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Tales of the Enchanted Islands of the Atlantic

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Author Topic: Tales of the Enchanted Islands of the Atlantic  (Read 3855 times)
Lisa Wolfe
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Posts: 4696

« Reply #90 on: January 27, 2009, 11:37:54 pm »

to the king; but they secretly hated him, and wished for his downfall. By the next day they had planned to betray him to the Moors. Count Julian had come to make his military report to Don Rodrigo, and on some pretext had withdrawn Florinda from the court. "When you come again," said the pleasure-loving king, "bring me some hawks from the south, that we may again go hawking." "I will bring you hawks enough," was the answer, "and such as you never saw before." "But Rodrigo," says the Arabian chronicler, "did not understand the full meaning of his words."

It was a hard blow for the young Luis when he discovered what a plot was being urged around him. He would gladly have been faithful to the king, worthless as he knew him to be; but Don Alonzo had been his benefactor, and he held by him. Meanwhile the conspiracy drew towards completion, and the Arab force was drawing nearer to the straits. A single foray into Spain had shown Musa, the Arab general, the weakness of the kingdom; that the cities were unfortified, the citizens unarmed, and

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many of the nobles lukewarm towards the king. "Hasten," he said, "towards that country where the palaces are filled with gold and silver, and the men cannot fight in their defence." Accordingly, in the early spring of the year 711, Musa sent his next in command, Tarik, to cross to Spain with an army of seven thousand men, consisting mostly of chosen cavalry. They crossed the straits then called the Sea of Narrowness, embarking the troops at Tangier and Ceute in many merchant vessels, and landing at that famous promontory called thenceforth by the Arab general's name, the Rock of Tarik, Dschebel-Tarik, or, more briefly, Gibraltar.

Luis, under Don Alonzo, was with the Spanish troops sent hastily down to resist the Arab invaders, and, as these troops were mounted, he had many opportunities of seeing the new enemies and observing their ways. They were a picturesque horde; their breasts were covered with mail armor; they wore white turbans on their heads, carried their bows slung across their backs, and their swords suspended to their girdles, while they held their long spears firmly

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