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The History of Don Quixote, Vol. I., Part 13. by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

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country at a considerable distance from the city. He added that when
Luscinda found herself in his power she lost all consciousness, and after
returning to herself did nothing but weep and sigh without speaking a
word; and thus in silence and tears they reached that inn, which for him
was reaching heaven where all the mischances of earth are over and at an



To all this Sancho listened with no little sorrow at heart to see how his
hopes of dignity were fading away and vanishing in smoke, and how the
fair Princess Micomicona had turned into Dorothea, and the giant into Don
Fernando, while his master was sleeping tranquilly, totally unconscious
of all that had come to pass. Dorothea was unable to persuade herself
that her present happiness was not all a dream; Cardenio was in a similar
state of mind, and Luscinda's thoughts ran in the same direction. Don
Fernando gave thanks to Heaven for the favour shown to him and for having
been rescued from the intricate labyrinth in which he had been brought so
near the destruction of his good name and of his soul; and in short
everybody in the inn was full of contentment and satisfaction at the
happy issue of such a complicated and hopeless business. The curate as a
sensible man made sound reflections upon the whole affair, and
congratulated each upon his good fortune; but the one that was in the
highest spirits and good humour was the landlady, because of the promise
Cardenio and the curate had given her to pay for all the losses and
damage she had sustained through Don Quixote's means. Sancho, as has been
already said, was the only one who was distressed, unhappy, and dejected;
and so with a long face he went in to his master, who had just awoke, and
said to him:

"Sir Rueful Countenance, your worship may as well sleep on as much as you
like, without troubling yourself about killing any giant or restoring her
kingdom to the princess; for that is all over and settled now."

"I should think it was," replied Don Quixote, "for I have had the most
prodigious and stupendous battle with the giant that I ever remember
having had all the days of my life; and with one back-stroke-swish!--I
brought his head tumbling to the ground, and so much blood gushed forth
from him that it ran in rivulets over the earth like water."

"Like red wine, your worship had better say," replied Sancho; "for I
would have you know, if you don't know it, that the dead giant is a
hacked wine-skin, and the blood four-and-twenty gallons of red wine that
it had in its belly, and the cut-off head is the bitch that bore me; and
the devil take it all."

"What art thou talking about, fool?" said Don Quixote; "art thou in thy

"Let your worship get up," said Sancho, "and you will see the nice
business you have made of it, and what we have to pay; and you will see
the queen turned into a private lady called Dorothea, and other things
that will astonish you, if you understand them."

"I shall not be surprised at anything of the kind," returned Don Quixote;
"for if thou dost remember the last time we were here I told thee that
everything that happened here was a matter of enchantment, and it would
be no wonder if it were the same now."

"I could believe all that," replied Sancho, "if my blanketing was the
same sort of thing also; only it wasn't, but real and genuine; for I saw
the landlord, Who is here to-day, holding one end of the blanket and
jerking me up to the skies very neatly and smartly, and with as much
laughter as strength; and when it comes to be a case of knowing people, I
hold for my part, simple and sinner as I am, that there is no enchantment
about it at all, but a great deal of bruising and bad luck."

"Well, well, God will give a remedy," said Don Quixote; "hand me my
clothes and let me go out, for I want to see these transformations and
things thou speakest of."

Sancho fetched him his clothes; and while he was dressing, the curate
gave Don Fernando and the others present an account of Don Quixote's
madness and of the stratagem they had made use of to withdraw him from
that Pena Pobre where he fancied himself stationed because of his lady's
scorn. He described to them also nearly all the adventures that Sancho
had mentioned, at which they marvelled and laughed not a little, thinking
it, as all did, the strangest form of madness a crazy intellect could be
capable of. But now, the curate said, that the lady Dorothea's good
fortune prevented her from proceeding with their purpose, it would be
necessary to devise or discover some other way of getting him home.

Cardenio proposed to carry out the scheme they had begun, and suggested
that Luscinda would act and support Dorothea's part sufficiently well.

"No," said Don Fernando, "that must not be, for I want Dorothea to follow
out this idea of hers; and if the worthy gentleman's village is not very
far off, I shall be happy if I can do anything for his relief."

"It is not more than two days' journey from this," said the curate.

"Even if it were more," said Don Fernando, "I would gladly travel so far
for the sake of doing so good a work.

"At this moment Don Quixote came out in full panoply, with Mambrino's
helmet, all dinted as it was, on his head, his buckler on his arm, and
leaning on his staff or pike. The strange figure he presented filled Don
Fernando and the rest with amazement as they contemplated his lean yellow
face half a league long, his armour of all sorts, and the solemnity of
his deportment. They stood silent waiting to see what he would say, and
he, fixing his eyes on the air Dorothea, addressed her with great gravity
and composure:

"I am informed, fair lady, by my squire here that your greatness has been
annihilated and your being abolished, since, from a queen and lady of
high degree as you used to be, you have been turned into a private
maiden. If this has been done by the command of the magician king your
father, through fear that I should not afford you the aid you need and
are entitled to, I may tell you he did not know and does not know half
the mass, and was little versed in the annals of chivalry; for, if he had
read and gone through them as attentively and deliberately as I have, he
would have found at every turn that knights of less renown than mine have
accomplished things more difficult: it is no great matter to kill a whelp
of a giant, however arrogant he may be; for it is not many hours since I
myself was engaged with one, and-I will not speak of it, that they may
not say I am lying; time, however, that reveals all, will tell the tale
when we least expect it."

"You were engaged with a couple of wine-skins, and not a giant," said the
landlord at this; but Don Fernando told him to hold his tongue and on no
account interrupt Don Quixote, who continued, "I say in conclusion, high
and disinherited lady, that if your father has brought about this
metamorphosis in your person for the reason I have mentioned, you ought
not to attach any importance to it; for there is no peril on earth
through which my sword will not force a way, and with it, before many
days are over, I will bring your enemy's head to the ground and place on
yours the crown of your kingdom."

Don Quixote said no more, and waited for the reply of the princess, who
aware of Don Fernando's determination to carry on the deception until Don
Quixote had been conveyed to his home, with great ease of manner and
gravity made answer, "Whoever told you, valiant Knight of the Rueful
Countenance, that I had undergone any change or transformation did not
tell you the truth, for I am the same as I was yesterday. It is true that
certain strokes of good fortune, that have given me more than I could
have hoped for, have made some alteration in me; but I have not therefore
ceased to be what I was before, or to entertain the same desire I have
had all through of availing myself of the might of your valiant and
invincible arm. And so, senor, let your goodness reinstate the father
that begot me in your good opinion, and be assured that he was a wise and
prudent man, since by his craft he found out such a sure and easy way of
remedying my misfortune; for I believe, senor, that had it not been for
you I should never have lit upon the good fortune I now possess; and in
this I am saying what is perfectly true; as most of these gentlemen who
are present can fully testify. All that remains is to set out on our
journey to-morrow, for to-day we could not make much way; and for the
rest of the happy result I am looking forward to, I trust to God and the
valour of your heart."

