"Thou hast spoken well and hit the mark truly," answered Don Quixote; "and, therefore, in respect of that, I set the oath aside. But I make it and confirm it again, that I will lead the life I have said, until I take by force another helmet as good as this from some other knight."
"Such oaths are but mischief," said Sancho discontentedly, "for tell me now, if by chance we do not come across a man armed with a helmet, what are we to do? Do but consider that armed men travel not these roads, but only carriers and waggoners, who not only wear no helmets, but never heard them named all the days of their life."
"Thou art mistaken in this," said Don Quixote, "for we shall not have been here two hours before we shall see more knights than went up against Albraca to win Angelica the Fair."
"So be it," said Sancho, "and may all turn out well for us, that the time may come for the winning of that island which is costing me so dear."
"Have no fear for thine island, Sancho Panza," said Don Quixote; "and now look if thou hast aught to eat in thy wallet, for soon we should go in search of some castle where we may lodge the night and make the balsam of which I have spoken, for in truth this ear of mine pains me greatly."
"I have got here an onion and a bit of cheese and a few crusts of bread, but such coarse food is not fit for so valiant a knight as your worship."
"How little dost thou understand the matter," replied Don Quixote, "for it is an honour to knights-errant not to eat more than once a month, and if by chance they should eat, to eat only of that which is next at hand! And all this thou mightest have known hadst thou read as many books as I have done. For though I studied many, yet did I never find that knights-errant did ever eat but by mere chance, or at some costly banquets that were made for them. And the remainder of their days they lived on herbs and roots. Therefore, friend Sancho, let not that trouble thee which is my pleasure, for to a knight-errant that which comes is good."
"Pardon me, sir," said Sancho, "for since I can neither read nor write, as I have already told you, I have not fallen in rightly with the laws of knighthood. But from henceforth my wallet shall be furnished with all sorts of dried fruits for your worship, because you are a knight, and for myself, seeing I am none, I will provide fowls and other things, which are better eating."
So saying he pulled out what he had, and the two fell to dinner in good peace and company.
But being desirous to look out for a lodging for that night, they cut short their meagre and sorry meal, mounted at once a-horseback, and made haste to find out some dwellings before night did fall.
But the sun and their hopes did fail them at the same time, they being then near the cabins of some goatherds. Therefore they determined to pass the night there. And though Sancho's grief was great to lie out of a village, yet Don Quixote was more joyful than ever, for he thought that as often as he slept under the open heaven, so often did he perform an act worthy of a true knight-errant.
They were welcomed by the goatherds very cordially, and Sancho, having put up Rozinante and his ass the best way he could, made his way towards the smell given out by certain pieces of goat's flesh which were boiling in a pot on the fire. And though he longed that very instant to see if they were ready, he did not do so, for he saw the goatherds were themselves taking them off the fire and spreading some sheep-skins on the ground, and were laying their rustic table as quickly as might be. Then with many expressions of good will they invited the two to share in what they had. Those who belonged to the fold, being six in number, sat round on the skins, having first with rough compliments asked Don Quixote to seat himself upon a trough which they placed for him turned upside down.
Don Quixote sat down, but Sancho remained on foot to serve him with the cup which was made of horn. Seeing him standing, his master said: "That thou mayest see, Sancho, the good which is in knight-errantry, and how fair a chance they have who exercise it to arrive at honour and position in the world, I desire that here by my side, and in company of these good people, thou dost seat thyself, and be one and the same with me that am thy master and natural lord. That thou dost eat in my dish and drink in the same cup wherein I drink. For the same may be said of knight-errantry as is said of love, that it makes all things equal."
"Thanks for your favour," replied Sancho, "but I may tell your worship that provided I have plenty to eat I can eat it as well and better standing and by myself, than if I were seated on a level with an emperor. And, indeed, if I speak the truth, what I eat in my corner without ceremony, though it be but a bread and onion, smacks much better than turkeycocks at other tables, where I must chaw my meat leisurely, drink but little, wipe my hands often, nor do other things that solitude and liberty allow."
"For all that," said Don Quixote, "here shalt thou sit, for the humble shall be exalted," and taking him by the arm, he forced his squire to sit down near himself.
The goatherds did not understand the gibberish of squires and knights-errant, and did nothing but eat, hold their peace, and stare at their guests, who with great relish were gorging themselves with pieces as big as their fists. The course of flesh being over, the goatherds spread on the skins a great number of parched acorns and half a cheese, harder than if it had been made of mortar. The horn in the meantime was not idle, but came full from the wineskins and returned empty, as though it had been a bucket sent to the well.
