Though Already Dead, the Cid Defeats King Bucar of Morocco

June 15, 2023

Three days after the death of the Cid, King Bucar came with his host. There came with him thirty-six kings and one Moorish queen, who was a negress, and she brought with her two hundred horsewomen, negresses like herself; and they were all armed in coats of mail and with Turkish bows. King Bucar ordered his tents to be pitched around Valencia, and there were fifteen thousand tents.

The Death of El Cid

The Moors at once received great loss, for they went blindly up to the walls, and were killed there. The Christians went upon the walls and sounded trumpets and tambourines, as the Cid had commanded. This continued for eight days, until the companions of the Cid had made all things ready. And Bucar thought the Cid and his people did not dare to come out, and they were encouraged and began to think of making engines to break down the walls.

When the Cid’s people had made all things ready, they placed the Cid’s body on his horse, and fitted boards to the body and fastened them to the saddle, so that the body could not move; and it seemed alive. And they put on a surcoat of green sendal, so painted that it seemed like iron; his shield was around his neck, and his sword in his right hand, and they fastened his arm upright. The bishop went upon one side, and Gil Diaz on the other, and he led the horse as the Cid had commanded.

When all was ready, they went out of Valencia at midnight, Pero went first with five hundred knights, and after these came the baggage, then came the body of the Cid with a hundred knights, and behind him Ximena with her company, and six hundred knights in the rear. All these went out silently, and by the time they had all gone out it was broad day.

Now Alvar led his host against the Moors, while the bishop and Gil Diaz led away the body of the Cid and his wife and the baggage. First he attacked the tents of the negress queen, and this onset was so sudden that they killed a hundred and fifty Moors before they had time to arm. But the queen was the first that got on horseback, and with fifty of her company she did hurt to the Cid’s people; but they at last slew her, and her people fled. So great was the confusion that there were few who took arms, but they turned their backs and fled to the sea. When Bucar and his kings saw this, they were astonished. And it seemed to them as if seventy thousand knights, all white as snow, came against them. Before them they saw a knight of great stature upon a white horse, with a bloody cross, who bore in one hand a white banner and in the other a sword that seemed to be of fire, and he made a great mortality among the flying Moors.

The Last Ride of El Cid

King Bucar and the other kings were so dismayed that they never checked their horses until they had ridden into the sea, and the company of the Cid rode after them, smiting and slaying. When they came to the sea, there was such great crowding to get to the ships that more than ten thousand perished in the waters. Of the six and thirty kings twenty and two were slain. And King Bucar and those who escaped hoisted sails and went their way.

Then Alvar and his people spoiled the field, and there was so much booty that they could not carry it away. They loaded camels and horses with the noblest things they found, and went after the bishop and his company. When they  had all met together, they took the road toward Castile.

The Moors of the suburbs thought that the Cid had gone out alive, as they saw his sword in his hand; but when they saw him go toward Castile, they were astonished. All that day they remained in amazement and did not dare go to the tents of King Bucar nor into the town, as they thought the Cid did this for a strategem. On the next morning they looked toward the town and heard no noise there. Then the governor took a horse and a man with him and went to the town, where he found all the gates shut except the one through which the Cid’s party had come out. And he went into the city and found no one. Then he went and called the Moors from the suburbs and told them the Christians had deserted the city. But they were so amazed that they did not venture in until midday.

When they saw no one return, a great company went into the city and looked through it and found no one; but they saw written upon the wall in Arabic letters that the Cid was dead, and that they had carried him away to conquer Bucar, and that none might oppose their going. When the Moors saw this they were exceedingly glad, and they came with their families into the city, each to his house he had before the Cid won it. From that day on Valencia remained in the hands of the Moors till King Don Jayme of Aragon took it.

Calvin Dill Wilson, The Story of the Cid: For Young People (Boston: Lee and Shepard, 1901), 304–9.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 882



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