The History of Don Quixote, Vol. I., Part 7.
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
Produced by David Widger
by Miguel de Cervantes
Translated by John Ormsby
IN WHICH IS RELATED THE DISCOURSE SANCHO PANZA HELD WITH HIS MASTER, DON
QUIXOTE, AND OTHER ADVENTURES WORTH RELATING
Sancho reached his master so limp and faint that he could not urge on his
beast. When Don Quixote saw the state he was in he said, "I have now come
to the conclusion, good Sancho, that this castle or inn is beyond a doubt
enchanted, because those who have so atrociously diverted themselves with
thee, what can they be but phantoms or beings of another world? and I
hold this confirmed by having noticed that when I was by the wall of the
yard witnessing the acts of thy sad tragedy, it was out of my power to
mount upon it, nor could I even dismount from Rocinante, because they no
doubt had me enchanted; for I swear to thee by the faith of what I am
that if I had been able to climb up or dismount, I would have avenged
thee in such a way that those braggart thieves would have remembered
their freak for ever, even though in so doing I knew that I contravened
the laws of chivalry, which, as I have often told thee, do not permit a
knight to lay hands on him who is not one, save in case of urgent and
great necessity in defence of his own life and person."
"I would have avenged myself too if I could," said Sancho, "whether I had
been dubbed knight or not, but I could not; though for my part I am
persuaded those who amused themselves with me were not phantoms or
enchanted men, as your worship says, but men of flesh and bone like
ourselves; and they all had their names, for I heard them name them when
they were tossing me, and one was called Pedro Martinez, and another
Tenorio Hernandez, and the innkeeper, I heard, was called Juan Palomeque
the Left-handed; so that, senor, your not being able to leap over the
wall of the yard or dismount from your horse came of something else
besides enchantments; and what I make out clearly from all this is, that
these adventures we go seeking will in the end lead us into such
misadventures that we shall not know which is our right foot; and that
the best and wisest thing, according to my small wits, would be for us to
return home, now that it is harvest-time, and attend to our business, and
give over wandering from Zeca to Mecca and from pail to bucket, as the
"How little thou knowest about chivalry, Sancho," replied Don Quixote;
"hold thy peace and have patience; the day will come when thou shalt see
with thine own eyes what an honourable thing it is to wander in the
pursuit of this calling; nay, tell me, what greater pleasure can there be
in the world, or what delight can equal that of winning a battle, and
triumphing over one's enemy? None, beyond all doubt."
"Very likely," answered Sancho, "though I do not know it; all I know is
that since we have been knights-errant, or since your worship has been
one (for I have no right to reckon myself one of so honourable a number)
we have never won any battle except the one with the Biscayan, and even
out of that your worship came with half an ear and half a helmet the
less; and from that till now it has been all cudgellings and more
cudgellings, cuffs and more cuffs, I getting the blanketing over and
above, and falling in with enchanted persons on whom I cannot avenge
myself so as to know what the delight, as your worship calls it, of
conquering an enemy is like."
"That is what vexes me, and what ought to vex thee, Sancho," replied Don
Quixote; "but henceforward I will endeavour to have at hand some sword
made by such craft that no kind of enchantments can take effect upon him
who carries it, and it is even possible that fortune may procure for me
that which belonged to Amadis when he was called 'The Knight of the
Burning Sword,' which was one of the best swords that ever knight in the
world possessed, for, besides having the said virtue, it cut like a
razor, and there was no armour, however strong and enchanted it might be,
that could resist it."
"Such is my luck," said Sancho, "that even if that happened and your
worship found some such sword, it would, like the balsam, turn out
serviceable and good for dubbed knights only, and as for the squires,
they might sup sorrow."
"Fear not that, Sancho," said Don Quixote: "Heaven will deal better by
Thus talking, Don Quixote and his squire were going along, when, on the
road they were following, Don Quixote perceived approaching them a large
and thick cloud of dust, on seeing which he turned to Sancho and said:
"This is the day, Sancho, on which will be seen the boon my fortune is
reserving for me; this, I say, is the day on which as much as on any
other shall be displayed the might of my arm, and on which I shall do
deeds that shall remain written in the book of fame for all ages to come.
Seest thou that cloud of dust which rises yonder? Well, then, all that is
churned up by a vast army composed of various and countless nations that
comes marching there."
"According to that there must be two," said Sancho, "for on this opposite
side also there rises just such another cloud of dust."
Don Quixote turned to look and found that it was true, and rejoicing
exceedingly, he concluded that they were two armies about to engage and
encounter in the midst of that broad plain; for at all times and seasons
his fancy was full of the battles, enchantments, adventures, crazy feats,
loves, and defiances that are recorded in the books of chivalry, and
everything he said, thought, or did had reference to such things. Now the
cloud of dust he had seen was raised by two great droves of sheep coming
along the same road in opposite directions, which, because of the dust,
did not become visible until they drew near, but Don Quixote asserted so
positively that they were armies that Sancho was led to believe it and
say, "Well, and what are we to do, senor?"
"What?" said Don Quixote: "give aid and assistance to the weak and those
who need it; and thou must know, Sancho, that this which comes opposite
to us is conducted and led by the mighty emperor Alifanfaron, lord of the
great isle of Trapobana; this other that marches behind me is that of his
enemy the king of the Garamantas, Pentapolin of the Bare Arm, for he
always goes into battle with his right arm bare."
"But why are these two lords such enemies?"
"They are at enmity," replied Don Quixote, "because this Alifanfaron is a
furious pagan and is in love with the daughter of Pentapolin, who is a
very beautiful and moreover gracious lady, and a Christian, and her
father is unwilling to bestow her upon the pagan king unless he first
abandons the religion of his false prophet Mahomet, and adopts his own."
"By my beard," said Sancho, "but Pentapolin does quite right, and I will
help him as much as I can."
"In that thou wilt do what is thy duty, Sancho," said Don Quixote; "for
to engage in battles of this sort it is not requisite to be a dubbed
"That I can well understand," answered Sancho; "but where shall we put
this ass where we may be sure to find him after the fray is over? for I
believe it has not been the custom so far to go into battle on a beast of
"That is true," said Don Quixote, "and what you had best do with him is
to leave him to take his chance whether he be lost or not, for the horses
we shall have when we come out victors will be so many that even
Rocinante will run a risk of being changed for another. But attend to me
and observe, for I wish to give thee some account of the chief knights
who accompany these two armies; and that thou mayest the better see and
mark, let us withdraw to that hillock which rises yonder, whence both
armies may be seen."
They did so, and placed themselves on a rising ground from which the two
droves that Don Quixote made armies of might have been plainly seen if
the clouds of dust they raised had not obscured them and blinded the
sight; nevertheless, seeing in his imagination what he did not see and
what did not exist, he began thus in a loud voice:
"That knight whom thou seest yonder in yellow armour, who bears upon his
shield a lion crowned crouching at the feet of a damsel, is the valiant
Laurcalco, lord of the Silver Bridge; that one in armour with flowers of
gold, who bears on his shield three crowns argent on an azure field, is
the dreaded Micocolembo, grand duke of Quirocia; that other of gigantic
frame, on his right hand, is the ever dauntless Brandabarbaran de
Boliche, lord of the three Arabias, who for armour wears that serpent
skin, and has for shield a gate which, according to tradition, is one of
those of the temple that Samson brought to the ground when by his death
he revenged himself upon his enemies. But turn thine eyes to the other
side, and thou shalt see in front and in the van of this other army the
ever victorious and never vanquished Timonel of Carcajona, prince of New
Biscay, who comes in armour with arms quartered azure, vert, white, and
yellow, and bears on his shield a cat or on a field tawny with a motto
which says Miau, which is the beginning of the name of his lady, who
according to report is the peerless Miaulina, daughter of the duke
Alfeniquen of the Algarve; the other, who burdens and presses the loins
of that powerful charger and bears arms white as snow and a shield blank
and without any device, is a novice knight, a Frenchman by birth, Pierres
Papin by name, lord of the baronies of Utrique; that other, who with
iron-shod heels strikes the flanks of that nimble parti-coloured zebra,
and for arms bears azure vair, is the mighty duke of Nerbia,
Espartafilardo del Bosque, who bears for device on his shield an
asparagus plant with a motto in Castilian that says, Rastrea mi suerte."
And so he went on naming a number of knights of one squadron or the other
out of his imagination, and to all he assigned off-hand their arms,
colours, devices, and mottoes, carried away by the illusions of his
unheard-of craze; and without a pause, he continued, "People of divers
nations compose this squadron in front; here are those that drink of the
sweet waters of the famous Xanthus, those that scour the woody Massilian
plains, those that sift the pure fine gold of Arabia Felix, those that
enjoy the famed cool banks of the crystal Thermodon, those that in many
and various ways divert the streams of the golden Pactolus, the
Numidians, faithless in their promises, the Persians renowned in archery,
the Parthians and the Medes that fight as they fly, the Arabs that ever
shift their dwellings, the Scythians as cruel as they are fair, the
Ethiopians with pierced lips, and an infinity of other nations whose
features I recognise and descry, though I cannot recall their names. In
this other squadron there come those that drink of the crystal streams of
the olive-bearing Betis, those that make smooth their countenances with
the water of the ever rich and golden Tagus, those that rejoice in the
fertilising flow of the divine Genil, those that roam the Tartesian
plains abounding in pasture, those that take their pleasure in the
Elysian meadows of Jerez, the rich Manchegans crowned with ruddy ears of
corn, the wearers of iron, old relics of the Gothic race, those that
bathe in the Pisuerga renowned for its gentle current, those that feed
their herds along the spreading pastures of the winding Guadiana famed
for its hidden course, those that tremble with the cold of the pineclad
Pyrenees or the dazzling snows of the lofty Apennine; in a word, as many
as all Europe includes and contains."
Good God! what a number of countries and nations he named! giving to each
its proper attributes with marvellous readiness; brimful and saturated
with what he had read in his lying books! Sancho Panza hung upon his
words without speaking, and from time to time turned to try if he could
see the knights and giants his master was describing, and as he could not
make out one of them he said to him:
"Senor, devil take it if there's a sign of any man you talk of, knight or
giant, in the whole thing; maybe it's all enchantment, like the phantoms
"How canst thou say that!" answered Don Quixote; "dost thou not hear the
neighing of the steeds, the braying of the trumpets, the roll of the
"I hear nothing but a great bleating of ewes and sheep," said Sancho;
which was true, for by this time the two flocks had come close.
"The fear thou art in, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "prevents thee from
seeing or hearing correctly, for one of the effects of fear is to derange
the senses and make things appear different from what they are; if thou
art in such fear, withdraw to one side and leave me to myself, for alone
I suffice to bring victory to that side to which I shall give my aid;"
and so saying he gave Rocinante the spur, and putting the lance in rest,
shot down the slope like a thunderbolt. Sancho shouted after him, crying,
"Come back, Senor Don Quixote; I vow to God they are sheep and ewes you
are charging! Come back! Unlucky the father that begot me! what madness
is this! Look, there is no giant, nor knight, nor cats, nor arms, nor
shields quartered or whole, nor vair azure or bedevilled. What are you
about? Sinner that I am before God!" But not for all these entreaties did
Don Quixote turn back; on the contrary he went on shouting out, "Ho,
knights, ye who follow and fight under the banners of the valiant emperor
Pentapolin of the Bare Arm, follow me all; ye shall see how easily I
shall give him his revenge over his enemy Alifanfaron of the Trapobana."