So said the sprightly Dorothea, and on hearing her Don Quixote turned to
Sancho, and said to him, with an angry air, "I declare now, little
Sancho, thou art the greatest little villain in Spain. Say, thief and
vagabond, hast thou not just now told me that this princess had been
turned into a maiden called Dorothea, and that the head which I am
persuaded I cut off from a giant was the bitch that bore thee, and other
nonsense that put me in the greatest perplexity I have ever been in all
my life? I vow" (and here he looked to heaven and ground his teeth) "I
have a mind to play the mischief with thee, in a way that will teach
sense for the future to all lying squires of knights-errant in the

"Let your worship be calm, senor," returned Sancho, "for it may well be
that I have been mistaken as to the change of the lady princess
Micomicona; but as to the giant's head, or at least as to the piercing of
the wine-skins, and the blood being red wine, I make no mistake, as sure
as there is a God; because the wounded skins are there at the head of
your worship's bed, and the wine has made a lake of the room; if not you
will see when the eggs come to be fried; I mean when his worship the
landlord calls for all the damages: for the rest, I am heartily glad that
her ladyship the queen is as she was, for it concerns me as much as

"I tell thee again, Sancho, thou art a fool," said Don Quixote; "forgive
me, and that will do."

"That will do," said Don Fernando; "let us say no more about it; and as
her ladyship the princess proposes to set out to-morrow because it is too
late to-day, so be it, and we will pass the night in pleasant
conversation, and to-morrow we will all accompany Senor Don Quixote; for
we wish to witness the valiant and unparalleled achievements he is about
to perform in the course of this mighty enterprise which he has

"It is I who shall wait upon and accompany you," said Don Quixote; "and I
am much gratified by the favour that is bestowed upon me, and the good
opinion entertained of me, which I shall strive to justify or it shall
cost me my life, or even more, if it can possibly cost me more."

Many were the compliments and expressions of politeness that passed
between Don Quixote and Don Fernando; but they were brought to an end by
a traveller who at this moment entered the inn, and who seemed from his
attire to be a Christian lately come from the country of the Moors, for
he was dressed in a short-skirted coat of blue cloth with half-sleeves
and without a collar; his breeches were also of blue cloth, and his cap
of the same colour, and he wore yellow buskins and had a Moorish cutlass
slung from a baldric across his breast. Behind him, mounted upon an ass,
there came a woman dressed in Moorish fashion, with her face veiled and a
scarf on her head, and wearing a little brocaded cap, and a mantle that
covered her from her shoulders to her feet. The man was of a robust and
well-proportioned frame, in age a little over forty, rather swarthy in
complexion, with long moustaches and a full beard, and, in short, his
appearance was such that if he had been well dressed he would have been
taken for a person of quality and good birth. On entering he asked for a
room, and when they told him there was none in the inn he seemed
distressed, and approaching her who by her dress seemed to be a Moor he
her down from saddle in his arms. Luscinda, Dorothea, the landlady, her
daughter and Maritornes, attracted by the strange, and to them entirely
new costume, gathered round her; and Dorothea, who was always kindly,
courteous, and quick-witted, perceiving that both she and the man who had
brought her were annoyed at not finding a room, said to her, "Do not be
put out, senora, by the discomfort and want of luxuries here, for it is
the way of road-side inns to be without them; still, if you will be
pleased to share our lodging with us (pointing to Luscinda) perhaps you
will have found worse accommodation in the course of your journey."

To this the veiled lady made no reply; all she did was to rise from her
seat, crossing her hands upon her bosom, bowing her head and bending her
body as a sign that she returned thanks. From her silence they concluded
that she must be a Moor and unable to speak a Christian tongue.

At this moment the captive came up, having been until now otherwise
engaged, and seeing that they all stood round his companion and that she
made no reply to what they addressed to her, he said, "Ladies, this
damsel hardly understands my language and can speak none but that of her
own country, for which reason she does not and cannot answer what has
been asked of her."

"Nothing has been asked of her," returned Luscinda; "she has only been
offered our company for this evening and a share of the quarters we
occupy, where she shall be made as comfortable as the circumstances
allow, with the good-will we are bound to show all strangers that stand
in need of it, especially if it be a woman to whom the service is

"On her part and my own, senora," replied the captive, "I kiss your
hands, and I esteem highly, as I ought, the favour you have offered,
which, on such an occasion and coming from persons of your appearance,
is, it is plain to see, a very great one."

"Tell me, senor," said Dorothea, "is this lady a Christian or a Moor? for
her dress and her silence lead us to imagine that she is what we could
wish she was not."

"In dress and outwardly," said he, "she is a Moor, but at heart she is a
thoroughly good Christian, for she has the greatest desire to become

"Then she has not been baptised?" returned Luscinda.

"There has been no opportunity for that," replied the captive, "since she
left Algiers, her native country and home; and up to the present she has
not found herself in any such imminent danger of death as to make it
necessary to baptise her before she has been instructed in all the
ceremonies our holy mother Church ordains; but, please God, ere long she
shall be baptised with the solemnity befitting her which is higher than
her dress or mine indicates."

By these words he excited a desire in all who heard him, to know who the
Moorish lady and the captive were, but no one liked to ask just then,
seeing that it was a fitter moment for helping them to rest themselves
than for questioning them about their lives. Dorothea took the Moorish
lady by the hand and leading her to a seat beside herself, requested her
to remove her veil. She looked at the captive as if to ask him what they
meant and what she was to do. He said to her in Arabic that they asked
her to take off her veil, and thereupon she removed it and disclosed a
countenance so lovely, that to Dorothea she seemed more beautiful than
Luscinda, and to Luscinda more beautiful than Dorothea, and all the
bystanders felt that if any beauty could compare with theirs it was the
Moorish lady's, and there were even those who were inclined to give it
somewhat the preference. And as it is the privilege and charm of beauty
to win the heart and secure good-will, all forthwith became eager to show
kindness and attention to the lovely Moor.

Don Fernando asked the captive what her name was, and he replied that it
was Lela Zoraida; but the instant she heard him, she guessed what the
Christian had asked, and said hastily, with some displeasure and energy,
"No, not Zoraida; Maria, Maria!" giving them to understand that she was
called "Maria" and not "Zoraida." These words, and the touching
earnestness with which she uttered them, drew more than one tear from
some of the listeners, particularly the women, who are by nature
tender-hearted and compassionate. Luscinda embraced her affectionately,
saying, "Yes, yes, Maria, Maria," to which the Moor replied, "Yes, yes,
Maria; Zoraida macange," which means "not Zoraida."

Night was now approaching, and by the orders of those who accompanied Don
Fernando the landlord had taken care and pains to prepare for them the
best supper that was in his power. The hour therefore having arrived they
all took their seats at a long table like a refectory one, for round or
square table there was none in the inn, and the seat of honour at the
head of it, though he was for refusing it, they assigned to Don Quixote,
who desired the lady Micomicona to place herself by his side, as he was
her protector. Luscinda and Zoraida took their places next her, opposite
to them were Don Fernando and Cardenio, and next the captive and the
other gentlemen, and by the side of the ladies, the curate and the
barber. And so they supped in high enjoyment, which was increased when
they observed Don Quixote leave off eating, and, moved by an impulse like
that which made him deliver himself at such length when he supped with
the goatherds, begin to address them:

"Verily, gentlemen, if we reflect upon it, great and marvellous are the
things they see, who make profession of the order of knight-errantry.
Say, what being is there in this world, who entering the gate of this
castle at this moment, and seeing us as we are here, would suppose or
imagine us to be what we are? Who would say that this lady who is beside
me was the great queen that we all know her to be, or that I am that
Knight of the Rueful Countenance, trumpeted far and wide by the mouth of
Fame? Now, there can be no doubt that this art and calling surpasses all
those that mankind has invented, and is the more deserving of being held
in honour in proportion as it is the more exposed to peril. Away with
those who assert that letters have the preeminence over arms; I will tell
them, whosoever they may be, that they know not what they say. For the
reason which such persons commonly assign, and upon which they chiefly
rest, is, that the labours of the mind are greater than those of the
body, and that arms give employment to the body alone; as if the calling
were a porter's trade, for which nothing more is required than sturdy
strength; or as if, in what we who profess them call arms, there were not
included acts of vigour for the execution of which high intelligence is
requisite; or as if the soul of the warrior, when he has an army, or the
defence of a city under his care, did not exert itself as much by mind as
by body. Nay; see whether by bodily strength it be possible to learn or
divine the intentions of the enemy, his plans, stratagems, or obstacles,
or to ward off impending mischief; for all these are the work of the
mind, and in them the body has no share whatever. Since, therefore, arms
have need of the mind, as much as letters, let us see now which of the
two minds, that of the man of letters or that of the warrior, has most to
do; and this will be seen by the end and goal that each seeks to attain;
for that purpose is the more estimable which has for its aim the nobler
object. The end and goal of letters--I am not speaking now of divine
letters, the aim of which is to raise and direct the soul to Heaven; for
with an end so infinite no other can be compared--I speak of human
letters, the end of which is to establish distributive justice, give to
every man that which is his, and see and take care that good laws are
observed: an end undoubtedly noble, lofty, and deserving of high praise,
but not such as should be given to that sought by arms, which have for
their end and object peace, the greatest boon that men can desire in this
life. The first good news the world and mankind received was that which
the angels announced on the night that was our day, when they sang in the
air, 'Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to men of
good-will;' and the salutation which the great Master of heaven and earth
taught his disciples and chosen followers when they entered any house,
was to say, 'Peace be on this house;' and many other times he said to
them, 'My peace I give unto you, my peace I leave you, peace be with
you;' a jewel and a precious gift given and left by such a hand: a jewel
without which there can be no happiness either on earth or in heaven.
This peace is the true end of war; and war is only another name for arms.
This, then, being admitted, that the end of war is peace, and that so far
it has the advantage of the end of letters, let us turn to the bodily
labours of the man of letters, and those of him who follows the
profession of arms, and see which are the greater."

Don Quixote delivered his discourse in such a manner and in such correct
language, that for the time being he made it impossible for any of his
hearers to consider him a madman; on the contrary, as they were mostly
gentlemen, to whom arms are an appurtenance by birth, they listened to
him with great pleasure as he continued: "Here, then, I say is what the
student has to undergo; first of all poverty: not that all are poor, but
to put the case as strongly as possible: and when I have said that he
endures poverty, I think nothing more need be said about his hard
fortune, for he who is poor has no share of the good things of life. This
poverty he suffers from in various ways, hunger, or cold, or nakedness,
or all together; but for all that it is not so extreme but that he gets
something to eat, though it may be at somewhat unseasonable hours and
from the leavings of the rich; for the greatest misery of the student is
what they themselves call 'going out for soup,' and there is always some
neighbour's brazier or hearth for them, which, if it does not warm, at
least tempers the cold to them, and lastly, they sleep comfortably at
night under a roof. I will not go into other particulars, as for example
want of shirts, and no superabundance of shoes, thin and threadbare
garments, and gorging themselves to surfeit in their voracity when good
luck has treated them to a banquet of some sort. By this road that I have
described, rough and hard, stumbling here, falling there, getting up
again to fall again, they reach the rank they desire, and that once
attained, we have seen many who have passed these Syrtes and Scyllas and
Charybdises, as if borne flying on the wings of favouring fortune; we
have seen them, I say, ruling and governing the world from a chair, their
hunger turned into satiety, their cold into comfort, their nakedness into
fine raiment, their sleep on a mat into repose in holland and damask, the
justly earned reward of their virtue; but, contrasted and compared with
what the warrior undergoes, all they have undergone falls far short of
it, as I am now about to show."



Continuing his discourse Don Quixote said: "As we began in the student's
case with poverty and its accompaniments, let us see now if the soldier
is richer, and we shall find that in poverty itself there is no one
poorer; for he is dependent on his miserable pay, which comes late or
never, or else on what he can plunder, seriously imperilling his life and
conscience; and sometimes his nakedness will be so great that a slashed
doublet serves him for uniform and shirt, and in the depth of winter he
has to defend himself against the inclemency of the weather in the open
field with nothing better than the breath of his mouth, which I need not
say, coming from an empty place, must come out cold, contrary to the laws
of nature. To be sure he looks forward to the approach of night to make
up for all these discomforts on the bed that awaits him, which, unless by
some fault of his, never sins by being over narrow, for he can easily
measure out on the ground as he likes, and roll himself about in it to
his heart's content without any fear of the sheets slipping away from
him. Then, after all this, suppose the day and hour for taking his degree
in his calling to have come; suppose the day of battle to have arrived,
when they invest him with the doctor's cap made of lint, to mend some
bullet-hole, perhaps, that has gone through his temples, or left him with
a crippled arm or leg. Or if this does not happen, and merciful Heaven
watches over him and keeps him safe and sound, it may be he will be in
the same poverty he was in before, and he must go through more
engagements and more battles, and come victorious out of all before he
betters himself; but miracles of that sort are seldom seen. For tell me,
sirs, if you have ever reflected upon it, by how much do those who have
gained by war fall short of the number of those who have perished in it?
No doubt you will reply that there can be no comparison, that the dead
cannot be numbered, while the living who have been rewarded may be summed
up with three figures. All which is the reverse in the case of men of
letters; for by skirts, to say nothing of sleeves, they all find means of
support; so that though the soldier has more to endure, his reward is
much less. But against all this it may be urged that it is easier to
reward two thousand soldiers, for the former may be remunerated by giving
them places, which must perforce be conferred upon men of their calling,
while the latter can only be recompensed out of the very property of the
master they serve; but this impossibility only strengthens my argument.

"Putting this, however, aside, for it is a puzzling question for which it
is difficult to find a solution, let us return to the superiority of arms
over letters, a matter still undecided, so many are the arguments put
forward on each side; for besides those I have mentioned, letters say
that without them arms cannot maintain themselves, for war, too, has its
laws and is governed by them, and laws belong to the domain of letters
and men of letters. To this arms make answer that without them laws
cannot be maintained, for by arms states are defended, kingdoms
preserved, cities protected, roads made safe, seas cleared of pirates;
and, in short, if it were not for them, states, kingdoms, monarchies,
cities, ways by sea and land would be exposed to the violence and
confusion which war brings with it, so long as it lasts and is free to
make use of its privileges and powers. And then it is plain that whatever
costs most is valued and deserves to be valued most. To attain to
eminence in letters costs a man time, watching, hunger, nakedness,
headaches, indigestions, and other things of the sort, some of which I
have already referred to. But for a man to come in the ordinary course of
things to be a good soldier costs him all the student suffers, and in an
incomparably higher degree, for at every step he runs the risk of losing
his life. For what dread of want or poverty that can reach or harass the
student can compare with what the soldier feels, who finds himself
beleaguered in some stronghold mounting guard in some ravelin or
cavalier, knows that the enemy is pushing a mine towards the post where
he is stationed, and cannot under any circumstances retire or fly from
the imminent danger that threatens him? All he can do is to inform his
captain of what is going on so that he may try to remedy it by a
counter-mine, and then stand his ground in fear and expectation of the
moment when he will fly up to the clouds without wings and descend into
the deep against his will. And if this seems a trifling risk, let us see
whether it is equalled or surpassed by the encounter of two galleys stem
to stem, in the midst of the open sea, locked and entangled one with the
other, when the soldier has no more standing room than two feet of the
plank of the spur; and yet, though he sees before him threatening him as
many ministers of death as there are cannon of the foe pointed at him,
not a lance length from his body, and sees too that with the first
heedless step he will go down to visit the profundities of Neptune's
bosom, still with dauntless heart, urged on by honour that nerves him, he
makes himself a target for all that musketry, and struggles to cross that
narrow path to the enemy's ship. And what is still more marvellous, no
sooner has one gone down into the depths he will never rise from till the
end of the world, than another takes his place; and if he too falls into
the sea that waits for him like an enemy, another and another will
succeed him without a moment's pause between their deaths: courage and
daring the greatest that all the chances of war can show. Happy the blest
ages that knew not the dread fury of those devilish engines of artillery,
whose inventor I am persuaded is in hell receiving the reward of his
diabolical invention, by which he made it easy for a base and cowardly
arm to take the life of a gallant gentleman; and that, when he knows not
how or whence, in the height of the ardour and enthusiasm that fire and
animate brave hearts, there should come some random bullet, discharged
perhaps by one who fled in terror at the flash when he fired off his
accursed machine, which in an instant puts an end to the projects and
cuts off the life of one who deserved to live for ages to come. And thus
when I reflect on this, I am almost tempted to say that in my heart I
repent of having adopted this profession of knight-errant in so
detestable an age as we live in now; for though no peril can make me
fear, still it gives me some uneasiness to think that powder and lead may
rob me of the opportunity of making myself famous and renowned throughout
the known earth by the might of my arm and the edge of my sword. But
Heaven's will be done; if I succeed in my attempt I shall be all the more
honoured, as I have faced greater dangers than the knights-errant of yore
exposed themselves to."

