Of what befell our Knight when he left the Inn

It was dawn when Don Quixote went out from the Inn, so full of pleasure
to behold himself knighted that his very horse-girths were ready to
burst for joy. But calling to memory some advice that the Innkeeper had
given him, about the necessity of carrying with him money and clean
shirts when he went on his adventures, he determined to return to his
house and obtain these things, and also find for himself a Squire. For
this office he fixed in his own mind upon a ploughman, a neighbour of
his, a poor man who had many children, but yet a man who was very fit
as he thought to be his Squire.

With this view he turned Rozinante towards his own village, who,
knowing that he was on his way home, began to trot along with so good a
will that he seemed not to touch the ground.

He had not travelled far when he heard from a thicket hard by the
shrill cries of some weak and delicate mortal in grievous distress.

No sooner did he hear them than he exclaimed: ‘I am indeed thankful for
the favour done to me by giving me so soon an opportunity of performing
what is due to my profession, and gathering the fruits of my desires.
These cries doubtless come from some distressed man or woman who has
need of my protection and aid.’

Then turning the reins, he guided Rozinante towards the place whence
the voice seemed to proceed. And within a few paces after he had
entered into the thicket, he saw a mare tied up to one oak, and to
another was tied a youth, all naked from the middle upward, of about
fifteen years of age. Now it was he that cried so pitifully, and not
without cause. For a sturdy fellow of a farmer was beating him soundly
with a girdle, accompanying each stroke with a reproof and piece of
advice, saying: ‘The tongue must peace and the eyes be wary.’ And the
boy, whose name was Andrew, answered: ‘I will never do it again, good
master, I will never do it again. I promise to have more care of your
things from henceforth.’

Seeing what passed, Don Quixote cried out with an angry voice: ‘Ill it
beseems you, discourteous Knight, to deal thus with one that cannot
defend himself. Mount, therefore, on horseback and take thy lance (for
the Farmer had a lance leaning against the very same tree to which
his mare was tied), for I will make thee know that it is the act of a
coward to do that which thou dost.’

The Farmer, beholding this strange figure buckled in armour, and
brandishing a lance over his head, gave himself up for a dead man, and
answered him with mild and submissive words, saying: ‘Sir Knight, the
youth whom I am beating is mine own servant, and keepeth for me a flock
of sheep; but he is grown so negligent that he loseth one of them every
other day, and because I correct him for his carelessness and knavery,
he says I do it through covetousness and miserliness so as not to pay
him his due wages, but on my conscience I assure you he lies.’

‘What? The lie, in my presence, rascally clown!’ cried Don Quixote. ‘By
the sun that shines above us, I will run thee through and through with
my lance, base Carle! Pay him instantly, without another word, or I
will finish and destroy thee in a moment. Loose him forthwith!’

The Farmer, hanging down his head, made no reply, but released poor
Andrew, of whom Don Quixote demanded how much his master owed him.
The boy answered that it was nine months’ wages at seven _reals_ a
month. Casting it up, Don Quixote found that it amounted to sixty-three
_reals_, and commanded the Farmer to pay the money at once, unless he
had a mind to die for it.

This the Farmer, who was in a terrible fright, promised to do, but
said he: ‘The worst of it is, Sir Knight, that I have no money here.
Let Andrew come with me to my house, and I will pay him his wages to
the last _real_.’

‘I go with him?’ said the boy, ‘evil befall me if I do. No, Sir. I
don’t intend to do that, for as soon as ever we were alone, he would
flay me alive.’

‘He will not dare to do it,’ said Don Quixote, ‘for my command is
sufficient to make him respect me. And on condition that he will swear
to me to carry out his promise, by the order of Knighthood which he
hath received, I will set him free and assure thee of the payment.’

‘Good your worship,’ said the youth; ‘mark well what you say, for
this man my master is no Knight, nor did he ever receive any order of
Knighthood. He is John Haldudo the rich, and lives at Quintanar.’

‘That is no matter,’ said Don Quixote, ‘for there may be Knights of the
Haldudos.’

‘The good Knight speaks well, friend Andrew,’ said his master. ‘Do me
but the pleasure to come with me, and I swear by all the orders of
Knighthood that are in the world to pay thee, as I have said, to the
last _real_.’

‘With this,’ said Don Quixote, ‘I will rest satisfied; and see that
thou fulfillest it as thou hast sworn. If not, I swear again to thee by
the same oath to return and seek thee out once more and chastise thee.
And I will find thee out, though thou didst hide thyself closer than a
lizard. And if thou desirest to know who it is that commands thee thus,
know that I am the valiant Don Quixote of the Mancha, the righter of
wrongs and the scourge of injustice.’

Saying this, the Knight clapt spurs to his Rozinante, and was quickly
gone from him.

The Farmer followed him with his eyes, and seeing that he was beyond
the wood and quite out of sight, he returned to Andrew and said: ‘Come
to me, child, for I will pay thee what I owe thee, as that righter of
wrongs hath commanded.’

‘Upon my word,’ said Andrew, ‘you do well to fulfil the good Knight’s
commandments. And I pray that he may live a thousand years, for he is
so brave and so just a judge that, if you pay me not, he will come back
and do all he promised.’

‘I also do believe the same,’ said the Farmer; ‘but for the much love I
bear thee, I will increase the debt that I may add to the payment.’

And seizing him by the arm, he tied him again to the oak, where he gave
him so many blows as to leave him for dead.

‘Call now, Master Andrew,’ said he, ‘for thy righter of wrongs; and
thou shalt see that he cannot undo this, though I think I have not
finished the doing of it, for I have yet a desire to flay thee alive as
thou didst fear.’

