King Ferdinand And His Son Alphonsus

June 18, 2015

Ferdinand II, who reigned in Leon about the year 1157, had several children, amongst whom was Alphonsus VI, who succeeded him. Ferdinand lived till a good old age, and towards the end of his life was weighed down with many infirmities.

Ferdinand, king of  Castilla y LeónAlphonsus acted towards his father the part of a most dutiful son, never leaving him except when the duties of the regency, which had fallen on him, caused him to be absent. On his part, Ferdinand on every occasion showed him the most profound gratitude in return for his affectionate attention. He carefully concealed from him many of the pains his infirmities caused him to endure, that he might spare him as much grief as he could, and never allowed any occasion to pass without publicly giving marks of his love and esteem for him.

One day he learned that Alphonsus was returning home triumphant, after having overcome the Moors in battle. In order that he might be the first to offer him his congratulations, he caused himself to be carried in a chair to meet him.

Alfonso VI of Castile

Alfonso VI of Castile

As soon as Alphonsus perceived his father coming, he dismounted from his war-horse, and ran on foot to the place where his father sat. Ferdinand endeavored, by every means, to persuade him to remount, saying to him that it did not behove him to walk on foot while the knights who accompanied him were on horseback.

Alphonsus said to him in answer: “It is true, father; but, then, they are not your sons;” and he continued to walk by his side.

Statue of Alfonso VI of Castile in Toledo, Castile-La Mancha, Spain

Statue of Alfonso VI of Castile in Toledo, Castile-La Mancha, Spain

On their arrival at the palace, he placed his arms around his father and lifted him from the litter, and himself bore him into the castle, at the same time bestowing on him marks of the tenderest affection. “My father,” he said, “you indeed may know how great is the affection with which you love me, but you can never know how great is the love I bear for you. Not only did it make me accompany you on foot, but it made me envious of your servants who carried you. Several times was I on the point of making them stop, that I might take you on my shoulders and bear you home.

When his cherished father died, Alphonsus followed his remains to the tomb, shedding genuine tears of sorrow, arrayed in sombre garments, and his eyes cast upon the ground.


History of Alphonsus VI., Twelfth Century.
The Catechism In Examples Vol. III By the Rev. D. Chisholm Pg. 195-197.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 479


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