So saying, he dashed into the midst of the squadron of ewes, and began
spearing them with as much spirit and intrepidity as if he were
transfixing mortal enemies in earnest. The shepherds and drovers
accompanying the flock shouted to him to desist; seeing it was no use,
they ungirt their slings and began to salute his ears with stones as big
as one's fist. Don Quixote gave no heed to the stones, but, letting drive
right and left kept saying:
"Where art thou, proud Alifanfaron? Come before me; I am a single knight
who would fain prove thy prowess hand to hand, and make thee yield thy
life a penalty for the wrong thou dost to the valiant Pentapolin
Garamanta." Here came a sugar-plum from the brook that struck him on the
side and buried a couple of ribs in his body. Feeling himself so smitten,
he imagined himself slain or badly wounded for certain, and recollecting
his liquor he drew out his flask, and putting it to his mouth began to
pour the contents into his stomach; but ere he had succeeded in
swallowing what seemed to him enough, there came another almond which
struck him on the hand and on the flask so fairly that it smashed it to
pieces, knocking three or four teeth and grinders out of his mouth in its
course, and sorely crushing two fingers of his hand. Such was the force
of the first blow and of the second, that the poor knight in spite of
himself came down backwards off his horse. The shepherds came up, and
felt sure they had killed him; so in all haste they collected their flock
together, took up the dead beasts, of which there were more than seven,
and made off without waiting to ascertain anything further.
All this time Sancho stood on the hill watching the crazy feats his
master was performing, and tearing his beard and cursing the hour and the
occasion when fortune had made him acquainted with him. Seeing him, then,
brought to the ground, and that the shepherds had taken themselves off,
he ran to him and found him in very bad case, though not unconscious; and
"Did I not tell you to come back, Senor Don Quixote; and that what you
were going to attack were not armies but droves of sheep?"
"That's how that thief of a sage, my enemy, can alter and falsify
things," answered Don Quixote; "thou must know, Sancho, that it is a very
easy matter for those of his sort to make us believe what they choose;
and this malignant being who persecutes me, envious of the glory he knew
I was to win in this battle, has turned the squadrons of the enemy into
droves of sheep. At any rate, do this much, I beg of thee, Sancho, to
undeceive thyself, and see that what I say is true; mount thy ass and
follow them quietly, and thou shalt see that when they have gone some
little distance from this they will return to their original shape and,
ceasing to be sheep, become men in all respects as I described them to
thee at first. But go not just yet, for I want thy help and assistance;
come hither, and see how many of my teeth and grinders are missing, for I
feel as if there was not one left in my mouth."
Sancho came so close that he almost put his eyes into his mouth; now just
at that moment the balsam had acted on the stomach of Don Quixote, so, at
the very instant when Sancho came to examine his mouth, he discharged all
its contents with more force than a musket, and full into the beard of
the compassionate squire.
"Holy Mary!" cried Sancho, "what is this that has happened me? Clearly
this sinner is mortally wounded, as he vomits blood from the mouth;" but
considering the matter a little more closely he perceived by the colour,
taste, and smell, that it was not blood but the balsam from the flask
which he had seen him drink; and he was taken with such a loathing that
his stomach turned, and he vomited up his inside over his very master,
and both were left in a precious state. Sancho ran to his ass to get
something wherewith to clean himself, and relieve his master, out of his
alforjas; but not finding them, he well-nigh took leave of his senses,
and cursed himself anew, and in his heart resolved to quit his master and
return home, even though he forfeited the wages of his service and all
hopes of the promised island.
Don Quixote now rose, and putting his left hand to his mouth to keep his
teeth from falling out altogether, with the other he laid hold of the
bridle of Rocinante, who had never stirred from his master's side--so
loyal and well-behaved was he--and betook himself to where the squire
stood leaning over his ass with his hand to his cheek, like one in deep
dejection. Seeing him in this mood, looking so sad, Don Quixote said to
"Bear in mind, Sancho, that one man is no more than another, unless he
does more than another; all these tempests that fall upon us are signs
that fair weather is coming shortly, and that things will go well with
us, for it is impossible for good or evil to last for ever; and hence it
follows that the evil having lasted long, the good must be now nigh at
hand; so thou must not distress thyself at the misfortunes which happen
to me, since thou hast no share in them."
"How have I not?" replied Sancho; "was he whom they blanketed yesterday
perchance any other than my father's son? and the alforjas that are
missing to-day with all my treasures, did they belong to any other but
"What! are the alforjas missing, Sancho?" said Don Quixote.
"Yes, they are missing," answered Sancho.
"In that case we have nothing to eat to-day," replied Don Quixote.
"It would be so," answered Sancho, "if there were none of the herbs your
worship says you know in these meadows, those with which knights-errant
as unlucky as your worship are wont to supply such-like shortcomings."
"For all that," answered Don Quixote, "I would rather have just now a
quarter of bread, or a loaf and a couple of pilchards' heads, than all
the herbs described by Dioscorides, even with Doctor Laguna's notes.
Nevertheless, Sancho the Good, mount thy beast and come along with me,
for God, who provides for all things, will not fail us (more especially
when we are so active in his service as we are), since he fails not the
midges of the air, nor the grubs of the earth, nor the tadpoles of the
water, and is so merciful that he maketh his sun to rise on the good and
on the evil, and sendeth rain on the unjust and on the just."
"Your worship would make a better preacher than knight-errant," said
"Knights-errant knew and ought to know everything, Sancho," said Don
Quixote; "for there were knights-errant in former times as well qualified
to deliver a sermon or discourse in the middle of an encampment, as if
they had graduated in the University of Paris; whereby we may see that
the lance has never blunted the pen, nor the pen the lance."
"Well, be it as your worship says," replied Sancho; "let us be off now
and find some place of shelter for the night, and God grant it may be
somewhere where there are no blankets, nor blanketeers, nor phantoms, nor
enchanted Moors; for if there are, may the devil take the whole concern."
"Ask that of God, my son," said Don Quixote; "and do thou lead on where
thou wilt, for this time I leave our lodging to thy choice; but reach me
here thy hand, and feel with thy finger, and find out how many of my
teeth and grinders are missing from this right side of the upper jaw, for
it is there I feel the pain."
Sancho put in his fingers, and feeling about asked him, "How many
grinders used your worship have on this side?"
"Four," replied Don Quixote, "besides the back-tooth, all whole and quite
"Mind what you are saying, senor."
"I say four, if not five," answered Don Quixote, "for never in my life
have I had tooth or grinder drawn, nor has any fallen out or been
destroyed by any decay or rheum."
"Well, then," said Sancho, "in this lower side your worship has no more
than two grinders and a half, and in the upper neither a half nor any at
all, for it is all as smooth as the palm of my hand."
"Luckless that I am!" said Don Quixote, hearing the sad news his squire
gave him; "I had rather they despoiled me of an arm, so it were not the
sword-arm; for I tell thee, Sancho, a mouth without teeth is like a mill
without a millstone, and a tooth is much more to be prized than a
diamond; but we who profess the austere order of chivalry are liable to
all this. Mount, friend, and lead the way, and I will follow thee at
whatever pace thou wilt."
Sancho did as he bade him, and proceeded in the direction in which he
thought he might find refuge without quitting the high road, which was
there very much frequented. As they went along, then, at a slow pace--for
the pain in Don Quixote's jaws kept him uneasy and ill-disposed for
speed--Sancho thought it well to amuse and divert him by talk of some
kind, and among the things he said to him was that which will be told in
the following chapter.
OF THE SHREWD DISCOURSE WHICH SANCHO HELD WITH HIS MASTER, AND OF THE
ADVENTURE THAT BEFELL HIM WITH A DEAD BODY, TOGETHER WITH OTHER NOTABLE
"It seems to me, senor, that all these mishaps that have befallen us of
late have been without any doubt a punishment for the offence committed
by your worship against the order of chivalry in not keeping the oath you
made not to eat bread off a tablecloth or embrace the queen, and all the
rest of it that your worship swore to observe until you had taken that
helmet of Malandrino's, or whatever the Moor is called, for I do not very
"Thou art very right, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "but to tell the truth,
it had escaped my memory; and likewise thou mayest rely upon it that the
affair of the blanket happened to thee because of thy fault in not
reminding me of it in time; but I will make amends, for there are ways of
compounding for everything in the order of chivalry."
"Why! have I taken an oath of some sort, then?" said Sancho.
"It makes no matter that thou hast not taken an oath," said Don Quixote;
"suffice it that I see thou art not quite clear of complicity; and
whether or no, it will not be ill done to provide ourselves with a
"In that case," said Sancho, "mind that your worship does not forget this
as you did the oath; perhaps the phantoms may take it into their heads to
amuse themselves once more with me; or even with your worship if they see
you so obstinate."
While engaged in this and other talk, night overtook them on the road
before they had reached or discovered any place of shelter; and what made
it still worse was that they were dying of hunger, for with the loss of
the alforjas they had lost their entire larder and commissariat; and to
complete the misfortune they met with an adventure which without any
invention had really the appearance of one. It so happened that the night
closed in somewhat darkly, but for all that they pushed on, Sancho
feeling sure that as the road was the king's highway they might
reasonably expect to find some inn within a league or two. Going along,
then, in this way, the night dark, the squire hungry, the master
sharp-set, they saw coming towards them on the road they were travelling
a great number of lights which looked exactly like stars in motion.
Sancho was taken aback at the sight of them, nor did Don Quixote
altogether relish them: the one pulled up his ass by the halter, the
other his hack by the bridle, and they stood still, watching anxiously to
see what all this would turn out to be, and found that the lights were
approaching them, and the nearer they came the greater they seemed, at
which spectacle Sancho began to shake like a man dosed with mercury, and
Don Quixote's hair stood on end; he, however, plucking up spirit a
"This, no doubt, Sancho, will be a most mighty and perilous adventure, in
which it will be needful for me to put forth all my valour and
"Unlucky me!" answered Sancho; "if this adventure happens to be one of
phantoms, as I am beginning to think it is, where shall I find the ribs
to bear it?"
"Be they phantoms ever so much," said Don Quixote, "I will not permit
them to touch a thread of thy garments; for if they played tricks with
thee the time before, it was because I was unable to leap the walls of
the yard; but now we are on a wide plain, where I shall be able to wield
my sword as I please."
"And if they enchant and cripple you as they did the last time," said
Sancho, "what difference will it make being on the open plain or not?"
"For all that," replied Don Quixote, "I entreat thee, Sancho, to keep a
good heart, for experience will tell thee what mine is."
"I will, please God," answered Sancho, and the two retiring to one side
of the road set themselves to observe closely what all these moving
lights might be; and very soon afterwards they made out some twenty
encamisados, all on horseback, with lighted torches in their hands, the
awe-inspiring aspect of whom completely extinguished the courage of
Sancho, who began to chatter with his teeth like one in the cold fit of
an ague; and his heart sank and his teeth chattered still more when they
perceived distinctly that behind them there came a litter covered over
with black and followed by six more mounted figures in mourning down to
the very feet of their mules--for they could perceive plainly they were
not horses by the easy pace at which they went. And as the encamisados
came along they muttered to themselves in a low plaintive tone. This
strange spectacle at such an hour and in such a solitary place was quite
enough to strike terror into Sancho's heart, and even into his master's;
and (save in Don Quixote's case) did so, for all Sancho's resolution had
now broken down. It was just the opposite with his master, whose
imagination immediately conjured up all this to him vividly as one of the
adventures of his books.
He took it into his head that the litter was a bier on which was borne
some sorely wounded or slain knight, to avenge whom was a task reserved
for him alone; and without any further reasoning he laid his lance in
rest, fixed himself firmly in his saddle, and with gallant spirit and
bearing took up his position in the middle of the road where the
encamisados must of necessity pass; and as soon as he saw them near at
hand he raised his voice and said:
"Halt, knights, or whosoever ye may be, and render me account of who ye
are, whence ye come, where ye go, what it is ye carry upon that bier,
for, to judge by appearances, either ye have done some wrong or some
wrong has been done to you, and it is fitting and necessary that I should
know, either that I may chastise you for the evil ye have done, or else
that I may avenge you for the injury that has been inflicted upon you."
