"May it prove so," said Sancho, as he helped his master to rise and remount Rozinante, who, poor steed, was himself much bruised by the fall.
The next day they journeyed along towards the Pass of Lapice, a romantic spot, at which they arrived about three o'clock in the afternoon.
"Here," said Don Quixote to his squire, "we may hope to dip our hands up to the elbows in what are called adventures. But take note of this, that although thou seest me in the greatest dangers of the world, thou art not to set hand to thy sword in my defence, unless those who assault me be base or vulgar people. If they be knights thou mayest not help me."
"I do assure you, sir," said Sancho, "that herein you shall be most punctually obeyed, because I am by nature a quiet and peaceful man, and have a strong dislike to thrusting myself into quarrels."
Whilst they spoke thus, two friars of the order of St. Benedict, mounted on large mules--big enough to be dromedaries--appeared coming along the road. They wore travelling masks to keep the dust out of their eyes and carried large sun umbrellas. After them came a coach with four or five a-horseback travelling with it, and two lackeys ran hard by it. In the coach was a Biscayan lady who was going to Seville. The friars were not of her company, though all were going the same way.
Scarcely had Don Quixote espied them than he exclaimed to his squire: "Either I much mistake, or this should be the most famous adventure that hath ever been seen; for those dark forms that loom yonder are doubtless enchanters who are carrying off in that coach some princess they have stolen. Therefore I must with all my power undo this wrong."
"This will be worse than the adventure of the windmills," said Sancho. "Do you not see that they are Benedictine friars, and the coach will belong to some people travelling?"
"I have told thee already, Sancho," answered Don Quixote, "that thou art very ignorant in the matter of adventures. What I say is true, as thou shalt see."
So saying he spurred on his horse, and posted himself in the middle of the road along which the friars were coming, and when they were near enough to hear him he exclaimed in a loud voice: "Monstrous and horrible crew! Surrender this instant those exalted princesses, whom you are carrying away in that coach, or prepare to receive instant death as a just punishment of your wicked deeds."
The friars drew rein, and stood amazed at the figure and words of Don Quixote, to whom they replied: "Sir knight, we are neither monstrous nor wicked, but two religious men, Benedictines, travelling about our business, and we know nothing about this coach or about any princesses."
"No soft words for me," cried Don Quixote, "for I know you well, treacherous knaves."
And without waiting for their reply he set spurs to Rozinante; and laying his lance on his thigh, charged at the first friar with such fury and rage, that if he had not leaped from his mule he would have been slain, or at least, badly wounded.
The second friar, seeing the way his companion was treated, made no words but fled across the country swifter than the wind itself.
Sancho Panza, on seeing the friar overthrown, dismounted very speedily off his ass and ran over to him, and would have stripped him of his clothes, But two of the friars' servants came up and asked him why he was thus despoiling their master. Sancho replied that it was his due by the law of arms, as lawful spoils gained in battle by his lord and master, Don Quixote.
The lackeys, who knew nothing of battles or spoils, seeing that Don Quixote was now out of the way, speaking with those that were in the coach, set both at once upon Sancho and threw him down, plucked every hair out of his beard and kicked and mauled him without mercy, leaving him at last stretched on the ground senseless and breathless.
As for the friar, he mounted again, trembling and terror-stricken, all the colour having fled from his face, and spurring his mule, he joined his companion, who was waiting for him hard by.
While this was happening, Don Quixote was talking to the lady in the coach, to whom he said: "Dear lady, you may now dispose of yourself as you best please. For the pride of your robbers is laid in the dust by this my invincible arm. And that you may not pine to learn the name of your deliverer, know that I am called Don Quixote of the Mancha, knight-errant, adventurer, and captive of the peerless and beauteous Lady Dulcinea of Toboso. And in reward for the benefits you have received at my hands, I demand nothing else but that you return to Toboso, there to present yourself in my name before my lady, and tell her what I have done to obtain your liberty."
All this was listened to by a Biscayan squire who accompanied the coach. He hearing that the coach was not to pass on but was to return to Toboso, went up to Don Quixote, and, laying hold of his lance, said to him: "Get away with thee, sir knight, for if thou leave not the coach I will kill thee as sure as I am a Biscayan."
"If," replied Don Quixote haughtily, "thou wert a gentleman, as thou art not, I would ere this have punished thy folly and insolence, caitiff creature."
"I no gentleman?" cried the enraged Biscayan. "Throw down thy lance and draw thy sword, and thou shalt soon see that thou liest."
"That shall be seen presently," replied Don Quixote; and flinging his lance to the ground he drew his sword, grasped his buckler tight, and rushed at the Biscayan.
The Biscayan, seeing him come on In this manner, had nothing else to do but to draw his sword. Luckily for him he was near the coach, whence he snatched a cushion to serve him as a shield, and then they fell on one another as if they had been mortal enemies.
Those that were present tried to stop them, but the Biscayan shouted out that if he were hindered from ending the battle he would put his lady and all who touched him to the sword.
The lady, amazed and terrified, made the coachman draw aside a little, and sat watching the deadly combat from afar.