But he untied him at last, and gave him leave to go and seek out his
Judge, to the end that he might execute the sentence he had pronounced.
Andrew departed somewhat discontented, swearing to search for the
valiant Don Quixote of the Mancha, and relate to him point for point
all that had passed, that the Farmer might be repaid sevenfold.
Nevertheless he wept as he went along, and his master remained behind
laughing, and thus did the valiant Don Quixote right this wrong.

As for the Knight, it appeared to him that he had made a very happy
and noble beginning to his feats of arms. And as he rode towards his
village, he recited to himself in a low voice these words: ‘Well mayest
thou call thyself happy above all other women of the earth, O! above
all beauties, beautiful Dulcinea of Toboso; since it has fallen to thy
lot to hold submissive to thy will a Knight so renowned and valorous as
is and ever shall be, Don Quixote of the Mancha, who, as all the world
knows, but yesterday received the order of Knighthood, and to-day hath
destroyed the greatest outrage and wrong that injustice and cruelty
could commit. To-day hath he wrested the scourge from the hand of the
pitiless foe who so cruelly beat the delicate infant.’

Soon afterwards he came to a spot where the road branched into four,
and there came into his fancy the cross-ways he had read of, where the
Knights Errant used to ponder which of the roads they should take.
And that he might imitate them, he let slip the reins on Rozinante’s
neck, submitting his will to that of his steed, who followed his first
intention, which was to return home to his own stable. And having
travelled some two miles, Don Quixote discovered a great troop of
people, who, as it was afterwards known, were certain merchants of
Toledo, that rode towards Murcia to buy silks. They were six in number,
and came with their parasols or sun umbrellas, and four serving-men
a-horseback, and three lackeys.

Scarce had Don Quixote perceived them when he straight imagined them
to be a new adventure. And so that he might imitate as far as possible
the passages which he had read in his books, he settled himself with a
gallant air and resolute bearing firmly in his stirrups, grasped his
lance, brought his target over his breast, and stood, waiting, posted
in the middle of the road, for those whom he took to be Knights Errant
like himself.

And when they were so near that they might hear and see him, he lifted
up his voice and said: ‘Let all the world stand and pass no further,
if all the world will not confess that there is not in all the world
a more beautiful damsel than the Empress of the Mancha, the peerless
Dulcinea of Toboso.’

The merchants stopped at the sound of these words to behold the
marvellous and ridiculous shape of him that spake them, and at once
suspected the madness of the speaker.

Curious to know the meaning of the confession he demanded from them,
one of the merchants, who was a bit of a wag and very sharp-witted,
said to Don Quixote: ‘Sir Knight, we know not who that good lady may be
you speak of. Show her therefore to us, and if she be as beautiful as
you report, we will with right good-will, and without further trouble,
confess the truth of what you demand.’

‘If I did show her to you,’ replied Don Quixote, ‘what merit would
there be in confessing a truth which is clear to all beholders? The
importance of my demand is that without seeing her you must believe
it, which if you refuse to do I challenge you all to battle, ye
proud preposterous crew. And now come on! One by one as the order of
Knighthood requires, or all at once as is the custom and base usage of
those of your breed. Here I await you, confiding in the right I have on
my side.’

‘Sir Knight,’ replied the Merchant, ‘I request you in the name of all
the Princes here present, that in order that we may not burden our
conscience by confessing a thing which we have never beheld nor heard,
you will be pleased to show us some portrait of the lady, although
it be no bigger than a grain of wheat. For I do believe that we are
already so much on your side, that though her portrait showed her to us
a-squint of one eye, and wearing a hump on her back, we should say all
that you wish in her favour.’

‘Infamous rabble,’ replied Don Quixote, mightily enraged; ‘she is
neither crook-eyed nor hump-backed, but is straighter than a spindle
of Guadamara. Dearly shall you pay for the foul words you have uttered
against so immense a beauty as my Lady.’ So saying, he lowered his
lance against him who had spoken, with such wrath and fury, that if
Rozinante had not tripped and fallen in the midst of his career, it
would have fared ill with the rash Merchant.

But, alas! Rozinante fell; his master went rolling some distance across
the field, and though he struggled to arise yet was he never able, so
encumbered was he by his lance, target, spurs, helmet, and the weight
of his old-fashioned armour. And while he strove to rise he shouted;
‘Fly not, cowardly brood! Tarry a little, ye base caitiffs! for not by
any fault of mine, but of my horse, am I thus discomfited!’

One of the lackeys with the company, hearing these saucy speeches of
the poor overthrown Knight, could not forbear returning him an answer
on his ribs, and coming up to him he seized his lance, and having
broken it into pieces, began with one of them to belabour him, so that
in spite of his armour he pounded him like wheat in a mill. His masters
called out to him to let the gentleman be, but the lackey was angry and
would not give up the game. And running for the other pieces of the
broken lance, he shivered them all over the poor fallen Knight, who
never closed his mouth, but cried out against them for brigands and
murderers, for such he took them to be.

At last the lackey was tired out, and the merchants followed on their
way talking about the poor belaboured Knight, who when he saw himself
alone, again made trial to arise; but if he could not do so when
sound and well, how could he after being pounded and almost beaten
to a jelly? And yet he still considered himself fortunate, for he
persuaded himself that this disgrace was one of those things that must
of occasion happen to a Knight Errant. And though he could not rise on
account of being mauled and bruised from head to foot, he put it all
down to the carelessness of his steed Rozinante.