Cantiga T187 (E185) of the Cantigas de Santa Maria of Alfonso X

The Statue that Defended a Castle

Page Two

   The castle of Chincolla, in the kingdom of Jaén, was held by a castellan who kept it well, but had become imprudent. He struck up a friendship with the Moorish castellan of Bélmez. The treacherous Moor told the King of Granada that he could take the castle of Chincolla. The King of Granada asked him how this could be accomplished. The castellan of Bélmez replied that he could capture the castellan of Chincolla while conversing with him. The King gave him permission to do so; he threatened to kill him if he were lying, and promised to reward him if he captured the castle.
   The Moor went off to Chincolla. He asked the castellan to come out and sign a pact with him. The unsuspecting castellan went out with two squires. They told him that they were afraid the Moor would betray him. The squires, accompanying their unarmed lord, were so terrified that they ran back and hid in the castle.
   The castellan, however, did not retreat, but crossed the river to meet the Moor. When he approached, the Moor captured him and had him taken to the King of Granada. The King asked the castellan about the castle and told him he would behead him if he lied. The castellan informed him that fifteen hungry men held it.
   The King of Granada immediately rallied his troops and headed for the castle. He forced the castellan to demand its surrender, but the defenders refused to give in. The King of Granada launched an attack with volleys of arrows and stones.
   The defenders took the statue of the Virgin from the chapel and placed it on the ramparts. They prayed to the Virgin to defend the castle from the infidel Moors. They left the statue there and the attackers all retreated.
   Three black Moors, who had entered the castle, were thrown to their deaths from the top of the wall. The King of Granada determined not to go against the Virgin. He ordered the trumpets to be blown and the troops to retreat.
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Back to Page 1 of Cantiga 187

Andalusian Infantry by Ian Heath based on Cantiga 28
Granadine Heavy Cavalry by Ian Heath based on Cantiga 63