The Biscayan, to begin with, dealt Don Quixote a mighty blow over the target, which, if it had not been for his armour, would have cleft him to the waist. Don Quixote, feeling the weight of this tremendous blow which had destroyed his visor and carried away part of his ear, cried out aloud: "O Dulcinea, lady of my soul, flower of all beauty, help thy knight, who finds himself in this great danger!" To say this, to raise his sword, to cover himself with his buckler, and to rush upon the Biscayan was the work of a moment. With his head full of rage he now raised himself in his stirrups, and, gripping his sword more firmly in his two hands, struck at the Biscayan with such violence that he caught him a terrible blow on the cushion, knocking this shield against his head with tremendous violence. It was as though a mountain had fallen on the Biscayan and crushed him, and the blood spouted from his nose and mouth and ears. He would have fallen straightway from his mule if he had not clasped her round the neck; but he lost his stirrups, then let go his arms, and the mule, frightened at the blow, began to gallop across the fields, so that after two or three plunges it threw him to the ground.
Don Quixote leaped off his horse, ran towards him, and setting the point of his sword between his eyes, bade him yield, or he would cut off his head.
The lady of the coach now came forward in great grief and begged the favour of her squire's life.
Don Quixote replied with great stateliness: "Truly, fair lady, I will grant thy request, but it must be on one condition, that this squire shall go to Toboso and present himself in my name to the peerless Lady Dulcinea, that she may deal with him as she thinks well."
The lady, who was in great distress, without considering what Don Quixote required, or asking who Dulcinea might be, promised that he should certainly perform this command.
"Then," said Don Quixote, "on the faith of that pledge I will do him no more harm."
Seeing the contest was now over, and his master about to remount Rozinante, Sancho ran to hold his stirrups, and before he mounted, taking him by his hand he kissed it and said: "I desire that it will please you, good my lord Don Quixote, to bestow on me the government of that island which in this terrible battle you have won."
To which Don Quixote replied: "Brother Sancho, these are not the adventures of islands, but of cross roads, wherein nothing is gained but a broken pate or the loss of an ear. Have patience awhile, for the adventures will come whereby I can make thee not only a governor, but something higher."
Sancho thanked him heartily, and kissed his hand again and the hem of his mailed shirt. Then he helped him to get on Rozinante, and leaped upon his ass to follow him.
And Don Quixote, without another word to the people of the coach, rode away at a swift pace and turned into a wood that was hard by, leaving Sancho to follow him as fast as his beast could trot.
DON QUIXOTE AND THE GOATHERDS
Retold by Judge Parry
As they rode along, Don Quixote turned to his squire and said to him: "Tell me now in very good earnest, didst thou ever see a more valorous knight than I am throughout the face of the earth? Didst thou ever read in histories of any other that hath or ever had more courage in fighting, more dexterity in wounding, or more skill in overthrowing?"
"The truth is," replied Sancho, "that I have never read any history whatever, for I can neither read nor write. But what I dare wager is, that I never in my life served a bolder master than you are, and I only trust that all this boldness does not land us within the four walls of the gaol."
"Peace, friend Sancho," said Don Quixote, "when didst thou read of a knight-errant that was brought before the judge though he killed ever so many people?"
"I have read nothing, as you know, good master; but a truce to all this, let me attend to your wound, for you are losing a good deal of blood in that ear, and I have got some lint and a little white ointment in my wallet."
"That," said Don Quixote, "would have been unnecessary if I had remembered to make a bottleful of the balsam of Fierabras, for with only one drop of it both time and medicines are saved."
"What balsam is that, then?" asked Sancho Panza.
"It is a balsam, the receipt of which I have in my memory, and whoever possesses it need not fear death nor think to perish by any wound. Therefore after I have made it and given it unto thee, thou hast nothing else to do but when thou shalt see that in any battle I be cloven in twain, than deftly to take up the portion of the body which is fallen to the ground and put it up again on the half which remains in the saddle, taking great care to fix it exactly in the right place. Then thou shalt give me two draughts of the balsam I have mentioned, and I shall become as sound as an apple."
"If that be true," said Sancho, "I renounce from now the government of the promised island, and will demand nothing else in payment of my services but only the receipt of this precious liquor. But tell me, is it costly in making?"
"With less than three _reals_" said Don Quixote, "a man may make three gallons of it. But I mean to teach thee greater secrets than this, and do thee greater favours also. And now let me dress my wound, for this ear pains me more than I would wish."
Sancho took out of his wallet his lint and ointment to cure his master. But before he could use them Don Quixote saw that the visor of his helmet was broken, and he had like to have lost his senses.
Setting his hand to his sword, he cried: "I swear an oath to lead the life which was led by the great Marquis of Mantua when he swore to revenge the death of his nephew Baldwin, which was not to eat off a tablecloth, nor to comb his hair, nor to change his clothes, nor to quit his armour, and other things which, though I cannot now remember, I take as said, until I have had complete revenge on him that hath done this outrage."
"Look, your worship, Sir Don Quixote." said Sancho, when he heard these strange words, "you must note that if the Biscayan has done what you told him, and presented himself before my Lady Dulcinea of Toboso, then he has fully satisfied his debt, and deserves no other penalty unless he commits a new fault."