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CHAPTER XXXI

OF THE DELECTABLE DISCUSSION BETWEEN DON QUIXOTE AND SANCHO PANZA,
HIS SQUIRE, TOGETHER WITH OTHER INCIDENTS

"All that is not unsatisfactory to me," said Don Quixote. "Go on;
thou didst reach her; and what was that queen of beauty doing?
Surely thou didst find her stringing pearls, or embroidering some
device in gold thread for this her enslaved knight."

"I did not," said Sancho, "but I found her winnowing two bushels
of wheat in the yard of her house."

"Then depend upon it," said Don Quixote, "the grains of that wheat
were pearls when touched by her hands; and didst thou look, friend?
was it white wheat or brown?"

"It was neither, but red," said Sancho.

"Then I promise thee," said Don Quixote, "that, winnowed by her
hands, beyond a doubt the bread it made was of the whitest; but go on;
when thou gavest her my letter, did she kiss it? Did she place it on
her head? Did she perform any ceremony befitting it, or what did she
do?"

"When I went to give it to her," replied Sancho, "she was hard at it
swaying from side to side with a lot of wheat she had in the sieve,
and she said to me, 'Lay the letter, friend, on the top of that
sack, for I cannot read it until I have done sifting all this."

"Discreet lady!" said Don Quixote; "that was in order to read it
at her leisure and enjoy it; proceed, Sancho; while she was engaged in
her occupation what converse did she hold with thee? What did she
ask about me, and what answer didst thou give? Make haste; tell me
all, and let not an atom be left behind in the ink-bottle."

"She asked me nothing," said Sancho; "but I told her how your
worship was left doing penance in her service, naked from the waist
up, in among these mountains like a savage, sleeping on the ground,
not eating bread off a tablecloth nor combing your beard, weeping
and cursing your fortune."

"In saying I cursed my fortune thou saidst wrong," said Don Quixote;
"for rather do I bless it and shall bless it all the days of my life
for having made me worthy of aspiring to love so lofty a lady as
Dulcinea del Toboso."

"And so lofty she is," said Sancho, "that she overtops me by more
than a hand's-breadth."

"What! Sancho," said Don Quixote, "didst thou measure with her?"

"I measured in this way," said Sancho; "going to help her to put a
sack of wheat on the back of an ass, we came so close together that
I could see she stood more than a good palm over me."

"Well!" said Don Quixote, "and doth she not of a truth accompany and
adorn this greatness with a thousand million charms of mind! But one
thing thou wilt not deny, Sancho; when thou camest close to her
didst thou not perceive a Sabaean odour, an aromatic fragrance, a, I
know not what, delicious, that I cannot find a name for; I mean a
redolence, an exhalation, as if thou wert in the shop of some dainty
glover?"

"All I can say is," said Sancho, "that I did perceive a little
odour, something goaty; it must have been that she was all in a
sweat with hard work."

"It could not be that," said Don Quixote, "but thou must have been
suffering from cold in the head, or must have smelt thyself; for I
know well what would be the scent of that rose among thorns, that lily
of the field, that dissolved amber."

"Maybe so," replied Sancho; "there often comes from myself that same
odour which then seemed to me to come from her grace the lady
Dulcinea; but that's no wonder, for one devil is like another."

"Well then," continued Don Quixote, "now she has done sifting the
corn and sent it to the mill; what did she do when she read the
letter?"

"As for the letter," said Sancho, "she did not read it, for she said
she could neither read nor write; instead of that she tore it up
into small pieces, saying that she did not want to let anyone read
it lest her secrets should become known in the village, and that
what I had told her by word of mouth about the love your worship
bore her, and the extraordinary penance you were doing for her sake,
was enough; and, to make an end of it, she told me to tell your
worship that she kissed your hands, and that she had a greater
desire to see you than to write to you; and that therefore she
entreated and commanded you, on sight of this present, to come out
of these thickets, and to have done with carrying on absurdities,
and to set out at once for El Toboso, unless something else of greater
importance should happen, for she had a great desire to see your
worship. She laughed greatly when I told her how your worship was
called The Knight of the Rueful Countenance; I asked her if that
Biscayan the other day had been there; and she told me he had, and
that he was an honest fellow; I asked her too about the galley slaves,
but she said she had not seen any as yet."