"We are in haste," answered one of the encamisados, "and the inn is far
off, and we cannot stop to render you such an account as you demand;" and
spurring his mule he moved on.
Don Quixote was mightily provoked by this answer, and seizing the mule by
the bridle he said, "Halt, and be more mannerly, and render an account of
what I have asked of you; else, take my defiance to combat, all of you."
The mule was shy, and was so frightened at her bridle being seized that
rearing up she flung her rider to the ground over her haunches. An
attendant who was on foot, seeing the encamisado fall, began to abuse Don
Quixote, who now moved to anger, without any more ado, laying his lance
in rest charged one of the men in mourning and brought him badly wounded
to the ground, and as he wheeled round upon the others the agility with
which he attacked and routed them was a sight to see, for it seemed just
as if wings had that instant grown upon Rocinante, so lightly and proudly
did he bear himself. The encamisados were all timid folk and unarmed, so
they speedily made their escape from the fray and set off at a run across
the plain with their lighted torches, looking exactly like maskers
running on some gala or festival night. The mourners, too, enveloped and
swathed in their skirts and gowns, were unable to bestir themselves, and
so with entire safety to himself Don Quixote belaboured them all and
drove them off against their will, for they all thought it was no man but
a devil from hell come to carry away the dead body they had in the
Sancho beheld all this in astonishment at the intrepidity of his lord,
and said to himself, "Clearly this master of mine is as bold and valiant
as he says he is."
A burning torch lay on the ground near the first man whom the mule had
thrown, by the light of which Don Quixote perceived him, and coming up to
him he presented the point of the lance to his face, calling on him to
yield himself prisoner, or else he would kill him; to which the prostrate
man replied, "I am prisoner enough as it is; I cannot stir, for one of my
legs is broken: I entreat you, if you be a Christian gentleman, not to
kill me, which will be committing grave sacrilege, for I am a licentiate
and I hold first orders."
"Then what the devil brought you here, being a churchman?" said Don
"What, senor?" said the other. "My bad luck."
"Then still worse awaits you," said Don Quixote, "if you do not satisfy
me as to all I asked you at first."
"You shall be soon satisfied," said the licentiate; "you must know, then,
that though just now I said I was a licentiate, I am only a bachelor, and
my name is Alonzo Lopez; I am a native of Alcobendas, I come from the
city of Baeza with eleven others, priests, the same who fled with the
torches, and we are going to the city of Segovia accompanying a dead body
which is in that litter, and is that of a gentleman who died in Baeza,
where he was interred; and now, as I said, we are taking his bones to
their burial-place, which is in Segovia, where he was born."
"And who killed him?" asked Don Quixote.
"God, by means of a malignant fever that took him," answered the
"In that case," said Don Quixote, "the Lord has relieved me of the task
of avenging his death had any other slain him; but, he who slew him
having slain him, there is nothing for it but to be silent, and shrug
one's shoulders; I should do the same were he to slay myself; and I would
have your reverence know that I am a knight of La Mancha, Don Quixote by
name, and it is my business and calling to roam the world righting wrongs
and redressing injuries."
"I do not know how that about righting wrongs can be," said the bachelor,
"for from straight you have made me crooked, leaving me with a broken leg
that will never see itself straight again all the days of its life; and
the injury you have redressed in my case has been to leave me injured in
such a way that I shall remain injured for ever; and the height of
misadventure it was to fall in with you who go in search of adventures."
"Things do not all happen in the same way," answered Don Quixote; "it all
came, Sir Bachelor Alonzo Lopez, of your going, as you did, by night,
dressed in those surplices, with lighted torches, praying, covered with
mourning, so that naturally you looked like something evil and of the
other world; and so I could not avoid doing my duty in attacking you, and
I should have attacked you even had I known positively that you were the
very devils of hell, for such I certainly believed and took you to be."
"As my fate has so willed it," said the bachelor, "I entreat you, sir
knight-errant, whose errand has been such an evil one for me, to help me
to get from under this mule that holds one of my legs caught between the
stirrup and the saddle."
"I would have talked on till to-morrow," said Don Quixote; "how long were
you going to wait before telling me of your distress?"
He at once called to Sancho, who, however, had no mind to come, as he was
just then engaged in unloading a sumpter mule, well laden with provender,
which these worthy gentlemen had brought with them. Sancho made a bag of
his coat, and, getting together as much as he could, and as the bag would
hold, he loaded his beast, and then hastened to obey his master's call,
and helped him to remove the bachelor from under the mule; then putting
him on her back he gave him the torch, and Don Quixote bade him follow
the track of his companions, and beg pardon of them on his part for the
wrong which he could not help doing them.
And said Sancho, "If by chance these gentlemen should want to know who
was the hero that served them so, your worship may tell them that he is
the famous Don Quixote of La Mancha, otherwise called the Knight of the
The bachelor then took his departure.
I forgot to mention that before he did so he said to Don Quixote,
"Remember that you stand excommunicated for having laid violent hands on
a holy thing, juxta illud, si quis, suadente diabolo."
"I do not understand that Latin," answered Don Quixote, "but I know well
I did not lay hands, only this pike; besides, I did not think I was
committing an assault upon priests or things of the Church, which, like a
Catholic and faithful Christian as I am, I respect and revere, but upon
phantoms and spectres of the other world; but even so, I remember how it
fared with Cid Ruy Diaz when he broke the chair of the ambassador of that
king before his Holiness the Pope, who excommunicated him for the same;
and yet the good Roderick of Vivar bore himself that day like a very
noble and valiant knight."
On hearing this the bachelor took his departure, as has been said,
without making any reply; and Don Quixote asked Sancho what had induced
him to call him the "Knight of the Rueful Countenance" more then than at
any other time.
"I will tell you," answered Sancho; "it was because I have been looking
at you for some time by the light of the torch held by that unfortunate,
and verily your worship has got of late the most ill-favoured countenance
I ever saw: it must be either owing to the fatigue of this combat, or
else to the want of teeth and grinders."
"It is not that," replied Don Quixote, "but because the sage whose duty
it will be to write the history of my achievements must have thought it
proper that I should take some distinctive name as all knights of yore
did; one being 'He of the Burning Sword,' another 'He of the Unicorn,'
this one 'He of the Damsels,' that 'He of the Phoenix,' another 'The
Knight of the Griffin,' and another 'He of the Death,' and by these names
and designations they were known all the world round; and so I say that
the sage aforesaid must have put it into your mouth and mind just now to
call me 'The Knight of the Rueful Countenance,' as I intend to call
myself from this day forward; and that the said name may fit me better, I
mean, when the opportunity offers, to have a very rueful countenance
painted on my shield."
"There is no occasion, senor, for wasting time or money on making that
countenance," said Sancho; "for all that need be done is for your worship
to show your own, face to face, to those who look at you, and without
anything more, either image or shield, they will call you 'Him of the
Rueful Countenance' and believe me I am telling you the truth, for I
assure you, senor (and in good part be it said), hunger and the loss of
your grinders have given you such an ill-favoured face that, as I say,
the rueful picture may be very well spared."
Don Quixote laughed at Sancho's pleasantry; nevertheless he resolved to
call himself by that name, and have his shield or buckler painted as he
Don Quixote would have looked to see whether the body in the litter were
bones or not, but Sancho would not have it, saying:
"Senor, you have ended this perilous adventure more safely for yourself
than any of those I have seen: perhaps these people, though beaten and
routed, may bethink themselves that it is a single man that has beaten
them, and feeling sore and ashamed of it may take heart and come in
search of us and give us trouble enough. The ass is in proper trim, the
mountains are near at hand, hunger presses, we have nothing more to do
but make good our retreat, and, as the saying is, the dead to the grave
and the living to the loaf."
And driving his ass before him he begged his master to follow, who,
feeling that Sancho was right, did so without replying; and after
proceeding some little distance between two hills they found themselves
in a wide and retired valley, where they alighted, and Sancho unloaded
his beast, and stretched upon the green grass, with hunger for sauce,
they breakfasted, dined, lunched, and supped all at once, satisfying
their appetites with more than one store of cold meat which the dead
man's clerical gentlemen (who seldom put themselves on short allowance)
had brought with them on their sumpter mule. But another piece of
ill-luck befell them, which Sancho held the worst of all, and that was
that they had no wine to drink, nor even water to moisten their lips; and
as thirst tormented them, Sancho, observing that the meadow where they
were was full of green and tender grass, said what will be told in the
OF THE UNEXAMPLED AND UNHEARD-OF ADVENTURE WHICH WAS ACHIEVED BY THE
VALIANT DON QUIXOTE OF LA MANCHA WITH LESS PERIL THAN ANY EVER ACHIEVED
BY ANY FAMOUS KNIGHT IN THE WORLD
"It cannot be, senor, but that this grass is a proof that there must be
hard by some spring or brook to give it moisture, so it would be well to
move a little farther on, that we may find some place where we may quench
this terrible thirst that plagues us, which beyond a doubt is more
distressing than hunger."
The advice seemed good to Don Quixote, and, he leading Rocinante by the
bridle and Sancho the ass by the halter, after he had packed away upon
him the remains of the supper, they advanced the meadow feeling their
way, for the darkness of the night made it impossible to see anything;
but they had not gone two hundred paces when a loud noise of water, as if
falling from great rocks, struck their ears. The sound cheered them
greatly; but halting to make out by listening from what quarter it came
they heard unseasonably another noise which spoiled the satisfaction the
sound of the water gave them, especially for Sancho, who was by nature
timid and faint-hearted. They heard, I say, strokes falling with a
measured beat, and a certain rattling of iron and chains that, together
with the furious din of the water, would have struck terror into any
heart but Don Quixote's. The night was, as has been said, dark, and they
had happened to reach a spot in among some tall trees, whose leaves
stirred by a gentle breeze made a low ominous sound; so that, what with
the solitude, the place, the darkness, the noise of the water, and the
rustling of the leaves, everything inspired awe and dread; more
especially as they perceived that the strokes did not cease, nor the wind
lull, nor morning approach; to all which might be added their ignorance
as to where they were.
