Miqeul de Cervantes >> Don Quixote (page 80)

"That's just where it is, body of my father!"

"Is there more, then?" asked Don Quixote.

"There's the tail to be skinned yet," said Sancho; "all so far iscakes and fancy bread; but if your worship wants to know all about thecalumnies they bring against you, I will fetch you one this instantwho can tell you the whole of them without missing an atom; for lastnight the son of Bartholomew Carrasco, who has been studying atSalamanca, came home after having been made a bachelor, and when Iwent to welcome him, he told me that your worship's history is alreadyabroad in books, with the title of THE INGENIOUS GENTLEMAN DON QUIXOTEOF LA MANCHA; and he says they mention me in it by my own name ofSancho Panza, and the lady Dulcinea del Toboso too, and diversthings that happened to us when we were alone; so that I crossedmyself in my wonder how the historian who wrote them down could haveknown them."

"I promise thee, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "the author of ourhistory will be some sage enchanter; for to such nothing that theychoose to write about is hidden."

"What!" said Sancho, "a sage and an enchanter! Why, the bachelorSamson Carrasco (that is the name of him I spoke of) says the authorof the history is called Cide Hamete Berengena."

"That is a Moorish name," said Don Quixote.

"May be so," replied Sancho; "for I have heard say that the Moorsare mostly great lovers of berengenas."

"Thou must have mistaken the surname of this 'Cide'- which meansin Arabic 'Lord'- Sancho," observed Don Quixote.

"Very likely," replied Sancho, "but if your worship wishes me tofetch the bachelor I will go for him in a twinkling."

"Thou wilt do me a great pleasure, my friend," said Don Quixote,"for what thou hast told me has amazed me, and I shall not eat amorsel that will agree with me until I have heard all about it."

"Then I am off for him," said Sancho; and leaving his master he wentin quest of the bachelor, with whom he returned in a short time,and, all three together, they had a very droll colloquy.



Don Quixote remained very deep in thought, waiting for thebachelor Carrasco, from whom he was to hear how he himself had beenput into a book as Sancho said; and he could not persuade himself thatany such history could be in existence, for the blood of the enemieshe had slain was not yet dry on the blade of his sword, and now theywanted to make out that his mighty achievements were going about inprint. For all that, he fancied some sage, either a friend or anenemy, might, by the aid of magic, have given them to the press; ifa friend, in order to magnify and exalt them above the most famousever achieved by any knight-errant; if an enemy, to bring them tonaught and degrade them below the meanest ever recorded of any lowsquire, though as he said to himself, the achievements of squiresnever were recorded. If, however, it were the fact that such a historywere in existence, it must necessarily, being the story of aknight-errant, be grandiloquent, lofty, imposing, grand and true. Withthis he comforted himself somewhat, though it made him uncomfortableto think that the author was a Moor, judging by the title of "Cide;"and that no truth was to be looked for from Moors, as they are allimpostors, cheats, and schemers. He was afraid he might have dealtwith his love affairs in some indecorous fashion, that might tend tothe discredit and prejudice of the purity of his lady Dulcinea delToboso; he would have had him set forth the fidelity and respect hehad always observed towards her, spurning queens, empresses, anddamsels of all sorts, and keeping in check the impetuosity of hisnatural impulses. Absorbed and wrapped up in these and divers othercogitations, he was found by Sancho and Carrasco, whom Don Quixotereceived with great courtesy.

The bachelor, though he was called Samson, was of no great bodilysize, but he was a very great wag; he was of a sallow complexion,but very sharp-witted, somewhere about four-and-twenty years of age,with a round face, a flat nose, and a large mouth, all indicationsof a mischievous disposition and a love of fun and jokes; and ofthis he gave a sample as soon as he saw Don Quixote, by falling on hisknees before him and saying, "Let me kiss your mightiness's hand,Senor Don Quixote of La Mancha, for, by the habit of St. Peter thatI wear, though I have no more than the first four orders, your worshipis one of the most famous knights-errant that have ever been, orwill be, all the world over. A blessing on Cide Hamete Benengeli,who has written the history of your great deeds, and a double blessingon that connoisseur who took the trouble of having it translated outof the Arabic into our Castilian vulgar tongue for the universalentertainment of the people!"