"So far all goes well," said Don Quixote; "but tell me what jewel
was it that she gave thee on taking thy leave, in return for thy
tidings of me? For it is a usual and ancient custom with knights and
ladies errant to give the squires, damsels, or dwarfs who bring
tidings of their ladies to the knights, or of their knights to the
ladies, some rich jewel as a guerdon for good news,' and
acknowledgment of the message."

"That is very likely," said Sancho, "and a good custom it was, to my
mind; but that must have been in days gone by, for now it would seem
to be the custom only to give a piece of bread and cheese; because
that was what my lady Dulcinea gave me over the top of the yard-wall
when I took leave of her; and more by token it was sheep's-milk
cheese."

"She is generous in the extreme," said Don Quixote, "and if she
did not give thee a jewel of gold, no doubt it must have been
because she had not one to hand there to give thee; but sleeves are
good after Easter; I shall see her and all shall be made right. But
knowest thou what amazes me, Sancho? It seems to me thou must have
gone and come through the air, for thou hast taken but little more
than three days to go to El Toboso and return, though it is more
than thirty leagues from here to there. From which I am inclined to
think that the sage magician who is my friend, and watches over my
interests (for of necessity there is and must be one, or else I should
not be a right knight-errant), that this same, I say, must have helped
thee to travel without thy knowledge; for some of these sages will
catch up a knight-errant sleeping in his bed, and without his
knowing how or in what way it happened, he wakes up the next day
more than a thousand leagues away from the place where he went to
sleep. And if it were not for this, knights-errant would not be able
to give aid to one another in peril, as they do at every turn. For a
knight, maybe, is fighting in the mountains of Armenia with some
dragon, or fierce serpent, or another knight, and gets the worst of
the battle, and is at the point of death; but when he least looks
for it, there appears over against him on a cloud, or chariot of fire,
another knight, a friend of his, who just before had been in
England, and who takes his part, and delivers him from death; and at
night he finds himself in his own quarters supping very much to his
satisfaction; and yet from one place to the other will have been two
or three thousand leagues. And all this is done by the craft and skill
of the sage enchanters who take care of those valiant knights; so
that, friend Sancho, I find no difficulty in believing that thou
mayest have gone from this place to El Toboso and returned in such a
short time, since, as I have said, some friendly sage must have
carried thee through the air without thee perceiving it."

"That must have been it," said Sancho, "for indeed Rocinante went
like a gipsy's ass with quicksilver in his ears."

"Quicksilver!" said Don Quixote, "aye and what is more, a legion
of devils, folk that can travel and make others travel without being
weary, exactly as the whim seizes them. But putting this aside, what
thinkest thou I ought to do about my lady's command to go and see her?
For though I feel that I am bound to obey her mandate, I feel too that
I am debarred by the boon I have accorded to the princess that
accompanies us, and the law of chivalry compels me to have regard
for my word in preference to my inclination; on the one hand the
desire to see my lady pursues and harasses me, on the other my
solemn promise and the glory I shall win in this enterprise urge and
call me; but what I think I shall do is to travel with all speed and
reach quickly the place where this giant is, and on my arrival I shall
cut off his head, and establish the princess peacefully in her
realm, and forthwith I shall return to behold the light that
lightens my senses, to whom I shall make such excuses that she will be
led to approve of my delay, for she will see that it entirely tends to
increase her glory and fame; for all that I have won, am winning, or
shall win by arms in this life, comes to me of the favour she
extends to me, and because I am hers."

"Ah! what a sad state your worship's brains are in!" said Sancho.
"Tell me, senor, do you mean to travel all that way for nothing, and
to let slip and lose so rich and great a match as this where they give
as a portion a kingdom that in sober truth I have heard say is more
than twenty thousand leagues round about, and abounds with all
things necessary to support human life, and is bigger than Portugal
and Castile put together? Peace, for the love of God! Blush for what
you have said, and take my advice, and forgive me, and marry at once
in the first village where there is a curate; if not, here is our
licentiate who will do the business beautifully; remember, I am old
enough to give advice, and this I am giving comes pat to the
purpose; for a sparrow in the hand is better than a vulture on the
wing, and he who has the good to his hand and chooses the bad, that
the good he complains of may not come to him."

