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Main > Spain folktales > Fairy tale "A Legend of St. Bartholomew"

A Legend of St. Bartholomew

These words were spoken in a haughty manner; and as Al-muli turned round and looked upon his splendidly arrayed soldiers, who surrounded the chamber, his pride seemed justified.

“Thou canst not crush me more than thou hast done, vile Moor,” said the baron. “Thou hast robbed me of my daughter, not by force of arms, but stealthily, as a thief at midnight. If any spark of chivalry warmed thy infidel blood thou wouldst blush for the act thou hast wrought. But I fear thee not, proud Moor; thy warriors are no braver than thy women. Dare them to move, and I will lay thee at my feet.”

“Oh, my father, and thou, dear Al-Muli, abandon these threats, even if you cannot be friends.”

“No, maiden,” exclaimed Al-Muli; “I will not be bearded in my own den. Advance, guards, and take this old man to a place of safety below!”

But not a soldier moved; and when Al-Muli was about to approach them to see what was the matter with them, his scimitar dropped from his hand, and he fell on the ground.

“What charm hast thou brought to bear on me, bold baron,” screamed the Moor, “that I am thus rendered powerless? Alina, if thou lovest me, give me but that goblet full of water, for I am faint.”

Alina would have done as her lover bade her, but just then the figure of the venerable St. Bartholomew was seen with the cross in his right hand.

“Moor and infidel,” said the saint, “thou hast mocked at this symbol of Christianity, and thou hast done grievous injury to this Christian baron; but thou hast been conscientious in thy infidelity. Nor am I slow to recognize in thy race a knowledge of the arts and sciences not yet extended to the Christian. Yet, for all this, thou art but an infidel. Let me but baptize thee with the water thou wouldst have drunk, and all will yet be well.”

“No, sir saint,” answered the Moor. “When in my castle strangers thus treat me rudely, I can die, but not bend to their orders. If yonder baron is a true Christian, why has he not taken the thirty-three baths enjoined by thee?

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