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Don Quixote

By Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Don QuixoteLoading... read one book too many about chivalry. One day, he decides to apply what he learned from the books. With his steed, which he names RocinanteLoading..., he leaves his home wearing his grandfather's armor, delusionally believing that he is a knight who is on a knight-errant. The purpose is to impress a woman he calls Dulcinea and whom he is in love with — something she does not know.

His loyal companion Sancho had joined him after Don Quixote had promised that their adventures would eventually lead to Sancho becoming a governor of his island.

Don QuixoteLoading... arrive in the Black Forest in the deep valley of the Sierra Morena mountain range. There, they find a suitcase. SanchoLoading... takes some gold coins out of it for himself. Later they find CardenioLoading..., the owner of the suitcase. CardenioLoading... seems to have gone entirely mad. He tells part of the story of why he went insane. The story involves him being in love with LuscindaLoading.... However, he ends up in a fight with Don QuixoteLoading... over some detail relating to chivalry, and CardenioLoading... disappears.

Don QuixoteLoading... decides to go mad also to demonstrate his love for his DulcineaLoading... and to win her love. He sends SanchoLoading... to tell DulcineaLoading... about how he has gone crazy.

On his way home, SanchoLoading... runs into the BarberLoading... and the PreacherLoading... of his village, who are out searching for Don QuixoteLoading.... SanchoLoading... tells them about their adventures. The BarberLoading... and the PreacherLoading... decide Don QuixoteLoading... is out of his mind, and they decide that one of them is to dress up as a damsel in distress to get Don QuixoteLoading... to come home with them. They agree that SanchoLoading... must first try to convince Don QuixoteLoading... that DulcineaLoading... wants him to come home.

In the Sierra Morena, the BarberLoading... and the PreacherLoading... run into CardenioLoading..., who finishes his story about how his love for LuscindaLoading... drove him mad: he had wanted to marry LuscindaLoading..., but had been ordered by his father to become a companion to Don FernandoLoading.... But this Don FernandoLoading... arranged matters so that he could marry LuscindaLoading... instead. CardenioLoading... went to the mountain range and went mad.

The BarberLoading..., the PreacherLoading..., and CardenioLoading... run into DorotheaLoading... who is dressed like a man. She tells them how Don FernandoLoading... married her to take advantage of her, only to then abandon her for CardenioLoading...'s love, LuscindaLoading....

She explains how eventually all the town knew about it, and how she, disguised as a man, escaped scorn and fled into the black mountains, where she became a shepherd.

Which tells of the hilarious tricks that were used to good effect to extricate the love-stricken Don QuixoteLoading... from the severe punishment he had imposed upon himself

This, gentlemen,” DorotheaLoading... continued, “is the true story of my sad adventures. And now you be the judges of whether there was sufficient cause for the sighs and lamentations you heard and the tears that flowed from my eyes, even if I had indulged in these even more freely.

“And if you consider the nature of my misfortune, you will recognize that consolation is idle, as there is no possible remedy for it.

“All I ask of you is something you may easily and reasonably be expected to do, which is namely to show me where I may lead my life untormented by the fear and dread of discovery by those who are looking for me, because, even though the great love my parents feel for me makes me feel sure I would be kindly received by them, so great is my feeling of shame at the mere thought that I cannot present myself before them as they expect, and so I would rather banish myself from their sight forever than look them in the eyes with the reflection that they beheld mine stripped of that purity they had a right to expect in me.”

DorotheaLoading... attempted to kiss his feet.

After she had said that, she fell silent, and the blushes that spread over her face clearly showed the embarrassment and shame she was feeling.

Those who had heard her story were deeply moved with compassion for her hard fate, and as the PreacherLoading... was just about to offer her some consolation and advice, CardenioLoading... stopped him and said, “So then, senora, you are the beautiful DorotheaLoading..., the only daughter of the rich Clenardo?”

DorotheaLoading... was astonished to hear her father's name and at the miserable appearance of the person who mentioned it — because it has been already established that CardenioLoading... was miserably dressed — and so she said to him:

“And who may you be, brother, who seems to know my father's name so well? Because, if memory serves, I have not mentioned him yet throughout the whole narration of my misfortunes.”

