Select the desired text size
From Myths and Legends of all nations
Start of Story
by Logan Marshall
Age suitability 8 Plus.
"I obey, O king," replied the Cid, when he heard the decree. "I am
more ready to serve you than you are to reward me. I pray that you may
never more in battle need the right arm and sword that so often served
Then the Cid rode away, through a crowd of weeping people, and camped
outside of the city until he could make definite plans. The people
longed to bring him food or offer him shelter, but they feared the
displeasure of the king. One old man, however, crept outside of the
city with food, declaring that he cared "not a fig" for Alfonso's
The Cid needed money, and to get it he pledged two locked coffers to
some Jews. The Jews in those days were much despised by the
Christians, though usually very wealthy. The men, thinking that the
boxes contained vast treasures, when in reality they were filled with
sand, advanced the Cid 600 marks of gold. Then the hero bade farewell
to his wife and children and rode away, vowing that he would return,
covered with glory and carrying with him rich spoils.
Within two weeks' time the Cid and his little band of followers had
captured two Moorish strongholds and carried off much spoil. The Cid
then prepared a truly royal present and sent it to the king. Alfonso,
upon receiving the gift, pardoned the Cid, and published an edict
permitting all who wished to join in the fight against the Moors to
join Rodrigo and his band.
Toledo, thanks to the valor of the Cid, soon fell into the hands of
Alfonso, but a misunderstanding arose and the king insulted the Cid.
The latter, in great rage, left the army and made a sudden raid on
Castile. Then the Moors, knowing that the Cid had departed, took
courage and captured Valencia. But the Cid, hearing of the disaster,
promptly returned, recaptured the city, and sent a message to Alfonso
asking for his wife and daughters. At the same time he sent more than
the promised sum of money to the Jews, who up to this time had not
learned that the coffers were filled with sand. To the messenger he
"Tell them, that although they can find nothing in the coffers but
sand, they will find that the pure gold of my truth lies beneath the
As the Cid was now master of Valencia, and of vast wealth, his
daughters were sought in marriage by many suitors, and the marriage of
both girls was celebrated with great splendor. But the Counts of
Carrion, their husbands, were not brave men like the Cid, and after
lingering at Valencia in idleness for two years, their weakness was
One evening while the Cid was sleeping, a lion broke loose from his
private menagerie and entered the room where he lay. The two princes,
who were playing in the room, fled, one in his haste falling into an
empty vat, and the other taking refuge behind the Cid's couch. The
roaring of the lion wakened the Cid, and jumping up he seized his
sword, caught the lion by the mane, led it back to its cage, and
calmly returned to his place.
The cowardly conduct of the Counts of Carrion roused the anger of the
Cid's followers, and in the siege of Valencia that followed their
conduct brought only contempt. When the Moors were finally driven away
the counts asked permission to return home with their brides and
So the Cid parted from his daughters, weeping at the loss. The
procession started. The first morning the counts sent their escorts
ahead, and, left alone with their wives, stripped them of their
garments, beat them and kicked them, and left them for dead. But Felez
Mu˝oz, a loyal follower of the Cid's, riding back, found the two
wives, bound up their wounds and obtained shelter for them in the
house of a poor man whose wife and daughters promised to nurse them.
Then he rode on to tell the Cid. The Cid swore that he would be
avenged, and as Alfonso was responsible for the marriage, he applied
to him for redress.
The king, who had long since forgiven the Cid and learned to value his
services, was very angry. A battle was finally arranged. The Counts of
Carrion and their uncle were defeated and banished, and the Cid
returned in triumph to Valencia. Here his daughters' second marriage
The Moors returned five years later, and the Cid was prepared to meet
them when he received a vision of St. Peter, predicting that he would
die within thirty days, but that even though dead he would triumph
over his enemy. He accordingly made preparations for his death, and
after appointing a successor, he gave instructions that none should
weep over his death, and that his body when embalmed should be set
upon his horse, Babieša, and that, with his sword Tizona in his hand,
he should be led on a certain day against the enemy.
The hero died and his successor together with his wife Ximena strove
to carry out his instructions. A battle was planned, and the Cid,
strapped upon his war horse, rode in the van. The Moors, filled with
terror, fled before him.
After the victory the body was placed in the Church of San Pedro de
Carde˝a, where for ten years it remained seated, in plain view of all.