Of what befell Don Quixote in the Brown Mountains

Don Quixote, finding himself in such a bad plight, said to his Squire:
‘I have often heard it said that to do good to ungrateful men, is to
cast water into the sea. If I had listened to your advice, I might have
avoided this trouble. But, now that it is over, there is nothing for it
but to be patient and to be wise another time.’

‘If you take warning by this or anything else,’ replied Sancho, ‘call
me a Turk. But, as you say, you might have avoided this trouble by
taking my advice. Listen to what I say now, and you will avoid a
greater danger. For let me tell you that it is no use talking about
Knighthood and its customs to the Holy Brotherhood, for it cares not
two farthings for all the Knights Errant in the world, and for myself,
I seem to hear their arrows buzzing round my ears already.’

‘Thou art by nature a coward, Sancho,’ replied Don Quixote; ‘but that
thou mayest not say that I am obstinate, and that I never follow thine
advice, I will take thy counsel this time, and hide myself from the
attacks thou fearest so greatly. But it must be on one condition,
that thou never tell to any mortal creature that I withdrew myself out
of this danger for fear, but only to humour thy wishes. For if thou
sayest anything else thou liest.’

[Illustration: DON QUIXOTE MEETING CARDENIO]

‘Sir,’ answered Sancho Panza, ‘to retreat is not to run away, nor is it
wise to wait where there is more danger than hope, and it is the part
of a wise man to spend to-day in keeping himself safe for to-morrow.
Therefore, rude clown as I am, take my advice, and mount Rozinante and
follow me as quickly as you are able.’

Don Quixote mounted Rozinante without another word, and, Sancho leading
the way on his Ass, they entered that part of the Brown Mountains that
was near them, a favourite haunt for outlaws and robbers in those days,
and a spot where they would be safe from pursuit. For it was Sancho’s
plan to hide themselves for some days among the crags, so as not to be
found even if the Holy Brotherhood should come and look for them.

They arrived that night in the very midst of the mountains, and there
Sancho thought it best to spend the night, and, indeed, as many days
as their food lasted; and with this intention they took up their abode
among a number of tall trees that grew between two rocks.

It happened, however, that Gines of Passamonte, the famous cheat and
robber whom Don Quixote by his valour and folly had released from his
chains, resolved to hide himself also among the same mountains, and
destiny led him to the very spot where Don Quixote and his Squire
were hiding, and at the very moment that they had fallen asleep, tired
out with the day’s toil. And as the wicked are always ungrateful, and
necessity forces them to evil deeds, Gines, who was neither grateful
nor good natured, resolved to rob Sancho Panza of his Ass, not caring
for Rozinante, as he thought he was not worth riding or selling. Sancho
Panza slept soundly, and, while he slept, Gines stole his Ass, and
before morning he was so far off as to be past finding.

The morning sun arose bringing joy to the earth, but only grief to poor
Sancho, for he missed his Dapple, and, finding himself deprived of
him, he began the saddest and most doleful lamentation possible, and
when Don Quixote awoke he heard him mourning in a most melancholy way,
crying out: ‘O my beloved Ass, born in mine own house, the sport of my
children, the comfort of my wife, the envy of my neighbours, the ease
of my burdens, and, beyond all, the support of my household, for with
what I gained daily by thee did I pay half of mine expenses!’

Don Quixote, who heard this lament, and knew the cause of it, comforted
Sancho as best he could, and desired him to have patience, promising
to give him a letter to command those at his house to hand over to him
three out of five ass foals that he had at home. Sancho was comforted
by this, dried his tears, moderated his sobs, and thanked Don Quixote
for the favours he had done him.

And as they entered farther among the mountains the Knight felt glad
at heart that he had come to a place so suitable for the adventures he
was in search of. They reminded him of marvellous stories he had read
of what had happened to Knights Errant in similar wild places, and
his mind was so full of these things that he thought of nothing else
whatever. As for Sancho, he trudged behind his Master, loaded with the
things that his Ass should have carried.

