He had spent some time in captivity before when a ship he was on was seized by the Turks in 1575. He spent 5 years as a prisoner and slave in Algiers. He made several attempts to escape until he was finally ransomed in 1580 at the age of 33. During his years of captivity he was as brave as he was kind. According to the biography by Richard Predmore, a fellow prisoner found him "so kind and helpful to a newcomer that he was moved to testify that he found in Cervantes both a father and a mother." Another prisoner, Lieutenant Luis de Pedrosa, spoke of the "fortitude with which Miguel had faced the probability of torture and death while assuming total responsibility for frustrated schemes of escape." Cervantes, he continues, "excelled in doing good to captives and in matters of honor. He showed a very special grace in everything, being so discreet and wise that few were his equals."
Cervantes was not just a great writer, a master of irony and comedy, but a person of character as well. He lived a difficult life, more so than most, but even as a young man endured his hardships with both perseverance and grace.