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CSM Number : 25
Short name: The Jewish Moneylender and the Christian Merchant Alternative: Jew Lends to Christian
Incipit: Pagar ben pod’ o que dever
Refrain: Pagar ben pod’ o que dever/ o que a Madre de Deus fia.
Summary of narrative
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Setting: Byzantium Protagonist(s): Christian merchant, Jewish moneylender

A Christian man spent all of his money doing good deeds. When he had used up his funds, he asked people for a loan. When no one would grant him one, he turned to a Jew. The Jew agreed to give him a loan, but asked for some security. The Christian offered Mary and Christ as his warrantors, and the Jew accepted the terms.

In the presence of witnesses, the Christian showed the Jew statues of the Virgin and Child. The Christian touched them and swore that he was placing them as security for his debt. He prayed to the Virgin, asking her to repay the loan if he failed to do so.The Christian’s business affairs went well and he quickly earned more money. However, he forgot about the loan until the day before he had to repay it.

[Since he was far away] he had a chest constructed, filled it with the money he owed to the Jew, and threw it into the sea. He prayed for God to guide it to its destination. The next day, the chest floated into the port of Byzantium. The Jew’s servant went to fetch it as it floated by, but failed to grasp it.

Chiding him, the Jew strode into the sea and seized it himself. He carried it home and found the money inside. He kept this secret from his friends and hid it under his bed.

When the Christian merchant arrived, the Jew demanded the money and threatened to blackmail him. The Christian claimed that the Virgin would attest that he had repaid the loan. He suggested that they go to the church and the Jew agreed. Standing in front of the statue, the Christian asked it to tell the truth.

At once the statue of the Virgin spoke and said that the Jew had indeed received the money.When the Jew heard this, he converted to Christianity.

Metrical data
Stanza: 8 8’ 8 8’ 8 8’ 8 8’ Refrain: 8 8’
No. of Stanzas: 20
Rhyme scheme: AB | cdcdabab Zejel:
MS locations:
T25, E25, To38
Poncelet reference
Alexandriae mercator / divinae matris amator (41)
chest, conversion, debt, false accusation, image (of Virgin Mary), Jews, loan, lying, merchant, moneylender, money (dispute over), oath, security (for loan), servant
Click HERE for a list of recordings of this poem
Miracle Collection
Jew Lends to Christian John of Garland
Jew Lends to Christian Gonzalo de Berceo
Jew Lends to Christian Gautier de Coinci
Jew Lends to Christian Adgar
(London, BL, Egerton 612)
Jew Lends to Christian Bartholomew of Trent
(University of Bologna, Codice 1794)
Jew Lends to Christian Jean Mielot, Miracles de Nostre Dame
(Oxford, Bodleian, Douce MS 374)
Jew Lends to Christian Anglo-Norman Miracles of the Virgin
(London, BL, Royal 20 B XIV, fols 102v-169)
The Jew in the Cántigas of Alfonso X, el Sabio
Bagby, Albert
Inside the virelai: a survey of musical structures in the Cantigas de Santa Maria
Campbell, Alison
A Paleographic Edition of the Alfonsine Collection of Prose Miracles of the Virgin
Chatham, James R.
Estudos de versificaçao portuguesa (séculos XIII a XVI)
Cunha, Celso Ferreira da
Sources of the Cantigas of Alfonso el Sabio [AC]
Dexter, Elise Forsythe
De los modos de narrar Miracle II, 18; Cantiga 25; (Milagro 23)
Fidalgo Francisco, Elvira
Os xudeos nas Cantigas de Santa María
Filgueira Valverde, José
Cincuenta leyendas por Gil de Zamora, combinadas con las Cantigas de Alfonso el Sabio
Fita, Fidel
Anti-Semitism in the Cantigas de Santa Maria
Hatton, Vikki, and Angus MacKay
Saint and Simulacra: Images of the Virgin in the Cantigas de Santa María of Alfonso X of Castile (1252-1284)
Jackson, Deirdre Elizabeth
A Feasible Source of the Denouements of the Exemplos in El Conde Lucanor
Keller, John Esten
Lancelot comme toile de fond d´Alphonse X
Lorenzo Gradín, Pilar
Osservazioni sulle Cantigas di Alfonso X e sui Miracles di Gautier de Coincy
Marullo, Teresa
Cantigas de Alfonso X, el Sabio
Moreno Galván, José M.
Constructing the Inimical Jew in the Cantigas de Santa Maria: Theophilus' Magician in Text and Image
Patton, Pamela A.
Art of Estrangement: Redefining Jews in Reconquest Spain
Patton, Pamela A.
Correspondence of the Spanish Miracles of the Virgin
Rey, Agapito
La dialéctica texto-imagen. A propósito de la representación del judío en las Cantigas de Santa Maria de Alfonso X
Rodríguez Barral, Paulino
Alfonso X, el rey sabio ¿tolerante con la minoría judía? Una lectura emblemática de las Cantigas de Santa Maria
Roitman, Gisela
Os judeus na Espanha do século XIII, segundo as Cantigas de Santa Maria de Alfonso X o Sábio
Teensma, B. N.
A Selected and Annotated Discography of Recordings of Music from the Middle Ages in Spain
Tinnell, Roger D.