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Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547–1616). Don Quixote, Part 1.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.

The Second Book

II. Of That Which After Befel Don Quixote When He Had Left the Ladies

BY this Sancho Panza had gotten up, though somewhat abused by the friars’ lackeys, and stood attentively beholding his lord’s combat, and prayed to God with all his heart, that it would please Him to give him the victory; and that he might therein win some island, whereof he might make him governor, as he had promised. And, seeing the controversy ended at last, and that his lord remounted upon Rozinante, he came to hold him the stirrup, and cast himself on his knees before him ere he got up, and taking him by the hand, he kissed it, saying, ‘I desire that it will please you, good my lord Don Quixote, to bestow upon me the government of that island which in this terrible battle you have won; for though it were never so great, yet do I find myself able enough to govern it, as well as any other whatsoever that ever governed island in this world.’ To this demand Don Quixote answered: ‘Thou must note, friend Sancho, that this adventure, and others of this kind, are not adventures of islands, but of thwartings and highways, wherein nothing else is gained but a broken pate, or the loss of an ear. Have patience a while; for adventures will be offered whereby thou shalt not only be made a governor, but also a greater man’ Sancho rendered him many thanks, and, kissing his hand again, and the skirt of his habergeon, he did help him to get up on Rozinante, and he leapt on his ass, and followed his lord, who, with a swift face, without taking leave or speaking to those of the coach, entered into a wood that was hard at hand. Sancho followed him as fast as his beast could trot; but Rozinante went off so swiftly, as he, perceiving he was like to be left behind, was forced to call aloud to his master that he would stay for him, which Don Quixote did, by checking Rozinante with the bridle, until his wearied squire did arrive; who, as soon as he came, said unto him, ‘Methinks, sir, that it will not be amiss to retire ourselves to some church; for, according as that man is ill dight with whom you fought, I certainly persuade myself that they will give notice of the fact to the holy brotherhood, and they will seek to apprehend us, which if they do, in good faith, before we can get out of their claws, I fear me we shall sweat for it.’ ‘Peace!’ quoth Done Quixote; ‘where hast thou ever read or seen that knight-errant that hath been brought before the judge, though he committed never so many homicides and slaughters? ‘I know nothing of omicills,’ quoth Sancho,’ nor have I cared in my life for any; but well I wot that it concerns the Holy Brotherhood to deal with such as fight in the fields, and in that other I will not intermeddle.’ ‘Then be not afraid, friend,’ quoth Don Quixote; ‘for I will deliver thee out of the hands of the Chaldeans, how much more out of those of the brotherhood. But tell me, in very good earnest, whether thou didst ever see a more valorous knight than I am throughout the face of the earth? Didst thou ever read in histories of any other that hath, or ever had, more courage in assailing, more breath in persevering, more dexterity in offending, or more art in overthrowing, than I? ‘The truth is,’ quoth Sancho, ‘that I have never read any history; for I can neither read nor write: but that which I dare wager is, that I never in my life served a bolder master than you are; and I pray God that we pay not for this boldness there where I have said. That which I request you is, that you will cure yourself; for you lose much blood by that ear, and here I have lint and a little unguentum album in my wallet.’ ‘All this might be excused,’ quoth Don Quixote, ‘if I had remembered to make a vialful of the Balsam of Fierebras; for, with one drop of it, we might spare both time, and want well all those other medicines.’ ‘What vial, and what balsam, is that? said Sancho Panza. ‘It is,’ answered Don Quixote, ‘a balsam whereof I have the recipe in memory, which one possessing he needs not fear death, nor ought he to think that he may be killed by any wound; and therefore, after I have made it, and given it unto thee, thou hast nothing else to do, but when thou shalt see that in any battle I be cloven in twain (as many times it happens), thou shalt take fair and softly that part of my body that is fallen to the ground, and put it up again, with great subtlety, on the part that rests in the saddle, before the blood congeal, having evermore great care that thou place it just and equally; then presently after thou shalt give me two draughts of that balsam of which I have spoken, and thou shalt see me straight become sounder than an apple.’ ‘If that be true,’ quoth Sancho, ‘I do presently here renounce the government of the island you promised, and will demand nothing else in recompense of my services of you, but only the recipe of this precious liquor; for I am certain that an ounce thereof will be worth two reals in any place, and when I have it I should need nothing else to gain my living easily and honestly. But let me know, is it costly in making?’ ‘With less than three reals,’ quoth Don Quixote, ‘a man may make three gallons of it. But I mean to teach thee greater secrets than this, and do thee greater favours also. And now, let me cure myself; for mine ear grieves me more than I would wish.’ Sancho then took out his wallet his lint and ointment to cure his master. But when Don Quixote saw that the visor of his helmet was broken, he was ready to run mad; and, setting his hand to his sword, and lifting up his eyes to heaven, he said: ‘I vow to the Creator of all things, and to the four gospels where they are largest written, to lead such another life as the great Marquis of Mantua did, when he swore to revenge the death of his nephew Valdovinos: which was, not to eat on table-cloth, nor sport with his wife, and other things, which, although I do not now remember, I give them here for expressed, until I take complete revenge on him that hath done me this outrage.’

