Finding that he was unable to stir, the Knight pleased himself whilst
lying on the ground by remembering and repeating aloud passages from
his favourite books.
He was reciting the ballad of the Marquess of Mantua, in which a noble
knight has an adventure similar to his own, when there chanced to pass
by a labouring man, a neighbour of Don Quixote’s, who was going to take
a load of wheat to the mill.
He, seeing a man stretched on the ground, came over to him and asked
who he was and what mishap had befallen him.
Don Quixote at once believed that the labourer was no other than the
Marquess of Mantua himself, and went on with his ballad which gave an
account of his disgrace.
The labourer was astonished at all these follies, and taking off the
Knight’s visor, which was all broken to pieces with the beating, he
wiped his face, which was covered with dust; and when he had wiped
it he recognised him and cried: ‘Senor Quixada (for so was he named
before he became a Knight Errant), who has brought your Worship to this
But the Knight only went on with his ballad, and made no answer.
Seeing this, the good man took off as well as he could his breastplate
and corselet to see if he had any wound, but he found no blood nor sign
of any. He tried to raise him from the ground, which he did at last
with much ado. Then he mounted him upon his ass, which seemed a safer
carriage than the Knight’s steed. Gathering up his arms, even to the
fragments of the lance, he fastened them upon Rozinante, whose bridle
he took hold of, as well as of the ass’s halter; and so they journeyed
towards the village, Don Quixote continuing to mutter his nonsensical
In this manner they arrived at last at their village about sunset, but
the labourer waited until it grew somewhat dusk, so that folk should
not see the Knight so simply mounted.
When he entered the village and went to Don Quixote’s house, he found
all in uproar there. For the Curate and the Barber—Don Quixote’s great
friends—were there, and his Housekeeper was crying to them at the top
of her voice: ‘What think ye has befallen my Master? For two days both
he and his horse, together with the target, lance, and armour, have
been missing. Woe is me! I am certain those horrid books of Knighthood
have turned his brain, for I have often heard him say that he would
become a Knight Errant and go and seek adventures throughout the world.’
And Don Quixote’s Niece, who was there also, said to Master Nicholas
the Barber: ‘And indeed I have known my dear Uncle continue reading
these unhappy books of “disadventures” two days and two nights
together. At the end of which, throwing down the book, he would lay
hand on his sword and would fall a-slashing of the walls. And when he
was wearied he would say that he had slain four Giants as great as four
towers. And I take great blame to myself that I did not tell you all
this before, that you might have burned those wretched books which have
caused all the mischief.’
‘So I say, too,’ said the Curate; ‘and to-morrow they shall feed the
flames, so that they may do no further harm.’
By this time the labourer and Don Quixote had come to the house, and
all the household hearing them arrive, ran to embrace him. And Don
Quixote—who had not yet dismounted from the ass, for he was not
able—said: ‘Stand still and touch me not, for I return very sore
wounded and hurt through the fault of my steed. Carry me to bed, and
summon, if it be possible, the wise Urganda, that she may examine and
cure my wounds.’
‘Come, my dear Master,’ said his Housekeeper, ‘and welcome, for,
without sending for that Urganda, we shall know how to cure thee well
enough. Accursed, say I once again, and a hundred times accursed, may
those books of Knighthood be which have brought you to such a pass.’
With that they bore him up to his bed, and searching for his wounds
could not find any. Then he said he was all one bruise, through having
a grievous fall with his horse Rozinante, in a fight with ten Giants,
the most enormous and the boldest that could be found on earth.
‘So ho!’ said the Curate, ‘there are Giants about, are there? By mine
honesty I will burn them all before to-morrow night.’
The next day, while the Knight was asleep, the Curate asked the Niece
for the keys of the library, which she gave him with a very good will.
Then they all went in, the Housekeeper with them, and found more than a
hundred very large volumes well bound, besides other smaller ones.
The Curate asked the Barber to hand him down the books from their
shelves one by one, that he might see whether any deserved to escape
‘No, no!’ cried the Niece, ‘you ought not to pardon any of them, seeing
they have all been offenders. Better fling them all out of the window
into the yard and make a heap of them, and then make a bonfire of them
where the smoke will offend nobody.’