But Don Quixote, supported by his intrepid heart, leaped on Rocinante,
and bracing his buckler on his arm, brought his pike to the slope, and
said, "Friend Sancho, know that I by Heaven's will have been born in this
our iron age to revive revive in it the age of gold, or the golden as it
is called; I am he for whom perils, mighty achievements, and valiant
deeds are reserved; I am, I say again, he who is to revive the Knights of
the Round Table, the Twelve of France and the Nine Worthies; and he who
is to consign to oblivion the Platirs, the Tablantes, the Olivantes and
Tirantes, the Phoebuses and Belianises, with the whole herd of famous
knights-errant of days gone by, performing in these in which I live such
exploits, marvels, and feats of arms as shall obscure their brightest
deeds. Thou dost mark well, faithful and trusty squire, the gloom of this
night, its strange silence, the dull confused murmur of those trees, the
awful sound of that water in quest of which we came, that seems as though
it were precipitating and dashing itself down from the lofty mountains of
the Moon, and that incessant hammering that wounds and pains our ears;
which things all together and each of itself are enough to instil fear,
dread, and dismay into the breast of Mars himself, much more into one not
used to hazards and adventures of the kind. Well, then, all this that I
put before thee is but an incentive and stimulant to my spirit, making my
heart burst in my bosom through eagerness to engage in this adventure,
arduous as it promises to be; therefore tighten Rocinante's girths a
little, and God be with thee; wait for me here three days and no more,
and if in that time I come not back, thou canst return to our village,
and thence, to do me a favour and a service, thou wilt go to El Toboso,
where thou shalt say to my incomparable lady Dulcinea that her captive
knight hath died in attempting things that might make him worthy of being
When Sancho heard his master's words he began to weep in the most
pathetic way, saying:
"Senor, I know not why your worship wants to attempt this so dreadful
adventure; it is night now, no one sees us here, we can easily turn about
and take ourselves out of danger, even if we don't drink for three days
to come; and as there is no one to see us, all the less will there be
anyone to set us down as cowards; besides, I have many a time heard the
curate of our village, whom your worship knows well, preach that he who
seeks danger perishes in it; so it is not right to tempt God by trying so
tremendous a feat from which there can be no escape save by a miracle,
and Heaven has performed enough of them for your worship in delivering
you from being blanketed as I was, and bringing you out victorious and
safe and sound from among all those enemies that were with the dead man;
and if all this does not move or soften that hard heart, let this thought
and reflection move it, that you will have hardly quitted this spot when
from pure fear I shall yield my soul up to anyone that will take it. I
left home and wife and children to come and serve your worship, trusting
to do better and not worse; but as covetousness bursts the bag, it has
rent my hopes asunder, for just as I had them highest about getting that
wretched unlucky island your worship has so often promised me, I see that
instead and in lieu of it you mean to desert me now in a place so far
from human reach: for God's sake, master mine, deal not so unjustly by
me, and if your worship will not entirely give up attempting this feat,
at least put it off till morning, for by what the lore I learned when I
was a shepherd tells me it cannot want three hours of dawn now, because
the mouth of the Horn is overhead and makes midnight in the line of the
"How canst thou see, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "where it makes that
line, or where this mouth or this occiput is that thou talkest of, when
the night is so dark that there is not a star to be seen in the whole
"That's true," said Sancho, "but fear has sharp eyes, and sees things
underground, much more above in heavens; besides, there is good reason to
show that it now wants but little of day."
"Let it want what it may," replied Don Quixote, "it shall not be said of
me now or at any time that tears or entreaties turned me aside from doing
what was in accordance with knightly usage; and so I beg of thee, Sancho,
to hold thy peace, for God, who has put it into my heart to undertake now
this so unexampled and terrible adventure, will take care to watch over
my safety and console thy sorrow; what thou hast to do is to tighten
Rocinante's girths well, and wait here, for I shall come back shortly,
alive or dead."
Sancho perceiving it his master's final resolve, and how little his
tears, counsels, and entreaties prevailed with him, determined to have
recourse to his own ingenuity and compel him, if he could, to wait till
daylight; and so, while tightening the girths of the horse, he quietly
and without being felt, with his ass' halter tied both Rocinante's legs,
so that when Don Quixote strove to go he was unable as the horse could
only move by jumps. Seeing the success of his trick, Sancho Panza said:
"See there, senor! Heaven, moved by my tears and prayers, has so ordered
it that Rocinante cannot stir; and if you will be obstinate, and spur and
strike him, you will only provoke fortune, and kick, as they say, against
Don Quixote at this grew desperate, but the more he drove his heels into
the horse, the less he stirred him; and not having any suspicion of the
tying, he was fain to resign himself and wait till daybreak or until
Rocinante could move, firmly persuaded that all this came of something
other than Sancho's ingenuity. So he said to him, "As it is so, Sancho,
and as Rocinante cannot move, I am content to wait till dawn smiles upon
us, even though I weep while it delays its coming."
"There is no need to weep," answered Sancho, "for I will amuse your
worship by telling stories from this till daylight, unless indeed you
like to dismount and lie down to sleep a little on the green grass after
the fashion of knights-errant, so as to be fresher when day comes and the
moment arrives for attempting this extraordinary adventure you are
looking forward to."
"What art thou talking about dismounting or sleeping for?" said Don
Quixote. "Am I, thinkest thou, one of those knights that take their rest
in the presence of danger? Sleep thou who art born to sleep, or do as
thou wilt, for I will act as I think most consistent with my character."
"Be not angry, master mine," replied Sancho, "I did not mean to say
that;" and coming close to him he laid one hand on the pommel of the
saddle and the other on the cantle so that he held his master's left
thigh in his embrace, not daring to separate a finger's width from him;
so much afraid was he of the strokes which still resounded with a regular
beat. Don Quixote bade him tell some story to amuse him as he had
proposed, to which Sancho replied that he would if his dread of what he
heard would let him; "Still," said he, "I will strive to tell a story
which, if I can manage to relate it, and nobody interferes with the
telling, is the best of stories, and let your worship give me your
attention, for here I begin. What was, was; and may the good that is to
come be for all, and the evil for him who goes to look for it--your
worship must know that the beginning the old folk used to put to their
tales was not just as each one pleased; it was a maxim of Cato Zonzorino
the Roman, that says 'the evil for him that goes to look for it,' and it
comes as pat to the purpose now as ring to finger, to show that your
worship should keep quiet and not go looking for evil in any quarter, and
that we should go back by some other road, since nobody forces us to
follow this in which so many terrors affright us."
"Go on with thy story, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "and leave the choice
of our road to my care."
"I say then," continued Sancho, "that in a village of Estremadura there
was a goat-shepherd--that is to say, one who tended goats--which shepherd
or goatherd, as my story goes, was called Lope Ruiz, and this Lope Ruiz
was in love with a shepherdess called Torralva, which shepherdess called
Torralva was the daughter of a rich grazier, and this rich grazier-"
"If that is the way thou tellest thy tale, Sancho," said Don Quixote,
"repeating twice all thou hast to say, thou wilt not have done these two
days; go straight on with it, and tell it like a reasonable man, or else
"Tales are always told in my country in the very way I am telling this,"
answered Sancho, "and I cannot tell it in any other, nor is it right of
your worship to ask me to make new customs."
"Tell it as thou wilt," replied Don Quixote; "and as fate will have it
that I cannot help listening to thee, go on."
"And so, lord of my soul," continued Sancho, as I have said, this
shepherd was in love with Torralva the shepherdess, who was a wild buxom
lass with something of the look of a man about her, for she had little
moustaches; I fancy I see her now."
"Then you knew her?" said Don Quixote.
"I did not know her," said Sancho, "but he who told me the story said it
was so true and certain that when I told it to another I might safely
declare and swear I had seen it all myself. And so in course of time, the
devil, who never sleeps and puts everything in confusion, contrived that
the love the shepherd bore the shepherdess turned into hatred and
ill-will, and the reason, according to evil tongues, was some little
jealousy she caused him that crossed the line and trespassed on forbidden
ground; and so much did the shepherd hate her from that time forward
that, in order to escape from her, he determined to quit the country and
go where he should never set eyes on her again. Torralva, when she found
herself spurned by Lope, was immediately smitten with love for him,
though she had never loved him before."
"That is the natural way of women," said Don Quixote, "to scorn the one
that loves them, and love the one that hates them: go on, Sancho."
"It came to pass," said Sancho, "that the shepherd carried out his
intention, and driving his goats before him took his way across the
plains of Estremadura to pass over into the Kingdom of Portugal.
Torralva, who knew of it, went after him, and on foot and barefoot
followed him at a distance, with a pilgrim's staff in her hand and a
scrip round her neck, in which she carried, it is said, a bit of
looking-glass and a piece of a comb and some little pot or other of paint
for her face; but let her carry what she did, I am not going to trouble
myself to prove it; all I say is, that the shepherd, they say, came with
his flock to cross over the river Guadiana, which was at that time
swollen and almost overflowing its banks, and at the spot he came to
there was neither ferry nor boat nor anyone to carry him or his flock to
the other side, at which he was much vexed, for he perceived that
Torralva was approaching and would give him great annoyance with her
tears and entreaties; however, he went looking about so closely that he
discovered a fisherman who had alongside of him a boat so small that it
could only hold one person and one goat; but for all that he spoke to him
and agreed with him to carry himself and his three hundred goats across.
The fisherman got into the boat and carried one goat over; he came back
and carried another over; he came back again, and again brought over
another--let your worship keep count of the goats the fisherman is taking
across, for if one escapes the memory there will be an end of the story,
and it will be impossible to tell another word of it. To proceed, I must
tell you the landing place on the other side was miry and slippery, and
the fisherman lost a great deal of time in going and coming; still he
returned for another goat, and another, and another."
"Take it for granted he brought them all across," said Don Quixote, "and
don't keep going and coming in this way, or thou wilt not make an end of
bringing them over this twelvemonth."
"How many have gone across so far?" said Sancho.
"How the devil do I know?" replied Don Quixote.
"There it is," said Sancho, "what I told you, that you must keep a good
count; well then, by God, there is an end of the story, for there is no
going any farther."
"How can that be?" said Don Quixote; "is it so essential to the story to
know to a nicety the goats that have crossed over, that if there be a
mistake of one in the reckoning, thou canst not go on with it?"
"No, senor, not a bit," replied Sancho; "for when I asked your worship to
tell me how many goats had crossed, and you answered you did not know, at
that very instant all I had to say passed away out of my memory, and,
faith, there was much virtue in it, and entertainment."
"So, then," said Don Quixote, "the story has come to an end?"
"As much as my mother has," said Sancho.
"In truth," said Don Quixote, "thou hast told one of the rarest stories,
tales, or histories, that anyone in the world could have imagined, and
such a way of telling it and ending it was never seen nor will be in a
lifetime; though I expected nothing else from thy excellent
understanding. But I do not wonder, for perhaps those ceaseless strokes
may have confused thy wits."
"All that may be," replied Sancho, "but I know that as to my story, all
that can be said is that it ends there where the mistake in the count of
the passage of the goats begins."
"Let it end where it will, well and good," said Don Quixote, "and let us
see if Rocinante can go;" and again he spurred him, and again Rocinante
made jumps and remained where he was, so well tied was he.
Just then, whether it was the cold of the morning that was now
approaching, or that he had eaten something laxative at supper, or that
it was only natural (as is most likely), Sancho felt a desire to do what
no one could do for him; but so great was the fear that had penetrated
his heart, he dared not separate himself from his master by as much as
the black of his nail; to escape doing what he wanted was, however, also
impossible; so what he did for peace's sake was to remove his right hand,
which held the back of the saddle, and with it to untie gently and
silently the running string which alone held up his breeches, so that on
loosening it they at once fell down round his feet like fetters; he then
raised his shirt as well as he could and bared his hind quarters, no slim
ones. But, this accomplished, which he fancied was all he had to do to
get out of this terrible strait and embarrassment, another still greater
difficulty presented itself, for it seemed to him impossible to relieve
himself without making some noise, and he ground his teeth and squeezed
his shoulders together, holding his breath as much as he could; but in
spite of his precautions he was unlucky enough after all to make a little
noise, very different from that which was causing him so much fear.
Don Quixote, hearing it, said, "What noise is that, Sancho?"
"I don't know, senor," said he; "it must be something new, for adventures
and misadventures never begin with a trifle." Once more he tried his
luck, and succeeded so well, that without any further noise or
disturbance he found himself relieved of the burden that had given him so
much discomfort. But as Don Quixote's sense of smell was as acute as his
hearing, and as Sancho was so closely linked with him that the fumes rose
almost in a straight line, it could not be but that some should reach his
nose, and as soon as they did he came to its relief by compressing it
between his fingers, saying in a rather snuffing tone, "Sancho, it
strikes me thou art in great fear."
"I am," answered Sancho; "but how does your worship perceive it now more
"Because just now thou smellest stronger than ever, and not of
ambergris," answered Don Quixote.
"Very likely," said Sancho, "but that's not my fault, but your worship's,
for leading me about at unseasonable hours and at such unwonted paces."
"Then go back three or four, my friend," said Don Quixote, all the time
with his fingers to his nose; "and for the future pay more attention to
thy person and to what thou owest to mine; for it is my great familiarity
with thee that has bred this contempt."
