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The History of Don Quixote, Vol. I., Part 14. by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

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"For all that," said the curate, "you must not take him away this time,
nor will he, it is my opinion, let himself be taken away."

In short, the curate used such arguments, and Don Quixote did such mad
things, that the officers would have been more mad than he was if they
had not perceived his want of wits, and so they thought it best to allow
themselves to be pacified, and even to act as peacemakers between the
barber and Sancho Panza, who still continued their altercation with much
bitterness. In the end they, as officers of justice, settled the question
by arbitration in such a manner that both sides were, if not perfectly
contented, at least to some extent satisfied; for they changed the
pack-saddles, but not the girths or head-stalls; and as to Mambrino's
helmet, the curate, under the rose and without Don Quixote's knowing it,
paid eight reals for the basin, and the barber executed a full receipt
and engagement to make no further demand then or thenceforth for
evermore, amen. These two disputes, which were the most important and
gravest, being settled, it only remained for the servants of Don Luis to
consent that three of them should return while one was left to accompany
him whither Don Fernando desired to take him; and good luck and better
fortune, having already begun to solve difficulties and remove
obstructions in favour of the lovers and warriors of the inn, were
pleased to persevere and bring everything to a happy issue; for the
servants agreed to do as Don Luis wished; which gave Dona Clara such
happiness that no one could have looked into her face just then without
seeing the joy of her heart. Zoraida, though she did not fully comprehend
all she saw, was grave or gay without knowing why, as she watched and
studied the various countenances, but particularly her Spaniard's, whom
she followed with her eyes and clung to with her soul. The gift and
compensation which the curate gave the barber had not escaped the
landlord's notice, and he demanded Don Quixote's reckoning, together with
the amount of the damage to his wine-skins, and the loss of his wine,
swearing that neither Rocinante nor Sancho's ass should leave the inn
until he had been paid to the very last farthing. The curate settled all
amicably, and Don Fernando paid; though the Judge had also very readily
offered to pay the score; and all became so peaceful and quiet that the
inn no longer reminded one of the discord of Agramante's camp, as Don
Quixote said, but of the peace and tranquillity of the days of
Octavianus: for all which it was the universal opinion that their thanks
were due to the great zeal and eloquence of the curate, and to the
unexampled generosity of Don Fernando.

Finding himself now clear and quit of all quarrels, his squire's as well
as his own, Don Quixote considered that it would be advisable to continue
the journey he had begun, and bring to a close that great adventure for
which he had been called and chosen; and with this high resolve he went
and knelt before Dorothea, who, however, would not allow him to utter a
word until he had risen; so to obey her he rose, and said, "It is a
common proverb, fair lady, that 'diligence is the mother of good
fortune,' and experience has often shown in important affairs that the
earnestness of the negotiator brings the doubtful case to a successful
termination; but in nothing does this truth show itself more plainly than
in war, where quickness and activity forestall the devices of the enemy,
and win the victory before the foe has time to defend himself. All this I
say, exalted and esteemed lady, because it seems to me that for us to
remain any longer in this castle now is useless, and may be injurious to
us in a way that we shall find out some day; for who knows but that your
enemy the giant may have learned by means of secret and diligent spies
that I am going to destroy him, and if the opportunity be given him he
may seize it to fortify himself in some impregnable castle or stronghold,
against which all my efforts and the might of my indefatigable arm may
avail but little? Therefore, lady, let us, as I say, forestall his
schemes by our activity, and let us depart at once in quest of fair
fortune; for your highness is only kept from enjoying it as fully as you
could desire by my delay in encountering your adversary."

Don Quixote held his peace and said no more, calmly awaiting the reply of
the beauteous princess, who, with commanding dignity and in a style
adapted to Don Quixote's own, replied to him in these words, "I give you
thanks, sir knight, for the eagerness you, like a good knight to whom it
is a natural obligation to succour the orphan and the needy, display to
afford me aid in my sore trouble; and heaven grant that your wishes and
mine may be realised, so that you may see that there are women in this
world capable of gratitude; as to my departure, let it be forthwith, for
I have no will but yours; dispose of me entirely in accordance with your
good pleasure; for she who has once entrusted to you the defence of her
person, and placed in your hands the recovery of her dominions, must not
think of offering opposition to that which your wisdom may ordain."

"On, then, in God's name," said Don Quixote; "for, when a lady humbles
herself to me, I will not lose the opportunity of raising her up and
placing her on the throne of her ancestors. Let us depart at once, for
the common saying that in delay there is danger, lends spurs to my
eagerness to take the road; and as neither heaven has created nor hell
seen any that can daunt or intimidate me, saddle Rocinante, Sancho, and
get ready thy ass and the queen's palfrey, and let us take leave of the
castellan and these gentlemen, and go hence this very instant."

Sancho, who was standing by all the time, said, shaking his head, "Ah!
master, master, there is more mischief in the village than one hears of,
begging all good bodies' pardon."

"What mischief can there be in any village, or in all the cities of the
world, you booby, that can hurt my reputation?" said Don Quixote.

"If your worship is angry," replied Sancho, "I will hold my tongue and
leave unsaid what as a good squire I am bound to say, and what a good
servant should tell his master."

"Say what thou wilt," returned Don Quixote, "provided thy words be not
meant to work upon my fears; for thou, if thou fearest, art behaving like
thyself; but I like myself, in not fearing."

"It is nothing of the sort, as I am a sinner before God," said Sancho,
"but that I take it to be sure and certain that this lady, who calls
herself queen of the great kingdom of Micomicon, is no more so than my
mother; for, if she was what she says, she would not go rubbing noses
with one that is here every instant and behind every door."

Dorothea turned red at Sancho's words, for the truth was that her husband
Don Fernando had now and then, when the others were not looking, gathered
from her lips some of the reward his love had earned, and Sancho seeing
this had considered that such freedom was more like a courtesan than a
queen of a great kingdom; she, however, being unable or not caring to
answer him, allowed him to proceed, and he continued, "This I say, senor,
because, if after we have travelled roads and highways, and passed bad
nights and worse days, one who is now enjoying himself in this inn is to
reap the fruit of our labours, there is no need for me to be in a hurry
to saddle Rocinante, put the pad on the ass, or get ready the palfrey;
for it will be better for us to stay quiet, and let every jade mind her
spinning, and let us go to dinner."

Good God, what was the indignation of Don Quixote when he heard the
audacious words of his squire! So great was it, that in a voice
inarticulate with rage, with a stammering tongue, and eyes that flashed
living fire, he exclaimed, "Rascally clown, boorish, insolent, and
ignorant, ill-spoken, foul-mouthed, impudent backbiter and slanderer!
Hast thou dared to utter such words in my presence and in that of these
illustrious ladies? Hast thou dared to harbour such gross and shameless
thoughts in thy muddled imagination? Begone from my presence, thou born
monster, storehouse of lies, hoard of untruths, garner of knaveries,
inventor of scandals, publisher of absurdities, enemy of the respect due
to royal personages! Begone, show thyself no more before me under pain of
my wrath;" and so saying he knitted his brows, puffed out his cheeks,
gazed around him, and stamped on the ground violently with his right
foot, showing in every way the rage that was pent up in his heart; and at
his words and furious gestures Sancho was so scared and terrified that he
would have been glad if the earth had opened that instant and swallowed
him, and his only thought was to turn round and make his escape from the
angry presence of his master.

But the ready-witted Dorothea, who by this time so well understood Don
Quixote's humour, said, to mollify his wrath, "Be not irritated at the
absurdities your good squire has uttered, Sir Knight of the Rueful
Countenance, for perhaps he did not utter them without cause, and from
his good sense and Christian conscience it is not likely that he would
bear false witness against anyone. We may therefore believe, without any
hesitation, that since, as you say, sir knight, everything in this castle
goes and is brought about by means of enchantment, Sancho, I say, may
possibly have seen, through this diabolical medium, what he says he saw
so much to the detriment of my modesty."

"I swear by God Omnipotent," exclaimed Don Quixote at this, "your
highness has hit the point; and that some vile illusion must have come
before this sinner of a Sancho, that made him see what it would have been
impossible to see by any other means than enchantments; for I know well
enough, from the poor fellow's goodness and harmlessness, that he is
incapable of bearing false witness against anybody."

"True, no doubt," said Don Fernando, "for which reason, Senor Don
Quixote, you ought to forgive him and restore him to the bosom of your
favour, sicut erat in principio, before illusions of this sort had taken
away his senses."

Don Quixote said he was ready to pardon him, and the curate went for
Sancho, who came in very humbly, and falling on his knees begged for the
hand of his master, who having presented it to him and allowed him to
kiss it, gave him his blessing and said, "Now, Sancho my son, thou wilt
be convinced of the truth of what I have many a time told thee, that
everything in this castle is done by means of enchantment."

"So it is, I believe," said Sancho, "except the affair of the blanket,
which came to pass in reality by ordinary means."

"Believe it not," said Don Quixote, "for had it been so, I would have
avenged thee that instant, or even now; but neither then nor now could I,
nor have I seen anyone upon whom to avenge thy wrong."

They were all eager to know what the affair of the blanket was, and the
landlord gave them a minute account of Sancho's flights, at which they
laughed not a little, and at which Sancho would have been no less out of
countenance had not his master once more assured him it was all
enchantment. For all that his simplicity never reached so high a pitch
that he could persuade himself it was not the plain and simple truth,
without any deception whatever about it, that he had been blanketed by
beings of flesh and blood, and not by visionary and imaginary phantoms,
as his master believed and protested.

The illustrious company had now been two days in the inn; and as it
seemed to them time to depart, they devised a plan so that, without
giving Dorothea and Don Fernando the trouble of going back with Don
Quixote to his village under pretence of restoring Queen Micomicona, the
curate and the barber might carry him away with them as they proposed,
and the curate be able to take his madness in hand at home; and in
pursuance of their plan they arranged with the owner of an oxcart who
happened to be passing that way to carry him after this fashion. They
constructed a kind of cage with wooden bars, large enough to hold Don
Quixote comfortably; and then Don Fernando and his companions, the
servants of Don Luis, and the officers of the Brotherhood, together with
the landlord, by the directions and advice of the curate, covered their
faces and disguised themselves, some in one way, some in another, so as
to appear to Don Quixote quite different from the persons he had seen in
the castle. This done, in profound silence they entered the room where he
was asleep, taking his his rest after the past frays, and advancing to
where he was sleeping tranquilly, not dreaming of anything of the kind
happening, they seized him firmly and bound him fast hand and foot, so
that, when he awoke startled, he was unable to move, and could only
marvel and wonder at the strange figures he saw before him; upon which he
at once gave way to the idea which his crazed fancy invariably conjured
up before him, and took it into his head that all these shapes were
phantoms of the enchanted castle, and that he himself was unquestionably
enchanted as he could neither move nor help himself; precisely what the
curate, the concoctor of the scheme, expected would happen. Of all that
were there Sancho was the only one who was at once in his senses and in
his own proper character, and he, though he was within very little of
sharing his master's infirmity, did not fail to perceive who all these
disguised figures were; but he did not dare to open his lips until he saw
what came of this assault and capture of his master; nor did the latter
utter a word, waiting to the upshot of his mishap; which was that
bringing in the cage, they shut him up in it and nailed the bars so
firmly that they could not be easily burst open.