“I am CardenioLoading...,” he replied, “that unfortunate person whom, as you said, LuscindaLoading... had declared to be her husband.

Don FernandoLoading..., that unfaithful man who has reduced you to this deplorable condition is also the same man who bereft me of all human comfort and drove me, miserable CardenioLoading..., to this terrible state I am now in, to rags, to nakedness, to despair, and even to madness. Because I am only in possession of my sanity when it pleases Heaven to — for some short time — grant it to me.

“I am the man, beautiful DorotheaLoading..., who was the unhappy eye-witness of Don FernandoLoading...'s offensive marriage and who heard my LuscindaLoading... agree to be his wife.

“I am he who did not have enough courage to wait and see how her fainting fit ended, or what came of the paper that was found in her bosom because my heart had not the strength to endure so many strokes of ill-fortune all at once.

“I abandoned myself to despair, and having left a letter with a person whom I ordered to deliver it into LuscindaLoading...'s own hands, I hastened to hide from this world in this deserted area, resolved to end there a life which I now despised and considered my great enemy.

She advanced to kneel before the feet of Don QuixoteLoading....

“But fate would not rid me of my life, contenting itself with robbing me of my sanity instead, perhaps to preserve me for the good fortune I have had in meeting you, because if that which you have just told us is true, as I believe it is, it may be that Heaven has yet in store for both of us a happier end to our misfortunes than we expected.

“Because, since LuscindaLoading... cannot marry Don FernandoLoading... because she is mine — as she has herself so openly declared — and Don FernandoLoading... cannot marry LuscindaLoading... as he is already yours, we may reasonably hope that Heaven will, in all fairness, return to you what is yours and to me what is mine.

“For my part, since my interests are now suddenly so much linked to yours, that I commit to exposing myself to any dangers to see you righted by Don FernandoLoading....

“Prepare yourself to look forward to happier fortunes, because I now swear to you by the faith of a gentleman and a Christian, not to leave you until I see you in possession of Don Fernando. And if I cannot with words, bring him to recognize his obligation to you, I shall avail myself of the right my rank as a gentleman gives me, and with just cause I shall challenge him on account of the injury he has done you, not regarding my own wrongs, which I shall leave to Heaven to avenge, while I on earth devote myself to yours.”

“I will not rise, sir,” the afflicted damsel answered.

DorotheaLoading..., who was ravished with joy and who did not know how to return thanks for such an immense offer, attempted to kiss his feet. But CardenioLoading... would not allow it.

The PreacherLoading..., discreetly speaking to them both, commended the sound reasoning of CardenioLoading..., and then begged, advised, and urged them to come with him to his village, where they might furnish themselves with what they needed and take measures to discover Don Fernando or to restore DorotheaLoading... to her parents, or to do whatever seemed to them most advisable and preferable.

CardenioLoading... and DorotheaLoading... thanked him and accepted the kind offer he made them.

And the BarberLoading... — who had been listening to everything attentively and quietly — said some kind words on his part also, and with no fewer good intentions than the PreacherLoading..., he offered his services in any way that might be of use to them.

He also quickly explained to them the reason that had brought them there, and the strange nature of Don QuixoteLoading...'s madness, and how they were waiting for his squire, who had gone in search of him.

The quarrel CardenioLoading... had had with Don QuixoteLoading... instantly came back to his memory, like the recollection of a bad dream, and he described it to the others, although he was unable to say what the dispute was about.

At that moment, they heard a shout and recognized the voice immediately because it came from SanchoLoading... Panza, who, not finding them where he had left them, was calling them loudly.

They went to meet him, and in answer to their inquiries about Don QuixoteLoading..., he told them how he had found him stripped to his shirt, lank, yellow, half dead with hunger, and sighing and panting for his Lady DulcineaLoading....

The BarberLoading... was all this time on his knees and at great pains to hide his laughter and not let his beard fall.

And although SanchoLoading... had told Don QuixoteLoading... that she commanded him to leave that place and come to El TobosoLoading... at once where she was expecting him, he had answered that he was determined not to appear in the presence of her beauty until he had done deeds to make him worthy of her favor.

And if this went on, SanchoLoading... said, he ran the risk of not becoming an emperor as he was honor-bound to do because he had promised so, or even an archbishop, which was the least he could get away with.

