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Don Quixote

By Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Don Quixote 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 Rocinante, 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.

In the previous episode, Don QuixoteLoading... had just been brought back home by a peasant. He is given food, and after that, he falls asleep. The villagers form a plan to examine the books from which Don QuixoteLoading... had gotten such ludicrous ideas. They go through the books one by one as they decide whether to burn each book or not, throwing out all but a few into the yard to be burned later, and taking a few for themselves so that Don QuixoteLoading... will not be influenced by them anymore. All this happens while Don QuixoteLoading... is asleep.

Don QuixoteLoading... leaves home for the second time

A
t that moment, Don QuixoteLoading... began to shout out, “Here, here, valiant knights! Now is the time for you to use the might of your strong arms because the courtiers are rapidly gaining ground in tournaments!”

The PreacherLoading... and the neighbor were called away by this noise and outcry, so they stopped scrutinizing the remaining books. And so it is thought that “The Carolea,” “The Lion of Spain,” and “The Deeds of the Emperor,” written by Don Luis de Avila, all went into the fire unseen and unheard, a fate which perhaps they might have escaped, had the PreacherLoading... been there to defend them.

On these promises SanchoLoading... Panza left wife and children.

When they reached Don QuixoteLoading..., he was already out of bed and was still shouting and raving, and slashing and cutting all round with his sword, as wide awake as if he had never slept.

They ran up to him, and by force, they got him back into bed.

When Don QuixoteLoading... had calmed down a little, he addressed the PreacherLoading..., and he said to him, “Certainly, my Lord Archbishop Turpin, it is a great disgrace for us who call ourselves the Twelve Peers, so carelessly to allow the knights of the Court to gain the victory in this tournament without any further opposition, after we, knight adventurers, had carried the honor for three days.”

“Be pacified, my good friend,” the PreacherLoading... said, “fortune may have better success in mind for you yet, and your luck may turn, and those who may have lost today may win tomorrow. At present, think of your health because it seems to me that you are over-fatigued, if not badly wounded.”

At this instant Don QuixoteLoading... began shouting out.

“Wounded no!” Don QuixoteLoading... said. “But as for being bruised and battered, I will not deny it, because that bastard Don Roland has battered all my limbs with the trunk of an oak tree, out of mere envy, because he sees that I alone rival him in his achievements. But, in spite of all his bewitchments, he may no more call me Reinaldos of Montalvan without me making him pay for it as soon as I rise from this bed. And, therefore, let my dinner be brought to me, because that is, I feel, what I need the most at this time, and then let me along to revenge this abuse.”

He was already out of bed, and was shouting and raving, and slashing and cutting all round.

They did as he wished; they gave him something to eat, and once more he fell asleep, leaving them marveling at his madness.

That night, the housekeeper burned to ashes all the books. Not just the ones that were in the yard, but also the ones that were in the house.

And inevitably, some must have been consumed in flames that deserved preservation in everlasting archives, but their fate and the laziness of the examiner did not permit it, and so in them was verified the proverb that the innocent must suffer for the guilty.

One of the remedies which the PreacherLoading... and the BarberLoading... immediately applied to their friend's disorder was to wall up and plaster the room where the books were, so that when he got up he should not find them, because they hoped that the effect would cease when they had taken away the cause, and they might say that a magician had carried away the room with books and all.

This task was completed quickly.

Two days later, Don QuixoteLoading... got up, and the first thing he did was to go visit his beloved books, and as he could not find the study in the place where he had left it, he wandered from side to side looking for it.

He came to the place where the door used to be, and tried to grab the doorknob with his hands, and turned and twisted his eyes in every direction without saying a word.

After a good while, he thought it fit to ask his housekeeper where it was that he could find the room that held his books.

By force they got him back to bed.

The housekeeper, who had already been instructed well as to what to answer, said, “What room, or rather what nothing is it that you are looking for? There are neither studies nor books in this house now, because the devil himself has carried them all away.”

“It was not the devil,” the niece said, “but a magician who came on a dragon on top of a cloud one night after you had left. He came down from the serpent he rode and entered the room, and what he did there I do not know, but after a little while he made off, flying through the roof, and he left the house full of smoke. When we went to see what he had done, we saw neither book nor room. But we remember very well, the housekeeper and I, that on leaving, the old villain said in a loud voice that, for a private grudge he owed the owner of the books and the room, he had done mischief in that house that we would soon discover. He said too that his name was the Sage Munaton.”

“Wounded no,” Don QuixoteLoading... said.

“He must have said Friston, not Munaton,” Don QuixoteLoading... said.

“I don't know whether he called himself Friston or Friton,” the housekeeper said, “all I know is that his name ended with ‘ton.’ ”

“So it does,” Don QuixoteLoading... said, “and he is a sage magician, a great enemy of mine, who is angry at me because he knows by his arts and lore that I shall in due time fight and defeat in single combat a knight whom he befriends, and he will be unable to prevent it. For this reason, he tries to hinder me in any way he can. But I promise him this, that it will be hard for him to oppose or avoid what is decreed by Heaven.”

“Nobody doubts that,” the niece said, “but uncle, who mixes you up in these quarrels? Would it not be better to remain at peace in your own house instead of roaming the world looking for better bread than ever came of wheat, never reflecting that many go for wool and come back shorn?”

