Home  »  Don Quixote, Part 1  »  XIX. In Which Is Finished the Notable Adventure of the Troopers, and the Great Ferocity of Our Knight, Don Quixote, and How He Was Enchanted

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

The Fourth Book

XIX. In Which Is Finished the Notable Adventure of the Troopers, and the Great Ferocity of Our Knight, Don Quixote, and How He Was Enchanted

WHILST Don Quixote said this, the curate laboured to persuade the troopers how the knight was distracted, as they themselves might collect by his works and words, and therefore it would be to no end to prosecute their design any further, seeing that although they did apprehend and carry him away he would be presently delivered again as a madman. To this, he that had the warrant made answer, that it concerned him not to determine whether he was mad or no, but only to obey and execute his superior’s command; and that being once prisoner, they might deliver him three hundred times and if it were their good pleasure. ‘For all that,’ quoth the curate, ‘you may not carry him with you at this time; nor, as I suppose, will he suffer himself to be taken.’ To be brief, the curate said so much, and Don Quixote played so many mad pranks, as the troopers themselves would have proved greater fools than he if they had not manifestly discerned his defect of judgment; and therefore they held it to be the best course to let him alone, yea, and be compounders of peace and amity between Sancho Panza and the barber, which still continued their most rancorous and deadly contention. Finally, they, as the officers of justice, did mediate the cause, and were arbiters thereof in such sort, as both the parties remained, though not wholly contented, yet in some sort satisfied, for they only made them exchange their pannels, but not their girths or headstalls.

As touching Mambrino’s helmet, the curate did unawares to Don Quixote give to the barber eight reals by it, and the barber gave back unto him an acquittance of the receipt thereof, an everlasting release of all actions concerning it. These two discords, which were the most principal and of most consequence, being thus accorded, it only rested that three of Don Louis his serving-men would be content to return home, and leave the fourth to accompany his master whither Don Fernando pleased to carry him. And as good hap and better fortune had already begun to break lances, and facilitate difficulties, in the favour of the lovers and worthy persons of the inn, so did it resolve to proceed forward, and give a prosperous success unto all; for the serving-men were content to do whatsoever their master would have them: whereat Donna Clara was so cheerful, as no one beheld her face in that season but might read therein the inward contentment of her mind. Zoraida, although she did not very well understand all the successes of the things she had seen, yet was she interchangeably grieved and cheered according to the shows made by the rest, but chiefly by her Spaniard, on whom her eyes were always fixed, and all the affects of her mind depended. The innkeeper, who did not forget the recompense made by the curate to the barber, demanded of him Don Quixote’s expenses, and satisfaction for the damage he had done to his winebags, and the loss of his wine, swearing that neither Rozinante nor Sancho his ass should depart out of the inn until he here paid the very last farthing. All was quietly ended by the curate; and Don Fernando paid the whole sum, although the judge had also most liberally offered to do it; and all of them remained afterwards in such quietness and peace, as the inn did no longer resemble the discorded camp of Agramante, as Don Quixote termed it, but rather enjoyed the very peace and tranquillity of the Emperor Octavian’s time; for all which the common opinion was, that thanks were justly due to the sincere proceeding and great eloquence of master curate, and to the incomparable liberality and goodness of Don Fernando. Don Quixote, perceiving himself free, and delivered from so many difficulties and brabbles wherewithal as well he as his esquire had been perplexed, held it high time to prosecute his commenced voyage, and bring to an end the great adventure unto which he was called and chosen. Therefore, with resolute determination to depart, he went and cast himself on his knees before Dorothea, who, not permitting him to speak until he arose, he to obey her stood up, and said, ‘It is a common proverb, beautiful lady, that “diligence is the mother of good hap”; and in many and grave affairs experience hath showed that the solicitude and sore of the suitor oft brings a doubtful matter to a certain and happy end; but this truth appears in nothing more clearly than in matters of war, wherein celerity and expedition prevent the enemy’s designs, and obtain the victory before an adversary can put himself in defence. All this I say, high and worthy lady, because it seems to me that our abode in this castle is nothing profitable, and may therewithal turn so far to our hindrance as we may palpably feel it one day; for who knows but that your enemy, the giant, hath learned by spies, or other secret intelligence and means, how I mean to come and destroy him, and (opportunity favouring his designs) that he may have fortified himself in some inexpugnable castle or fortress, against the strength whereof neither mine industry nor the force of mine invincible arm can much prevail. Wherefore, dear lady, let us prevent, as I have said, by our diligence, and let us presently depart unto the place whereunto we are called by our good fortune, which shall be deferred no longer than I am absent from your highness’ foe.’ Here he held his peace, and did expect, with great gravity, the beautiful princess’ answer, who, with débonnaire countenance, and a style accommodated unto Don Quixote, returned him this answer: ‘I do gratify and thank, sir knight, the desire you show to assist me in this my great need, which denotes very clearly the great care you have to favour orphans and disressed wights; and I beseech God that your good desires and mine may be accomplished, to the end that you may see how there are some thankful women on earth. As touching my departure, let it be forthwith, for I have none other will than that which is yours; therefore you may dispose of me at your own pleasure; for she that hath once committed the defence of her person unto you, and hath put into your hands the restitution of her estate, ought not to seek to do any other thing than that which your wisdom shall ordain.’ ‘In the name of God,’ quoth Don Quixote, ‘seeing that your highness doth so humble yourself unto me, I will not lose the occasion of exalting it, and installing it again in the throne of your inheritance. Let our departure be incontinent; for my desires, and the way, and that which they call the danger that is in delay, do spur me on. And seeing that Heaven never created, nor hell ever beheld, any man that could affright me or make a coward of me, go therefore, Sancho, and saddle Rozinante, and empannel thine ass, and make ready the queen’s palfrey, and let us take leave of the constable and those other lords, and depart away from hence instantly.’

