The women could make nothing of his talk, but asked him if he would eat, and Don Quixote replying that such was his desire, there was straightway laid a table at the inn door. The host brought out a portion of badly boiled haddocks, and a black, greasy loaf, which was all the inn could supply. But the manner of Don Quixote's eating was the best sport in the world, for with his helmet on he could put nothing into his mouth himself if others did not help him to find his way, and therefore one of the women served his turn at that, and helped to feed him. But they could not give him drink after that manner, and he would have remained dry for ever if the innkeeper had not bored a cane, and putting one end in his mouth, poured the wine down the other. And all this he suffered rather than cut the ribands of his helmet.
And as he sat at supper the swineherd again sounded his horn, and Don Quixote was still firm in the belief that he was in some famous castle, where he was served with music, and that the stale haddock was fresh trout, the bread of the finest flour, the two women high-born damsels, and the innkeeper the constable of the castle. Thus he thought his career of knight-errant was well begun, but he was still greatly troubled by the thought that he was not yet dubbed knight, and could not therefore rightly follow his adventures until he received the honour of knighthood.
THE KNIGHTING OF DON QUIXOTE
Retold by Judge Parry
When he had finished his sorry supper, he took his host with him to the stable, and shutting the door threw himself down upon his knees before him, saying: "I will never rise from this place where I am. sir constable, until your courtesy shall grant unto me a boon that I mean to demand of you, something which will add to your renown and to the profit of all the human race."
The innkeeper, seeing his guest at his feet, and hearing him speak these words, stood confounded at the sight, not knowing what he would say or do next, and tried to make him arise. But all was in vain until he had promised him that he would grant him any gift that he sought at his hands.
"Signor," said Don Quixote, rising from his knees, "I did never expect less from your great magnificence, and now I will tell you that the boon which I demanded of you, and which you have so generously granted, is that to-morrow in the morning you will dub me knight. This night I will watch mine armour in the chapel of your castle, and in the morning, as I have said, the rest of my desires shall be fulfilled, that I may set out in a proper manner throughout the four parts of the world to seek adventures to the benefit of the poor and: needy, as is the duty of knighthood and of knights-errant."
The innkeeper, who was a bit of a jester, and had before thought that the wits of his guest were none of the best, was sure that his suspicions were true when he heard him speak in this manner. And in order to enjoy a joke at his expense, he resolved to fall in with his humour, and told him that there was great reason in what he desired, which was only natural and proper in a knight of such worth as he seemed to be. He added further that there was no chapel in his castle where he might watch his arms, for he had broken it down to build it up anew. But, nevertheless, he knew well that in a case of necessity they might be watched in any other place, and therefore he might watch them that night in the lower court of the castle, where in the morning he, the innkeeper, would perform all the proper ceremonies, so that he should be made not only a dubbed knight, but such a one as should not have an equal in the whole universe.
The innkeeper now gave orders that Don Quixote should watch his armour in a great yard near one side of the inn, so he gathered together all his arms, laid them on a cistern near a well, and buckling on his target he laid hold of his lance and walked up and down before the cistern very demurely, until night came down upon the scene.
In the meantime the roguish innkeeper told all the rest that lodged in the inn of the folly of his guest, the watching of his arms, and the knighthood which he expected to receive. They all wondered very much at so strange a kind of folly, and going out to behold him from a distance, they saw that sometimes he marched to and fro with a quiet gesture, other times leaning upon his lance he looked upon his armour for a good space of time without beholding any other thing save his arms.
Although it was now night, yet was the moon so clear that everything which the knight did was easily seen by all beholders. And now one of the carriers that lodged in the inn resolved to give his mules some water, and for that purpose it was necessary to move Don Quixote's armour that lay on the cistern.
Seeing the carrier approach, Don Quixote called to him in a loud voice: "O thou, whosoever thou art, bold knight, who dares to touch the armour of the bravest adventurer that ever girded sword, look well what thou doest, and touch them not if thou meanest not to leave thy life in payment for thy meddling!"
The carrier took no notice of these words, though it were better for him if he had, but laying hold of the armour threw it piece by piece into the middle of the yard.
When Don Quixote saw this, he lifted up his eyes towards heaven, and addressing his thoughts, as it seemed, to his Lady Dulcinea, he said: "Assist me, dear lady, in this insult offered to thy vassal, and let not thy favour and protection fail me in this my first adventure!"
