As to the Moors who had composed the garrison, Cid Hiaya remembered that they were his countrymen, and could not prevail upon himself to deliver them into Christian bondage. He set them at liberty, and permitted them to repair to Granada--"a proof," says the pious Agapida, "that his conversion was not entirely consummated, but that there were still some lingerings of the infidel in his heart." His lenity was far from procuring him indulgence in the opinions of his countrymen; on the contrary, the inhabitants of Granada, when they learnt from the liberated garrison the stratagem by which Roma had been captured, cursed Cid Hiaya for a traitor, and the garrison joined in the malediction.
*Pulgar, Cron., part 3, cap. 130; Cura de los Palacios, cap. 90.
But the indignation of the people of Granada was destined to be roused to tenfold violence. The old warrior Muley Abdallah el Zagal had retired to his little mountain-territory, and for a short time endeavored to console himself with his petty title of king of Andarax. He soon grew impatient, however, of the quiet and inaction of his mimic kingdom. His fierce spirit was exasperated by being shut up within such narrow limits, and his hatred rose to downright fury against Boabdil, whom he considered as the cause of his downfall. When tidings were brought him that King Ferdinand was laying waste the Vega, he took a sudden resolution. Assembling the whole disposable force of his kingdom, which amounted but to two hundred men, he descended from the Alpuxarras and sought the Christian camp, content to serve as a vassal the enemy of his faith and his nation, so that he might see Granada wrested from the sway of his nephew.
In his blind passion the old wrathful monarch injured his cause and strengthened the cause of his adversary. The Moors of Granada had been clamorous in his praise, extolling him as a victim to his patriotism, and had refused to believe all reports of his treaty with the Christians; but when they beheld from the walls of the city his banner mingling with the banners of the unbelievers and arrayed against his late people and the capital he had commanded, they broke forth into revilings and heaped curses upon his name.
Their next emotion, of course, was in favor of Boabdil. They gathered under the walls of the Alhambra and hailed him as their only hope, as the sole dependence of the country. Boabdil could scarcely believe his senses when he heard his name mingled with praises and greeted with acclamations. Encouraged by this unexpected gleam of popularity, he ventured forth from his retreat and was received with rapture. All his past errors were attributed to the hardships of his fortune and the usurpation of his tyrant uncle, and whatever breath the populace could spare from uttering curses on El Zagal was expended in shouts in honor of El Chico.
HOW BOABDIL EL CHICO TOOK THE FIELD, AND HIS EXPEDITION AGAINST ALHENDIN.
For thirty days had the Vega been overrun by the Christian forces, and that vast plain, late so luxuriant and beautiful, was one wide scene of desolation. The destroying army, having accomplished its task, passed over the bridge of Pinos and wound up into the mountains on the way to Cordova, bearing away the spoils of towns and villages and driving off flocks and herds in long dusty columns. The sound of the last Christian trumpet died away along the side of the mountain of Elvira, and not a hostile squadron was seen glistening on the mournful fields of the Vega.
The eyes of Boabdil el Chico were at length opened to the real policy of King Ferdinand, and he saw that he had no longer anything to depend upon but the valor of his arm. No time was to be lost in hastening to counteract the effect of the late Christian ravage and