Miqeul de Cervantes [Saavedra]
Part 12 out of 21
"Do you know why, husband?" replied Teresa; "because of the
proverb that says 'who covers thee, discovers thee.' At the poor man
people only throw a hasty glance; on the rich man they fix their eyes;
and if the said rich man was once on a time poor, it is then there
is the sneering and the tattle and spite of backbiters; and in the
streets here they swarm as thick as bees."
"Look here, Teresa," said Sancho, "and listen to what I am now going
to say to you; maybe you never heard it in all your life; and I do not
give my own notions, for what I am about to say are the opinions of
his reverence the preacher, who preached in this town last Lent, and
who said, if I remember rightly, that all things present that our eyes
behold, bring themselves before us, and remain and fix themselves on
our memory much better and more forcibly than things past."
These observations which Sancho makes here are the other ones on
account of which the translator says he regards this chapter as
apocryphal, inasmuch as they are beyond Sancho's capacity.
"Whence it arises," he continued, "that when we see any person
well dressed and making a figure with rich garments and retinue of
servants, it seems to lead and impel us perforce to respect him,
though memory may at the same moment recall to us some lowly condition
in which we have seen him, but which, whether it may have been poverty
or low birth, being now a thing of the past, has no existence; while
the only thing that has any existence is what we see before us; and if
this person whom fortune has raised from his original lowly state
(these were the very words the padre used) to his present height of
prosperity, be well bred, generous, courteous to all, without
seeking to vie with those whose nobility is of ancient date, depend
upon it, Teresa, no one will remember what he was, and everyone will
respect what he is, except indeed the envious, from whom no fair
fortune is safe."
"I do not understand you, husband," replied Teresa; "do as you like,
and don't break my head with any more speechifying and rethoric; and
if you have revolved to do what you say-"
"Resolved, you should say, woman," said Sancho, "not revolved."
"Don't set yourself to wrangle with me, husband," said Teresa; "I
speak as God pleases, and don't deal in out-of-the-way phrases; and
I say if you are bent upon having a government, take your son Sancho
with you, and teach him from this time on how to hold a government;
for sons ought to inherit and learn the trades of their fathers."
"As soon as I have the government," said Sancho, "I will send for
him by post, and I will send thee money, of which I shall have no
lack, for there is never any want of people to lend it to governors
when they have not got it; and do thou dress him so as to hide what he
is and make him look what he is to be."
"You send the money," said Teresa, "and I'll dress him up for you as
fine as you please."
"Then we are agreed that our daughter is to be a countess," said
"The day that I see her a countess," replied Teresa, "it will be the
same to me as if I was burying her; but once more I say do as you
please, for we women are born to this burden of being obedient to
our husbands, though they be dogs;" and with this she began to weep in
earnest, as if she already saw Sanchica dead and buried.
Sancho consoled her by saying that though he must make her a
countess, he would put it off as long as possible. Here their
conversation came to an end, and Sancho went back to see Don
Quixote, and make arrangements for their departure.
OF WHAT TOOK PLACE BETWEEN DON QUIXOTE AND HIS NIECE AND
HOUSEKEEPER; ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT CHAPTERS IN THE WHOLE HISTORY
While Sancho Panza and his wife, Teresa Cascajo, held the above
irrelevant conversation, Don Quixote's niece and housekeeper were
not idle, for by a thousand signs they began to perceive that their
uncle and master meant to give them the slip the third time, and
once more betake himself to his, for them, ill-errant chivalry. They
strove by all the means in their power to divert him from such an
unlucky scheme; but it was all preaching in the desert and hammering
cold iron. Nevertheless, among many other representations made to him,
the housekeeper said to him, "In truth, master, if you do not keep
still and stay quiet at home, and give over roaming mountains and
valleys like a troubled spirit, looking for what they say are called
adventures, but what I call misfortunes, I shall have to make
complaint to God and the king with loud supplication to send some
To which Don Quixote replied, "What answer God will give to your
complaints, housekeeper, I know not, nor what his Majesty will
answer either; I only know that if I were king I should decline to
answer the numberless silly petitions they present every day; for
one of the greatest among the many troubles kings have is being
obliged to listen to all and answer all, and therefore I should be
sorry that any affairs of mine should worry him."
Whereupon the housekeeper said, "Tell us, senor, at his Majesty's
court are there no knights?"
"There are," replied Don Quixote, "and plenty of them; and it is
right there should be, to set off the dignity of the prince, and for
the greater glory of the king's majesty."
"Then might not your worship," said she, "be one of those that,
without stirring a step, serve their king and lord in his court?"
"Recollect, my friend," said Don Quixote, "all knights cannot be
courtiers, nor can all courtiers be knights-errant, nor need they
be. There must be all sorts in the world; and though we may be all
knights, there is a great difference between one and another; for
the courtiers, without quitting their chambers, or the threshold of
the court, range the world over by looking at a map, without its
costing them a farthing, and without suffering heat or cold, hunger or
thirst; but we, the true knights-errant, measure the whole earth
with our own feet, exposed to the sun, to the cold, to the air, to the
inclemencies of heaven, by day and night, on foot and on horseback;
nor do we only know enemies in pictures, but in their own real shapes;
and at all risks and on all occasions we attack them, without any
regard to childish points or rules of single combat, whether one has
or has not a shorter lance or sword, whether one carries relics or any
secret contrivance about him, whether or not the sun is to be
divided and portioned out, and other niceties of the sort that are
observed in set combats of man to man, that you know nothing about,
but I do. And you must know besides, that the true knight-errant,
though he may see ten giants, that not only touch the clouds with
their heads but pierce them, and that go, each of them, on two tall
towers by way of legs, and whose arms are like the masts of mighty
ships, and each eye like a great mill-wheel, and glowing brighter than
a glass furnace, must not on any account be dismayed by them. On the
contrary, he must attack and fall upon them with a gallant bearing and
a fearless heart, and, if possible, vanquish and destroy them, even
though they have for armour the shells of a certain fish, that they
say are harder than diamonds, and in place of swords wield trenchant
blades of Damascus steel, or clubs studded with spikes also of
steel, such as I have more than once seen. All this I say,
housekeeper, that you may see the difference there is between the
one sort of knight and the other; and it would be well if there were
no prince who did not set a higher value on this second, or more
properly speaking first, kind of knights-errant; for, as we read in
their histories, there have been some among them who have been the
salvation, not merely of one kingdom, but of many."
"Ah, senor," here exclaimed the niece, "remember that all this you
are saying about knights-errant is fable and fiction; and their
histories, if indeed they were not burned, would deserve, each of
them, to have a sambenito put on it, or some mark by which it might be
known as infamous and a corrupter of good manners."
"By the God that gives me life," said Don Quixote, "if thou wert not
my full niece, being daughter of my own sister, I would inflict a
chastisement upon thee for the blasphemy thou hast uttered that all
the world should ring with. What! can it be that a young hussy that
hardly knows how to handle a dozen lace-bobbins dares to wag her
tongue and criticise the histories of knights-errant? What would Senor
Amadis say if he heard of such a thing? He, however, no doubt would
forgive thee, for he was the most humble-minded and courteous knight
of his time, and moreover a great protector of damsels; but some there
are that might have heard thee, and it would not have been well for
thee in that case; for they are not all courteous or mannerly; some
are ill-conditioned scoundrels; nor is it everyone that calls
himself a gentleman, that is so in all respects; some are gold, others
pinchbeck, and all look like gentlemen, but not all can stand the
touchstone of truth. There are men of low rank who strain themselves
to bursting to pass for gentlemen, and high gentlemen who, one would
fancy, were dying to pass for men of low rank; the former raise
themselves by their ambition or by their virtues, the latter debase
themselves by their lack of spirit or by their vices; and one has need
of experience and discernment to distinguish these two kinds of
gentlemen, so much alike in name and so different in conduct."
"God bless me!" said the niece, "that you should know so much,
uncle- enough, if need be, to get up into a pulpit and go preach in
the streets -and yet that you should fall into a delusion so great and
a folly so manifest as to try to make yourself out vigorous when you
are old, strong when you are sickly, able to put straight what is
crooked when you yourself are bent by age, and, above all, a caballero
when you are not one; for though gentlefolk may he so, poor men are
nothing of the kind!"
"There is a great deal of truth in what you say, niece," returned
Don Quixote, "and I could tell you somewhat about birth that would
astonish you; but, not to mix up things human and divine, I refrain.
Look you, my dears, all the lineages in the world (attend to what I am
saying) can be reduced to four sorts, which are these: those that
had humble beginnings, and went on spreading and extending
themselves until they attained surpassing greatness; those that had
great beginnings and maintained them, and still maintain and uphold
the greatness of their origin; those, again, that from a great
beginning have ended in a point like a pyramid, having reduced and
lessened their original greatness till it has come to nought, like the
point of a pyramid, which, relatively to its base or foundation, is
nothing; and then there are those- and it is they that are the most
numerous- that have had neither an illustrious beginning nor a
remarkable mid-course, and so will have an end without a name, like an
ordinary plebeian line. Of the first, those that had an humble
origin and rose to the greatness they still preserve, the Ottoman
house may serve as an example, which from an humble and lowly
shepherd, its founder, has reached the height at which we now see
it. For examples of the second sort of lineage, that began with
greatness and maintains it still without adding to it, there are the
many princes who have inherited the dignity, and maintain themselves
in their inheritance, without increasing or diminishing it, keeping
peacefully within the limits of their states. Of those that began
great and ended in a point, there are thousands of examples, for all
the Pharaohs and Ptolemies of Egypt, the Caesars of Rome, and the
whole herd (if I may such a word to them) of countless princes,
monarchs, lords, Medes, Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, and barbarians,
all these lineages and lordships have ended in a point and come to
nothing, they themselves as well as their founders, for it would be
impossible now to find one of their descendants, and, even should we
find one, it would be in some lowly and humble condition. Of
plebeian lineages I have nothing to say, save that they merely serve
to swell the number of those that live, without any eminence to
entitle them to any fame or praise beyond this. From all I have said I
would have you gather, my poor innocents, that great is the
confusion among lineages, and that only those are seen to be great and
illustrious that show themselves so by the virtue, wealth, and
generosity of their possessors. I have said virtue, wealth, and
generosity, because a great man who is vicious will be a great example
of vice, and a rich man who is not generous will be merely a miserly
beggar; for the possessor of wealth is not made happy by possessing
it, but by spending it, and not by spending as he pleases, but by
knowing how to spend it well. The poor gentleman has no way of showing
that he is a gentleman but by virtue, by being affable, well-bred,
courteous, gentle-mannered, and kindly, not haughty, arrogant, or
censorious, but above all by being charitable; for by two maravedis
given with a cheerful heart to the poor, he will show himself as
generous as he who distributes alms with bell-ringing, and no one that
perceives him to be endowed with the virtues I have named, even though
he know him not, will fail to recognise and set him down as one of
good blood; and it would be strange were it not so; praise has ever
been the reward of virtue, and those who are virtuous cannot fail to
receive commendation. There are two roads, my daughters, by which
men may reach wealth and honours; one is that of letters, the other
that of arms. I have more of arms than of letters in my composition,
and, judging by my inclination to arms, was born under the influence
of the planet Mars. I am, therefore, in a measure constrained to
follow that road, and by it I must travel in spite of all the world,
and it will be labour in vain for you to urge me to resist what heaven
wills, fate ordains, reason requires, and, above all, my own
inclination favours; for knowing as I do the countless toils that
are the accompaniments of knight-errantry, I know, too, the infinite
blessings that are attained by it; I know that the path of virtue is
very narrow, and the road of vice broad and spacious; I know their
ends and goals are different, for the broad and easy road of vice ends
in death, and the narrow and toilsome one of virtue in life, and not
transitory life, but in that which has no end; I know, as our great
Castilian poet says, that-
It is by rugged paths like these they go
That scale the heights of immortality,
Unreached by those that falter here below."
