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CHAPTER XXXIV

WHICH RELATES HOW THEY LEARNED THE WAY IN WHICH THEY WERE TO
DISENCHANT THE PEERLESS DULCINEA DEL TOBOSO, WHICH IS ONE OF THE
RAREST ADVENTURES IN THIS BOOK

Great was the pleasure the duke and duchess took in the conversation
of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza; and, more bent than ever upon the
plan they had of practising some jokes upon them that should have
the look and appearance of adventures, they took as their basis of
action what Don Quixote had already told them about the cave of
Montesinos, in order to play him a famous one. But what the duches
marvelled at above all was that Sancho's simplicity could be so
great as to make him believe as absolute truth that Dulcinea had
been enchanted, when it was he himself who had been the enchanter
and trickster in the business. Having, therefore, instructed their
servants in everything they were to do, six days afterwards they
took him out to hunt, with as great a retinue of huntsmen and
beaters as a crowned king.

They presented Don Quixote with a hunting suit, and Sancho with
another of the finest green cloth; but Don Quixote declined to put his
on, saying that he must soon return to the hard pursuit of arms, and
could not carry wardrobes or stores with him. Sancho, however, took
what they gave him, meaning to sell it the first opportunity.

The appointed day having arrived, Don Quixote armed himself, and
Sancho arrayed himself, and mounted on his Dapple (for he would not
give him up though they offered him a horse), he placed himself in the
midst of the troop of huntsmen. The duchess came out splendidly
attired, and Don Quixote, in pure courtesy and politeness, held the
rein of her palfrey, though the duke wanted not to allow him; and at
last they reached a wood that lay between two high mountains, where,
after occupying various posts, ambushes, and paths, and distributing
the party in different positions, the hunt began with great noise,
shouting, and hallooing, so that, between the baying of the hounds and
the blowing of the horns, they could not hear one another. The duchess
dismounted, and with a sharp boar-spear in her hand posted herself
where she knew the wild boars were in the habit of passing. The duke
and Don Quixote likewise dismounted and placed themselves one at
each side of her. Sancho took up a position in the rear of all without
dismounting from Dapple, whom he dared not desert lest some mischief
should befall him. Scarcely had they taken their stand in a line
with several of their servants, when they saw a huge boar, closely
pressed by the hounds and followed by the huntsmen, making towards
them, grinding his teeth and tusks, and scattering foam from his
mouth. As soon as he saw him Don Quixote, bracing his shield on his
arm, and drawing his sword, advanced to meet him; the duke with
boar-spear did the same; but the duchess would have gone in front of
them all had not the duke prevented her. Sancho alone, deserting
Dapple at the sight of the mighty beast, took to his heels as hard
as he could and strove in vain to mount a tall oak. As he was clinging
to a branch, however, half-way up in his struggle to reach the top,
the bough, such was his ill-luck and hard fate, gave way, and caught
in his fall by a broken limb of the oak, he hung suspended in the
air unable to reach the ground. Finding himself in this position,
and that the green coat was beginning to tear, and reflecting that
if the fierce animal came that way he might be able to get at him,
he began to utter such cries, and call for help so earnestly, that all
who heard him and did not see him felt sure he must be in the teeth of
some wild beast. In the end the tusked boar fell pierced by the blades
of the many spears they held in front of him; and Don Quixote, turning
round at the cries of Sancho, for he knew by them that it was he,
saw him hanging from the oak head downwards, with Dapple, who did
not forsake him in his distress, close beside him; and Cide Hamete
observes that he seldom saw Sancho Panza without seeing Dapple, or
Dapple without seeing Sancho Panza; such was their attachment and
loyalty one to the other. Don Quixote went over and unhooked Sancho,
who, as soon as he found himself on the ground, looked at the rent
in his huntingcoat and was grieved to the heart, for he thought he had
got a patrimonial estate in that suit.

Meanwhile they had slung the mighty boar across the back of a
mule, and having covered it with sprigs of rosemary and branches of
myrtle, they bore it away as the spoils of victory to some large
field-tents which had been pitched in the middle of the wood, where
they found the tables laid and dinner served, in such grand and
sumptuous style that it was easy to see the rank and magnificence of
those who had provided it. Sancho, as he showed the rents in his
torn suit to the duchess, observed, "If we had been hunting hares,
or after small birds, my coat would have been safe from being in the
plight it's in; I don't know what pleasure one can find in lying in
wait for an animal that may take your life with his tusk if he gets at
you. I recollect having heard an old ballad sung that says,

By bears be thou devoured, as erst
Was famous Favila."


