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Don Quixote by Miqeul de Cervantes [Saavedra]

Part 10 out of 21

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trappings that you robbed me of."

Sancho, finding himself so unexpectedly assailed, and hearing the
abuse poured upon him, seized the pack-saddle with one hand, and
with the other gave the barber a cuff that bathed his teeth in
blood. The barber, however, was not so ready to relinquish the prize
he had made in the pack-saddle; on the contrary, he raised such an
outcry that everyone in the inn came running to know what the noise
and quarrel meant. "Here, in the name of the king and justice!" he
cried, "this thief and highwayman wants to kill me for trying to
recover my property."

"You lie," said Sancho, "I am no highwayman; it was in fair war my
master Don Quixote won these spoils."

Don Quixote was standing by at the time, highly pleased to see his
squire's stoutness, both offensive and defensive, and from that time
forth he reckoned him a man of mettle, and in his heart resolved to
dub him a knight on the first opportunity that presented itself,
feeling sure that the order of chivalry would be fittingly bestowed
upon him.

In the course of the altercation, among other things the barber
said, "Gentlemen, this pack-saddle is mine as surely as I owe God a
death, and I know it as well as if I had given birth to it, and here
is my ass in the stable who will not let me lie; only try it, and if
it does not fit him like a glove, call me a rascal; and what is
more, the same day I was robbed of this, they robbed me likewise of
a new brass basin, never yet handselled, that would fetch a crown
any day."

At this Don Quixote could not keep himself from answering; and
interposing between the two, and separating them, he placed the
pack-saddle on the ground, to lie there in sight until the truth was
established, and said, "Your worships may perceive clearly and plainly
the error under which this worthy squire lies when he calls a basin
which was, is, and shall be the helmet of Mambrino which I won from
him in air war, and made myself master of by legitimate and lawful
possession. With the pack-saddle I do not concern myself; but I may
tell you on that head that my squire Sancho asked my permission to
strip off the caparison of this vanquished poltroon's steed, and
with it adorn his own; I allowed him, and he took it; and as to its
having been changed from a caparison into a pack-saddle, I can give no
explanation except the usual one, that such transformations will
take place in adventures of chivalry. To confirm all which, run,
Sancho my son, and fetch hither the helmet which this good fellow
calls a basin."

"Egad, master," said Sancho, "if we have no other proof of our
case than what your worship puts forward, Mambrino's helmet is just as
much a basin as this good fellow's caparison is a pack-saddle."

"Do as I bid thee," said Don Quixote; "it cannot be that
everything in this castle goes by enchantment."

Sancho hastened to where the basin was, and brought it back with
him, and when Don Quixote saw it, he took hold of it and said:

"Your worships may see with what a face this squire can assert
that this is a basin and not the helmet I told you of; and I swear
by the order of chivalry I profess, that this helmet is the
identical one I took from him, without anything added to or taken from

"There is no doubt of that," said Sancho, "for from the time my
master won it until now he has only fought one battle in it, when he
let loose those unlucky men in chains; and if had not been for this
basin-helmet he would not have come off over well that time, for there
was plenty of stone-throwing in that affair."



What do you think now, gentlemen," said the barber, "of what these
gentles say, when they want to make out that this is a helmet?"

"And whoever says the contrary," said Don Quixote, "I will let him
know he lies if he is a knight, and if he is a squire that he lies
again a thousand times."

Our own barber, who was present at all this, and understood Don
Quixote's humour so thoroughly, took it into his head to back up his
delusion and carry on the joke for the general amusement; so
addressing the other barber he said:

"Senor barber, or whatever you are, you must know that I belong to
your profession too, and have had a licence to practise for more
than twenty years, and I know the implements of the barber craft,
every one of them, perfectly well; and I was likewise a soldier for
some time in the days of my youth, and I know also what a helmet is,
and a morion, and a headpiece with a visor, and other things
pertaining to soldiering, I meant to say to soldiers' arms; and I say-
saving better opinions and always with submission to sounder judgments
-that this piece we have now before us, which this worthy gentleman
has in his hands, not only is no barber's basin, but is as far from
being one as white is from black, and truth from falsehood; I say,
moreover, that this, although it is a helmet, is not a complete

"Certainly not," said Don Quixote, "for half of it is wanting,
that is to say the beaver."

"It is quite true," said the curate, who saw the object of his
friend the barber; and Cardenio, Don Fernando and his companions
agreed with him, and even the Judge, if his thoughts had not been so
full of Don Luis's affair, would have helped to carry on the joke; but
he was so taken up with the serious matters he had on his mind that he
paid little or no attention to these facetious proceedings.

