Miguel de Cervantes

Miguel de Cervantes

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Don Quixote


Now by this time Sancho had risen, rather the worse for the handling
of the friars' muleteers, and stood watching the battle of his master,
Don Quixote, and praying to God in his heart that it might be his will
to grant him the victory, and that he might thereby win some island to
make him governor of, as he had promised. Seeing, therefore, that
the struggle was now over, and that his master was returning to
mount Rocinante, he approached to hold the stirrup for him, and,
before he could mount, he went on his knees before him, and taking his
hand, kissed it saying, "May it please your worship, Senor Don
Quixote, to give me the government of that island which has been won
in this hard fight, for be it ever so big I feel myself in
sufficient force to be able to govern it as much and as well as anyone
in the world who has ever governed islands."

To which Don Quixote replied, "Thou must take notice, brother
Sancho, that this adventure and those like it are not adventures of
islands, but of cross-roads, in which nothing is got except a broken
head or an ear the less: have patience, for adventures will present
themselves from which I may make you, not only a governor, but
something more."

Sancho gave him many thanks, and again kissing his hand and the
skirt of his hauberk, helped him to mount Rocinante, and mounting
his ass himself, proceeded to follow his master, who at a brisk
pace, without taking leave, or saying anything further to the ladies
belonging to the coach, turned into a wood that was hard by. Sancho
followed him at his ass's best trot, but Rocinante stepped out so
that, seeing himself left behind, he was forced to call to his
master to wait for him. Don Quixote did so, reining in Rocinante until
his weary squire came up, who on reaching him said, "It seems to me,
senor, it would be prudent in us to go and take refuge in some church,
for, seeing how mauled he with whom you fought has been left, it
will be no wonder if they give information of the affair to the Holy
Brotherhood and arrest us, and, faith, if they do, before we come
out of gaol we shall have to sweat for it."

"Peace," said Don Quixote; "where hast thou ever seen or heard
that a knight-errant has been arraigned before a court of justice,
however many homicides he may have committed?"

"I know nothing about omecils," answered Sancho, "nor in my life
have had anything to do with one; I only know that the Holy
Brotherhood looks after those who fight in the fields, and in that
other matter I do not meddle."

"Then thou needst have no uneasiness, my friend," said Don
Quixote, "for I will deliver thee out of the hands of the Chaldeans,
much more out of those of the Brotherhood. But tell me, as thou
livest, hast thou seen a more valiant knight than I in all the known
world; hast thou read in history of any who has or had higher mettle
in attack, more spirit in maintaining it, more dexterity in wounding
or skill in overthrowing?"

"The truth is," answered Sancho, "that I have never read any
history, for I can neither read nor write, but what I will venture
to bet is that a more daring master than your worship I have never
served in all the days of my life, and God grant that this daring be
not paid for where I have said; what I beg of your worship is to dress
your wound, for a great deal of blood flows from that ear, and I
have here some lint and a little white ointment in the alforjas."

"All that might be well dispensed with," said Don Quixote, "if I had
remembered to make a vial of the balsam of Fierabras, for time and
medicine are saved by one single drop."

"What vial and what balsam is that?" said Sancho Panza.

"It is a balsam," answered Don Quixote, "the receipt of which I have
in my memory, with which one need have no fear of death, or dread
dying of any wound; and so when I make it and give it to thee thou
hast nothing to do when in some battle thou seest they have cut me
in half through the middle of the body- as is wont to happen
frequently,- but neatly and with great nicety, ere the blood
congeal, to place that portion of the body which shall have fallen
to the ground upon the other half which remains in the saddle,
taking care to fit it on evenly and exactly. Then thou shalt give me
to drink but two drops of the balsam I have mentioned, and thou
shalt see me become sounder than an apple."

"If that be so," said Panza, "I renounce henceforth the government
of the promised island, and desire nothing more in payment of my
many and faithful services than that your worship give me the
receipt of this supreme liquor, for I am persuaded it will be worth
more than two reals an ounce anywhere, and I want no more to pass
the rest of my life in ease and honour; but it remains to be told if
it costs much to make it."

"With less than three reals, six quarts of it may be made," said Don

"Sinner that I am!" said Sancho, "then why does your worship put off
making it and teaching it to me?"

"Peace, friend," answered Don Quixote; "greater secrets I mean to
teach thee and greater favours to bestow upon thee; and for the
present let us see to the dressing, for my ear pains me more than I
could wish."