All this lengthy discourse Don Quixote delivered while the others supped,
forgetting to raise a morsel to his lips, though Sancho more than once
told him to eat his supper, as he would have time enough afterwards to
say all he wanted. It excited fresh pity in those who had heard him to
see a man of apparently sound sense, and with rational views on every
subject he discussed, so hopelessly wanting in all, when his wretched
unlucky chivalry was in question. The curate told him he was quite right
in all he had said in favour of arms, and that he himself, though a man
of letters and a graduate, was of the same opinion.

They finished their supper, the cloth was removed, and while the hostess,
her daughter, and Maritornes were getting Don Quixote of La Mancha's
garret ready, in which it was arranged that the women were to be
quartered by themselves for the night, Don Fernando begged the captive to
tell them the story of his life, for it could not fail to be strange and
interesting, to judge by the hints he had let fall on his arrival in
company with Zoraida. To this the captive replied that he would very
willingly yield to his request, only he feared his tale would not give
them as much pleasure as he wished; nevertheless, not to be wanting in
compliance, he would tell it. The curate and the others thanked him and
added their entreaties, and he finding himself so pressed said there was
no occasion ask, where a command had such weight, and added, "If your
worships will give me your attention you will hear a true story which,
perhaps, fictitious ones constructed with ingenious and studied art
cannot come up to." These words made them settle themselves in their
places and preserve a deep silence, and he seeing them waiting on his
words in mute expectation, began thus in a pleasant quiet voice.



My family had its origin in a village in the mountains of Leon, and
nature had been kinder and more generous to it than fortune; though in
the general poverty of those communities my father passed for being even
a rich man; and he would have been so in reality had he been as clever in
preserving his property as he was in spending it. This tendency of his to
be liberal and profuse he had acquired from having been a soldier in his
youth, for the soldier's life is a school in which the niggard becomes
free-handed and the free-handed prodigal; and if any soldiers are to be
found who are misers, they are monsters of rare occurrence. My father
went beyond liberality and bordered on prodigality, a disposition by no
means advantageous to a married man who has children to succeed to his
name and position. My father had three, all sons, and all of sufficient
age to make choice of a profession. Finding, then, that he was unable to
resist his propensity, he resolved to divest himself of the instrument
and cause of his prodigality and lavishness, to divest himself of wealth,
without which Alexander himself would have seemed parsimonious; and so
calling us all three aside one day into a room, he addressed us in words
somewhat to the following effect:

"My sons, to assure you that I love you, no more need be known or said
than that you are my sons; and to encourage a suspicion that I do not
love you, no more is needed than the knowledge that I have no
self-control as far as preservation of your patrimony is concerned;
therefore, that you may for the future feel sure that I love you like a
father, and have no wish to ruin you like a stepfather, I propose to do
with you what I have for some time back meditated, and after mature
deliberation decided upon. You are now of an age to choose your line of
life or at least make choice of a calling that will bring you honour and
profit when you are older; and what I have resolved to do is to divide my
property into four parts; three I will give to you, to each his portion
without making any difference, and the other I will retain to live upon
and support myself for whatever remainder of life Heaven may be pleased
to grant me. But I wish each of you on taking possession of the share
that falls to him to follow one of the paths I shall indicate. In this
Spain of ours there is a proverb, to my mind very true--as they all are,
being short aphorisms drawn from long practical experience--and the one I
refer to says, 'The church, or the sea, or the king's house;' as much as
to say, in plainer language, whoever wants to flourish and become rich,
let him follow the church, or go to sea, adopting commerce as his
calling, or go into the king's service in his household, for they say,
'Better a king's crumb than a lord's favour.' I say so because it is my
will and pleasure that one of you should follow letters, another trade,
and the third serve the king in the wars, for it is a difficult matter to
gain admission to his service in his household, and if war does not bring
much wealth it confers great distinction and fame. Eight days hence I
will give you your full shares in money, without defrauding you of a
farthing, as you will see in the end. Now tell me if you are willing to
follow out my idea and advice as I have laid it before you."

Having called upon me as the eldest to answer, I, after urging him not to
strip himself of his property but to spend it all as he pleased, for we
were young men able to gain our living, consented to comply with his
wishes, and said that mine were to follow the profession of arms and
thereby serve God and my king. My second brother having made the same
proposal, decided upon going to the Indies, embarking the portion that
fell to him in trade. The youngest, and in my opinion the wisest, said he
would rather follow the church, or go to complete his studies at
Salamanca. As soon as we had come to an understanding, and made choice of
our professions, my father embraced us all, and in the short time he
mentioned carried into effect all he had promised; and when he had given
to each his share, which as well as I remember was three thousand ducats
apiece in cash (for an uncle of ours bought the estate and paid for it
down, not to let it go out of the family), we all three on the same day
took leave of our good father; and at the same time, as it seemed to me
inhuman to leave my father with such scanty means in his old age, I
induced him to take two of my three thousand ducats, as the remainder
would be enough to provide me with all a soldier needed. My two brothers,
moved by my example, gave him each a thousand ducats, so that there was
left for my father four thousand ducats in money, besides three thousand,
the value of the portion that fell to him which he preferred to retain in
land instead of selling it. Finally, as I said, we took leave of him, and
of our uncle whom I have mentioned, not without sorrow and tears on both
sides, they charging us to let them know whenever an opportunity offered
how we fared, whether well or ill. We promised to do so, and when he had
embraced us and given us his blessing, one set out for Salamanca, the
other for Seville, and I for Alicante, where I had heard there was a
Genoese vessel taking in a cargo of wool for Genoa.