They then took him on their shoulders, and as they passed out of the room
an awful voice--as much so as the barber, not he of the pack-saddle but
the other, was able to make it--was heard to say, "O Knight of the Rueful
Countenance, let not this captivity in which thou art placed afflict
thee, for this must needs be, for the more speedy accomplishment of the
adventure in which thy great heart has engaged thee; the which shall be
accomplished when the raging Manchegan lion and the white Tobosan dove
shall be linked together, having first humbled their haughty necks to the
gentle yoke of matrimony. And from this marvellous union shall come forth
to the light of the world brave whelps that shall rival the ravening
claws of their valiant father; and this shall come to pass ere the
pursuer of the flying nymph shall in his swift natural course have twice
visited the starry signs. And thou, O most noble and obedient squire that
ever bore sword at side, beard on face, or nose to smell with, be not
dismayed or grieved to see the flower of knight-errantry carried away
thus before thy very eyes; for soon, if it so please the Framer of the
universe, thou shalt see thyself exalted to such a height that thou shalt
not know thyself, and the promises which thy good master has made thee
shall not prove false; and I assure thee, on the authority of the sage
Mentironiana, that thy wages shall be paid thee, as thou shalt see in due
season. Follow then the footsteps of the valiant enchanted knight, for it
is expedient that thou shouldst go to the destination assigned to both of
you; and as it is not permitted to me to say more, God be with thee; for
I return to that place I wot of;" and as he brought the prophecy to a
close he raised his voice to a high pitch, and then lowered it to such a
soft tone, that even those who knew it was all a joke were almost
inclined to take what they heard seriously.

Don Quixote was comforted by the prophecy he heard, for he at once
comprehended its meaning perfectly, and perceived it was promised to him
that he should see himself united in holy and lawful matrimony with his
beloved Dulcinea del Toboso, from whose blessed womb should proceed the
whelps, his sons, to the eternal glory of La Mancha; and being thoroughly
and firmly persuaded of this, he lifted up his voice, and with a deep
sigh exclaimed, "Oh thou, whoever thou art, who hast foretold me so much
good, I implore of thee that on my part thou entreat that sage enchanter
who takes charge of my interests, that he leave me not to perish in this
captivity in which they are now carrying me away, ere I see fulfilled
promises so joyful and incomparable as those which have been now made me;
for, let this but come to pass, and I shall glory in the pains of my
prison, find comfort in these chains wherewith they bind me, and regard
this bed whereon they stretch me, not as a hard battle-field, but as a
soft and happy nuptial couch; and touching the consolation of Sancho
Panza, my squire, I rely upon his goodness and rectitude that he will not
desert me in good or evil fortune; for if, by his ill luck or mine, it
may not happen to be in my power to give him the island I have promised,
or any equivalent for it, at least his wages shall not be lost; for in my
will, which is already made, I have declared the sum that shall be paid
to him, measured, not by his many faithful services, but by the means at
my disposal."

Sancho bowed his head very respectfully and kissed both his hands, for,
being tied together, he could not kiss one; and then the apparitions
lifted the cage upon their shoulders and fixed it upon the ox-cart.



by Miguel de Cervantes

Translated by John Ormsby

Volume I.

Part 16.



When Don Quixote saw himself caged and hoisted on the cart in this way,
he said, "Many grave histories of knights-errant have I read; but never
yet have I read, seen, or heard of their carrying off enchanted
knights-errant in this fashion, or at the slow pace that these lazy,
sluggish animals promise; for they always take them away through the air
with marvellous swiftness, enveloped in a dark thick cloud, or on a
chariot of fire, or it may be on some hippogriff or other beast of the
kind; but to carry me off like this on an ox-cart! By God, it puzzles me!
But perhaps the chivalry and enchantments of our day take a different
course from that of those in days gone by; and it may be, too, that as I
am a new knight in the world, and the first to revive the already
forgotten calling of knight-adventurers, they may have newly invented
other kinds of enchantments and other modes of carrying off the
enchanted. What thinkest thou of the matter, Sancho my son?"

"I don't know what to think," answered Sancho, "not being as well read as
your worship in errant writings; but for all that I venture to say and
swear that these apparitions that are about us are not quite catholic."

"Catholic!" said Don Quixote. "Father of me! how can they be Catholic
when they are all devils that have taken fantastic shapes to come and do
this, and bring me to this condition? And if thou wouldst prove it, touch
them, and feel them, and thou wilt find they have only bodies of air, and
no consistency except in appearance."

"By God, master," returned Sancho, "I have touched them already; and that
devil, that goes about there so busily, has firm flesh, and another
property very different from what I have heard say devils have, for by
all accounts they all smell of brimstone and other bad smells; but this
one smells of amber half a league off." Sancho was here speaking of Don
Fernando, who, like a gentleman of his rank, was very likely perfumed as
Sancho said.

"Marvel not at that, Sancho my friend," said Don Quixote; "for let me
tell thee devils are crafty; and even if they do carry odours about with
them, they themselves have no smell, because they are spirits; or, if
they have any smell, they cannot smell of anything sweet, but of
something foul and fetid; and the reason is that as they carry hell with
them wherever they go, and can get no ease whatever from their torments,
and as a sweet smell is a thing that gives pleasure and enjoyment, it is
impossible that they can smell sweet; if, then, this devil thou speakest
of seems to thee to smell of amber, either thou art deceiving thyself, or
he wants to deceive thee by making thee fancy he is not a devil."

Such was the conversation that passed between master and man; and Don
Fernando and Cardenio, apprehensive of Sancho's making a complete
discovery of their scheme, towards which he had already gone some way,
resolved to hasten their departure, and calling the landlord aside, they
directed him to saddle Rocinante and put the pack-saddle on Sancho's ass,
which he did with great alacrity. In the meantime the curate had made an
arrangement with the officers that they should bear them company as far
as his village, he paying them so much a day. Cardenio hung the buckler
on one side of the bow of Rocinante's saddle and the basin on the other,
and by signs commanded Sancho to mount his ass and take Rocinante's
bridle, and at each side of the cart he placed two officers with their
muskets; but before the cart was put in motion, out came the landlady and
her daughter and Maritornes to bid Don Quixote farewell, pretending to
weep with grief at his misfortune; and to them Don Quixote said:

"Weep not, good ladies, for all these mishaps are the lot of those who
follow the profession I profess; and if these reverses did not befall me
I should not esteem myself a famous knight-errant; for such things never
happen to knights of little renown and fame, because nobody in the world
thinks about them; to valiant knights they do, for these are envied for
their virtue and valour by many princes and other knights who compass the
destruction of the worthy by base means. Nevertheless, virtue is of
herself so mighty, that, in spite of all the magic that Zoroaster its
first inventor knew, she will come victorious out of every trial, and
shed her light upon the earth as the sun does upon the heavens. Forgive
me, fair ladies, if, through inadvertence, I have in aught offended you;
for intentionally and wittingly I have never done so to any; and pray to
God that he deliver me from this captivity to which some malevolent
enchanter has consigned me; and should I find myself released therefrom,
the favours that ye have bestowed upon me in this castle shall be held in
memory by me, that I may acknowledge, recognise, and requite them as they

While this was passing between the ladies of the castle and Don Quixote,
the curate and the barber bade farewell to Don Fernando and his
companions, to the captain, his brother, and the ladies, now all made
happy, and in particular to Dorothea and Luscinda. They all embraced one
another, and promised to let each other know how things went with them,
and Don Fernando directed the curate where to write to him, to tell him
what became of Don Quixote, assuring him that there was nothing that
could give him more pleasure than to hear of it, and that he too, on his
part, would send him word of everything he thought he would like to know,
about his marriage, Zoraida's baptism, Don Luis's affair, and Luscinda's
return to her home. The curate promised to comply with his request
carefully, and they embraced once more, and renewed their promises.

The landlord approached the curate and handed him some papers, saying he
had discovered them in the lining of the valise in which the novel of
"The Ill-advised Curiosity" had been found, and that he might take them
all away with him as their owner had not since returned; for, as he could
not read, he did not want them himself. The curate thanked him, and
opening them he saw at the beginning of the manuscript the words, "Novel
of Rinconete and Cortadillo," by which he perceived that it was a novel,
and as that of "The Ill-advised Curiosity" had been good he concluded
this would be so too, as they were both probably by the same author; so
he kept it, intending to read it when he had an opportunity. He then
mounted and his friend the barber did the same, both masked, so as not to
be recognised by Don Quixote, and set out following in the rear of the
cart. The order of march was this: first went the cart with the owner
leading it; at each side of it marched the officers of the Brotherhood,
as has been said, with their muskets; then followed Sancho Panza on his
ass, leading Rocinante by the bridle; and behind all came the curate and
the barber on their mighty mules, with faces covered, as aforesaid, and a
grave and serious air, measuring their pace to suit the slow steps of the
oxen. Don Quixote was seated in the cage, with his hands tied and his
feet stretched out, leaning against the bars as silent and as patient as
if he were a stone statue and not a man of flesh. Thus slowly and
silently they made, it might be, two leagues, until they reached a valley
which the carter thought a convenient place for resting and feeding his
oxen, and he said so to the curate, but the barber was of opinion that
they ought to push on a little farther, as at the other side of a hill
which appeared close by he knew there was a valley that had more grass
and much better than the one where they proposed to halt; and his advice
was taken and they continued their journey.

Just at that moment the curate, looking back, saw coming on behind them
six or seven mounted men, well found and equipped, who soon overtook
them, for they were travelling, not at the sluggish, deliberate pace of
oxen, but like men who rode canons' mules, and in haste to take their
noontide rest as soon as possible at the inn which was in sight not a
league off. The quick travellers came up with the slow, and courteous
salutations were exchanged; and one of the new comers, who was, in fact,
a canon of Toledo and master of the others who accompanied him, observing
the regular order of the procession, the cart, the officers, Sancho,
Rocinante, the curate and the barber, and above all Don Quixote caged and
confined, could not help asking what was the meaning of carrying the man
in that fashion; though, from the badges of the officers, he already
concluded that he must be some desperate highwayman or other malefactor
whose punishment fell within the jurisdiction of the Holy Brotherhood.
One of the officers to whom he had put the question, replied, "Let the
gentleman himself tell you the meaning of his going this way, senor, for
we do not know."

Don Quixote overheard the conversation and said, "Haply, gentlemen, you
are versed and learned in matters of errant chivalry? Because if you are
I will tell you my misfortunes; if not, there is no good in my giving
myself the trouble of relating them;" but here the curate and the barber,
seeing that the travellers were engaged in conversation with Don Quixote,
came forward, in order to answer in such a way as to save their stratagem
from being discovered.

The canon, replying to Don Quixote, said, "In truth, brother, I know more
about books of chivalry than I do about Villalpando's elements of logic;
so if that be all, you may safely tell me what you please."

"In God's name, then, senor," replied Don Quixote; "if that be so, I
would have you know that I am held enchanted in this cage by the envy and
fraud of wicked enchanters; for virtue is more persecuted by the wicked
than loved by the good. I am a knight-errant, and not one of those whose
names Fame has never thought of immortalising in her record, but of those
who, in defiance and in spite of envy itself, and all the magicians that
Persia, or Brahmans that India, or Gymnosophists that Ethiopia ever
produced, will place their names in the temple of immortality, to serve
as examples and patterns for ages to come, whereby knights-errant may see
the footsteps in which they must tread if they would attain the summit
and crowning point of honour in arms."

"What Senor Don Quixote of La Mancha says," observed the curate, "is the
truth; for he goes enchanted in this cart, not from any fault or sins of
his, but because of the malevolence of those to whom virtue is odious and
valour hateful. This, senor, is the Knight of the Rueful Countenance, if
you have ever heard him named, whose valiant achievements and mighty
deeds shall be written on lasting brass and imperishable marble,
notwithstanding all the efforts of envy to obscure them and malice to
hide them."

When the canon heard both the prisoner and the man who was at liberty
talk in such a strain he was ready to cross himself in his astonishment,
and could not make out what had befallen him; and all his attendants were
in the same state of amazement.