"Woe is me!" exclaimed the niece, "my lord is a poet, too! He
knows everything, and he can do everything; I will bet, if he chose to
turn mason, he could make a house as easily as a cage."
"I can tell you, niece," replied Don Quixote, "if these chivalrous
thoughts did not engage all my faculties, there would be nothing
that I could not do, nor any sort of knickknack that would not come
from my hands, particularly cages and tooth-picks."
At this moment there came a knocking at the door, and when they
asked who was there, Sancho Panza made answer that it was he. The
instant the housekeeper knew who it was, she ran to hide herself so as
not to see him; in such abhorrence did she hold him. The niece let him
in, and his master Don Quixote came forward to receive him with open
arms, and the pair shut themselves up in his room, where they had
another conversation not inferior to the previous one.
OF WHAT PASSED BETWEEN DON QUIXOTE AND HIS SQUIRE, TOGETHER WITH
OTHER VERY NOTABLE INCIDENTS
The instant the housekeeper saw Sancho Panza shut himself in with
her master, she guessed what they were about; and suspecting that
the result of the consultation would be a resolve to undertake a third
sally, she seized her mantle, and in deep anxiety and distress, ran to
find the bachelor Samson Carrasco, as she thought that, being a
well-spoken man, and a new friend of her master's, he might be able to
persuade him to give up any such crazy notion. She found him pacing
the patio of his house, and, perspiring and flurried, she fell at
his feet the moment she saw him.
Carrasco, seeing how distressed and overcome she was, said to her,
"What is this, mistress housekeeper? What has happened to you? One
would think you heart-broken."
"Nothing, Senor Samson," said she, "only that my master is
breaking out, plainly breaking out."
"Whereabouts is he breaking out, senora?" asked Samson; "has any
part of his body burst?"
"He is only breaking out at the door of his madness," she replied;
"I mean, dear senor bachelor, that he is going to break out again (and
this will be the third time) to hunt all over the world for what he
calls ventures, though I can't make out why he gives them that name.
The first time he was brought back to us slung across the back of an
ass, and belaboured all over; and the second time he came in an
ox-cart, shut up in a cage, in which he persuaded himself he was
enchanted, and the poor creature was in such a state that the mother
that bore him would not have known him; lean, yellow, with his eyes
sunk deep in the cells of his skull; so that to bring him round again,
ever so little, cost me more than six hundred eggs, as God knows,
and all the world, and my hens too, that won't let me tell a lie."
"That I can well believe," replied the bachelor, "for they are so
good and so fat, and so well-bred, that they would not say one thing
for another, though they were to burst for it. In short then, mistress
housekeeper, that is all, and there is nothing the matter, except what
it is feared Don Quixote may do?"
"No, senor," said she.
"Well then," returned the bachelor, "don't be uneasy, but go home in
peace; get me ready something hot for breakfast, and while you are
on the way say the prayer of Santa Apollonia, that is if you know
it; for I will come presently and you will see miracles."
"Woe is me," cried the housekeeper, "is it the prayer of Santa
Apollonia you would have me say? That would do if it was the toothache
my master had; but it is in the brains, what he has got."
"I know what I am saying, mistress housekeeper; go, and don't set
yourself to argue with me, for you know I am a bachelor of
Salamanca, and one can't be more of a bachelor than that," replied
Carrasco; and with this the housekeeper retired, and the bachelor went
to look for the curate, and arrange with him what will be told in
its proper place.
While Don Quixote and Sancho were shut up together, they had a
discussion which the history records with great precision and
scrupulous exactness. Sancho said to his master, "Senor, I have educed
my wife to let me go with your worship wherever you choose to take
"Induced, you should say, Sancho," said Don Quixote; "not educed."
"Once or twice, as well as I remember," replied Sancho, "I have
begged of your worship not to mend my words, if so be as you
understand what I mean by them; and if you don't understand them to
say 'Sancho,' or 'devil,' 'I don't understand thee; and if I don't
make my meaning plain, then you may correct me, for I am so focile-"
"I don't understand thee, Sancho," said Don Quixote at once; "for
I know not what 'I am so focile' means."
"'So focile' means I am so much that way," replied Sancho.
"I understand thee still less now," said Don Quixote.
"Well, if you can't understand me," said Sancho, "I don't know how
to put it; I know no more, God help me."
"Oh, now I have hit it," said Don Quixote; "thou wouldst say thou
art so docile, tractable, and gentle that thou wilt take what I say to
thee, and submit to what I teach thee."
"I would bet," said Sancho, "that from the very first you understood
me, and knew what I meant, but you wanted to put me out that you might
hear me make another couple of dozen blunders."
"May be so," replied Don Quixote; "but to come to the point, what
does Teresa say?"
"Teresa says," replied Sancho, "that I should make sure with your
worship, and 'let papers speak and beards be still,' for 'he who binds
does not wrangle,' since one 'take' is better than two 'I'll give
thee's;' and I say a woman's advice is no great thing, and he who
won't take it is a fool."
"And so say I," said Don Quixote; "continue, Sancho my friend; go
on; you talk pearls to-day."
"The fact is," continued Sancho, "that, as your worship knows better
than I do, we are all of us liable to death, and to-day we are, and
to-morrow we are not, and the lamb goes as soon as the sheep, and
nobody can promise himself more hours of life in this world than God
may be pleased to give him; for death is deaf, and when it comes to
knock at our life's door, it is always urgent, and neither prayers,
nor struggles, nor sceptres, nor mitres, can keep it back, as common
talk and report say, and as they tell us from the pulpits every day."
"All that is very true," said Don Quixote; "but I cannot make out
what thou art driving at."
"What I am driving at," said Sancho, "is that your worship settle
some fixed wages for me, to be paid monthly while I am in your
service, and that the same he paid me out of your estate; for I
don't care to stand on rewards which either come late, or ill, or
never at all; God help me with my own. In short, I would like to
know what I am to get, be it much or little; for the hen will lay on
one egg, and many littles make a much, and so long as one gains
something there is nothing lost. To he sure, if it should happen (what
I neither believe nor expect) that your worship were to give me that
island you have promised me, I am not so ungrateful nor so grasping
but that I would be willing to have the revenue of such island
valued and stopped out of my wages in due promotion."
"Sancho, my friend," replied Don Quixote, "sometimes proportion
may be as good as promotion."
"I see," said Sancho; "I'll bet I ought to have said proportion, and
not promotion; but it is no matter, as your worship has understood
"And so well understood," returned Don Quixote, "that I have seen
into the depths of thy thoughts, and know the mark thou art shooting
at with the countless shafts of thy proverbs. Look here, Sancho, I
would readily fix thy wages if I had ever found any instance in the
histories of the knights-errant to show or indicate, by the
slightest hint, what their squires used to get monthly or yearly;
but I have read all or the best part of their histories, and I
cannot remember reading of any knight-errant having assigned fixed
wages to his squire; I only know that they all served on reward, and
that when they least expected it, if good luck attended their masters,
they found themselves recompensed with an island or something
equivalent to it, or at the least they were left with a title and
lordship. If with these hopes and additional inducements you,
Sancho, please to return to my service, well and good; but to
suppose that I am going to disturb or unhinge the ancient usage of
knight-errantry, is all nonsense. And so, my Sancho, get you back to
your house and explain my intentions to your Teresa, and if she
likes and you like to be on reward with me, bene quidem; if not, we
remain friends; for if the pigeon-house does not lack food, it will
not lack pigeons; and bear in mind, my son, that a good hope is better
than a bad holding, and a good grievance better than a bad
compensation. I speak in this way, Sancho, to show you that I can
shower down proverbs just as well as yourself; and in short, I mean to
say, and I do say, that if you don't like to come on reward with me,
and run the same chance that I run, God be with you and make a saint
of you; for I shall find plenty of squires more obedient and
painstaking, and not so thickheaded or talkative as you are."
When Sancho heard his master's firm, resolute language, a cloud came
over the sky with him and the wings of his heart drooped, for he had
made sure that his master would not go without him for all the
wealth of the world; and as he stood there dumbfoundered and moody,
Samson Carrasco came in with the housekeeper and niece, who were
anxious to hear by what arguments he was about to dissuade their
master from going to seek adventures. The arch wag Samson came
forward, and embracing him as he had done before, said with a loud
voice, "O flower of knight-errantry! O shining light of arms! O honour
and mirror of the Spanish nation! may God Almighty in his infinite
power grant that any person or persons, who would impede or hinder thy
third sally, may find no way out of the labyrinth of their schemes,
nor ever accomplish what they most desire!" And then, turning to the
housekeeper, he said, "Mistress housekeeper may just as well give over
saying the prayer of Santa Apollonia, for I know it is the positive
determination of the spheres that Senor Don Quixote shall proceed to
put into execution his new and lofty designs; and I should lay a heavy
burden on my conscience did I not urge and persuade this knight not to
keep the might of his strong arm and the virtue of his valiant
spirit any longer curbed and checked, for by his inactivity he is
defrauding the world of the redress of wrongs, of the protection of
orphans, of the honour of virgins, of the aid of widows, and of the
support of wives, and other matters of this kind appertaining,
belonging, proper and peculiar to the order of knight-errantry. On,
then, my lord Don Quixote, beautiful and brave, let your worship and
highness set out to-day rather than to-morrow; and if anything be
needed for the execution of your purpose, here am I ready in person
and purse to supply the want; and were it requisite to attend your
magnificence as squire, I should esteem it the happiest good fortune."