It is now some twenty-two years since I left my father's house, and all
that time, though I have written several letters, I have had no news
whatever of him or of my brothers; my own adventures during that period I
will now relate briefly. I embarked at Alicante, reached Genoa after a
prosperous voyage, and proceeded thence to Milan, where I provided myself
with arms and a few soldier's accoutrements; thence it was my intention
to go and take service in Piedmont, but as I was already on the road to
Alessandria della Paglia, I learned that the great Duke of Alva was on
his way to Flanders. I changed my plans, joined him, served under him in
the campaigns he made, was present at the deaths of the Counts Egmont and
Horn, and was promoted to be ensign under a famous captain of
Guadalajara, Diego de Urbina by name. Some time after my arrival in
Flanders news came of the league that his Holiness Pope Pius V of happy
memory, had made with Venice and Spain against the common enemy, the
Turk, who had just then with his fleet taken the famous island of Cyprus,
which belonged to the Venetians, a loss deplorable and disastrous. It was
known as a fact that the Most Serene Don John of Austria, natural brother
of our good king Don Philip, was coming as commander-in-chief of the
allied forces, and rumours were abroad of the vast warlike preparations
which were being made, all which stirred my heart and filled me with a
longing to take part in the campaign which was expected; and though I had
reason to believe, and almost certain promises, that on the first
opportunity that presented itself I should be promoted to be captain, I
preferred to leave all and betake myself, as I did, to Italy; and it was
my good fortune that Don John had just arrived at Genoa, and was going on
to Naples to join the Venetian fleet, as he afterwards did at Messina. I
may say, in short, that I took part in that glorious expedition, promoted
by this time to be a captain of infantry, to which honourable charge my
good luck rather than my merits raised me; and that day--so fortunate for
Christendom, because then all the nations of the earth were disabused of
the error under which they lay in imagining the Turks to be invincible on
sea-on that day, I say, on which the Ottoman pride and arrogance were
broken, among all that were there made happy (for the Christians who died
that day were happier than those who remained alive and victorious) I
alone was miserable; for, instead of some naval crown that I might have
expected had it been in Roman times, on the night that followed that
famous day I found myself with fetters on my feet and manacles on my

It happened in this way: El Uchali, the king of Algiers, a daring and
successful corsair, having attacked and taken the leading Maltese galley
(only three knights being left alive in it, and they badly wounded), the
chief galley of John Andrea, on board of which I and my company were
placed, came to its relief, and doing as was bound to do in such a case,
I leaped on board the enemy's galley, which, sheering off from that which
had attacked it, prevented my men from following me, and so I found
myself alone in the midst of my enemies, who were in such numbers that I
was unable to resist; in short I was taken, covered with wounds; El
Uchali, as you know, sirs, made his escape with his entire squadron, and
I was left a prisoner in his power, the only sad being among so many
filled with joy, and the only captive among so many free; for there were
fifteen thousand Christians, all at the oar in the Turkish fleet, that
regained their longed-for liberty that day.

They carried me to Constantinople, where the Grand Turk, Selim, made my
master general at sea for having done his duty in the battle and carried
off as evidence of his bravery the standard of the Order of Malta. The
following year, which was the year seventy-two, I found myself at
Navarino rowing in the leading galley with the three lanterns. There I
saw and observed how the opportunity of capturing the whole Turkish fleet
in harbour was lost; for all the marines and janizzaries that belonged to
it made sure that they were about to be attacked inside the very harbour,
and had their kits and pasamaques, or shoes, ready to flee at once on
shore without waiting to be assailed, in so great fear did they stand of
our fleet. But Heaven ordered it otherwise, not for any fault or neglect
of the general who commanded on our side, but for the sins of
Christendom, and because it was God's will and pleasure that we should
always have instruments of punishment to chastise us. As it was, El
Uchali took refuge at Modon, which is an island near Navarino, and
landing forces fortified the mouth of the harbour and waited quietly
until Don John retired. On this expedition was taken the galley called
the Prize, whose captain was a son of the famous corsair Barbarossa. It
was taken by the chief Neapolitan galley called the She-wolf, commanded
by that thunderbolt of war, that father of his men, that successful and
unconquered captain Don Alvaro de Bazan, Marquis of Santa Cruz; and I
cannot help telling you what took place at the capture of the Prize.

The son of Barbarossa was so cruel, and treated his slaves so badly,
that, when those who were at the oars saw that the She-wolf galley was
bearing down upon them and gaining upon them, they all at once dropped
their oars and seized their captain who stood on the stage at the end of
the gangway shouting to them to row lustily; and passing him on from
bench to bench, from the poop to the prow, they so bit him that before he
had got much past the mast his soul had already got to hell; so great, as
I said, was the cruelty with which he treated them, and the hatred with
which they hated him.

We returned to Constantinople, and the following year, seventy-three, it
became known that Don John had seized Tunis and taken the kingdom from
the Turks, and placed Muley Hamet in possession, putting an end to the
hopes which Muley Hamida, the cruelest and bravest Moor in the world,
entertained of returning to reign there. The Grand Turk took the loss
greatly to heart, and with the cunning which all his race possess, he
made peace with the Venetians (who were much more eager for it than he
was), and the following year, seventy-four, he attacked the Goletta and
the fort which Don John had left half built near Tunis. While all these
events were occurring, I was labouring at the oar without any hope of
freedom; at least I had no hope of obtaining it by ransom, for I was
firmly resolved not to write to my father telling him of my misfortunes.
At length the Goletta fell, and the fort fell, before which places there
were seventy-five thousand regular Turkish soldiers, and more than four
hundred thousand Moors and Arabs from all parts of Africa, and in the
train of all this great host such munitions and engines of war, and so
many pioneers that with their hands they might have covered the Goletta
and the fort with handfuls of earth. The first to fall was the Goletta,
until then reckoned impregnable, and it fell, not by any fault of its
defenders, who did all that they could and should have done, but because
experiment proved how easily entrenchments could be made in the desert
sand there; for water used to be found at two palms depth, while the
Turks found none at two yards; and so by means of a quantity of sandbags
they raised their works so high that they commanded the walls of the
fort, sweeping them as if from a cavalier, so that no one was able to
make a stand or maintain the defence.

It was a common opinion that our men should not have shut themselves up
in the Goletta, but should have waited in the open at the landing-place;
but those who say so talk at random and with little knowledge of such
matters; for if in the Goletta and in the fort there were barely seven
thousand soldiers, how could such a small number, however resolute, sally
out and hold their own against numbers like those of the enemy? And how
is it possible to help losing a stronghold that is not relieved, above
all when surrounded by a host of determined enemies in their own country?
But many thought, and I thought so too, that it was special favour and
mercy which Heaven showed to Spain in permitting the destruction of that
source and hiding place of mischief, that devourer, sponge, and moth of
countless money, fruitlessly wasted there to no other purpose save
preserving the memory of its capture by the invincible Charles V; as if
to make that eternal, as it is and will be, these stones were needed to
support it. The fort also fell; but the Turks had to win it inch by inch,
for the soldiers who defended it fought so gallantly and stoutly that the
number of the enemy killed in twenty-two general assaults exceeded
twenty-five thousand. Of three hundred that remained alive not one was
taken unwounded, a clear and manifest proof of their gallantry and
resolution, and how sturdily they had defended themselves and held their
post. A small fort or tower which was in the middle of the lagoon under
the command of Don Juan Zanoguera, a Valencian gentleman and a famous
soldier, capitulated upon terms. They took prisoner Don Pedro
Puertocarrero, commandant of the Goletta, who had done all in his power
to defend his fortress, and took the loss of it so much to heart that he
died of grief on the way to Constantinople, where they were carrying him
a prisoner. They also took the commandant of the fort, Gabrio Cerbellon
by name, a Milanese gentleman, a great engineer and a very brave soldier.
In these two fortresses perished many persons of note, among whom was
Pagano Doria, knight of the Order of St. John, a man of generous
disposition, as was shown by his extreme liberality to his brother, the
famous John Andrea Doria; and what made his death the more sad was that
he was slain by some Arabs to whom, seeing that the fort was now lost, he
entrusted himself, and who offered to conduct him in the disguise of a
Moor to Tabarca, a small fort or station on the coast held by the Genoese
employed in the coral fishery. These Arabs cut off his head and carried
it to the commander of the Turkish fleet, who proved on them the truth of
our Castilian proverb, that "though the treason may please, the traitor
is hated;" for they say he ordered those who brought him the present to
be hanged for not having brought him alive.

