Chronicle of the Conquest of Granada/Chapter XVIII
HOW MULEY ABUL HASSAN PROFITED BY THE MISFORTUNES OF HIS SON BOABDIL.
An unfortunate death atones, with the world, for a multitude of errors. While the populace thought their youthful monarch had perished in the field nothing could exceed their grief for his loss and their adoration of his memory; when, however, they learnt that he was still alive and had surrendered himself captive to the Christians, their feelings underwent an instant change. They decried his talents as a commander, his courage as a soldier; they railed at his expedition as rash and ill-conducted; and they reviled him for not having dared to die on the field of battle, rather than surrender to the enemy.
The alfaquis, as usual, mingled with the populace and artfully guided their discontents. "Behold," exclaimed they, "the prediction is accomplished which was pronounced at the birth of Boabdil! He has been seated on the throne, and the kingdom has suffered downfall and disgrace by his defeat and captivity. Comfort yourselves, O Moslems! The evil day has passed by; the prophecy is fulfilled: the sceptre which has been broken in the feeble hand of Boabdil is destined to resume its former sway in the vigorous grasp of Abul Hassan."
The people were struck with the wisdom of these words: they rejoiced that the baleful prediction which had so long hung over them was at an end, and declared that none but Muley Abul Hassan had the valor and capacity necessary for the protection of the kingdom in this time of trouble.
The longer the captivity of Boabdil continued, the greater grew the popularity of his father. One city after another renewed allegiance to him, for power attracts power and fortune creates fortune. At length he was enabled to return to Granada and establish himself once more in the Alhambra. At his approach his repudiated spouse, the sultana Ayxa, gathered together the family and treasures of her captive son, and retired, with a handful of the nobles, into the Albaycin, the rival quarter of the city, the inhabitants of which still retained feelings of loyalty to Boabdil. Here she fortified herself and held the semblance of a court in the name of her son. The fierce Muley Abul Hassan would have willingly carried fire and sword into this factious quarter of the capital, but he dared not confide in his new and uncertain popularity. Many of the nobles detested him for his past cruelty, and a large portion of the soldiery, besides many of the people of his own party, respected the virtues of Ayxa la Horra and pitied the misfortunes of Boabdil.
Granada therefore presented the singular spectacle of two sovereignties within the same city. The old king fortified himself in the lofty towers of the Alhambra, as much against his own subjects as against the Christians; while Ayxa, with the zeal of a mother's affection, which waxes warmer and warmer toward her offspring when in adversity, still maintained the standard of Boabdil on the rival fortress of the Alcazaba, and kept his powerful faction alive within the walls of the Albaycin.