Sancho took out some lint and ointment from the alforjas; but when
Don Quixote came to see his helmet shattered, he was like to lose
his senses, and clapping his hand upon his sword and raising his
eyes to heaven, be said, "I swear by the Creator of all things and the
four Gospels in their fullest extent, to do as the great Marquis of
Mantua did when he swore to avenge the death of his nephew Baldwin
(and that was not to eat bread from a table-cloth, nor embrace his
wife, and other points which, though I cannot now call them to mind, I
here grant as expressed) until I take complete vengeance upon him
who has committed such an offence against me."

Hearing this, Sancho said to him, "Your worship should bear in mind,
Senor Don Quixote, that if the knight has done what was commanded
him in going to present himself before my lady Dulcinea del Toboso, he
will have done all that he was bound to do, and does not deserve
further punishment unless he commits some new offence."

"Thou hast said well and hit the point," answered Don Quixote; and
so I recall the oath in so far as relates to taking fresh vengeance on
him, but I make and confirm it anew to lead the life I have said until
such time as I take by force from some knight another helmet such as
this and as good; and think not, Sancho, that I am raising smoke
with straw in doing so, for I have one to imitate in the matter, since
the very same thing to a hair happened in the case of Mambrino's
helmet, which cost Sacripante so dear."

"Senor," replied Sancho, "let your worship send all such oaths to
the devil, for they are very pernicious to salvation and prejudicial
to the conscience; just tell me now, if for several days to come we
fall in with no man armed with a helmet, what are we to do? Is the
oath to be observed in spite of all the inconvenience and discomfort
it will be to sleep in your clothes, and not to sleep in a house,
and a thousand other mortifications contained in the oath of that
old fool the Marquis of Mantua, which your worship is now wanting to
revive? Let your worship observe that there are no men in armour
travelling on any of these roads, nothing but carriers and carters,
who not only do not wear helmets, but perhaps never heard tell of them
all their lives."

"Thou art wrong there," said Don Quixote, "for we shall not have
been above two hours among these cross-roads before we see more men in
armour than came to Albraca to win the fair Angelica."

"Enough," said Sancho; "so be it then, and God grant us success, and
that the time for winning that island which is costing me so dear
may soon come, and then let me die."

"I have already told thee, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "not to give
thyself any uneasiness on that score; for if an island should fail,
there is the kingdom of Denmark, or of Sobradisa, which will fit
thee as a ring fits the finger, and all the more that, being on
terra firma, thou wilt all the better enjoy thyself. But let us
leave that to its own time; see if thou hast anything for us to eat in
those alforjas, because we must presently go in quest of some castle
where we may lodge to-night and make the balsam I told thee of, for
I swear to thee by God, this ear is giving me great pain."

"I have here an onion and a little cheese and a few scraps of
bread," said Sancho, "but they are not victuals fit for a valiant
knight like your worship."

"How little thou knowest about it," answered Don Quixote; "I would
have thee to know, Sancho, that it is the glory of knights-errant to
go without eating for a month, and even when they do eat, that it
should be of what comes first to hand; and this would have been
clear to thee hadst thou read as many histories as I have, for, though
they are very many, among them all I have found no mention made of
knights-errant eating, unless by accident or at some sumptuous
banquets prepared for them, and the rest of the time they passed in
dalliance. And though it is plain they could not do without eating and
performing all the other natural functions, because, in fact, they
were men like ourselves, it is plain too that, wandering as they did
the most part of their lives through woods and wilds and without a
cook, their most usual fare would be rustic viands such as those
thou now offer me; so that, friend Sancho, let not that distress
thee which pleases me, and do not seek to make a new world or
pervert knight-errantry."

"Pardon me, your worship," said Sancho, "for, as I cannot read or
write, as I said just now, I neither know nor comprehend the rules
of the profession of chivalry: henceforward I will stock the
alforjas with every kind of dry fruit for your worship, as you are a
knight; and for myself, as I am not one, I will furnish them with
poultry and other things more substantial."

"I do not say, Sancho," replied Don Quixote, "that it is
imperative on knights-errant not to eat anything else but the fruits
thou speakest of; only that their more usual diet must be those, and
certain herbs they found in the fields which they knew and I know

"A good thing it is," answered Sancho, "to know those herbs, for
to my thinking it will be needful some day to put that knowledge
into practice."

And here taking out what he said he had brought, the pair made their
repast peaceably and sociably. But anxious to find quarters for the
night, they with all despatch made an end of their poor dry fare,
mounted at once, and made haste to reach some habitation before
night set in; but daylight and the hope of succeeding in their
object failed them close by the huts of some goatherds, so they
determined to pass the night there, and it was as much to Sancho's
discontent not to have reached a house, as it was to his master's
satisfaction to sleep under the open heaven, for he fancied that
each time this happened to him he performed an act of ownership that
helped to prove his chivalry.



Crazy I am, and crazy I must be!

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