Cantiga 5 of the Cantigas de Santa Maria of Alfonso X

La Virgen Defiende La Ciudad De Cesarea Del Emperador Juliano
The Chaste Empress

   There was a Roman emperor who had a wife named Beatriz. She was incredibly beautiful and was devoted to the Virgin. The emperor decided to go on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Before he left he made his brother his wife's guardian. After the emperor had departed his brother fell in love with his wife, the empress. She accused him of treason and had him imprisoned in a tower. After travelling for two and a half years the emperor informed his wife that he was coming home. She released his brother.
   On his return the emperor's brother spoke with him privately. He told him that the empress had tried to seduce him and that when he had spurned her advances she had thrown him in prison. The emperor was so upset at the news that he ordered the empress to be killed. Some huntsmen seized the empress and took her to the forest to kill her. They had intended to rape her first but she called on the Virgin and a count came to her rescue. The empress asked the count to help her and he agreed to hire her to educate his son. She was raising the boy properly when his evil uncle fell in love with her. He tried to seduce her but she rejected him. In revenge he cut the child's throat and placed the knife in the empress's hand.
   When the empress reported the murder to the count and countess, the count's brother accused her of committing the deed and vowed to avenge it. He abused her badly. Everyone deemed the empress guilty and condemned her to death. Eventually she was given to a Syrian sailor to be taken out to sea and drowned. The sailor tried to rape her but the empress prayed to the Virgin who ordered him to desist. The sailors abandoned her on a deserted rock. As the empress lay sleeping there, the Virgin appeared to her. She took away her hunger and gave her a herb for curing leprosy.
   The empress saw a ship approaching the island. It was full of Christian pilgrims. She begged them to rescue her. When the ship came to the port of Rome, the empress disembarked and cured a leper with the herb. Hearing the news, many lepers came to be cured including the count's evil brother.
   The empress cured more than a thousand and the count's brother admitted his crime to the dismay of the count and countess who grieved for the empress. The empress continued to heal lepers and went on many pilgrimages.
   After three months she arrived in Rome. The emperor summoned her and asked her to heal his brother. She agreed but said that he would have to first confess his sins in front of the emperor and the pope. When the emperor had heard of his brother's treason he tore at his clothes in grief. Weeping, the empress identified herself as the woman his brother had wronged. Despite the emperor's attempts to get her to return to him the empress vowed to live as an anchoress and never to wear silk or squirrel fur again.
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