Page:Romance of History, Mexico.djvu/29

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.


single combats he won the title of Campeador, or Challenger, and many is the story told of his heroic courage, the quality valued above all others. When the king of Morocco encamped before Valencia with "fifty times a thousand men-at-arms right well equipped," the Cid led his wife and daughters up into a tower and exclaimed, "Great gladness has come to me from lands beyond the sea. My daughters and my wife shall see me in the fray; they shall see how homes are won in this heathen land, yea, well shall they behold how their daily bread is gained!"

"The Moors of Morocco," says the old Poema del Cid, "ride right bravely; in through the garden-grounds boldly they come. Ready are the hosts of the Christian folk. . . . Wisely did my Cid admonish his men. . . . Right willingly they go to smite the fifty thousand. So it pleased God that they routed them. My Cid wielded his lance and laid hand to his sword. So many of the Moors did he slay that they could not be counted, and from his elbow down the blood kept dripping. . . . Thence returned he who was born in happy hour. Well was he pleased with the hunting of that day. Dearly did he prize Babieca, his horse, from head to tail. . . . Joyful is my Cid and all his vassals that God had showed such favour to them that they had conquered in the field."

The cupidity and cruelty of the Spaniard which in after years ripened so terribly beneath the tropical sun in the New World is not absent from the character of this gallant national hero. The Cid, the pattern of chivalry, was not ashamed to torture a