great was the love which the Infanta Donya Urraca bore to her brother King Don Alfonso, and when she heard that he was made prisoner, she feared lest he should be put to death: and she took with her the Count Don Peransures, and went to Burgos. And they spake with the Cid, and besought him that he would join with them and intercede with the king that he should release his brother from prison, and let him become a monk. Full willing was the Cid to serve in any thing the Infanta Donya Urraca, and he went with her before the king. And she knelt down before the king her brother, and besought him that he would let their brother Don Alfonso take the habit of St. Benedict, in the royal Monastery of Sahagun. And the king took my Cid aside, and asked counsel of him what he should do; and the Cid said, that if Don Alfonso were willing to become a monk, he would do well to set him free upon that condition, and he besought him so to do. Then King Don Sancho, at my Cid's request, granted to Donya Urraca what she had asked. And Don Alfonso became a monk in the Monastery at Sahagun, more by force than of free will. And being in the monastery he spake with Don Peransures, and took counsel with him, and fled away by night from the monks, and went among the Moors to King Alimaymon of Toledo. And the Moorish king welcomed him with a good will, and did great honour to him, and gave him great possessions and many gifts.
But when King Don Sancho heard how his brother had fled from the monastery, he drew out his host and went against the city of Leon. The Leonese would fain have maintained the city against him, but they could not, and he took the city of Leon, and all the towns and castles which had been under the dominion of his brother King Don Alfonso. And then he put the crown upon his head, and called himself king of the three kingdoms. He was a fair knight and of marvellous courage, so that both Moors and Christians were dismayed at what they saw him do, for they saw that nothing which he willed to take by force could stand against him. And he went forth with his army, and took from the Infanta Donya Elvira the half of the Infantazgo [Footnote: Inherited land] which she possessed, and also from Donya Urraca the other half.
And he went against Toro, the city of Donya Elvira, and took it, and then he went to Zamora to Donya Urraca, bidding her yield him up the city, and saying that he would give her lands as much as she required in the plain country. But she returned for answer, that she would in no manner yield unto him that which the king her father had given her; and she besought him that he would suffer her to continue to dwell peaceably therein, saying that no disservice should ever be done against him on her part.
Then King Don Sancho went to Burgos, because it was the season for besieging a town, being winter. And he sent his letters through all the land, calling upon his vassals to assemble together upon the first day of March in Sahagun, upon pain of forfeiting his favour. And they assembled together in Sahagun on the day appointed; and when the king heard in what readiness they were, it gladdened him, and he lifted up his hands to God and said, Blessed be thy name, O Lord, because thou hast given me all the kingdoms of my father. And when he had said this he ordered proclamation to be made through the streets of Burgos, that all should go forth to protect the host and the body of the king their lord. They made such speed that in five days they arrived before Zamora, and pitched their tents upon the banks of the Douro. And he mounted on horseback with his bidalgos and rode round the town, and beheld how strongly it was situated upon a rock, with strong walls, and many and strong towers, and the river Douro running at the foot thereof; and he said unto his knights, Ye see how strong it is, neither Moor nor Christian can prevail against it; if I could have it from my sister either for money or exchange, I should be Lord of Spain.
Then the king returned to his tents, and sent for the Cid, and said unto him, Cid, you well know how manifoldly you are bound unto me. I have ever shown favour unto you, and you have ever served me as the loyalest vassal that ever did service to his lord. Now therefore I beseech you as my friend and true vassal, that you go to Zamora to my sister Donya Urraca, and say unto her again, that I beseech her to give me the town either for a price, or in exchange, and I will give to her Medina de Rioseco, with the whole Infantazgo, from Villalpando to Valladolid, and Tiedra also, which is a good Castle; and I will swear unto her, with twelve knights of my vassals, never to break this covenant between us; but if she refuseth to do this I will take away the town from her by force. And my Cid kissed the hand of the king and said unto him, This bidding, sir, should be for other messenger, for it is a heavy thing for me to deliver it; for I was brought up in Zamora by your father's command, with Donya Urraca and with his sons, and it is not fitting that I should be the bearer of such bidding. And the king persisted in requiring of him that he should go, insomuch that he was constrained to obey his will. And he took with him fifteen of his knights and rode towards Zamora, and when he drew nigh he called unto those who kept guard in the towers not to shoot their arrows at him, for he was Ruydiez of Bivar, who came to Donya Urraca with the bidding of her brother King Don Sancho. With that there came down a knight who had the keeping of the gate, and he bade the Cid enter. It pleased the Infanta well that he should be the messenger, and she bade him come before her that she might know what was his bidding. When the Cid entered the palace Donya Urraca advanced to meet him, and greeted him full well, and they seated themselves both upon the Estrado. And Donya Urraca said unto him, Cid, you well know that you were brought up with me here in Zamora, and when my father was at the point of death he charged you that you should always counsel his sons the best you could. Now tell me I beseech you what is it which my brother goes about to do, now that he has called up all Spain in arms, and to what lands he thinks to go, whether against Moors or Christians. Then the Cid answered and said, Lady, give me safe assurance and I will tell unto you that which the king your brother hath sent me to say. And she said she would do as Don Arias Gonzalo should advise her. And Don Arias answered that it was well to hear what the king her brother had sent to say. Donya Urraca then said to the Cid, that he might speak his bidding safely. Then said my Cid, The king your brother sends to greet you, and beseeches you to give him this town of Zamora, either for a price or in exchange; and he will give to you Medina de Rio-seco, with the whole Infantazgo, from Villalpando to Valladolid, and the good castle of Tiedra, and he will swear unto you, with twelve knights his vassals, never to do you hurt or harm; but if you will not give him the town, he will take it against your will.
