Patrañas; or, Spanish Stories, Legendary and Traditional | Annotated Tale

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El Moro Santon

JUST as it was permitted to the heathen soothsayer Balaam to foretell true things to the Lord's people, so it is narrated that, a little before the taking of Granada by the Christians, great consternation was produced among the infidel population by the predictions of a Moorish dervish who was held in great veneration.

               He was an ancient man, more than a hundred years old; his long white beard seemed to be falling snow, it was more than a yard long, and he could gird it round his waist. He lived out on the mountains of Granada a life of great austerity; though it was long since he had never a hair left, he wore no covering on his head, and the action of the sun and rain had worn it into the appearance of a skull; his eyebrows grew long and bushy, and served as a protection to his eyes; and no clothing wore he but a tunic of camel's hide; his feet, too, were bare, and his skin was yellow and shrivelled by long exposure. He slept in a cave upon the cold ground, with a stone for his pillow. And for all the hundred years of his life, he had never taken but one meal a day, nor tasted aught but honey and milk, which other Moors brought him by orders of the king.

               All looked up to him as to a saint, in all Andalusia; and whatever words he uttered, they respected it as Al Korán, and next to the words of Mahomet himself.

               One day, when the king and many people were gathered together to hear him, he spoke to them these words: "When you shall see joined together Aragon and Castille, then know for certain that Granada shall be taken.

               "And the king who shall take it, know that his name shall begin with F., for in his time faith [1] shall reign throughout his kingdom.

               "And the queen his wife, her name will begin with Y., which may be taken to stand for ygual; for his equal she shall be, in courage and prudence.

               "These two shall likewise turn Judaism out of Spain, and set up the Inquisition, by which the wicked shall be sentenced to death.

               "They shall acquire three kingdoms, and conquer the Indies.

               "And they shall have a grandson, who shall be called Emperor of Germany, also King of Hungary, who shall lay siege to the city of the Pope, and lay low the three lilies of France in the field of Pavia.

               "Of the three laws now prevailing in Spain, one only shall remain, and that shall be that one which commences with the font and blessed water, and ends with blessed oils [2].

               "And thus they will make an end of the sect of Mahomet; for it had but a thousand years given it, and as more than eight hundred are past, it will soon now come to its end."

               This is said to have been pronounced about fifty years before its fulfilment, in the persons of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castille. [3]



[1] The letter F in Spanish is pronounced fé, and fé is the Spanish for faith. 

{2] Baptism and Extreme Unction, taken to typify the Christian law.

[3] Santon is a term used in Spanish for a person professing a life of austerity among the Moors. 

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: El Moro Santon
Tale Author/Editor: Busk, Rachel
Book Title: Patrañas; or, Spanish Stories, Legendary and Traditional
Book Author/Editor: Busk, Rachel
Publisher: Griffith and Farran
Publication City: London
Year of Publication: 1870
Country of Origin: Spain
Classification: unclassified

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