El Cid Gives King Alfonso the Tent of King Yucef

March 9, 2023

Then the Cid sent Alvar Fanez and Pero Bermudez with a present to King Alfonso. He sent two hundred horses saddled and bridled, each with a sword hanging from the saddle-bow; he also sent the splendid tent which he had taken from the king of Morocco. He gave this present because the king had sent him his wife and daughters when he asked for them, and because of the honor which he had done them. So Alvar and Pero went their way toward Castile, over mountains and rivers; and they asked where the king was, and when they learned he was at Valladolid, they went there.

When they came near that city, they sent to let the king know of their coming, and to ask whether they should go into the city to him, or if he would come out to them, as they were a great company, and they brought a great present that could be seen better outside than within the town. The king sent word that he would come out of the city, and he took his horse and ordered all the noblemen with him to mount likewise. Now the two Infantes of Carrion were there, Diego Gonzalez and Ferrando Gonzalez, the sons of Count Don Gonzalo. And they found the company of the Cid about a mile and a half from the town, and when the king saw them, he blessed himself, for they seemed like a host.

Alfonso VI, King of León and Castile

And Alvar and Pero spurred their horses when they saw the king, and they came to him and alighted, and knelt down and kissed the ground, and kissed both his feet; but he bade them rise and mount their horses, and would not hear them until they were again in their saddles and had taken their places, one at his right hand and the other at his left. And they said: “Sir, the Cid commends himself to you as his liege lord, and thanks you greatly for having sent him with such honor his wife and daughters. And know, Sir, that since they arrived he has won a great victory over the Moors and their King Yucef of Morocco, the Miramamolin, who besieged Valencia with fifty thousand men. The Cid went out against them, and defeated them, and has sent you these two hundred horses from his fifth.”

Then Alvar ordered the horses to be led forward, and they came in this manner. The two hundred horses came first, each one being led by a child, and each having a sword hanging from the saddle on the left side. After them came the pages of all the knights in the company, carrying their spears, and then the company, and after a hundred couple with spears in the rest. When they had all passed by, the king blessed himself again, and he laughed and said that never before had so goodly a present been sent to a king of Spain by his vassal.

Alvar Fanez and the Two Hundred Horses.

Alvar said further, “Sir, the Cid has sent you a tent, the noblest that ever man saw, which he won in this battle.” Then the king gave orders that the tent should be spread, and he alighted and went into it, and he and his people said they had never seen so splendid a tent as this. The king said he had won many tents from the Moors, but never such an one as this. Though all others were pleased, the Count Don Garcia was envious of what the Cid had done; and he and ten of his kinsmen talked together and said that this which the Cid had done was to their shame, for they hated the Cid in their hearts. The king said. “Thanks to God, those horses may do me good service.” And he gave three of them to Alvar and three to Pero, and told them to choose which ones they liked best; he also ordered that food and clothing be given them while they remained, and that they should have new armor when they were ready to return, such as was fit for them to wear before the Cid.

Calvin Dill Wilson, The Story of the Cid: For Young People (Boston: Lee and Shepard, 1901), 202–5.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 869


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