The commander ceased, and Mohammed returned to the city to consult with his companions. It was evident that all further resistance was hopeless, but the Moorish commanders felt that a cloud might rest upon their names should they, of their own discretion, surrender so important a place without its having sustained an assault. Prince Cid Hiaya requested permission, therefore, to send an envoy to Guadix, with a letter to the old monarch, El Zagal, treating of the surrender: the request was granted, a safe conduct assured to the envoy, and Mohammed Ibn Hassan departed upon this momentous mission.
The old warrior-king was seated in an inner chamber of the castle of Guadix, much cast down in spirit and ruminating on his gloomy fortunes, when an envoy from Baza was announced, and the veteran alcayde Mohammed stood before him. El Zagal saw disastrous tidings written in his countenance. "How fares it with Baza ," said he, summoning up his spirits to the question. "Let this inform thee," replied Mohammed, and he delivered into his hands the letter from the prince Cid Hiaya.
This letter spoke of the desperate situation of Baza, the impossibility of holding out longer without assistance from El Zagal, and the favorable terms held out by the Castilian sovereigns. Had it been written by any other person, El Zagal might have received it with distrust and indignation; but he confided in Cid Hiaya as in a second self, and the words of his letter sank deep in his heart. When he had finished reading it, he sighed deeply, and remained for some time lost in thought, with his head drooping upon his bosom. Recovering himself at length, he called together the alfaquis and the old men of Guadix and solicited their advice. It was sign of sore trouble of mind and dejection of heart when El Zagal sought the advice of others, but his fierce courage was tamed, for he saw the end of his power approaching. The alfaquis and the old men did but increase the distraction of his mind by a variety of counsel, none of which appeared of any avail, for unless Baza were succored it was impossible that it should hold out; and every attempt to succor it had proved ineffectual. El Zagal dismissed his council in despair, and summoned the veteran Mohammed before him. "God is great," exclaimed he; "there is but one God, and Mahomet is his prophet! Return to my cousin, Cid Hiaya; tell him it is out of my power to aid him; he must do as seems to him for the best. The people of Baza have performed deeds worthy of immortal fame; I cannot ask them to encounter further ills and perils in maintaining a hopeless defence."
The reply of El Zagal determined the fate of the city. Cid Hiaya and his fellow-commanders capitulated, and were granted the most favorable terms. The cavaliers and soldiers who had come from other parts to the defence of the place were permitted to depart with their arms, horses, and effects. The inhabitants had their choice either to depart with their property or dwell in the suburbs in the enjoyment of their religion and laws, taking an oath of fealty to the sovereigns and paying the same tribute they had paid to the Moorish kings. The city and citadel were to be delivered up in six days, within which period the inhabitants were to remove all their effects; and in the mean time they were to place as hostages fifteen Moorish youths, sons of the principal inhabitants, in the hands of the commander of Leon. When Cid Hiaya and the alcayde Mohammed came to deliver up the hostages, among whom were the sons of the latter, they paid homage to the king and queen, who received them with the utmost courtesy and kindness, and ordered magnificent presents to be given to them, and likewise to the other Moorish cavaliers, consisting of money, robes, horses, and other things of great value.
The prince Cid Hiaya was so captivated by the grace, the dignity, and generosity of Isabella and the princely courtesy of Ferdinand that he vowed never again to draw his sword against such magnanimous sovereigns. The queen, charmed with his gallant bearing and his animated professions of devotion, assured him that, having him on her side, she already considered the war terminated which had desolated the kingdom of Granada.
Mighty and irresistible are words of praise from the lips of sovereigns. Cid Hiaya was entirely subdued by this fair speech from the illustrious Isabella. His heart burned with a sudden flame of loyalty toward the sovereigns. He begged to be enrolled amongst the most devoted of their subjects, and in the fervor of his sudden zeal engaged not merely to dedicate his sword to their service, but to exert all his influence, which was great, in persuading his cousin, Muley Abdallah el Zagal, to surrender the cities of Guadix and Almeria and to give up all further hostilities. Nay, so powerful was the effect produced upon his mind by his conversation with the sovereigns that it extended even to his religion; for he became immediately enlightened as to the heathenish abominations of the vile sect of Mahomet, and struck with the truths of Christianity as illustrated by such powerful monarchs. He consented, therefore, to be baptized and to be gathered into the fold of the Church. The pious Agapida indulges in a triumphant strain of exultation on the sudden and surprising conversion of this princely infidel: he considers it one of the greatest achievements of the Catholic sovereigns, and indeed one of the marvellous occurrences of this holy war. "But it is given to saints and pious monarchs," says he, "to work miracles in the cause of the faith; and such did the most Catholic Ferdinand in the conversion of the prince Cid Hiaya."
Some of the Arabian writers have sought to lessen the wonder of this miracle by alluding to great revenues granted to the prince and his heirs by the Castilian monarchs, together with a territory in Marchena, with towns, lands, and vassals; but in this (says Agapida) we only see a wise precaution of King Ferdinand to clinch and secure the conversion of his proselyte. The policy of the Catholic monarch was at all times equal to his piety. Instead also of vaunting of this great conversion and making a public parade of the entry of the prince into the Church, King Ferdinand ordered that the baptism should be performed in private and kept a profound secret. He feared that Cid Hiaya might otherwise be denounced as an apostate and abhorred and abandoned by the Moors, and thus his influence destroyed in bringing the war to a speedy termination.*
The veteran Mohammed Ibn Hassan was likewise won by the magnanimity and munificence of the Castilian sovereigns, and entreated to be received into their service; and his example was followed by many other Moorish cavaliers, whose services were generously accepted and magnificently rewarded.