"That," said Don Quixote, "was a Gothic king, who, going
a-hunting, was devoured by a bear."

"Just so," said Sancho; "and I would not have kings and princes
expose themselves to such dangers for the sake of a pleasure which, to
my mind, ought not to be one, as it consists in killing an animal that
has done no harm whatever."

"Quite the contrary, Sancho; you are wrong there," said the duke;
"for hunting is more suitable and requisite for kings and princes than
for anybody else. The chase is the emblem of war; it has stratagems,
wiles, and crafty devices for overcoming the enemy in safety; in it
extreme cold and intolerable heat have to be borne, indolence and
sleep are despised, the bodily powers are invigorated, the limbs of
him who engages in it are made supple, and, in a word, it is a pursuit
which may be followed without injury to anyone and with enjoyment to
many; and the best of it is, it is not for everybody, as
field-sports of other sorts are, except hawking, which also is only
for kings and great lords. Reconsider your opinion therefore,
Sancho, and when you are governor take to hunting, and you will find
the good of it."

"Nay," said Sancho, "the good governor should have a broken leg
and keep at home;" it would be a nice thing if, after people had
been at the trouble of coming to look for him on business, the
governor were to be away in the forest enjoying himself; the
government would go on badly in that fashion. By my faith, senor,
hunting and amusements are more fit for idlers than for governors;
what I intend to amuse myself with is playing all fours at Eastertime,
and bowls on Sundays and holidays; for these huntings don't suit my
condition or agree with my conscience."

"God grant it may turn out so," said the duke; "because it's a
long step from saying to doing."

"Be that as it may," said Sancho, "'pledges don't distress a good
payer,' and 'he whom God helps does better than he who gets up early,'
and 'it's the tripes that carry the feet and not the feet the tripes;'
I mean to say that if God gives me help and I do my duty honestly,
no doubt I'll govern better than a gerfalcon. Nay, let them only put a
finger in my mouth, and they'll see whether I can bite or not."

"The curse of God and all his saints upon thee, thou accursed
Sancho!" exclaimed Don Quixote; "when will the day come- as I have
often said to thee- when I shall hear thee make one single coherent,
rational remark without proverbs? Pray, your highnesses, leave this
fool alone, for he will grind your souls between, not to say two,
but two thousand proverbs, dragged in as much in season, and as much
to the purpose as- may God grant as much health to him, or to me if
I want to listen to them!"

"Sancho Panza's proverbs," said the duchess, "though more in
number than the Greek Commander's, are not therefore less to be
esteemed for the conciseness of the maxims. For my own part, I can say
they give me more pleasure than others that may be better brought in
and more seasonably introduced."

In pleasant conversation of this sort they passed out of the tent
into the wood, and the day was spent in visiting some of the posts and
hiding-places, and then night closed in, not, however, as
brilliantly or tranquilly as might have been expected at the season,
for it was then midsummer; but bringing with it a kind of haze that
greatly aided the project of the duke and duchess; and thus, as
night began to fall, and a little after twilight set in, suddenly
the whole wood on all four sides seemed to be on fire, and shortly
after, here, there, on all sides, a vast number of trumpets and
other military instruments were heard, as if several troops of cavalry
were passing through the wood. The blaze of the fire and the noise
of the warlike instruments almost blinded the eyes and deafened the
ears of those that stood by, and indeed of all who were in the wood.
Then there were heard repeated lelilies after the fashion of the Moors
when they rush to battle; trumpets and clarions brayed, drums beat,
fifes played, so unceasingly and so fast that he could not have had
any senses who did not lose them with the confused din of so many
instruments. The duke was astounded, the duchess amazed, Don Quixote
wondering, Sancho Panza trembling, and indeed, even they who were
aware of the cause were frightened. In their fear, silence fell upon
them, and a postillion, in the guise of a demon, passed in front of
them, blowing, in lieu of a bugle, a huge hollow horn that gave out
a horrible hoarse note.

"Ho there! brother courier," cried the duke, "who are you? Where are
you going? What troops are these that seem to be passing through the
wood?"

To which the courier replied in a harsh, discordant voice, "I am the
devil; I am in search of Don Quixote of La Mancha; those who are
coming this way are six troops of enchanters, who are bringing on a
triumphal car the peerless Dulcinea del Toboso; she comes under
enchantment, together with the gallant Frenchman Montesinos, to give
instructions to Don Quixote as to how, she the said lady, may be
disenchanted."

"If you were the devil, as you say and as your appearance
indicates," said the duke, "you would have known the said knight Don
Quixote of La Mancha, for you have him here before you."