Don Quixote made him rise, and said, "So, then, it is true thatthere is a history of me, and that it was a Moor and a sage whowrote it?"

"So true is it, senor," said Samson, "that my belief is there aremore than twelve thousand volumes of the said history in print thisvery day. Only ask Portugal, Barcelona, and Valencia, where theyhave been printed, and moreover there is a report that it is beingprinted at Antwerp, and I am persuaded there will not be a countryor language in which there will not be a translation of it."

"One of the things," here observed Don Quixote, "that ought togive most pleasure to a virtuous and eminent man is to find himself inhis lifetime in print and in type, familiar in people's mouths witha good name; I say with a good name, for if it be the opposite, thenthere is no death to be compared to it."

"If it goes by good name and fame," said the bachelor, "your worshipalone bears away the palm from all the knights-errant; for the Moor inhis own language, and the Christian in his, have taken care to setbefore us your gallantry, your high courage in encountering dangers,your fortitude in adversity, your patience under misfortunes as wellas wounds, the purity and continence of the platonic loves of yourworship and my lady Dona Dulcinea del Toboso-"

"I never heard my lady Dulcinea called Dona," observed Sanchohere; "nothing more than the lady Dulcinea del Toboso; so here alreadythe history is wrong."

"That is not an objection of any importance," replied Carrasco.

"Certainly not," said Don Quixote; "but tell me, senor bachelor,what deeds of mine are they that are made most of in this history?"

"On that point," replied the bachelor, "opinions differ, as tastesdo; some swear by the adventure of the windmills that your worshiptook to be Briareuses and giants; others by that of the fulling mills;one cries up the description of the two armies that afterwards tookthe appearance of two droves of sheep; another that of the dead bodyon its way to be buried at Segovia; a third says the liberation of thegalley slaves is the best of all, and a fourth that nothing comes upto the affair with the Benedictine giants, and the battle with thevaliant Biscayan."

"Tell me, senor bachelor," said Sancho at this point, "does theadventure with the Yanguesans come in, when our good Rocinante wenthankering after dainties?"

"The sage has left nothing in the ink-bottle," replied Samson; "hetells all and sets down everything, even to the capers that worthySancho cut in the blanket."

"I cut no capers in the blanket," returned Sancho; "in the air Idid, and more of them than I liked."

"There is no human history in the world, I suppose," said DonQuixote, "that has not its ups and downs, but more than others such asdeal with chivalry, for they can never be entirely made up ofprosperous adventures."

"For all that," replied the bachelor, "there are those who have readthe history who say they would have been glad if the author had leftout some of the countless cudgellings that were inflicted on Senor DonQuixote in various encounters."

"That's where the truth of the history comes in," said Sancho.

"At the same time they might fairly have passed them over insilence," observed Don Quixote; "for there is no need of recordingevents which do not change or affect the truth of a history, if theytend to bring the hero of it into contempt. AEneas was not in truthand earnest so pious as Virgil represents him, nor Ulysses so wiseas Homer describes him."

"That is true," said Samson; "but it is one thing to write as apoet, another to write as a historian; the poet may describe or singthings, not as they were, but as they ought to have been; but thehistorian has to write them down, not as they ought to have been,but as they were, without adding anything to the truth or takinganything from it."

"Well then," said Sancho, "if this senor Moor goes in for tellingthe truth, no doubt among my master's drubbings mine are to befound; for they never took the measure of his worship's shoulderswithout doing the same for my whole body; but I have no right towonder at that, for, as my master himself says, the members must sharethe pain of the head."

"You are a sly dog, Sancho," said Don Quixote; "i' faith, you haveno want of memory when you choose to remember."

