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When the author of this great history comes to relate what is set
down in this chapter he says he would have preferred to pass it over
in silence, fearing it would not he believed, because here Don
Quixote's madness reaches the confines of the greatest that can be
conceived, and even goes a couple of bowshots beyond the greatest. But
after all, though still under the same fear and apprehension, he has
recorded it without adding to the story or leaving out a particle of
the truth, and entirely disregarding the charges of falsehood that
might be brought against him; and he was right, for the truth may
run fine but will not break, and always rises above falsehood as oil
above water; and so, going on with his story, he says that as soon
as Don Quixote had ensconced himself in the forest, oak grove, or wood
near El Toboso, he bade Sancho return to the city, and not come into
his presence again without having first spoken on his behalf to his
lady, and begged of her that it might be her good pleasure to permit
herself to be seen by her enslaved knight, and deign to bestow her
blessing upon him, so that he might thereby hope for a happy issue
in all his encounters and difficult enterprises. Sancho undertook to
execute the task according to the instructions, and to bring back an
answer as good as the one he brought back before.

"Go, my son," said Don Quixote, "and be not dazed when thou
findest thyself exposed to the light of that sun of beauty thou art
going to seek. Happy thou, above all the squires in the world! Bear in
mind, and let it not escape thy memory, how she receives thee; if
she changes colour while thou art giving her my message; if she is
agitated and disturbed at hearing my name; if she cannot rest upon her
cushion, shouldst thou haply find her seated in the sumptuous state
chamber proper to her rank; and should she be standing, observe if she
poises herself now on one foot, now on the other; if she repeats two
or three times the reply she gives thee; if she passes from gentleness
to austerity, from asperity to tenderness; if she raises her hand to
smooth her hair though it be not disarranged. In short, my son,
observe all her actions and motions, for if thou wilt report them to
me as they were, I will gather what she hides in the recesses of her
heart as regards my love; for I would have thee know, Sancho, if
thou knowest it not, that with lovers the outward actions and
motions they give way to when their loves are in question are the
faithful messengers that carry the news of what is going on in the
depths of their hearts. Go, my friend, may better fortune than mine
attend thee, and bring thee a happier issue than that which I await in
dread in this dreary solitude."

"I will go and return quickly," said Sancho; "cheer up that little
heart of yours, master mine, for at the present moment you seem to
have got one no bigger than a hazel nut; remember what they say,
that a stout heart breaks bad luck, and that where there are no
fletches there are no pegs; and moreover they say, the hare jumps up
where it's not looked for. I say this because, if we could not find my
lady's palaces or castles to-night, now that it is daylight I count
upon finding them when I least expect it, and once found, leave it
to me to manage her."

"Verily, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "thou dost always bring in thy
proverbs happily, whatever we deal with; may God give me better luck
in what I am anxious about."

With this, Sancho wheeled about and gave Dapple the stick, and Don
Quixote remained behind, seated on his horse, resting in his
stirrups and leaning on the end of his lance, filled with sad and
troubled forebodings; and there we will leave him, and accompany
Sancho, who went off no less serious and troubled than he left his
master; so much so, that as soon as he had got out of the thicket, and
looking round saw that Don Quixote was not within sight, he dismounted
from his ass, and seating himself at the foot of a tree began to
commune with himself, saying, "Now, brother Sancho, let us know
where your worship is going. Are you going to look for some ass that
has been lost? Not at all. Then what are you going to look for? I am
going to look for a princess, that's all; and in her for the sun of
beauty and the whole heaven at once. And where do you expect to find
all this, Sancho? Where? Why, in the great city of El Toboso. Well,
and for whom are you going to look for her? For the famous knight
Don Quixote of La Mancha, who rights wrongs, gives food to those who
thirst and drink to the hungry. That's all very well, but do you
know her house, Sancho? My master says it will be some royal palace or
grand castle. And have you ever seen her by any chance? Neither I
nor my master ever saw her. And does it strike you that it would be
just and right if the El Toboso people, finding out that you were here
with the intention of going to tamper with their princesses and
trouble their ladies, were to come and cudgel your ribs, and not leave
a whole bone in you? They would, indeed, have very good reason, if
they did not see that I am under orders, and that 'you are a
messenger, my friend, no blame belongs to you.' Don't you trust to
that, Sancho, for the Manchegan folk are as hot-tempered as they are
honest, and won't put up with liberties from anybody. By the Lord,
if they get scent of you, it will be worse for you, I promise you.
Be off, you scoundrel! Let the bolt fall. Why should I go looking
for three feet on a cat, to please another man; and what is more, when
looking for Dulcinea will be looking for Marica in Ravena, or the
bachelor in Salamanca? The devil, the devil and nobody else, has mixed
me up in this business!"