When Donya Urraca heard this she lamented aloud, saying, Wretch that I am, many are the evil messages which I have heard since my father's death! He hath disherited my brother King Don Garcia of his kingdom, and taken him, and now holds him in irons as if he were a thief or a Moor: and he hath taken his lands from my brother King Don Alfonso, and forced him to go among the Moors, and live there exiled as if he had been a traitor; and he hath taken her lands from my sister Donya Elvira against her will, and now would he take Zamora from me also!
Now then let the earth open and swallow me, that I may not see so many troubles! I am a woman, and well know that I cannot strive with him in battle; but I will have him slain either secretly or openly. Then Don Arias Gonzalo stood up and said, Lady, give order that all the men of Zamora assemble in St. Salvador's and know of them whether they will hold with you, seeing that your father gave them to you to be your vassals. If they will hold with you, then give not up the town, neither for a price, nor in exchange; but if they will not, let us then go to Toledo among the Moors, where your brother King Don Alfonso abideth.
And she did as her foster-father had advised, and it was proclaimed through the streets that the men of Zamora should meet in council at St. Salvador's. When they were all assembled, Donya Urraca arose and said, Don Sancho bids me give him Zamora, either for a price or in exchange. Now concerning this I would know whereunto ye advise me. Then by command of the Council there rose up a knight who was called Don Nuno, a man of worth, aged, and of fair speech; and he said, We beseech you give not up Zamora, neither for price nor for exchange, for he who besieges you upon the rock would soon drive you from the plain. The Council of Zamora will do your bidding, and will not desert you. Sooner, lady, will we expend all our possessions, and eat our mules and horses, than give up Zamora, unless by your command.
And they all with one accord confirmed what Don Nuno had said. When the Infanta Donya Urraca heard this she was well pleased, and praised them greatly; and she turned to the Cid and said unto him, I beseech you help me now against my brother, and intreat him that he will not seek to disherit me; but if he will go on with what he hath begun, say to him that I will rather die with the men of Zamora and they with me, than give him up the town, either for price or exchange. And with this answer did the Cid return unto the king.
THE SIEGE OF ZAMORA
By Robert Southey
When King Don Sancho heard what the Cid said, his anger kindled against him, and he said, You have given this counsel to my sister because you were bred with her. And my Cid answered and said, Faithfully have I discharged your bidding, and as a true vassal.
Howbeit, O king, I will not bear arms against the Infanta your sister, nor against Zamora, because of the days which are passed;--and I beseech you do not persist in doing this wrong. But then King Don Sancho was more greatly incensed, and he said unto him, If it were not that my father left you commended to me, I would order you this instant to be hanged. But for this which you have said I command you to quit my kingdom within nine days. The Cid went to his tent in anger, and called for his kinsmen and his friends, and bade them make ready on the instant to depart with him. He set forth with all the knights and esquires of his table, and with all their retainers horse and foot, twelve hundred persons, all men of approved worth, a goodly company;--and they took the road to Toledo, meaning to join King Don Alfonso among the Moors. That night they slept at Castro Nuno. But when the counts and Ricos-omes, and the other good men of the host saw this, they understood the great evil, which might arise to the king from the departure of the Cid. They went to the king and said unto him, Sir, wherefore would you lose so good a vassal, who has done you such great service? If he should go unto your brother Don Alfonso among the Moors, he would not let you besiege this city thus in peace.
