Miqeul de Cervantes >> Don Quixote (page 73)

"May Our Lady be good to me!" said Sancho, lifting up his voice;"and is it possible that your worship is so thick of skull and soshort of brains that you cannot see that what I say is the simpletruth, and that malice has more to do with your imprisonment andmisfortune than enchantment? But as it is so, I will prove plainlyto you that you are not enchanted. Now tell me, so may God deliver youfrom this affliction, and so may you find yourself when you leastexpect it in the arms of my lady Dulcinea-"

"Leave off conjuring me," said Don Quixote, "and ask what thouwouldst know; I have already told thee I will answer with all possibleprecision."

"That is what I want," said Sancho; "and what I would know, and haveyou tell me, without adding or leaving out anything, but telling thewhole truth as one expects it to be told, and as it is told, by allwho profess arms, as your worship professes them, under the title ofknights-errant-"

"I tell thee I will not lie in any particular," said Don Quixote;"finish thy question; for in truth thou weariest me with all theseasseverations, requirements, and precautions, Sancho."

"Well, I rely on the goodness and truth of my master," saidSancho; "and so, because it bears upon what we are talking about, Iwould ask, speaking with all reverence, whether since your worship hasbeen shut up and, as you think, enchanted in this cage, you havefelt any desire or inclination to go anywhere, as the saying is?"

"I do not understand 'going anywhere,'" said Don Quixote; "explainthyself more clearly, Sancho, if thou wouldst have me give an answerto the point."

"Is it possible," said Sancho, "that your worship does notunderstand 'going anywhere'? Why, the schoolboys know that from thetime they were babes. Well then, you must know I mean have you had anydesire to do what cannot be avoided?"

"Ah! now I understand thee, Sancho," said Don Quixote; "yes,often, and even this minute; get me out of this strait, or all willnot go right."



"Aha, I have caught you," said Sancho; "this is what in my heart andsoul I was longing to know. Come now, senor, can you deny what iscommonly said around us, when a person is out of humour, 'I don't knowwhat ails so-and-so, that he neither eats, nor drinks, nor sleeps, norgives a proper answer to any question; one would think he wasenchanted'? From which it is to be gathered that those who do not eat,or drink, or sleep, or do any of the natural acts I am speaking of-that such persons are enchanted; but not those that have the desireyour worship has, and drink when drink is given them, and eat whenthere is anything to eat, and answer every question that is askedthem."

"What thou sayest is true, Sancho," replied Don Quixote; "but I havealready told thee there are many sorts of enchantments, and it maybe that in the course of time they have been changed one foranother, and that now it may be the way with enchanted people to doall that I do, though they did not do so before; so it is vain toargue or draw inferences against the usage of the time. I know andfeel that I am enchanted, and that is enough to ease my conscience;for it would weigh heavily on it if I thought that I was notenchanted, and that in a aint-hearted and cowardly way I allowedmyself to lie in this cage, defrauding multitudes of the succour Imight afford to those in need and distress, who at this very momentmay be in sore want of my aid and protection."

"Still for all that," replied Sancho, "I say that, for yourgreater and fuller satisfaction, it would be well if your worship wereto try to get out of this prison (and I promise to do all in mypower to help, and even to take you out of it), and see if you couldonce more mount your good Rocinante, who seems to be enchanted too, heis so melancholy and dejected; and then we might try our chance inlooking for adventures again; and if we have no luck there will betime enough to go back to the cage; in which, on the faith of a goodand loyal squire, I promise to shut myself up along with your worship,if so be you are so unfortunate, or I so stupid, as not to be ableto carry out my plan."

"I am content to do as thou sayest, brother Sancho," said DonQuixote, "and when thou seest an opportunity for effecting myrelease I will obey thee absolutely; but thou wilt see, Sancho, howmistaken thou art in thy conception of my misfortune."

The knight-errant and the ill-errant squire kept up theirconversation till they reached the place where the curate, thecanon, and the barber, who had already dismounted, were waiting forthem. The carter at once unyoked the oxen and left them to roam atlarge about the pleasant green spot, the freshness of which seemedto invite, not enchanted people like Don Quixote, but wide-awake,sensible folk like his squire, who begged the curate to allow hismaster to leave the cage for a little; for if they did not let himout, the prison might not be as clean as the propriety of such agentleman as his master required. The curate understood him, andsaid he would very gladly comply with his request, only that he fearedhis master, finding himself at liberty, would take to his oldcourses and make off where nobody could ever find him again.