Uttering these and other such words, he let slip his target or shield, and lifting up his lance with both hands he gave the carrier so round a knock on his head that it threw him to the ground, and if he had caught him a second he would not have needed any surgeon to cure him. This done, he gathered up his armour again, and laying the pieces where they had been before, he began walking up and down near them with as much quietness as he did at first.
Soon afterwards another carrier, without knowing what had happened (for his companion still lay on the ground), came also to give his mules water, and started to take away the armour to get at the cistern, Don Quixote let slip again his target, and lifting his lance brought it down on the carrier's head, which he broke in several places.
All the people in the inn, and amongst them the innkeeper, came running out when they heard the noise, and Don Quixote seeing them seized his target, and, drawing his sword, cried aloud: "O lady of all beauty, now, if ever, is the time for thee to turn the eyes of thy greatness on thy captive knight who is on the eve of so marvellous great an adventure."
Saying this seemed to fill him with so great a courage, that if he had been assaulted by all the carriers in the universe he would not have retreated one step.
The companions of the wounded men, seeing their fellows in so evil a plight, began to rain stones on Don Quixote from a distance, who defended himself as well as he might with his target, and durst not leave the cistern lest he should appear to abandon his arms.
The innkeeper cried to them to let him alone, for he had already told them that he was mad. But Don Quixote cried out louder than the innkeeper, calling them all disloyal men and traitors, and that the lord of the castle was a treacherous and bad knight to allow them to use a knight-errant so basely; and if he had only received the order of knighthood he would have punished him soundly for his treason. Then calling to the carriers he said: "As for you, base and rascally ruffians, you are beneath my notice. Throw at me, approach, draw near and do me all the hurt you may, for you shall ere long receive the reward of your insolence."
These words, which he spoke with great spirit and boldness, struck a terrible fear into all those who assaulted him, and, partly moved by his threats and partly persuaded by the innkeeper, they left off throwing stones at him, and he allowed them to carry away the wounded men, while he returned to his watch with great quietness and gravity.
The innkeeper did not very much like Don Quixote's pranks, and therefore determined to shorten the ceremony and give him the order of knighthood at once before any one else was injured. Approaching him, therefore, he made apologies for the insolence of the base fellows who had thrown stones at him, and explained that it was not with his consent, and that he thought them well punished for their impudence. He added that it was not necessary for Don Quixote to watch his armour any more, because the chief point of being knighted was to receive the stroke of the sword on the neck and shoulder, and that ceremony he was ready to perform at once.
All this Don Quixote readily believed, and answered that he was most eager to obey him, and requested him to finish everything as speedily as possible. For, he said, as soon as he was knighted, if he was assaulted again, he intended not to leave one person alive in all the castle, except those which the constable should command, whom he would spare for his sake.
The innkeeper, alarmed at what he said, and fearing lest he should carry out his threat, set about the ceremony without delay. He brought out his day-book, in which he wrote down the accounts of the hay and straw which he sold to carriers who came to the inn, and attended by a small boy holding the end of a candle and walking before him, and followed by the two women who were staying at the inn, he approached Don Quixote, He solemnly commanded him to kneel upon his knees, while he mumbled something which he pretended to read out of the book that he held in his hand. Then he gave him a good blow on the neck, and after that another sound thwack over the shoulders with his own sword, always as he did so continuing to mumble and murmur as though he were reading something out of his book. This being done, he commanded one of the damsels to gird on his sword, which she did with much grace and cleverness. And it was with difficulty that they all kept from laughing during this absurd ceremony, but what they had already seen of Don Quixote's fury made them careful not to annoy him even by a smile.
When she had girded on his sword, the damsel said: "May you be a fortunate knight, and meet with good success in all your adventures."
Don Quixote asked her how she was called, that he might know to whom he was obliged for the favours he had received. She answered with great humility that she was named Tolosa, and was a butcher's daughter of Toledo. Don Quixote replied requesting her to call herself from henceforth the Lady Tolosa, which she promised to perform. The other damsel buckled on his spurs, and when Don Quixote asked her name she told him it was Molinera, and that she was daughter of an honest miller of Antequera. Don Quixote entreated her also to call herself Lady Molinera, and offered her new services and favours.
