King Bucar From Africa Besieges the Cid in Valencia

September 7, 2023

At this time the Moorish king, Bucar, across the sea in Morocco, remembering the oath he had taken to his brother, King Yucef, that he would take vengeance upon the Cid, ordered proclamation to be made throughout all the dominions of his father that he wished for a great army to go against the Cid. As his father was Miramamolin, that is Emperor, he soon was able to gather so great a host that among them were twenty-nine kings. When he had assembled this host, he took ship and started across the sea. . . .

One day when [the Cid] had dined there came a man who told him a great fleet was arrived in the port of Valencia, bringing a great army of Moors under King Bucar. When the Cid heard this, his heart rejoiced, for it was nearly three years since he had a battle with the Moors. He at once gave orders that a signal should be given that all the chief men of the city should assemble. . . .

El Cid

. . . Word was brought that a messenger from King Bucar was at the gate of the town, who wished to speak with the Cid. The Cid gave orders that this Moor, whose name was Ximena de Algezira, should be admitted. It is said that the Cid was so wonderful and powerful in his appearance that no Moor was ever able to look upon him without fear; and this Ximena began to gaze upon his countenance, but said nothing. The Cid saw his fear and bade him take courage and deliver the message of his master without fear or shame. When the Moor heard this, he recovered heart, and said; “Sir Cid, King Bucar, my lord, has sent me to you to say that you have done him great wrong in holding Valencia, which belonged to his forefathers; and you have defeated his brother, King Yucef. Now he is come with twenty-nine kings to revenge his brother, and to win Valencia in spite of you and all who are with you. However, he says, that as he has heard that you are a wise man, he will show you favor, and let you leave Valencia and go into Castile, and take with you all that is yours. If you will not do this, he will fight you and take you and your wife and your daughters, and torture you in such a way that all Christians who hear of it will talk of it forever. This is the message of my lord, King Bucar.”

Then the Cid answered in a few words: “Go tell your lord, King Bucar, I will not give up Valencia to him; I had hard labor to win it, and I am beholden to no man in the world for it, except to my kinsmen and friends and vassals who helped me to win it. Tell him I am not a man to be besieged, and when he does not expect it, I will give him battle in the field. I would that even as he has brought twenty-nine kings, so had he brought all the Moors in the world; for I trust that by the help of God I could conquer them all. Bear this answer to your lord, and come here no more with messages on this account or any other.”

Ximena then left Valencia and went to his lord and told him before the twenty-nine kings all that the Cid had said. They were astonished at the brave words of the Cid; for they did not think he would have resisted, as they had such a great army; nor did they think he would so soon come out to battle. They began at once to lay siege to the city and to place their army around it. This King Bucar was a kinsman of Alimaymon, who had been king of Toledo and Valencia, and this was the reason why Bucar said that Valencia had belonged to his forefathers.

When the messenger had left the town, the Cid ordered the bell to be struck, at the sound of which all the men at arms in Valencia were to gather together. They assembled at once, and he told them to be ready early in the morning to go out and give battle to the Moors. They answered as one man that they were well pleased to do this, for they trusted in God and in his good fortune that they should conquer.

Calvin Dill Wilson, The Story of the Cid: For Young People (Boston: Lee and Shepard, 1901), 219, 220, 224–27.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 894


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