At this point Sancho Panza, who had drawn near to hear the conversation,
said, in order to make everything plain, "Well, sirs, you may like or
dislike what I am going to say, but the fact of the matter is, my master,
Don Quixote, is just as much enchanted as my mother. He is in his full
senses, he eats and he drinks, and he has his calls like other men and as
he had yesterday, before they caged him. And if that's the case, what do
they mean by wanting me to believe that he is enchanted? For I have heard
many a one say that enchanted people neither eat, nor sleep, nor talk;
and my master, if you don't stop him, will talk more than thirty
lawyers." Then turning to the curate he exclaimed, "Ah, senor curate,
senor curate! do you think I don't know you? Do you think I don't guess
and see the drift of these new enchantments? Well then, I can tell you I
know you, for all your face is covered, and I can tell you I am up to
you, however you may hide your tricks. After all, where envy reigns
virtue cannot live, and where there is niggardliness there can be no
liberality. Ill betide the devil! if it had not been for your worship my
master would be married to the Princess Micomicona this minute, and I
should be a count at least; for no less was to be expected, as well from
the goodness of my master, him of the Rueful Countenance, as from the
greatness of my services. But I see now how true it is what they say in
these parts, that the wheel of fortune turns faster than a mill-wheel,
and that those who were up yesterday are down to-day. I am sorry for my
wife and children, for when they might fairly and reasonably expect to
see their father return to them a governor or viceroy of some island or
kingdom, they will see him come back a horse-boy. I have said all this,
senor curate, only to urge your paternity to lay to your conscience your
ill-treatment of my master; and have a care that God does not call you to
account in another life for making a prisoner of him in this way, and
charge against you all the succours and good deeds that my lord Don
Quixote leaves undone while he is shut up.

"Trim those lamps there!" exclaimed the barber at this; "so you are of
the same fraternity as your master, too, Sancho? By God, I begin to see
that you will have to keep him company in the cage, and be enchanted like
him for having caught some of his humour and chivalry. It was an evil
hour when you let yourself be got with child by his promises, and that
island you long so much for found its way into your head."

"I am not with child by anyone," returned Sancho, "nor am I a man to let
myself be got with child, if it was by the King himself. Though I am poor
I am an old Christian, and I owe nothing to nobody, and if I long for an
island, other people long for worse. Each of us is the son of his own
works; and being a man I may come to be pope, not to say governor of an
island, especially as my master may win so many that he will not know
whom to give them to. Mind how you talk, master barber; for shaving is
not everything, and there is some difference between Peter and Peter. I
say this because we all know one another, and it will not do to throw
false dice with me; and as to the enchantment of my master, God knows the
truth; leave it as it is; it only makes it worse to stir it."

The barber did not care to answer Sancho lest by his plain speaking he
should disclose what the curate and he himself were trying so hard to
conceal; and under the same apprehension the curate had asked the canon
to ride on a little in advance, so that he might tell him the mystery of
this man in the cage, and other things that would amuse him. The canon
agreed, and going on ahead with his servants, listened with attention to
the account of the character, life, madness, and ways of Don Quixote,
given him by the curate, who described to him briefly the beginning and
origin of his craze, and told him the whole story of his adventures up to
his being confined in the cage, together with the plan they had of taking
him home to try if by any means they could discover a cure for his
madness. The canon and his servants were surprised anew when they heard
Don Quixote's strange story, and when it was finished he said, "To tell
the truth, senor curate, I for my part consider what they call books of
chivalry to be mischievous to the State; and though, led by idle and
false taste, I have read the beginnings of almost all that have been
printed, I never could manage to read any one of them from beginning to
end; for it seems to me they are all more or less the same thing; and one
has nothing more in it than another; this no more than that. And in my
opinion this sort of writing and composition is of the same species as
the fables they call the Milesian, nonsensical tales that aim solely at
giving amusement and not instruction, exactly the opposite of the
apologue fables which amuse and instruct at the same time. And though it
may be the chief object of such books to amuse, I do not know how they
can succeed, when they are so full of such monstrous nonsense. For the
enjoyment the mind feels must come from the beauty and harmony which it
perceives or contemplates in the things that the eye or the imagination
brings before it; and nothing that has any ugliness or disproportion
about it can give any pleasure. What beauty, then, or what proportion of
the parts to the whole, or of the whole to the parts, can there be in a
book or fable where a lad of sixteen cuts down a giant as tall as a tower
and makes two halves of him as if he was an almond cake? And when they
want to give us a picture of a battle, after having told us that there
are a million of combatants on the side of the enemy, let the hero of the
book be opposed to them, and we have perforce to believe, whether we like
it or not, that the said knight wins the victory by the single might of
his strong arm. And then, what shall we say of the facility with which a
born queen or empress will give herself over into the arms of some
unknown wandering knight? What mind, that is not wholly barbarous and
uncultured, can find pleasure in reading of how a great tower full of
knights sails away across the sea like a ship with a fair wind, and will
be to-night in Lombardy and to-morrow morning in the land of Prester John
of the Indies, or some other that Ptolemy never described nor Marco Polo
saw? And if, in answer to this, I am told that the authors of books of
the kind write them as fiction, and therefore are not bound to regard
niceties of truth, I would reply that fiction is all the better the more
it looks like truth, and gives the more pleasure the more probability and
possibility there is about it. Plots in fiction should be wedded to the
understanding of the reader, and be constructed in such a way that,
reconciling impossibilities, smoothing over difficulties, keeping the
mind on the alert, they may surprise, interest, divert, and entertain, so
that wonder and delight joined may keep pace one with the other; all
which he will fail to effect who shuns verisimilitude and truth to
nature, wherein lies the perfection of writing. I have never yet seen any
book of chivalry that puts together a connected plot complete in all its
numbers, so that the middle agrees with the beginning, and the end with
the beginning and middle; on the contrary, they construct them with such
a multitude of members that it seems as though they meant to produce a
chimera or monster rather than a well-proportioned figure. And besides
all this they are harsh in their style, incredible in their achievements,
licentious in their amours, uncouth in their courtly speeches, prolix in
their battles, silly in their arguments, absurd in their travels, and, in
short, wanting in everything like intelligent art; for which reason they
deserve to be banished from the Christian commonwealth as a worthless

The curate listened to him attentively and felt that he was a man of
sound understanding, and that there was good reason in what he said; so
he told him that, being of the same opinion himself, and bearing a grudge
to books of chivalry, he had burned all Don Quixote's, which were many;
and gave him an account of the scrutiny he had made of them, and of those
he had condemned to the flames and those he had spared, with which the
canon was not a little amused, adding that though he had said so much in
condemnation of these books, still he found one good thing in them, and
that was the opportunity they afforded to a gifted intellect for
displaying itself; for they presented a wide and spacious field over
which the pen might range freely, describing shipwrecks, tempests,
combats, battles, portraying a valiant captain with all the
qualifications requisite to make one, showing him sagacious in foreseeing
the wiles of the enemy, eloquent in speech to encourage or restrain his
soldiers, ripe in counsel, rapid in resolve, as bold in biding his time
as in pressing the attack; now picturing some sad tragic incident, now
some joyful and unexpected event; here a beauteous lady, virtuous, wise,
and modest; there a Christian knight, brave and gentle; here a lawless,
barbarous braggart; there a courteous prince, gallant and gracious;
setting forth the devotion and loyalty of vassals, the greatness and
generosity of nobles. "Or again," said he, "the author may show himself
to be an astronomer, or a skilled cosmographer, or musician, or one
versed in affairs of state, and sometimes he will have a chance of coming
forward as a magician if he likes. He can set forth the craftiness of
Ulysses, the piety of AEneas, the valour of Achilles, the misfortunes of
Hector, the treachery of Sinon, the friendship of Euryalus, the
generosity of Alexander, the boldness of Caesar, the clemency and truth
of Trajan, the fidelity of Zopyrus, the wisdom of Cato, and in short all
the faculties that serve to make an illustrious man perfect, now uniting
them in one individual, again distributing them among many; and if this
be done with charm of style and ingenious invention, aiming at the truth
as much as possible, he will assuredly weave a web of bright and varied
threads that, when finished, will display such perfection and beauty that
it will attain the worthiest object any writing can seek, which, as I
said before, is to give instruction and pleasure combined; for the
unrestricted range of these books enables the author to show his powers,
epic, lyric, tragic, or comic, and all the moods the sweet and winning
arts of poesy and oratory are capable of; for the epic may be written in
prose just as well as in verse."



"It is as you say, senor canon," said the curate; "and for that reason
those who have hitherto written books of the sort deserve all the more
censure for writing without paying any attention to good taste or the
rules of art, by which they might guide themselves and become as famous
in prose as the two princes of Greek and Latin poetry are in verse."

"I myself, at any rate," said the canon, "was once tempted to write a
book of chivalry in which all the points I have mentioned were to be
observed; and if I must own the truth I have more than a hundred sheets
written; and to try if it came up to my own opinion of it, I showed them
to persons who were fond of this kind of reading, to learned and
intelligent men as well as to ignorant people who cared for nothing but
the pleasure of listening to nonsense, and from all I obtained flattering
approval; nevertheless I proceeded no farther with it, as well because it
seemed to me an occupation inconsistent with my profession, as because I
perceived that the fools are more numerous than the wise; and, though it
is better to be praised by the wise few than applauded by the foolish
many, I have no mind to submit myself to the stupid judgment of the silly
public, to whom the reading of such books falls for the most part.

"But what most of all made me hold my hand and even abandon all idea of
finishing it was an argument I put to myself taken from the plays that
are acted now-a-days, which was in this wise: if those that are now in
vogue, as well those that are pure invention as those founded on history,
are, all or most of them, downright nonsense and things that have neither
head nor tail, and yet the public listens to them with delight, and
regards and cries them up as perfection when they are so far from it; and
if the authors who write them, and the players who act them, say that
this is what they must be, for the public wants this and will have
nothing else; and that those that go by rule and work out a plot
according to the laws of art will only find some half-dozen intelligent
people to understand them, while all the rest remain blind to the merit
of their composition; and that for themselves it is better to get bread
from the many than praise from the few; then my book will fare the same
way, after I have burnt off my eyebrows in trying to observe the
principles I have spoken of, and I shall be 'the tailor of the corner.'
And though I have sometimes endeavoured to convince actors that they are
mistaken in this notion they have adopted, and that they would attract
more people, and get more credit, by producing plays in accordance with
the rules of art, than by absurd ones, they are so thoroughly wedded to
their own opinion that no argument or evidence can wean them from it.

"I remember saying one day to one of these obstinate fellows, 'Tell me,
do you not recollect that a few years ago, there were three tragedies
acted in Spain, written by a famous poet of these kingdoms, which were
such that they filled all who heard them with admiration, delight, and
interest, the ignorant as well as the wise, the masses as well as the
higher orders, and brought in more money to the performers, these three
alone, than thirty of the best that have been since produced?'

"'No doubt,' replied the actor in question, 'you mean the "Isabella," the
"Phyllis," and the "Alexandra."'

"'Those are the ones I mean,' said I; 'and see if they did not observe
the principles of art, and if, by observing them, they failed to show
their superiority and please all the world; so that the fault does not
lie with the public that insists upon nonsense, but with those who don't
know how to produce something else. "The Ingratitude Revenged" was not
nonsense, nor was there any in "The Numantia," nor any to be found in
"The Merchant Lover," nor yet in "The Friendly Fair Foe," nor in some
others that have been written by certain gifted poets, to their own fame
and renown, and to the profit of those that brought them out;' some
further remarks I added to these, with which, I think, I left him rather
dumbfoundered, but not so satisfied or convinced that I could disabuse
him of his error."