After Don Quixote had satisfied his appetite, he took up a fistful of acorns, and beholding them earnestly, began in this manner: "Happy time and fortunate ages were those which our ancestors called Golden: not because gold--so much prized in this our Iron Age--was gotten in that happy time without any labours, but because those who lived in that time knew not these two words, _Thine_ and _Mine_. In that holy age all things were in common. No man needed to do aught but lift up his hand and take his food from the strong oak, which did liberally invite them to gather his sweet and savoury fruit. The clear fountains and running rivers did offer them transparent water in magnificent abundance, and in the hollow trees did careful bees erect their commonwealth, offering to every hand without interest the fertile crop of their sweet labours." Thus did the eloquent knight describe the Golden Age, when all was peace, friendship, and concord, and then he showed the astonished goatherds how an evil world had taken its place, and made it necessary for knights-errant like himself to come forward for the protection of widows and orphans, and the defence of distressed damsels. All this he did because the acorns that were given him called to his mind the Golden Age. The goatherds sat and listened with grave attention, and Sancho made frequent visits to the second wine-skin during his discourse. At length it was ended, and they sat round the fire, drinking their wine and listening to one of the goat herds singing, and towards night, Don Quixote's ear becoming very painful, one of his hosts made a dressing of rosemary leaves and salt, and bound up his wound. By this means being eased of his pain, he was able to lie down in one of the huts and sleep soundly after his day's adventures.
Don Quixote spent several days among the goatherds, and at length, when his wound was better, he thanked them for their hospitality, and rode away in search of new adventures, followed by the faithful Sancho.
They came to a halt in a pleasant meadow rich with beautiful grass, by the side of a delightful and refreshing stream, which seemed to invite them to stop and spend there the sultry hours of noon, which were already becoming oppressive.
Don Quixote and Sancho dismounted, and leaving Rozinante and Dapple loose, to feed on the grass that was there in plenty, they ransacked the wallet, and without any ceremony fell to eating what they found in it.
Sancho had neglected to tie up Rozinante, and, as luck would have it, a troop of Galician ponies belonging to some Yanguesian carriers, whose custom it is to rest at noon with their teams in spots and places where grass and water abound, were feeding in the same valley.
It must be believed that Rozinante supposed that the grass the ponies were feeding on was better than his own; but be that as it may, he started off at a little swift trot to feed among them. They resented his appearance, and, as he sought to enter their ranks and feed among them, they received him with their heels and teeth, with such vigour that in a trice he had burst his girth, and his saddle was stripped from his back. But the worst of all was that the carriers, taking part with their own ponies, ran up with stakes and so belaboured him that they brought him to the ground in a sore plight.
Upon this Don Quixote and Sancho, who witnessed the basting of Rozinante, came running up all out of breath, and Don Quixote said to Sancho: "From what I see, friend Sancho, these be no knights, but base, rascally fellows of low breeding. I say this, that thou mayest freely aid me in taking vengeance for the wrong which they have done to Rozinante before our eyes."
"What vengeance can we take," replied Sancho, "when there are more than twenty, and we are but two--nay, perhaps but one and a half?"
"I count for a hundred," said Don Quixote, and without further parley he drew his sword and flew upon the Yanguesians, boldly followed by Sancho Panza.
With his first blow Don Quixote pierced a buff coat that one of them wore, wounding him grievously in the shoulder. Then the Yanguesians, finding themselves so rudely handled by two men only, they being so many, betook themselves to their stakes, and hemming in their adversaries in the midst of them, they laid on with great fury. In fact the second thwack brought Sancho to the ground, and the same fate soon befell Don Quixote, whose dexterity and courage availed him nothing, for he fell at the feet of his unfortunate steed, who had not yet been able to arise.
Then, seeing the mischief they had done, the Yanguesians loaded their team with as much haste as possible, and went their way, leaving the adventurers in a doleful plight and a worse humour.
HOW DON QUIXOTE ARRIVED AT AN INN WHICH HE IMAGINED TO BE A CASTLE
Retold by Judge Parry
For some time after the Yanguesian carriers had gone on their way Don Quixote and Sancho Panza lay on the ground groaning and saying nothing.
The first that came to himself was Sancho Panza, who cried in a weak and pitiful voice: "Sir Don Quixote! O Sir Don Quixote!"
"What wouldst thou, brother Sancho?" answered Don Quixote in the same faint and grievous tone as Sancho.
"I would, if it were possible," said Sancho Panza, "that your worship should give me a couple of mouthfuls of that balsam of Fierabras, if so be that your worship has it at hand. Perhaps it will be as good for broken bones as for wounds."