At this, Don Quixote, turning to Sancho, said, "Did I not tell thee,
Sancho, there would be squires enough and to spare for me? See now who
offers to become one; no less than the illustrious bachelor Samson
Carrasco, the perpetual joy and delight of the courts of the
Salamancan schools, sound in body, discreet, patient under heat or
cold, hunger or thirst, with all the qualifications requisite to
make a knight-errant's squire! But heaven forbid that, to gratify my
own inclination, I should shake or shatter this pillar of letters
and vessel of the sciences, and cut down this towering palm of the
fair and liberal arts. Let this new Samson remain in his own
country, and, bringing honour to it, bring honour at the same time
on the grey heads of his venerable parents; for I will be content with
any squire that comes to hand, as Sancho does not deign to accompany
"I do deign," said Sancho, deeply moved and with tears in his
eyes; "it shall not be said of me, master mine," he continued, "'the
bread eaten and the company dispersed.' Nay, I come of no ungrateful
stock, for all the world knows, but particularly my own town, who
the Panzas from whom I am descended were; and, what is more, I know
and have learned, by many good words and deeds, your worship's
desire to show me favour; and if I have been bargaining more or less
about my wages, it was only to please my wife, who, when she sets
herself to press a point, no hammer drives the hoops of a cask as
she drives one to do what she wants; but, after all, a man must be a
man, and a woman a woman; and as I am a man anyhow, which I can't
deny, I will be one in my own house too, let who will take it amiss;
and so there's nothing more to do but for your worship to make your
will with its codicil in such a way that it can't be provoked, and let
us set out at once, to save Senor Samson's soul from suffering, as
he says his conscience obliges him to persuade your worship to sally
out upon the world a third time; so I offer again to serve your
worship faithfully and loyally, as well and better than all the
squires that served knights-errant in times past or present."
The bachelor was filled with amazement when he heard Sancho's
phraseology and style of talk, for though he had read the first part
of his master's history he never thought that he could be so droll
as he was there described; but now, hearing him talk of a "will and
codicil that could not be provoked," instead of "will and codicil that
could not be revoked," he believed all he had read of him, and set him
down as one of the greatest simpletons of modern times; and he said to
himself that two such lunatics as master and man the world had never
seen. In fine, Don Quixote and Sancho embraced one another and made
friends, and by the advice and with the approval of the great
Carrasco, who was now their oracle, it was arranged that their
departure should take place three days thence, by which time they
could have all that was requisite for the journey ready, and procure a
closed helmet, which Don Quixote said he must by all means take.
Samson offered him one, as he knew a friend of his who had it would
not refuse it to him, though it was more dingy with rust and mildew
than bright and clean like burnished steel.
The curses which both housekeeper and niece poured out on the
bachelor were past counting; they tore their hair, they clawed their
faces, and in the style of the hired mourners that were once in
fashion, they raised a lamentation over the departure of their
master and uncle, as if it had been his death. Samson's intention in
persuading him to sally forth once more was to do what the history
relates farther on; all by the advice of the curate and barber, with
whom he had previously discussed the subject. Finally, then, during
those three days, Don Quixote and Sancho provided themselves with what
they considered necessary, and Sancho having pacified his wife, and
Don Quixote his niece and housekeeper, at nightfall, unseen by
anyone except the bachelor, who thought fit to accompany them half a
league out of the village, they set out for El Toboso, Don Quixote
on his good Rocinante and Sancho on his old Dapple, his alforjas
furnished with certain matters in the way of victuals, and his purse
with money that Don Quixote gave him to meet emergencies. Samson
embraced him, and entreated him to let him hear of his good or evil
fortunes, so that he might rejoice over the former or condole with him
over the latter, as the laws of friendship required. Don Quixote
promised him he would do so, and Samson returned to the village, and
the other two took the road for the great city of El Toboso.
WHEREIN IS RELATED WHAT BEFELL DON QUIXOTE ON HIS WAY TO SEE HIS
LADY DULCINEA DEL TOBOSO
"Blessed be Allah the all-powerful!" says Hamete Benengeli on
beginning this eighth chapter; "blessed be Allah!" he repeats three
times; and he says he utters these thanksgivings at seeing that he has
now got Don Quixote and Sancho fairly afield, and that the readers
of his delightful history may reckon that the achievements and humours
of Don Quixote and his squire are now about to begin; and he urges
them to forget the former chivalries of the ingenious gentleman and to
fix their eyes on those that are to come, which now begin on the
road to El Toboso, as the others began on the plains of Montiel; nor
is it much that he asks in consideration of all he promises, and so he
goes on to say:
Don Quixote and Sancho were left alone, and the moment Samson took
his departure, Rocinante began to neigh, and Dapple to sigh, which, by
both knight and squire, was accepted as a good sign and a very happy
omen; though, if the truth is to be told, the sighs and brays of
Dapple were louder than the neighings of the hack, from which Sancho
inferred that his good fortune was to exceed and overtop that of his
master, building, perhaps, upon some judicial astrology that he may
have known, though the history says nothing about it; all that can
be said is, that when he stumbled or fell, he was heard to say he
wished he had not come out, for by stumbling or falling there was
nothing to be got but a damaged shoe or a broken rib; and, fool as
he was, he was not much astray in this.
Said Don Quixote, "Sancho, my friend, night is drawing on upon us as
we go, and more darkly than will allow us to reach El Toboso by
daylight; for there I am resolved to go before I engage in another
adventure, and there I shall obtain the blessing and generous
permission of the peerless Dulcinea, with which permission I expect
and feel assured that I shall conclude and bring to a happy
termination every perilous adventure; for nothing in life makes
knights-errant more valorous than finding themselves favoured by their
"So I believe," replied Sancho; "but I think it will be difficult
for your worship to speak with her or see her, at any rate where you
will be able to receive her blessing; unless, indeed, she throws it
over the wall of the yard where I saw her the time before, when I took
her the letter that told of the follies and mad things your worship
was doing in the heart of Sierra Morena."
"Didst thou take that for a yard wall, Sancho," said Don Quixote,
"where or at which thou sawest that never sufficiently extolled
grace and beauty? It must have been the gallery, corridor, or
portico of some rich and royal palace."
"It might have been all that," returned Sancho, "but to me it looked
like a wall, unless I am short of memory."
"At all events, let us go there, Sancho," said Don Quixote; "for, so
that I see her, it is the same to me whether it be over a wall, or
at a window, or through the chink of a door, or the grate of a garden;
for any beam of the sun of her beauty that reaches my eyes will give
light to my reason and strength to my heart, so that I shall be
unmatched and unequalled in wisdom and valour."
"Well, to tell the truth, senor," said Sancho, "when I saw that
sun of the lady Dulcinea del Toboso, it was not bright enough to throw
out beams at all; it must have been, that as her grace was sifting
that wheat I told you of, the thick dust she raised came before her
face like a cloud and dimmed it."
"What! dost thou still persist, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "in
saying, thinking, believing, and maintaining that my lady Dulcinea was
sifting wheat, that being an occupation and task entirely at
variance with what is and should be the employment of persons of
distinction, who are constituted and reserved for other avocations and
pursuits that show their rank a bowshot off? Thou hast forgotten, O
Sancho, those lines of our poet wherein he paints for us how, in their
crystal abodes, those four nymphs employed themselves who rose from
their loved Tagus and seated themselves in a verdant meadow to
embroider those tissues which the ingenious poet there describes to
us, how they were worked and woven with gold and silk and pearls;
and something of this sort must have been the employment of my lady
when thou sawest her, only that the spite which some wicked
enchanter seems to have against everything of mine changes all those
things that give me pleasure, and turns them into shapes unlike
their own; and so I fear that in that history of my achievements which
they say is now in print, if haply its author was some sage who is
an enemy of mine, he will have put one thing for another, mingling a
thousand lies with one truth, and amusing himself by relating
transactions which have nothing to do with the sequence of a true
history. O envy, root of all countless evils, and cankerworm of the
virtues! All the vices, Sancho, bring some kind of pleasure with them;
but envy brings nothing but irritation, bitterness, and rage."
"So I say too," replied Sancho; "and I suspect in that legend or
history of us that the bachelor Samson Carrasco told us he saw, my
honour goes dragged in the dirt, knocked about, up and down,
sweeping the streets, as they say. And yet, on the faith of an
honest man, I never spoke ill of any enchanter, and I am not so well
off that I am to be envied; to be sure, I am rather sly, and I have
a certain spice of the rogue in me; but all is covered by the great
cloak of my simplicity, always natural and never acted; and if I had
no other merit save that I believe, as I always do, firmly and truly
in God, and all the holy Roman Catholic Church holds and believes, and
that I am a mortal enemy of the Jews, the historians ought to have
mercy on me and treat me well in their writings. But let them say what
they like; naked was I born, naked I find myself, I neither lose nor
gain; nay, while I see myself put into a book and passed on from
hand to hand over the world, I don't care a fig, let them say what
they like of me."
"That, Sancho," returned Don Quixote, "reminds me of what happened
to a famous poet of our own day, who, having written a bitter satire
against all the courtesan ladies, did not insert or name in it a
certain lady of whom it was questionable whether she was one or not.
She, seeing she was not in the list of the poet, asked him what he had
seen in her that he did not include her in the number of the others,
telling him he must add to his satire and put her in the new part,
or else look out for the consequences. The poet did as she bade him,
and left her without a shred of reputation, and she was satisfied by
getting fame though it was infamy. In keeping with this is what they
relate of that shepherd who set fire to the famous temple of Diana, by
repute one of the seven wonders of the world, and burned it with the
sole object of making his name live in after ages; and, though it
was forbidden to name him, or mention his name by word of mouth or
in writing, lest the object of his ambition should be attained,
nevertheless it became known that he was called Erostratus. And
something of the same sort is what happened in the case of the great
emperor Charles V and a gentleman in Rome. The emperor was anxious
to see that famous temple of the Rotunda, called in ancient times
the temple 'of all the gods,' but now-a-days, by a better
nomenclature, 'of all the saints,' which is the best preserved
building of all those of pagan construction in Rome, and the one which
best sustains the reputation of mighty works and magnificence of its
founders. It is in the form of a half orange, of enormous
dimensions, and well lighted, though no light penetrates it save
that which is admitted by a window, or rather round skylight, at the
top; and it was from this that the emperor examined the building. A
Roman gentleman stood by his side and explained to him the skilful
construction and ingenuity of the vast fabric and its wonderful
architecture, and when they had left the skylight he said to the
emperor, 'A thousand times, your Sacred Majesty, the impulse came upon
me to seize your Majesty in my arms and fling myself down from
yonder skylight, so as to leave behind me in the world a name that
would last for ever.' 'I am thankful to you for not carrying such an
evil thought into effect,' said the emperor, 'and I shall give you
no opportunity in future of again putting your loyalty to the test;
and I therefore forbid you ever to speak to me or to be where I am;
and he followed up these words by bestowing a liberal bounty upon him.
My meaning is, Sancho, that the desire of acquiring fame is a very
powerful motive. What, thinkest thou, was it that flung Horatius in
full armour down from the bridge into the depths of the Tiber? What
burned the hand and arm of Mutius? What impelled Curtius to plunge
into the deep burning gulf that opened in the midst of Rome? What,
in opposition to all the omens that declared against him, made
Julius Caesar cross the Rubicon? And to come to more modern
examples, what scuttled the ships, and left stranded and cut off the
gallant Spaniards under the command of the most courteous Cortes in
the New World? All these and a variety of other great exploits are,
were and will be, the work of fame that mortals desire as a reward and
a portion of the immortality their famous deeds deserve; though we
Catholic Christians and knights-errant look more to that future
glory that is everlasting in the ethereal regions of heaven than to
the vanity of the fame that is to be acquired in this present
transitory life; a fame that, however long it may last, must after all
end with the world itself, which has its own appointed end. So that, O
Sancho, in what we do we must not overpass the bounds which the
Christian religion we profess has assigned to us. We have to slay
pride in giants, envy by generosity and nobleness of heart, anger by
calmness of demeanour and equanimity, gluttony and sloth by the
spareness of our diet and the length of our vigils, lust and
lewdness by the loyalty we preserve to those whom we have made the
mistresses of our thoughts, indolence by traversing the world in all
directions seeking opportunities of making ourselves, besides
Christians, famous knights. Such, Sancho, are the means by which we
reach those extremes of praise that fair fame carries with it."