Sancho, hearing this, said: ‘You must note, Sir Don Quixote, that if the knight had accomplished that which you ordained, to go and present himself before my Lady Dulcinea of Toboso, then hath he fully satisfied his debt, and deserves no new punishment, except he commit a new fault.’ ‘Thou hast spoken well, and hit the mark right,’ said Don Quixote; ‘and therefore I disannul the oath, in that of taking any new revenge on him; but I make it, and confirm it again, that I will lead the life I have said until I take another helmet like, or as good as this, perforce from some knight. And do not think, Sancho, that I make this resolution lightly, or, as they say, with the smoke of straws, for I have an author whom I may very well imitate herein; for the very like, in every respect, passed about Mambrino’s helmet, which cost Sacriphante so dearly.’ ‘I would have you resign those kind of oaths to the devil,’ quoth Sancho; ‘for they will hurt your health, and prejudice your conscience. If not, tell me now, I beseech you, if we shall not these many days encounter with any that wears a helmet, what shall we do? Will you accomplish the oath in despite of all the inconveniences and discommodities that ensue thereof? to wit, to sleep in your clothes, nor to sleep in any dwelling, and a thousand other penitences, which the oath of the mad old man, the Marquis of Mantua, contained, which you mean to ratify now? Do not you consider that armed men travel not in any of these ways, but carriers and waggoners, who not only carry no helmets, but also, for the most part, never heard speak of them in their lives?’ ‘Thou dost deceive thyself saying so,’ replied Don Quixote; ‘for we shall not haunt these ways two hours before we shall see more armed knights than were at the siege of Albraca, to conquer Angelica the fair.’

‘Well, then, let it be so,’ quoth Sancho; ‘and I pray God it befall us well, whom I devoutly beseech that the time may come of gaining that island which costs me so dear, and after let me die presently, and I care not.’ ‘I have already said to thee, Sancho,’ quoth his lord, ‘that thou shouldst not trouble thyself in any wise about this affair; for if an island were wanting, we have then the kingdom of Denmark, or that of Sobradisa, which will come as fit for thy purpose as a ring to thy finger; and principally thou art to rejoice because they are on the continent. But, omitting this till his own time, see whether thou hast anything in thy wallet, and let us eat it, that afterward we may go search out some castle wherein we may lodge this night, and make the balsam which I have told thee; for I vow to God that this ear grieves me marvellously.’ ‘I have here an onion,’ replied the squire, ‘a piece of cheese, and a few crusts of bread; but such gross meats are not befitting so noble a knight as you are.’ ‘How ill dost thou understand it!’ answered Don Quixote. ‘I let thee to understand, Sancho, that it is an honour for knights-errant not to eat once in a month’s space; and if by chance they should eat, to eat only of that which is next at hand; and this thou mightest certainly conceive, hadst thou read so many books as I have done; for though I passed over many, yet did I never find recorded in any that knights-errant did ever eat, but by mere chance and adventure, or in some costly banquets that were made for them, and all the other days they passed over with herbs and roots: and though it is to be understood that they could not live without meat, and supplying the other needs of nature, because they were in effect men as we are, it is likewise to be understood, that spending the greater part of their lives in forests and deserts, and that, too, without a cook, that their most ordinary meats were but coarse and rustical, such as thou dost now offer unto me. So that, friend Sancho, let not that trouble thee which is my pleasure, nor go not thou about to make a new world, or to hoist knight-errantry off her hinges.’ ‘Pardon me, good sir,’ quoth Sancho; ‘for by reason I can neither read nor write, as I have said once before, I have not fallen rightly in the rules and laws of knighthood; and from henceforth my wallet shall be well furnished with all kinds of dry fruits for you, because you are a knight; and for myself, seeing I am none, I will provide fowls, and other things, that are of more substance.’ ‘I say not, Sancho,’ quoth Don Quixote, ‘that it is a forcible law to knights-errant not to eat any other things than such fruits, but that their most ordinary sustenance could be none other than those, and some herbs they found up and down the fields, which they knew very well, and so do I also.’ ‘It is a virtue,’ quoth Sancho, ‘to know those herbs; for, as I imagine, that knowledge will some day stand us in stead.’ And, saying so, he took out the provision he had, which they both ate together with good conformity. But, being desirous to search out a place where they might lodge that night, they did much shorten their poor dinner, and, mounting anon a-horseback, they made as much haste as they could to find out some dwellings before the night did fall; but the sun and their hopes did fail them at once, they being near the cabins of certain goatherds; and therefore they concluded to take up their lodging there for that night: for though Sancho’s grief was great to lie out of a village, yet Don Quixote’s joy exceeded it far, considering he must sleep under open heaven; because he made account, as oft as this befel him, that he did a worthy act, which did facilitate and ratify the practice of his chivalry.