El Cid Gives Valencia to King Alfonso

August 4, 2022

Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, El Cid

Now the Cid determined to send for his wife and daughters and have them brought to him, as he hoped to live many years in his new city. So he called for Alvar Fanez and Martin Antolinez and asked them to go to Castile to the King Don Alfonso and take him a present of a hundred horses, bridled and saddled; and that they would kiss the king’s hand for him, and beseech him to send him his wife and daughters, and they would tell him how he had become lord of a great city, and that he was at the king’s service with Valencia and all that he had. He told them also to take much silver to the Monastery of St. Pedro, and give them to the Abbot, and gold for his wife and daughters, that they might come in a manner suited to their station.

A statue of Álvar Fáñez in Burgos, Spain.

The Cid also told them to take gold and silver sufficient to redeem the chests of sand that he had left with the Jews in Burgos, and to ask Rachel and Vidas to forgive him the deception, as he had at that time been in great need, and to tell them that they should have more interest than they had asked. He sent with them two hundred and fifty knights, that his wife might be escorted with honor and safety.

Alvar and Martin soon went on their journey and arrived safely at Palencia, where they found the king. When they came, the king was at church, and seeing this goodly company he stopped in the church porch and asked who they were. He was told that they were the people of the Cid, and that they had come with a great present. Then Alvar and Martin alighted, and went to the king and kissed his hand, and he received them well, and said, “What tidings do you bring me of the Cid, my true vassal, the most honorable knight that was ever knighted in Castile?” Then Alvar was well pleased at this reception, and said: “We have come to ask a boon, Sir King Don Alfonso. My Cid bade me kiss your hands and your feet, as his natural lord, at whose service he is. You banished him from the land, but, though in another country, he has done you only service. Five pitched battles has he won since that time, some with Moors and some with bad Christians. He has taken Xerica, and Ondra, and Almenar, and Monviedro, and Cebola, and Castrejon, and Bena Cadiella, and withal the right noble city of Valencia. He has made Valencia a bishopric and made Don Hieronymo bishop of it. Behold, here are a hundred horses of the spoils he has taken; they are great and swift, and are all bridled and saddled, and he kisses your hand and beseeches you as his lord to receive them.”

Statue of Martín Antolínez. Photo by Larrea

When the king heard this he was greatly astonished, and he said, “I rejoice in the good fortune of the Cid, and willingly receive his gift.” But though this pleased the king it did not please Garcia Ordonez, who said, “It seems there is not a man left in the land of the Moors, that the Cid can do as he wishes.” But the king said, “Hold thy peace, for in all things he serves me better than you.”

Doña Jimena Díaz, wife of El Cid

Then Alvar kissed the king’s hand again, and said, “Sir, the Cid beseeches you that he may have his wife Doña Ximena and his two daughters, that they may go to Valencia to him, for it is many days since he saw them, and if it please you this would rejoice him.” The king answered, “It pleases me well, and I will give them a guard to conduct them to the borders of my kingdom; after that the Cid must look after them.” And he said: “All those who have lost their property for following the Cid shall have it again. All who wish to serve him have my permission to go and join him. And I grant him Valencia and all that he has won or shall win hereafter, that he shall be called lord thereof, and he shall hold it under no lordship but mine, as I am his liege lord.”

Alvar and Martin again kissed the king’s hand for this, in the Cid’s name. The king gave orders that they should have all that they needed while they were in his dominions.

 

Calvin Dill Wilson, The Story of the Cid: For Young People (Boston: Lee and Shepard, 1901), 183–86.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 840

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