"God bless me!" exclaimed their butt the barber at this; "is it
possible that such an honourable company can say that this is not a
basin but a helmet? Why, this is a thing that would astonish a whole
university, however wise it might be! That will do; if this basin is a
helmet, why, then the pack-saddle must be a horse's caparison, as this
gentleman has said."

"To me it looks like a pack-saddle," said Don Quixote; "but I have
already said that with that question I do not concern myself."

"As to whether it be pack-saddle or caparison," said the curate, "it
is only for Senor Don Quixote to say; for in these matters of chivalry
all these gentlemen and I bow to his authority."

"By God, gentlemen," said Don Quixote, "so many strange things
have happened to me in this castle on the two occasions on which I
have sojourned in it, that I will not venture to assert anything
positively in reply to any question touching anything it contains; for
it is my belief that everything that goes on within it goes by
enchantment. The first time, an enchanted Moor that there is in it
gave me sore trouble, nor did Sancho fare well among certain followers
of his; and last night I was kept hanging by this arm for nearly two
hours, without knowing how or why I came by such a mishap. So that
now, for me to come forward to give an opinion in such a puzzling
matter, would be to risk a rash decision. As regards the assertion
that this is a basin and not a helmet I have already given an
answer; but as to the question whether this is a pack-saddle or a
caparison I will not venture to give a positive opinion, but will
leave it to your worships' better judgment. Perhaps as you are not
dubbed knights like myself, the enchantments of this place have
nothing to do with you, and your faculties are unfettered, and you can
see things in this castle as they really and truly are, and not as
they appear to me."

"There can be no question," said Don Fernando on this, "but that
Senor Don Quixote has spoken very wisely, and that with us rests the
decision of this matter; and that we may have surer ground to go on, I
will take the votes of the gentlemen in secret, and declare the result
clearly and fully."

To those who were in the secret of Don Quixote's humour all this
afforded great amusement; but to those who knew nothing about it, it
seemed the greatest nonsense in the world, in particular to the four
servants of Don Luis, as well as to Don Luis himself, and to three
other travellers who had by chance come to the inn, and had the
appearance of officers of the Holy Brotherhood, as indeed they were;
but the one who above all was at his wits' end, was the barber
basin, there before his very eyes, had been turned into Mambrino's
helmet, and whose pack-saddle he had no doubt whatever was about to
become a rich caparison for a horse. All laughed to see Don Fernando
going from one to another collecting the votes, and whispering to them
to give him their private opinion whether the treasure over which
there had been so much fighting was a pack-saddle or a caparison;
but after he had taken the votes of those who knew Don Quixote, he
said aloud, "The fact is, my good fellow, that I am tired collecting
such a number of opinions, for I find that there is not one of whom
I ask what I desire to know, who does not tell me that it is absurd to
say that this is the pack-saddle of an ass, and not the caparison of a
horse, nay, of a thoroughbred horse; so you must submit, for, in spite
of you and your ass, this is a caparison and no pack-saddle, and you
have stated and proved your case very badly."

"May I never share heaven," said the poor barber, "if your
worships are not all mistaken; and may my soul appear before God as
that appears to me a pack-saddle and not a caparison; but, 'laws go,'-
I say no more; and indeed I am not drunk, for I am fasting, except
it be from sin."

The simple talk of the barber did not afford less amusement than the
absurdities of Don Quixote, who now observed:

"There is no more to be done now than for each to take what
belongs to him, and to whom God has given it, may St. Peter add his

But said one of the four servants, "Unless, indeed, this is a
deliberate joke, I cannot bring myself to believe that men so
intelligent as those present are, or seem to be, can venture to
declare and assert that this is not a basin, and that not a
pack-saddle; but as I perceive that they do assert and declare it, I
can only come to the conclusion that there is some mystery in this
persistence in what is so opposed to the evidence of experience and
truth itself; for I swear by"- and here he rapped out a round oath-
"all the people in the world will not make me believe that this is not
a barber's basin and that a jackass's pack-saddle."

"It might easily be a she-ass's," observed the curate.

"It is all the same," said the servant; "that is not the point;
but whether it is or is not a pack-saddle, as your worships say."

On hearing this one of the newly arrived officers of the
Brotherhood, who had been listening to the dispute and controversy,
unable to restrain his anger and impatience, exclaimed, "It is a
pack-saddle as sure as my father is my father, and whoever has said or
will say anything else must be drunk."

