CARDINAL Ximénez, who founded the celebrated University of Alcalá, was desirous to spread the knowledge of these commentaries, which were falling into oblivion; and he thought to render a service to religion by having a new edition of them published. As the art of printing was at that time more developed in the Republic of Venice than in Spain, he found he could bring it out more advantageously there; accordingly the manuscripts were packed and sent thither.
It happened, however, that crossing the Mediterranean, the ship in which they were was overtaken by a tremendous gale; and to save the lives of the passengers, the captain ordered all the merchandize to be thrown overboard, so as to lighten the ship. The chest containing Alfonso Tostato's works was cast into the sea with the rest.
Next morning, when the danger was past, the person who had been entrusted by Ximénez with the care of the manuscripts was in great distress at the irreparable loss: not daring to return to Spain, he wandered along the shore, hardly knowing what he did, when, lo and behold! to his intense delight, there appeared suddenly, floating in the sea, the identical chest, the loss of which was the cause of his mortification. A boat was quickly despatched to haul it in with great joy, and the event was commonly regarded as a marvellous interposition. But it would seem that the sagacious Ximénez, foreseeing the possible calamity, had ordered that the chest should be constructed of the lightest wood; and all who have ever had a swim in the Mediterranean know the peculiar buoyancy of its waters. Perhaps we may now account for the chest floating.