OF THE OMENS DON QUIXOTE HAD AS HE ENTERED HIS OWN VILLAGE, AND
OTHER INCIDENTS THAT EMBELLISH AND GIVE A COLOUR TO THIS GREAT HISTORY
At the entrance of the village, so says Cide Hamete, Don Quixote saw
two boys quarrelling on the village threshing-floor one of whom said
to the other, "Take it easy, Periquillo; thou shalt never see it again
as long as thou livest."
Don Quixote heard this, and said he to Sancho, "Dost thou not
mark, friend, what that boy said, 'Thou shalt never see it again as
long as thou livest'?"
"Well," said Sancho, "what does it matter if the boy said so?"
"What!" said Don Quixote, "dost thou not see that, applied to the
object of my desires, the words mean that I am never to see Dulcinea
Sancho was about to answer, when his attention was diverted by
seeing a hare come flying across the plain pursued by several
greyhounds and sportsmen. In its terror it ran to take shelter and
hide itself under Dapple. Sancho caught it alive and presented it to
Don Quixote, who was saying, "Malum signum, malum signum! a hare
flies, greyhounds chase it, Dulcinea appears not."
"Your worship's a strange man," said Sancho; "let's take it for
granted that this hare is Dulcinea, and these greyhounds chasing it
the malignant enchanters who turned her into a country wench; she
flies, and I catch her and put her into your worship's hands, and
you hold her in your arms and cherish her; what bad sign is that, or
what ill omen is there to be found here?"
The two boys who had been quarrelling came over to look at the hare,
and Sancho asked one of them what their quarrel was about. He was
answered by the one who had said, "Thou shalt never see it again as
long as thou livest," that he had taken a cage full of crickets from
the other boy, and did not mean to give it back to him as long as he
lived. Sancho took out four cuartos from his pocket and gave them to
the boy for the cage, which he placed in Don Quixote's hands,
saying, "There, senor! there are the omens broken and destroyed, and
they have no more to do with our affairs, to my thinking, fool as I
am, than with last year's clouds; and if I remember rightly I have
heard the curate of our village say that it does not become Christians
or sensible people to give any heed to these silly things; and even
you yourself said the same to me some time ago, telling me that all
Christians who minded omens were fools; but there's no need of
making words about it; let us push on and go into our village."
The sportsmen came up and asked for their hare, which Don Quixote
gave them. They then went on, and upon the green at the entrance of
the town they came upon the curate and the bachelor Samson Carrasco
busy with their breviaries. It should be mentioned that Sancho had
thrown, by way of a sumpter-cloth, over Dapple and over the bundle
of armour, the buckram robe painted with flames which they had put
upon him at the duke's castle the night Altisidora came back to
life. He had also fixed the mitre on Dapple's head, the oddest
transformation and decoration that ever ass in the world underwent.
They were at once recognised by both the curate and the bachelor,
who came towards them with open arms. Don Quixote dismounted and
received them with a close embrace; and the boys, who are lynxes
that nothing escapes, spied out the ass's mitre and came running to
see it, calling out to one another, "Come here, boys, and see Sancho
Panza's ass figged out finer than Mingo, and Don Quixote's beast
leaner than ever."
So at length, with the boys capering round them, and accompanied
by the curate and the bachelor, they made their entrance into the
town, and proceeded to Don Quixote's house, at the door of which
they found his housekeeper and niece, whom the news of his arrival had
already reached. It had been brought to Teresa Panza, Sancho's wife,
as well, and she with her hair all loose and half naked, dragging
Sanchica her daughter by the hand, ran out to meet her husband; but
seeing him coming in by no means as good case as she thought a
governor ought to be, she said to him, "How is it you come this way,
husband? It seems to me you come tramping and footsore, and looking
more like a disorderly vagabond than a governor."
"Hold your tongue, Teresa," said Sancho; "often 'where there are
pegs there are no flitches;' let's go into the house and there
you'll hear strange things. I bring money, and that's the main
thing, got by my own industry without wronging anybody."
"You bring the money, my good husband," said Teresa, "and no
matter whether it was got this way or that; for, however you may
have got it, you'll not have brought any new practice into the world."
Sanchica embraced her father and asked him if he brought her
anything, for she had been looking out for him as for the showers of
May; and she taking hold of him by the girdle on one side, and his
wife by the hand, while the daughter led Dapple, they made for their
house, leaving Don Quixote in his, in the hands of his niece and
housekeeper, and in the company of the curate and the bachelor.
