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TALES OF THE ALHAMBRA

By Washington Irving

BURLINGTON ACTIVITY READER

(2º ESO)

• Biography of Wahington Irving

• Script of The Moor´s Legacy


Washington Irving

My name is Washington Irving. I was born in New York in 1783.

I am an American author, essayist, biographer, historian and diplomat. I am best


known for my short stories “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van
Winkle” and Tales of the Alhambra . I also wrote the biography of George
Washington.

I travelled to Spain in 1826 and became attached at the US embassy in Madrid.


While in Spain I researched for my biography of Christopher Columbus (1828)
and my works on Granada in 1829 and the Alhambra. Then I wrote the Tales of
the Alhambra in 1832.

I was the first Romantic traveller to arrive in Granada (1928).

When I saw Granada for the first time I described it as "a most picturesque and
beautiful city, situated in one of the loveliest landscapes that I have ever seen."

And immediately I asked the governor of the historic Alhambra Palace for
permission to visit the palace. A 35-year old guide called Mateo Ximenes helped
me. This experience inspired me to write Tales of the Alhambra.

Now, we are just at the Square of the Cisterns. (Plaza de los Aljibes). This is the
exact place where my tale “The Moor´s Legacy” begins. I´ll be silent now! Enjoy
the beginning of my tale…

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LEGEND OF THE MOOR’S LEGACY. THE SCRIPT.

CAST OF CHARACTERS:

WASHINGTON IRVING:
PEREGIL:
PEREGIL´S WIFE:
MUSLIM:
BARBER.
MAYOR:
SERVANT:
HAMED:
NEIGHBOUR 1:
NEIGHBOUR2:
DONKEY:

SCENE 1
WASHINGTON IRVING
Hello, dear audience. I am Washington Irving. I was very lucky because I was living in the Alhambra
In 1829, I wrote the book Tales of the Alhambra, in which I included legends. The Moor´s Legacy is one of these
legends.
It tells the story of Pedro Gil, known as Peregil, who was one of those water carriers who travelled up and down
the Alhambra Hill all day to sell water they collected from the old Arab well.

(Characters on stage: Peregil and a Muslim, in Moorish clothing)

NARRATOR: In A Corner of the Square of the Cisterns (Plaza de los Aljibes) there´s an old Arab well with
cool, clear water. In the past, water carriers traveled up and down the Alhambra Hill all day to sell this water to
people.
One of these water cariers was a man called Peregil. H e had many hungry children to feed and his wife spent all
his money. But Peregil loves his children and always worked hard. Finally, he bought a donkey to carry his
water jars and his life was a little easier. Oh, here comes Peregil!!

Perejil: (with a donkey, carrying his water jars): (shouting) “Water from the well of the Alhambra! It´s cold
as ice and clear as crystal! (in low voice) Come on, donkey! The last time to the well. I know you are tired but
we must get more money. I have many hungry children to feed. (Perejil taking out water jars form the
baskets).
(The moor moans and Peregil turns back.)
Muslim(In Moorish clothing) I feel very ill. Please, help me. Can your donkey carry me down to the town?

Peregil: Oh, poor man. Ok, let me help you on my donkey. (Peregil helps him to go on the donkey)

Muslim: (while walking).Thank you very much for helping me. Allah will reward you for this.

Peregil: Well, now we are in the town. Where is your house?

Muslim: I am a foreigner. I have nowhere to go. Let me sleep in your house and you will be rewarded.

Peregil: Ok. This is a humble house but you will stay overnight and will sleep in my bed. (They go inside the
house).

Peregil´s wife: (Furious) You are crazy! Why did you bring a Muslim to our house? The Inquisition will
discover him!

Peregil: This poor man is ill. I can´t leave him alone on the hill!

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Muslim: (coughing) I’m dying. Take this box as a reward for your charity. (He dies).

Peregil´s wife: (Shouting and frightrened). You are a fool! They will think we killed him. They will send us to
prison!!

Peregil: Calm down. We will take the Muslim’s body to the River Genil to hide it before daylight.

NARRATOR: Unfortunately a gossiping barber lloked through his window and saw Peregil and his wife
carrying the dead body.

Barber: What noise is that? (Looking through his window. He follows Peregil)

Peregil: Poor old man! I hope nobody has seen me.

Barber: Hmmm, this is very interesting. I will tell the mayor. I will go to his house to cut his hair and to tell him
the news. (Running back home).

SCENE 2
Barber: Good morning, Mayor. You told me that you needed a haircut.

Mayor: Yes I did, come in and get everything ready.

Barber: (While cutting his hair). I think there was a robbery and somebody died at my neighbour´s house last
night!

Mayor: Who is your neighbour?

Barber: Peregil, the water carrier. He sheltered a Muslim, who died and Peregil took his box and buried him.

NARRATOR: The Mayor was an avaricious man. He imagined a lot of gold in Peregil’s house, so he sent his
servant to bring Peregil and his wife to the court.

Mayor: (Shouting) Justice must be done! Servant! (Comes running). Go to Peregil’s house and tell him that he
and his wife must go to court!

Servant: Yes, sir. (Goes running toward Peregil’s house)

Servant: (knocking at the door). Peregil, Peregil! Open the door!

Peregil: What’s wrong?

