This collection of legends (broadly defined) is meant to be representative rather than comprehensive. As a Basque saying goes, “A small fountain quenches your thirst as well as a big one.” I have selected the stories based on period, place, theme and type. Galicia and the Basque Country are especially rich in local tales, Burgos (Old Castile) in medieval historical legends. During the Christian Reconquest of Moorish Spain between AD 718 and 1492, there is a concentration of accounts of courage and compassion, cruelty and outrage at action hot spots such as Toledo and Seville and throughout the shifting borderlands.
Most of the legends have come to me from multiple sources. I have compiled my versions of these in a straightforward manner in the style I feel is best suited to each story, giving precedence to the narrative while reflecting the often formal tone of the older sources. Historical and background information necessary to the appreciation of each story is provided in a brief introduction or incorporated in the text. Additional information is in the Notes section in the back of the book.