"I'll bet," replied Sancho, "that your worship thinks I have done
something I ought not with my person."
"It makes it worse to stir it, friend Sancho," returned Don Quixote.
With this and other talk of the same sort master and man passed the
night, till Sancho, perceiving that daybreak was coming on apace, very
cautiously untied Rocinante and tied up his breeches. As soon as
Rocinante found himself free, though by nature he was not at all
mettlesome, he seemed to feel lively and began pawing--for as to
capering, begging his pardon, he knew not what it meant. Don Quixote,
then, observing that Rocinante could move, took it as a good sign and a
signal that he should attempt the dread adventure. By this time day had
fully broken and everything showed distinctly, and Don Quixote saw that
he was among some tall trees, chestnuts, which cast a very deep shade; he
perceived likewise that the sound of the strokes did not cease, but could
not discover what caused it, and so without any further delay he let
Rocinante feel the spur, and once more taking leave of Sancho, he told
him to wait for him there three days at most, as he had said before, and
if he should not have returned by that time, he might feel sure it had
been God's will that he should end his days in that perilous adventure.
He again repeated the message and commission with which he was to go on
his behalf to his lady Dulcinea, and said he was not to be uneasy as to
the payment of his services, for before leaving home he had made his
will, in which he would find himself fully recompensed in the matter of
wages in due proportion to the time he had served; but if God delivered
him safe, sound, and unhurt out of that danger, he might look upon the
promised island as much more than certain. Sancho began to weep afresh on
again hearing the affecting words of his good master, and resolved to
stay with him until the final issue and end of the business. From these
tears and this honourable resolve of Sancho Panza's the author of this
history infers that he must have been of good birth and at least an old
Christian; and the feeling he displayed touched his but not so much as to
make him show any weakness; on the contrary, hiding what he felt as well
as he could, he began to move towards that quarter whence the sound of
the water and of the strokes seemed to come.
Sancho followed him on foot, leading by the halter, as his custom was,
his ass, his constant comrade in prosperity or adversity; and advancing
some distance through the shady chestnut trees they came upon a little
meadow at the foot of some high rocks, down which a mighty rush of water
flung itself. At the foot of the rocks were some rudely constructed
houses looking more like ruins than houses, from among which came, they
perceived, the din and clatter of blows, which still continued without
intermission. Rocinante took fright at the noise of the water and of the
blows, but quieting him Don Quixote advanced step by step towards the
houses, commending himself with all his heart to his lady, imploring her
support in that dread pass and enterprise, and on the way commending
himself to God, too, not to forget him. Sancho who never quitted his
side, stretched his neck as far as he could and peered between the legs
of Rocinante to see if he could now discover what it was that caused him
such fear and apprehension. They went it might be a hundred paces
farther, when on turning a corner the true cause, beyond the possibility
of any mistake, of that dread-sounding and to them awe-inspiring noise
that had kept them all the night in such fear and perplexity, appeared
plain and obvious; and it was (if, reader, thou art not disgusted and
disappointed) six fulling hammers which by their alternate strokes made
all the din.
When Don Quixote perceived what it was, he was struck dumb and rigid from
head to foot. Sancho glanced at him and saw him with his head bent down
upon his breast in manifest mortification; and Don Quixote glanced at
Sancho and saw him with his cheeks puffed out and his mouth full of
laughter, and evidently ready to explode with it, and in spite of his
vexation he could not help laughing at the sight of him; and when Sancho
saw his master begin he let go so heartily that he had to hold his sides
with both hands to keep himself from bursting with laughter. Four times
he stopped, and as many times did his laughter break out afresh with the
same violence as at first, whereat Don Quixote grew furious, above all
when he heard him say mockingly, "Thou must know, friend Sancho, that of
Heaven's will I was born in this our iron age to revive in it the golden
or age of gold; I am he for whom are reserved perils, mighty
achievements, valiant deeds;" and here he went on repeating the words
that Don Quixote uttered the first time they heard the awful strokes.
Don Quixote, then, seeing that Sancho was turning him into ridicule, was
so mortified and vexed that he lifted up his pike and smote him two such
blows that if, instead of catching them on his shoulders, he had caught
them on his head there would have been no wages to pay, unless indeed to
his heirs. Sancho seeing that he was getting an awkward return in earnest
for his jest, and fearing his master might carry it still further, said
to him very humbly, "Calm yourself, sir, for by God I am only joking."
"Well, then, if you are joking I am not," replied Don Quixote. "Look
here, my lively gentleman, if these, instead of being fulling hammers,
had been some perilous adventure, have I not, think you, shown the
courage required for the attempt and achievement? Am I, perchance, being,
as I am, a gentleman, bound to know and distinguish sounds and tell
whether they come from fulling mills or not; and that, when perhaps, as
is the case, I have never in my life seen any as you have, low boor as
you are, that have been born and bred among them? But turn me these six
hammers into six giants, and bring them to beard me, one by one or all
together, and if I do not knock them head over heels, then make what
mockery you like of me."
"No more of that, senor," returned Sancho; "I own I went a little too far
with the joke. But tell me, your worship, now that peace is made between
us (and may God bring you out of all the adventures that may befall you
as safe and sound as he has brought you out of this one), was it not a
thing to laugh at, and is it not a good story, the great fear we were
in?--at least that I was in; for as to your worship I see now that you
neither know nor understand what either fear or dismay is."
"I do not deny," said Don Quixote, "that what happened to us may be worth
laughing at, but it is not worth making a story about, for it is not
everyone that is shrewd enough to hit the right point of a thing."
"At any rate," said Sancho, "your worship knew how to hit the right point
with your pike, aiming at my head and hitting me on the shoulders, thanks
be to God and my own smartness in dodging it. But let that pass; all will
come out in the scouring; for I have heard say 'he loves thee well that
makes thee weep;' and moreover that it is the way with great lords after
any hard words they give a servant to give him a pair of breeches; though
I do not know what they give after blows, unless it be that
knights-errant after blows give islands, or kingdoms on the mainland."
"It may be on the dice," said Don Quixote, "that all thou sayest will
come true; overlook the past, for thou art shrewd enough to know that our
first movements are not in our own control; and one thing for the future
bear in mind, that thou curb and restrain thy loquacity in my company;
for in all the books of chivalry that I have read, and they are
innumerable, I never met with a squire who talked so much to his lord as
thou dost to thine; and in fact I feel it to be a great fault of thine
and of mine: of thine, that thou hast so little respect for me; of mine,
that I do not make myself more respected. There was Gandalin, the squire
of Amadis of Gaul, that was Count of the Insula Firme, and we read of him
that he always addressed his lord with his cap in his hand, his head
bowed down and his body bent double, more turquesco. And then, what shall
we say of Gasabal, the squire of Galaor, who was so silent that in order
to indicate to us the greatness of his marvellous taciturnity his name is
only once mentioned in the whole of that history, as long as it is
truthful? From all I have said thou wilt gather, Sancho, that there must
be a difference between master and man, between lord and lackey, between
knight and squire: so that from this day forward in our intercourse we
must observe more respect and take less liberties, for in whatever way I
may be provoked with you it will be bad for the pitcher. The favours and
benefits that I have promised you will come in due time, and if they do
not your wages at least will not be lost, as I have already told you."
"All that your worship says is very well," said Sancho, "but I should
like to know (in case the time of favours should not come, and it might
be necessary to fall back upon wages) how much did the squire of a
knight-errant get in those days, and did they agree by the month, or by
the day like bricklayers?"
"I do not believe," replied Don Quixote, "that such squires were ever on
wages, but were dependent on favour; and if I have now mentioned thine in
the sealed will I have left at home, it was with a view to what may
happen; for as yet I know not how chivalry will turn out in these
wretched times of ours, and I do not wish my soul to suffer for trifles
in the other world; for I would have thee know, Sancho, that in this
there is no condition more hazardous than that of adventurers."
"That is true," said Sancho, "since the mere noise of the hammers of a
fulling mill can disturb and disquiet the heart of such a valiant errant
adventurer as your worship; but you may be sure I will not open my lips
henceforward to make light of anything of your worship's, but only to
honour you as my master and natural lord."
"By so doing," replied Don Quixote, "shalt thou live long on the face of
the earth; for next to parents, masters are to be respected as though
they were parents."
WHICH TREATS OF THE EXALTED ADVENTURE AND RICH PRIZE OF MAMBRINO'S
HELMET, TOGETHER WITH OTHER THINGS THAT HAPPENED TO OUR INVINCIBLE KNIGHT
It now began to rain a little, and Sancho was for going into the fulling
mills, but Don Quixote had taken such an abhorrence to them on account of
the late joke that he would not enter them on any account; so turning
aside to right they came upon another road, different from that which
they had taken the night before. Shortly afterwards Don Quixote perceived
a man on horseback who wore on his head something that shone like gold,
and the moment he saw him he turned to Sancho and said:
"I think, Sancho, there is no proverb that is not true, all being maxims
drawn from experience itself, the mother of all the sciences, especially
that one that says, 'Where one door shuts, another opens.' I say so
because if last night fortune shut the door of the adventure we were
looking for against us, cheating us with the fulling mills, it now opens
wide another one for another better and more certain adventure, and if I
do not contrive to enter it, it will be my own fault, and I cannot lay it
to my ignorance of fulling mills, or the darkness of the night. I say
this because, if I mistake not, there comes towards us one who wears on
his head the helmet of Mambrino, concerning which I took the oath thou
"Mind what you say, your worship, and still more what you do," said
Sancho, "for I don't want any more fulling mills to finish off fulling
and knocking our senses out."
"The devil take thee, man," said Don Quixote; "what has a helmet to do
with fulling mills?"
"I don't know," replied Sancho, "but, faith, if I might speak as I used,
perhaps I could give such reasons that your worship would see you were
mistaken in what you say."
"How can I be mistaken in what I say, unbelieving traitor?" returned Don
Quixote; "tell me, seest thou not yonder knight coming towards us on a
dappled grey steed, who has upon his head a helmet of gold?"
"What I see and make out," answered Sancho, "is only a man on a grey ass
like my own, who has something that shines on his head."
"Well, that is the helmet of Mambrino," said Don Quixote; "stand to one
side and leave me alone with him; thou shalt see how, without saying a
word, to save time, I shall bring this adventure to an issue and possess
myself of the helmet I have so longed for."
"I will take care to stand aside," said Sancho; "but God grant, I say
once more, that it may be marjoram and not fulling mills."
"I have told thee, brother, on no account to mention those fulling mills
to me again," said Don Quixote, "or I vow--and I say no more-I'll full
the soul out of you."
Sancho held his peace in dread lest his master should carry out the vow
he had hurled like a bowl at him.
The fact of the matter as regards the helmet, steed, and knight that Don
Quixote saw, was this. In that neighbourhood there were two villages, one
of them so small that it had neither apothecary's shop nor barber, which
the other that was close to it had, so the barber of the larger served
the smaller, and in it there was a sick man who required to be bled and
another man who wanted to be shaved, and on this errand the barber was
going, carrying with him a brass basin; but as luck would have it, as he
was on the way it began to rain, and not to spoil his hat, which probably
was a new one, he put the basin on his head, and being clean it glittered
at half a league's distance. He rode upon a grey ass, as Sancho said, and
this was what made it seem to Don Quixote to be a dapple-grey steed and a
knight and a golden helmet; for everything he saw he made to fall in with
his crazy chivalry and ill-errant notions; and when he saw the poor
knight draw near, without entering into any parley with him, at
Rocinante's top speed he bore down upon him with the pike pointed low,
fully determined to run him through and through, and as he reached him,
without checking the fury of his charge, he cried to him:
"Defend thyself, miserable being, or yield me of thine own accord that
which is so reasonably my due."