Because of this, SanchoLoading... wanted to get Don QuixoteLoading... away from there by any possible means.

The PreacherLoading... told him not to worry because they would get him away from there even if it were against his will.

The PreacherLoading... then told CardenioLoading... and DorotheaLoading... what they were planning to do to cure Don QuixoteLoading..., or to at the very least be able to take him home.

After hearing their plans, DorotheaLoading... proposed that she could play the distressed damsel better than the BarberLoading... could, especially as she had a dress with her which was very suited for the purpose, and that she had, besides that, also read many books of chivalry, and that she knew how the distressed ladies used to express themselves when they came to beg some knight-errant's assistance, and that they might, therefore, trust her to act the part.

“In that case,” the PreacherLoading... said, “let us set our plans in motion immediately, because, beyond any reasonable doubt, fortune is declaring itself in our favor, since it has so unexpectedly begun to open a door for your relief, and smoothed the way for us to reach our goal.”

DorotheaLoading... then took out of her pillow-case a petticoat made of expensive cloth, a mantle of the finest green silk, and also a necklace and several other jewels out of a little box, and with these, she instantly turned her appearance into one of a great and wealthy lady.

All these things and more, she said she had taken from her home in case she needed it, but that she had up until that moment not had an opportunity to make use of it.

They were all highly delighted with her grace, air, and beauty, and declared Don FernandoLoading... to be a man of very little taste if he rejected such charms.

But the one who admired her most was SanchoLoading... Panza, because it seemed to him — as was indeed true — that in all the days of his life, he had never seen such a lovely creature, and he was eager to ask the PreacherLoading... who this beautiful lady was, and what she wanted in these out-of-the-way quarters.

“This beautiful lady, brother SanchoLoading...,” the PreacherLoading... replied, “is none other than the heiress in a direct line to the vast kingdom of Micomicon. Moved by the fame of your master's great exploits, which have spread far and wide, she has come all the way from Guinea in search of your master to beg a blessing of him, which is that he redress a wrong or injury that a wicked giant has done her.”

“Seek, and ye shall find!” SanchoLoading... Panza said in response.

“Especially if my master has the good fortune to redress that injury, and right that wrong, and kill that son of a bitch of a giant you speak of.

“Because he will kill the giant if he meets him, unless, indeed, he happens to be a ghost, because my master has no power at all against ghosts.

“But one thing among others I would beg of you, sir PreacherLoading..., which is, that, to prevent my master from taking a fancy to be an archbishop — because that is what I'm afraid of — you would recommend him to marry this princess immediately, because in after that, he will not be able to take orders from an archbishop's, and he will easily come by his empire and for me to come by the object of my desires.

“I have been thinking the matter over carefully, and as far as I can make out, I find that it will not do for me that my master should become an archbishop, because I am no good for the Church, as I am married.

“And for me now, seeing as I have a wife and children, to set about obtaining dispensations to enable me to hold a place of profit under the Church, would be endless work.

“So, sir, as you see, it all depends on my master to immediately marry this lady whose name I can not pronounce because never heard it.”

“She is called the Princess MicomiconaLoading...,” the PreacherLoading... said, “because as her kingdom is Micomicon, it is obvious that that must be her name.”

“There's no doubt of that,” SanchoLoading... replied, “because I have known many who took their name and title from the place where they were born and call themselves Pedro of Alcala, Juan of Ubeda, and Diego of Valladolid. And it may be that over there in Guinea queens have the same way of taking the names of their kingdoms.”

“So it may be,” the PreacherLoading... said, “and as for your master's marrying, I will do everything in my power to promote it.”

SanchoLoading... was as much pleased with this as the PreacherLoading... was amazed at his simplicity and at seeing what a hold the absurdities of his master had taken of his fancy because SanchoLoading... had evidently convinced himself that Don QuixoteLoading... was going to be an emperor.

At that point, DorotheaLoading... had seated herself upon the PreacherLoading...'s mule, and the BarberLoading... had fitted the ox-tail beard to his face, and they now told SanchoLoading... to bring them to where Don QuixoteLoading... was, warning him not to say that he knew either the PreacherLoading... or the BarberLoading..., as his master's becoming an emperor depended entirely on his not recognizing them.

