A TEI Project

Chapter VII

About the second expedition of our good knight don Quixote de La Mancha.

All of a sudden, don Quixote began to shout, saying: “Gather round, brave knights! Here is where you must show the strength of your mighty arms, for the courtly knights are prevailing in the tournament!”

To see what the boisterous shouting was all about, the inquisition of the remaining books came to an end, and it’s believed that La Carolea and Lion of Spain, together with The Deeds of the Emperor, by don Luis de Ávila, went to the flames without being seen nor heard, for these books doubtless must have been among those that were left. Perhaps the priest wouldn’t have passed such a rigorous sentence on them if he’d seen them.

When they reached don Quixote, he was out of bed, and kept on both with his shouting and with his absurdities, thrusting his sword everywhere, and wide-awake as if he’d never been asleep. They grappled with him and forced him back into bed; and after he calmed down a bit, he began to speak with the priest and said: “It’s certainly a great discredit, señor Archbishop Turpin, to those of us who call ourselves the Twelve Peers, to let the courtly knights be victorious in this tournament, just like that, since we knights errant won the prize the first three days.”

“Hush, your grace, señor compadre,” said the priest, “because God will change your luck, and «what is lost today is won tomorrow». Take care of your health for now, your grace, because it seems to me you’re exhausted, if not badly wounded.”

“Wounded, no,” said don Quixote, “but there’s no doubt that I’m pummeled and bruised, because that bastard don Roland pounded me with the trunk of an oak tree, and all out of envy, because he realizes that I alone rival him in his achievements. But they wouldn’t call me Reinaldos de Montalbán if I didn’t pay him back in the same coin when I get out of this bed, in spite of his enchantments. So, for the moment, bring me something to eat, because I know that’s what will do me the most good. Leave it to me to avenge myself.”

They fed him, and he went back to sleep, and his lunacy astounded them.

That night the housekeeper burned all the books in the corral and in the whole house, and some must have burned that deserved to be kept in permanent archives. But their luck, and the sloth of the inquisitor, didn’t allow it, and so the old saying came true that «the pious sometimes suffer for the sinners».

One of the remedies the priest and barber thought of to try to cure the illness of their friend was to wall up the library, so that when he got up, he wouldn’t find any books—perhaps by taking away the cause, the effect would cease. They’d say that an enchanter had taken away both the books and the room. And they had it done with great haste.

Two days later, don Quixote got up, and the first thing he did was to go looking for his books, and when he couldn’t find the room where he’d left it, he tried to find it everywhere. He went to where the door used to be and probed the area with his hands, and looked all around without saying a word. But after a while, he asked the housekeeper the whereabouts of his library.

The housekeeper, who was well instructed about what she was supposed to say, told him: “What room, or what nothing is your grace looking for? There’s no room or books anymore because the devil himself took them away.”

“It wasn’t the devil,” replied the niece, “but rather an enchanter who came on a cloud one night after your grace left. He got off a serpent he was riding and went into the room. I don’t know what he did there, but after a while he flew out through the roof, leaving the house filled with smoke, and when we went to see what he’d done, neither the books nor the room were anywhere to be seen. The housekeeper and I know only that when that evil old man left, he shouted that, because of a secret hatred he bore the owner of those books and that room, he’d done something to the room that would be seen later. He also said that he was called the sage Muñatón.”

“He must have said «Frestón» ” said don Quixote.

“I don’t know,” responded the housekeeper, “if his name was Frestón or Fritón, I only know that his name ended in -tón.”

“That’s it,” said don Quixote, “that fellow is a wise enchanter, a great enemy of mine who bears me ill-will because he knows through his cunning and learning in the course of time I’ll come to fight a singular battle with a knight he favors, and I’ll conquer that knight without his being able to prevent it. For that reason, he does his best to give me all the misery he can. But I assure him he can’t oppose nor prevent what heaven has ordained.”

“No doubt about it,” said the niece. “But who is it who gets you into these quarrels? Wouldn’t it be best to stay quietly at home and not roam about the world seeking impossible adventures, without considering that «many go out for wool and come back shorn»?”

“Niece of mine!” responded don Quixote. “How little you understand of any of this! Before they shear me, I’ll have plucked out the beards of anybody who imagined he could touch a single hair of mine.”