The barber, who without any expectation or apprehension of it saw this
apparition coming down upon him, had no other way of saving himself from
the stroke of the lance but to let himself fall off his ass; and no
sooner had he touched the ground than he sprang up more nimbly than a
deer and sped away across the plain faster than the wind.
He left the basin on the ground, with which Don Quixote contented
himself, saying that the pagan had shown his discretion and imitated the
beaver, which finding itself pressed by the hunters bites and cuts off
with its teeth that for which, by its natural instinct, it knows it is
He told Sancho to pick up the helmet, and he taking it in his hands said:
"By God the basin is a good one, and worth a real of eight if it is worth
a maravedis," and handed it to his master, who immediately put it on his
head, turning it round, now this way, now that, in search of fitment, and
not finding it he said, "Clearly the pagan to whose measure this famous
head-piece was first forged must have had a very large head; but the
worst of it is half of it is wanting."
When Sancho heard him call the basin a headpiece he was unable to
restrain his laughter, but remembering his master's wrath he checked
himself in the midst of it.
"What art thou laughing at, Sancho?" said Don Quixote.
"I am laughing," said he, "to think of the great head the pagan must have
had who owned this helmet, for it looks exactly like a regular barber's
"Dost thou know what I suspect, Sancho?" said Don Quixote; "that this
wonderful piece of this enchanted helmet must by some strange accident
have come into the hands of some one who was unable to recognise or
realise its value, and who, not knowing what he did, and seeing it to be
of the purest gold, must have melted down one half for the sake of what
it might be worth, and of the other made this which is like a barber's
basin as thou sayest; but be it as it may, to me who recognise it, its
transformation makes no difference, for I will set it to rights at the
first village where there is a blacksmith, and in such style that that
helmet the god of smithies forged for the god of battles shall not
surpass it or even come up to it; and in the meantime I will wear it as
well as I can, for something is better than nothing; all the more as it
will be quite enough to protect me from any chance blow of a stone."
"That is," said Sancho, "if it is not shot with a sling as they were in
the battle of the two armies, when they signed the cross on your
worship's grinders and smashed the flask with that blessed draught that
made me vomit my bowels up."
"It does not grieve me much to have lost it," said Don Quixote, "for thou
knowest, Sancho, that I have the receipt in my memory."
"So have I," answered Sancho, "but if ever I make it, or try it again as
long as I live, may this be my last hour; moreover, I have no intention
of putting myself in the way of wanting it, for I mean, with all my five
senses, to keep myself from being wounded or from wounding anyone: as to
being blanketed again I say nothing, for it is hard to prevent mishaps of
that sort, and if they come there is nothing for it but to squeeze our
shoulders together, hold our breath, shut our eyes, and let ourselves go
where luck and the blanket may send us."
"Thou art a bad Christian, Sancho," said Don Quixote on hearing this,
"for once an injury has been done thee thou never forgettest it: but know
that it is the part of noble and generous hearts not to attach importance
to trifles. What lame leg hast thou got by it, what broken rib, what
cracked head, that thou canst not forget that jest? For jest and sport it
was, properly regarded, and had I not seen it in that light I would have
returned and done more mischief in revenging thee than the Greeks did for
the rape of Helen, who, if she were alive now, or if my Dulcinea had
lived then, might depend upon it she would not be so famous for her
beauty as she is;" and here he heaved a sigh and sent it aloft; and said
Sancho, "Let it pass for a jest as it cannot be revenged in earnest, but
I know what sort of jest and earnest it was, and I know it will never be
rubbed out of my memory any more than off my shoulders. But putting that
aside, will your worship tell me what are we to do with this dapple-grey
steed that looks like a grey ass, which that Martino that your worship
overthrew has left deserted here? for, from the way he took to his heels
and bolted, he is not likely ever to come back for it; and by my beard
but the grey is a good one."
"I have never been in the habit," said Don Quixote, "of taking spoil of
those whom I vanquish, nor is it the practice of chivalry to take away
their horses and leave them to go on foot, unless indeed it be that the
victor have lost his own in the combat, in which case it is lawful to
take that of the vanquished as a thing won in lawful war; therefore,
Sancho, leave this horse, or ass, or whatever thou wilt have it to be;
for when its owner sees us gone hence he will come back for it."
"God knows I should like to take it," returned Sancho, "or at least to
change it for my own, which does not seem to me as good a one: verily the
laws of chivalry are strict, since they cannot be stretched to let one
ass be changed for another; I should like to know if I might at least
"On that head I am not quite certain," answered Don Quixote, "and the
matter being doubtful, pending better information, I say thou mayest
change them, if so be thou hast urgent need of them."
"So urgent is it," answered Sancho, "that if they were for my own person
I could not want them more;" and forthwith, fortified by this licence, he
effected the mutatio capparum, rigging out his beast to the ninety-nines
and making quite another thing of it. This done, they broke their fast on
the remains of the spoils of war plundered from the sumpter mule, and
drank of the brook that flowed from the fulling mills, without casting a
look in that direction, in such loathing did they hold them for the alarm
they had caused them; and, all anger and gloom removed, they mounted and,
without taking any fixed road (not to fix upon any being the proper thing
for true knights-errant), they set out, guided by Rocinante's will, which
carried along with it that of his master, not to say that of the ass,
which always followed him wherever he led, lovingly and sociably;
nevertheless they returned to the high road, and pursued it at a venture
without any other aim.
As they went along, then, in this way Sancho said to his master, "Senor,
would your worship give me leave to speak a little to you? For since you
laid that hard injunction of silence on me several things have gone to
rot in my stomach, and I have now just one on the tip of my tongue that I
don't want to be spoiled."
"Say, on, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "and be brief in thy discourse, for
there is no pleasure in one that is long."
"Well then, senor," returned Sancho, "I say that for some days past I
have been considering how little is got or gained by going in search of
these adventures that your worship seeks in these wilds and cross-roads,
where, even if the most perilous are victoriously achieved, there is no
one to see or know of them, and so they must be left untold for ever, to
the loss of your worship's object and the credit they deserve; therefore
it seems to me it would be better (saving your worship's better judgment)
if we were to go and serve some emperor or other great prince who may
have some war on hand, in whose service your worship may prove the worth
of your person, your great might, and greater understanding, on
perceiving which the lord in whose service we may be will perforce have
to reward us, each according to his merits; and there you will not be at
a loss for some one to set down your achievements in writing so as to
preserve their memory for ever. Of my own I say nothing, as they will not
go beyond squirely limits, though I make bold to say that, if it be the
practice in chivalry to write the achievements of squires, I think mine
must not be left out."
"Thou speakest not amiss, Sancho," answered Don Quixote, "but before that
point is reached it is requisite to roam the world, as it were on
probation, seeking adventures, in order that, by achieving some, name and
fame may be acquired, such that when he betakes himself to the court of
some great monarch the knight may be already known by his deeds, and that
the boys, the instant they see him enter the gate of the city, may all
follow him and surround him, crying, 'This is the Knight of the Sun'-or
the Serpent, or any other title under which he may have achieved great
deeds. 'This,' they will say, 'is he who vanquished in single combat the
gigantic Brocabruno of mighty strength; he who delivered the great
Mameluke of Persia out of the long enchantment under which he had been
for almost nine hundred years.' So from one to another they will go
proclaiming his achievements; and presently at the tumult of the boys and
the others the king of that kingdom will appear at the windows of his
royal palace, and as soon as he beholds the knight, recognising him by
his arms and the device on his shield, he will as a matter of course say,
'What ho! Forth all ye, the knights of my court, to receive the flower of
chivalry who cometh hither!' At which command all will issue forth, and
he himself, advancing half-way down the stairs, will embrace him closely,
and salute him, kissing him on the cheek, and will then lead him to the
queen's chamber, where the knight will find her with the princess her
daughter, who will be one of the most beautiful and accomplished damsels
that could with the utmost pains be discovered anywhere in the known
world. Straightway it will come to pass that she will fix her eyes upon
the knight and he his upon her, and each will seem to the other something
more divine than human, and, without knowing how or why they will be
taken and entangled in the inextricable toils of love, and sorely
distressed in their hearts not to see any way of making their pains and
sufferings known by speech. Thence they will lead him, no doubt, to some
richly adorned chamber of the palace, where, having removed his armour,
they will bring him a rich mantle of scarlet wherewith to robe himself,
and if he looked noble in his armour he will look still more so in a
doublet. When night comes he will sup with the king, queen, and princess;
and all the time he will never take his eyes off her, stealing stealthy
glances, unnoticed by those present, and she will do the same, and with
equal cautiousness, being, as I have said, a damsel of great discretion.
The tables being removed, suddenly through the door of the hall there
will enter a hideous and diminutive dwarf followed by a fair dame,
between two giants, who comes with a certain adventure, the work of an
ancient sage; and he who shall achieve it shall be deemed the best knight
in the world.
"The king will then command all those present to essay it, and none will
bring it to an end and conclusion save the stranger knight, to the great
enhancement of his fame, whereat the princess will be overjoyed and will
esteem herself happy and fortunate in having fixed and placed her
thoughts so high. And the best of it is that this king, or prince, or
whatever he is, is engaged in a very bitter war with another as powerful
as himself, and the stranger knight, after having been some days at his
court, requests leave from him to go and serve him in the said war. The
king will grant it very readily, and the knight will courteously kiss his
hands for the favour done to him; and that night he will take leave of
his lady the princess at the grating of the chamber where she sleeps,
which looks upon a garden, and at which he has already many times
conversed with her, the go-between and confidante in the matter being a
damsel much trusted by the princess. He will sigh, she will swoon, the
damsel will fetch water, much distressed because morning approaches, and
for the honour of her lady he would not that they were discovered; at
last the princess will come to herself and will present her white hands
through the grating to the knight, who will kiss them a thousand and a
thousand times, bathing them with his tears. It will be arranged between
them how they are to inform each other of their good or evil fortunes,
and the princess will entreat him to make his absence as short as
possible, which he will promise to do with many oaths; once more he
kisses her hands, and takes his leave in such grief that he is well-nigh
ready to die. He betakes him thence to his chamber, flings himself on his
bed, cannot sleep for sorrow at parting, rises early in the morning, goes
to take leave of the king, queen, and princess, and, as he takes his
leave of the pair, it is told him that the princess is indisposed and
cannot receive a visit; the knight thinks it is from grief at his
departure, his heart is pierced, and he is hardly able to keep from
showing his pain. The confidante is present, observes all, goes to tell
her mistress, who listens with tears and says that one of her greatest
distresses is not knowing who this knight is, and whether he is of kingly
lineage or not; the damsel assures her that so much courtesy, gentleness,
and gallantry of bearing as her knight possesses could not exist in any
save one who was royal and illustrious; her anxiety is thus relieved, and
she strives to be of good cheer lest she should excite suspicion in her
parents, and at the end of two days she appears in public. Meanwhile the
knight has taken his departure; he fights in the war, conquers the king's
enemy, wins many cities, triumphs in many battles, returns to the court,
sees his lady where he was wont to see her, and it is agreed that he
shall demand her in marriage of her parents as the reward of his
services; the king is unwilling to give her, as he knows not who he is,
but nevertheless, whether carried off or in whatever other way it may be,
the princess comes to be his bride, and her father comes to regard it as
very good fortune; for it so happens that this knight is proved to be the
son of a valiant king of some kingdom, I know not what, for I fancy it is
not likely to be on the map. The father dies, the princess inherits, and
in two words the knight becomes king. And here comes in at once the
bestowal of rewards upon his squire and all who have aided him in rising
to so exalted a rank. He marries his squire to a damsel of the
princess's, who will be, no doubt, the one who was confidante in their
amour, and is daughter of a very great duke."
"That's what I want, and no mistake about it!" said Sancho. "That's what
I'm waiting for; for all this, word for word, is in store for your
worship under the title of the Knight of the Rueful Countenance."
