Cantiga CSM 205 of the Cantigas de Santa Maria of Alfonso X

The Muslim Woman who Survived a Siege

Folio 6 recto of codex Florencia Ms Banco Rari 20


   A Moorish castle on the frontier was being attacked by Christian [Military Order] troops from [of] Uclés and Calatrava. Don Alfonso Téllez went there with a great company of fine knights, crossbowmen, and foot soldiers. These good warriors soon took the castle.
   The people in the castle, seeing they were being attacked from all sides, took refuge in a strong tower. The attackers made big holes in the tower’s sides and set it alight. To escape the fire, the Moors threw themselves headlong from the battlements and many were killed.
   A Mooress, who was in the tower with her beloved son, carried him to the top so that he would not suffocate. She sat down between two merlons with the child clutched in her arms. Although the flames encircled her, she was not burned and neither was her baby. Don Gonzalo Eanes of Calatrava and don Alfonso Téllez ordered the tower to be stormed.
   As the tower was being destroyed, they caught sight of the Mooress, seated between the merlons. To them, she looked like an image of the Virgin, holding the Child in her arms. When all of the Christians saw her, they took pity on her and raising their hands toward God, they prayed that she be spared.
   Then the side of the tower on which the pair sat, gently collapsed and slid onto an open plain. Neither the mother nor her child were harmed or shaken, because the Virgin, to whom the Christians prayed, set them down in a meadow.
   Everyone praised the Virgin for the miracle. The woman became a Christian and her son was baptised.

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Uclés had a commandery of the military Order of Calatrava


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