Such was the soliloquy Sancho held with himself, and all the
conclusion he could come to was to say to himself again, "Well,
there's remedy for everything except death, under whose yoke we have
all to pass, whether we like it or not, when life's finished. I have
seen by a thousand signs that this master of mine is a madman fit to
be tied, and for that matter, I too, am not behind him; for I'm a
greater fool than he is when I follow him and serve him, if there's
any truth in the proverb that says, 'Tell me what company thou
keepest, and I'll tell thee what thou art,' or in that other, 'Not
with whom thou art bred, but with whom thou art fed.' Well then, if he
be mad, as he is, and with a madness that mostly takes one thing for
another, and white for black, and black for white, as was seen when he
said the windmills were giants, and the monks' mules dromedaries,
flocks of sheep armies of enemies, and much more to the same tune,
it will not be very hard to make him believe that some country girl,
the first I come across here, is the lady Dulcinea; and if he does not
believe it, I'll swear it; and if he should swear, I'll swear again;
and if he persists I'll persist still more, so as, come what may, to
have my quoit always over the peg. Maybe, by holding out in this
way, I may put a stop to his sending me on messages of this kind
another time; or maybe he will think, as I suspect he will, that one
of those wicked enchanters, who he says have a spite against him,
has changed her form for the sake of doing him an ill turn and
injuring him."

With this reflection Sancho made his mind easy, counting the
business as good as settled, and stayed there till the afternoon so as
to make Don Quixote think he had time enough to go to El Toboso and
return; and things turned out so luckily for him that as he got up
to mount Dapple, he spied, coming from El Toboso towards the spot
where he stood, three peasant girls on three colts, or fillies- for
the author does not make the point clear, though it is more likely
they were she-asses, the usual mount with village girls; but as it
is of no great consequence, we need not stop to prove it.

To be brief, the instant Sancho saw the peasant girls, he returned
full speed to seek his master, and found him sighing and uttering a
thousand passionate lamentations. When Don Quixote saw him he
exclaimed, "What news, Sancho, my friend? Am I to mark this day with a
white stone or a black?"

"Your worship," replied Sancho, "had better mark it with ruddle,
like the inscriptions on the walls of class rooms, that those who
see it may see it plain."

"Then thou bringest good news," said Don Quixote.

"So good," replied Sancho, "that your worship bas only to spur
Rocinante and get out into the open field to see the lady Dulcinea del
Toboso, who, with two others, damsels of hers, is coming to see your

"Holy God! what art thou saying, Sancho, my friend?" exclaimed Don
Quixote. "Take care thou art not deceiving me, or seeking by false joy
to cheer my real sadness."

"What could I get by deceiving your worship," returned Sancho,
"especially when it will so soon be shown whether I tell the truth
or not? Come, senor, push on, and you will see the princess our
mistress coming, robed and adorned- in fact, like what she is. Her
damsels and she are all one glow of gold, all bunches of pearls, all
diamonds, all rubies, all cloth of brocade of more than ten borders;
with their hair loose on their shoulders like so many sunbeams playing
with the wind; and moreover, they come mounted on three piebald
cackneys, the finest sight ever you saw."

"Hackneys, you mean, Sancho," said Don Quixote.

"There is not much difference between cackneys and hackneys," said
Sancho; "but no matter what they come on, there they are, the finest
ladies one could wish for, especially my lady the princess Dulcinea,
who staggers one's senses."