"All that your worship has said so far," said Sancho, "I have
understood quite well; but still I would be glad if your worship would
dissolve a doubt for me, which has just this minute come into my
"Solve, thou meanest, Sancho," said Don Quixote; "say on, in God's
name, and I will answer as well as I can."
"Tell me, senor," Sancho went on to say, "those Julys or Augusts,
and all those venturous knights that you say are now dead- where are
"The heathens," replied Don Quixote, "are, no doubt, in hell; the
Christians, if they were good Christians, are either in purgatory or
"Very good," said Sancho; "but now I want to know- the tombs where
the bodies of those great lords are, have they silver lamps before
them, or are the walls of their chapels ornamented with crutches,
winding-sheets, tresses of hair, legs and eyes in wax? Or what are
they ornamented with?"
To which Don Quixote made answer: "The tombs of the heathens were
generally sumptuous temples; the ashes of Julius Caesar's body were
placed on the top of a stone pyramid of vast size, which they now call
in Rome Saint Peter's needle. The emperor Hadrian had for a tomb a
castle as large as a good-sized village, which they called the Moles
Adriani, and is now the castle of St. Angelo in Rome. The queen
Artemisia buried her husband Mausolus in a tomb which was reckoned one
of the seven wonders of the world; but none of these tombs, or of
the many others of the heathens, were ornamented with winding-sheets
or any of those other offerings and tokens that show that they who are
buried there are saints."
"That's the point I'm coming to," said Sancho; "and now tell me,
which is the greater work, to bring a dead man to life or to kill a
"The answer is easy," replied Don Quixote; "it is a greater work
to bring to life a dead man."
"Now I have got you," said Sancho; "in that case the fame of them
who bring the dead to life, who give sight to the blind, cure
cripples, restore health to the sick, and before whose tombs there are
lamps burning, and whose chapels are filled with devout folk on
their knees adoring their relics be a better fame in this life and
in the other than that which all the heathen emperors and
knights-errant that have ever been in the world have left or may leave
"That I grant, too," said Don Quixote.
"Then this fame, these favours, these privileges, or whatever you
call it," said Sancho, "belong to the bodies and relics of the
saints who, with the approbation and permission of our holy mother
Church, have lamps, tapers, winding-sheets, crutches, pictures, eyes
and legs, by means of which they increase devotion and add to their
own Christian reputation. Kings carry the bodies or relics of saints
on their shoulders, and kiss bits of their bones, and enrich and adorn
their oratories and favourite altars with them."
"What wouldst thou have me infer from all thou hast said, Sancho?"
asked Don Quixote.
"My meaning is," said Sancho, "let us set about becoming saints, and
we shall obtain more quickly the fair fame we are striving after;
for you know, senor, yesterday or the day before yesterday (for it
is so lately one may say so) they canonised and beatified two little
barefoot friars, and it is now reckoned the greatest good luck to kiss
or touch the iron chains with which they girt and tortured their
bodies, and they are held in greater veneration, so it is said, than
the sword of Roland in the armoury of our lord the King, whom God
preserve. So that, senor, it is better to be an humble little friar of
no matter what order, than a valiant knight-errant; with God a
couple of dozen of penance lashings are of more avail than two
thousand lance-thrusts, be they given to giants, or monsters, or
"All that is true," returned Don Quixote, "but we cannot all be
friars, and many are the ways by which God takes his own to heaven;
chivalry is a religion, there are sainted knights in glory."
"Yes," said Sancho, "but I have heard say that there are more friars
in heaven than knights-errant."
"That," said Don Quixote, "is because those in religious orders
are more numerous than knights."
"The errants are many," said Sancho.
"Many," replied Don Quixote, "but few they who deserve the name of
With these, and other discussions of the same sort, they passed that
night and the following day, without anything worth mention
happening to them, whereat Don Quixote was not a little dejected;
but at length the next day, at daybreak, they descried the great
city of El Toboso, at the sight of which Don Quixote's spirits rose
and Sancho's fell, for he did not know Dulcinea's house, nor in all
his life had he ever seen her, any more than his master; so that
they were both uneasy, the one to see her, the other at not having
seen her, and Sancho was at a loss to know what he was to do when
his master sent him to El Toboso. In the end, Don Quixote made up
his mind to enter the city at nightfall, and they waited until the
time came among some oak trees that were near El Toboso; and when
the moment they had agreed upon arrived, they made their entrance into
the city, where something happened them that may fairly be called
WHEREIN IS RELATED WHAT WILL BE SEEN THERE
'Twas at the very midnight hour- more or less- when Don Quixote
and Sancho quitted the wood and entered El Toboso. The town was in
deep silence, for all the inhabitants were asleep, and stretched on
the broad of their backs, as the saying is. The night was darkish,
though Sancho would have been glad had it been quite dark, so as to
find in the darkness an excuse for his blundering. All over the
place nothing was to be heard except the barking of dogs, which
deafened the ears of Don Quixote and troubled the heart of Sancho. Now
and then an ass brayed, pigs grunted, cats mewed, and the various
noises they made seemed louder in the silence of the night; all
which the enamoured knight took to be of evil omen; nevertheless he
said to Sancho, "Sancho, my son, lead on to the palace of Dulcinea, it
may be that we shall find her awake."
"Body of the sun! what palace am I to lead to," said Sancho, "when
what I saw her highness in was only a very little house?"
"Most likely she had then withdrawn into some small apartment of her
palace," said Don Quixote, "to amuse herself with damsels, as great
ladies and princesses are accustomed to do."
"Senor," said Sancho, "if your worship will have it in spite of me
that the house of my lady Dulcinea is a palace, is this an hour, think
you, to find the door open; and will it be right for us to go knocking
till they hear us and open the door; making a disturbance and
confusion all through the household? Are we going, do you fancy, to
the house of our wenches, like gallants who come and knock and go in
at any hour, however late it may be?"
"Let us first of all find out the palace for certain," replied Don
Quixote, "and then I will tell thee, Sancho, what we had best do;
but look, Sancho, for either I see badly, or that dark mass that one
sees from here should be Dulcinea's palace."
"Then let your worship lead the way," said Sancho, "perhaps it may
be so; though I see it with my eyes and touch it with my hands, I'll
believe it as much as I believe it is daylight now."
Don Quixote took the lead, and having gone a matter of two hundred
paces he came upon the mass that produced the shade, and found it
was a great tower, and then he perceived that the building in question
was no palace, but the chief church of the town, and said he, "It's
the church we have lit upon, Sancho."
"So I see," said Sancho, "and God grant we may not light upon our
graves; it is no good sign to find oneself wandering in a graveyard at
this time of night; and that, after my telling your worship, if I
don't mistake, that the house of this lady will be in an alley without
"The curse of God on thee for a blockhead!" said Don Quixote; "where
hast thou ever heard of castles and royal palaces being built in
alleys without an outlet?"
"Senor," replied Sancho, "every country has a way of its own;
perhaps here in El Toboso it is the way to build palaces and grand
buildings in alleys; so I entreat your worship to let me search
about among these streets or alleys before me, and perhaps, in some
corner or other, I may stumble on this palace- and I wish I saw the
dogs eating it for leading us such a dance."
"Speak respectfully of what belongs to my lady, Sancho," said Don
Quixote; "let us keep the feast in peace, and not throw the rope after
"I'll hold my tongue," said Sancho, "but how am I to take it
patiently when your worship wants me, with only once seeing the
house of our mistress, to know always, and find it in the middle of
the night, when your worship can't find it, who must have seen it
thousands of times?"
"Thou wilt drive me to desperation, Sancho," said Don Quixote. "Look
here, heretic, have I not told thee a thousand times that I have never
once in my life seen the peerless Dulcinea or crossed the threshold of
her palace, and that I am enamoured solely by hearsay and by the great
reputation she bears for beauty and discretion?"
"I hear it now," returned Sancho; "and I may tell you that if you
have not seen her, no more have I."
"That cannot be," said Don Quixote, "for, at any rate, thou
saidst, on bringing back the answer to the letter I sent by thee, that
thou sawest her sifting wheat."
"Don't mind that, senor," said Sancho; "I must tell you that my
seeing her and the answer I brought you back were by hearsay too,
for I can no more tell who the lady Dulcinea is than I can hit the
"Sancho, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "there are times for jests and
times when jests are out of place; if I tell thee that I have
neither seen nor spoken to the lady of my heart, it is no reason why
thou shouldst say thou hast not spoken to her or seen her, when the
contrary is the case, as thou well knowest."
While the two were engaged in this conversation, they perceived some
one with a pair of mules approaching the spot where they stood, and
from the noise the plough made, as it dragged along the ground, they
guessed him to be some labourer who had got up before daybreak to go
to his work, and so it proved to be. He came along singing the
ballad that says-
Ill did ye fare, ye men of France,
In Roncesvalles chase-
"May I die, Sancho," said Don Quixote, when he heard him, "if any
good will come to us tonight! Dost thou not hear what that clown is
"I do," said Sancho, "but what has Roncesvalles chase to do with
what we have in hand? He might just as well be singing the ballad of
Calainos, for any good or ill that can come to us in our business."
By this time the labourer had come up, and Don Quixote asked him,
"Can you tell me, worthy friend, and God speed you, whereabouts here
is the palace of the peerless princess Dona Dulcinea del Toboso?"
"Senor," replied the lad, "I am a stranger, and I have been only a
few days in the town, doing farm work for a rich farmer. In that house
opposite there live the curate of the village and the sacristan, and
both or either of them will be able to give your worship some
account of this lady princess, for they have a list of all the
people of El Toboso; though it is my belief there is not a princess
living in the whole of it; many ladies there are, of quality, and in
her own house each of them may be a princess."
"Well, then, she I am inquiring for will be one of these, my
friend," said Don Quixote.
"May be so," replied the lad; "God be with you, for here comes the
daylight;" and without waiting for any more of his questions, he
whipped on his mules.
Sancho, seeing his master downcast and somewhat dissatisfied, said
to him, "Senor, daylight will be here before long, and it will not
do for us to let the sun find us in the street; it will be better
for us to quit the city, and for your worship to hide in some forest
in the neighbourhood, and I will come back in the daytime, and I won't
leave a nook or corner of the whole village that I won't search for
the house, castle, or palace, of my lady, and it will be hard luck for
me if I don't find it; and as soon as I have found it I will speak
to her grace, and tell her where and how your worship is waiting for
her to arrange some plan for you to see her without any damage to
her honour and reputation."
"Sancho," said Don Quixote, "thou hast delivered a thousand
sentences condensed in the compass of a few words; I thank thee for
the advice thou hast given me, and take it most gladly. Come, my
son, let us go look for some place where I may hide, while thou dost
return, as thou sayest, to seek, and speak with my lady, from whose
discretion and courtesy I look for favours more than miraculous."
