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Miqeul de Cervantes >> Don Quixote (page 29)


"No more of that, senor," returned Sancho; "I own I went a littletoo far with the joke. But tell me, your worship, now that peace ismade between us (and may God bring you out of all the adventuresthat may befall you as safe and sound as he has brought you out ofthis one), was it not a thing to laugh at, and is it not a good story,the great fear we were in?- at least that I was in; for as to yourworship I see now that you neither know nor understand what eitherfear or dismay is."

"I do not deny," said Don Quixote, "that what happened to us maybe worth laughing at, but it is not worth making a story about, for itis not everyone that is shrewd enough to hit the right point of athing."

"At any rate," said Sancho, "your worship knew how to hit theright point with your pike, aiming at my head and hitting me on theshoulders, thanks be to God and my own smartness in dodging it. Butlet that pass; all will come out in the scouring; for I have heard say'he loves thee well that makes thee weep;' and moreover that it is theway with great lords after any hard words they give a servant togive him a pair of breeches; though I do not know what they give afterblows, unless it be that knights-errant after blows give islands, orkingdoms on the mainland."

"It may be on the dice," said Don Quixote, "that all thou sayestwill come true; overlook the past, for thou art shrewd enough toknow that our first movements are not in our own control; and onething for the future bear in mind, that thou curb and restrain thyloquacity in my company; for in all the books of chivalry that Ihave read, and they are innumerable, I never met with a squire whotalked so much to his lord as thou dost to thine; and in fact I feelit to be a great fault of thine and of mine: of thine, that thouhast so little respect for me; of mine, that I do not make myself morerespected. There was Gandalin, the squire of Amadis of Gaul, thatwas Count of the Insula Firme, and we read of him that he alwaysaddressed his lord with his cap in his hand, his head bowed down andhis body bent double, more turquesco. And then, what shall we say ofGasabal, the squire of Galaor, who was so silent that in order toindicate to us the greatness of his marvellous taciturnity his name isonly once mentioned in the whole of that history, as long as it istruthful? From all I have said thou wilt gather, Sancho, that theremust be a difference between master and man, between lord andlackey, between knight and squire: so that from this day forward inour intercourse we must observe more respect and take lessliberties, for in whatever way I may be provoked with you it will bebad for the pitcher. The favours and benefits that I have promised youwill come in due time, and if they do not your wages at least will notbe lost, as I have already told you."

"All that your worship says is very well," said Sancho, "but Ishould like to know (in case the time of favours should not come,and it might be necessary to fall back upon wages) how much did thesquire of a knight-errant get in those days, and did they agree by themonth, or by the day like bricklayers?"

"I do not believe," replied Don Quixote, "that such squires wereever on wages, but were dependent on favour; and if I have nowmentioned thine in the sealed will I have left at home, it was witha view to what may happen; for as yet I know not how chivalry willturn out in these wretched times of ours, and I do not wish my soul tosuffer for trifles in the other world; for I would have thee know,Sancho, that in this there is no condition more hazardous than that ofadventurers."

"That is true," said Sancho, "since the mere noise of the hammers ofa fulling mill can disturb and disquiet the heart of such a valianterrant adventurer as your worship; but you may be sure I will not openmy lips henceforward to make light of anything of your worship's,but only to honour you as my master and natural lord."

"By so doing," replied Don Quixote, "shalt thou live long on theface of the earth; for next to parents, masters are to be respected asthough they were parents."

CHAPTER XXI

WHICH TREATS OF THE EXALTED ADVENTURE AND RICH PRIZE OF MAMBRINO'SHELMET, TOGETHER WITH OTHER THINGS THAT HAPPENED TO OUR INVINCIBLEKNIGHT

It now began to rain a little, and Sancho was for going into thefulling mills, but Don Quixote had taken such an abhorrence to them onaccount of the late joke that he would not enter them on anyaccount; so turning aside to right they came upon another road,different from that which they had taken the night before. Shortlyafterwards Don Quixote perceived a man on horseback who wore on hishead something that shone like gold, and the moment he saw him heturned to Sancho and said:

"I think, Sancho, there is no proverb that is not true, all beingmaxims drawn from experience itself, the mother of all the sciences,especially that one that says, 'Where one door shuts, anotheropens.' I say so because if last night fortune shut the door of theadventure we were looking for against us, cheating us with the fullingmills, it now opens wide another one for another better and morecertain adventure, and if I do not contrive to enter it, it will be myown fault, and I cannot lay it to my ignorance of fulling mills, orthe darkness of the night. I say this because, if I mistake not, therecomes towards us one who wears on his head the helmet of Mambrino,concerning which I took the oath thou rememberest."

