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Summary Chapter 40

The traveller's master died. He had been a former galley slave. He renounced his faith so he could take revenge. He rose to power by base means, but he was kind to his slaves. His slaves were divided up among several people. The traveller became the slave of the master's former cabin boy.

The traveller was marked as a slave who could be ransomed and was held in a Turkish prison. Their new master was cruel. They suffered starvation and scanty clothing. Men were hanged, impaled, and maimed on a daily basis.

One day, he and his companions see a reed sticking out a latticed window, waving like a flag. When the traveller goes under it, it drops. There is money inside of it. When he and his companions look up, they see it is a white woman who has been kind to them.

About two weeks later, she drops more money to him with a note written in Arabic. He has another man translate it. It says a slave had taught her a Christian prayer and about the Virgin Mary. The slave died, but she has since come to the girl in dreams to tell her to go to the land of Christians to see the Virgin Mary, who favors her. She wishes him to become her husband and to take her there. She tells him to be careful of whom he trusts, particularly not to trust any Moor. If her father finds out, he will kill her.

The man who translated the letter realizes it was addressed to the prisoner and not found in the wall of a cell, like he was first told. He begs the traveller to trust him and tell the rest of the tale. He pulls out a cross to show his faith. The men confide in him.

The traveller has the translator write a reply, saying he agrees to be her husband and to do what she asks. A few days later, he finds another bundle of money. The translator tells him the girl is the only heiress to a rich man. She has refused offers of marriage. She did have a Christian slave who had died.

The girl gives him more money. She tells him to ransom one of his friends and send him to Spain to get a vessel. The man is to return for the others and for her. She will be in her father's garden. They can take her away at night without any danger. If he can't trust the others, he should ransom himself.

The renegade refuses to set free only one captive. He says those who are set free never keep promises to return for the others, for they fear getting recaptured. He tells them to give the money to him. He'll buy a vessel and be able to put all of them on it. They decide to trust him. Zoraida, the woman, gives more money for the traveller to purchase a vessel. The slaves are all ransomed.

Miguel de Cervantes