El Cid Punishes the Perfidy of the Moors of Rueda

April 21, 2022

Almofalez, a Moor of Andalusia, took the Castle of Rueda, which belonged to King Don Alfonso [VI, King of León and Castile]. There he held prisoner the brother of Adefir, another Moor, and Adefir sent to Don Alfonso asking him to come to rescue his brother, and to regain the castle. The king sent his cousin, Don Ramiro, and Don Sancho, son of the king of Navarre, and Count Don Gonzalo Salvadores, and Count Don Nuno Alvarez, with many knights; and when they came to the castle, Almofalez said he would not open the gates to them, but if Don Alfonso would come he would open them to him.

When Alfonso heard this, he came at once to Rueda, and Almofalez asked him to enter and partake of a feast he had prepared. But the king would not go in, neither would his followers have permitted him to risk such a danger. But Don Sancho, Don Nuno, Don Gonzalo, and fifteen other knights entered; and as soon as they were inside the gates the Moors threw down great stones upon them and killed them all.

The king, Don Alfonso, was much grieved at this treacherous crime, and he sent for the Cid, who was not far away; and the Cid came with many followers. Alfonso told him of this villainy and treated him very courteously, and told him he could return with him into Castile. The Cid thanked him, but said he would not go unless the king would promise that hereafter a banished knight should have thirty days to leave the country, and not nine as in his case; and that every accused man should have the chance to be fairly and lawfully heard; and that the king should not go against the charters, customs, or privileges of any town or place; or impose taxes against their right; and that if he did, it should be lawful for the land to rise against him.

The remains of Castillo de Rueda de Jalón, with the watch tower on the top right. Photo by Ecelan.

To all this the king agreed, and said the Cid should go back with him to Castile; but the Cid said he would not go back till he had taken the Castle of Rueda, and punished these Moors. So the king thanked him, and returned to his country, while the Cid laid siege to the Castle of Rueda. The Cid stayed so long about this castle, that the food of the Moors failed, and they offered to yield if they should be permitted to leave the place and go wherever they desired; but he wished to carry them prisoners to the king. When they could make no other terms, most of the Moors came out and were made prisoners. Then the Cid stormed the castle, and took Almofalez and all the others, and he sent all of these to the king, who punished all the guilty ones, and then sent word to the Cid, thanking him for avenging him.

Calvin Dill Wilson, The Story of the Cid: For Young People (Boston: Lee and Shepard, 1901), 109–11.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 825

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