"Thou needst not doubt it, Sancho," replied Don Quixote, "for in the same
manner, and by the same steps as I have described here, knights-errant
rise and have risen to be kings and emperors; all we want now is to find
out what king, Christian or pagan, is at war and has a beautiful
daughter; but there will be time enough to think of that, for, as I have
told thee, fame must be won in other quarters before repairing to the
court. There is another thing, too, that is wanting; for supposing we
find a king who is at war and has a beautiful daughter, and that I have
won incredible fame throughout the universe, I know not how it can be
made out that I am of royal lineage, or even second cousin to an emperor;
for the king will not be willing to give me his daughter in marriage
unless he is first thoroughly satisfied on this point, however much my
famous deeds may deserve it; so that by this deficiency I fear I shall
lose what my arm has fairly earned. True it is I am a gentleman of known
house, of estate and property, and entitled to the five hundred sueldos
mulct; and it may be that the sage who shall write my history will so
clear up my ancestry and pedigree that I may find myself fifth or sixth
in descent from a king; for I would have thee know, Sancho, that there
are two kinds of lineages in the world; some there be tracing and
deriving their descent from kings and princes, whom time has reduced
little by little until they end in a point like a pyramid upside down;
and others who spring from the common herd and go on rising step by step
until they come to be great lords; so that the difference is that the one
were what they no longer are, and the others are what they formerly were
not. And I may be of such that after investigation my origin may prove
great and famous, with which the king, my father-in-law that is to be,
ought to be satisfied; and should he not be, the princess will so love me
that even though she well knew me to be the son of a water-carrier, she
will take me for her lord and husband in spite of her father; if not,
then it comes to seizing her and carrying her off where I please; for
time or death will put an end to the wrath of her parents."
"It comes to this, too," said Sancho, "what some naughty people say,
'Never ask as a favour what thou canst take by force;' though it would
fit better to say, 'A clear escape is better than good men's prayers.' I
say so because if my lord the king, your worship's father-in-law, will
not condescend to give you my lady the princess, there is nothing for it
but, as your worship says, to seize her and transport her. But the
mischief is that until peace is made and you come into the peaceful
enjoyment of your kingdom, the poor squire is famishing as far as rewards
go, unless it be that the confidante damsel that is to be his wife comes
with the princess, and that with her he tides over his bad luck until
Heaven otherwise orders things; for his master, I suppose, may as well
give her to him at once for a lawful wife."
"Nobody can object to that," said Don Quixote.
"Then since that may be," said Sancho, "there is nothing for it but to
commend ourselves to God, and let fortune take what course it will."
"God guide it according to my wishes and thy wants," said Don Quixote,
"and mean be he who thinks himself mean."
"In God's name let him be so," said Sancho: "I am an old Christian, and
to fit me for a count that's enough."
"And more than enough for thee," said Don Quixote; "and even wert thou
not, it would make no difference, because I being the king can easily
give thee nobility without purchase or service rendered by thee, for when
I make thee a count, then thou art at once a gentleman; and they may say
what they will, but by my faith they will have to call thee 'your
lordship,' whether they like it or not."
"Not a doubt of it; and I'll know how to support the tittle," said
"Title thou shouldst say, not tittle," said his master.
"So be it," answered Sancho. "I say I will know how to behave, for once
in my life I was beadle of a brotherhood, and the beadle's gown sat so
well on me that all said I looked as if I was to be steward of the same
brotherhood. What will it be, then, when I put a duke's robe on my back,
or dress myself in gold and pearls like a count? I believe they'll come a
hundred leagues to see me."
"Thou wilt look well," said Don Quixote, "but thou must shave thy beard
often, for thou hast it so thick and rough and unkempt, that if thou dost
not shave it every second day at least, they will see what thou art at
the distance of a musket shot."
"What more will it be," said Sancho, "than having a barber, and keeping
him at wages in the house? and even if it be necessary, I will make him
go behind me like a nobleman's equerry."
"Why, how dost thou know that noblemen have equerries behind them?" asked
"I will tell you," answered Sancho. "Years ago I was for a month at the
capital and there I saw taking the air a very small gentleman who they
said was a very great man, and a man following him on horseback in every
turn he took, just as if he was his tail. I asked why this man did not
join the other man, instead of always going behind him; they answered me
that he was his equerry, and that it was the custom with nobles to have
such persons behind them, and ever since then I know it, for I have never
"Thou art right," said Don Quixote, "and in the same way thou mayest
carry thy barber with thee, for customs did not come into use all
together, nor were they all invented at once, and thou mayest be the
first count to have a barber to follow him; and, indeed, shaving one's
beard is a greater trust than saddling one's horse."
"Let the barber business be my look-out," said Sancho; "and your
worship's be it to strive to become a king, and make me a count."
"So it shall be," answered Don Quixote, and raising his eyes he saw what
will be told in the following chapter.
OF THE FREEDOM DON QUIXOTE CONFERRED ON SEVERAL UNFORTUNATES WHO AGAINST
THEIR WILL WERE BEING CARRIED WHERE THEY HAD NO WISH TO GO
Cide Hamete Benengeli, the Arab and Manchegan author, relates in this
most grave, high-sounding, minute, delightful, and original history that
after the discussion between the famous Don Quixote of La Mancha and his
squire Sancho Panza which is set down at the end of chapter twenty-one,
Don Quixote raised his eyes and saw coming along the road he was
following some dozen men on foot strung together by the neck, like beads,
on a great iron chain, and all with manacles on their hands. With them
there came also two men on horseback and two on foot; those on horseback
with wheel-lock muskets, those on foot with javelins and swords, and as
soon as Sancho saw them he said:
"That is a chain of galley slaves, on the way to the galleys by force of
the king's orders."
"How by force?" asked Don Quixote; "is it possible that the king uses
force against anyone?"
"I do not say that," answered Sancho, "but that these are people
condemned for their crimes to serve by force in the king's galleys."
"In fact," replied Don Quixote, "however it may be, these people are
going where they are taking them by force, and not of their own will."
"Just so," said Sancho.
"Then if so," said Don Quixote, "here is a case for the exercise of my
office, to put down force and to succour and help the wretched."
"Recollect, your worship," said Sancho, "Justice, which is the king
himself, is not using force or doing wrong to such persons, but punishing
them for their crimes."
The chain of galley slaves had by this time come up, and Don Quixote in
very courteous language asked those who were in custody of it to be good
enough to tell him the reason or reasons for which they were conducting
these people in this manner. One of the guards on horseback answered that
they were galley slaves belonging to his majesty, that they were going to
the galleys, and that was all that was to be said and all he had any
business to know.
"Nevertheless," replied Don Quixote, "I should like to know from each of
them separately the reason of his misfortune;" to this he added more to
the same effect to induce them to tell him what he wanted so civilly that
the other mounted guard said to him:
"Though we have here the register and certificate of the sentence of
every one of these wretches, this is no time to take them out or read
them; come and ask themselves; they can tell if they choose, and they
will, for these fellows take a pleasure in doing and talking about
With this permission, which Don Quixote would have taken even had they
not granted it, he approached the chain and asked the first for what
offences he was now in such a sorry case.
He made answer that it was for being a lover.
"For that only?" replied Don Quixote; "why, if for being lovers they send
people to the galleys I might have been rowing in them long ago."
"The love is not the sort your worship is thinking of," said the galley
slave; "mine was that I loved a washerwoman's basket of clean linen so
well, and held it so close in my embrace, that if the arm of the law had
not forced it from me, I should never have let it go of my own will to
this moment; I was caught in the act, there was no occasion for torture,
the case was settled, they treated me to a hundred lashes on the back,
and three years of gurapas besides, and that was the end of it."
"What are gurapas?" asked Don Quixote.
"Gurapas are galleys," answered the galley slave, who was a young man of
about four-and-twenty, and said he was a native of Piedrahita.
Don Quixote asked the same question of the second, who made no reply, so
downcast and melancholy was he; but the first answered for him, and said,
"He, sir, goes as a canary, I mean as a musician and a singer."
"What!" said Don Quixote, "for being musicians and singers are people
sent to the galleys too?"
"Yes, sir," answered the galley slave, "for there is nothing worse than
singing under suffering."
"On the contrary, I have heard say," said Don Quixote, "that he who sings
scares away his woes."
"Here it is the reverse," said the galley slave; "for he who sings once
weeps all his life."
"I do not understand it," said Don Quixote; but one of the guards said to
him, "Sir, to sing under suffering means with the non sancta fraternity
to confess under torture; they put this sinner to the torture and he
confessed his crime, which was being a cuatrero, that is a
cattle-stealer, and on his confession they sentenced him to six years in
the galleys, besides two bundred lashes that he has already had on the
back; and he is always dejected and downcast because the other thieves
that were left behind and that march here ill-treat, and snub, and jeer,
and despise him for confessing and not having spirit enough to say nay;
for, say they, 'nay' has no more letters in it than 'yea,' and a culprit
is well off when life or death with him depends on his own tongue and not
on that of witnesses or evidence; and to my thinking they are not very
"And I think so too," answered Don Quixote; then passing on to the third
he asked him what he had asked the others, and the man answered very
readily and unconcernedly, "I am going for five years to their ladyships
the gurapas for the want of ten ducats."
"I will give twenty with pleasure to get you out of that trouble," said
"That," said the galley slave, "is like a man having money at sea when he
is dying of hunger and has no way of buying what he wants; I say so
because if at the right time I had had those twenty ducats that your
worship now offers me, I would have greased the notary's pen and
freshened up the attorney's wit with them, so that to-day I should be in
the middle of the plaza of the Zocodover at Toledo, and not on this road
coupled like a greyhound. But God is great; patience--there, that's
enough of it."
Don Quixote passed on to the fourth, a man of venerable aspect with a
white beard falling below his breast, who on hearing himself asked the
reason of his being there began to weep without answering a word, but the
fifth acted as his tongue and said, "This worthy man is going to the
galleys for four years, after having gone the rounds in ceremony and on
"That means," said Sancho Panza, "as I take it, to have been exposed to
shame in public."
"Just so," replied the galley slave, "and the offence for which they gave
him that punishment was having been an ear-broker, nay body-broker; I
mean, in short, that this gentleman goes as a pimp, and for having
besides a certain touch of the sorcerer about him."
"If that touch had not been thrown in," said Don Quixote, "he would not
deserve, for mere pimping, to row in the galleys, but rather to command
and be admiral of them; for the office of pimp is no ordinary one, being
the office of persons of discretion, one very necessary in a well-ordered
state, and only to be exercised by persons of good birth; nay, there
ought to be an inspector and overseer of them, as in other offices, and
recognised number, as with the brokers on change; in this way many of the
evils would be avoided which are caused by this office and calling being
in the hands of stupid and ignorant people, such as women more or less
silly, and pages and jesters of little standing and experience, who on
the most urgent occasions, and when ingenuity of contrivance is needed,
let the crumbs freeze on the way to their mouths, and know not which is
their right hand. I should like to go farther, and give reasons to show
that it is advisable to choose those who are to hold so necessary an
office in the state, but this is not the fit place for it; some day I
will expound the matter to some one able to see to and rectify it; all I
say now is, that the additional fact of his being a sorcerer has removed
the sorrow it gave me to see these white hairs and this venerable
countenance in so painful a position on account of his being a pimp;
though I know well there are no sorceries in the world that can move or
compel the will as some simple folk fancy, for our will is free, nor is
there herb or charm that can force it. All that certain silly women and
quacks do is to turn men mad with potions and poisons, pretending that
they have power to cause love, for, as I say, it is an impossibility to
compel the will."