“Oh, good niece,” Don QuixoteLoading... replied, “how astray you are in your reckoning! Before they shear me, I shall have plucked away and stripped off the beards of all those who dare to touch even only the tip of a hair of mine.”

To this, neither the niece nor the housekeeper were willing to reply, as they saw that his anger was growing.

Our knight quietly remained at home for fifteen days without showing any signs of a desire to renew his delusions.

During this time, he held lively discussions with his two friends, the PreacherLoading..., and the BarberLoading.... He maintained that there was nothing the world needed more than knights-errant and that he was to accomplish the revival of knight-errantry.

The PreacherLoading... sometimes contradicted him, sometimes agreed with him, because if he had not observed this precaution, he would have been unable to bring him to reason.

Once more he fell asleep, leaving them marvelling at his madness.

In the meantime, Don QuixoteLoading... solicited one of his neighbors, a farm laborer, and an honest man — if indeed we can call a poor man honest — but with not much of a brain.

The knight talked with him for so long, and with such persuasion and so many promises, that the poor clown made up his mind to go along with him and to serve as his esquire.

To entice him to do so willingly, Don QuixoteLoading... told him that it was likely that an adventure would present itself that would lead to the conquest of some island in the twinkle of an eye and leave him governor of it.

Allured with these and similar large promises, SanchoLoading... Panza — because that was his name — left his wife and children, to be an esquire to his neighbor.

Don QuixoteLoading... then set about getting some money. He sold one thing, and pawned another, and, making a bad bargain at every turn, he got together a tidy sum.

He provided himself with a shield, which he begged as a loan from a friend, and, restored his battered helmet as best he could.

He warned his squire SanchoLoading... of the day and hour he meant to set out so that he might provide himself with everything he thought he needed.

Above all, the knight ordered SanchoLoading... to take saddlebags with him. SanchoLoading... said he would, and that he meant to take with him also a very good ass he had, as he was not much given to going on foot.

About the ass, Don QuixoteLoading... hesitated a little. He tried to recall having ever read of a knight-errant who had taken an esquire with him who was mounted on ass-back. But no precedent occurred to him.

Eventually, he gave SanchoLoading... permission to take his ass with him, fully intending to furnish SanchoLoading... with a more honorable mount when a chance of it presented itself: he would appropriate the horse of the first discourteous knight he encountered.

Following the advice the host at the inn had given him, the knight provided himself with shirts and other similar things as much as he thought necessary.

After all preparations were done, and without saying goodbye — SanchoLoading... Panza to his wife and children, Don QuixoteLoading... to his housekeeper and niece — they sallied forth unseen by anybody from the village one night, and made such good way in the course of it that by daylight they held themselves safe from discovery, even if a search party went out for them.

That night the housekeeper burned to ashes all the books that were in the yard.

SanchoLoading... rode on his ass like a patriarch, with his saddlebags and leather bottle, and a huge desire to see himself governor of the island his master had promised him.

Don QuixoteLoading... decided to take the same route and road he had taken on his first journey, that over the Campo de Montiel, which this time he traveled with less discomfort than on the last occasion. Because, as it was early morning and the rays of the sun fell on them obliquely, the heat did not distress them as much.

SanchoLoading... Panza said to his master, “You will take care, Sir Knight-errant, not to forget about the island you have promised me, because, be it ever so big, I will rise to the occasion and govern it.”

The poor clown made up his mind to sally forth with him and serve him as esquire.

To this Don QuixoteLoading... replied, “You must know, friend SanchoLoading... Panza, that it was a practice very much in vogue with the knights-errant of old to make their squires governors of the islands or kingdoms they won, and I am determined that there shall be no failure on my part in so liberal a custom. On the contrary, I mean to improve upon it, because they sometimes, and perhaps most frequently, waited until their squires were old, and then when they had had enough of service and hard days and worse nights, they gave them some title or other, of count, or at the most marquis, of some valley or province more or less. But if you and I survive, it may well be that before six days are over, I may have won some kingdom that has others dependent upon it, which will be just the thing to enable you to be crowned king of one of them. Nor need you deem this wonderful, because things and chances fall to all such knights in ways so unexampled and unexpected that I might easily give you a great deal more even than I promised you.”

“In that case,” SanchoLoading... Panza said, “if I should become a king by one of those miracles you speak of, then even Juana Gutierrez, my old woman, would come to be queen and my children princes and princesses.”

“Well, who doubts it?” Don QuixoteLoading... said.

“I doubt it,” SanchoLoading... Panza replied, “because for my part I am convinced that though God should shower down kingdoms upon earth, not one of them would fit the head of Mari Gutierrez. Let me tell you, sir, she is not worth two coins to make a queen of. Countess will fit her better, and that only with God's help.”

“Leave it to God, SanchoLoading...,” Don QuixoteLoading... replied, “because he will give her what suits her best; but do not undervalue yourself so much as to come to be content with anything less than being governor of a province.”

“I will not, sir,” SanchoLoading... answered, “especially since I have a master of so rare a quality as you, who will take care to give me all that may be fit for me and that I can bear.”

To be continued next Sunday

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