"By God and upon my conscience," said the devil, "I never observed
it, for my mind is occupied with so many different things that I was
forgetting the main thing I came about."

"This demon must be an honest fellow and a good Christian," said
Sancho; "for if he wasn't he wouldn't swear by God and his conscience;
I feel sure now there must be good souls even in hell itself."

Without dismounting, the demon then turned to Don Quixote and
said, "The unfortunate but valiant knight Montesinos sends me to thee,
the Knight of the Lions (would that I saw thee in their claws),
bidding me tell thee to wait for him wherever I may find thee, as he
brings with him her whom they call Dulcinea del Toboso, that he may
show thee what is needful in order to disenchant her; and as I came
for no more I need stay no longer; demons of my sort be with thee, and
good angels with these gentles;" and so saying he blew his huge
horn, turned about and went off without waiting for a reply from
anyone.

They all felt fresh wonder, but particularly Sancho and Don Quixote;
Sancho to see how, in defiance of the truth, they would have it that
Dulcinea was enchanted; Don Quixote because he could not feel sure
whether what had happened to him in the cave of Montesinos was true or
not; and as he was deep in these cogitations the duke said to him, "Do
you mean to wait, Senor Don Quixote?"

"Why not?" replied he; "here will I wait, fearless and firm,
though all hell should come to attack me."

"Well then, if I see another devil or hear another horn like the
last, I'll wait here as much as in Flanders," said Sancho.

Night now closed in more completely, and many lights began to flit
through the wood, just as those fiery exhalations from the earth, that
look like shooting-stars to our eyes, flit through the heavens; a
frightful noise, too, was heard, like that made by the solid wheels
the ox-carts usually have, by the harsh, ceaseless creaking of
which, they say, the bears and wolves are put to flight, if there
happen to be any where they are passing. In addition to all this
commotion, there came a further disturbance to increase the tumult,
for now it seemed as if in truth, on all four sides of the wood,
four encounters or battles were going on at the same time; in one
quarter resounded the dull noise of a terrible cannonade, in another
numberless muskets were being discharged, the shouts of the combatants
sounded almost close at hand, and farther away the Moorish lelilies
were raised again and again. In a word, the bugles, the horns, the
clarions, the trumpets, the drums, the cannon, the musketry, and above
all the tremendous noise of the carts, all made up together a din so
confused and terrific that Don Quixote had need to summon up all his
courage to brave it; but Sancho's gave way, and he fell fainting on
the skirt of the duchess's robe, who let him lie there and promptly
bade them throw water in his face. This was done, and he came to
himself by the time that one of the carts with the creaking wheels
reached the spot. It was drawn by four plodding oxen all covered
with black housings; on each horn they had fixed a large lighted wax
taper, and on the top of the cart was constructed a raised seat, on
which sat a venerable old man with a beard whiter than the very
snow, and so long that it fell below his waist; he was dressed in a
long robe of black buckram; for as the cart was thickly set with a
multitude of candles it was easy to make out everything that was on
it. Leading it were two hideous demons, also clad in buckram, with
countenances so frightful that Sancho, having once seen them, shut his
eyes so as not to see them again. As soon as the cart came opposite
the spot the old man rose from his lofty seat, and standing up said in
a loud voice, "I am the sage Lirgandeo," and without another word
the cart then passed on. Behind it came another of the same form, with
another aged man enthroned, who, stopping the cart, said in a voice no
less solemn than that of the first, "I am the sage Alquife, the
great friend of Urganda the Unknown," and passed on. Then another cart
came by at the same pace, but the occupant of the throne was not old
like the others, but a man stalwart and robust, and of a forbidding
countenance, who as he came up said in a voice far hoarser and more
devilish, "I am the enchanter Archelaus, the mortal enemy of Amadis of
Gaul and all his kindred," and then passed on. Having gone a short
distance the three carts halted and the monotonous noise of their
wheels ceased, and soon after they heard another, not noise, but sound
of sweet, harmonious music, of which Sancho was very glad, taking it
to be a good sign; and said he to the duchess, from whom he did not
stir a step, or for a single instant, "Senora, where there's music
there can't be mischief."

"Nor where there are lights and it is bright," said the duchess;
to which Sancho replied, "Fire gives light, and it's bright where
there are bonfires, as we see by those that are all round us and
perhaps may burn us; but music is a sign of mirth and merrymaking."

"That remains to be seen," said Don Quixote, who was listening to
all that passed; and he was right, as is shown in the following
chapter.




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