Among the Christians who were taken in the fort was one named Don Pedro
de Aguilar, a native of some place, I know not what, in Andalusia, who
had been ensign in the fort, a soldier of great repute and rare
intelligence, who had in particular a special gift for what they call
poetry. I say so because his fate brought him to my galley and to my
bench, and made him a slave to the same master; and before we left the
port this gentleman composed two sonnets by way of epitaphs, one on the
Goletta and the other on the fort; indeed, I may as well repeat them, for
I have them by heart, and I think they will be liked rather than

The instant the captive mentioned the name of Don Pedro de Aguilar, Don
Fernando looked at his companions and they all three smiled; and when he
came to speak of the sonnets one of them said, "Before your worship
proceeds any further I entreat you to tell me what became of that Don
Pedro de Aguilar you have spoken of."

"All I know is," replied the captive, "that after having been in
Constantinople two years, he escaped in the disguise of an Arnaut, in
company with a Greek spy; but whether he regained his liberty or not I
cannot tell, though I fancy he did, because a year afterwards I saw the
Greek at Constantinople, though I was unable to ask him what the result
of the journey was."

"Well then, you are right," returned the gentleman, "for that Don Pedro
is my brother, and he is now in our village in good health, rich,
married, and with three children."

"Thanks be to God for all the mercies he has shown him," said the
captive; "for to my mind there is no happiness on earth to compare with
recovering lost liberty."

"And what is more," said the gentleman, "I know the sonnets my brother

"Then let your worship repeat them," said the captive, "for you will
recite them better than I can."

"With all my heart," said the gentleman; "that on the Goletta runs thus."




"Blest souls, that, from this mortal husk set free,
In guerdon of brave deeds beatified,
Above this lowly orb of ours abide
Made heirs of heaven and immortality,
With noble rage and ardour glowing ye
Your strength, while strength was yours, in battle plied,
And with your own blood and the foeman's dyed
The sandy soil and the encircling sea.
It was the ebbing life-blood first that failed
The weary arms; the stout hearts never quailed.
Though vanquished, yet ye earned the victor's crown:
Though mourned, yet still triumphant was your fall
For there ye won, between the sword and wall,
In Heaven glory and on earth renown."
"That is it exactly, according to my recollection," said the captive.

"Well then, that on the fort," said the gentleman, "if my memory serves
me, goes thus:


"Up from this wasted soil, this shattered shell,
Whose walls and towers here in ruin lie,
Three thousand soldier souls took wing on high,
In the bright mansions of the blest to dwell.
The onslaught of the foeman to repel
By might of arm all vainly did they try,
And when at length 'twas left them but to die,
Wearied and few the last defenders fell.
And this same arid soil hath ever been
A haunt of countless mournful memories,
As well in our day as in days of yore.
But never yet to Heaven it sent, I ween,
From its hard bosom purer souls than these,
Or braver bodies on its surface bore."

The sonnets were not disliked, and the captive was rejoiced at the
tidings they gave him of his comrade, and continuing his tale, he went on
to say:

The Goletta and the fort being thus in their hands, the Turks gave orders
to dismantle the Goletta--for the fort was reduced to such a state that
there was nothing left to level--and to do the work more quickly and
easily they mined it in three places; but nowhere were they able to blow
up the part which seemed to be the least strong, that is to say, the old
walls, while all that remained standing of the new fortifications that
the Fratin had made came to the ground with the greatest ease. Finally
the fleet returned victorious and triumphant to Constantinople, and a few
months later died my master, El Uchali, otherwise Uchali Fartax, which
means in Turkish "the scabby renegade;" for that he was; it is the
practice with the Turks to name people from some defect or virtue they
may possess; the reason being that there are among them only four
surnames belonging to families tracing their descent from the Ottoman
house, and the others, as I have said, take their names and surnames
either from bodily blemishes or moral qualities. This "scabby one" rowed
at the oar as a slave of the Grand Signor's for fourteen years, and when
over thirty-four years of age, in resentment at having been struck by a
Turk while at the oar, turned renegade and renounced his faith in order
to be able to revenge himself; and such was his valour that, without
owing his advancement to the base ways and means by which most favourites
of the Grand Signor rise to power, he came to be king of Algiers, and
afterwards general-on-sea, which is the third place of trust in the
realm. He was a Calabrian by birth, and a worthy man morally, and he
treated his slaves with great humanity. He had three thousand of them,
and after his death they were divided, as he directed by his will,
between the Grand Signor (who is heir of all who die and shares with the
children of the deceased) and his renegades. I fell to the lot of a
Venetian renegade who, when a cabin boy on board a ship, had been taken
by Uchali and was so much beloved by him that he became one of his most
favoured youths. He came to be the most cruel renegade I ever saw: his
name was Hassan Aga, and he grew very rich and became king of Algiers.
With him I went there from Constantinople, rather glad to be so near
Spain, not that I intended to write to anyone about my unhappy lot, but
to try if fortune would be kinder to me in Algiers than in
Constantinople, where I had attempted in a thousand ways to escape
without ever finding a favourable time or chance; but in Algiers I
resolved to seek for other means of effecting the purpose I cherished so
dearly; for the hope of obtaining my liberty never deserted me; and when
in my plots and schemes and attempts the result did not answer my
expectations, without giving way to despair I immediately began to look
out for or conjure up some new hope to support me, however faint or
feeble it might be.

In this way I lived on immured in a building or prison called by the
Turks a bano in which they confine the Christian captives, as well those
that are the king's as those belonging to private individuals, and also
what they call those of the Almacen, which is as much as to say the
slaves of the municipality, who serve the city in the public works and
other employments; but captives of this kind recover their liberty with
great difficulty, for, as they are public property and have no particular
master, there is no one with whom to treat for their ransom, even though
they may have the means. To these banos, as I have said, some private
individuals of the town are in the habit of bringing their captives,
especially when they are to be ransomed; because there they can keep them
in safety and comfort until their ransom arrives. The king's captives
also, that are on ransom, do not go out to work with the rest of the
crew, unless when their ransom is delayed; for then, to make them write
for it more pressingly, they compel them to work and go for wood, which
is no light labour.

I, however, was one of those on ransom, for when it was discovered that I
was a captain, although I declared my scanty means and want of fortune,
nothing could dissuade them from including me among the gentlemen and
those waiting to be ransomed. They put a chain on me, more as a mark of
this than to keep me safe, and so I passed my life in that bano with
several other gentlemen and persons of quality marked out as held to
ransom; but though at times, or rather almost always, we suffered from
hunger and scanty clothing, nothing distressed us so much as hearing and
seeing at every turn the unexampled and unheard-of cruelties my master
inflicted upon the Christians. Every day he hanged a man, impaled one,
cut off the ears of another; and all with so little provocation, or so
entirely without any, that the Turks acknowledged he did it merely for
the sake of doing it, and because he was by nature murderously disposed
towards the whole human race. The only one that fared at all well with
him was a Spanish soldier, something de Saavedra by name, to whom he
never gave a blow himself, or ordered a blow to be given, or addressed a
hard word, although he had done things that will dwell in the memory of
the people there for many a year, and all to recover his liberty; and for
the least of the many things he did we all dreaded that he would be
impaled, and he himself was in fear of it more than once; and only that
time does not allow, I could tell you now something of what that soldier
did, that would interest and astonish you much more than the narration of
my own tale.