"I will answer for his not running away," said Sancho.

"And I also," said the canon, "especially if he gives me his word asa knight not to leave us without our consent."

Don Quixote, who was listening to all this, said, "I give it;-moreover one who is enchanted as I am cannot do as he likes withhimself; for he who had enchanted him could prevent his moving fromone place for three ages, and if he attempted to escape would bringhim back flying."- And that being so, they might as well releasehim, particularly as it would be to the advantage of all; for, if theydid not let him out, he protested he would be unable to avoidoffending their nostrils unless they kept their distance.

The canon took his hand, tied together as they both were, and on hisword and promise they unbound him, and rejoiced beyond measure hewas to find himself out of the cage. The first thing he did was tostretch himself all over, and then he went to where Rocinante wasstanding and giving him a couple of slaps on the haunches said, "Istill trust in God and in his blessed mother, O flower and mirror ofsteeds, that we shall soon see ourselves, both of us, as we wish tobe, thou with thy master on thy back, and I mounted upon thee,following the calling for which God sent me into the world." And sosaying, accompanied by Sancho, he withdrew to a retired spot, fromwhich he came back much relieved and more eager than ever to put hissquire's scheme into execution.

The canon gazed at him, wondering at the extraordinary nature of hismadness, and that in all his remarks and replies he should show suchexcellent sense, and only lose his stirrups, as has been already said,when the subject of chivalry was broached. And so, moved bycompassion, he said to him, as they all sat on the green grassawaiting the arrival of the provisions:

"Is it possible, gentle sir, that the nauseous and idle reading ofbooks of chivalry can have had such an effect on your worship as toupset your reason so that you fancy yourself enchanted, and thelike, all as far from the truth as falsehood itself is? How canthere be any human understanding that can persuade itself there everwas all that infinity of Amadises in the world, or all thatmultitude of famous knights, all those emperors of Trebizond, allthose Felixmartes of Hircania, all those palfreys, and damsels-errant,and serpents, and monsters, and giants, and marvellous adventures, andenchantments of every kind, and battles, and prodigious encounters,splendid costumes, love-sick princesses, squires made counts, drolldwarfs, love letters, billings and cooings, swashbuckler women, and,in a word, all that nonsense the books of chivalry contain? Formyself, I can only say that when I read them, so long as I do not stopto think that they are all lies and frivolity, they give me acertain amount of pleasure; but when I come to consider what they are,I fling the very best of them at the wall, and would fling it into thefire if there were one at hand, as richly deserving such punishment ascheats and impostors out of the range of ordinary toleration, and asfounders of new sects and modes of life, and teachers that lead theignorant public to believe and accept as truth all the folly theycontain. And such is their audacity, they even dare to unsettle thewits of gentlemen of birth and intelligence, as is shown plainly bythe way they have served your worship, when they have brought you tosuch a pass that you have to be shut up in a cage and carried on anox-cart as one would carry a lion or a tiger from place to place tomake money by showing it. Come, Senor Don Quixote, have somecompassion for yourself, return to the bosom of common sense, and makeuse of the liberal share of it that heaven has been pleased tobestow upon you, employing your abundant gifts of mind in some otherreading that may serve to benefit your conscience and add to yourhonour. And if, still led away by your natural bent, you desire toread books of achievements and of chivalry, read the Book of Judges inthe Holy Scriptures, for there you will find grand reality, anddeeds as true as they are heroic. Lusitania had a Viriatus, Rome aCaesar, Carthage a Hannibal, Greece an Alexander, Castile a CountFernan Gonzalez, Valencia a Cid, Andalusia a Gonzalo Fernandez,Estremadura a Diego Garcia de Paredes, Jerez a Garci Perez deVargas, Toledo a Garcilaso, Seville a Don Manuel de Leon, to read ofwhose valiant deeds will entertain and instruct the loftiest minds andfill them with delight and wonder. Here, Senor Don Quixote, will bereading worthy of your sound understanding; from which you will riselearned in history, in love with virtue, strengthened in goodness,improved in manners, brave without rashness, prudent withoutcowardice; and all to the honour of God, your own advantage and theglory of La Mancha, whence, I am informed, your worship derives yourbirth."