"If I had it here," sighed Don Quixote, "we should lack nothing. But I swear to thee, Sancho Panza, on the faith of a knight-errant, that before two days pass, unless fortune forbids, I will have it in my possession."
"I pray you," asked Sancho, "in how many days do you think we shall be able to move our feet?"
"I cannot say," said the battered knight; "but I take on myself the blame of all, for I should not have drawn my sword against men that are not knights. Therefore, brother Sancho, take heed of what I tell thee, for it mightily concerns the welfare of us both; and it is this, that when thou seest such rabble offer us any wrong, wait not for me to draw sword upon them, for I will not do it in any wise, but put thou thy hand to thy sword and chastise them at thy pleasure."
But Sancho Panza did not much relish his master's advice, and replied: "Sir, I am a peaceable, sober, and quiet man, and can let pass any injury whatever, for I have a wife and children to take care of. Therefore, let me also say a word to your worship, that by no manner of means shall I put hand to sword either against clown or against knight. And from this time forth I forgive whatever insults are paid to me, whether they are or shall be paid by persons high or low, rich or poor, gentle or simple."
On hearing this his master said: "Would that I had breath enough to be able to speak easily, and that the pain I feel in this rib were less, that I, might make thee understand, Sancho, the mistake thou art making! How can I appoint thee governor of an island when thou wouldst make an end of all by having neither valour nor will to defend thy lands or revenge thine injuries?"
"Alas!" groaned Sancho. "I would that I had the courage and understanding of which your worship speaks, but in truth at this moment I am more fit for plasters than preachments. See if your worship can rise, and we will help Rozinante, although he deserves it not, for he was the chief cause of all this mauling."
"Fortune always leaves one door open in disasters, and your Dapple will now be able to supply the want of Rozinante and carry me hence to some castle where I may be healed of my wounds. Nor shall I esteem such riding a dishonour, for I remember to have read that old Silenus, tutor and guide of the merry god of Laughter, when he entered the city of a hundred gates, rode very pleasantly, mounted on a handsome ass."
"That may be," replied Sancho, "but there is a difference between riding a-horseback and being laid athwart like a sack of rubbish."
"Have done with your replies," exclaimed Don Quixote, "and rise as well as thou art able and sit me on top of thine ass, and let us depart hence before the night comes and overtakes us in this wilderness."
Then Sancho, with thirty groans and sixty sighs and a hundred and twenty curses, lifted up Rozinante--who if he had had a tongue would have complained louder than Sancho himself--and after much trouble set Don Quixote on the ass. Then tying Rozinante to his tail, he led the ass by the halter, and proceeded as best he could to where the highroad seemed to lie.
And Fortune, which had guided their affairs from good to better, led him on to a road on which, he spied an inn, which to his annoyance and Don Quixote's joy must needs be a castle. Sancho protested that it was an inn, and his master that it was a castle; and their dispute lasted so long that they had time to arrive there before it was finished; and into this inn or castle Sancho entered without more parley with all his team.
The innkeeper, seeing Don Quixote laid athwart of the ass, asked Sancho what ailed him. Sancho answered that it was nothing, only that he had fallen down from a rock, and had bruised his ribs somewhat. The innkeeper's wife was by nature charitable, and she felt for the sufferings of others, so she hastened at once to attend to Don Quixote, and made her daughter, a comely young maiden, help her in taking care of her guest. There was also serving in the inn an Asturian woman, broad-cheeked, flat-pated, with a snub nose, blind of one eye and the other not very sound. This young woman, who was called Maritornes, assisted the daughter, and the two made up a bed for Don Quixote in a garret which had served for many years as a straw-loft. The bed on which they placed him was made of four roughly planed boards on two unequal trestles; a mattress which, in thinness, might have been a quilt, so full of pellets that if they had not through the holes shown themselves to be wool, they would to the touch seem to be pebbles. There was a pair of sheets made of target leather; and as for the coverlet, if any one had chosen to count the threads of it he could not have missed one in the reckoning.
On this miserable bed did Don Quixote lie, and presently the hostess and her daughter plastered him over from head to foot, Maritornes holding the candle for them.
While she was plastering him, the hostess, seeing that he was in places black and blue, said that it looked more like blows than a fall. Sancho, however, declared they were not blows, but that the rock had many sharp points, and each one had left a mark; and he added: "Pray, good mistress, spare some of that tow, as my back pains are not a little."
"In that case," said the hostess, "you must have fallen, too."