Then Sancho, who was present at all this, wagging of his head said, ‘O my lord, my lord! how much more knavery (be it spoken with the pardon of all honest kerchiefs) is there in the little village than is talked of!” ‘What ill can there be in any village, or in all the cities of the world, able to impair my credit, thou villain?’ ‘If thou be angry,’ quoth Sancho, ‘I will hold my tongue, and omit to say that which, by the duty of a good squire and of an honest servant, I am bound to tell you.’ ‘Say what thou wilt,’ quoth Don Quixote, ‘so thy words be not addressed to make me afraid; for if thou beest frighted, thou dost only like thyself; and if I be devoid of terror, I also do that which I ought.’ ‘It is not that which I mean,’ quoth Sancho, ‘but that I do hold, for most sure and certain, that this lady which calls herself queen of the great kingdom of Micomicon, is no more a queen than my mother; for if she were what she says, she would not, at every corner and at every turning of a hand, be billing as she is with one that is in this good company.’ Dorothea blushed at Sancho’s words; for it was true, indeed, that her spouse, Don Fernando, would now and then privately steal from her lips some part of the reward which his desires did merit (which Sancho espying, it seemed to him that that kind of wanton familiarity was more proper to courtesans than becoming the queen of so great a kingdom), and yet she neither could nor would reply unto him, but let him continue his speech, as followeth: ‘This I do say, good my lord’ quoth he, ‘to this end: that if, after we have run many ways and courses, and endured bad nights and worse days, he that is in this inn sporting himself, shall come to gather the fruit of our labours, there is no reason to hasten me thus to saddle Rozinante, or empannel the ass, or make ready the palfrey, seeing it would be better that we stayed still, and that every whore spun, and we fell to our victuals.’