Sancho was in a fever to get his master out of the town, lest he
should discover the falsehood of the reply he had brought to him in
the Sierra Morena on behalf of Dulcinea; so he hastened their
departure, which they took at once, and two miles out of the village
they found a forest or thicket wherein Don Quixote ensconced
himself, while Sancho returned to the city to speak to Dulcinea, in
which embassy things befell him which demand fresh attention and a new
WHEREIN IS RELATED THE CRAFTY DEVICE SANCHO ADOPTED TO ENCHANT THE
LADY DULCINEA, AND OTHER INCIDENTS AS LUDICROUS AS THEY ARE TRUE
When the author of this great history comes to relate what is set
down in this chapter he says he would have preferred to pass it over
in silence, fearing it would not he believed, because here Don
Quixote's madness reaches the confines of the greatest that can be
conceived, and even goes a couple of bowshots beyond the greatest. But
after all, though still under the same fear and apprehension, he has
recorded it without adding to the story or leaving out a particle of
the truth, and entirely disregarding the charges of falsehood that
might be brought against him; and he was right, for the truth may
run fine but will not break, and always rises above falsehood as oil
above water; and so, going on with his story, he says that as soon
as Don Quixote had ensconced himself in the forest, oak grove, or wood
near El Toboso, he bade Sancho return to the city, and not come into
his presence again without having first spoken on his behalf to his
lady, and begged of her that it might be her good pleasure to permit
herself to be seen by her enslaved knight, and deign to bestow her
blessing upon him, so that he might thereby hope for a happy issue
in all his encounters and difficult enterprises. Sancho undertook to
execute the task according to the instructions, and to bring back an
answer as good as the one he brought back before.
"Go, my son," said Don Quixote, "and be not dazed when thou
findest thyself exposed to the light of that sun of beauty thou art
going to seek. Happy thou, above all the squires in the world! Bear in
mind, and let it not escape thy memory, how she receives thee; if
she changes colour while thou art giving her my message; if she is
agitated and disturbed at hearing my name; if she cannot rest upon her
cushion, shouldst thou haply find her seated in the sumptuous state
chamber proper to her rank; and should she be standing, observe if she
poises herself now on one foot, now on the other; if she repeats two
or three times the reply she gives thee; if she passes from gentleness
to austerity, from asperity to tenderness; if she raises her hand to
smooth her hair though it be not disarranged. In short, my son,
observe all her actions and motions, for if thou wilt report them to
me as they were, I will gather what she hides in the recesses of her
heart as regards my love; for I would have thee know, Sancho, if
thou knowest it not, that with lovers the outward actions and
motions they give way to when their loves are in question are the
faithful messengers that carry the news of what is going on in the
depths of their hearts. Go, my friend, may better fortune than mine
attend thee, and bring thee a happier issue than that which I await in
dread in this dreary solitude."
"I will go and return quickly," said Sancho; "cheer up that little
heart of yours, master mine, for at the present moment you seem to
have got one no bigger than a hazel nut; remember what they say,
that a stout heart breaks bad luck, and that where there are no
fletches there are no pegs; and moreover they say, the hare jumps up
where it's not looked for. I say this because, if we could not find my
lady's palaces or castles to-night, now that it is daylight I count
upon finding them when I least expect it, and once found, leave it
to me to manage her."
"Verily, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "thou dost always bring in thy
proverbs happily, whatever we deal with; may God give me better luck
in what I am anxious about."
With this, Sancho wheeled about and gave Dapple the stick, and Don
Quixote remained behind, seated on his horse, resting in his
stirrups and leaning on the end of his lance, filled with sad and
troubled forebodings; and there we will leave him, and accompany
Sancho, who went off no less serious and troubled than he left his
master; so much so, that as soon as he had got out of the thicket, and
looking round saw that Don Quixote was not within sight, he dismounted
from his ass, and seating himself at the foot of a tree began to
commune with himself, saying, "Now, brother Sancho, let us know
where your worship is going. Are you going to look for some ass that
has been lost? Not at all. Then what are you going to look for? I am
going to look for a princess, that's all; and in her for the sun of
beauty and the whole heaven at once. And where do you expect to find
all this, Sancho? Where? Why, in the great city of El Toboso. Well,
and for whom are you going to look for her? For the famous knight
Don Quixote of La Mancha, who rights wrongs, gives food to those who
thirst and drink to the hungry. That's all very well, but do you
know her house, Sancho? My master says it will be some royal palace or
grand castle. And have you ever seen her by any chance? Neither I
nor my master ever saw her. And does it strike you that it would be
just and right if the El Toboso people, finding out that you were here
with the intention of going to tamper with their princesses and
trouble their ladies, were to come and cudgel your ribs, and not leave
a whole bone in you? They would, indeed, have very good reason, if
they did not see that I am under orders, and that 'you are a
messenger, my friend, no blame belongs to you.' Don't you trust to
that, Sancho, for the Manchegan folk are as hot-tempered as they are
honest, and won't put up with liberties from anybody. By the Lord,
if they get scent of you, it will be worse for you, I promise you.
Be off, you scoundrel! Let the bolt fall. Why should I go looking
for three feet on a cat, to please another man; and what is more, when
looking for Dulcinea will be looking for Marica in Ravena, or the
bachelor in Salamanca? The devil, the devil and nobody else, has mixed
me up in this business!"
Such was the soliloquy Sancho held with himself, and all the
conclusion he could come to was to say to himself again, "Well,
there's remedy for everything except death, under whose yoke we have
all to pass, whether we like it or not, when life's finished. I have
seen by a thousand signs that this master of mine is a madman fit to
be tied, and for that matter, I too, am not behind him; for I'm a
greater fool than he is when I follow him and serve him, if there's
any truth in the proverb that says, 'Tell me what company thou
keepest, and I'll tell thee what thou art,' or in that other, 'Not
with whom thou art bred, but with whom thou art fed.' Well then, if he
be mad, as he is, and with a madness that mostly takes one thing for
another, and white for black, and black for white, as was seen when he
said the windmills were giants, and the monks' mules dromedaries,
flocks of sheep armies of enemies, and much more to the same tune,
it will not be very hard to make him believe that some country girl,
the first I come across here, is the lady Dulcinea; and if he does not
believe it, I'll swear it; and if he should swear, I'll swear again;
and if he persists I'll persist still more, so as, come what may, to
have my quoit always over the peg. Maybe, by holding out in this
way, I may put a stop to his sending me on messages of this kind
another time; or maybe he will think, as I suspect he will, that one
of those wicked enchanters, who he says have a spite against him,
has changed her form for the sake of doing him an ill turn and
With this reflection Sancho made his mind easy, counting the
business as good as settled, and stayed there till the afternoon so as
to make Don Quixote think he had time enough to go to El Toboso and
return; and things turned out so luckily for him that as he got up
to mount Dapple, he spied, coming from El Toboso towards the spot
where he stood, three peasant girls on three colts, or fillies- for
the author does not make the point clear, though it is more likely
they were she-asses, the usual mount with village girls; but as it
is of no great consequence, we need not stop to prove it.
To be brief, the instant Sancho saw the peasant girls, he returned
full speed to seek his master, and found him sighing and uttering a
thousand passionate lamentations. When Don Quixote saw him he
exclaimed, "What news, Sancho, my friend? Am I to mark this day with a
white stone or a black?"
"Your worship," replied Sancho, "had better mark it with ruddle,
like the inscriptions on the walls of class rooms, that those who
see it may see it plain."
"Then thou bringest good news," said Don Quixote.
"So good," replied Sancho, "that your worship bas only to spur
Rocinante and get out into the open field to see the lady Dulcinea del
Toboso, who, with two others, damsels of hers, is coming to see your
"Holy God! what art thou saying, Sancho, my friend?" exclaimed Don
Quixote. "Take care thou art not deceiving me, or seeking by false joy
to cheer my real sadness."
"What could I get by deceiving your worship," returned Sancho,
"especially when it will so soon be shown whether I tell the truth
or not? Come, senor, push on, and you will see the princess our
mistress coming, robed and adorned- in fact, like what she is. Her
damsels and she are all one glow of gold, all bunches of pearls, all
diamonds, all rubies, all cloth of brocade of more than ten borders;
with their hair loose on their shoulders like so many sunbeams playing
with the wind; and moreover, they come mounted on three piebald
cackneys, the finest sight ever you saw."
"Hackneys, you mean, Sancho," said Don Quixote.
"There is not much difference between cackneys and hackneys," said
Sancho; "but no matter what they come on, there they are, the finest
ladies one could wish for, especially my lady the princess Dulcinea,
who staggers one's senses."
"Let us go, Sancho, my son," said Don Quixote, "and in guerdon of
this news, as unexpected as it is good, I bestow upon thee the best
spoil I shall win in the first adventure I may have; or if that does
not satisfy thee, I promise thee the foals I shall have this year from
my three mares that thou knowest are in foal on our village common."
"I'll take the foals," said Sancho; "for it is not quite certain
that the spoils of the first adventure will be good ones."
By this time they had cleared the wood, and saw the three village
lasses close at hand. Don Quixote looked all along the road to El
Toboso, and as he could see nobody except the three peasant girls,
he was completely puzzled, and asked Sancho if it was outside the city
he had left them.
"How outside the city?" returned Sancho. "Are your worship's eyes in
the back of your head, that you can't see that they are these who
are coming here, shining like the very sun at noonday?"
"I see nothing, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "but three country
girls on three jackasses."
"Now, may God deliver me from the devil!" said Sancho, "and can it
be that your worship takes three hackneys- or whatever they're called-
as white as the driven snow, for jackasses? By the Lord, I could
tear my beard if that was the case!"
"Well, I can only say, Sancho, my friend," said Don Quixote, "that
it is as plain they are jackasses- or jennyasses- as that I am Don
Quixote, and thou Sancho Panza: at any rate, they seem to me to be
"Hush, senor," said Sancho, "don't talk that way, but open your
eyes, and come and pay your respects to the lady of your thoughts, who
is close upon us now;" and with these words he advanced to receive the
three village lasses, and dismounting from Dapple, caught hold of
one of the asses of the three country girls by the halter, and
dropping on both knees on the ground, he said, "Queen and princess and
duchess of beauty, may it please your haughtiness and greatness to
receive into your favour and good-will your captive knight who
stands there turned into marble stone, and quite stupefied and
benumbed at finding himself in your magnificent presence. I am
Sancho Panza, his squire, and he the vagabond knight Don Quixote of La
Mancha, otherwise called 'The Knight of the Rueful Countenance.""
Don Quixote had by this time placed himself on his knees beside
Sancho, and, with eyes starting out of his head and a puzzled gaze,
was regarding her whom Sancho called queen and lady; and as he could
see nothing in her except a village lass, and not a very well-favoured
one, for she was platter-faced and snub-nosed, he was perplexed and
bewildered, and did not venture to open his lips. The country girls,
at the same time, were astonished to see these two men, so different
in appearance, on their knees, preventing their companion from going
on. She, however, who had been stopped, breaking silence, said angrily
and testily, "Get out of the way, bad luck to you, and let us pass,
for we are in a hurry."