"You have touched upon a subject, senor canon," observed the curate here,
"that has awakened an old enmity I have against the plays in vogue at the
present day, quite as strong as that which I bear to the books of
chivalry; for while the drama, according to Tully, should be the mirror
of human life, the model of manners, and the image of the truth, those
which are presented now-a-days are mirrors of nonsense, models of folly,
and images of lewdness. For what greater nonsense can there be in
connection with what we are now discussing than for an infant to appear
in swaddling clothes in the first scene of the first act, and in the
second a grown-up bearded man? Or what greater absurdity can there be
than putting before us an old man as a swashbuckler, a young man as a
poltroon, a lackey using fine language, a page giving sage advice, a king
plying as a porter, a princess who is a kitchen-maid? And then what shall
I say of their attention to the time in which the action they represent
may or can take place, save that I have seen a play where the first act
began in Europe, the second in Asia, the third finished in Africa, and no
doubt, had it been in four acts, the fourth would have ended in America,
and so it would have been laid in all four quarters of the globe? And if
truth to life is the main thing the drama should keep in view, how is it
possible for any average understanding to be satisfied when the action is
supposed to pass in the time of King Pepin or Charlemagne, and the
principal personage in it they represent to be the Emperor Heraclius who
entered Jerusalem with the cross and won the Holy Sepulchre, like Godfrey
of Bouillon, there being years innumerable between the one and the other?
or, if the play is based on fiction and historical facts are introduced,
or bits of what occurred to different people and at different times mixed
up with it, all, not only without any semblance of probability, but with
obvious errors that from every point of view are inexcusable? And the
worst of it is, there are ignorant people who say that this is
perfection, and that anything beyond this is affected refinement. And
then if we turn to sacred dramas--what miracles they invent in them! What
apocryphal, ill-devised incidents, attributing to one saint the miracles
of another! And even in secular plays they venture to introduce miracles
without any reason or object except that they think some such miracle, or
transformation as they call it, will come in well to astonish stupid
people and draw them to the play. All this tends to the prejudice of the
truth and the corruption of history, nay more, to the reproach of the
wits of Spain; for foreigners who scrupulously observe the laws of the
drama look upon us as barbarous and ignorant, when they see the absurdity
and nonsense of the plays we produce. Nor will it be a sufficient excuse
to say that the chief object well-ordered governments have in view when
they permit plays to be performed in public is to entertain the people
with some harmless amusement occasionally, and keep it from those evil
humours which idleness is apt to engender; and that, as this may be
attained by any sort of play, good or bad, there is no need to lay down
laws, or bind those who write or act them to make them as they ought to
be made, since, as I say, the object sought for may be secured by any
sort. To this I would reply that the same end would be, beyond all
comparison, better attained by means of good plays than by those that are
not so; for after listening to an artistic and properly constructed play,
the hearer will come away enlivened by the jests, instructed by the
serious parts, full of admiration at the incidents, his wits sharpened by
the arguments, warned by the tricks, all the wiser for the examples,
inflamed against vice, and in love with virtue; for in all these ways a
good play will stimulate the mind of the hearer be he ever so boorish or
dull; and of all impossibilities the greatest is that a play endowed with
all these qualities will not entertain, satisfy, and please much more
than one wanting in them, like the greater number of those which are
commonly acted now-a-days. Nor are the poets who write them to be blamed
for this; for some there are among them who are perfectly well aware of
their faults, and know what they ought to do; but as plays have become a
salable commodity, they say, and with truth, that the actors will not buy
them unless they are after this fashion; and so the poet tries to adapt
himself to the requirements of the actor who is to pay him for his work.
And that this is the truth may be seen by the countless plays that a most
fertile wit of these kingdoms has written, with so much brilliancy, so
much grace and gaiety, such polished versification, such choice language,
such profound reflections, and in a word, so rich in eloquence and
elevation of style, that he has filled the world with his fame; and yet,
in consequence of his desire to suit the taste of the actors, they have
not all, as some of them have, come as near perfection as they ought.
Others write plays with such heedlessness that, after they have been
acted, the actors have to fly and abscond, afraid of being punished, as
they often have been, for having acted something offensive to some king
or other, or insulting to some noble family. All which evils, and many
more that I say nothing of, would be removed if there were some
intelligent and sensible person at the capital to examine all plays
before they were acted, not only those produced in the capital itself,
but all that were intended to be acted in Spain; without whose approval,
seal, and signature, no local magistracy should allow any play to be
acted. In that case actors would take care to send their plays to the
capital, and could act them in safety, and those who write them would be
more careful and take more pains with their work, standing in awe of
having to submit it to the strict examination of one who understood the
matter; and so good plays would be produced and the objects they aim at
happily attained; as well the amusement of the people, as the credit of
the wits of Spain, the interest and safety of the actors, and the saving
of trouble in inflicting punishment on them. And if the same or some
other person were authorised to examine the newly written books of
chivalry, no doubt some would appear with all the perfections you have
described, enriching our language with the gracious and precious treasure
of eloquence, and driving the old books into obscurity before the light
of the new ones that would come out for the harmless entertainment, not
merely of the idle but of the very busiest; for the bow cannot be always
bent, nor can weak human nature exist without some lawful amusement."

The canon and the curate had proceeded thus far with their conversation,
when the barber, coming forward, joined them, and said to the curate,
"This is the spot, senor licentiate, that I said was a good one for fresh
and plentiful pasture for the oxen, while we take our noontide rest."

"And so it seems," returned the curate, and he told the canon what he
proposed to do, on which he too made up his mind to halt with them,
attracted by the aspect of the fair valley that lay before their eyes;
and to enjoy it as well as the conversation of the curate, to whom he had
begun to take a fancy, and also to learn more particulars about the
doings of Don Quixote, he desired some of his servants to go on to the
inn, which was not far distant, and fetch from it what eatables there
might be for the whole party, as he meant to rest for the afternoon where
he was; to which one of his servants replied that the sumpter mule, which
by this time ought to have reached the inn, carried provisions enough to
make it unnecessary to get anything from the inn except barley.

"In that case," said the canon, "take all the beasts there, and bring the
sumpter mule back."

While this was going on, Sancho, perceiving that he could speak to his
master without having the curate and the barber, of whom he had his
suspicions, present all the time, approached the cage in which Don
Quixote was placed, and said, "Senor, to ease my conscience I want to
tell you the state of the case as to your enchantment, and that is that
these two here, with their faces covered, are the curate of our village
and the barber; and I suspect they have hit upon this plan of carrying
you off in this fashion, out of pure envy because your worship surpasses
them in doing famous deeds; and if this be the truth it follows that you
are not enchanted, but hoodwinked and made a fool of. And to prove this I
want to ask you one thing; and if you answer me as I believe you will
answer, you will be able to lay your finger on the trick, and you will
see that you are not enchanted but gone wrong in your wits."

"Ask what thou wilt, Sancho my son," returned Don Quixote, "for I will
satisfy thee and answer all thou requirest. As to what thou sayest, that
these who accompany us yonder are the curate and the barber, our
neighbours and acquaintances, it is very possible that they may seem to
be those same persons; but that they are so in reality and in fact,
believe it not on any account; what thou art to believe and think is
that, if they look like them, as thou sayest, it must be that those who
have enchanted me have taken this shape and likeness; for it is easy for
enchanters to take any form they please, and they may have taken those of
our friends in order to make thee think as thou dost, and lead thee into
a labyrinth of fancies from which thou wilt find no escape though thou
hadst the cord of Theseus; and they may also have done it to make me
uncertain in my mind, and unable to conjecture whence this evil comes to
me; for if on the one hand thou dost tell me that the barber and curate
of our village are here in company with us, and on the other I find
myself shut up in a cage, and know in my heart that no power on earth
that was not supernatural would have been able to shut me in, what
wouldst thou have me say or think, but that my enchantment is of a sort
that transcends all I have ever read of in all the histories that deal
with knights-errant that have been enchanted? So thou mayest set thy mind
at rest as to the idea that they are what thou sayest, for they are as
much so as I am a Turk. But touching thy desire to ask me something, say
on, and I will answer thee, though thou shouldst ask questions from this
till to-morrow morning."

"May Our Lady be good to me!" said Sancho, lifting up his voice; "and is
it possible that your worship is so thick of skull and so short of brains
that you cannot see that what I say is the simple truth, and that malice
has more to do with your imprisonment and misfortune than enchantment?
But as it is so, I will prove plainly to you that you are not enchanted.
Now tell me, so may God deliver you from this affliction, and so may you
find yourself when you least expect it in the arms of my lady Dulcinea-"

"Leave off conjuring me," said Don Quixote, "and ask what thou wouldst
know; I have already told thee I will answer with all possible

"That is what I want," said Sancho; "and what I would know, and have you
tell me, without adding or leaving out anything, but telling the whole
truth as one expects it to be told, and as it is told, by all who profess
arms, as your worship professes them, under the title of knights-errant-"

"I tell thee I will not lie in any particular," said Don Quixote; "finish
thy question; for in truth thou weariest me with all these asseverations,
requirements, and precautions, Sancho."

"Well, I rely on the goodness and truth of my master," said Sancho; "and
so, because it bears upon what we are talking about, I would ask,
speaking with all reverence, whether since your worship has been shut up
and, as you think, enchanted in this cage, you have felt any desire or
inclination to go anywhere, as the saying is?"

"I do not understand 'going anywhere,'" said Don Quixote; "explain
thyself more clearly, Sancho, if thou wouldst have me give an answer to
the point."

"Is it possible," said Sancho, "that your worship does not understand
'going anywhere'? Why, the schoolboys know that from the time they were
babes. Well then, you must know I mean have you had any desire to do what
cannot be avoided?"

"Ah! now I understand thee, Sancho," said Don Quixote; "yes, often, and
even this minute; get me out of this strait, or all will not go right."



"Aha, I have caught you," said Sancho; "this is what in my heart and soul
I was longing to know. Come now, senor, can you deny what is commonly
said around us, when a person is out of humour, 'I don't know what ails
so-and-so, that he neither eats, nor drinks, nor sleeps, nor gives a
proper answer to any question; one would think he was enchanted'? From
which it is to be gathered that those who do not eat, or drink, or sleep,
or do any of the natural acts I am speaking of-that such persons are
enchanted; but not those that have the desire your worship has, and drink
when drink is given them, and eat when there is anything to eat, and
answer every question that is asked them."

"What thou sayest is true, Sancho," replied Don Quixote; "but I have
already told thee there are many sorts of enchantments, and it may be
that in the course of time they have been changed one for another, and
that now it may be the way with enchanted people to do all that I do,
though they did not do so before; so it is vain to argue or draw
inferences against the usage of the time. I know and feel that I am
enchanted, and that is enough to ease my conscience; for it would weigh
heavily on it if I thought that I was not enchanted, and that in a
faint-hearted and cowardly way I allowed myself to lie in this cage,
defrauding multitudes of the succour I might afford to those in need and
distress, who at this very moment may be in sore want of my aid and

"Still for all that," replied Sancho, "I say that, for your greater and
fuller satisfaction, it would be well if your worship were to try to get
out of this prison (and I promise to do all in my power to help, and even
to take you out of it), and see if you could once more mount your good
Rocinante, who seems to be enchanted too, he is so melancholy and
dejected; and then we might try our chance in looking for adventures
again; and if we have no luck there will be time enough to go back to the
cage; in which, on the faith of a good and loyal squire, I promise to
shut myself up along with your worship, if so be you are so unfortunate,
or I so stupid, as not to be able to carry out my plan."

"I am content to do as thou sayest, brother Sancho," said Don Quixote,
"and when thou seest an opportunity for effecting my release I will obey
thee absolutely; but thou wilt see, Sancho, how mistaken thou art in thy
conception of my misfortune."

The knight-errant and the ill-errant squire kept up their conversation
till they reached the place where the curate, the canon, and the barber,
who had already dismounted, were waiting for them. The carter at once
unyoked the oxen and left them to roam at large about the pleasant green
spot, the freshness of which seemed to invite, not enchanted people like
Don Quixote, but wide-awake, sensible folk like his squire, who begged
the curate to allow his master to leave the cage for a little; for if
they did not let him out, the prison might not be as clean as the
propriety of such a gentleman as his master required. The curate
understood him, and said he would very gladly comply with his request,
only that he feared his master, finding himself at liberty, would take to
his old courses and make off where nobody could ever find him again.

"I will answer for his not running away," said Sancho.

"And I also," said the canon, "especially if he gives me his word as a
knight not to leave us without our consent."