Neither the PreacherLoading... nor CardenioLoading..., however, thought a good idea to go with them: CardenioLoading... lest he should remind Don QuixoteLoading... of the quarrel he had with him, and the PreacherLoading... as there was no necessity for his presence just yet, and so they allowed the others to go ahead in front of them while they followed slowly on foot.

The PreacherLoading... did not forget to instruct DorotheaLoading... how to act, but she said they didn't need to worry because she would do everything exactly like the books of chivalry required and described.

They had gone for about two miles when they discovered Don QuixoteLoading... in a wilderness of rocks, by now clothed, but without his armor.

As soon as DorotheaLoading... saw him and was told by SanchoLoading... that that was Don QuixoteLoading..., she whipped her small horse. The well-bearded BarberLoading... following her, and on coming up to him her squire sprang from his mule and came forward to receive her in his arms, and as she dismounted with great ease of manner, she advanced to kneel before the feet of Don QuixoteLoading....

And though he strove to raise her up, she, without rising, addressed him in this fashion:

“From this spot, I will not rise, valiant and doughty knight, until your goodness and courtesy grant me a blessing, which will redound to the honor and renown of your person and render a service to the saddest, most hopeless and afflicted damsel the sun has ever seen.

“And if the might of your strong arm corresponds to the repute of your immortal fame, you are obligated to aid the helpless being who, led by the savor of your renowned name, has come from far distant lands to seek your aid in her misfortunes.”

“I will not answer a word, beauteous lady,” Don QuixoteLoading... replied, “nor will I listen to anything further concerning you until you rise from the earth.”

“I will not rise, sir,” the afflicted damsel answered, “unless of your courtesy the blessing I ask is first granted me.”

“I grant and accord it,” Don QuixoteLoading... said, “provided without detriment or prejudice to my king, my country, or her who holds the key of my heart and freedom, it may be complied with.”

“It will not be to the detriment or prejudice of any of them, my worthy lord,” the afflicted damsel said.

SanchoLoading... Panza drew close to his master's ear and said to him very softly, “You may very safely grant the blessing she asks. It's nothing at all, only to kill a big giant. And she who asks it is the exalted Princess MicomiconaLoading..., queen of the great kingdom of Micomicon of Ethiopia.”

“Let her be who she may,” Don QuixoteLoading... replied, “I will do what is my obligation and duty, and what my conscience bids me, in conformity with what I have professed,” and turning to the damsel, he said, “let your great beauty rise, because I grant the blessing which you would ask of me.”

“Then what I ask,” the damsel said, “is that your magnanimous person accompany me at once to where I will lead you, and that you promise not to engage in any other adventure or quest until you have avenged me of a traitor who against all human and divine law, has usurped my kingdom.”

“I repeat that I grant it,” Don QuixoteLoading... replied, “and so, lady, you may from this day forth lay aside the melancholy that distresses you, and let your failing hopes gather new life and strength, because with the help of God and of my arm, you will soon see yourself restored to your kingdom, and seated upon the throne of your ancient and mighty realm, notwithstanding and despite of the felons who would challenge it. And now hands to the work, because in delay there is apt to be danger.”

The distressed damsel strove with much persistence to kiss his hands, but Don QuixoteLoading..., who was in all things a polished and courteous knight, would by no means allow it, but made her rise and embraced her with great courtesy and politeness, and ordered SanchoLoading... to look to RocinanteLoading...'s girths, and to arm him without a moment's delay.

SanchoLoading... took down the armor, which was hung up on a tree like a trophy, and having seen to the girths, he armed his master in no time. As soon as he found himself in his armor, Don QuixoteLoading... exclaimed:

“Let us be gone in the name of God to bring aid to this great lady.”

The BarberLoading... was all this time on his knees and at great pains to hide his laughter and not let his beard fall, because had it dropped, maybe their perfect scheme would have come to nothing.

But now, seeing the blessing granted, and the promptitude with which Don QuixoteLoading... prepared to set out in compliance with it, he rose and took his lady's hand, and between them, they placed her upon the mule.