These strange and never-before-seen ceremonies being ended, Don Quixote could not rest until he was mounted on horseback that he might go to seek adventures. He therefore caused Rozinante to be instantly saddled, leaped on his back, and embracing the innkeeper, thanked him in a thousand wild and ridiculous ways for the great favour he had done him in dubbing him knight. The innkeeper, who was only eager to be rid of him without delay, answered him in the same fashion, and let him march off without demanding from him a single farthing for his food or lodging.
THE GREADFUL ADVENTURE OF THE WINDMILLS
Retold by Judge Parry
Don Quixote persuaded a certain labourer, his neighbour, an honest man, but one of very shallow wit, to go away with him and serve him as squire. In the end he gave him so many fair words and promises that the poor fellow determined to go with him. Don Quixote, among other things, told him that he ought to be very pleased to depart with him, for at some time or other an adventure might befall which should in the twinkling of an eye win him an island and leave him governor thereof. On the faith of these and other like promises, Sancho Panza (for so he was called) forsook his wife and children and took service as squire to his neighbour.
Whilst they were journeying along, Sancho Panza said to his master: "I pray you have good care, sir knight, that you forget not that government of the island which you have promised me, for I shall be able to govern it be it never so great."
And Don Quixote replied: "Thou must understand, friend Sancho, that it was a custom very much used by the ancient knights-errant, to make their squires governors of the islands and kingdoms they conquered, and I am resolved that so good a custom shall be kept up by me. And if thou livest and I live it may well be that I might conquer a kingdom within six days, and crown thee king of it."
"By the same token," said Sancho Panza, "if I were a king, then should Joan my wife become a queen and my children princes?"
"Who doubts of that?" said Don Quixote.
"That do I," replied Sancho Panza, "for I am fully persuaded that though it rained kingdoms down upon the earth, none of them would sit well on my wife Joan. She is not worth a farthing for a queen. She might scrape through as a countess, but I have my doubts of that."
As they were talking, they caught sight of some thirty or forty windmills on a plain. As soon as Don Quixote saw them he said to his squire: "Fortune is guiding our affairs better than we could desire. For behold, friend Sancho, how there appear thirty or forty monstrous giants with whom I mean to do battle, and take all their lives. With their spoils we will begin to be rich, for this is fair war, and it is doing great service to clear away these evil fellows from off the face of the earth."
"What giants?" said Sancho amazed.
"Those thou seest there," replied his master, "with the long arms."
"Take care, sir," cried Sancho, "for those we see yonder are not giants but windmills, and those things which seem to be arms are their sails, which being whirled round by the wind make the mill go."
"It is clear," answered Don Quixote, "that thou art not yet experienced in the matter of adventures. They are giants, and if thou art afraid, get thee away home, whilst I enter into cruel and unequal battle with them."
So saying, he clapped spurs to Rozinante, without heeding the cries by which Sancho Panza warned him that he was going to encounter not giants but windmills. For he would neither listen to Sancho's outcries, nor mark what he said, but shouted to the windmills in a loud voice: "Fly not, cowards and vile creatures, for it is only one knight that assaults you!"
A slight breeze having sprung up at this moment, the great sail-arms began to move, on seeing which Don Quixote shouted out again: "Although you should wield more arms than had the giant Briareus, I shall make you pay for your insolence!"
Saying this, and commending himself most devoutly to his Lady Dulcinea, whom he desired to aid him in this peril, covering himself with his buckler, and setting his lance in rest, he charged at Rozinante's best gallop, and attacked the first mill before him. Thrusting his lance through the sail, the wind turned it with such violence that it broke his weapon into shivers, carrying him and his horse after it, and having whirled them round, finally tumbled the knight a good way off, and rolled him over the plain, sorely damaged.
Sancho Panza hastened to help him as fast as his ass could go, and when he came up he found the knight unable to stir, such a shock had Rozinante given him in the fall.
"Bless me," said Sancho, "did I not tell you that you should look well what you did, for they were windmills, nor could any think otherwise unless he had windmills in his brains!"
"Peace, friend Sancho," said Don Quixote, "for the things of war are constantly changing, and I think this must be the work of the same sage Freston who robbed me of my library and books, and he hath changed these giants into windmills to take from me the glory of the victory. But in the end his evil arts shall avail but little against the goodness of my sword."