Don Quixote, who was listening to all this, said, "I give it;-moreover
one who is enchanted as I am cannot do as he likes with himself; for he
who had enchanted him could prevent his moving from one place for three
ages, and if he attempted to escape would bring him back flying."--And
that being so, they might as well release him, particularly as it would
be to the advantage of all; for, if they did not let him out, he
protested he would be unable to avoid offending their nostrils unless
they kept their distance.

The canon took his hand, tied together as they both were, and on his word
and promise they unbound him, and rejoiced beyond measure he was to find
himself out of the cage. The first thing he did was to stretch himself
all over, and then he went to where Rocinante was standing and giving him
a couple of slaps on the haunches said, "I still trust in God and in his
blessed mother, O flower and mirror of steeds, that we shall soon see
ourselves, both of us, as we wish to be, thou with thy master on thy
back, and I mounted upon thee, following the calling for which God sent
me into the world." And so saying, accompanied by Sancho, he withdrew to
a retired spot, from which he came back much relieved and more eager than
ever to put his squire's scheme into execution.

The canon gazed at him, wondering at the extraordinary nature of his
madness, and that in all his remarks and replies he should show such
excellent sense, and only lose his stirrups, as has been already said,
when the subject of chivalry was broached. And so, moved by compassion,
he said to him, as they all sat on the green grass awaiting the arrival
of the provisions:

"Is it possible, gentle sir, that the nauseous and idle reading of books
of chivalry can have had such an effect on your worship as to upset your
reason so that you fancy yourself enchanted, and the like, all as far
from the truth as falsehood itself is? How can there be any human
understanding that can persuade itself there ever was all that infinity
of Amadises in the world, or all that multitude of famous knights, all
those emperors of Trebizond, all those Felixmartes of Hircania, all those
palfreys, and damsels-errant, and serpents, and monsters, and giants, and
marvellous adventures, and enchantments of every kind, and battles, and
prodigious encounters, splendid costumes, love-sick princesses, squires
made counts, droll dwarfs, love letters, billings and cooings,
swashbuckler women, and, in a word, all that nonsense the books of
chivalry contain? For myself, I can only say that when I read them, so
long as I do not stop to think that they are all lies and frivolity, they
give me a certain amount of pleasure; but when I come to consider what
they are, I fling the very best of them at the wall, and would fling it
into the fire if there were one at hand, as richly deserving such
punishment as cheats and impostors out of the range of ordinary
toleration, and as founders of new sects and modes of life, and teachers
that lead the ignorant public to believe and accept as truth all the
folly they contain. And such is their audacity, they even dare to
unsettle the wits of gentlemen of birth and intelligence, as is shown
plainly by the way they have served your worship, when they have brought
you to such a pass that you have to be shut up in a cage and carried on
an ox-cart as one would carry a lion or a tiger from place to place to
make money by showing it. Come, Senor Don Quixote, have some compassion
for yourself, return to the bosom of common sense, and make use of the
liberal share of it that heaven has been pleased to bestow upon you,
employing your abundant gifts of mind in some other reading that may
serve to benefit your conscience and add to your honour. And if, still
led away by your natural bent, you desire to read books of achievements
and of chivalry, read the Book of Judges in the Holy Scriptures, for
there you will find grand reality, and deeds as true as they are heroic.
Lusitania had a Viriatus, Rome a Caesar, Carthage a Hannibal, Greece an
Alexander, Castile a Count Fernan Gonzalez, Valencia a Cid, Andalusia a
Gonzalo Fernandez, Estremadura a Diego Garcia de Paredes, Jerez a Garci
Perez de Vargas, Toledo a Garcilaso, Seville a Don Manuel de Leon, to
read of whose valiant deeds will entertain and instruct the loftiest
minds and fill them with delight and wonder. Here, Senor Don Quixote,
will be reading worthy of your sound understanding; from which you will
rise learned in history, in love with virtue, strengthened in goodness,
improved in manners, brave without rashness, prudent without cowardice;
and all to the honour of God, your own advantage and the glory of La
Mancha, whence, I am informed, your worship derives your birth."

Don Quixote listened with the greatest attention to the canon's words,
and when he found he had finished, after regarding him for some time, he
replied to him:

"It appears to me, gentle sir, that your worship's discourse is intended
to persuade me that there never were any knights-errant in the world, and
that all the books of chivalry are false, lying, mischievous and useless
to the State, and that I have done wrong in reading them, and worse in
believing them, and still worse in imitating them, when I undertook to
follow the arduous calling of knight-errantry which they set forth; for
you deny that there ever were Amadises of Gaul or of Greece, or any other
of the knights of whom the books are full."

"It is all exactly as you state it," said the canon; to which Don Quixote
returned, "You also went on to say that books of this kind had done me
much harm, inasmuch as they had upset my senses, and shut me up in a
cage, and that it would be better for me to reform and change my studies,
and read other truer books which would afford more pleasure and

"Just so," said the canon.

"Well then," returned Don Quixote, "to my mind it is you who are the one
that is out of his wits and enchanted, as you have ventured to utter such
blasphemies against a thing so universally acknowledged and accepted as
true that whoever denies it, as you do, deserves the same punishment
which you say you inflict on the books that irritate you when you read
them. For to try to persuade anybody that Amadis, and all the other
knights-adventurers with whom the books are filled, never existed, would
be like trying to persuade him that the sun does not yield light, or ice
cold, or earth nourishment. What wit in the world can persuade another
that the story of the Princess Floripes and Guy of Burgundy is not true,
or that of Fierabras and the bridge of Mantible, which happened in the
time of Charlemagne? For by all that is good it is as true as that it is
daylight now; and if it be a lie, it must be a lie too that there was a
Hector, or Achilles, or Trojan war, or Twelve Peers of France, or Arthur
of England, who still lives changed into a raven, and is unceasingly
looked for in his kingdom. One might just as well try to make out that
the history of Guarino Mezquino, or of the quest of the Holy Grail, is
false, or that the loves of Tristram and the Queen Yseult are apocryphal,
as well as those of Guinevere and Lancelot, when there are persons who
can almost remember having seen the Dame Quintanona, who was the best
cupbearer in Great Britain. And so true is this, that I recollect a
grandmother of mine on the father's side, whenever she saw any dame in a
venerable hood, used to say to me, 'Grandson, that one is like Dame
Quintanona,' from which I conclude that she must have known her, or at
least had managed to see some portrait of her. Then who can deny that the
story of Pierres and the fair Magalona is true, when even to this day may
be seen in the king's armoury the pin with which the valiant Pierres
guided the wooden horse he rode through the air, and it is a trifle
bigger than the pole of a cart? And alongside of the pin is Babieca's
saddle, and at Roncesvalles there is Roland's horn, as large as a large
beam; whence we may infer that there were Twelve Peers, and a Pierres,
and a Cid, and other knights like them, of the sort people commonly call
adventurers. Or perhaps I shall be told, too, that there was no such
knight-errant as the valiant Lusitanian Juan de Merlo, who went to
Burgundy and in the city of Arras fought with the famous lord of Charny,
Mosen Pierres by name, and afterwards in the city of Basle with Mosen
Enrique de Remesten, coming out of both encounters covered with fame and
honour; or adventures and challenges achieved and delivered, also in
Burgundy, by the valiant Spaniards Pedro Barba and Gutierre Quixada (of
whose family I come in the direct male line), when they vanquished the
sons of the Count of San Polo. I shall be told, too, that Don Fernando de
Guevara did not go in quest of adventures to Germany, where he engaged in
combat with Micer George, a knight of the house of the Duke of Austria. I
shall be told that the jousts of Suero de Quinones, him of the 'Paso,'
and the emprise of Mosen Luis de Falces against the Castilian knight, Don
Gonzalo de Guzman, were mere mockeries; as well as many other
achievements of Christian knights of these and foreign realms, which are
so authentic and true, that, I repeat, he who denies them must be totally
wanting in reason and good sense."

The canon was amazed to hear the medley of truth and fiction Don Quixote
uttered, and to see how well acquainted he was with everything relating
or belonging to the achievements of his knight-errantry; so he said in

"I cannot deny, Senor Don Quixote, that there is some truth in what you
say, especially as regards the Spanish knights-errant; and I am willing
to grant too that the Twelve Peers of France existed, but I am not
disposed to believe that they did all the things that the Archbishop
Turpin relates of them. For the truth of the matter is they were knights
chosen by the kings of France, and called 'Peers' because they were all
equal in worth, rank and prowess (at least if they were not they ought to
have been), and it was a kind of religious order like those of Santiago
and Calatrava in the present day, in which it is assumed that those who
take it are valiant knights of distinction and good birth; and just as we
say now a Knight of St. John, or of Alcantara, they used to say then a
Knight of the Twelve Peers, because twelve equals were chosen for that
military order. That there was a Cid, as well as a Bernardo del Carpio,
there can be no doubt; but that they did the deeds people say they did, I
hold to be very doubtful. In that other matter of the pin of Count
Pierres that you speak of, and say is near Babieca's saddle in the
Armoury, I confess my sin; for I am either so stupid or so short-sighted,
that, though I have seen the saddle, I have never been able to see the
pin, in spite of it being as big as your worship says it is."

"For all that it is there, without any manner of doubt," said Don
Quixote; "and more by token they say it is inclosed in a sheath of
cowhide to keep it from rusting."

"All that may be," replied the canon; "but, by the orders I have
received, I do not remember seeing it. However, granting it is there,
that is no reason why I am bound to believe the stories of all those
Amadises and of all that multitude of knights they tell us about, nor is
it reasonable that a man like your worship, so worthy, and with so many
good qualities, and endowed with such a good understanding, should allow
himself to be persuaded that such wild crazy things as are written in
those absurd books of chivalry are really true."



by Miguel de Cervantes

Translated by John Ormsby

Volume I.

Part 17.



"A good joke, that!" returned Don Quixote. "Books that have been printed
with the king's licence, and with the approbation of those to whom they
have been submitted, and read with universal delight, and extolled by
great and small, rich and poor, learned and ignorant, gentle and simple,
in a word by people of every sort, of whatever rank or condition they may
be--that these should be lies! And above all when they carry such an
appearance of truth with them; for they tell us the father, mother,
country, kindred, age, place, and the achievements, step by step, and day
by day, performed by such a knight or knights! Hush, sir; utter not such
blasphemy; trust me I am advising you now to act as a sensible man
should; only read them, and you will see the pleasure you will derive
from them. For, come, tell me, can there be anything more delightful than
to see, as it were, here now displayed before us a vast lake of bubbling
pitch with a host of snakes and serpents and lizards, and ferocious and
terrible creatures of all sorts swimming about in it, while from the
middle of the lake there comes a plaintive voice saying: 'Knight,
whosoever thou art who beholdest this dread lake, if thou wouldst win the
prize that lies hidden beneath these dusky waves, prove the valour of thy
stout heart and cast thyself into the midst of its dark burning waters,
else thou shalt not be worthy to see the mighty wonders contained in the
seven castles of the seven Fays that lie beneath this black expanse;' and
then the knight, almost ere the awful voice has ceased, without stopping
to consider, without pausing to reflect upon the danger to which he is
exposing himself, without even relieving himself of the weight of his
massive armour, commending himself to God and to his lady, plunges into
the midst of the boiling lake, and when he little looks for it, or knows
what his fate is to be, he finds himself among flowery meadows, with
which the Elysian fields are not to be compared.

"The sky seems more transparent there, and the sun shines with a strange
brilliancy, and a delightful grove of green leafy trees presents itself
to the eyes and charms the sight with its verdure, while the ear is
soothed by the sweet untutored melody of the countless birds of gay
plumage that flit to and fro among the interlacing branches. Here he sees
a brook whose limpid waters, like liquid crystal, ripple over fine sands
and white pebbles that look like sifted gold and purest pearls. There he
perceives a cunningly wrought fountain of many-coloured jasper and
polished marble; here another of rustic fashion where the little
mussel-shells and the spiral white and yellow mansions of the snail
disposed in studious disorder, mingled with fragments of glittering
crystal and mock emeralds, make up a work of varied aspect, where art,
imitating nature, seems to have outdone it.