Don QuixoteLoading... then mounted RocinanteLoading..., and the BarberLoading... settled himself on his beast, SanchoLoading... being left to go on foot, which made him feel the loss of his Dapple anew, finding the need for him now.

But he bore all with cheerfulness, being convinced that his master had now fairly started and was just on the point of becoming an emperor because he had no doubt at all that he would marry this princess, and be king of Micomicon at least.

And so he jogged on, so occupied with his thoughts and not worry, that he forgot all about the hardship of traveling on foot.

CardenioLoading... and the PreacherLoading... were watching everything happen while hiding behind some bushes, not knowing how to join the others.

But the PreacherLoading..., who was very devious in his ways, soon came up with an idea, and with a pair of scissors he had in a case, he quickly cut off CardenioLoading...'s beard and, putting on him a grey jacket of his own, he gave him a black cloak, leaving himself in his breeches and doublet, while CardenioLoading...'s appearance was so different from what it had been that he would not have recognized himself had he seen himself in a mirror.

Although the others had gone ahead while they were still busy disguising themselves, they quickly and comfortably came out on the high road ahead of them, because the thorny shrubs and awkward places they encountered did not allow those on horseback to go as fast as those on foot.

They then posted themselves on ground level at the outlet of the Sierra, and as soon as Don QuixoteLoading... and his companions emerged from it, the PreacherLoading... began to examine him very deliberately, as though he were striving to recognize him, and after having stared at him for some time, he hastened toward him with open arms exclaiming, “A happy meeting with the mirror of chivalry, my worthy compatriot Don QuixoteLoading... of La Mancha, the flower and cream of high breeding, the protection and relief of the distressed, the quintessence of knights-errant!”

And as he said this, he clasped his arms around the knee of Don QuixoteLoading...'s left leg.

Astonished at the stranger's words and behavior, Don QuixoteLoading... looked at him attentively, and at length, he finally recognized him and was very much surprised to see him there, and he made great efforts to dismount.

This, however, the PreacherLoading... would not allow.

Don QuixoteLoading... said, “Permit me, sir PreacherLoading..., because it is not fitting that I should be on horseback while so reverend a person as you is on foot.”

“On no account will I allow it,” the PreacherLoading... said, “your mightiness must remain on horseback because it is on horseback that you achieve the greatest deeds and adventures that have ever been seen in our age.

As for me, an unworthy priest, it will serve me well enough to mount on the haunches of one of the mules of this gentlefolk who accompany you, if they have no objection, and I will fancy I am mounted on the steed of Pegasus, or on the zebra or charger that bore the famous Moor, Muzaraque, who to this day lies bewitched in the great hill of Zulema, a little distance from the great Complutum.”

“Nor even that will I consent to, sir PreacherLoading...,” Don QuixoteLoading... answered, “and I know it will be the good pleasure of my lady the princess, out of love for me, to order her squire to give up the saddle of his mule to you, and he can sit behind you if the beast can bear it.”

“It will, I am sure,” the princess said, “and I am sure, too, that I need not order my squire, because he is too courteous and considerate to allow a Churchman to go on foot when he might be mounted.”

“That he is,” the BarberLoading... said, and immediately climbing down, he offered his saddle to the PreacherLoading..., who accepted it without needing to be asked a second time.

But unfortunately, as the BarberLoading... was mounting behind him, the mule, being as it happened a hired one, which is the same thing as saying ill-conditioned, lifted its hind hoofs and let fly a couple of kicks in the air, which would have made Master Nicholas wish his expedition in quest of Don QuixoteLoading... at the devil had they caught him on the breast or head.

As it was, they so took him by surprise that he came to the ground, giving so little heed to his beard that it fell off, and all he could do when he found himself without it was to cover his face hastily with both his hands and moan that his teeth were knocked out.

Don QuixoteLoading... when he saw all that bundle of beard detached, without jaws or blood, from the face of the fallen squire, exclaimed:

“By the living God, but this is a great miracle! It has knocked off and plucked away the beard from his face as well as if one had planned for it to be shaven off.”

The PreacherLoading..., seeing the danger of discovery that threatened his scheme, at once pounced upon the beard and hastened with it to where Master Nicholas lay, still uttering moans, and drawing his head to his breast had it on in an instant, muttering over him some words which he said were a certain special charm for sticking on beards, as they would see.

