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CSM Number : 281
Short name: The Knight who Became the Devil’s Vassal Alternative: Knight becomes the devil's vassal
Incipit: U alguen a Jesucristo
Refrain: U alguen a Jesucristo/ por seus pecados negar/ se ben fiar en sa Madre/ fará ll' ela perdõar.
Summary of narrative
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Setting: France Protagonist(s): a knight

A high-ranking French knight had nothing but bad luck. He was not a foolish man, but everything he did turned out badly. Consequently, he lost his great fortune.

As he was thinking about his sorry affairs, the devil, in the guise of a man, approached him. He told the knight that he would restore his wealth, if he would agree to be his vassal. The knight agreed and kissed the devil’s hand. Then the devil ordered him to deny God and all the saints. The knight reluctantly did so, but refused to deny Holy Mary. He did promise, however, never to enter a church.

The devil restored the knight’s wealth and he spent a long time in his service.

One day the knight went with the King of France to hear a sermon. The King entered the church, but the knight held back. Looking into the church, the knight could see a statue of the Virgin beckoning him to enter. The people marvelled at this.

The King, thinking that there must be a saint outside, had them look. They found the knight standing alone. The King told the knight that the Virgin must be happy with him, since her statue was beckoning to him. But the knight, thinking that the Virgin was angry, explained to the King that he had become the vassal of the devil in order to regain his wealth.

The knight was contrite, renounced the devil and repented. He told the King that he had refused to deny the Virgin. The King blamed himself for allowing one of his subjects to suffer such poverty. Then he rewarded the knight with more wealth then his ancestors had ever possessed.

Metrical data
Stanza: 15 15 15 15 Refrain: 15 15
No. of Stanzas: 16
Rhyme scheme: AA | bbba Zejel: Yes
MS locations:
Poncelet reference
blasphemy, confession (see also repentance), image (of Virgin Mary), impersonation, king, kissing, knight, poverty, repentance (see also confession), Saints (other), vassal (of devil)
Click HERE for a list of recordings of this poem
Sources of the Cantigas of Alfonso el Sabio [AC]
Dexter, Elise Forsythe
Itinéraire espagnol du conte médiéval (VIIIs-XVs)
Marsan, Rameline E.
When your Lover is the Virgin Mary: A New Approach to the Cantigas de Santa Maria of Alfonso X of Castile
Scarborough, Connie L.