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CSM Number : 95
Short name: The Hermit who was Captured by the Moors Alternative: Moors capture hermit (Portugal)
Incipit: Quen aos servos da Virgen
Refrain: Quen aos servos da Virgen de mal se traballa/ de lles fazer, non quer ela que esto ren valla.
Summary of narrative
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Setting: Portugal Protagonist(s): a German hermit, named Count Abrán

A German, named Count Abrán, went to live as a hermit on the shore of the sea in Portugal. He fasted rigorously and abstained from wine. Even when he caught fish, he gave them away. He would not accept gifts, but prepared food for pilgrims.

One day while he was fishing, some Moorish ships came from Africa to attack Spain. The Moors seized Count Abrán and imprisoned him in their ship.rnWhen they had done this, the Moors waged war and stole all they could find.

However, when they tried to depart, their ship would not leave the shore. No matter how far they sailed from the shore by night, they always found themselves right back there in the morning.

This happened three nights in a row, and the Moors were frightened and called on Mohammed, son of Abdalá.rnThe admiral was a clever man named Arrendaffe. He remembered the prisoner they had in the hold, and guessed that he was the source of their problem.

He ordered the man to be brought out and invited him to take whatever he wished of the rich booty of silver and gold and rich textiles. But Count Abrán selected only a small glass vial.rnThe admiral asked him to identify himself and asked why he had chosen the vial. The Count explained that he was a hermit and would take nothing else from his enemy.

Hearing this, the Moors returned him to the place they had found him. They raised their sails and immediately caught a good wind that carried their ship away. The news spread, and people gathered there to praise the Virgin. Afterwards, if Moorish attackers encountered Count Abrán, they did not harm him because they held him in reverence.

Metrical data
Stanza: 13' 13' 13' 13' 13' 13' Refrain: 13' 13'
No. of Stanzas: 12
Rhyme scheme: AA | bbbbba Zejel: Yes
MS locations:
T95, E95
Poncelet reference
admiral, count , fasting, fishing, galley, imprisonment, kidnap, Muslims/Moors, penance, pilgrimage, pirates, warfare, wind, hermit
Click HERE for a list of recordings of this poem
The Cantigas, or ’Songs of Praise of St. Mary’
Burns, Robert I.
Los clérigos, las ’cantigas’ y las ’Siete Partidas’
Cash, Annette Grant
The Early Seguidilla
Clarke, Dorothy Clotelle
Fuentes germánicas en las ’Cantigas de Santa Maria’ de Alfonso X el Sabio
Ferreiro Alemparte, Jaime
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
El simbolismo en las vestiduras medievales y sus lexicalizaciones
Montoya Martínez, Jesús
Tres ensayos sobre el arte en las Cantigas de Santa Maria de Alfonso el Sabio
Sánchez Cantón, Francisco Javier