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CSM Number : 255
Short name: The Murderous Mother-in-law Alternative: Mother-in-law and Son-in-law
Incipit: Na malandança/ noss’ amparança
Refrain: Na malandança/ noss’ amparança/ e esperança/ é Santa Maria.
Summary of narrative
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Setting: Lyon du Rhône Protagonist(s): a rich townswoman/ Mother-in-law

In Lyon du Rhône, there was a rich woman who had a lovely, young daughter. She and her husband allowed the girl to marry the husband of her choice, and gave the couple a house. However, people started to say wicked things about the townswoman and her son-in-law. These were only rumours, for they had not done anything wrong.

The woman decided to kill her son-in-law [to silence the rumours]. She paid some men to commit the crime. That day, after mass, the family sat down to eat, and the woman ordered her son-in-law to be called. When her daughter went to fetch him, she found that he was dead.

News of the incident soon spread through the city and the magistrate held an inquiry. He interviewed people and discovered the truth. He arrested those who had committed the crime.The mother-in-law confessed that she had done the deed and explained the reason why. But the magistrate was zealous in carrying out his duties and he ordered her to be burned.

While they were taking her away, the woman, dressed only in a slip, passed a church. She begged her guards to let her stop in front of the church and pray to the statue of the Virgin. The guards granted her request and she threw herself on the ground, weeping and praying to the Virgin to help her.

The magistrate ordered her to be taken to an abandoned house on the outskirts of town. He instructed the men to place her in the house and then set it alight. They did what he had ordered, but the Virgin protected the woman. Although the wood around her was burnt to charcoal, she remained unharmed. They set fire to the house a second time, but the Virgin would not permit the woman to be burned.

Seeing this, the magistrate commanded the guards to rescue the woman from the fire. He and the people repented and she was led away with great rejoicing. She went to the church and the priests, standing in a line, praised the Virgin.

Metrical data
Stanza: 9' 10 9' 10 4' 4' 4' 5' Refrain: 4' 4' 4' 5'
No. of Stanzas: 16
Rhyme scheme: AAAB | cdcdeeeb Zejel: Yes
MS locations:
E255, To74
Poncelet reference
Anno Dñi 1044, pontificante in urbe Laudunensi Helinando (78)
burning, execution, fire, image (of Virgin Mary), magistrate, marriage, mass, mother-in-law, murder, repentance (see also confession), rumours, slander, son-in-law
Click HERE for a list of recordings of this poem
Miracle Collection
Mother-in-law and Son-in-law Vincent de Beauvais
Mother-in-law and Son-in-law Gil de Zamora
(Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional, MS 9503)
Mother-in-law and Son-in-law BL Mariale 3
(London, BL, Additional MS 35112, ff. 21-80; 90-94)
Mother-in-law and Son-in-law Lisbon Mariale
(Lisbon, B.N., MS Alcobacense 149)
Mother-in-law and Son-in-law Legenda Aurea (Voragine)
Mother-in-law and Son-in-law Gautier de Coinci
Mother-in-law and Son-in-law Mariale Magnum
(Paris Bibliothèque Nationale lat 3177)
Mother-in-law and Son-in-law Vendôme Collection
(Vendôme, Bibliothèque Publique MS 185)
Stepmother and Stepson Paris Mariale 1
(Paris Bibliothèque Nationale 14463)
De muliere ab incendio liberata Civiace (Laon) Laon
(Laon, Bibl. mun. 166bis)
Sources of the Cantigas of Alfonso el Sabio [AC]
Dexter, Elise Forsythe
Cincuenta leyendas por Gil de Zamora, combinadas con las Cantigas de Alfonso el Sabio
Fita, Fidel
A música das Cantigas de Santa Maria e o problema da sua decifração
Lopes, Francisco Fernandes
Osservazioni sulle Cantigas di Alfonso X e sui Miracles di Gautier de Coincy
Marullo, Teresa
Las Cantigas del Rey Sabio
Valera, Juan