"Let us go, Sancho, my son," said Don Quixote, "and in guerdon of
this news, as unexpected as it is good, I bestow upon thee the best
spoil I shall win in the first adventure I may have; or if that does
not satisfy thee, I promise thee the foals I shall have this year from
my three mares that thou knowest are in foal on our village common."

"I'll take the foals," said Sancho; "for it is not quite certain
that the spoils of the first adventure will be good ones."

By this time they had cleared the wood, and saw the three village
lasses close at hand. Don Quixote looked all along the road to El
Toboso, and as he could see nobody except the three peasant girls,
he was completely puzzled, and asked Sancho if it was outside the city
he had left them.

"How outside the city?" returned Sancho. "Are your worship's eyes in
the back of your head, that you can't see that they are these who
are coming here, shining like the very sun at noonday?"

"I see nothing, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "but three country
girls on three jackasses."

"Now, may God deliver me from the devil!" said Sancho, "and can it
be that your worship takes three hackneys- or whatever they're called-
as white as the driven snow, for jackasses? By the Lord, I could
tear my beard if that was the case!"

"Well, I can only say, Sancho, my friend," said Don Quixote, "that
it is as plain they are jackasses- or jennyasses- as that I am Don
Quixote, and thou Sancho Panza: at any rate, they seem to me to be

"Hush, senor," said Sancho, "don't talk that way, but open your
eyes, and come and pay your respects to the lady of your thoughts, who
is close upon us now;" and with these words he advanced to receive the
three village lasses, and dismounting from Dapple, caught hold of
one of the asses of the three country girls by the halter, and
dropping on both knees on the ground, he said, "Queen and princess and
duchess of beauty, may it please your haughtiness and greatness to
receive into your favour and good-will your captive knight who
stands there turned into marble stone, and quite stupefied and
benumbed at finding himself in your magnificent presence. I am
Sancho Panza, his squire, and he the vagabond knight Don Quixote of La
Mancha, otherwise called 'The Knight of the Rueful Countenance.""

Don Quixote had by this time placed himself on his knees beside
Sancho, and, with eyes starting out of his head and a puzzled gaze,
was regarding her whom Sancho called queen and lady; and as he could
see nothing in her except a village lass, and not a very well-favoured
one, for she was platter-faced and snub-nosed, he was perplexed and
bewildered, and did not venture to open his lips. The country girls,
at the same time, were astonished to see these two men, so different
in appearance, on their knees, preventing their companion from going
on. She, however, who had been stopped, breaking silence, said angrily
and testily, "Get out of the way, bad luck to you, and let us pass,
for we are in a hurry."

To which Sancho returned, "Oh, princess and universal lady of El
Toboso, is not your magnanimous heart softened by seeing the pillar
and prop of knight-errantry on his knees before your sublimated

On hearing this, one of the others exclaimed, "Woa then! why, I'm
rubbing thee down, she-ass of my father-in-law! See how the
lordlings come to make game of the village girls now, as if we here
could not chaff as well as themselves. Go your own way, and let us
go ours, and it will be better for you."

"Get up, Sancho," said Don Quixote at this; "I see that fortune,
'with evil done to me unsated still,' has taken possession of all
the roads by which any comfort may reach 'this wretched soul' that I
carry in my flesh. And thou, highest perfection of excellence that can
be desired, utmost limit of grace in human shape, sole relief of
this afflicted heart that adores thee, though the malign enchanter
that persecutes me has brought clouds and cataracts on my eyes, and to
them, and them only, transformed thy unparagoned beauty and changed
thy features into those of a poor peasant girl, if so be he has not at
the same time changed mine into those of some monster to render them
loathsome in thy sight, refuse not to look upon me with tenderness and
love; seeing in this submission that I make on my knees to thy
transformed beauty the humility with which my soul adores thee."

"Hey-day! My grandfather!" cried the girl, "much I care for your
love-making! Get out of the way and let us pass, and we'll thank you."