And the king perceived that they spake rightly, and he called for Don Diego Ordonez and bade him follow the Cid, and beseech him in his name to return; and whatever covenant he should make it should be confirmed unto him; and of this he ordered his letters of credence to be made out. And Don Diego Ordonez rode after the Cid, and delivered the king's bidding, and said that the king besought him not to bear in mind the words which he had spoken unto him in anger. Then the Cid called together his kinsmen and friends, and they counselled him that he should return to the king, for it was better to remain in his land and serve God, than to go among the Moors. He held their counsel good, and called for Don Diego, and said that he would do the will of the king. And when the Cid drew nigh unto the host, the king went out with five hundred knights to meet him, and received him gladly, and did him great honour. And the Cid kissed his hand and asked him if he confirmed what Don Diego had said; and the king confirmed it before all the knights who were there present, promising to give him great possessions. And when they came to the army great was the joy because of the Cid's return, and great were the rejoicings which were made: but as great was the sorrow in Zamora, for they who were in the town held that the siege was broken up by his departure. Nevertheless my Cid would not bear arms against the Infanta, nor against the town of Zamora, because of the days which were past.
The king ordered proclamation to be made throughout the host that the people should make ready to attack the town. They fought against it three days and three nights so bravely that all the ditches were filled up, and the barbicans thrown down, and they who were within fought sword in hand with those without, and the waters of the Douro, as they past below the town, were all discoloured with blood. And when Count Don Garcia de Cabra saw the great loss which they were suffering, it grieved him; and he went unto the king and told him that many men were slain, and advised him to call off the host that they should no longer fight against the town, but hold it besieged, for by famine it might soon be taken. Then the king ordered them to draw back, and he sent to each camp to know how many men had died in the attack, and the number was found to be a thousand and thirty. And when the king knew this he was greatly troubled for the great loss which he had received, and he ordered the town to be beleaguered round about, that none could enter into it, neither go out therefrom; and there was a great famine within the town. And when Don Arias Gonzalo saw the misery, and the hunger, and the mortality which were there, he said to the Infanta Donya Urraca, You see, lady, the great wretchedness which the people of Zamora have suffered, and do every day suffer to maintain their loyalty; now then call together the Council, and thank them truly for what they have done for you, and bid them give up the town within nine days to the king your brother. And we, lady, will go to Toledo to your brother King Don Alfonso, for we cannot defend Zamora; King Don Sancho is of so great heart and so resolute, that he will never break up the siege, and I do not hold it good that you should abide here longer. And Donya Urraca gave orders that the good men of Zamora should meet together in council; and she said unto them, Friends, ye well see the resoluteness of King Don Sancho my brother.
Ye have done enough, and I do not hold it good that ye should perish, I command ye therefore give up the town to him within nine days, and I will go to Toledo to my brother King Don Alfonso. The men of Zamora when they heard this had great sorrow, because they had endured the siege so long, and must now give up the town at last; and they determined all to go with the Infanta, and not remain in the town.
When Vellido Dolfos heard this, he went to Donya Urraca and said, Lady, I came here to Zamora to do you service with thirty knights, all well accoutred, as you know; and I have served you long time, and never have I had from you guerdon for my service, though I have demanded it: but now if you will grant my demand I will relieve Zamora, and make King Don Sancho break up the siege. Then said Donya Urraca, Vellido, I do not bid thee commit any evil thing, if such thou hast in thy thought; but I say unto you, that there is not a man in the world to whom if he should relieve Zamora, and make the king my brother raise the siege, I would not grant whatsoever he might require. And when Vellido heard this he kissed her hand, and went to a porter who kept one of the gates of the town, saying, that he should open the gate unto him when he saw him flying toward it, and he gave him his cloak. Then he armed himself, and mounted his horse, and rode to the house of Don Arias Gonzalo, and cried with a loud voice, We all know the reason, Don Arias Gonzalo, why you will not let Donya Urraca exchange Zamora with her brother; it is because you deal with her like an old traitor. When Arias Gonzalo heard this, it grieved him to the heart. Then his sons arose and armed themselves hastily, and went after Vellido, who fled before them toward the gate of the town. The porter when he saw him coming opened the gate, and he rode out and galloped into the camp of the King Don Sancho, and the others followed him till they were nigh the camp, but farther they did not venture.
And Vellido went to the king and kissed his hand, and said unto him these false words with a lying tongue: Sir, because I said to the Council of Zamora that they should yield the town unto you, the sons of Arias Gonzalo would have slain me, even as you have seen. And therefore come I to you, sir, and will be your vassal, if I may find favour at your hands. And I will show you how in a few days you may have Zamora, if God pleases; and if I do not as I have said, then let me be slain. And the king believed all that he said, and received him for his vassal, and did him great honour. And all that night they talked together of his secrets, and he made the king believe that he knew a postern by means of which he would put Zamora into his hands.