"You lie like a rascally clown," returned Don Quixote; and lifting
his pike, which he had never let out of his hand, he delivered such
a blow at his head that, had not the officer dodged it, it would
have stretched him at full length. The pike was shivered in pieces
against the ground, and the rest of the officers, seeing their comrade
assaulted, raised a shout, calling for help for the Holy
Brotherhood. The landlord, who was of the fraternity, ran at once to
fetch his staff of office and his sword, and ranged himself on the
side of his comrades; the servants of Don Luis clustered round him,
lest he should escape from them in the confusion; the barber, seeing
the house turned upside down, once more laid hold of his pack-saddle
and Sancho did the same; Don Quixote drew his sword and charged the
officers; Don Luis cried out to his servants to leave him alone and go
and help Don Quixote, and Cardenio and Don Fernando, who were
supporting him; the curate was shouting at the top of his voice, the
landlady was screaming, her daughter was wailing, Maritornes was
weeping, Dorothea was aghast, Luscinda terror-stricken, and Dona Clara
in a faint. The barber cudgelled Sancho, and Sancho pommelled the
barber; Don Luis gave one of his servants, who ventured to catch him
by the arm to keep him from escaping, a cuff that bathed his teeth
in blood; the Judge took his part; Don Fernando had got one of the
officers down and was belabouring him heartily; the landlord raised
his voice again calling for help for the Holy Brotherhood; so that the
whole inn was nothing but cries, shouts, shrieks, confusion, terror,
dismay, mishaps, sword-cuts, fisticuffs, cudgellings, kicks, and
bloodshed; and in the midst of all this chaos, complication, and
general entanglement, Don Quixote took it into his head that he had
been plunged into the thick of the discord of Agramante's camp; and,
in a voice that shook the inn like thunder, he cried out:

"Hold all, let all sheathe their swords, let all be calm and
attend to me as they value their lives!"

All paused at his mighty voice, and he went on to say, "Did I not
tell you, sirs, that this castle was enchanted, and that a legion or
so of devils dwelt in it? In proof whereof I call upon you to behold
with your own eyes how the discord of Agramante's camp has come
hither, and been transferred into the midst of us. See how they fight,
there for the sword, here for the horse, on that side for the eagle,
on this for the helmet; we are all fighting, and all at cross
purposes. Come then, you, Senor Judge, and you, senor curate; let
the one represent King Agramante and the other King Sobrino, and
make peace among us; for by God Almighty it is a sorry business that
so many persons of quality as we are should slay one another for
such trifling cause."
The officers, who did not understand Don Quixote's mode of
speaking, and found themselves roughly handled by Don Fernando,
Cardenio, and their companions, were not to be appeased; the barber
was, however, for both his beard and his pack-saddle were the worse
for the struggle; Sancho like a good servant obeyed the slightest word
of his master; while the four servants of Don Luis kept quiet when
they saw how little they gained by not being so. The landlord alone
insisted upon it that they must punish the insolence of this madman,
who at every turn raised a disturbance in the inn; but at length the
uproar was stilled for the present; the pack-saddle remained a
caparison till the day of judgment, and the basin a helmet and the inn
a castle in Don Quixote's imagination.

All having been now pacified and made friends by the persuasion of
the Judge and the curate, the servants of Don Luis began again to urge
him to return with them at once; and while he was discussing the
matter with them, the Judge took counsel with Don Fernando,
Cardenio, and the curate as to what he ought to do in the case,
telling them how it stood, and what Don Luis had said to him. It was
agreed at length that Don Fernando should tell the servants of Don
Luis who he was, and that it was his desire that Don Luis should
accompany him to Andalusia, where he would receive from the marquis
his brother the welcome his quality entitled him to; for, otherwise,
it was easy to see from the determination of Don Luis that he would
not return to his father at present, though they tore him to pieces.
On learning the rank of Don Fernando and the resolution of Don Luis
the four then settled it between themselves that three of them
should return to tell his father how matters stood, and that the other
should remain to wait upon Don Luis, and not leave him until they came
back for him, or his father's orders were known. Thus by the authority
of Agramante and the wisdom of King Sobrino all this complication of
disputes was arranged; but the enemy of concord and hater of peace,
feeling himself slighted and made a fool of, and seeing how little
he had gained after having involved them all in such an elaborate
entanglement, resolved to try his hand once more by stirring up
fresh quarrels and disturbances.