"It is true," said the good old man, "and indeed, sir, as far as the
charge of sorcery goes I was not guilty; as to that of being a pimp I
cannot deny it; but I never thought I was doing any harm by it, for my
only object was that all the world should enjoy itself and live in peace
and quiet, without quarrels or troubles; but my good intentions were
unavailing to save me from going where I never expect to come back from,
with this weight of years upon me and a urinary ailment that never gives
me a moment's ease;" and again he fell to weeping as before, and such
compassion did Sancho feel for him that he took out a real of four from
his bosom and gave it to him in alms.
Don Quixote went on and asked another what his crime was, and the man
answered with no less but rather much more sprightliness than the last
"I am here because I carried the joke too far with a couple of cousins of
mine, and with a couple of other cousins who were none of mine; in short,
I carried the joke so far with them all that it ended in such a
complicated increase of kindred that no accountant could make it clear:
it was all proved against me, I got no favour, I had no money, I was near
having my neck stretched, they sentenced me to the galleys for six years,
I accepted my fate, it is the punishment of my fault; I am a young man;
let life only last, and with that all will come right. If you, sir, have
anything wherewith to help the poor, God will repay it to you in heaven,
and we on earth will take care in our petitions to him to pray for the
life and health of your worship, that they may be as long and as good as
your amiable appearance deserves."
This one was in the dress of a student, and one of the guards said he was
a great talker and a very elegant Latin scholar.
Behind all these there came a man of thirty, a very personable fellow,
except that when he looked, his eyes turned in a little one towards the
other. He was bound differently from the rest, for he had to his leg a
chain so long that it was wound all round his body, and two rings on his
neck, one attached to the chain, the other to what they call a
"keep-friend" or "friend's foot," from which hung two irons reaching to
his waist with two manacles fixed to them in which his hands were secured
by a big padlock, so that he could neither raise his hands to his mouth
nor lower his head to his hands. Don Quixote asked why this man carried
so many more chains than the others. The guard replied that it was
because he alone had committed more crimes than all the rest put
together, and was so daring and such a villain, that though they marched
him in that fashion they did not feel sure of him, but were in dread of
his making his escape.
"What crimes can he have committed," said Don Quixote, "if they have not
deserved a heavier punishment than being sent to the galleys?"
"He goes for ten years," replied the guard, "which is the same thing as
civil death, and all that need be said is that this good fellow is the
famous Gines de Pasamonte, otherwise called Ginesillo de Parapilla."
"Gently, senor commissary," said the galley slave at this, "let us have
no fixing of names or surnames; my name is Gines, not Ginesillo, and my
family name is Pasamonte, not Parapilla as you say; let each one mind his
own business, and he will be doing enough."
"Speak with less impertinence, master thief of extra measure," replied
the commissary, "if you don't want me to make you hold your tongue in
spite of your teeth."
"It is easy to see," returned the galley slave, "that man goes as God
pleases, but some one shall know some day whether I am called Ginesillo
de Parapilla or not."
"Don't they call you so, you liar?" said the guard.
"They do," returned Gines, "but I will make them give over calling me so,
or I will be shaved, where, I only say behind my teeth. If you, sir, have
anything to give us, give it to us at once, and God speed you, for you
are becoming tiresome with all this inquisitiveness about the lives of
others; if you want to know about mine, let me tell you I am Gines de
Pasamonte, whose life is written by these fingers."
"He says true," said the commissary, "for he has himself written his
story as grand as you please, and has left the book in the prison in pawn
for two hundred reals."
"And I mean to take it out of pawn," said Gines, "though it were in for
two hundred ducats."
"Is it so good?" said Don Quixote.
"So good is it," replied Gines, "that a fig for 'Lazarillo de Tormes,'
and all of that kind that have been written, or shall be written compared
with it: all I will say about it is that it deals with facts, and facts
so neat and diverting that no lies could match them."
"And how is the book entitled?" asked Don Quixote.
"The 'Life of Gines de Pasamonte,'" replied the subject of it.
"And is it finished?" asked Don Quixote.
"How can it be finished," said the other, "when my life is not yet
finished? All that is written is from my birth down to the point when
they sent me to the galleys this last time."
"Then you have been there before?" said Don Quixote.
"In the service of God and the king I have been there for four years
before now, and I know by this time what the biscuit and courbash are
like," replied Gines; "and it is no great grievance to me to go back to
them, for there I shall have time to finish my book; I have still many
things left to say, and in the galleys of Spain there is more than enough
leisure; though I do not want much for what I have to write, for I have
it by heart."
"You seem a clever fellow," said Don Quixote.
"And an unfortunate one," replied Gines, "for misfortune always
persecutes good wit."
"It persecutes rogues," said the commissary.
"I told you already to go gently, master commissary," said Pasamonte;
"their lordships yonder never gave you that staff to ill-treat us
wretches here, but to conduct and take us where his majesty orders you;
if not, by the life of-never mind-; it may be that some day the stains
made in the inn will come out in the scouring; let everyone hold his
tongue and behave well and speak better; and now let us march on, for we
have had quite enough of this entertainment."
The commissary lifted his staff to strike Pasamonte in return for his
threats, but Don Quixote came between them, and begged him not to ill-use
him, as it was not too much to allow one who had his hands tied to have
his tongue a trifle free; and turning to the whole chain of them he said:
"From all you have told me, dear brethren, make out clearly that though
they have punished you for your faults, the punishments you are about to
endure do not give you much pleasure, and that you go to them very much
against the grain and against your will, and that perhaps this one's want
of courage under torture, that one's want of money, the other's want of
advocacy, and lastly the perverted judgment of the judge may have been
the cause of your ruin and of your failure to obtain the justice you had
on your side. All which presents itself now to my mind, urging,
persuading, and even compelling me to demonstrate in your case the
purpose for which Heaven sent me into the world and caused me to make
profession of the order of chivalry to which I belong, and the vow I took
therein to give aid to those in need and under the oppression of the
strong. But as I know that it is a mark of prudence not to do by foul
means what may be done by fair, I will ask these gentlemen, the guards
and commissary, to be so good as to release you and let you go in peace,
as there will be no lack of others to serve the king under more
favourable circumstances; for it seems to me a hard case to make slaves
of those whom God and nature have made free. Moreover, sirs of the
guard," added Don Quixote, "these poor fellows have done nothing to you;
let each answer for his own sins yonder; there is a God in Heaven who
will not forget to punish the wicked or reward the good; and it is not
fitting that honest men should be the instruments of punishment to
others, they being therein no way concerned. This request I make thus
gently and quietly, that, if you comply with it, I may have reason for
thanking you; and, if you will not voluntarily, this lance and sword
together with the might of my arm shall compel you to comply with it by
"Nice nonsense!" said the commissary; "a fine piece of pleasantry he has
come out with at last! He wants us to let the king's prisoners go, as if
we had any authority to release them, or he to order us to do so! Go your
way, sir, and good luck to you; put that basin straight that you've got
on your head, and don't go looking for three feet on a cat."
"'Tis you that are the cat, rat, and rascal," replied Don Quixote, and
acting on the word he fell upon him so suddenly that without giving him
time to defend himself he brought him to the ground sorely wounded with a
lance-thrust; and lucky it was for him that it was the one that had the
musket. The other guards stood thunderstruck and amazed at this
unexpected event, but recovering presence of mind, those on horseback
seized their swords, and those on foot their javelins, and attacked Don
Quixote, who was waiting for them with great calmness; and no doubt it
would have gone badly with him if the galley slaves, seeing the chance
before them of liberating themselves, had not effected it by contriving
to break the chain on which they were strung. Such was the confusion,
that the guards, now rushing at the galley slaves who were breaking
loose, now to attack Don Quixote who was waiting for them, did nothing at
all that was of any use. Sancho, on his part, gave a helping hand to
release Gines de Pasamonte, who was the first to leap forth upon the
plain free and unfettered, and who, attacking the prostrate commissary,
took from him his sword and the musket, with which, aiming at one and
levelling at another, he, without ever discharging it, drove every one of
the guards off the field, for they took to flight, as well to escape
Pasamonte's musket, as the showers of stones the now released galley
slaves were raining upon them. Sancho was greatly grieved at the affair,
because he anticipated that those who had fled would report the matter to
the Holy Brotherhood, who at the summons of the alarm-bell would at once
sally forth in quest of the offenders; and he said so to his master, and
entreated him to leave the place at once, and go into hiding in the
sierra that was close by.
"That is all very well," said Don Quixote, "but I know what must be done
now;" and calling together all the galley slaves, who were now running
riot, and had stripped the commissary to the skin, he collected them
round him to hear what he had to say, and addressed them as follows: "To
be grateful for benefits received is the part of persons of good birth,
and one of the sins most offensive to God is ingratitude; I say so
because, sirs, ye have already seen by manifest proof the benefit ye have
received of me; in return for which I desire, and it is my good pleasure
that, laden with that chain which I have taken off your necks, ye at once
set out and proceed to the city of El Toboso, and there present
yourselves before the lady Dulcinea del Toboso, and say to her that her
knight, he of the Rueful Countenance, sends to commend himself to her;
and that ye recount to her in full detail all the particulars of this
notable adventure, up to the recovery of your longed-for liberty; and
this done ye may go where ye will, and good fortune attend you."
Gines de Pasamonte made answer for all, saying, "That which you, sir, our
deliverer, demand of us, is of all impossibilities the most impossible to
comply with, because we cannot go together along the roads, but only
singly and separate, and each one his own way, endeavouring to hide
ourselves in the bowels of the earth to escape the Holy Brotherhood,
which, no doubt, will come out in search of us. What your worship may do,
and fairly do, is to change this service and tribute as regards the lady
Dulcinea del Toboso for a certain quantity of ave-marias and credos which
we will say for your worship's intention, and this is a condition that
can be complied with by night as by day, running or resting, in peace or
in war; but to imagine that we are going now to return to the flesh-pots
of Egypt, I mean to take up our chain and set out for El Toboso, is to
imagine that it is now night, though it is not yet ten in the morning,
and to ask this of us is like asking pears of the elm tree."
"Then by all that's good," said Don Quixote (now stirred to wrath), "Don
son of a bitch, Don Ginesillo de Paropillo, or whatever your name is, you
will have to go yourself alone, with your tail between your legs and the
whole chain on your back."
Pasamonte, who was anything but meek (being by this time thoroughly
convinced that Don Quixote was not quite right in his head as he had
committed such a vagary as to set them free), finding himself abused in
this fashion, gave the wink to his companions, and falling back they
began to shower stones on Don Quixote at such a rate that he was quite
unable to protect himself with his buckler, and poor Rocinante no more
heeded the spur than if he had been made of brass. Sancho planted himself
behind his ass, and with him sheltered himself from the hailstorm that
poured on both of them. Don Quixote was unable to shield himself so well
but that more pebbles than I could count struck him full on the body with
such force that they brought him to the ground; and the instant he fell
the student pounced upon him, snatched the basin from his head, and with
it struck three or four blows on his shoulders, and as many more on the
ground, knocking it almost to pieces. They then stripped him of a jacket
that he wore over his armour, and they would have stripped off his
stockings if his greaves had not prevented them. From Sancho they took
his coat, leaving him in his shirt-sleeves; and dividing among themselves
the remaining spoils of the battle, they went each one his own way, more
solicitous about keeping clear of the Holy Brotherhood they dreaded, than
about burdening themselves with the chain, or going to present themselves
before the lady Dulcinea del Toboso. The ass and Rocinante, Sancho and
Don Quixote, were all that were left upon the spot; the ass with drooping
head, serious, shaking his ears from time to time as if he thought the
storm of stones that assailed them was not yet over; Rocinante stretched
beside his master, for he too had been brought to the ground by a stone;
Sancho stripped, and trembling with fear of the Holy Brotherhood; and Don
Quixote fuming to find himself so served by the very persons for whom he
had done so much.
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