"If I were to try to forget the thwacks they gave me," saidSancho, "my weals would not let me, for they are still fresh on myribs."

"Hush, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "and don't interrupt the bachelor,whom I entreat to go on and tell all that is said about me in thishistory."

"And about me," said Sancho, "for they say, too, that I am one ofthe principal presonages in it."

"Personages, not presonages, friend Sancho," said Samson.

"What! Another word-catcher!" said Sancho; "if that's to be theway we shall not make an end in a lifetime."

"May God shorten mine, Sancho," returned the bachelor, "if you arenot the second person in the history, and there are even some whowould rather hear you talk than the cleverest in the whole book;though there are some, too, who say you showed yourself over-credulousin believing there was any possibility in the government of thatisland offered you by Senor Don Quixote."

"There is still sunshine on the wall," said Don Quixote; "and whenSancho is somewhat more advanced in life, with the experience thatyears bring, he will be fitter and better qualified for being agovernor than he is at present."

"By God, master," said Sancho, "the island that I cannot govern withthe years I have, I'll not be able to govern with the years ofMethuselah; the difficulty is that the said island keeps itsdistance somewhere, I know not where; and not that there is any wantof head in me to govern it."

"Leave it to God, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "for all will be andperhaps better than you think; no leaf on the tree stirs but byGod's will."

"That is true," said Samson; "and if it be God's will, there willnot be any want of a thousand islands, much less one, for Sancho togovern."

"I have seen governors in these parts," said Sancho, "that are notto be compared to my shoe-sole; and for all that they are called 'yourlordship' and served on silver."

"Those are not governors of islands," observed Samson, "but of othergovernments of an easier kind: those that govern islands must at leastknow grammar."

"I could manage the gram well enough," said Sancho; "but for the marI have neither leaning nor liking, for I don't know what it is; butleaving this matter of the government in God's hands, to send mewherever it may be most to his service, I may tell you, senor bachelorSamson Carrasco, it has pleased me beyond measure that the author ofthis history should have spoken of me in such a way that what issaid of me gives no offence; for, on the faith of a true squire, if hehad said anything about me that was at all unbecoming an oldChristian, such as I am, the deaf would have heard of it."

"That would be working miracles," said Samson.

"Miracles or no miracles," said Sancho, "let everyone mind how hespeaks or writes about people, and not set down at random the firstthing that comes into his head."

"One of the faults they find with this history," said thebachelor, "is that its author inserted in it a novel called 'TheIll-advised Curiosity;' not that it is bad or ill-told, but that it isout of place and has nothing to do with the history of his worshipSenor Don Quixote."

"I will bet the son of a dog has mixed the cabbages and thebaskets," said Sancho.

"Then, I say," said Don Quixote, "the author of my history was nosage, but some ignorant chatterer, who, in a haphazard and heedlessway, set about writing it, let it turn out as it might, just asOrbaneja, the painter of Ubeda, used to do, who, when they asked himwhat he was painting, answered, 'What it may turn out.' Sometimes hewould paint a cock in such a fashion, and so unlike, that he had towrite alongside of it in Gothic letters, 'This is a cock; and so itwill be with my history, which will require a commentary to make itintelligible."

"No fear of that," returned Samson, "for it is so plain that thereis nothing in it to puzzle over; the children turn its leaves, theyoung people read it, the grown men understand it, the old folk praiseit; in a word, it is so thumbed, and read, and got by heart bypeople of all sorts, that the instant they see any lean hack, theysay, 'There goes Rocinante.' And those that are most given toreading it are the pages, for there is not a lord's ante-chamber wherethere is not a 'Don Quixote' to be found; one takes it up if anotherlays it down; this one pounces upon it, and that begs for it. Inshort, the said history is the most delightful and least injuriousentertainment that has been hitherto seen, for there is not to befound in the whole of it even the semblance of an immodest word, ora thought that is other than Catholic."

Title: Don Quixote
Author: Miqeul de Cervantes
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