"Look here, Sancho," said Don Quixote. "If thou art advising me to
marry, in order that immediately on slaying the giant I may become
king, and be able to confer favours on thee, and give thee what I have
promised, let me tell thee I shall be able very easily to satisfy
thy desires without marrying; for before going into battle I will make
it a stipulation that, if I come out of it victorious, even I do not
marry, they shall give me a portion portion of the kingdom, that I may
bestow it upon whomsoever I choose, and when they give it to me upon
whom wouldst thou have me bestow it but upon thee?"

"That is plain speaking," said Sancho; "but let your worship take
care to choose it on the seacoast, so that if I don't like the life, I
may be able to ship off my black vassals and deal with them as I
have said; don't mind going to see my lady Dulcinea now, but go and
kill this giant and let us finish off this business; for by God it
strikes me it will be one of great honour and great profit."

"I hold thou art in the right of it, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "and
I will take thy advice as to accompanying the princess before going to
see Dulcinea; but I counsel thee not to say anything to any one, or to
those who are with us, about what we have considered and discussed,
for as Dulcinea is so decorous that she does not wish her thoughts
to be known it is not right that I or anyone for me should disclose
them."

"Well then, if that be so," said Sancho, "how is it that your
worship makes all those you overcome by your arm go to present
themselves before my lady Dulcinea, this being the same thing as
signing your name to it that you love her and are her lover? And as
those who go must perforce kneel before her and say they come from
your worship to submit themselves to her, how can the thoughts of both
of you be hid?"

"O, how silly and simple thou art!" said Don Quixote; "seest thou
not, Sancho, that this tends to her greater exaltation? For thou
must know that according to our way of thinking in chivalry, it is a
high honour to a lady to have many knights-errant in her service,
whose thoughts never go beyond serving her for her own sake, and who
look for no other reward for their great and true devotion than that
she should be willing to accept them as her knights."

"It is with that kind of love," said Sancho, "I have heard preachers
say we ought to love our Lord, for himself alone, without being
moved by the hope of glory or the fear of punishment; though for my
part, I would rather love and serve him for what he could do."

"The devil take thee for a clown!" said Don Quixote, "and what
shrewd things thou sayest at times! One would think thou hadst
studied."

"In faith, then, I cannot even read."

Master Nicholas here called out to them to wait a while, as they
wanted to halt and drink at a little spring there was there. Don
Quixote drew up, not a little to the satisfaction of Sancho, for he
was by this time weary of telling so many lies, and in dread of his
master catching him tripping, for though he knew that Dulcinea was a
peasant girl of El Toboso, he had never seen her in all his life.
Cardenio had now put on the clothes which Dorothea was wearing when
they found her, and though they were not very good, they were far
better than those he put off. They dismounted together by the side
of the spring, and with what the curate had provided himself with at
the inn they appeased, though not very well, the keen appetite they
all of them brought with them.

While they were so employed there happened to come by a youth
passing on his way, who stopping to examine the party at the spring,
the next moment ran to Don Quixote and clasping him round the legs,
began to weep freely, saying, "O, senor, do you not know me? Look at
me well; I am that lad Andres that your worship released from the
oak-tree where I was tied."

Don Quixote recognised him, and taking his hand he turned to those
present and said: "That your worships may see how important it is to
have knights-errant to redress the wrongs and injuries done by
tyrannical and wicked men in this world, I may tell you that some days
ago passing through a wood, I heard cries and piteous complaints as of
a person in pain and distress; I immediately hastened, impelled by
my bounden duty, to the quarter whence the plaintive accents seemed to
me to proceed, and I found tied to an oak this lad who now stands
before you, which in my heart I rejoice at, for his testimony will not
permit me to depart from the truth in any particular. He was, I say,
tied to an oak, naked from the waist up, and a clown, whom I
afterwards found to be his master, was scarifying him by lashes with
the reins of his mare. As soon as I saw him I asked the reason of so
cruel a flagellation. The boor replied that he was flogging him
because he was his servant and because of carelessness that
proceeded rather from dishonesty than stupidity; on which this boy
said, 'Senor, he flogs me only because I ask for my wages.' The master
made I know not what speeches and explanations, which, though I
listened to them, I did not accept. In short, I compelled the clown to
unbind him, and to swear he would take him with him, and pay him
real by real, and perfumed into the bargain. Is not all this true,
Andres my son? Didst thou not mark with what authority I commanded
him, and with what humility he promised to do all I enjoined,
specified, and required of him? Answer without hesitation; tell
these gentlemen what took place, that they may see that it is as great
an advantage as I say to have knights-errant abroad."