While Sancho was thus walking along, he raised his eyes and saw that
his Master had come to a stop, and was trying with the point of his
lance to lift what seemed like a bundle that was lying on the ground.
Upon which he ran to see whether his Master wanted his aid, and came up
to him just as he was lifting up a saddle cushion with a portmanteau
fast to it. These were half rotten and falling to pieces, yet they
weighed so much that Sancho’s help was required to lift them up. His
Master ordered him to see what was in the portmanteau, and Sancho
obeyed him as quickly as might be. And although it was shut with a
chain and a padlock, yet Sancho could see through the rents and tears
what was inside it, namely, four fine Holland shirts and other linen
clothes, both curious and delicate, besides a handkerchief containing a
good quantity of gold.

‘At last,’ cried Sancho, ‘we have met with an adventure worth
something,’ and searching on he came across a little memorandum book
very richly bound.

Don Quixote asked him for this, but bade him keep the money for himself.

For this rich favour Sancho kissed his hands, and taking all the
linen, he crammed it into their provision-bag.

Don Quixote, having considered awhile, said: ‘Methinks, Sancho, that
some traveller having lost his way must have passed over the mountains,
and being met by thieves, they slew him and buried him in this secret
place.’

‘It cannot be so,’ answered Sancho, ‘for if they had been thieves they
would not have left the money behind them.’

‘Thou sayest true,’ said Don Quixote, ‘and therefore I cannot guess
what can have happened. But stay, we will look at the pocket-book, and
see whether there is anything written in it by which we may discover
what we want to know.’

He opened it, and the first thing he found in it was a poem, which was
all about the author’s love for some fair Chloe who would not care for
him. Don Quixote read this aloud to Sancho.

‘Nothing can be learned from these verses,’ said the Squire, ‘unless by
that clue which is there we may get some help.’

‘What clue is there here?’ said Don Quixote.

‘I thought your Lordship mentioned a clue there.’

‘I did not say _clue_, but _Chloe_,’ replied Don Quixote, ‘which
no doubt is the name of the lady of whom the author of this poem
complains.’

After looking through the book again, Don Quixote found a despairing
love-letter, and several other verses and letters full of laments and
misery, from which he came to the conclusion that the owner of the
book was some sad rejected lover.

The Knight of the Rueful Countenance was very desirous to know who was
the owner of the portmanteau, believing from what he had seen that he
must be a man of some position, whom the disdain and cruelty of a fair
lady had driven to desperate courses. But as there was no one in this
remote and solitary place to satisfy his curiosity, he rode on, taking
any road that Rozinante chose, in the firm belief that he would find
some strange adventure among the mountains.

And as he rode he saw a man on top of a little mountain, leaping from
rock to rock and tuft to tuft with marvellous agility. He made him out
to be half-naked, with a black and matted beard, his hair long and
tangled, his feet unshod, and his legs bare. He wore some breeches of
tawny velvet, but these appeared so torn to rags that his skin showed
in many places. His head, too, was bare, and although he ran by with
all haste, yet was the Knight able to mark all these things. But he
could not follow him, because it was not in Rozinante’s power, being
in a weak state and naturally very slow and steady-going, to travel
over these rough places at any speed. Don Quixote at once came to the
conclusion that he was the owner of the portmanteau, and resolved to go
in search of him, even if he should have to spend a whole year in the
mountains till he found him. So he commanded Sancho to go on one side
of the mountain, while he went the other, and, said he, ‘one of us
may thus come across this man who has vanished so suddenly out of our
sight.’

‘I dare not do so,’ replied Sancho, ‘for on parting one step from
you, fear seizes me and fills me with a thousand kinds of terror and
affright. Let me say, once for all, that henceforth I do not stir a
finger’s-breadth from your presence.’

‘Well,’ replied Don Quixote, ‘I am glad that thou dost build upon my
valour, which shall not fail thee even though everything else fails
thee. Follow me, then, and keep thine eyes open, so that we may find
this strange man, who is no doubt the owner of the portmanteau.’