And as soon as he had it fixed he left him, and the squire appeared well bearded and whole as before, whereat Don QuixoteLoading... was beyond measure astonished, and begged the PreacherLoading... to teach him that charm when he had an opportunity, as he was convinced its virtue must extend beyond the sticking on of beards, because it was clear that where the beard had been stripped off the flesh must have remained torn and lacerated, and when it could heal all that it must be good for more than beards.

“And so it is,” the PreacherLoading... said, and he promised to teach it to him at the first opportunity that would arise.

They then agreed that, for the present, the PreacherLoading... should mount, and that the three should ride by turns until they reached the inn, which might be about eighteen miles from where they were.

Three then being mounted, that is to say, Don QuixoteLoading..., the princess, and the PreacherLoading..., and three on foot, CardenioLoading..., the BarberLoading..., and SanchoLoading... Panza, Don QuixoteLoading... said to the damsel:

“Let your highness, lady, lead on to wherever is most pleasing to you.”

But before she could answer, the PreacherLoading... said:

“Toward what kingdom would your ladyship direct our course? Is it perchance toward that of Micomicon? It must be, or else I know little about kingdoms.”

She, being prepared for everything, understood that she was to answer “Yes,” so she said, “Yes, sir, my way lies toward that kingdom.”

“In that case,” the PreacherLoading... said, “we must pass right through my village, and there you will take the road to Cartagena, where you will be able to embark if fortune allows you.

And if the wind is fair and the sea smooth and tranquil, in somewhat less than nine years you may come in sight of the great lake Meona, I mean Meotides, which is little more than a hundred days' journey this side of your highness's kingdom.”

“You are mistaken, Sir,” she said, “because it is not two years since I set out from it, and though I never had good weather, nevertheless I am here to behold what I so longed for, and that is my lord Don QuixoteLoading... of La Mancha, whose fame came to my ears as soon as I set foot in Spain and compelled me to go in search of him, to commend myself to his courtesy, and entrust the justice of my cause to the might of his invincible arm.”

“Enough! No more praise,” Don QuixoteLoading... said in response, “because I hate all flattery. And though this may not be so, still, expressions of this kind are offensive to my chaste ears. I will only say, senora, that whether it has might or not, that which it may or may not have shall be devoted to your service even until death.

“And now, leaving this to its proper moment, I would ask the sir PreacherLoading... to tell me what it is that has brought him into these parts, alone, unattended, and so lightly clad that I am filled with amazement.”

“I will give a brief answer,” the PreacherLoading... replied. “You must understand, Sir Don QuixoteLoading..., that Master Nicholas, our friend and BarberLoading..., and I were going to Seville to receive some money that a relative of mine who went to the Indies many years ago had sent to me and not such a small sum but that it was over sixty thousand pieces of eight, full weight, which is something.

“And as we passed by this place yesterday, we were attacked by four robbers, who stripped us even to our beards, and these beards they stripped off so that the BarberLoading... found it necessary to put on a false one, and even this young man here” — pointing at CardenioLoading... — “they completely transformed.

“But the most telling part of it is that the story goes that those who attacked us belong to a number of galley slaves who, they say, were set free almost on the very same spot by a man of such valor that, in spite of the commissary and of the guards, he released all of them.

“And beyond all doubt, he must have been out of his mind, or he must be as great a scoundrel as they or some man without heart or conscience to let the wolf loose among the sheep, the fox among the hens, the fly among the honey.

“He has defrauded justice and opposed his king and lawful master because he opposed his just commands. He has, I say, robbed the galleys of their feet, stirred up the Holy Brotherhood which for many years past has been quiet, and, lastly, has done a deed by which his soul may be lost without any gain to his body.”

SanchoLoading... had told the PreacherLoading... and the BarberLoading... of the adventure of the galley slaves, which, so much to his glory, his master had achieved, and hence the PreacherLoading..., in alluding to it, made the most of it to see what would be said or done by Don QuixoteLoading..., who changed color at every word, not daring to say that it was he who had been the liberator of those worthy people.

“These, then,” the PreacherLoading... said, “were the men who robbed us, and God, in his, mercy pardon him who would not let them get the punishment they deserved.”