Boabdil, not being accustomed to victories, was flushed with this melancholy triumph. He sent tidings of it to the Castilian sovereigns, accompanied with rich silks, boxes of Arabian perfume, a cup of gold richly wrought, and a female captive of Ubeda as presents to the queen, and four Arabian steeds magnificently caparisoned, a sword and dagger richly mounted, and several albornozes and other robes sumptuously embroidered for the king. He entreated them at the same time always to look upon him with favor as their devoted vassal.
Boabdil was fated to be unfortunate, even in his victories. His defeat of the forces of his uncle destined to the relief of unhappy Malaga shocked the feelings and cooled the loyalty of many of his best adherents. The mere men of traffic might rejoice in their golden interval of peace, but the chivalrous spirits of Granada spurned a security purchased by such sacrifices of pride and affection. The people at large, having gratified their love of change, began to question whether they had acted generously by their old fighting monarch. "El Zagal," said they, "was fierce and bloody, but then he was faithful to his country; he was an usurper, it is true, but then he maintained the glory of the crown which he usurped. If his sceptre was a rod of iron to his subjects, it was a sword of steel against their enemies. This Boabdil sacrifices religion, friends, country, everything, to a mere shadow of royalty, and is content to hold a rush for a sceptre."
These factious murmurs soon reached the ears of Boabdil, and he apprehended another of his customary reverses. He sent in all haste to the Castilian sovereigns beseeching military aid to keep him on his throne. Ferdinand graciously complied with a request so much in unison with his policy. A detachment of one thousand cavalry and two thousand infantry was sent under the command of Don Fernandez Gonsalvo of Cordova, subsequently renowned as the grand captain. With this succor Boabdil expelled from the city all those who were hostile to him and in favor of his uncle. He felt secure in these troops, from their being distinct in manners, language, and religion from his subjects, and compromised with his pride in thus exhibiting that most unnatural and humiliating of all regal spectacles, a monarch supported on his throne by foreign weapons and by soldiers hostile to his people. Nor was Boabdil el Chico the only Moorish sovereign that sought protection from Ferdinand and Isabella. A splendid galley with latine sails and several banks of oars, displaying the standard of the Crescent, but likewise a white flag in sign of amity, came one day into the harbor. An ambassador landed from it within the Christian lines. He came from the king of Tremezan, and brought presents similar to those of Boabdil, consisting of Arabian coursers, with bits, stirrups, and other furniture of gold, together with costly Moorish mantles: for the queen there were sumptuous shawls, robes, and silken stuffs, ornaments of gold, and exquisite Oriental perfumes.
The king of Tremezan had been alarmed at the rapid conquests of the Spanish arms, and startled by the descent of several Spanish cruisers on the coast of Africa. He craved to be considered a vassal to the Castilian sovereigns, and that they would extend such favor and security to his ships and subjects as had been shown to other Moors who had submitted to their sway. He requested a painting of their arms, that he and his subjects might recognize and respect their standard whenever they encountered it. At the same time he implored their clemency toward unhappy Malaga, and that its inhabitants might experience the same favor that had been shown toward the Moors of other captured cities.
The embassy was graciously received by the Christian sovereigns. They granted the protection required, ordering their commanders to respect the flag of Tremezan unless it should be found rendering assistance to the enemy. They sent also to the Barbary monarch their royal arms moulded in escutcheons of gold, a hand's-breadth in size.*
*Cura de los Palacios, c. 84; Pulgar, part 3, c. 68.
While thus the chances of assistance from without daily decreased, famine raged in the city. The inhabitants were compelled to eat the flesh of horses, and many died of hunger. What made the sufferings of the citizens the more intolerable was to behold the sea covered with ships daily arriving with provisions for the besiegers. Day after day also they saw herds of fat cattle and flocks of sheep driven into the camp. Wheat and flour were piled in huge mounds in the centre of the encampments, glaring in the sunshine, and tantalizing the wretched citizens, who, while they and their children were perishing with hunger, beheld prodigal abundance reigning within a bow-shot of their walls.
HOW A MOORISH SANTON UNDERTOOK TO DELIVER THE CITY OF MALAGA FROM THE POWER OF ITS ENEMIES.