To which Sancho returned, "Oh, princess and universal lady of El
Toboso, is not your magnanimous heart softened by seeing the pillar
and prop of knight-errantry on his knees before your sublimated
On hearing this, one of the others exclaimed, "Woa then! why, I'm
rubbing thee down, she-ass of my father-in-law! See how the
lordlings come to make game of the village girls now, as if we here
could not chaff as well as themselves. Go your own way, and let us
go ours, and it will be better for you."
"Get up, Sancho," said Don Quixote at this; "I see that fortune,
'with evil done to me unsated still,' has taken possession of all
the roads by which any comfort may reach 'this wretched soul' that I
carry in my flesh. And thou, highest perfection of excellence that can
be desired, utmost limit of grace in human shape, sole relief of
this afflicted heart that adores thee, though the malign enchanter
that persecutes me has brought clouds and cataracts on my eyes, and to
them, and them only, transformed thy unparagoned beauty and changed
thy features into those of a poor peasant girl, if so be he has not at
the same time changed mine into those of some monster to render them
loathsome in thy sight, refuse not to look upon me with tenderness and
love; seeing in this submission that I make on my knees to thy
transformed beauty the humility with which my soul adores thee."
"Hey-day! My grandfather!" cried the girl, "much I care for your
love-making! Get out of the way and let us pass, and we'll thank you."
Sancho stood aside and let her go, very well pleased to have got
so well out of the hobble he was in. The instant the village lass
who had done duty for Dulcinea found herself free, prodding her
"cackney" with a spike she had at the end of a stick, she set off at
full speed across the field. The she-ass, however, feeling the point
more acutely than usual, began cutting such capers, that it flung
the lady Dulcinea to the ground; seeing which, Don Quixote ran to
raise her up, and Sancho to fix and girth the pack-saddle, which
also had slipped under the ass's belly. The pack-saddle being secured,
as Don Quixote was about to lift up his enchanted mistress in his arms
and put her upon her beast, the lady, getting up from the ground,
saved him the trouble, for, going back a little, she took a short run,
and putting both hands on the croup of the ass she dropped into the
saddle more lightly than a falcon, and sat astride like a man, whereat
Sancho said, "Rogue!" but our lady is lighter than a lanner, and might
teach the cleverest Cordovan or Mexican how to mount; she cleared
the back of the saddle in one jump, and without spurs she is making
the hackney go like a zebra; and her damsels are no way behind her,
for they all fly like the wind;" which was the truth, for as soon as
they saw Dulcinea mounted, they pushed on after her, and sped away
without looking back, for more than half a league.
Don Quixote followed them with his eyes, and when they were no
longer in sight, he turned to Sancho and said, "How now, Sancho?
thou seest how I am hated by enchanters! And see to what a length
the malice and spite they bear me go, when they seek to deprive me
of the happiness it would give me to see my lady in her own proper
form. The fact is I was born to be an example of misfortune, and the
target and mark at which the arrows of adversity are aimed and
directed. Observe too, Sancho, that these traitors were not content
with changing and transforming my Dulcinea, but they transformed and
changed her into a shape as mean and ill-favoured as that of the
village girl yonder; and at the same time they robbed her of that
which is such a peculiar property of ladies of distinction, that is to
say, the sweet fragrance that comes of being always among perfumes and
flowers. For I must tell thee, Sancho, that when I approached to put
Dulcinea upon her hackney (as thou sayest it was, though to me it
appeared a she-ass), she gave me a whiff of raw garlic that made my
head reel, and poisoned my very heart."
"O scum of the earth!" cried Sancho at this, "O miserable,
spiteful enchanters! O that I could see you all strung by the gills,
like sardines on a twig! Ye know a great deal, ye can do a great deal,
and ye do a great deal more. It ought to have been enough for you,
ye scoundrels, to have changed the pearls of my lady's eyes into oak
galls, and her hair of purest gold into the bristles of a red ox's
tail, and in short, all her features from fair to foul, without
meddling with her smell; for by that we might somehow have found out
what was hidden underneath that ugly rind; though, to tell the
truth, I never perceived her ugliness, but only her beauty, which
was raised to the highest pitch of perfection by a mole she had on her
right lip, like a moustache, with seven or eight red hairs like
threads of gold, and more than a palm long."
"From the correspondence which exists between those of the face
and those of the body," said Don Quixote, "Dulcinea must have
another mole resembling that on the thick of the thigh on that side on
which she has the one on her ace; but hairs of the length thou hast
mentioned are very long for moles."
"Well, all I can say is there they were as plain as could be,"
"I believe it, my friend," returned Don Quixote; "for nature
bestowed nothing on Dulcinea that was not perfect and well-finished;
and so, if she had a hundred moles like the one thou hast described,
in her they would not be moles, but moons and shining stars. But
tell me, Sancho, that which seemed to me to be a pack-saddle as thou
wert fixing it, was it a flat-saddle or a side-saddle?"
"It was neither," replied Sancho, "but a jineta saddle, with a field
covering worth half a kingdom, so rich is it."
"And that I could not see all this, Sancho!" said Don Quixote; "once
more I say, and will say a thousand times, I am the most unfortunate
Sancho, the rogue, had enough to do to hide his laughter, at hearing
the simplicity of the master he had so nicely befooled. At length,
after a good deal more conversation had passed between them, they
remounted their beasts, and followed the road to Saragossa, which they
expected to reach in time to take part in a certain grand festival
which is held every year in that illustrious city; but before they got
there things happened to them, so many, so important, and so
strange, that they deserve to be recorded and read, as will be seen
OF THE STRANGE ADVENTURE WHICH THE VALIANT DON QUIXOTE HAD WITH
THE CAR OR CART OF "THE CORTES OF DEATH"
Dejected beyond measure did Don Quixote pursue his journey,
turning over in his mind the cruel trick the enchanters had played him
in changing his lady Dulcinea into the vile shape of the village lass,
nor could he think of any way of restoring her to her original form;
and these reflections so absorbed him, that without being aware of
it he let go Rocinante's bridle, and he, perceiving the liberty that
was granted him, stopped at every step to crop the fresh grass with
which the plain abounded.
Sancho recalled him from his reverie. "Melancholy, senor," said
he, "was made, not for beasts, but for men; but if men give way to
it overmuch they turn to beasts; control yourself, your worship; be
yourself again; gather up Rocinante's reins; cheer up, rouse
yourself and show that gallant spirit that knights-errant ought to
have. What the devil is this? What weakness is this? Are we here or in
France? The devil fly away with all the Dulcineas in the world; for
the well-being of a single knight-errant is of more consequence than
all the enchantments and transformations on earth."
"Hush, Sancho," said Don Quixote in a weak and faint voice, "hush
and utter no blasphemies against that enchanted lady; for I alone am
to blame for her misfortune and hard fate; her calamity has come of
the hatred the wicked bear me."
"So say I," returned Sancho; "his heart rend in twain, I trow, who
saw her once, to see her now."
"Thou mayest well say that, Sancho," replied Don Quixote, "as thou
sawest her in the full perfection of her beauty; for the enchantment
does not go so far as to pervert thy vision or hide her loveliness
from thee; against me alone and against my eyes is the strength of its
venom directed. Nevertheless, there is one thing which has occurred to
me, and that is that thou didst ill describe her beauty to me, for, as
well as I recollect, thou saidst that her eyes were pearls; but eyes
that are like pearls are rather the eyes of a sea-bream than of a
lady, and I am persuaded that Dulcinea's must be green emeralds,
full and soft, with two rainbows for eyebrows; take away those
pearls from her eyes and transfer them to her teeth; for beyond a
doubt, Sancho, thou hast taken the one for the other, the eyes for the
"Very likely," said Sancho; "for her beauty bewildered me as much as
her ugliness did your worship; but let us leave it all to God, who
alone knows what is to happen in this vale of tears, in this evil
world of ours, where there is hardly a thing to be found without
some mixture of wickedness, roguery, and rascality. But one thing,
senor, troubles me more than all the rest, and that is thinking what
is to be done when your worship conquers some giant, or some other
knight, and orders him to go and present himself before the beauty
of the lady Dulcinea. Where is this poor giant, or this poor wretch of
a vanquished knight, to find her? I think I can see them wandering all
over El Toboso, looking like noddies, and asking for my lady Dulcinea;
and even if they meet her in the middle of the street they won't
know her any more than they would my father."
"Perhaps, Sancho," returned Don Quixote, "the enchantment does not
go so far as to deprive conquered and presented giants and knights
of the power of recognising Dulcinea; we will try by experiment with
one or two of the first I vanquish and send to her, whether they see
her or not, by commanding them to return and give me an account of
what happened to them in this respect."
"I declare, I think what your worship has proposed is excellent,"
said Sancho; "and that by this plan we shall find out what we want
to know; and if it be that it is only from your worship she is hidden,
the misfortune will be more yours than hers; but so long as the lady
Dulcinea is well and happy, we on our part will make the best of it,
and get on as well as we can, seeking our adventures, and leaving Time
to take his own course; for he is the best physician for these and
Don Quixote was about to reply to Sancho Panza, but he was prevented
by a cart crossing the road full of the most diverse and strange
personages and figures that could be imagined. He who led the mules
and acted as carter was a hideous demon; the cart was open to the sky,
without a tilt or cane roof, and the first figure that presented
itself to Don Quixote's eyes was that of Death itself with a human
face; next to it was an angel with large painted wings, and at one
side an emperor, with a crown, to all appearance of gold, on his head.
At the feet of Death was the god called Cupid, without his bandage,
but with his bow, quiver, and arrows; there was also a knight in
full armour, except that he had no morion or helmet, but only a hat
decked with plumes of divers colours; and along with these there
were others with a variety of costumes and faces. All this,
unexpectedly encountered, took Don Quixote somewhat aback, and
struck terror into the heart of Sancho; but the next instant Don
Quixote was glad of it, believing that some new perilous adventure was
presenting itself to him, and under this impression, and with a spirit
prepared to face any danger, he planted himself in front of the
cart, and in a loud and menacing tone, exclaimed, "Carter, or
coachman, or devil, or whatever thou art, tell me at once who thou
art, whither thou art going, and who these folk are thou carriest in
thy wagon, which looks more like Charon's boat than an ordinary cart."
To which the devil, stopping the cart, answered quietly, "Senor,
we are players of Angulo el Malo's company; we have been acting the
play of 'The Cortes of Death' this morning, which is the octave of
Corpus Christi, in a village behind that hill, and we have to act it
this afternoon in that village which you can see from this; and as
it is so near, and to save the trouble of undressing and dressing
again, we go in the costumes in which we perform. That lad there
appears as Death, that other as an angel, that woman, the manager's
wife, plays the queen, this one the soldier, that the emperor, and I
the devil; and I am one of the principal characters of the play, for
in this company I take the leading parts. If you want to know anything
more about us, ask me and I will answer with the utmost exactitude,
for as I am a devil I am up to everything."