With that the Housekeeper caught hold of some of the largest and flung
them out of the window. But the Curate took down several from the
shelves and began to examine them carefully, whilst the women cried out
for their destruction.
Whilst they were thus busied, Don Quixote began to cry aloud, saying:
‘This way, this way, valorous Knights! Show the force of your valiant
arms lest we lose the tournament.’
Called away by this noise and clamour they left the books and ran to
Don Quixote, who had risen from his bed and was repeating his outcries
and ravings, cutting about with his sword all over the room with
slashes and back strokes, as wide awake as if he had never been asleep.
Wherefore, taking him up in their arms, they returned him by main force
into his bed.
With some difficulty they persuaded him to rest where he was, and after
he had eaten his breakfast he fell asleep once again.
That same night the Housekeeper set fire to and burned all the books
in the yard, and some went to the flames that had no harm in them; and
thus was fulfilled the old proverb, ‘The Saint sometimes pays for the
Now one of the remedies which the Curate and the Barber suggested for
their friend’s malady was to wall up and close his library, so that
when he rose he should not find the books, and they might tell him the
Enchanters had carried them off, room and all.
This was done, and when two days afterwards Don Quixote rose from his
bed, the first thing he did was to go and visit his books. Not finding
the library where he had left it, he went from one corner of the house
to the other, looking for it. Sometimes he came to the place where the
door had been, and felt it with his hands, then would turn his eyes up
and down, here and there, to seek it, without speaking a word.
But at last he asked the Housekeeper where his library was. She being
well schooled what she should answer, replied: ‘What library? There
is neither library nor books in this house now, for an Enchanter has
carried them all away.’
‘Yes, dear Uncle,’ said his Niece, ‘while you were away, an Enchanter
came upon a cloud, and, alighting from a serpent on which he was
riding, entered the library, and what he did therein I know not. But
within a while after, he fled out at the roof of the house, and left
all the place full of smoke, and when we went to see what he had done
we found neither room nor books.’
‘This must be the work of the learned Enchanter Freston,’ replied Don
Quixote seriously; ‘a great enemy of mine who has a grudge against me,
for he knows through his arts and his learning that I am in course of
time to fight and vanquish in single combat a Knight whom he favours.
But I tell him it is useless to oppose what is decreed.’
‘Who doubts that, dear Uncle?’ said his Niece. ‘But why mix yourself
up in these quarrels? Better stay at home peacefully, for remember the
proverb says, “Many who go for wool come back shorn.”‘
‘O Niece of mine,’ said Don Quixote, ‘how little dost thou understand
the matter! Before I am shorn I will pluck the beards of all who think
to touch but a hair of me.’
To these words the women made no reply because they saw his anger
For fifteen days after this he remained quietly at home, without
showing any signs of repeating his follies, and during this time he had
many arguments with his friends the Curate and the Barber about his
favourite Knights Errant. At the same time he was persuading 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.
Don Quixote then set about to provide himself with money. This he did
by selling one thing, pawning another, and making bad bargains all
round. At last he got a pretty sum, and having patched up his broken
helmet as best he could, he told Sancho Panza the day and hour on
which he meant to start. He also charged him to provide himself with
a wallet, which Sancho promised to do, and said that he also meant to
take a very good Ass named Dapple along with him, which he had of his
own, because he was not used to travel much a-foot.
In the matter of the Ass, Don Quixote hesitated a little, calling to
mind whether ever he had read that any Knight Errant was ever attended
by a Squire mounted on ass-back, but no such case occurred to his
memory. Nevertheless, he decided that the Ass should be taken, with the
intention of providing his Squire with a more dignified mount, when he
had a chance, by unhorsing the first discourteous Knight he met with.
All this being arranged, Sancho Panza, without bidding his wife and
children farewell, and Don Quixote, without saying good-bye to his
Housekeeper and Niece, sallied forth from the village one night,
unknown to any person living. They travelled so far that night that at
daybreak they were safe against discovery, even if they were pursued.
And Sancho Panza rode along on his beast like a patriarch with his
wallet and bottle, full of a huge desire to see himself Governor of the
Island which his Master had promised him.