O God! how great was the fury that inflamed Don Quixote when he heard his squire speak so respectlessly! I say it was so great that, with a shaking voice, a faltering tongue, and the fire sparkling out of his eyes, he said, ‘O villanous peasant! rash, unmannerly, ignorant, rude, blasphemous, bold murmurer and detractor! hast thou presumed to speak such words in my presence, and in that of these noble ladies? and hast thou dared to entertain such rash and dishonest surmises into thy confused imagination? Depart out of my sight, thou monster of nature, storehouse of untruths, armoury of falsehood, sink of roguery, inventor of villany, publisher of ravings, and the enemy of that decency which is to be used towards royal persons! Away, villain! and never appear before me, under pain of mine indignation!’ And, saying so, he bended his brows, filled up his cheeks, looked about him on every side, and struck a great blow with his right foot on the ground—all manifest tokens of the rage which inwardly fretted him. At which words and furious gestures, poor Sancho remained so greatly affrighted, as he could have wished in that instant that the earth, opening under his feet, would swallow him up, and knew not what to do, but turn his back, and get him out of his lord’s most furious presence. But the discreet Dorothea, who was now so well schooled in Don Quixote’s humour, to mitigate his ire, said unto him, ‘Be not offended, good Sir Knight of the Sad Face, at the idle words which your good squire hath spoken; for perhaps he hath not said them without some ground; nor of his good understanding and Christian mind can it be suspected that he would wittingly slander or accuse anybody falsely; and therefore we must believe, without all doubt, that is in this castle, as you yourself have said, sir knight, all things are represented, and succeed by manner of enchantment; I say it might befall that Sancho may have seen, by diabolical illusion, that which he says he beheld, so much to the prejudice of my reputation.’

‘I vow by the omnipotent Jove,’ quoth Don Quixote, ‘that your highness hath hit the very prick, and that some wicked vision appeared to this sinner, my man Sancho, that made him to see that which otherwise were impossible to be seen by any other way than that of enchantment; for I know very well the great goodness and simplicity of that poor wretch is such as he knows not how to invent a lie on anybody living.’ ‘It is even so, and so it shall be,’ quoth Don Fernando; ‘and therefore, good sir Don Quixote, you must pardon him, and reduce him again to the bosom of your good grace, sicut erat in principio, and before the like visions did distract his sense,’ Don Quixote answered that he did willingly pardon him. And therefore the curate went for Sancho, who returned very humbly, and, kneeling down on his knees, demanded his lord’s hand, which he gave unto him; and after that he had permitted him to kiss it, he gave him his blessing, saying,’ Now thou shalt finally know, Sancho, that which I have told thee divers times, how that all the things of this castle are made by way of enchantment.’ ‘So do I verily believe,’ said Sancho, ‘except that of the canvassing in the blanket, which really succeeded by an ordinary and natural way.’ ‘Do not believe that,’ said Don Quixote; ‘for if it were so, I would both then, and also now, have taken a dire revenge; but neither then nor now could I ever see any on whom I might revenge that thine injury.’ All of them desired greatly to know what that accident of the blanket was; and then the innkeeper recounted it, point by point, the flights that Sancho Panza made, whereat they all did laugh not a little; and Sancho would have been ashamed no less, if his lord had not anew persuaded him that it was a mere enchantment. And yet Sancho’s madness was never so great as to believe that it was not a real truth verily befallen him, without any colour or mixture of fraud or illusion, but that he was tossed by persons of flesh, good, and bone, and not by dreamed and imagined shadows or spirits, as his lord believed, and so constantly affirmed.