‘Surely,’ said Sancho, ‘it were better not to find him, for if we
should meet him, and he turned out to be the owner of the money, we
should have to return it to him. Let us rather keep it faithfully until
some one turns up to claim it, when perhaps I shall have spent it all,
and in that case I shall be free from blame.’

‘In that thou art mistaken, Sancho,’ replied Don Quixote, ‘for now that
we have a suspicion who the owner is, we are bound to search him out
and restore him his money.’

So saying Don Quixote led the way, and in a little time they came upon
a dead mule, half devoured by dogs and crows; and as they were looking
at it they heard a whistle, such as shepherds use, and there appeared
at their left hand a great number of goats, and behind them on the top
of the mountain was the Goatherd, who was quite an old man.

Don Quixote called to him, and begged him to come down to where they
stood; and the Goatherd, after looking at them for a few minutes, in
surprise at seeing them in this lonely spot, descended to where they
stood.

‘I wager,’ he said, as he came towards them, ‘that you are wondering
how the mule came there that lies dead in that bottom. Well, it has
been lying there these six months. Tell me, have you come across his
master as yet?’

‘We have fallen in with nobody,’ replied Don Quixote, ‘but a saddle
cushion and a portmanteau, which we found not far from here.’

‘I have also found the same portmanteau,’ said the Goatherd, ‘but I
would never take it up nor approach it for fear some ill-luck should
come upon me, or lest some one should accuse me of theft.’

‘Tell me, my good fellow,’ said Don Quixote, ‘do you know who is the
owner of these things?’

‘All I can tell you is this,’ said the Goatherd, ‘that some six months
ago, more or less, there arrived at one of our sheepfolds, some three
leagues off, a young gentleman of comely presence mounted on that mule
which lies dead there, and with the same saddle cushion and portmanteau
that you have seen. He asked us which was the most hidden part of the
mountain, and we told him that this was, which is certainly true, for
if you go a league further on perhaps you might not find your way out,
and indeed I marvel how you found your way in so readily. As soon as
the young man had heard our answer he turned his bridle and went
towards the place we showed him, and made towards these mountains.
After that we did not see him for a good many days, until one day, when
one of our shepherds came by with provisions, he attacked him and beat
him, and carried off all the bread and cheese that he carried, and then
fled away back again to the mountains. When we heard of this, some of
us goatherds went to look for him, and spent almost two days in the
most solitary places in the mountains, and in the end found him lurking
in the hollow part of a large cork-tree. He came out to us very meekly,
his clothes torn and his face burned by the sun, so that we hardly knew
him again. He saluted us courteously, and in a few civil words told
us not to wonder at his condition, for he was working out a penance
placed upon him for the sins he had committed. We begged him to tell
us who he was, but he would not do so. We begged him also that when
he had need of food he would tell us where we might find him, and we
would willingly bring it to him, and told him there was no need to take
it by force. He thanked us very much for our offer, and asked pardon
for his violence, and promised in future to ask food of our shepherds
without giving annoyance to any one. But even while he was speaking to
us, he bit his lips and bent his brows, and it was clear some fit of
madness was upon him, for he cried out: “O treacherous Fernando, here
thou shalt pay me the injury thou didst me; these hands shall rend thy
heart!” and many other wild and whirring words which he addressed to
some Fernando. But at the same time he fell upon one of our goatherds,
and we had no little trouble to get him away. Then without another word
he fled to the briars and the brambles, where we could not follow him.
By this we think that he has a madness which comes upon him at times,
for sometimes he will take his food from our shepherds with courtesy
and humanity, at others he seizes it by force, though they are ever
willing to give it. We have thought to take him by force to the town
of Almodavar, to see if he can be cured, or to find out if he has any
relatives to whom we can restore him. This, Sirs, is all that I can
tell you of what you have asked me, and for certain he it is who is the
owner of the things you have found.’

Don Quixote was greatly amazed by what he had heard, and determined to
search for him through the mountains, without leaving a corner or cave
unsought until he had found him.