"Suddenly there is presented to his sight a strong castle or gorgeous
palace with walls of massy gold, turrets of diamond and gates of jacinth;
in short, so marvellous is its structure that though the materials of
which it is built are nothing less than diamonds, carbuncles, rubies,
pearls, gold, and emeralds, the workmanship is still more rare. And after
having seen all this, what can be more charming than to see how a bevy of
damsels comes forth from the gate of the castle in gay and gorgeous
attire, such that, were I to set myself now to depict it as the histories
describe it to us, I should never have done; and then how she who seems
to be the first among them all takes the bold knight who plunged into the
boiling lake by the hand, and without addressing a word to him leads him
into the rich palace or castle, and strips him as naked as when his
mother bore him, and bathes him in lukewarm water, and anoints him all
over with sweet-smelling unguents, and clothes him in a shirt of the
softest sendal, all scented and perfumed, while another damsel comes and
throws over his shoulders a mantle which is said to be worth at the very
least a city, and even more? How charming it is, then, when they tell us
how, after all this, they lead him to another chamber where he finds the
tables set out in such style that he is filled with amazement and wonder;
to see how they pour out water for his hands distilled from amber and
sweet-scented flowers; how they seat him on an ivory chair; to see how
the damsels wait on him all in profound silence; how they bring him such
a variety of dainties so temptingly prepared that the appetite is at a
loss which to select; to hear the music that resounds while he is at
table, by whom or whence produced he knows not. And then when the repast
is over and the tables removed, for the knight to recline in the chair,
picking his teeth perhaps as usual, and a damsel, much lovelier than any
of the others, to enter unexpectedly by the chamber door, and herself by
his side, and begin to tell him what the castle is, and how she is held
enchanted there, and other things that amaze the knight and astonish the
readers who are perusing his history.

"But I will not expatiate any further upon this, as it may be gathered
from it that whatever part of whatever history of a knight-errant one
reads, it will fill the reader, whoever he be, with delight and wonder;
and take my advice, sir, and, as I said before, read these books and you
will see how they will banish any melancholy you may feel and raise your
spirits should they be depressed. For myself I can say that since I have
been a knight-errant I have become valiant, polite, generous, well-bred,
magnanimous, courteous, dauntless, gentle, patient, and have learned to
bear hardships, imprisonments, and enchantments; and though it be such a
short time since I have seen myself shut up in a cage like a madman, I
hope by the might of my arm, if heaven aid me and fortune thwart me not,
to see myself king of some kingdom where I may be able to show the
gratitude and generosity that dwell in my heart; for by my faith, senor,
the poor man is incapacitated from showing the virtue of generosity to
anyone, though he may possess it in the highest degree; and gratitude
that consists of disposition only is a dead thing, just as faith without
works is dead. For this reason I should be glad were fortune soon to
offer me some opportunity of making myself an emperor, so as to show my
heart in doing good to my friends, particularly to this poor Sancho
Panza, my squire, who is the best fellow in the world; and I would gladly
give him a county I have promised him this ever so long, only that I am
afraid he has not the capacity to govern his realm."

Sancho partly heard these last words of his master, and said to him,
"Strive hard you, Senor Don Quixote, to give me that county so often
promised by you and so long looked for by me, for I promise you there
will be no want of capacity in me to govern it; and even if there is, I
have heard say there are men in the world who farm seigniories, paying so
much a year, and they themselves taking charge of the government, while
the lord, with his legs stretched out, enjoys the revenue they pay him,
without troubling himself about anything else. That's what I'll do, and
not stand haggling over trifles, but wash my hands at once of the whole
business, and enjoy my rents like a duke, and let things go their own

"That, brother Sancho," said the canon, "only holds good as far as the
enjoyment of the revenue goes; but the lord of the seigniory must attend
to the administration of justice, and here capacity and sound judgment
come in, and above all a firm determination to find out the truth; for if
this be wanting in the beginning, the middle and the end will always go
wrong; and God as commonly aids the honest intentions of the simple as he
frustrates the evil designs of the crafty."

"I don't understand those philosophies," returned Sancho Panza; "all I
know is I would I had the county as soon as I shall know how to govern
it; for I have as much soul as another, and as much body as anyone, and I
shall be as much king of my realm as any other of his; and being so I
should do as I liked, and doing as I liked I should please myself, and
pleasing myself I should be content, and when one is content he has
nothing more to desire, and when one has nothing more to desire there is
an end of it; so let the county come, and God he with you, and let us see
one another, as one blind man said to the other."

"That is not bad philosophy thou art talking, Sancho," said the canon;
"but for all that there is a good deal to be said on this matter of

To which Don Quixote returned, "I know not what more there is to be said;
I only guide myself by the example set me by the great Amadis of Gaul,
when he made his squire count of the Insula Firme; and so, without any
scruples of conscience, I can make a count of Sancho Panza, for he is one
of the best squires that ever knight-errant had."

The canon was astonished at the methodical nonsense (if nonsense be
capable of method) that Don Quixote uttered, at the way in which he had
described the adventure of the knight of the lake, at the impression that
the deliberate lies of the books he read had made upon him, and lastly he
marvelled at the simplicity of Sancho, who desired so eagerly to obtain
the county his master had promised him.

By this time the canon's servants, who had gone to the inn to fetch the
sumpter mule, had returned, and making a carpet and the green grass of
the meadow serve as a table, they seated themselves in the shade of some
trees and made their repast there, that the carter might not be deprived
of the advantage of the spot, as has been already said. As they were
eating they suddenly heard a loud noise and the sound of a bell that
seemed to come from among some brambles and thick bushes that were close
by, and the same instant they observed a beautiful goat, spotted all over
black, white, and brown, spring out of the thicket with a goatherd after
it, calling to it and uttering the usual cries to make it stop or turn
back to the fold. The fugitive goat, scared and frightened, ran towards
the company as if seeking their protection and then stood still, and the
goatherd coming up seized it by the horns and began to talk to it as if
it were possessed of reason and understanding: "Ah wanderer, wanderer,
Spotty, Spotty; how have you gone limping all this time? What wolves have
frightened you, my daughter? Won't you tell me what is the matter, my
beauty? But what else can it be except that you are a she, and cannot
keep quiet? A plague on your humours and the humours of those you take
after! Come back, come back, my darling; and if you will not be so happy,
at any rate you will be safe in the fold or with your companions; for if
you who ought to keep and lead them, go wandering astray, what will
become of them?"

The goatherd's talk amused all who heard it, but especially the canon,
who said to him, "As you live, brother, take it easy, and be not in such
a hurry to drive this goat back to the fold; for, being a female, as you
say, she will follow her natural instinct in spite of all you can do to
prevent it. Take this morsel and drink a sup, and that will soothe your
irritation, and in the meantime the goat will rest herself," and so
saying, he handed him the loins of a cold rabbit on a fork.

The goatherd took it with thanks, and drank and calmed himself, and then
said, "I should be sorry if your worships were to take me for a simpleton
for having spoken so seriously as I did to this animal; but the truth is
there is a certain mystery in the words I used. I am a clown, but not so
much of one but that I know how to behave to men and to beasts."

"That I can well believe," said the curate, "for I know already by
experience that the woods breed men of learning, and shepherds' harbour

"At all events, senor," returned the goatherd, "they shelter men of
experience; and that you may see the truth of this and grasp it, though I
may seem to put myself forward without being asked, I will, if it will
not tire you, gentlemen, and you will give me your attention for a
little, tell you a true story which will confirm this gentleman's word
(and he pointed to the curate) as well as my own."

To this Don Quixote replied, "Seeing that this affair has a certain
colour of chivalry about it, I for my part, brother, will hear you most
gladly, and so will all these gentlemen, from the high intelligence they
possess and their love of curious novelties that interest, charm, and
entertain the mind, as I feel quite sure your story will do. So begin,
friend, for we are all prepared to listen."

"I draw my stakes," said Sancho, "and will retreat with this pasty to the
brook there, where I mean to victual myself for three days; for I have
heard my lord, Don Quixote, say that a knight-errant's squire should eat
until he can hold no more, whenever he has the chance, because it often
happens them to get by accident into a wood so thick that they cannot
find a way out of it for six days; and if the man is not well filled or
his alforjas well stored, there he may stay, as very often he does,
turned into a dried mummy."

"Thou art in the right of it, Sancho," said Don Quixote; "go where thou
wilt and eat all thou canst, for I have had enough, and only want to give
my mind its refreshment, as I shall by listening to this good fellow's

"It is what we shall all do," said the canon; and then begged the
goatherd to begin the promised tale.

The goatherd gave the goat which he held by the horns a couple of slaps
on the back, saying, "Lie down here beside me, Spotty, for we have time
enough to return to our fold." The goat seemed to understand him, for as
her master seated himself, she stretched herself quietly beside him and
looked up in his face to show him she was all attention to what he was
going to say, and then in these words he began his story.



by Miguel de Cervantes

Translated by John Ormsby

Volume I.

Part 18.



Three leagues from this valley there is a village which, though small, is
one of the richest in all this neighbourhood, and in it there lived a
farmer, a very worthy man, and so much respected that, although to be so
is the natural consequence of being rich, he was even more respected for
his virtue than for the wealth he had acquired. But what made him still
more fortunate, as he said himself, was having a daughter of such
exceeding beauty, rare intelligence, gracefulness, and virtue, that
everyone who knew her and beheld her marvelled at the extraordinary gifts
with which heaven and nature had endowed her. As a child she was
beautiful, she continued to grow in beauty, and at the age of sixteen she
was most lovely. The fame of her beauty began to spread abroad through
all the villages around--but why do I say the villages around, merely,
when it spread to distant cities, and even made its way into the halls of
royalty and reached the ears of people of every class, who came from all
sides to see her as if to see something rare and curious, or some
wonder-working image?

Her father watched over her and she watched over herself; for there are
no locks, or guards, or bolts that can protect a young girl better than
her own modesty. The wealth of the father and the beauty of the daughter
led many neighbours as well as strangers to seek her for a wife; but he,
as one might well be who had the disposal of so rich a jewel, was
perplexed and unable to make up his mind to which of her countless
suitors he should entrust her. I was one among the many who felt a desire
so natural, and, as her father knew who I was, and I was of the same
town, of pure blood, in the bloom of life, and very rich in possessions,
I had great hopes of success. There was another of the same place and
qualifications who also sought her, and this made her father's choice
hang in the balance, for he felt that on either of us his daughter would
be well bestowed; so to escape from this state of perplexity he resolved
to refer the matter to Leandra (for that is the name of the rich damsel
who has reduced me to misery), reflecting that as we were both equal it
would be best to leave it to his dear daughter to choose according to her
inclination--a course that is worthy of imitation by all fathers who wish
to settle their children in life. I do not mean that they ought to leave
them to make a choice of what is contemptible and bad, but that they
should place before them what is good and then allow them to make a good
choice as they please. I do not know which Leandra chose; I only know her
father put us both off with the tender age of his daughter and vague
words that neither bound him nor dismissed us. My rival is called Anselmo
and I myself Eugenio--that you may know the names of the personages that
figure in this tragedy, the end of which is still in suspense, though it
is plain to see it must be disastrous.