Two days were now expired when all that noble company had sojourned in the inn; and then, it seeming unto them high time to depart, they devised how, without putting Dorothea and Don Fernando to the pains to turn back with Don Quixote to his village, under pretence of restoring the Queen Micomicona, the curate and barber might carry him back as they desired, and endeavour to have him cured of his folly in his own house. And their invention was this: they agreed with one, who by chance passed by that way with a team fox oxen, to carry him in this order following: They made a thing like a cage, of timber, so big as that Don Quixote might sit or lie in it at his ease; and presently after, Don Fernando and his fellows, with Don Louis his servants, the troopers, and the innkeeper, did all of them, by master curate’s direction, cover their faces, and disguise themselves, every one as he might best, so that they might seem to Don Quixote other people than such as he had seen in the castle. And this being done, they entered with very great silence into the place where he slept, and took his rest after the related conflicts; and, approaching him who slept securely, not fearing any such accident, and laying hold on him very strongly, they tied his hands and his feet very strongly, so that when he started out of his sleep he could not stir himself, nor do any other thing than admire and wonder at those strange shapes that he saw standing before him; and presently he fell into the conceit which his continual and distracted imagination had already suggested unto him, believing that all those strange figures were the spirits and shadows of that enchanted castle, and that he himself was now without doubt enchanted, seeing he could neither move nor defend himself. All this succeeded just as the curate, who plotted the jest, made full account it would. Only Sancho, among all those that were present, was in his right sense and shape; and although he wanted but little to be sick of his lord’s disease, yet for all that he knew all those counterfeit ghosts; but he would not once unfold his lips, until he might see the end of that surprisal and imprisonment of his master; who likewise spoke never a word, but only looked to see what would be the period of his disgrace; which was that, bringing him to the cage, they shut him within, and afterwards nailed the bars thereof so well as they could not be easily broken. They presently mounted him upon their shoulders; and as he issued out at the chamber door, they heard as dreadful a voice as the barber could devise (not he of the pannel, but the other), which said, ‘O Knight of the Sad Countenance! be not grieved at the imprisonment whereinto thou art led; for so it must be, that thereby the adventure, into which thy great force and valour hath thrust thee, may be the more speedily ended; and ended it will be when the furious Manchegan lion and the white Tobosian dove shall be united in one; and after they have humbled their lofty crest unto the soft yoke of wedlock, from whose wonderful comfort shall issue to the light of the on fierce whelps, which shall imitate the raunching paws of their valorous father. And this shall be before the pursuer of the fugitive nymph do, with his swift and natural course, make two turns in visitation of the glittering images. And thou, O the most noble and obedient squire that ever had sword at a girdle, beard on a face, or dent in a nose! let it not dismay or discontent thee to see carried away before thy eyes the flower of all chivalry-errant; for very speedily, if it please the Framer of the world, thou shalt see thyself so exalted and ennobled as thou shalt scarce know thyself. Nor shalt thou be defrauded of the promises made unto thee by thy noble lord; and I do assure thee, from the wise Mentironiana, that thy wages shall be paid thee, as thou shalt quickly see in effect. And therefore follow the steps of the valorous and enchanted knight; for it is necessary that thou go to the place where you both shall stay. And because I am not permitted to say more, farewell; for I do return, I well know whither.’ Towards the end of this prophecy he lifted up his voice, and afterwards lessened it, with so slender an accent that even those which were acquainted with the jest almost believed what they had heard.

Don Quixote was very much comforted by the prophecy; for he presently apprehended the whole sense thereof, and perceived how he was promised in marriage his beloved Dulcinea of Toboso, from whose happy womb should sally the whelps, which were his sons, to the eternal glory of the Mancha. And, believing all this most firmly, he elevated his voice, and, breathing forth a great sigh, thus said: ‘O thou, whatsoever thou beest, which hath prognosticated so great good to me, I desire thee to request, in my name, the wise man who hath charge to record mine acts, that he permit me not to perish in this prison, to which they now do carry me, before the accomplishment of so joyful and incomparable promises as now have been made unto me; for, so that this may befall, I will account the pains of my prison a glory, and the chains that environ me an ease; and will not esteem this bed whereon I am laid a hard field of battle, but a soft tick and a most fortunate lodging. And, as concerning the consolation of my squire Sancho Panza, I trust in his goodness and honest proceeding, that he will not abandon me in good or bad fortune; for though it should fall out, through his or my hard hap, that I shall not be able to bestow on him an island, or other equivalent thing, as I have promised, his wages at least cannot be lost; for in my testament, which is made already, I have set down what he is to have, though not conformably to his many good services, yet according to my possibility.’ Sancho Panza bowed his head with great reverence, and kissed both his hands, for one alone he could not, by reason they were bound together; and presently those visions did lift up the cage and accommodate it on the team of oxen.