It came about in this wise: the officers were pacified on learning
the rank of those with whom they had been engaged, and withdrew from
the contest, considering that whatever the result might be they were
likely to get the worst of the battle; but one of them, the one who
had been thrashed and kicked by Don Fernando, recollected that among
some warrants he carried for the arrest of certain delinquents, he had
one against Don Quixote, whom the Holy Brotherhood had ordered to be
arrested for setting the galley slaves free, as Sancho had, with
very good reason, apprehended. Suspecting how it was, then, he
wished to satisfy himself as to whether Don Quixote's features
corresponded; and taking a parchment out of his bosom he lit upon what
he was in search of, and setting himself to read it deliberately,
for he was not a quick reader, as he made out each word he fixed his
eyes on Don Quixote, and went on comparing the description in the
warrant with his face, and discovered that beyond all doubt he was the
person described in it. As soon as he had satisfied himself, folding
up the parchment, he took the warrant in his left hand and with his
right seized Don Quixote by the collar so tightly that he did not
allow him to breathe, and shouted aloud, "Help for the Holy
Brotherhood! and that you may see I demand it in earnest, read this
warrant which says this highwayman is to be arrested."

The curate took the warrant and saw that what the officer said was
true, and that it agreed with Don Quixote's appearance, who, on his
part, when he found himself roughly handled by this rascally clown,
worked up to the highest pitch of wrath, and all his joints cracking
with rage, with both hands seized the officer by the throat with all
his might, so that had he not been helped by his comrades he would
have yielded up his life ere Don Quixote released his hold. The
landlord, who had perforce to support his brother officers, ran at
once to aid them. The landlady, when she saw her husband engaged in
a fresh quarrel, lifted up her voice afresh, and its note was
immediately caught up by Maritornes and her daughter, calling upon
heaven and all present for help; and Sancho, seeing what was going on,
exclaimed, "By the Lord, it is quite true what my master says about
the enchantments of this castle, for it is impossible to live an
hour in peace in it!"

Don Fernando parted the officer and Don Quixote, and to their mutual
contentment made them relax the grip by which they held, the one the
coat collar, the other the throat of his adversary; for all this,
however, the officers did not cease to demand their prisoner and
call on them to help, and deliver him over bound into their power,
as was required for the service of the King and of the Holy
Brotherhood, on whose behalf they again demanded aid and assistance to
effect the capture of this robber and footpad of the highways.

Don Quixote smiled when he heard these words, and said very
calmly, "Come now, base, ill-born brood; call ye it highway robbery to
give freedom to those in bondage, to release the captives, to
succour the miserable, to raise up the fallen, to relieve the needy?
Infamous beings, who by your vile grovelling intellects deserve that
heaven should not make known to you the virtue that lies in
knight-errantry, or show you the sin and ignorance in which ye lie
when ye refuse to respect the shadow, not to say the presence, of
any knight-errant! Come now; band, not of officers, but of thieves;
footpads with the licence of the Holy Brotherhood; tell me who was the
ignoramus who signed a warrant of arrest against such a knight as I
am? Who was he that did not know that knights-errant are independent
of all jurisdictions, that their law is their sword, their charter
their prowess, and their edicts their will? Who, I say again, was
the fool that knows not that there are no letters patent of nobility
that confer such privileges or exemptions as a knight-errant
acquires the day he is dubbed a knight, and devotes himself to the
arduous calling of chivalry? What knight-errant ever paid poll-tax,
duty, queen's pin-money, king's dues, toll or ferry? What tailor
ever took payment of him for making his clothes? What castellan that
received him in his castle ever made him pay his shot? What king did
not seat him at his table? What damsel was not enamoured of him and
did not yield herself up wholly to his will and pleasure? And, lastly,
what knight-errant has there been, is there, or will there ever be
in the world, not bold enough to give, single-handed, four hundred
cudgellings to four hundred officers of the Holy Brotherhood if they
come in his way?"



While Don Quixote was talking in this strain, the curate was
endeavouring to persuade the officers that he was out of his senses,
as they might perceive by his deeds and his words, and that they
need not press the matter any further, for even if they arrested him
and carried him off, they would have to release him by-and-by as a
madman; to which the holder of the warrant replied that he had nothing
to do with inquiring into Don Quixote's madness, but only to execute
his superior's orders, and that once taken they might let him go three
hundred times if they liked.

"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

"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

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



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!" 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 breed."

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

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 he 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

"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

"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 aint-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 protection."

"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

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 instruction."

"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 reply:

"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."



"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 way."

"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

"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 counties."

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 philosophers."

"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

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 story."

"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



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

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

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

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