To go on with my story; the courtyard of our prison was overlooked by the
windows of the house belonging to a wealthy Moor of high position; and
these, as is usual in Moorish houses, were rather loopholes than windows,
and besides were covered with thick and close lattice-work. It so
happened, then, that as I was one day on the terrace of our prison with
three other comrades, trying, to pass away the time, how far we could
leap with our chains, we being alone, for all the other Christians had
gone out to work, I chanced to raise my eyes, and from one of these
little closed windows I saw a reed appear with a cloth attached to the
end of it, and it kept waving to and fro, and moving as if making signs
to us to come and take it. We watched it, and one of those who were with
me went and stood under the reed to see whether they would let it drop,
or what they would do, but as he did so the reed was raised and moved
from side to side, as if they meant to say "no" by a shake of the head.
The Christian came back, and it was again lowered, making the same
movements as before. Another of my comrades went, and with him the same
happened as with the first, and then the third went forward, but with the
same result as the first and second. Seeing this I did not like not to
try my luck, and as soon as I came under the reed it was dropped and fell
inside the bano at my feet. I hastened to untie the cloth, in which I
perceived a knot, and in this were ten cianis, which are coins of base
gold, current among the Moors, and each worth ten reals of our money.

It is needless to say I rejoiced over this godsend, and my joy was not
less than my wonder as I strove to imagine how this good fortune could
have come to us, but to me specially; for the evident unwillingness to
drop the reed for any but me showed that it was for me the favour was
intended. I took my welcome money, broke the reed, and returned to the
terrace, and looking up at the window, I saw a very white hand put out
that opened and shut very quickly. From this we gathered or fancied that
it must be some woman living in that house that had done us this
kindness, and to show that we were grateful for it, we made salaams after
the fashion of the Moors, bowing the head, bending the body, and crossing
the arms on the breast. Shortly afterwards at the same window a small
cross made of reeds was put out and immediately withdrawn. This sign led
us to believe that some Christian woman was a captive in the house, and
that it was she who had been so good to us; but the whiteness of the hand
and the bracelets we had perceived made us dismiss that idea, though we
thought it might be one of the Christian renegades whom their masters
very often take as lawful wives, and gladly, for they prefer them to the
women of their own nation. In all our conjectures we were wide of the
truth; so from that time forward our sole occupation was watching and
gazing at the window where the cross had appeared to us, as if it were
our pole-star; but at least fifteen days passed without our seeing either
it or the hand, or any other sign and though meanwhile we endeavoured
with the utmost pains to ascertain who it was that lived in the house,
and whether there were any Christian renegade in it, nobody could ever
tell us anything more than that he who lived there was a rich Moor of
high position, Hadji Morato by name, formerly alcaide of La Pata, an
office of high dignity among them. But when we least thought it was going
to rain any more cianis from that quarter, we saw the reed suddenly
appear with another cloth tied in a larger knot attached to it, and this
at a time when, as on the former occasion, the bano was deserted and

We made trial as before, each of the same three going forward before I
did; but the reed was delivered to none but me, and on my approach it was
let drop. I untied the knot and I found forty Spanish gold crowns with a
paper written in Arabic, and at the end of the writing there was a large
cross drawn. I kissed the cross, took the crowns and returned to the
terrace, and we all made our salaams; again the hand appeared, I made
signs that I would read the paper, and then the window was closed. We
were all puzzled, though filled with joy at what had taken place; and as
none of us understood Arabic, great was our curiosity to know what the
paper contained, and still greater the difficulty of finding some one to
read it. At last I resolved to confide in a renegade, a native of Murcia,
who professed a very great friendship for me, and had given pledges that
bound him to keep any secret I might entrust to him; for it is the custom
with some renegades, when they intend to return to Christian territory,
to carry about them certificates from captives of mark testifying, in
whatever form they can, that such and such a renegade is a worthy man who
has always shown kindness to Christians, and is anxious to escape on the
first opportunity that may present itself. Some obtain these testimonials
with good intentions, others put them to a cunning use; for when they go
to pillage on Christian territory, if they chance to be cast away, or
taken prisoners, they produce their certificates and say that from these
papers may be seen the object they came for, which was to remain on
Christian ground, and that it was to this end they joined the Turks in
their foray. In this way they escape the consequences of the first
outburst and make their peace with the Church before it does them any
harm, and then when they have the chance they return to Barbary to become
what they were before. Others, however, there are who procure these
papers and make use of them honestly, and remain on Christian soil. This
friend of mine, then, was one of these renegades that I have described;
he had certificates from all our comrades, in which we testified in his
favour as strongly as we could; and if the Moors had found the papers
they would have burned him alive.

I knew that he understood Arabic very well, and could not only speak but
also write it; but before I disclosed the whole matter to him, I asked
him to read for me this paper which I had found by accident in a hole in
my cell. He opened it and remained some time examining it and muttering
to himself as he translated it. I asked him if he understood it, and he
told me he did perfectly well, and that if I wished him to tell me its
meaning word for word, I must give him pen and ink that he might do it
more satisfactorily. We at once gave him what he required, and he set
about translating it bit by bit, and when he had done he said:

"All that is here in Spanish is what the Moorish paper contains, and you
must bear in mind that when it says 'Lela Marien' it means 'Our Lady the
Virgin Mary.'"

We read the paper and it ran thus:

"When I was a child my father had a slave who taught me to pray the
Christian prayer in my own language, and told me many things about Lela
Marien. The Christian died, and I know that she did not go to the fire,
but to Allah, because since then I have seen her twice, and she told me
to go to the land of the Christians to see Lela Marien, who had great
love for me. I know not how to go. I have seen many Christians, but
except thyself none has seemed to me to be a gentleman. I am young and
beautiful, and have plenty of money to take with me. See if thou canst
contrive how we may go, and if thou wilt thou shalt be my husband there,
and if thou wilt not it will not distress me, for Lela Marien will find
me some one to marry me. I myself have written this: have a care to whom
thou givest it to read: trust no Moor, for they are all perfidious. I am
greatly troubled on this account, for I would not have thee confide in
anyone, because if my father knew it he would at once fling me down a
well and cover me with stones. I will put a thread to the reed; tie the
answer to it, and if thou hast no one to write for thee in Arabic, tell
it to me by signs, for Lela Marien will make me understand thee. She and
Allah and this cross, which I often kiss as the captive bade me, protect

Judge, sirs, whether we had reason for surprise and joy at the words of
this paper; and both one and the other were so great, that the renegade
perceived that the paper had not been found by chance, but had been in
reality addressed to some one of us, and he begged us, if what he
suspected were the truth, to trust him and tell him all, for he would
risk his life for our freedom; and so saying he took out from his breast
a metal crucifix, and with many tears swore by the God the image
represented, in whom, sinful and wicked as he was, he truly and
faithfully believed, to be loyal to us and keep secret whatever we chose
to reveal to him; for he thought and almost foresaw that by means of her
who had written that paper, he and all of us would obtain our liberty,
and he himself obtain the object he so much desired, his restoration to
the bosom of the Holy Mother Church, from which by his own sin and
ignorance he was now severed like a corrupt limb. The renegade said this
with so many tears and such signs of repentance, that with one consent we
all agreed to tell him the whole truth of the matter, and so we gave him
a full account of all, without hiding anything from him. We pointed out
to him the window at which the reed appeared, and he by that means took
note of the house, and resolved to ascertain with particular care who
lived in it. We agreed also that it would be advisable to answer the
Moorish lady's letter, and the renegade without a moment's delay took
down the words I dictated to him, which were exactly what I shall tell
you, for nothing of importance that took place in this affair has escaped
my memory, or ever will while life lasts. This, then, was the answer
returned to the Moorish lady:

"The true Allah protect thee, Lady, and that blessed Marien who is the
true mother of God, and who has put it into thy heart to go to the land
of the Christians, because she loves thee. Entreat her that she be
pleased to show thee how thou canst execute the command she gives thee,
for she will, such is her goodness. On my own part, and on that of all
these Christians who are with me, I promise to do all that we can for
thee, even to death. Fail not to write to me and inform me what thou dost
mean to do, and I will always answer thee; for the great Allah has given
us a Christian captive who can speak and write thy language well, as thou
mayest see by this paper; without fear, therefore, thou canst inform us
of all thou wouldst. As to what thou sayest, that if thou dost reach the
land of the Christians thou wilt be my wife, I give thee my promise upon
it as a good Christian; and know that the Christians keep their promises
better than the Moors. Allah and Marien his mother watch over thee, my

The paper being written and folded I waited two days until the bano was
empty as before, and immediately repaired to the usual walk on the
terrace to see if there were any sign of the reed, which was not long in
making its appearance. As soon as I saw it, although I could not
distinguish who put it out, I showed the paper as a sign to attach the
thread, but it was already fixed to the reed, and to it I tied the paper;
and shortly afterwards our star once more made its appearance with the
white flag of peace, the little bundle. It was dropped, and I picked it
up, and found in the cloth, in gold and silver coins of all sorts, more
than fifty crowns, which fifty times more strengthened our joy and
doubled our hope of gaining our liberty. That very night our renegade
returned and said he had learned that the Moor we had been told of lived
in that house, that his name was Hadji Morato, that he was enormously
rich, that he had one only daughter the heiress of all his wealth, and
that it was the general opinion throughout the city that she was the most
beautiful woman in Barbary, and that several of the viceroys who came
there had sought her for a wife, but that she had been always unwilling
to marry; and he had learned, moreover, that she had a Christian slave
who was now dead; all which agreed with the contents of the paper. We
immediately took counsel with the renegade as to what means would have to
be adopted in order to carry off the Moorish lady and bring us all to
Christian territory; and in the end it was agreed that for the present we
should wait for a second communication from Zoraida (for that was the
name of her who now desires to be called Maria), because we saw clearly
that she and no one else could find a way out of all these difficulties.
When we had decided upon this the renegade told us not to be uneasy, for
he would lose his life or restore us to liberty. For four days the bano
was filled with people, for which reason the reed delayed its appearance
for four days, but at the end of that time, when the bano was, as it
generally was, empty, it appeared with the cloth so bulky that it
promised a happy birth. Reed and cloth came down to me, and I found
another paper and a hundred crowns in gold, without any other coin. The
renegade was present, and in our cell we gave him the paper to read,
which was to this effect:

"I cannot think of a plan, senor, for our going to Spain, nor has Lela
Marien shown me one, though I have asked her. All that can be done is for
me to give you plenty of money in gold from this window. With it ransom
yourself and your friends, and let one of you go to the land of the
Christians, and there buy a vessel and come back for the others; and he
will find me in my father's garden, which is at the Babazon gate near the
seashore, where I shall be all this summer with my father and my
servants. You can carry me away from there by night without any danger,
and bring me to the vessel. And remember thou art to be my husband, else
I will pray to Marien to punish thee. If thou canst not trust anyone to
go for the vessel, ransom thyself and do thou go, for I know thou wilt
return more surely than any other, as thou art a gentleman and a
Christian. Endeavour to make thyself acquainted with the garden; and when
I see thee walking yonder I shall know that the bano is empty and I will
give thee abundance of money. Allah protect thee, senor."

These were the words and contents of the second paper, and on hearing
them, each declared himself willing to be the ransomed one, and promised
to go and return with scrupulous good faith; and I too made the same
offer; but to all this the renegade objected, saying that he would not on
any account consent to one being set free before all went together, as
experience had taught him how ill those who have been set free keep
promises which they made in captivity; for captives of distinction
frequently had recourse to this plan, paying the ransom of one who was to
go to Valencia or Majorca with money to enable him to arm a bark and
return for the others who had ransomed him, but who never came back; for
recovered liberty and the dread of losing it again efface from the memory
all the obligations in the world. And to prove the truth of what he said,
he told us briefly what had happened to a certain Christian gentleman
almost at that very time, the strangest case that had ever occurred even
there, where astonishing and marvellous things are happening every
instant. In short, he ended by saying that what could and ought to be
done was to give the money intended for the ransom of one of us
Christians to him, so that he might with it buy a vessel there in Algiers
under the pretence of becoming a merchant and trader at Tetuan and along
the coast; and when master of the vessel, it would be easy for him to hit
on some way of getting us all out of the bano and putting us on board;
especially if the Moorish lady gave, as she said, money enough to ransom
all, because once free it would be the easiest thing in the world for us
to embark even in open day; but the greatest difficulty was that the
Moors do not allow any renegade to buy or own any craft, unless it be a
large vessel for going on roving expeditions, because they are afraid
that anyone who buys a small vessel, especially if he be a Spaniard, only
wants it for the purpose of escaping to Christian territory. This however
he could get over by arranging with a Tagarin Moor to go shares with him
in the purchase of the vessel, and in the profit on the cargo; and under
cover of this he could become master of the vessel, in which case he
looked upon all the rest as accomplished. But though to me and my
comrades it had seemed a better plan to send to Majorca for the vessel,
as the Moorish lady suggested, we did not dare to oppose him, fearing
that if we did not do as he said he would denounce us, and place us in
danger of losing all our lives if he were to disclose our dealings with
Zoraida, for whose life we would have all given our own. We therefore
resolved to put ourselves in the hands of God and in the renegade's; and
at the same time an answer was given to Zoraida, telling her that we
would do all she recommended, for she had given as good advice as if Lela
Marien had delivered it, and that it depended on her alone whether we
were to defer the business or put it in execution at once. I renewed my
promise to be her husband; and thus the next day that the bano chanced to
be empty she at different times gave us by means of the reed and cloth
two thousand gold crowns and a paper in which she said that the next
Juma, that is to say Friday, she was going to her father's garden, but
that before she went she would give us more money; and if it were not
enough we were to let her know, as she would give us as much as we asked,
for her father had so much he would not miss it, and besides she kept all
the keys.

We at once gave the renegade five hundred crowns to buy the vessel, and
with eight hundred I ransomed myself, giving the money to a Valencian
merchant who happened to be in Algiers at the time, and who had me
released on his word, pledging it that on the arrival of the first ship
from Valencia he would pay my ransom; for if he had given the money at
once it would have made the king suspect that my ransom money had been
for a long time in Algiers, and that the merchant had for his own
advantage kept it secret. In fact my master was so difficult to deal with
that I dared not on any account pay down the money at once. The Thursday
before the Friday on which the fair Zoraida was to go to the garden she
gave us a thousand crowns more, and warned us of her departure, begging
me, if I were ransomed, to find out her father's garden at once, and by
all means to seek an opportunity of going there to see her. I answered in
a few words that I would do so, and that she must remember to commend us
to Lela Marien with all the prayers the captive had taught her. This
having been done, steps were taken to ransom our three comrades, so as to
enable them to quit the bano, and lest, seeing me ransomed and themselves
not, though the money was forthcoming, they should make a disturbance
about it and the devil should prompt them to do something that might
injure Zoraida; for though their position might be sufficient to relieve
me from this apprehension, nevertheless I was unwilling to run any risk
in the matter; and so I had them ransomed in the same way as I was,
handing over all the money to the merchant so that he might with safety
and confidence give security; without, however, confiding our arrangement
and secret to him, which might have been dangerous.

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