About this time there arrived in our town one Vicente de la Roca, the son
of a poor peasant of the same town, the said Vicente having returned from
service as a soldier in Italy and divers other parts. A captain who
chanced to pass that way with his company had carried him off from our
village when he was a boy of about twelve years, and now twelve years
later the young man came back in a soldier's uniform, arrayed in a
thousand colours, and all over glass trinkets and fine steel chains.
To-day he would appear in one gay dress, to-morrow in another; but all
flimsy and gaudy, of little substance and less worth. The peasant folk,
who are naturally malicious, and when they have nothing to do can be
malice itself, remarked all this, and took note of his finery and
jewellery, piece by piece, and discovered that he had three suits of
different colours, with garters and stockings to match; but he made so
many arrangements and combinations out of them, that if they had not
counted them, anyone would have sworn that he had made a display of more
than ten suits of clothes and twenty plumes. Do not look upon all this
that I am telling you about the clothes as uncalled for or spun out, for
they have a great deal to do with the story. He used to seat himself on a
bench under the great poplar in our plaza, and there he would keep us all
hanging open-mouthed on the stories he told us of his exploits. There was
no country on the face of the globe he had not seen, nor battle he had
not been engaged in; he had killed more Moors than there are in Morocco
and Tunis, and fought more single combats, according to his own account,
than Garcilaso, Diego Garcia de Paredes and a thousand others he named,
and out of all he had come victorious without losing a drop of blood. On
the other hand he showed marks of wounds, which, though they could not be
made out, he said were gunshot wounds received in divers encounters and
actions. Lastly, with monstrous impudence he used to say "you" to his
equals and even those who knew what he was, and declare that his arm was
his father and his deeds his pedigree, and that being a soldier he was as
good as the king himself. And to add to these swaggering ways he was a
trifle of a musician, and played the guitar with such a flourish that
some said he made it speak; nor did his accomplishments end here, for he
was something of a poet too, and on every trifle that happened in the
town he made a ballad a league long.

This soldier, then, that I have described, this Vicente de la Roca, this
bravo, gallant, musician, poet, was often seen and watched by Leandra
from a window of her house which looked out on the plaza. The glitter of
his showy attire took her fancy, his ballads bewitched her (for he gave
away twenty copies of every one he made), the tales of his exploits which
he told about himself came to her ears; and in short, as the devil no
doubt had arranged it, she fell in love with him before the presumption
of making love to her had suggested itself to him; and as in love-affairs
none are more easily brought to an issue than those which have the
inclination of the lady for an ally, Leandra and Vicente came to an
understanding without any difficulty; and before any of her numerous
suitors had any suspicion of her design, she had already carried it into
effect, having left the house of her dearly beloved father (for mother
she had none), and disappeared from the village with the soldier, who
came more triumphantly out of this enterprise than out of any of the
large number he laid claim to. All the village and all who heard of it
were amazed at the affair; I was aghast, Anselmo thunderstruck, her
father full of grief, her relations indignant, the authorities all in a
ferment, the officers of the Brotherhood in arms. They scoured the roads,
they searched the woods and all quarters, and at the end of three days
they found the flighty Leandra in a mountain cave, stript to her shift,
and robbed of all the money and precious jewels she had carried away from
home with her.

They brought her back to her unhappy father, and questioned her as to her
misfortune, and she confessed without pressure that Vicente de la Roca
had deceived her, and under promise of marrying her had induced her to
leave her father's house, as he meant to take her to the richest and most
delightful city in the whole world, which was Naples; and that she,
ill-advised and deluded, had believed him, and robbed her father, and
handed over all to him the night she disappeared; and that he had carried
her away to a rugged mountain and shut her up in the eave where they had
found her. She said, moreover, that the soldier, without robbing her of
her honour, had taken from her everything she had, and made off, leaving
her in the cave, a thing that still further surprised everybody. It was
not easy for us to credit the young man's continence, but she asserted it
with such earnestness that it helped to console her distressed father,
who thought nothing of what had been taken since the jewel that once lost
can never be recovered had been left to his daughter. The same day that
Leandra made her appearance her father removed her from our sight and
took her away to shut her up in a convent in a town near this, in the
hope that time may wear away some of the disgrace she has incurred.
Leandra's youth furnished an excuse for her fault, at least with those to
whom it was of no consequence whether she was good or bad; but those who
knew her shrewdness and intelligence did not attribute her misdemeanour
to ignorance but to wantonness and the natural disposition of women,
which is for the most part flighty and ill-regulated.

Leandra withdrawn from sight, Anselmo's eyes grew blind, or at any rate
found nothing to look at that gave them any pleasure, and mine were in
darkness without a ray of light to direct them to anything enjoyable
while Leandra was away. Our melancholy grew greater, our patience grew
less; we cursed the soldier's finery and railed at the carelessness of
Leandra's father. At last Anselmo and I agreed to leave the village and
come to this valley; and, he feeding a great flock of sheep of his own,
and I a large herd of goats of mine, we pass our life among the trees,
giving vent to our sorrows, together singing the fair Leandra's praises,
or upbraiding her, or else sighing alone, and to heaven pouring forth our
complaints in solitude. Following our example, many more of Leandra's
lovers have come to these rude mountains and adopted our mode of life,
and they are so numerous that one would fancy the place had been turned
into the pastoral Arcadia, so full is it of shepherds and sheep-folds;
nor is there a spot in it where the name of the fair Leandra is not
heard. Here one curses her and calls her capricious, fickle, and
immodest, there another condemns her as frail and frivolous; this pardons
and absolves her, that spurns and reviles her; one extols her beauty,
another assails her character, and in short all abuse her, and all adore
her, and to such a pitch has this general infatuation gone that there are
some who complain of her scorn without ever having exchanged a word with
her, and even some that bewail and mourn the raging fever of jealousy,
for which she never gave anyone cause, for, as I have already said, her
misconduct was known before her passion. There is no nook among the
rocks, no brookside, no shade beneath the trees that is not haunted by
some shepherd telling his woes to the breezes; wherever there is an echo
it repeats the name of Leandra; the mountains ring with "Leandra,"
"Leandra" murmur the brooks, and Leandra keeps us all bewildered and
bewitched, hoping without hope and fearing without knowing what we fear.
Of all this silly set the one that shows the least and also the most
sense is my rival Anselmo, for having so many other things to complain
of, he only complains of separation, and to the accompaniment of a
rebeck, which he plays admirably, he sings his complaints in verses that
show his ingenuity. I follow another, easier, and to my mind wiser
course, and that is to rail at the frivolity of women, at their
inconstancy, their double dealing, their broken promises, their unkept
pledges, and in short the want of reflection they show in fixing their
affections and inclinations. This, sirs, was the reason of words and
expressions I made use of to this goat when I came up just now; for as
she is a female I have a contempt for her, though she is the best in all
my fold. This is the story I promised to tell you, and if I have been
tedious in telling it, I will not be slow to serve you; my hut is close
by, and I have fresh milk and dainty cheese there, as well as a variety
of toothsome fruit, no less pleasing to the eye than to the palate.



The goatherd's tale gave great satisfaction to all the hearers, and the
canon especially enjoyed it, for he had remarked with particular
attention the manner in which it had been told, which was as unlike the
manner of a clownish goatherd as it was like that of a polished city wit;
and he observed that the curate had been quite right in saying that the
woods bred men of learning. They all offered their services to Eugenio
but he who showed himself most liberal in this way was Don Quixote, who
said to him, "Most assuredly, brother goatherd, if I found myself in a
position to attempt any adventure, I would, this very instant, set out on
your behalf, and would rescue Leandra from that convent (where no doubt
she is kept against her will), in spite of the abbess and all who might
try to prevent me, and would place her in your hands to deal with her
according to your will and pleasure, observing, however, the laws of
chivalry which lay down that no violence of any kind is to be offered to
any damsel. But I trust in God our Lord that the might of one malignant
enchanter may not prove so great but that the power of another better
disposed may prove superior to it, and then I promise you my support and
assistance, as I am bound to do by my profession, which is none other
than to give aid to the weak and needy."

The goatherd eyed him, and noticing Don Quixote's sorry appearance and
looks, he was filled with wonder, and asked the barber, who was next him,
"Senor, who is this man who makes such a figure and talks in such a

"Who should it be," said the barber, "but the famous Don Quixote of La
Mancha, the undoer of injustice, the righter of wrongs, the protector of
damsels, the terror of giants, and the winner of battles?"

"That," said the goatherd, "sounds like what one reads in the books of
the knights-errant, who did all that you say this man does; though it is
my belief that either you are joking, or else this gentleman has empty
lodgings in his head."

"You are a great scoundrel," said Don Quixote, "and it is you who are
empty and a fool. I am fuller than ever was the whoreson bitch that bore
you;" and passing from words to deeds, he caught up a loaf that was near
him and sent it full in the goatherd's face, with such force that he
flattened his nose; but the goatherd, who did not understand jokes, and
found himself roughly handled in such good earnest, paying no respect to
carpet, tablecloth, or diners, sprang upon Don Quixote, and seizing him
by the throat with both hands would no doubt have throttled him, had not
Sancho Panza that instant come to the rescue, and grasping him by the
shoulders flung him down on the table, smashing plates, breaking glasses,
and upsetting and scattering everything on it. Don Quixote, finding
himself free, strove to get on top of the goatherd, who, with his face
covered with blood, and soundly kicked by Sancho, was on all fours
feeling about for one of the table-knives to take a bloody revenge with.
The canon and the curate, however, prevented him, but the barber so
contrived it that he got Don Quixote under him, and rained down upon him
such a shower of fisticuffs that the poor knight's face streamed with
blood as freely as his own. The canon and the curate were bursting with
laughter, the officers were capering with delight, and both the one and
the other hissed them on as they do dogs that are worrying one another in
a fight. Sancho alone was frantic, for he could not free himself from the
grasp of one of the canon's servants, who kept him from going to his
master's assistance.

At last, while they were all, with the exception of the two bruisers who
were mauling each other, in high glee and enjoyment, they heard a trumpet
sound a note so doleful that it made them all look in the direction
whence the sound seemed to come. But the one that was most excited by
hearing it was Don Quixote, who though sorely against his will he was
under the goatherd, and something more than pretty well pummelled, said
to him, "Brother devil (for it is impossible but that thou must be one
since thou hast had might and strength enough to overcome mine), I ask
thee to agree to a truce for but one hour for the solemn note of yonder
trumpet that falls on our ears seems to me to summon me to some new
adventure." The goatherd, who was by this time tired of pummelling and
being pummelled, released him at once, and Don Quixote rising to his feet
and turning his eyes to the quarter where the sound had been heard,
suddenly saw coming down the slope of a hill several men clad in white
like penitents.

The fact was that the clouds had that year withheld their moisture from
the earth, and in all the villages of the district they were organising
processions, rogations, and penances, imploring God to open the hands of
his mercy and send the rain; and to this end the people of a village that
was hard by were going in procession to a holy hermitage there was on one
side of that valley. Don Quixote when he saw the strange garb of the
penitents, without reflecting how often he had seen it before, took it
into his head that this was a case of adventure, and that it fell to him
alone as a knight-errant to engage in it; and he was all the more
confirmed in this notion, by the idea that an image draped in black they
had with them was some illustrious lady that these villains and
discourteous thieves were carrying off by force. As soon as this occurred
to him he ran with all speed to Rocinante who was grazing at large, and
taking the bridle and the buckler from the saddle-bow, he had him bridled
in an instant, and calling to Sancho for his sword he mounted Rocinante,
braced his buckler on his arm, and in a loud voice exclaimed to those who
stood by, "Now, noble company, ye shall see how important it is that
there should be knights in the world professing the of knight-errantry;
now, I say, ye shall see, by the deliverance of that worthy lady who is
borne captive there, whether knights-errant deserve to be held in
estimation," and so saying he brought his legs to bear on Rocinante--for
he had no spurs--and at a full canter (for in all this veracious history
we never read of Rocinante fairly galloping) set off to encounter the
penitents, though the curate, the canon, and the barber ran to prevent
him. But it was out of their power, nor did he even stop for the shouts
of Sancho calling after him, "Where are you going, Senor Don Quixote?
What devils have possessed you to set you on against our Catholic faith?
Plague take me! mind, that is a procession of penitents, and the lady
they are carrying on that stand there is the blessed image of the
immaculate Virgin. Take care what you are doing, senor, for this time it
may be safely said you don't know what you are about." Sancho laboured in
vain, for his master was so bent on coming to quarters with these sheeted
figures and releasing the lady in black that he did not hear a word; and
even had he heard, he would not have turned back if the king had ordered
him. He came up with the procession and reined in Rocinante, who was
already anxious enough to slacken speed a little, and in a hoarse,
excited voice he exclaimed, "You who hide your faces, perhaps because you
are not good subjects, pay attention and listen to what I am about to say
to you." The first to halt were those who were carrying the image, and
one of the four ecclesiastics who were chanting the Litany, struck by the
strange figure of Don Quixote, the leanness of Rocinante, and the other
ludicrous peculiarities he observed, said in reply to him, "Brother, if
you have anything to say to us say it quickly, for these brethren are
whipping themselves, and we cannot stop, nor is it reasonable we should
stop to hear anything, unless indeed it is short enough to be said in two

"I will say it in one," replied Don Quixote, "and it is this; that at
once, this very instant, ye release that fair lady whose tears and sad
aspect show plainly that ye are carrying her off against her will, and
that ye have committed some scandalous outrage against her; and I, who
was born into the world to redress all such like wrongs, will not permit
you to advance another step until you have restored to her the liberty
she pines for and deserves."