Don Quixote at once, without any regard to time or season,
withdrew in private with the bachelor and the curate, and in a few
words told them of his defeat, and of the engagement he was under
not to quit his village for a year, which he meant to keep to the
letter without departing a hair's breadth from it, as became a
knight-errant bound by scrupulous good faith and the laws of
knight-errantry; and of how he thought of turning shepherd for that
year, and taking his diversion in the solitude of the fields, where he
could with perfect freedom give range to his thoughts of love while he
followed the virtuous pastoral calling; and he besought them, if
they had not a great deal to do and were not prevented by more
important business, to consent to be his companions, for he would
buy sheep enough to qualify them for shepherds; and the most important
point of the whole affair, he could tell them, was settled, for he had
given them names that would fit them to a T. The curate asked what
they were. Don Quixote replied that he himself was to be called the
shepherd Quixotize and the bachelor the shepherd Carrascon, and the
curate the shepherd Curambro, and Sancho Panza the shepherd Pancino.
Both were astounded at Don Quixote's new craze; however, lest he
should once more make off out of the village from them in pursuit of
his chivalry, they trusting that in the course of the year he might be
cured, fell in with his new project, applauded his crazy idea as a
bright one, and offered to share the life with him. "And what's more,"
said Samson Carrasco, "I am, as all the world knows, a very famous
poet, and I'll be always making verses, pastoral, or courtly, or as it
may come into my head, to pass away our time in those secluded regions
where we shall be roaming. But what is most needful, sirs, is that
each of us should choose the name of the shepherdess he means to
glorify in his verses, and that we should not leave a tree, be it ever
so hard, without writing up and carving her name on it, as is the
habit and custom of love-smitten shepherds."
"That's the very thing," said Don Quixote; "though I am relieved
from looking for the name of an imaginary shepherdess, for there's the
peerless Dulcinea del Toboso, the glory of these brooksides, the
ornament of these meadows, the mainstay of beauty, the cream of all
the graces, and, in a word, the being to whom all praise is
appropriate, be it ever so hyperbolical."
"Very true," said the curate; "but we the others must look about for
accommodating shepherdesses that will answer our purpose one way or
"And," added Samson Carrasco, "if they fail us, we can call them
by the names of the ones in print that the world is filled with,
Filidas, Amarilises, Dianas, Fleridas, Galateas, Belisardas; for as
they sell them in the market-places we may fairly buy them and make
them our own. If my lady, or I should say my shepherdess, happens to
be called Ana, I'll sing her praises under the name of Anarda, and
if Francisca, I'll call her Francenia, and if Lucia, Lucinda, for it
all comes to the same thing; and Sancho Panza, if he joins this
fraternity, may glorify his wife Teresa Panza as Teresaina."
Don Quixote laughed at the adaptation of the name, and the curate
bestowed vast praise upon the worthy and honourable resolution he
had made, and again offered to bear him company all the time that he
could spare from his imperative duties. And so they took their leave
of him, recommending and beseeching him to take care of his health and
treat himself to a suitable diet.
It so happened his niece and the housekeeper overheard all the three
of them said; and as soon as they were gone they both of them came
in to Don Quixote, and said the niece, "What's this, uncle? Now that
we were thinking you had come back to stay at home and lead a quiet
respectable life there, are you going to get into fresh entanglements,
and turn 'young shepherd, thou that comest here, young shepherd
going there?' Nay! indeed 'the straw is too hard now to make pipes
"And," added the housekeeper, "will your worship be able to bear,
out in the fields, the heats of summer, and the chills of winter,
and the howling of the wolves? Not you; for that's a life and a
business for hardy men, bred and seasoned to such work almost from the
time they were in swaddling-clothes. Why, to make choice of evils,
it's better to be a knight-errant than a shepherd! Look here, senor;
take my advice- and I'm not giving it to you full of bread and wine,
but fasting, and with fifty years upon my head- stay at home, look
after your affairs, go often to confession, be good to the poor, and
upon my soul be it if any evil comes to you."
"Hold your peace, my daughters," said Don Quixote; "I know very well
what my duty is; help me to bed, for I don't feel very well; and
rest assured that, knight-errant now or wandering shepherd to be, I
shall never fail to have a care for your interests, as you will see in
the end." And the good wenches (for that they undoubtedly were), the
housekeeper and niece, helped him to bed, where they gave him
something to eat and made him as comfortable as possible.