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CSM Number : 369
Short name: The Missing Ring that was Found in a Fish Alternative: Missing ring is found in fish
Incipit: Como Jesucristo fezo/ a San Pedro que pescasse
Refrain: Como Jesucristo fezo/ a San Pedro que pescasse/ un pexe en que achou ouro/ que por si e el peitasse/ outrossi fez que sa Madre/ per tal maneira livrasse/ a ũa moller mesquinna/ e de gran coita tirasse.
Summary of narrative
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Setting: Santarém Protagonist(s): a female merchant

A woman in Santarém sold barley from a stall. Whenever she did business, she invoked Mary’s name. She said: “the one who keeps Holy Mary in his heart is well protected.” In the town there was an unjust and arrogant castellan who was keen to slander people. He determined to trick the barley seller and make a mockery of her words.

He ordered his men to give the woman a ring as security in return for some barley. Then he instructed them to steal the ring back from her so that he could accuse her of not returning it. They did as he ordered. The next day, the men went back with some money to reclaim the ring. It was made of finely-worked gold and had a red stone-- a ruby, no doubt.

The woman went to fetch the ring, but could not find it. She was very upset and begged the castellan’s men to give her more time to search. The castellan was furious and refused her request. He told her to return the ring at once, or he would take all she had until she had repaid its value two times over. Weeping, the woman pleaded with the Virgin to help her so that she would not have to become a beggar.

While she was praying, the castellan went down to the Tagus to water his horse and wash its forelock. As he was washing it, the ring slipped from his finger and vanished in the water. He was very distressed, and turned his resentment over losing ring into anger for the woman. He demanded that she give it to him.

The woman kept praying, but was comforted by her daughter, who urged her to eat. The girl went down to the Tagus and bought a fish. When she got home, she cleaned it and found the ring inside. She showed it to her mother who ordered her to kept it a secret.

The following day, when the castellan came to arrest her, the woman presented him with the ring in front of witnesses. He was startled and made her explain exactly how she had obtained it. She told the whole story and, afterwards, he admitted his deceit and begged her pardon. The people praised the Virgin.

Metrical data
Stanza: 23' 23' 15' 15' Refrain: 15' 15' 15' 15'
No. of Stanzas: 24
Rhyme scheme: AAAA | bbaa Zejel: Yes
MS locations:
E369
Poncelet reference
None
Keywords
barley, castellan, false accusation, fish, merchant, ring, pardon, servant, stones (precious), thief/ thieves, fishing, gold
Discography
Click HERE for a list of recordings of this poem
BITAGAP ID
4121
Bibliography
A inserción do ’verbo antigo’ na literatura medieval
Filgueira Valverde, José
Da épica na Galicia medieval: Discurso de ingreso na Real Academia Gallega e resposta de Ramón Otero Pedrayo
Filgueira Valverde, José and Ramón Otero Pedrayo
Milagres e romarias portuguesas nas Cantigas de Santa Maria
Martins, Mário
Textos de literatura portuguesa. I: Afonso X, o Sábio
Rodrigues Lapa, Manuel