"Mind what you say, your worship, and still more what you do,"said Sancho, "for I don't want any more fulling mills to finish offfulling and knocking our senses out."

"The devil take thee, man," said Don Quixote; "what has a helmetto do with fulling mills?"

"I don't know," replied Sancho, "but, faith, if I might speak as Iused, perhaps I could give such reasons that your worship would seeyou were mistaken in what you say."

"How can I be mistaken in what I say, unbelieving traitor?" returnedDon Quixote; "tell me, seest thou not yonder knight coming towardsus on a dappled grey steed, who has upon his head a helmet of gold?"

"What I see and make out," answered Sancho, "is only a man on a greyass like my own, who has something that shines on his head."

"Well, that is the helmet of Mambrino," said Don Quixote; "standto one side and leave me alone with him; thou shalt see how, withoutsaying a word, to save time, I shall bring this adventure to anissue and possess myself of the helmet I have so longed for."

"I will take care to stand aside," said Sancho; "but God grant, Isay once more, that it may be marjoram and not fulling mills."

"I have told thee, brother, on no account to mention those fullingmills to me again," said Don Quixote, "or I vow- and I say no more-I'll full the soul out of you."

Sancho held his peace in dread lest his master should carry outthe vow he had hurled like a bowl at him.

The fact of the matter as regards the helmet, steed, and knight thatDon Quixote saw, was this. In that neighbourhood there were twovillages, one of them so small that it had neither apothecary's shopnor barber, which the other that was close to it had, so the barber ofthe larger served the smaller, and in it there was a sick man whorequired to be bled and another man who wanted to be shaved, and onthis errand the barber was going, carrying with him a brass basin; butas luck would have it, as he was on the way it began to rain, andnot to spoil his hat, which probably was a new one, he put the basinon his head, and being clean it glittered at half a league's distance.He rode upon a grey ass, as Sancho said, and this was what made itseem to Don Quixote to be a dapple-grey steed and a knight and agolden helmet; for everything he saw he made to fall in with his crazychivalry and ill-errant notions; and when he saw the poor knightdraw near, without entering into any parley with him, at Rocinante'stop speed he bore down upon him with the pike pointed low, fullydetermined to run him through and through, and as he reached him,without checking the fury of his charge, he cried to him:

"Defend thyself, miserable being, or yield me of thine own accordthat which is so reasonably my due."

The barber, who without any expectation or apprehension of it sawthis apparition coming down upon him, had no other way of savinghimself from the stroke of the lance but to let himself fall off hisass; and no sooner had he touched the ground than he sprang up morenimbly than a deer and sped away across the plain faster than thewind.

He left the basin on the ground, with which Don Quixote contentedhimself, saying that the pagan had shown his discretion and imitatedthe beaver, which finding itself pressed by the hunters bites and cutsoff with its teeth that for which, by its natural instinct, it knowsit is pursued.

He told Sancho to pick up the helmet, and he taking it in hishands said:

"By God the basin is a good one, and worth a real of eight if itis worth a maravedis," and handed it to his master, who immediatelyput it on his head, turning it round, now this way, now that, insearch of fitment, and not finding it he said, "Clearly the pagan towhose measure this famous head-piece was first forged must have hada very large head; but the worst of it is half of it is wanting."

When Sancho heard him call the basin a headpiece he was unable torestrain his laughter, but remembering his master's wrath he checkedhimself in the midst of it.

"What art thou laughing at, Sancho?" said Don Quixote.

"I am laughing," said he, "to think of the great head the pagan musthave had who owned this helmet, for it looks exactly like a regularbarber's basin."