Don Quixote listened with the greatest attention to the canon'swords, and when he found he had finished, after regarding him for sometime, he replied to him:

"It appears to me, gentle sir, that your worship's discourse isintended to persuade me that there never were any knights-errant inthe world, and that all the books of chivalry are false, lying,mischievous and useless to the State, and that I have done wrong inreading them, and worse in believing them, and still worse inimitating them, when I undertook to follow the arduous calling ofknight-errantry which they set forth; for you deny that there everwere Amadises of Gaul or of Greece, or any other of the knights ofwhom the books are full."

"It is all exactly as you state it," said the canon; to which DonQuixote returned, "You also went on to say that books of this kind haddone me much harm, inasmuch as they had upset my senses, and shut meup in a cage, and that it would be better for me to reform andchange my studies, and read other truer books which would affordmore pleasure and instruction."

"Just so," said the canon.

"Well then," returned Don Quixote, "to my mind it is you who are theone that is out of his wits and enchanted, as you have ventured toutter such blasphemies against a thing so universally acknowledged andaccepted as true that whoever denies it, as you do, deserves thesame punishment which you say you inflict on the books that irritateyou when you read them. For to try to persuade anybody that Amadis,and all the other knights-adventurers with whom the books arefilled, never existed, would be like trying to persuade him that thesun does not yield light, or ice cold, or earth nourishment. Whatwit in the world can persuade another that the story of the PrincessFloripes and Guy of Burgundy is not true, or that of Fierabras and thebridge of Mantible, which happened in the time of Charlemagne? Forby all that is good it is as true as that it is daylight now; and ifit be a lie, it must be a lie too that there was a Hector, orAchilles, or Trojan war, or Twelve Peers of France, or Arthur ofEngland, who still lives changed into a raven, and is unceasinglylooked for in his kingdom. One might just as well try to make out thatthe history of Guarino Mezquino, or of the quest of the Holy Grail, isfalse, or that the loves of Tristram and the Queen Yseult areapocryphal, as well as those of Guinevere and Lancelot, when there arepersons who can almost remember having seen the Dame Quintanona, whowas the best cupbearer in Great Britain. And so true is this, that Irecollect a grandmother of mine on the father's side, whenever she sawany dame in a venerable hood, used to say to me, 'Grandson, that oneis like Dame Quintanona,' from which I conclude that she must haveknown her, or at least had managed to see some portrait of her. Thenwho can deny that the story of Pierres and the fair Magalona istrue, when even to this day may be seen in the king's armoury thepin with which the valiant Pierres guided the wooden horse he rodethrough the air, and it is a trifle bigger than the pole of a cart?And alongside of the pin is Babieca's saddle, and at Roncesvallesthere is Roland's horn, as large as a large beam; whence we mayinfer that there were Twelve Peers, and a Pierres, and a Cid, andother knights like them, of the sort people commonly call adventurers.Or perhaps I shall be told, too, that there was no suchknight-errant as the valiant Lusitanian Juan de Merlo, who went toBurgundy and in the city of Arras fought with the famous lord ofCharny, Mosen Pierres by name, and afterwards in the city of Baslewith Mosen Enrique de Remesten, coming out of both encounterscovered with fame and honour; or adventures and challenges achievedand delivered, also in Burgundy, by the valiant Spaniards PedroBarba and Gutierre Quixada (of whose family I come in the directmale line), when they vanquished the sons of the Count of San Polo.I shall be told, too, that Don Fernando de Guevara did not go in questof adventures to Germany, where he engaged in combat with MicerGeorge, a knight of the house of the Duke of Austria. I shall betold that the jousts of Suero de Quinones, him of the 'Paso,' andthe emprise of Mosen Luis de Falces against the Castilian knight,Don Gonzalo de Guzman, were mere mockeries; as well as many otherachievements of Christian knights of these and foreign realms, whichare so authentic and true, that, I repeat, he who denies them mustbe totally wanting in reason and good sense."

Title: Don Quixote
Author: Miqeul de Cervantes
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