The two didn’t want to argue with him anymore, because they saw that his anger was rising.

He stayed at home in peace and quiet for two weeks, without giving any indication that he would continue his mad pursuits. In those days he had delightful conversations with his two compadres, the priest and the barber, in which he said that what the world most needed was knights errant, and that through him knight errantry would be reborn. Sometimes the priest disagreed with him and sometimes he agreed, because if he didn’t use this ploy, there was no way to reason with him.

During this period, don Quixote made overtures to a neighbor of his, a peasant and an honest man—if that can be said about one who is poor —but not very smart. In short, he said so much to him, persuaded and promised him so much that the poor rustic decided to go with him and be his squire.

Don Quixote said to him, among other things, that he should get ready to go with him gladly, because at any time, in the twinkling of an eye, an adventure might arise during which he’d win some ínsula—some island—and leave him behind to be its governor. With these and other promises, Sancho Panza—for that was the peasant’s name—left his wife and children and became his neighbor’s squire. Don Quixote then set about to raise money, and by selling one thing and pawning another, and making a bad deal every time, he accrued a reasonable amount. He also acquired a small iron shield that he borrowed from a friend, and, repairing his old helmet as best he could, told his squire Sancho the day and time he planned to start out, so that Sancho could supply himself with what he thought he most needed. Above all, he ordered him to take saddlebags, and Sancho said he would take them without fail, and also he planned to take a very fine donkey that he had, because he was not very much accustomed to walking.

Don Quixote considered the matter of the donkey for a bit, trying to think if he could remember whether any knight errant had taken a squire on donkey-back, but none came to mind. Even so, don Quixote thought it was all right for him to take it, since he planned to get him a more honorable mount by appropriating the horse of the first discourteous knight he should run across.

He supplied himself with shirts and all the other things he could think of, in accordance with the advice the innkeeper had given him. Everything having been done, and without Panza bidding farewell to his children and wife, nor don Quixote to his housekeeper and niece, they left the village one night without anyone seeing them. They went so far that night that by daybreak they were sure they couldn’t be found, even if people went searching for them.

Sancho Panza rode his donkey like a patriarch with his saddlebags and wineskin, very eager to see himself already a governor of the ínsula his master had promised him. Don Quixote happened to take the same path that he’d taken during his first foray, which was through the Plains of Montiel, and it was much less unpleasant than the previous time because, since it was morning and the rays of the sun shone on them from a low angle, neither one was affected by the heat.

Just then, Sancho Panza said to his master: “Look, your grace, señor knight errant, don’t forget about the ínsula you promised me. I’ll be able to govern it no matter how big it is.”

To which don Quixote answered: “I want you to know, Sancho Panza, my friend, that it was a very common custom for the knights errant of old to make their squires governors of ínsulas or kingdoms they won, and I’ve decided to keep that pleasing custom; and I even plan to do better, because many times, and possibly even most of the time, they waited until their squires were old, and after serving them so many years of bad days and worse nights, they gave them the title of count, or at most of marquis of some valley or province of little importance. But if you live and if I live, it may well be that before six days go by I’ll win a kingdom that has others dependent on it, and it will be perfect to crown you king of one of them. And don’t consider it to be much, because things like this happen to those knights by such unheard-of means, that it may easily be that I can give you even more than I’ve promised.”

“So,” responded Sancho Panza, “if I became king by one of those miracles your grace has mentioned, Juana Gutiérrez, my wife, would be no less than a queen and my children princes.”

“Who doubts it?” responded don Quixote.

“I do,” replied Sancho Panza, “because I think that, even if God rained kingdoms onto the earth, none would fit on the head of Mari Gutiérrez. Look, señor, she’s not worth two maravedís as a queen—countess would suit her better, and even then, God help her.”

“Leave everything in God’s hands, Sancho,” responded don Quixote, “for He’ll do what’s best. But don’t underestimate yourself to the point that you’ll be content with anything less than being a provincial governor.”

“I won’t do that, señor mío,” responded Sancho, “especially since I have such an important master as your grace, who’ll be able to give me everything that’s good for me, and that I can manage.”


Date: June 1, 2009
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