"Dost thou know what I suspect, Sancho?" said Don Quixote; "thatthis wonderful piece of this enchanted helmet must by some strangeaccident have come into the hands of some one who was unable torecognise or realise its value, and who, not knowing what he did,and seeing it to be of the purest gold, must have melted down one halffor the sake of what it might be worth, and of the other made thiswhich is like a barber's basin as thou sayest; but be it as it may, tome who recognise it, its transformation makes no difference, for Iwill set it to rights at the first village where there is ablacksmith, and in such style that that helmet the god of smithiesforged for the god of battles shall not surpass it or even come upto it; and in the meantime I will wear it as well as I can, forsomething is better than nothing; all the more as it will be quiteenough to protect me from any chance blow of a stone."

"That is," said Sancho, "if it is not shot with a sling as they werein the battle of the two armies, when they signed the cross on yourworship's grinders and smashed the flask with that blessed draughtthat made me vomit my bowels up."

"It does not grieve me much to have lost it," said Don Quixote, "forthou knowest, Sancho, that I have the receipt in my memory."

"So have I," answered Sancho, "but if ever I make it, or try itagain as long as I live, may this be my last hour; moreover, I have nointention of putting myself in the way of wanting it, for I mean, withall my five senses, to keep myself from being wounded or from woundinganyone: as to being blanketed again I say nothing, for it is hard toprevent mishaps of that sort, and if they come there is nothing for itbut to squeeze our shoulders together, hold our breath, shut our eyes,and let ourselves go where luck and the blanket may send us."

"Thou art a bad Christian, Sancho," said Don Quixote on hearingthis, "for once an injury has been done thee thou never forgettest it:but know that it is the part of noble and generous hearts not toattach importance to trifles. What lame leg hast thou got by it,what broken rib, what cracked head, that thou canst not forget thatjest? For jest and sport it was, properly regarded, and had I not seenit in that light I would have returned and done more mischief inrevenging thee than the Greeks did for the rape of Helen, who, ifshe were alive now, or if my Dulcinea had lived then, might dependupon it she would not be so famous for her beauty as she is;" and herehe heaved a sigh and sent it aloft; and said Sancho, "Let it passfor a jest as it cannot be revenged in earnest, but I know what sortof jest and earnest it was, and I know it will never be rubbed outof my memory any more than off my shoulders. But putting that aside,will your worship tell me what are we to do with this dapple-greysteed that looks like a grey ass, which that Martino that your worshipoverthrew has left deserted here? for, from the way he took to hisheels and bolted, he is not likely ever to come back for it; and by mybeard but the grey is a good one."

"I have never been in the habit," said Don Quixote, "of taking spoilof those whom I vanquish, nor is it the practice of chivalry to takeaway their horses and leave them to go on foot, unless indeed it bethat the victor have lost his own in the combat, in which case it islawful to take that of the vanquished as a thing won in lawful war;therefore, Sancho, leave this horse, or ass, or whatever thou wilthave it to be; for when its owner sees us gone hence he will come backfor it."

"God knows I should like to take it," returned Sancho, "or atleast to change it for my own, which does not seem to me as good aone: verily the laws of chivalry are strict, since they cannot bestretched to let one ass be changed for another; I should like to knowif I might at least change trappings."

"On that head I am not quite certain," answered Don Quixote, "andthe matter being doubtful, pending better information, I say thoumayest change them, if so be thou hast urgent need of them."

"So urgent is it," answered Sancho, "that if they were for my ownperson I could not want them more;" and forthwith, fortified by thislicence, he effected the mutatio capparum, rigging out his beast tothe ninety-nines and making quite another thing of it. This done, theybroke their fast on the remains of the spoils of war plundered fromthe sumpter mule, and drank of the brook that flowed from thefulling mills, without casting a look in that direction, in suchloathing did they hold them for the alarm they had caused them; and,all anger and gloom removed, they mounted and, without taking anyfixed road (not to fix upon any being the proper thing for trueknights-errant), they set out, guided by Rocinante's will, whichcarried along with it that of his master, not to say that of theass, which always followed him wherever he led, lovingly and sociably;nevertheless they returned to the high road, and pursued it at aventure without any other aim.

Title: Don Quixote
Author: Miqeul de Cervantes
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