Servant: You and your wife must come with me to court. (He grabs his arm and takes him away)

SCENE 3 (In court)


NARRATOR: Peregil told his story to the Mayor and showed him the box. The Mayor decided Peregil and his
wife were innocent, so he let them go home. But he took Peregil’s donkey to pay for court costs. (While the
narrator talks, play what he says)

Mayor: (Grabs the box and opens it). There is only a piece of parchment and a candle inside the box! You are
innocent, but give me your donkey; you have to pay the court costs.

Peregil: (He goes bowing). Ok, my sir! (He says angrily): Now I don’t have a donkey. (Throws the box to the
floor, pick up the parchment and stares at it).

Why was this parchment so important for the Muslim? I will go to a Muslim shop in Zacatin Street to translate
it.
(Arab music while walking)

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SCENE 4
Peregil: (knocking at the door). Allah be with you, dear Hamed.

Hamed: and so be with you. Can I help you, dear Peregil?

Peregil: Can you translate this for me, please?

Hamed: (looking interested). How interesting! This is a spell to recover hidden treasures. Try it in the tower on
the Alhambra Hill.

NARRATOR: People often talked about wonderful treasures hidden in the Tower of the Seven Floors on the
Alhambra Hill. Were the stories true? Peregil wanted to know the answer.

Peregil: Please, come with me to the tower late tonight.

NARRATOR: That night both friends left for the Alhambra Hill and the mysterious tower.
(Arabic music).

• SCENE 5 (They reach the Tower)

NARRATOR: The Alhambra´s Tower of the Seven Floors is really a gate. People believe it has got seven
floors under the ground. But today, only two floors are visible.
According to tradition, the last Moorish king of the Nasrid dynasty exited from this gate in 1492 and gave
the keys of the Alhambra to the Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella.
Peregil and Hammed arrived at the entrance of the tower and saw steps going up and down.

Hamed: Let´s go into the tower. The seventh level at last!!! Give me the parchment. (Pergil lights the candle
and Hamed reads the parchment). (Thunders and both hug each other afraid).
Peregil: Look! The floor is opening! Oh, there´s an underground room!!
Look! There´s an enormous chest on the floor with beautiful jars with gold and precious jewel!!
Oh, it’s beautiful! Take as much as you can! (They fill their pockets. After that, they run up the stairs
quickly, blow out the candle and run away)

NARRATOR: When they blew out the candle , they heard the sound of thunder as the door closed.

Hamed: Goodbye Peregil and please, don’t tell your wife about this.

Peregil: I promise.

SCENE 6
NARRATOR: When Peregil arrived home his wife was furious and his children were crying.

Wife: Where were you? I was very worried about you. And what have you got in your pockets? (shouting
angrily)

Peregil: Look! I have got a present for you! Here´s a golden bracelet! Look at all these jewels!!

Wife: Are they for me??? I´ll wear them immediately!!

NARRATOR: Peregil told his wife about the treasure in the tower.

SCENE 7
NARRATOR: Some weeks have passed … Peregil pretends their life hasn’t changed. He still works as a water
carrier. But, his wife is very vain. She starts wearing the jewels.

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Wife: (Crossing with the Neighbour in the Street) Yes, my husband has decided to find a better job. We will
probably go to the mountains next summer to have some rest and to get some fresh air.

Neighbour 1: She has gone crazy!!. They are completely broke!!

Neighbour 2: Well, you could (Making fun of the wife)

Wife: Laugh, laugh.


(Trying the jewels) We will have the best cottage and I will be surrounded by servants!

Barber: I can´t believe my eyes! The water carrier´s wife wearing gold and diamonds! I must tell the Mayor.

SCENE 8
Barber: Peregil’s wife was wearing gold and diamonds. I’m sure Peregil stole those jewels, sir

Mayor: Servant! (Come in running). Go to Peregil’s house and bring him here immediately.

Servant: (He finds Peregil with Hamed). We have to go to the mayor´s house right now!

Peregil: What´s wrong now? Hamed, please, come with me. I don´t trust the mayor.

Servant: Shut up and follow me.


(Inside the Mayor’s house)
Here is Peregil, Mayor.

Mayor: Your wife is wearing pearls and diamonds. Did you steal them?

Peregil: (crying). Oh, I can explain everything. I found a hidden treasure with the parchment.

Hamed: (Furious to Peregil): Why did you tell your wife?

Hamed: (to the Mayor): Calm down, sir! We can come to an agreement. We know about this treasure, but
nobody else does. Let´s go there together and divide it between us.

SCENE 9
NARRATOR: The Mayor agreed to this plan. Then , the Mayor, his servant and the barber went with Peregil
and the Muslim to the tower on the Alhambra Hill.

Inside, Peregil lit the candle and Hamed read the Arabic writing. Again, there was the sound of thunder and the
door opened. (Thunder). The Mayor, the servant and the barber were frightened to go down the steps. Peregil
and Hamed went alone. They returned withtheir pockets full of jewels!!

Peregil: This is enough for us! We´ll return for more.

NARRATOR: Of course, the Mayor, the servcant and the barber decided to go down the steps to get the
treasure. Then Hamed blew out the candle.

Peregil: (Shouting) Why did you do that? (alarmed)

Hamed: It was Allah’s will! They will stay there forever now. (Throwing away the candle into the river).

NARRATOR:The two men divided the treasure between them and left Granada.

WASHINGTON IRVING: The Muslim went to Tangiers and Peregil travelled to Portugal. His
children grew strong and happy. As for the Mayor, the servant and the barber, they are still under the
Tower on the Alhambra Hill and they will stay there until the Final Judgment.

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