A secret unveiled by fire: Don John was the Emperor’s son

September 12, 2011

Luis Quijada

[Luis Quijada] found nothing changed in Villagarcia, Doña Magdalena was still the model of all virtues and the helper of the poor, and Jeromín [Don John of Austria] the joy of the castle and the sun which shed light and movement and happiness around him. An extraordinary event occurred at this time to strengthen more and more the belief that Jeromín was Quijada’s son and to expel the bitter suspicion, on the contrary, from the noble heart of Doña Magdalena. One night, while all slept, a severe fire broke out in the castle, which spread to the rooms of Doña Magdalena and Jeromín, which, as we have said, were contiguous. Quijada saw the great danger they both ran, and without hesitation dashed first to save the child and then afterwards Doña Magdalena.

All saw in this the love of the father triumphing over that of the husband; but Doña Magdalena, knowing how she was loved by him, saw the noble nature of Quijada overcoming this immense love, and thought how great must be the honor which Jeromín’s custody conferred on Quijada, that he should sacrifice to it what was dearest to him in the world—namely herself.

Don Juan of Austria Painted by Alonso Sanchez Coello, located at the Art Institute of Chicago

Rev. Fr. Luis Coloma, The Story of Don John of Austria, trans. Lady Moreton, (New York: John Lane Company, 1912),  pp. 48-49.


Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 108



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