"By the faith of a knight-errant," replied Don Quixote, "when I
saw this cart I fancied some great adventure was presenting itself
to me; but I declare one must touch with the hand what appears to
the eye, if illusions are to be avoided. God speed you, good people;
keep your festival, and remember, if you demand of me ought wherein
I can render you a service, I will do it gladly and willingly, for
from a child I was fond of the play, and in my youth a keen lover of
the actor's art."
While they were talking, fate so willed it that one of the company
in a mummers' dress with a great number of bells, and armed with three
blown ox-bladders at the end of a stick, joined them, and this
merry-andrew approaching Don Quixote, began flourishing his stick
and banging the ground with the bladders and cutting capers with great
jingling of the bells, which untoward apparition so startled Rocinante
that, in spite of Don Quixote's efforts to hold him in, taking the bit
between his teeth he set off across the plain with greater speed
than the bones of his anatomy ever gave any promise of. Sancho, who
thought his master was in danger of being thrown, jumped off Dapple,
and ran in all haste to help him; but by the time he reached him he
was already on the ground, and beside him was Rocinante, who had
come down with his master, the usual end and upshot of Rocinante's
vivacity and high spirits. But the moment Sancho quitted his beast
to go and help Don Quixote, the dancing devil with the bladders jumped
up on Dapple, and beating him with them, more by the fright and the
noise than by the pain of the blows, made him fly across the fields
towards the village where they were going to hold their festival.
Sancho witnessed Dapple's career and his master's fall, and did not
know which of the two cases of need he should attend to first; but
in the end, like a good squire and good servant, he let his love for
his master prevail over his affection for his ass; though every time
he saw the bladders rise in the air and come down on the hind quarters
of his Dapple he felt the pains and terrors of death, and he would
have rather had the blows fall on the apples of his own eyes than on
the least hair of his ass's tail. In this trouble and perplexity he
came to where Don Quixote lay in a far sorrier plight than he liked,
and having helped him to mount Rocinante, he said to him, "Senor,
the devil has carried off my Dapple."
"What devil?" asked Don Quixote.
"The one with the bladders," said Sancho.
"Then I will recover him," said Don Quixote, "even if he be shut
up with him in the deepest and darkest dungeons of hell. Follow me,
Sancho, for the cart goes slowly, and with the mules of it I will make
good the loss of Dapple."
"You need not take the trouble, senor," said Sancho; "keep cool, for
as I now see, the devil has let Dapple go and he is coming back to his
old quarters;" and so it turned out, for, having come down with
Dapple, in imitation of Don Quixote and Rocinante, the devil made
off on foot to the town, and the ass came back to his master.
"For all that," said Don Quixote, "it will be well to visit the
discourtesy of that devil upon some of those in the cart, even if it
were the emperor himself."
"Don't think of it, your worship," returned Sancho; "take my
advice and never meddle with actors, for they are a favoured class;
I myself have known an actor taken up for two murders, and yet come
off scot-free; remember that, as they are merry folk who give
pleasure, everyone favours and protects them, and helps and makes much
of them, above all when they are those of the royal companies and
under patent, all or most of whom in dress and appearance look like
"Still, for all that," said Don Quixote, "the player devil must
not go off boasting, even if the whole human race favours him."
So saying, he made for the cart, which was now very near the town,
shouting out as he went, "Stay! halt! ye merry, jovial crew! I want to
teach you how to treat asses and animals that serve the squires of
knights-errant for steeds."
So loud were the shouts of Don Quixote, that those in the cart heard
and understood them, and, guessing by the words what the speaker's
intention was, Death in an instant jumped out of the cart, and the
emperor, the devil carter and the angel after him, nor did the queen
or the god Cupid stay behind; and all armed themselves with stones and
formed in line, prepared to receive Don Quixote on the points of their
pebbles. Don Quixote, when he saw them drawn up in such a gallant
array with uplifted arms ready for a mighty discharge of stones,
checked Rocinante and began to consider in what way he could attack
them with the least danger to himself. As he halted Sancho came up,
and seeing him disposed to attack this well-ordered squadron, said
to him, "It would be the height of madness to attempt such an
enterprise; remember, senor, that against sops from the brook, and
plenty of them, there is no defensive armour in the world, except to
stow oneself away under a brass bell; and besides, one should remember
that it is rashness, and not valour, for a single man to attack an
army that has Death in it, and where emperors fight in person, with
angels, good and bad, to help them; and if this reflection will not
make you keep quiet, perhaps it will to know for certain that among
all these, though they look like kings, princes, and emperors, there
is not a single knight-errant."
"Now indeed thou hast hit the point, Sancho," said Don Quixote,
"which may and should turn me from the resolution I had already
formed. I cannot and must not draw sword, as I have many a time before
told thee, against anyone who is not a dubbed knight; it is for
thee, Sancho, if thou wilt, to take vengeance for the wrong done to
thy Dapple; and I will help thee from here by shouts and salutary
"There is no occasion to take vengeance on anyone, senor," replied
Sancho; "for it is not the part of good Christians to revenge
wrongs; and besides, I will arrange it with my ass to leave his
grievance to my good-will and pleasure, and that is to live in peace
as long as heaven grants me life."
"Well," said Don Quixote, "if that be thy determination, good
Sancho, sensible Sancho, Christian Sancho, honest Sancho, let us leave
these phantoms alone and turn to the pursuit of better and worthier
adventures; for, from what I see of this country, we cannot fail to
find plenty of marvellous ones in it."
He at once wheeled about, Sancho ran to take possession of his
Dapple, Death and his flying squadron returned to their cart and
pursued their journey, and thus the dread adventure of the cart of
Death ended happily, thanks to the advice Sancho gave his master;
who had, the following day, a fresh adventure, of no less thrilling
interest than the last, with an enamoured knight-errant.
OF THE STRANGE ADVENTURE WHICH BEFELL THE VALIANT DON QUIXOTE WITH
THE BOLD KNIGHT OF THE MIRRORS
The night succeeding the day of the encounter with Death, Don
Quixote and his squire passed under some tall shady trees, and Don
Quixote at Sancho's persuasion ate a little from the store carried
by Dapple, and over their supper Sancho said to his master, "Senor,
what a fool I should have looked if I had chosen for my reward the
spoils of the first adventure your worship achieved, instead of the
foals of the three mares. After all, 'a sparrow in the hand is
better than a vulture on the wing.'"
"At the same time, Sancho," replied Don Quixote, "if thou hadst
let me attack them as I wanted, at the very least the emperor's gold
crown and Cupid's painted wings would have fallen to thee as spoils,
for I should have taken them by force and given them into thy hands."
"The sceptres and crowns of those play-actor emperors," said Sancho,
"were never yet pure gold, but only brass foil or tin."
"That is true," said Don Quixote, "for it would not be right that
the accessories of the drama should be real, instead of being mere
fictions and semblances, like the drama itself; towards which, Sancho-
and, as a necessary consequence, towards those who represent and
produce it- I would that thou wert favourably disposed, for they are
all instruments of great good to the State, placing before us at every
step a mirror in which we may see vividly displayed what goes on in
human life; nor is there any similitude that shows us more
faithfully what we are and ought to be than the play and the
players. Come, tell me, hast thou not seen a play acted in which
kings, emperors, pontiffs, knights, ladies, and divers other
personages were introduced? One plays the villain, another the
knave, this one the merchant, that the soldier, one the sharp-witted
fool, another the foolish lover; and when the play is over, and they
have put off the dresses they wore in it, all the actors become
"Yes, I have seen that," said Sancho.
"Well then," said Don Quixote, "the same thing happens in the comedy
and life of this world, where some play emperors, others popes, and,
in short, all the characters that can be brought into a play; but when
it is over, that is to say when life ends, death strips them all of
the garments that distinguish one from the other, and all are equal in
"A fine comparison!" said Sancho; "though not so new but that I have
heard it many and many a time, as well as that other one of the game
of chess; how, so long as the game lasts, each piece has its own
particular office, and when the game is finished they are all mixed,
jumbled up and shaken together, and stowed away in the bag, which is
much like ending life in the grave."
"Thou art growing less doltish and more shrewd every day, Sancho,"
said Don Quixote.
"Ay," said Sancho; "it must be that some of your worship's
shrewdness sticks to me; land that, of itself, is barren and dry, will
come to yield good fruit if you dung it and till it; what I mean is
that your worship's conversation has been the dung that has fallen
on the barren soil of my dry wit, and the time I have been in your
service and society has been the tillage; and with the help of this
I hope to yield fruit in abundance that will not fall away or slide
from those paths of good breeding that your worship has made in my
Don Quixote laughed at Sancho's affected phraseology, and
perceived that what he said about his improvement was true, for now
and then he spoke in a way that surprised him; though always, or
mostly, when Sancho tried to talk fine and attempted polite
language, he wound up by toppling over from the summit of his
simplicity into the abyss of his ignorance; and where he showed his
culture and his memory to the greatest advantage was in dragging in
proverbs, no matter whether they had any bearing or not upon the
subject in hand, as may have been seen already and will be noticed
in the course of this history.
In conversation of this kind they passed a good part of the night,
but Sancho felt a desire to let down the curtains of his eyes, as he
used to say when he wanted to go to sleep; and stripping Dapple he
left him at liberty to graze his fill. He did not remove Rocinante's
saddle, as his master's express orders were, that so long as they were
in the field or not sleeping under a roof Rocinante was not to be
stripped- the ancient usage established and observed by knights-errant
being to take off the bridle and hang it on the saddle-bow, but to
remove the saddle from the horse- never! Sancho acted accordingly, and
gave him the same liberty he had given Dapple, between whom and
Rocinante there was a friendship so unequalled and so strong, that
it is handed down by tradition from father to son, that the author
of this veracious history devoted some special chapters to it,
which, in order to preserve the propriety and decorum due to a history
so heroic, he did not insert therein; although at times he forgets
this resolution of his and describes how eagerly the two beasts
would scratch one another when they were together and how, when they
were tired or full, Rocinante would lay his neck across Dapple's,
stretching half a yard or more on the other side, and the pair would
stand thus, gazing thoughtfully on the ground, for three days, or at
least so long as they were left alone, or hunger did not drive them to
go and look for food. I may add that they say the author left it on
record that he likened their friendship to that of Nisus and Euryalus,
and Pylades and Orestes; and if that be so, it may be perceived, to
the admiration of mankind, how firm the friendship must have been
between these two peaceful animals, shaming men, who preserve
friendships with one another so badly. This was why it was said-
For friend no longer is there friend;
The reeds turn lances now.
And some one else has sung-
Friend to friend the bug, &c.
And let no one fancy that the author was at all astray when he
compared the friendship of these animals to that of men; for men
have received many lessons from beasts, and learned many important
things, as, for example, the clyster from the stork, vomit and
gratitude from the dog, watchfulness from the crane, foresight from
the ant, modesty from the elephant, and loyalty from the horse.
