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*****


The Sword That Spoke



In those days, before the death of my husband, the sword did not say much. Sometimes, I could not quite make out what it said—but I could not ask anyone else if they'd heard it.

Because Tizona, the sword of El Cid, spoke only to me.

As far as I know, Tizona never said a single word to anyone else, even its master, my husband Rodrigo—the great El Cid Campeador. It struck me funny sometimes, that the sword of such a warrior, a powerful man who had battled the mightiest Moors, would talk to me, but not him.

It struck Rodrigo even funnier, of course, when he caught me talking to Tizona. He teased me, asking if I loved the sword more than I loved him.

And in this, though none of us knew it at the time, Rodrigo predicted the future.


*****


I remember very clearly the first words Tizona ever said to me. They came after the witch, the bruja, cast her spell.

"You and I, Jimena," said Tizona, its voice high and sweet as the tinkling of a bell. "We will turn the tables."

Stunned, I looked all around for the source of the voice, unable to believe it had come from the sword. All I saw were the four barren walls of the bruja's decrepit hut, where I'd come for help a mere month after my wedding day.

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