From these words all the hearers concluded that he must be a madman, and
began to laugh heartily, and their laughter acted like gunpowder on Don
Quixote's fury, for drawing his sword without another word he made a rush
at the stand. One of those who supported it, leaving the burden to his
comrades, advanced to meet him, flourishing a forked stick that he had
for propping up the stand when resting, and with this he caught a mighty
cut Don Quixote made at him that severed it in two; but with the portion
that remained in his hand he dealt such a thwack on the shoulder of Don
Quixote's sword arm (which the buckler could not protect against the
clownish assault) that poor Don Quixote came to the ground in a sad

Sancho Panza, who was coming on close behind puffing and blowing, seeing
him fall, cried out to his assailant not to strike him again, for he was
poor enchanted knight, who had never harmed anyone all the days of his
life; but what checked the clown was, not Sancho's shouting, but seeing
that Don Quixote did not stir hand or foot; and so, fancying he had
killed him, he hastily hitched up his tunic under his girdle and took to
his heels across the country like a deer.

By this time all Don Quixote's companions had come up to where he lay;
but the processionists seeing them come running, and with them the
officers of the Brotherhood with their crossbows, apprehended mischief,
and clustering round the image, raised their hoods, and grasped their
scourges, as the priests did their tapers, and awaited the attack,
resolved to defend themselves and even to take the offensive against
their assailants if they could. Fortune, however, arranged the matter
better than they expected, for all Sancho did was to fling himself on his
master's body, raising over him the most doleful and laughable
lamentation that ever was heard, for he believed he was dead. The curate
was known to another curate who walked in the procession, and their
recognition of one another set at rest the apprehensions of both parties;
the first then told the other in two words who Don Quixote was, and he
and the whole troop of penitents went to see if the poor gentleman was
dead, and heard Sancho Panza saying, with tears in his eyes, "Oh flower
of chivalry, that with one blow of a stick hast ended the course of thy
well-spent life! Oh pride of thy race, honour and glory of all La Mancha,
nay, of all the world, that for want of thee will be full of evil-doers,
no longer in fear of punishment for their misdeeds! Oh thou, generous
above all the Alexanders, since for only eight months of service thou
hast given me the best island the sea girds or surrounds! Humble with the
proud, haughty with the humble, encounterer of dangers, endurer of
outrages, enamoured without reason, imitator of the good, scourge of the
wicked, enemy of the mean, in short, knight-errant, which is all that can
be said!"

At the cries and moans of Sancho, Don Quixote came to himself, and the
first word he said was, "He who lives separated from you, sweetest
Dulcinea, has greater miseries to endure than these. Aid me, friend
Sancho, to mount the enchanted cart, for I am not in a condition to press
the saddle of Rocinante, as this shoulder is all knocked to pieces."

"That I will do with all my heart, senor," said Sancho; "and let us
return to our village with these gentlemen, who seek your good, and there
we will prepare for making another sally, which may turn out more
profitable and creditable to us."

"Thou art right, Sancho," returned Don Quixote; "It will be wise to let
the malign influence of the stars which now prevails pass off."

The canon, the curate, and the barber told him he would act very wisely
in doing as he said; and so, highly amused at Sancho Panza's
simplicities, they placed Don Quixote in the cart as before. The
procession once more formed itself in order and proceeded on its road;
the goatherd took his leave of the party; the officers of the Brotherhood
declined to go any farther, and the curate paid them what was due to
them; the canon begged the curate to let him know how Don Quixote did,
whether he was cured of his madness or still suffered from it, and then
begged leave to continue his journey; in short, they all separated and
went their ways, leaving to themselves the curate and the barber, Don
Quixote, Sancho Panza, and the good Rocinante, who regarded everything
with as great resignation as his master. The carter yoked his oxen and
made Don Quixote comfortable on a truss of hay, and at his usual
deliberate pace took the road the curate directed, and at the end of six
days they reached Don Quixote's village, and entered it about the middle
of the day, which it so happened was a Sunday, and the people were all in
the plaza, through which Don Quixote's cart passed. They all flocked to
see what was in the cart, and when they recognised their townsman they
were filled with amazement, and a boy ran off to bring the news to his
housekeeper and his niece that their master and uncle had come back all
lean and yellow and stretched on a truss of hay on an ox-cart. It was
piteous to hear the cries the two good ladies raised, how they beat their
breasts and poured out fresh maledictions on those accursed books of
chivalry; all which was renewed when they saw Don Quixote coming in at
the gate.

At the news of Don Quixote's arrival Sancho Panza's wife came running,
for she by this time knew that her husband had gone away with him as his
squire, and on seeing Sancho, the first thing she asked him was if the
ass was well. Sancho replied that he was, better than his master was.

"Thanks be to God," said she, "for being so good to me; but now tell me,
my friend, what have you made by your squirings? What gown have you
brought me back? What shoes for your children?"

"I bring nothing of that sort, wife," said Sancho; "though I bring other
things of more consequence and value."

"I am very glad of that," returned his wife; "show me these things of
more value and consequence, my friend; for I want to see them to cheer my
heart that has been so sad and heavy all these ages that you have been

"I will show them to you at home, wife," said Sancho; "be content for the
present; for if it please God that we should again go on our travels in
search of adventures, you will soon see me a count, or governor of an
island, and that not one of those everyday ones, but the best that is to
be had."

"Heaven grant it, husband," said she, "for indeed we have need of it. But
tell me, what's this about islands, for I don't understand it?"

"Honey is not for the mouth of the ass," returned Sancho; "all in good
time thou shalt see, wife--nay, thou wilt be surprised to hear thyself
called 'your ladyship' by all thy vassals."

"What are you talking about, Sancho, with your ladyships, islands, and
vassals?" returned Teresa Panza--for so Sancho's wife was called, though
they were not relations, for in La Mancha it is customary for wives to
take their husbands' surnames.

"Don't be in such a hurry to know all this, Teresa," said Sancho; "it is
enough that I am telling you the truth, so shut your mouth. But I may
tell you this much by the way, that there is nothing in the world more
delightful than to be a person of consideration, squire to a
knight-errant, and a seeker of adventures. To be sure most of those one
finds do not end as pleasantly as one could wish, for out of a hundred,
ninety-nine will turn out cross and contrary. I know it by experience,
for out of some I came blanketed, and out of others belaboured. Still,
for all that, it is a fine thing to be on the look-out for what may
happen, crossing mountains, searching woods, climbing rocks, visiting
castles, putting up at inns, all at free quarters, and devil take the
maravedi to pay."

While this conversation passed between Sancho Panza and his wife, Don
Quixote's housekeeper and niece took him in and undressed him and laid
him in his old bed. He eyed them askance, and could not make out where he
was. The curate charged his niece to be very careful to make her uncle
comfortable and to keep a watch over him lest he should make his escape
from them again, telling her what they had been obliged to do to bring
him home. On this the pair once more lifted up their voices and renewed
their maledictions upon the books of chivalry, and implored heaven to
plunge the authors of such lies and nonsense into the midst of the
bottomless pit. They were, in short, kept in anxiety and dread lest their
uncle and master should give them the slip the moment he found himself
somewhat better, and as they feared so it fell out.

But the author of this history, though he has devoted research and
industry to the discovery of the deeds achieved by Don Quixote in his
third sally, has been unable to obtain any information respecting them,
at any rate derived from authentic documents; tradition has merely
preserved in the memory of La Mancha the fact that Don Quixote, the third
time he sallied forth from his home, betook himself to Saragossa, where
he was present at some famous jousts which came off in that city, and
that he had adventures there worthy of his valour and high intelligence.
Of his end and death he could learn no particulars, nor would he have
ascertained it or known of it, if good fortune had not produced an old
physician for him who had in his possession a leaden box, which,
according to his account, had been discovered among the crumbling
foundations of an ancient hermitage that was being rebuilt; in which box
were found certain parchment manuscripts in Gothic character, but in
Castilian verse, containing many of his achievements, and setting forth
the beauty of Dulcinea, the form of Rocinante, the fidelity of Sancho
Panza, and the burial of Don Quixote himself, together with sundry
epitaphs and eulogies on his life and character; but all that could be
read and deciphered were those which the trustworthy author of this new
and unparalleled history here presents. And the said author asks of those
that shall read it nothing in return for the vast toil which it has cost
him in examining and searching the Manchegan archives in order to bring
it to light, save that they give him the same credit that people of sense
give to the books of chivalry that pervade the world and are so popular;
for with this he will consider himself amply paid and fully satisfied,
and will be encouraged to seek out and produce other histories, if not as
truthful, at least equal in invention and not less entertaining. The
first words written on the parchment found in the leaden box were these:



The scatterbrain that gave La Mancha more
Rich spoils than Jason's; who a point so keen
Had to his wit, and happier far had been
If his wit's weathercock a blunter bore;
The arm renowned far as Gaeta's shore,
Cathay, and all the lands that lie between;
The muse discreet and terrible in mien
As ever wrote on brass in days of yore;
He who surpassed the Amadises all,
And who as naught the Galaors accounted,
Supported by his love and gallantry:
Who made the Belianises sing small,
And sought renown on Rocinante mounted;
Here, underneath this cold stone, doth he lie.



She, whose full features may be here descried,
High-bosomed, with a bearing of disdain,
Is Dulcinea, she for whom in vain
The great Don Quixote of La Mancha sighed.
For her, Toboso's queen, from side to side
He traversed the grim sierra, the champaign
Of Aranjuez, and Montiel's famous plain:
On Rocinante oft a weary ride.
Malignant planets, cruel destiny,
Pursued them both, the fair Manchegan dame,
And the unconquered star of chivalry.
Nor youth nor beauty saved her from the claim
Of death; he paid love's bitter penalty,
And left the marble to preserve his name.



On that proud throne of diamantine sheen,
Which the blood-reeking feet of Mars degrade,
The mad Manchegan's banner now hath been
By him in all its bravery displayed.
There hath he hung his arms and trenchant blade
Wherewith, achieving deeds till now unseen,
He slays, lays low, cleaves, hews; but art hath made
A novel style for our new paladin.
If Amadis be the proud boast of Gaul,
If by his progeny the fame of Greece
Through all the regions of the earth be spread,
Great Quixote crowned in grim Bellona's hall
To-day exalts La Mancha over these,
And above Greece or Gaul she holds her head.
Nor ends his glory here, for his good steed
Doth Brillador and Bayard far exceed;
As mettled steeds compared with Rocinante,
The reputation they have won is scanty.



The worthy Sancho Panza here you see;
A great soul once was in that body small,
Nor was there squire upon this earthly ball
So plain and simple, or of guile so free.
Within an ace of being Count was he,

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