Sancho at last fell asleep at the foot of a cork tree, while Don
Quixote dozed at that of a sturdy oak; but a short time only had
elapsed when a noise he heard behind him awoke him, and rising up
startled, he listened and looked in the direction the noise came from,
and perceived two men on horseback, one of whom, letting himself
drop from the saddle, said to the other, "Dismount, my friend, and
take the bridles off the horses, for, so far as I can see, this
place will furnish grass for them, and the solitude and silence my
love-sick thoughts need of." As he said this he stretched himself upon
the ground, and as he flung himself down, the armour in which he was
clad rattled, whereby Don Quixote perceived that he must be a
knight-errant; and going over to Sancho, who was asleep, he shook
him by the arm and with no small difficulty brought him back to his
senses, and said in a low voice to him, "Brother Sancho, we have got
"God send us a good one," said Sancho; "and where may her ladyship
the adventure be?"
"Where, Sancho?" replied Don Quixote; "turn thine eyes and look, and
thou wilt see stretched there a knight-errant, who, it strikes me,
is not over and above happy, for I saw him fling himself off his horse
and throw himself on the ground with a certain air of dejection, and
his armour rattled as he fell."
"Well," said Sancho, "how does your worship make out that to be an
"I do not mean to say," returned Don Quixote, "that it is a complete
adventure, but that it is the beginning of one, for it is in this
way adventures begin. But listen, for it seems he is tuning a lute
or guitar, and from the way he is spitting and clearing his chest he
must be getting ready to sing something."
"Faith, you are right," said Sancho, "and no doubt he is some
"There is no knight-errant that is not," said Don Quixote; "but
let us listen to him, for, if he sings, by that thread we shall
extract the ball of his thoughts; because out of the abundance of
the heart the mouth speaketh."
Sancho was about to reply to his master, but the Knight of the
Grove's voice, which was neither very bad nor very good, stopped
him, and listening attentively the pair heard him sing this
Your pleasure, prithee, lady mine, unfold;
Declare the terms that I am to obey;
My will to yours submissively I mould,
And from your law my feet shall never stray.
Would you I die, to silent grief a prey?
Then count me even now as dead and cold;
Would you I tell my woes in some new way?
Then shall my tale by Love itself be told.
The unison of opposites to prove,
Of the soft wax and diamond hard am I;
But still, obedient to the laws of love,
Here, hard or soft, I offer you my breast,
Whate'er you grave or stamp thereon shall rest
Indelible for all eternity.
With an "Ah me!" that seemed to be drawn from the inmost recesses of
his heart, the Knight of the Grove brought his lay to an end, and
shortly afterwards exclaimed in a melancholy and piteous voice, "O
fairest and most ungrateful woman on earth! What! can it be, most
serene Casildea de Vandalia, that thou wilt suffer this thy captive
knight to waste away and perish in ceaseless wanderings and rude and
arduous toils? It is not enough that I have compelled all the
knights of Navarre, all the Leonese, all the Tartesians, all the
Castilians, and finally all the knights of La Mancha, to confess
thee the most beautiful in the world?"
"Not so," said Don Quixote at this, "for I am of La Mancha, and I
have never confessed anything of the sort, nor could I nor should I
confess a thing so much to the prejudice of my lady's beauty; thou
seest how this knight is raving, Sancho. But let us listen, perhaps he
will tell us more about himself."
"That he will," returned Sancho, "for he seems in a mood to bewail
himself for a month at a stretch."
But this was not the case, for the Knight of the Grove, hearing
voices near him, instead of continuing his lamentation, stood up and
exclaimed in a distinct but courteous tone, "Who goes there? What
are you? Do you belong to the number of the happy or of the
"Of the miserable," answered Don Quixote.
"Then come to me," said he of the Grove, "and rest assured that it
is to woe itself and affliction itself you come."
Don Quixote, finding himself answered in such a soft and courteous
manner, went over to him, and so did Sancho.
The doleful knight took Don Quixote by the arm, saying, "Sit down
here, sir knight; for, that you are one, and of those that profess
knight-errantry, it is to me a sufficient proof to have found you in
this place, where solitude and night, the natural couch and proper
retreat of knights-errant, keep you company." To which Don made
answer, "A knight I am of the profession you mention, and though
sorrows, misfortunes, and calamities have made my heart their abode,
the compassion I feel for the misfortunes of others has not been
thereby banished from it. From what you have just now sung I gather
that yours spring from love, I mean from the love you bear that fair
ingrate you named in your lament."
In the meantime, they had seated themselves together on the hard
ground peaceably and sociably, just as if, as soon as day broke,
they were not going to break one another's heads.
"Are you, sir knight, in love perchance?" asked he of the Grove of
"By mischance I am," replied Don Quixote; "though the ills arising
from well-bestowed affections should be esteemed favours rather than
"That is true," returned he of the Grove, "if scorn did not unsettle
our reason and understanding, for if it be excessive it looks like
"I was never scorned by my lady," said Don Quixote.
"Certainly not," said Sancho, who stood close by, "for my lady is as
a lamb, and softer than a roll of butter."
"Is this your squire?" asked he of the Grove.
"He is," said Don Quixote.
"I never yet saw a squire," said he of the Grove, "who ventured to
speak when his master was speaking; at least, there is mine, who is as
big as his father, and it cannot be proved that he has ever opened his
lips when I am speaking."
"By my faith then," said Sancho, "I have spoken, and am fit to
speak, in the presence of one as much, or even- but never mind- it
only makes it worse to stir it."
The squire of the Grove took Sancho by the arm, saying to him,
"Let us two go where we can talk in squire style as much as we please,
and leave these gentlemen our masters to fight it out over the story
of their loves; and, depend upon it, daybreak will find them at it
without having made an end of it."
"So be it by all means," said Sancho; "and I will tell your
worship who I am, that you may see whether I am to be reckoned among
the number of the most talkative squires."
With this the two squires withdrew to one side, and between them
there passed a conversation as droll as that which passed between
their masters was serious.
IN WHICH IS CONTINUED THE ADVENTURE OF THE KNIGHT OF THE GROVE,
TOGETHER WITH THE SENSIBLE, ORIGINAL, AND TRANQUIL COLLOQUY THAT
PASSED BETWEEN THE TWO SQUIRES
The knights and the squires made two parties, these telling the
story of their lives, the others the story of their loves; but the
history relates first of all the conversation of the servants, and
afterwards takes up that of the masters; and it says that, withdrawing
a little from the others, he of the Grove said to Sancho, "A hard life
it is we lead and live, senor, we that are squires to
knights-errant; verily, we eat our bread in the sweat of our faces,
which is one of the curses God laid on our first parents."
"It may be said, too," added Sancho, "that we eat it in the chill of
our bodies; for who gets more heat and cold than the miserable squires
of knight-errantry? Even so it would not be so bad if we had something
to eat, for woes are lighter if there's bread; but sometimes we go a
day or two without breaking our fast, except with the wind that
"All that," said he of the Grove, "may be endured and put up with
when we have hopes of reward; for, unless the knight-errant he
serves is excessively unlucky, after a few turns the squire will at
least find himself rewarded with a fine government of some island or
some fair county."
"I," said Sancho, "have already told my master that I shall be
content with the government of some island, and he is so noble and
generous that he has promised it to me ever so many times."
"I," said he of the Grove, "shall be satisfied with a canonry for my
services, and my master has already assigned me one."
"Your master," said Sancho, "no doubt is a knight in the Church
line, and can bestow rewards of that sort on his good squire; but mine
is only a layman; though I remember some clever, but, to my mind,
designing people, strove to persuade him to try and become an
archbishop. He, however, would not be anything but an emperor; but I
was trembling all the time lest he should take a fancy to go into
the Church, not finding myself fit to hold office in it; for I may
tell you, though I seem a man, I am no better than a beast for the
"Well, then, you are wrong there," said he of the Grove; "for
those island governments are not all satisfactory; some are awkward,
some are poor, some are dull, and, in short, the highest and
choicest brings with it a heavy burden of cares and troubles which the
unhappy wight to whose lot it has fallen bears upon his shoulders. Far
better would it be for us who have adopted this accursed service to go
back to our own houses, and there employ ourselves in pleasanter
occupations -in hunting or fishing, for instance; for what squire in
the world is there so poor as not to have a hack and a couple of
greyhounds and a fishingrod to amuse himself with in his own village?"
"I am not in want of any of those things," said Sancho; "to be
sure I have no hack, but I have an ass that is worth my master's horse
twice over; God send me a bad Easter, and that the next one I am to
see, if I would swap, even if I got four bushels of barley to boot.
You will laugh at the value I put on my Dapple- for dapple is the
colour of my beast. As to greyhounds, I can't want for them, for there
are enough and to spare in my town; and, moreover, there is more
pleasure in sport when it is at other people's expense."
"In truth and earnest, sir squire," said he of the Grove, "I have
made up my mind and determined to have done with these drunken
vagaries of these knights, and go back to my village, and bring up
my children; for I have three, like three Oriental pearls."
"I have two," said Sancho, "that might be presented before the
Pope himself, especially a girl whom I am breeding up for a
countess, please God, though in spite of her mother."
"And how old is this lady that is being bred up for a countess?"
asked he of the Grove.
"Fifteen, a couple of years more or less," answered Sancho; "but she
is as tall as a lance, and as fresh as an April morning, and as strong
as a porter."
"Those are gifts to fit her to be not only a countess but a nymph of
the greenwood," said he of the Grove; "whoreson strumpet! what pith
the rogue must have!"
To which Sancho made answer, somewhat sulkily, "She's no strumpet,
nor was her mother, nor will either of them be, please God, while I
live; speak more civilly; for one bred up among knights-errant, who
are courtesy itself, your words don't seem to me to be very becoming."
"O how little you know about compliments, sir squire," returned he
of the Grove. "What! don't you know that when a horseman delivers a
good lance thrust at the bull in the plaza, or when anyone does
anything very well, the people are wont to say, 'Ha, whoreson rip! how
well he has done it!' and that what seems to be abuse in the
expression is high praise? Disown sons and daughters, senor, who don't
do what deserves that compliments of this sort should be paid to their
"I do disown them," replied Sancho, "and in this way, and by the
same reasoning, you might call me and my children and my wife all
the strumpets in the world, for all they do and say is of a kind
that in the highest degree deserves the same praise; and to see them
again I pray God to deliver me from mortal sin, or, what comes to
the same thing, to deliver me from this perilous calling of squire
into which I have fallen a second time, decayed and beguiled by a
purse with a hundred ducats that I found one day in the heart of the
Sierra Morena; and the devil is always putting a bag full of doubloons
before my eyes, here, there, everywhere, until I fancy at every stop I
am putting my hand on it, and hugging it, and carrying it home with
me, and making investments, and getting interest, and living like a
prince; and so long as I think of this I make light of all the
hardships I endure with this simpleton of a master of mine, who, I
well know, is more of a madman than a knight."
"There's why they say that 'covetousness bursts the bag,'" said he
of the Grove; "but if you come to talk of that sort, there is not a
greater one in the world than my master, for he is one of those of
whom they say, 'the cares of others kill the ass;' for, in order
that another knight may recover the senses he has lost, he makes a
madman of himself and goes looking for what, when found, may, for
all I know, fly in his own face."
"And is he in love perchance?" asked Sancho.
"He is," said of the Grove, "with one Casildea de Vandalia, the
rawest and best roasted lady the whole world could produce; but that
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