Pedro Gil (PEH-droh heel), called Peregil (peh-reh-HEEL), a poor local water carrier and native of Galicia. A happy, honest, and amiable fellow, Peregil labors with his beloved donkey to support his nagging wife and hungry children. Compassionate toward all creatures, he discovers a sick Moor lying beside the road. Risking persecution by authorities for aiding a Moor, Peregil straps the man to his donkey and returns home. Defying his wife’s orders to abandon the Moor, Peregil attempts to nurse the man. Before the Moor dies, he offers Peregil a small sandalwood box as a reward for his kindness. Fearing that he will be charged with murder and robbery, Peregil slips out into the night to bury the Moor. On his return, he is accosted by the alguazil (warrant officer) and taken to the Alcalde (judge). Truthfully relaying the incident, Peregil is released but must relinquish his donkey to pay the cost of the inquiry. During an argument with his wife, the sandalwood box falls to the floor. Peregil discovers a scroll written in Arabic and a yellow wax taper. He takes the scroll to a Mussulman (Moor) who sells trinkets in the market. They agree to read the scroll outside the Tower of the Seven Floors, hoping to find the legendary enchanted treasure. When the floor opens, the two men fill their pockets with precious metals and agree to keep their discovery a secret. Unable to keep the secret, honest Peregil tells his wife about his good fortune. When Peregil’s wife flaunts her new wealth, he is arrested again, along with the Mussulman. After Peregil recounts his tale, the Alcalde, the barber, and the alguazil force Peregil and the Mussulman to return and open the tower vault. When the three men exhibit excess greed, the Moor blows out the taper and the vault closes, trapping the three men forever. Recovering his donkey, Peregil moves his family to Portugal and...
(The entire section is 793 words.)