Sancho stood aside and let her go, very well pleased to have got
so well out of the hobble he was in. The instant the village lass
who had done duty for Dulcinea found herself free, prodding her
"cackney" with a spike she had at the end of a stick, she set off at
full speed across the field. The she-ass, however, feeling the point
more acutely than usual, began cutting such capers, that it flung
the lady Dulcinea to the ground; seeing which, Don Quixote ran to
raise her up, and Sancho to fix and girth the pack-saddle, which
also had slipped under the ass's belly. The pack-saddle being secured,
as Don Quixote was about to lift up his enchanted mistress in his arms
and put her upon her beast, the lady, getting up from the ground,
saved him the trouble, for, going back a little, she took a short run,
and putting both hands on the croup of the ass she dropped into the
saddle more lightly than a falcon, and sat astride like a man, whereat
Sancho said, "Rogue!" but our lady is lighter than a lanner, and might
teach the cleverest Cordovan or Mexican how to mount; she cleared
the back of the saddle in one jump, and without spurs she is making
the hackney go like a zebra; and her damsels are no way behind her,
for they all fly like the wind;" which was the truth, for as soon as
they saw Dulcinea mounted, they pushed on after her, and sped away
without looking back, for more than half a league.

Don Quixote followed them with his eyes, and when they were no
longer in sight, he turned to Sancho and said, "How now, Sancho?
thou seest how I am hated by enchanters! And see to what a length
the malice and spite they bear me go, when they seek to deprive me
of the happiness it would give me to see my lady in her own proper
form. The fact is I was born to be an example of misfortune, and the
target and mark at which the arrows of adversity are aimed and
directed. Observe too, Sancho, that these traitors were not content
with changing and transforming my Dulcinea, but they transformed and
changed her into a shape as mean and ill-favoured as that of the
village girl yonder; and at the same time they robbed her of that
which is such a peculiar property of ladies of distinction, that is to
say, the sweet fragrance that comes of being always among perfumes and
flowers. For I must tell thee, Sancho, that when I approached to put
Dulcinea upon her hackney (as thou sayest it was, though to me it
appeared a she-ass), she gave me a whiff of raw garlic that made my
head reel, and poisoned my very heart."

"O scum of the earth!" cried Sancho at this, "O miserable,
spiteful enchanters! O that I could see you all strung by the gills,
like sardines on a twig! Ye know a great deal, ye can do a great deal,
and ye do a great deal more. It ought to have been enough for you,
ye scoundrels, to have changed the pearls of my lady's eyes into oak
galls, and her hair of purest gold into the bristles of a red ox's
tail, and in short, all her features from fair to foul, without
meddling with her smell; for by that we might somehow have found out
what was hidden underneath that ugly rind; though, to tell the
truth, I never perceived her ugliness, but only her beauty, which
was raised to the highest pitch of perfection by a mole she had on her
right lip, like a moustache, with seven or eight red hairs like
threads of gold, and more than a palm long."

"From the correspondence which exists between those of the face
and those of the body," said Don Quixote, "Dulcinea must have
another mole resembling that on the thick of the thigh on that side on
which she has the one on her ace; but hairs of the length thou hast
mentioned are very long for moles."

"Well, all I can say is there they were as plain as could be,"
replied Sancho.

"I believe it, my friend," returned Don Quixote; "for nature
bestowed nothing on Dulcinea that was not perfect and well-finished;
and so, if she had a hundred moles like the one thou hast described,
in her they would not be moles, but moons and shining stars. But
tell me, Sancho, that which seemed to me to be a pack-saddle as thou
wert fixing it, was it a flat-saddle or a side-saddle?"

"It was neither," replied Sancho, "but a jineta saddle, with a field
covering worth half a kingdom, so rich is it."

"And that I could not see all this, Sancho!" said Don Quixote; "once
more I say, and will say a thousand times, I am the most unfortunate
of men."

Sancho, the rogue, had enough to do to hide his laughter, at hearing
the simplicity of the master he had so nicely befooled. At length,
after a good deal more conversation had passed between them, they
remounted their beasts, and followed the road to Saragossa, which they
expected to reach in time to take part in a certain grand festival
which is held every year in that illustrious city; but before they got
there things happened to them, so many, so important, and so
strange, that they deserve to be recorded and read, as will be seen
farther on.

Don Quixote by Migeul de Cervantes
Romance Literature - Spanish
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