"All that your worship has said is quite true," answered the lad;
"but the end of the business turned out just the opposite of what your
worship supposes."

"How! the opposite?" said Don Quixote; "did not the clown pay thee
then?"

"Not only did he not pay me," replied the lad, "but as soon as
your worship had passed out of the wood and we were alone, he tied
me up again to the same oak and gave me a fresh flogging, that left me
like a flayed Saint Bartholomew; and every stroke he gave me he
followed up with some jest or gibe about having made a fool of your
worship, and but for the pain I was suffering I should have laughed at
the things he said. In short he left me in such a condition that I
have been until now in a hospital getting cured of the injuries
which that rascally clown inflicted on me then; for all which your
worship is to blame; for if you had gone your own way and not come
where there was no call for you, nor meddled in other people's
affairs, my master would have been content with giving me one or two
dozen lashes, and would have then loosed me and paid me what he owed
me; but when your worship abused him so out of measure, and gave him
so many hard words, his anger was kindled; and as he could not revenge
himself on you, as soon as he saw you had left him the storm burst
upon me in such a way, that I feel as if I should never be a man
again."

"The mischief," said Don Quixote, "lay in my going away; for I
should not have gone until I had seen thee paid; because I ought to
have known well by long experience that there is no clown who will
keep his word if he finds it will not suit him to keep it; but thou
rememberest, Andres, that I swore if he did not pay thee I would go
and seek him, and find him though he were to hide himself in the
whale's belly."

"That is true," said Andres; "but it was of no use."

"Thou shalt see now whether it is of use or not," said Don
Quixote; and so saying, he got up hastily and bade Sancho bridle
Rocinante, who was browsing while they were eating. Dorothea asked him
what he meant to do. He replied that he meant to go in search of
this clown and chastise him for such iniquitous conduct, and see
Andres paid to the last maravedi, despite and in the teeth of all
the clowns in the world. To which she replied that he must remember
that in accordance with his promise he could not engage in any
enterprise until he had concluded hers; and that as he knew this
better than anyone, he should restrain his ardour until his return
from her kingdom.

"That is true," said Don Quixote, "and Andres must have patience
until my return as you say, senora; but I once more swear and
promise not to stop until I have seen him avenged and paid."

"I have no faith in those oaths," said Andres; "I would rather
have now something to help me to get to Seville than all the
revenges in the world; if you have here anything to eat that I can
take with me, give it me, and God be with your worship and all
knights-errant; and may their errands turn out as well for
themselves as they have for me."

Sancho took out from his store a piece of bread and another of
cheese, and giving them to the lad he said, "Here, take this,
brother Andres, for we have all of us a share in your misfortune."

"Why, what share have you got?"

"This share of bread and cheese I am giving you," answered Sancho;
"and God knows whether I shall feel the want of it myself or not;
for I would have you know, friend, that we squires to knights-errant
have to bear a great deal of hunger and hard fortune, and even other
things more easily felt than told."

Andres seized his bread and cheese, and seeing that nobody gave
him anything more, bent his head, and took hold of the road, as the
saying is. However, before leaving he said, "For the love of God,
sir knight-errant, if you ever meet me again, though you may see
them cutting me to pieces, give me no aid or succour, but leave me
to my misfortune, which will not be so great but that a greater will
come to me by being helped by your worship, on whom and all the
knights-errant that have ever been born God send his curse."

Don Quixote was getting up to chastise him, but he took to his heels
at such a pace that no one attempted to follow him; and mightily
chapfallen was Don Quixote at Andres' story, and the others had to
take great care to restrain their laughter so as not to put him
entirely out of countenance.




Don Quixote by Migeul de Cervantes
Category:
Romance Literature - Spanish
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